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Rachel's Reflections Posts

Fountain Pen 101: Why Fountain Pens?

Posted in Fountain Pens

Welcome to my inaugural Fountain Pen 101 issue! I’ve had a handful of questions about fountain pens on my various social media accounts, so I thought it might be helpful (and fun) to provide an introduction series. This 101 series is intended to provide you with all of the information necessary to make your first (informed) fountain pen purchase and/or prepare you to use a fountain pen you’ve been gifted. Stay tuned for a 102 series that will guide you through this rabbit hole you’ve discovered.

Down the rabbit hole

I’ll be posting weekly on Fountain Pen Friday (yes, that’s a thing), but you might want to subscribe to avoid missing a post. Before I go any further, I’d like to take a moment to say this won’t be an objective, all-informative series. I’ll be including what I’ve learned so far in my 1.5(ish) year journey down the fountain pen rabbit hole, including some very subjective information/analysis.

I decided to start with the simplest question: why fountain pens? But before I answer that, I’d like to take a step back and address a larger question. Why write?

The benefits of writing vs. typing have been well-documented, and are easy-to-find. Writing improves memory/recall, sharpens critical thinking, and pen/pencil and paper are easier on the eyes than digital screens.

Now, imagine how much the benefits improve when you enjoy writing. Ballpoint/Rollerball/Gel pens have come a long way. The writing is smoother, there are more color choices, and the pens are prettier than they ever have been. But fountain pens give you a completely different experience that really brings joy to writing.

Benefits

So what are some of the real benefits to fountain pens? Keep in mind, this list is not exhaustive, it’s an overview of what I consider to be the biggest perks.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Cash Grab

Posted in Non-Stationery Reviews

Like Potterheads the world over, I rejoiced when Portkey Games officially announced two Harry Potter apps last year. Harry Potter Wizards Unite (the Pokemon Go style app) sounded more intriguing, but I was interested in Hogwarts Mystery as well.

I promptly followed the HPHogwartsMystery Instagram account and pre-registered for the app as soon as I could in order to stay up to date on all the news. I feel no shame in admitting I, quite literally, squeed in joy when I received the email alert that the game was available. At my desk. At work. #potterlife

Cover Reveal – Secret Burdens

Posted in Book Blogger

Secret Burdens

by Suzanna J. Linton

Series: Stories of Lorst, Book 3
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult
Release Date: July 20th 2018
Cover Design:  Fiona Jayde Media

Secrets can heal — and destroy.

Jarrett failed everyone close to him.

In disgrace, he resigned his position as Captain of the Royal Guard and entered self-imposed exile in the Eastern Forests. As a common soldier, he fought the remainder of Marduk’s monsters.

A surprise summoning, though, brings Jarrett back to Bertrand. He finds Clara nearly bedridden from an assassination attempt. Tension between Lorst and Tier runs high. In need of someone she trusts, Clara appoints Jarrett Captain of the Seer’s Guard over his protests.

Book Blitz – Eyes of the Tiger

Posted in Book Blogger

Eyes of the Tiger

by Patricia Rosemoor

Eyes of the Tiger

Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Release Date: April 19, 2018
Purchase From: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | KoboiBooks

Jewelry designer Gemma Hewitt has a gift. Gems and jewelry speak to her, which inspires her designs, and also sends her on dark adventures across the globe as she seeks out historic pieces. After her mother is brutally murdered, Gemma inherits her famed jeweled collar, which she hopes will lead her to see the face of her mother’s killer and bring him to justice. Instead, she’s thrown back to 1901 India where she sees the young woman about to be married with a pendant that matches her jeweled collar. When she’s hired to find the entire bridal suite, she hopes she can use the jewels to save her family’s fortune. Can she trust the handsome, enigmatic man who promises to help her on her quest, or is he the one she should be running from?

Book Blitz – Bound

Posted in Book Blogger

Bound

by Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor

Bound

Series: Magnus Blackwell, Book 2
Genres: Adult, Supernatural
Release Date: April 17, 2018
Purchase From: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Magnus Blackwell’s past is about to catch up with him.

An evil force has seized New Orleans. Pestilence, suffering, and darkness cloak the city. The citizens are scared and need their mambo to guide them, but Lexie Arden can’t help anyone. A diabolical presence has taken Lexie’s power and severed her ties with the other side.

Magnus Blackwell is fighting demons of his own. Torn between his devotion to Lexie and a spirit from his past, Magnus’s loyalty is put to the test. He must revisit his sins to uncover the key to the hatred ripping the city apart. If he doesn’t, Lexie’s reign as mambo will end.

Book Blitz – Sweet Obsession

Posted in Book Blogger

Sweet Obsession

by A.M. Salinger

Sweet Obsession

Series: Night Series, Book 4
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance
Release Date: April 17, 2018
Purchase From: Amazon

He is the one person I love more than life itself. The one person I will do my utmost to protect. The one person I can never touch — Luke

He is the only one I have ever wanted. The only man I would ever need for as long as I breathe. But he doesn’t love me. No, he hates me —Ash

Book Blitz – Animus

Posted in Book Blogger

Animus

by Kindra Sowder

Animus

Genres: YA Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Purchase From: Amazon

General Quinn Ragnarok is a lot of things. Fierce. Dedicated. Intelligent. Skilled. And one of the only women to become a General within the Sentinel of Hydra, sworn to serve the Dominion of Archer’s State as a warrior against those who would dare rise against them. Her beloved dragon, Apep, is bonded to her not only in battle, but in their existence. A bond not taken lightly, for dragons from beyond the Long Realm of the Channel are among the most intelligent, extremely powerful, and do not bond easily with humans.

Betrayal is just around the corner, with the conspirator being one of her own, and war is imminent as proof of betrayal must be presented to the Council. She must rise to the Council’s wishes to fight against the Royals of Paderborn alongside her lifelong friend, Private Victor Shroud. Not only a soldier, but her trusted ally.

Will Quinn have the ability to lead her garrison to war, ensuring victory? Or will she fall to their sword?

Animus is a new high fantasy novella from award winning author, Kindra Sowder. Delve into this new tale and immerse yourself into a realm where war is coming, Halflings are controlling the forests with swords and arrows, and the skies are filled with dragons.

Book Blitz – Kingston

Posted in Book Blogger

Kingston

by Dani René

kingston

Series: Four Fathers, Book 2
Genres: Erotica, Romance
Release Date: April 9, 2018
Purchase From: Amazon

I am arrogant. Insatiable. A single father.

I desire things that would make most people blush.

Normally, I find outlets that allow me to free the sexual beast living within and play to my heart’s content.

And when my voluptuous, innocent assistant starts starving me after a little taste, I decide I’ll let my inner animal feed—on her.

Trouble is, once I have her, I can’t let her go, and that makes things complicated.

My name is Levi Kingston.

I am a dirty, ravenous, greedy man.

People may detest my kinks, but it doesn’t stop them from wanting me.

Cover Reveal – Once Upon A Time

Posted in Book Blogger

Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for letting me be a part of the cover reveal of Once Upon A Time by Blair Babylon. You can find and contact Blair via her websiteFacebook pageTwitter, Instagram, and Goodreads author page. She also has a giveaway going as part of her cover reveal (see below).

Once Upon A Time is an Adult Romantic Suspense book, due out on April 3, and first of the Runaway Princess Bride series. You can pre-order Once Upon a Time on AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, and Kobo.

About Once Upon A Time

When a real princess falls in love with a man who is definitely not a prince, a royal fairy tale turns dangerous.

ONCE UPON A TIME, there was a beautiful princess, Flicka von Hannover, who lived an enchanted life. She jetted around Europe staging charity events with friends, had married a handsome prince in the most spectacular royal wedding of the 21st century, and should have lived happily ever after.

But then she found the handsome prince in bed with a duchess. And then a coffee shop barista. And then her own goddamn secretary.

Finally, the beautiful princess had had enough of the cheating prince, and she ran away.

Once she had stepped out of the royal fairy tale, life became grayer, grittier, and rougher. The prince didn’t like that she had left and sent henchmen to take her back to the castle. Her worried royal brother sent people to look for her, too.

But the princess didn’t want to be found. The princess got a job as a waitress in a diner in New York City and made her own way in the world. Even cut off from everyone she knew, she was more resourceful than she had thought she might be. She did okay. From hiding, she sent legal separation papers and then divorce documents, but the prince wouldn’t sign them. He said he wouldn’t let her go. Even in these modern times, the prince could lock the princess up in a dungeon of legal forms and provisions that she wouldn’t be able to break out of. The prince wanted his princess back because he couldn’t take his throne without her.

Until a man walked into her diner one day, one who was frankly not a handsome prince.

He was the last man on Earth the princess should have fallen in love with.

Review – The Succubus, The Demon, & the Witch

Posted in Book Blogger

I’m back in the Underlayes, this time reviewing book 2, The Succubus, The Demon, & the Witch. Feel free to skip past the book information to get to the review. Or maybe you want to get to T.A. Moorman’s guest post about how much her own life has made it into her books. There’s also a giveaway in there, so don’t skip around too much. And make sure you check out the release day party on Facebook today starting at noon.

The Succubus, The Demon, & The Witch

by T.A. Moorman

tstdtw Cover

Series: Underlayes, Book 2
Genres: Romance, Occult, Coming of Age, Adult
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Pages: 256
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★☆☆

Cover Reveal – Animus

Posted in Book Blogger

AnimusThank you to Lady Amber’s PR for letting me be a part of the cover reveal of Animus by Kindra Sowder. You can find and contact Kindra via her websiteFacebook page, InstagramTwitter, and Goodreads author page.

Animus is a YA Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy, due out on April 10 from CHBB publishing, edited by Edd Sowder.

Before we dive into the book, let me just take a minute to offer Rue Volley some praise for her stunning cover design.

About Animus

General Quinn Ragnarok is a lot of things. Fierce. Dedicated. Intelligent. Skilled. And one of the only women to become a General within the Sentinel of Hydra, sworn to serve the Dominion of Archer’s State as a warrior against those who would dare rise against them. Her beloved dragon, Apep, is bonded to her not only in battle, but in their existence. A bond not taken lightly, for dragons from beyond the Long Realm of the Channel are among the most intelligent, extremely powerful, and do not bond easily with humans.

Betrayal is just around the corner, with the conspirator being one of her own, and war is imminent as proof of betrayal must be presented to the Council. She must rise to the Council’s wishes to fight against the Royals of Paderborn alongside her lifelong friend, Private Victor Shroud. Not only a soldier, but her trusted ally.

Will Quinn have the ability to lead her garrison to war, ensuring victory? Or will she fall to their sword?

Animus is a new high fantasy novella from award winning author, Kindra Sowder. Delve into this new tale and immerse yourself into a realm where war is coming, Halflings are controlling the forests with swords and arrows, and the skies are filled with dragons.

Cover Reveal – Summer Heat

Posted in Book Blogger, and Exalted Bloodlines

Summer Heat Book MockupToday I bring you a special cover reveal. Allow me to introduce you to the Summer Heat anthology.

Summer Heat is a charity anthology I’m part of featuring nine fabulous female authors. It’s due out July 6, so mark your calendars now. 🙂

About Summer Heat

With temperatures rising, the sizzling stories of Summer Heat will have you needing a dip in the pool. We’re turning up the heat and you’re going to be damp in more ways than one.

Second chance romance, star crossed lovers, a sexy vampire, an irresistible bad boy, dark secrets, and then some! There’s a little bit of something for everyone. Grab a cold drink, come get down and dirty, and make this summer extra hot with Summer Heat.

Summer Heat is dedicated to all the strong and sexy women around the world. Yes, you, too! The proceeds of this anthology will be donated to the Global Fund for Women.

Review – Witch Wars

Posted in Book Blogger

As I’ve gotten further into the world of Book Blogging, I’ve found lots of different books that sound interesting with an opportunity to review. Avid little reader that I am, I’ve jumped on several. In this case, I was only expecting to receive an ARC of book 2, The Succubus, the Demon, and the Witch as part of a release day book blitz, but was pleasantly surprised to receive book 1, Witch Wars as well. Keep an eye out for my review of book 2 on March 27th. Feel free to skip past the book information to get to the review.

Witch Wars

by T.A. Moorman

witch Wars Front Cover

Series: Underlayes, Book 1
Genres: Romance, Occult, Coming of Age, Adult
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Pages: 268
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Cover Reveal – The Promotion

Posted in Book Blogger

Cover mockup of The PromotionThank you to Xpresso Book Tours for letting me be a part of the cover reveal of The Promotion by Mika Lane. You can find and contact Mika via her websiteFacebook pageTwitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads author page. Mika also has a giveaway going as part of her cover reveal (see below).

The Promotion: A Reverse Harem Novel is an Adult Romance book, due out on April 18. Maybe I’ll get it as a birthday present for myself,  because it sounds pretty steamy.

About The Promotion: A Reverse Harem Novel

You know that saying “I get by with a little help from my friends?”

Well, that’s not me.

I don’t take help. Not from anyone. At least I didn’t, until I was backed into a corner. With no choice.

And when help came my way in the form of several handsome guys, I wasn’t sure if my situation had gone from bad to worse.

Or if it was just what I needed—and what I’d actually needed all along.

2018 Baltimore Pen Show – Part 6

Posted in Pen Shows

Alright, this is it. The big one. The one we’ve all be waiting for…whoops, nope, this isn’t Harry Potter. This is my last BWIPS 2018 post. I hope you’ve enjoyed reminiscing with me. If you haven’t yet, go read parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 before continuing.

When I left you yesterday, we were all heading back to the hotel for the “official” pen show after dark fun. Somehow, between leaving Frank & Nic’s as one big group, and arriving at the hotel (a 5-minute walk if you’re going slow) we separated into multiple smaller clusters of 3-8 people.

Jim made a beeline for the hallway between the show rooms as soon as it became apparent that that was where the “event” was being held. Jim wanted a good spot, and I tagged along with him.

Soon Cary Yeager and a gentleman whose name I don’t know came down the hall and started setting up the area. I helped bring out and set up the chairs so my conscience would be clear when I didn’t stay to clean up.

Slowly, people filtered down from the bar and lobby, filling the little hallway area to overflowing.

2018 Baltimore Pen Show – Part 5

Posted in Pen Shows

Welcome back to my BWIPS experience write-up. Today starts the pen show after dark shenanigans. If you haven’t read parts 1, 2, 3, and 4, you might want to go do that. This post is back to a shorter length, but tomorrow’s (which should be my last post) will probably be rather long.


The announcement that the show was official over (for the day) was a bit of a bummer, but it also meant that it was time for after-show shenanigans.

It took me a while to locate Jim, who I found sitting with Adam at the Bertram’s Inkwell table. At that moment, the plan was to stick with Adam to enjoy the after party.

But when we got shoo’ed out of the room, we found ourselves in a crush of people. For a while, we sat and listened to Larry Ragland of Diplomat Pens play the guitar. I even had some fun dancing. Te was kind enough to let me include some photos she took.

Larry Ragland playing guitar Dancing to Larry Ragland's guitar playing

2018 Baltimore Pen Show – Part 4

Posted in Pen Shows

Welcome back to my BWIPS experience write-up. If you haven’t read parts 1, 2, and 3, you might want to go do that. Fair warning, this post is longer than I intended it to be because there’s a lot to say. That said, I hope you enjoy it.


When I last left you, I was on my way to the Bittner table to buy a Homo Sapiens Bronze Age (VHSBA). There were a couple of people in front of me, so I waited, mostly patiently, for them to finish. Finally, it was my turn. Cindy Bittner was very efficient. She had my Homo Sapiens Bronze Age Maxi with a medium nib packaged up and checked out in a couple of minutes.

Happy as a clam, I met back up with Te and Jim, and we went to the Chesapeake Room to await the Organics (Studio) 101 chat with Tyler Thompson.