Stories & Updates

Events, Giveaways

RRBB 2022 & GIVEAWAY!

Romance Rendezvous Book Blast (RRBB) 2022

I am late to post, and I do apologize, but my last event of the year was RRBB 2022! This is my local event and I look forward to it so much — as I get to see all my amazing author friends like Sophie Stern and Ava Cuvay! I also get to spend time with my bestie, who is the best table assistant in the world!

I was actually right next to Sophie, and only a little ways away from Ava, so you know chaos ensued. But in my defense…Ava started it! She brought a nerf gun to the event, and so…I took it as a challenge. My husband got a very serious text as he was heading in that he needed to make a stop. “I need a nerf gun,” I said. He didn’t even ask questions, he just asked how big it needed to be. That’s true love right there!

We had so much fun! But I should apologize to all the other authors…I’m so sorry if you got caught in the crossfire! Hopefully no one got hit too hard! We were dogging around and sneaking up on each other, it was a blast. Though as promised, the nerf guns will stay home next year.

I was also able to meet some amazing readers as well! I met some individuals who read and loved “A Second Chance” (I cried a little, won’t lie) and met so many other amazing people. As always, the event goes by too fast and I was sad to see it come to an end.

I tried out some new things at my table, as well as new swag and items to sell. My husband has gotten really into resin craft, so I had things he had made available for purchase as well.

The event, as always, is wonderful. If you are ever in Cedar Falls during the date, you should definitely check it out. I promise you will find many new authors to read and have a good time!

Here are some more pictures from the event! Enjoy!


GIVEAWAY

As mentioned on my other social media platforms, to celebrate the end of my writing season, I am giving away a GIANT BOX OF SWAG! This is swag that is either mine or swag from the many events that I attended. I made sure to run around and get information and fun swag from each other to contribute to the giveaway.

This box will be filled with so many amazing items. From fun keychains, chapstick, buttons/pins, samples of stories, free ebook codes, pens, totes, and more. Below is a quick slideshow of some of the things you can expect!

All in all, I managed to get it to squeeze into a big box (seen below). I decided to give this box away to one of you–my amazing followers of my blog! I decided the winner has until Friday, September 23, 2022 to claim the box, or I will offer it to another follower. So, I pulled out my trusty d100 and rolled…

And the winner is… Cheri Garduno! If you want to shoot me an email to let me know where to send your package, I will get it sent off right away!

I hope to do more in the future, depending on how many events I attend, so be sure to keep an eye out for future giveaways! Until then, happy reading!

Events, Giveaways

WOTR & Epic Swag Giveaway!

I don’t know about all of you, but I had an AMAZING weekend! I spent the weekend with my bestie at Writers on the River. This is an annual event that takes place in Peoria, Illinois and it such fun for authors and readers of romance. This is the second year I have attended, and it is always a blast.

But the fun doesn’t start with the event—oh no. My bestie and I make a whole weekend of it! We start out by shopping at a few different local book stores. We hit a few different ones: Tails of a Bookworm (Pekin, Il.), the Book Rack (Peoria, Il.), and the Book Nook (Peoria, Il.). Tails of the Bookworm is by far my favorite. Not only does it have an amazing selection of books and bookish items…not only does it have amazingly friendly staff…but it also serves as a cat adoption! They have cats looking to be adopted either in their little homes or running about the store. It is such chaos and fun. This year there were three kittens (two waiting for adoption, one waiting to be picked up later that day). If you live in the area and are taken with one of the kittens, give them a call!

We also make sure to hit a very special place for lunch on Friday…LA GONDOLA! Seriously, if you’re ever in Peoria, try the Torpedo (get a half size, trust me). It’s delicious and their bread is so sweet. My bestie and I always stop for lunch, as not only is it delicious, but it’s close by all of the stores we visit.

Between the shopping, the good food (sans dinner where we ordered salad and got no dressing), the first day was fantastic! Here are some pictures of the fun items I purchased at the stores!

Then Saturday was the event. I don’t have too many pictures, as there really isn’t time to take too many (there are so many authors I want to chat with!). Even still, the event was fun. I bought so many new books – y’all my TBR pile has gotten OUT OF CONTROL! There were games and raffle baskets GALORE. I donated 5, and it was just the tip of what they had available to do raffles on. By the end of the event, my bestie and I each won a prize and we had time to relax before the afterparty.

And by relax…of course I mean organize my swag and take a nap.

The afterparty is a wonderful addition to the event. They provide a glorious buffet of tacos and mashed potato bar. It’s an odd combination to hear, but I promise it is delicious. Then they have dancing, photo booths, and we brought games and tarot cards this year.

The weekend was amazing, though now it’s the work week and I’m exhausted. But even still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything! Genuinely, if you are ever interested in attending an event, I can’t recommend Writers on the River enough. I’ve attended quite a few events and it is by far one of the best I’ve attended – right up there with North Iowa Book Bash and Romance Rendezvous Book Blast.

With Writers on the River over, there is only one event left on my roster for 2022 – Romance Rendezvous Book Blast! It will be August 20, 2022 in Cedar Falls, Iowa. This is important for two reasons…

One, it will be my last author event for the year! So, if you haven’t yet stopped by to say hi and purchase books, be sure to do so! I promise, RRBB is so fun and has amazing authors in attendance.

Two, that means my swag collection will be finished. Each event you attend, you always leave with so many swag items: stickers, bookmarks, keychains, magnets, cups, pens, and so much more. Usually, I have a bunch of swag by the end of the year accumulated in a big bag with nothing to do with. This year, I decided to do a special giveaway for the followers of my blog! If you are following my blog (meaning you get email notifications when I post), you will be entered to win a box of swag at the end of August!

You can see from the pictures below, it has A LOT of fun items in it. Just be sure to follow my blog (storiesbyshannap.com) and you will be entered to win!

Until then, I wish you all happy reading and hope to see you at RRBB in August!

~Shanna Pikora

Uncategorized

New Swag (THANK YOU, CRICUT!)

So, if it wasn’t blatantly obvious from the text above, I have a new crafting hobby – THE CRICUT! I have heard about these before, but never had the opportunity to use one until I received mine as a holiday gift. It has been so wonderful!

I have started to experiment a bit, making swag for my table, and learned a bit about myself in the process – mainly that I don’t transfer permanent vinyl so well…it was a bit of a challenge (and a patience issue). I did some drinkware originally, but I was worried about it breaking, so I won’t be doing any more of those.

I recently started doing door hangs!

I’m always a big fan of these when I get them as swag, so I was really excited. I started with the wooden ones — and quickly learned I should not be trusted with spray paint (there is pink an white all over our garage now). So, we tried out the resin ones. They are SUPER cool looking, but they take so much resin — so we will be getting door hangs printed in the future – sorry! But, I will have these ones until they run out, so be sure to stop by my next event, Romance Rendezvous (Cedar Falls, IA) if you want one!

Another resin/cricut/paint hybrid my husband and I have tried are keychains!

These are pretty fun, especially the tarot and zodiac keychains. They are based in resin and then I paint in the grooves; even I can’t mess that up! Though full disclosure, I ended up wearing as much paint as went on the keychains. It’s pretty obvious which ones were the first trial (looking at those strange wooden planks), but these will definitely be an ongoing item you will see at future events!

Next we have some iron on and infusible projects!

These three items are my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE to make. Not only are they easy to transfer, but I get to bust out my ironing board as well! We have pencil bags (variety of sizes), tote bags, and coasters! Some items (pencil bags and tote bags) are made with basic iron on fabrics, but the coasters (all but the dark green one) are made with infusible ink! They are so sharp, and in my opinion, the most fun. You can’t tell how it turns out until the very end, so it’s such an exciting time to reveal the items!

As you can see, I also learned how to make stickers! This was a bit of a process, as I still haven’t figured out how to “color in” the images, but I’m making progress! These stickers, and many more (I’ve made over 100 individual style stickers) will be freebies at my table, so be sure to stop by!

Lastly, we have a bookmarks, made by my amazing husband, and stress balls – a fun item we found on a website! They are cute and fun, also available through my swag prize wheel at events!

I hope you enjoyed these sneak peeks at my table swag for this year! We have some other fun ideas in the works (my ttrpg friends will love it!), but that will have to wait for another time.

Which ones are your favorite? Which ones would you want to win when you spin the prize wheel? What other swag items would you like to see?

Let me know, and maybe they will be available next year!

Happy reading – and crafting!

~Shanna

Book Review

“The Lion’s Fake Wife” by Sophie Stern (Book Review)

Have you heard of the amazing author Sophie Stern? If not, be sure to check her out!

I know, what an incredibly biased way to start a book review, but I truly do adore Sophie Stern! Not only are her books always wonderful reads, but she is also an all around awesome person. If you ever have a chance to meet her in person, be sure to stop her table/booth and say “hi”!

Okay, enough fangirling…let’s talk about this book!

“The Lion’s Fake Wife” is the second book in Shifter’s of Rawr County Series (hilarious series name). It follows the story of Basil and Melinda. Basil is a supposed playboy looking to solidify his position in his company, and to do that he needs one thing…a wife! Meanwhile, Melinda is looking for a new start in a secluded place to start recovering from her past. Luckily for her, a sexy Lion shifter is just what the doctor ordered.

I’ve always been a fan of shifters in romance, though I have to say Basil is one of my favorites. Although he is a shifter, he is one with his inner animal and doesn’t exude the more animalistic traits all the time. In fact, he passes very well as a regular guy with some hidden secrets. His inner Lion isn’t one of loud roars and the hunt, but more so the comfort of home and the call of love. And he can be an absolute dork!

I adore a specific scene between Basil (in his lion form) and Melinda — I can’t tell to much because of spoilers — but it was adorable and sweet, in all of the right ways. This book does great at keeping a lovely story going while also showing some wonderful character growth!

Just like the first in the series (“The Polar Bear’s Fake Mate”), this was a wonderful read for a late evening/rainy day. If you are looking to dive into the world of sexy shifters, check out this series! While each book is rather standalone, I would recommend reading them in order, as you do get introduced to characters as you go along.

While you’re waiting for your copy to ship, enjoy this interview by the amazing author herself, Sophie Stern!


SPECIAL INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR SOPHIE STERN

Question 1: “The Lion’s Fake Wife” is the second in a fantastic series about shifters finding love. What inspired the series and the story? What made you choose shifters? (Sorry, two questions in one!) 

I LOVE fake relationship stories and hadn’t seen any with shifters, so I decided to try a new series. Polar bears are one of my favorite shifters to write about, so the series launches with polar bears. The second book is Basil’s story, book two, and I actually let a reader choose his name! I’m glad I did because it’s a great one! I love shapeshifters because they’re so wild and passionate, but also a lot of fun.

Question 2: This story was absolutely adorable. I loved how the characters interacted with each other and had their own voices and styles. Which character was your favorite (or least favorite) to write?

Basil is one of my favorite characters I’ve ever written. I really like how clever he thinks he is, and I love that his mate figures everything out!

Question 3: “The Lion’s Fake Wife” has a few side characters that are previewed, and I loved them all! Are any of them by chance going to be the lead in a later book in the series? 

Yes! Cosmo and Athena just got their story in book six, which recently released. Lincoln also gets his story in book three!

Question 4: You have so many amazing books out, and series. How do you keep everything going and keep the plots organized? Essentially, what is your secret to your amazing stories and success?

A lot of coffee and a lot of time! Generally, I spend at least 40-50 hours each week writing, but to be honest, it’s sometimes more. I often tell people that the secret to writing a lot of books is not having a life. I stand by that!

Question 5: I hope you know, my TBR pile grows every year as I purchase more of your books…so I hesitate to ask (for my sanity and the strength of my bookshelves), but what future projects can we look forward to seeing from you in the future and do you have any events coming up where readers can meet you? 

The last Shifters of Rawr County book will be coming out in July of this year, followed by a really cool series called GRIMALKIN NEEDS BRIDES! That’s going to be part of the Intergalatic Dating Series world, so I’m really excited about it! As for events, I’ll be at Writers on the River and Romance Rendezvous Book Blast, and I’d love to see people at both of those incredible events!

Be sure to check out all of Sophie’s works and platforms! And if you are in the area for Writers on the River and Romance Rendezvous Book Blast, be sure to stop by and purchase a copy (and get it signed) by Sophie herself!

Events

Indie Author Book Expo (Peoria, Il)

This Saturday is the Indie Author Book Expo in Peoria, Illinois! I can’t wait for the event, especially since it is so close to my hometown. I know a few family and friends will be stopping by and it will be so great to see everyone, since I haven’t had a chance to go back home for a while.

There will be so many amazing authors at the event, so I’m really excited to meet them all. I actually don’t think I’ve met any of the other authors before, so perhaps I will leave with more writing friends! I’m also pretty excited as there seems to be a good mix of genres, so it should have something for everyone and perhaps something for my table assistant — my husband. Sadly, he isn’t a big reader of the romance genre, so we will see if he finds something to read while there!

I don’t have any prep pictures to share with you this time. Sorry! Admittedly, I kinda just kept things packed up as I knew the turn around on the event dates was pretty quick. I will, of course, have all of my books present and many, many fun swag items.

And a bonus incentive to attend…I will have deals and discounts for those of you who come to purchase the books in person! As well as new swag items and fun activities at my table. Like the new prize wheel — which we will all cross our fingers and hope it spins something other than a 5 (I only have so many heart shaped stress balls!).

I hope you all will consider attending. It will surely be a great event with lots of fun new books to add to your TBR pile! Be sure to check out the authors (listed below) and see if there are any books you are interested in!

Until next time, happy reading!

~Shanna