December 17, 2014

Faery Marked - The Story That Almost Wasn't

The Story That Almost Wasn’t
Guest Post by Mary Waibel
marywaibel.blogspot.com





All authors work in a different way. Some write and edit their own drafts. Some send weekly chapters to a critique partner (CP) to get feedback while drafting. Others write a draft, edit it, then send it out to either CP’s or beta readers for feedback.

I’ve done a mix of all the above, but the thing that I’ve found most helpful is a group of CP’s who have different skill sets.

Kai is one of my CP’s. We trade chapters on a weekly basis (or try to!) or sometimes send a complete draft to each other. When I send my work to Kai, I know she’s going to call me on places where I haven’t been true to my characters, places where she doesn’t understand what I’m saying, or can’t picture what I’m describing. These are all great things I need to know, as I can’t always see them myself.

Another of my CP’s will point to areas lacking tension. Places to beef up the story so the reader has to keep turning the pages to get to the end.

And still another points out issues with grammar (something I’m working really hard to learn. Just ask my editor, Ellie (who’s a great teacher for this stuff, BTW)).

This process works for me. I can see where I wasn’t clear, where my language is off, and where my tension needs work. Do I always agree with what they point out? No, but I do look closely at those areas so that I can make my story the best it can be for my readers.

So, how does all this play into Faery Marked? Well, back in July, about a month before the book was supposed to release, I asked my publisher to pull it. Something about the story wasn’t working for me, and I needed time to get it right. And she graciously gave me that time.

I rewrote almost the entire book in a month and sent it out to my CP’s. They found my plot holes, the things that I’d left in that needed to be taken out. They were my fresh eyes after living in this story for over a year. And, thanks to them and their amazing comments, I was able to turn this story around into something I am super excited to release to the world.


Hi! It's Kai. It was a new experience for me working with Mary on Faery Marked. I've never been as involved inside the critique process with anyone who worked as hard on a book as she did on this one. She tore it apart and pieced it together again more times than I can count. It was very inspirational to see her perseverance and tenacity. I love working with Mary. I'm sorry she has to work so much harder on my work than I do on hers. I promise I try to improve - Mary (and my other critters) helps me immeasurably. 


Don't miss my review of FAERY MARKED


Book Blurb:

When Callie Rycroft wakes to find purple flames flickering on the ceiling, she believes she’s still dreaming. But soon she’s forced to accept that she has magic―a special magic that grants her entrance into the Faery Realm.


For centuries humans have been banned from Faery, but dangerous times call for dangerous measures. Declared Champion by the Faery Queen, Callie is assigned a Guardian, and tasked with finding the Cordial―a magical elixir needed to keep the portal to the Faery realm a secret from humans.

The upside? Reece Michaels, the boy she's been crushing on for years, is her Guardian. Callie hopes that, by spending time with Reece, he'll start to see her as more than just his best friend's sister.

The downside? She's in a race not only against time, but against another Champion, and a rogue Guardian―a Guardian who stands to threaten her developing relationship with Reece.

Magic, mistaken identities, and hidden agendas are the least of Callie's worries when she learns that the Cordial requires a sacrifice. Will Callie be willing to risk everything―even Reece―to complete her task as Champion? Or will she let the portal open, and doom both realms?

Available at AMAZON

Win a signed copy of Faery Marked and other swag. Details HERE. Don’t miss out on this LIMITED TIME OFFER!!!



About the Author:
YA author Mary Waibel’s love for fairytales and happy-ever fill the pages of her works. Whether penning stories in a medieval setting or a modern day school, magic and romance weave their way inside every tale.

Strong female characters use both brain and brawn to save the day and win the heart of their men. Mary enjoys connecting with her readers through her website: marywaibel.blogspot.com



December 16, 2014

Release Day Review of Faery Marked by Mary Waibel

Oh my gosh! I think I might be as excited for this book release as the author Mary Waibel is. Okay, probably not, but I'm a very close second. Full disclosure: Mary is my critique partner and I've read this book many times while she sweated and toiled over the construction of it. Seriously, it has to say something about the quality of the story that I still LOVE it after having read it several times over.

I'm so excited about Faery Marked's release I'm devoting my blog to Mary this week. Today - RELEASE DAY - I'm posting my review. As the week progresses, we will also have a guest post from Mary and a character interview. Please be sure to visit for those as well. And since you'll be buying the book and reading it immediately, update us on your reading progress as the week goes along!

Congrats Mary Waibel on the release of FAERY MARKED.

About the book:

When Callie Rycroft wakes to find purple flames flickering on the ceiling, she believes she’s still dreaming. But soon she’s forced to accept that she has magic―a special magic that grants her entrance into the Faery Realm.

For centuries humans have been banned from Faery, but dangerous times call for dangerous measures. Declared Champion by the Faery Queen, Callie is assigned a Guardian, and tasked with finding the Cordial―a magical elixir needed to keep the portal to the Faery realm a secret from humans.

The upside? Reece Michaels, the boy she's been crushing on for years, is her Guardian. Callie hopes that, by spending time with Reece, he'll start to see her as more than just his best friend's sister.

The downside? She's in a race not only against time, but against another Champion, and a rogue Guardian―a Guardian who stands to threaten her developing relationship with Reece.

Magic, mistaken identities, and hidden agendas are the least of Callie's worries when she learns that the Cordial requires a sacrifice. Will Callie be willing to risk everything―even Reece―to complete her task as Champion? Or will she let the portal open, and doom both realms?

My Review:

Faery Marked by Mary Waibel is a fun contemporary fairy tale. Our main character, Callie is dealing with some guilt from an accident that killed her parents, but she’s a strong-willed, smart girl who can think for herself, as well as take care of herself. She’s a character that readers can get behind and root for. Her love interest and the Guardian assigned to protect her is Reece. I admit, the care and attention he shows Callie is swoon-worthy, but for some reason I can’t really explain, my heart belongs to bad boy Ryan. I’m kind of excited to say I think Ryan will play a big part in the second book.

Oh, speaking of second books, I think Ms. Waibel did a stellar job wrapping up the storyline of this book and then laying the teaser for the next. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Faery Marked offers fantasy, magic, mystery, and the occasional heart flutter. 

Available at AMAZON

Win a signed copy of Faery Marked and other swag. Details HERE. Don’t miss out on this LIMITED TIME OFFER!!!

About the author:

YA author Mary Waibel’s love for fairytales and happy-ever fill the pages of her works. Whether penning stories in a medieval setting or a modern day school, magic and romance weave their way inside every tale.

Strong female characters use both brain and brawn to save the day and win the heart of their men. Mary enjoys connecting with her readers through her website: marywaibel.blogspot.com











December 15, 2014

Ayden's Christmas - The 12 Indies of Christmas Blog Hop & #Giveaway

I'm thrilled to participate in another fun group giveaway.


When considering what to share as part of the hop, I considered a story about one of my favorite-ever Christmas gifts--a 3 foot tall, stuffed Snoopy I received when I was four years old. I thought about sharing the story of my husband's and my engagement (during the Christmas holiday.) However, I decided the most fun for both me and you--the reader--would be for me to provide a BONUS WORTH THE EFFORT story. How would Ayden surprise Ella at Christmas? Now you'll know. If  you haven't read my WORTH THE EFFORT series, treat yourself this holiday season by starting with ELLA'S STORY. Can't beat it at less than a dollar! Then be sure to enter to win AYDEN'S STORY as part of the hop - entry below the story. Or just pick it up too from Amazon. Enjoy Ayden's Christmas!


AYDEN'S CHRISTMAS

     “Did the blindfold slip? Are you peeking?”
     A small smile tipped the ends of Ella’s mouth upward. “For the tenth time, Ayden, I’m not peeking. But I’m wondering if you should have clothes-pinned my nose too. I smell chocolate.”
            I chuckled. “Stand here and don’t move. What else do you smell?”
            I loved watching her nose twitch like a bunny’s as she sniffed the air. Tearing my attention away from her adorable, sightless exploration of our surroundings, I quickly unpacked the rest of the meal from the basket. Setting a dinner roll on each small plate. Uncovering the bowl of butter. Pouring cream soda—a favorite of hers—into the glasses.
            “Peppermint, maybe.” Ella tipped her nose toward the ceiling, the strands of the ice blue, silk blindfold hanging long on her back. “Bread. Fire.” She giggled. “Or maybe heat. Does that even make sense?”
            I smiled, but remained silent. She’d know soon enough. I pulled the plastic cover off a bowl and a groan rumbled in Ella’s throat. I eyed the pulse of skin over her coratid artery, suddenly hungry for something beside dinner. Can a boy live off the taste of a girl’s skin?
            “Whatever that is,” she said in a rumbling, wistful voice, “it smells amazing. Oh my god, I’m drooling. Are you almost finished?”
            I stepped in front of her and slid my hands onto her hips. She startled and her grin grew wider. How could I read both confusion and wonder in her smile?
            “Oh, hello,” she said.
            I couldn’t resist, I leaned forward and soaked the smile from her lips to my own. Though the action was tender and light, my desire was greedy and soon my lips, my grip on her arms, even my guarded internal thoughts demanded more of her than her sunny smile. I cooled the pressure when I felt her sway unsteadily. “Is the lack of sight making you off balance?”
            “No,” she said, dreamily. “You’re making me swoon.”
            I laughed. She always knew what to say to fortify me. I reached behind her, careful not to pull her hair as I untied her blindfold. “Okay, keep your eyes closed until I tell you.”
            “Alright.”
            Her voice and her smile were filled with anticipation. God, she was fun. Despite wanting to postpone her anticipation, I stepped to the side to clear her view of the room, but continued to face her. I wanted to see her reaction. “Okay. Open.”
            Ella’s lids fluttered like she was trying to savor the moment. Then her eyes widened and her mouth fell open. She sucked in a breath as if she was going to speak, but nothing came out. She spun a slow circle. The reflection of more than thirty licks of candlelight defined her delicate features and flickered in her tear filled eyes. “It’s beautiful, Ayden.”
            Suddenly I felt shy and awkward, even though she’d already expressed her approval. “Maria said beef stew is one of your favorites.”
            “Maria?” Clearly surprised by the mention of her family's housekeeper, Ella’s eyes swept across the table in the middle of the room, laid with fine china, crystal stemware, and silver flatware.
            I guided her toward her seat, pulled it out for her, and gestured for her to sit. It took her a beat longer than expected to fold into her chair, because she was busy taking in the atmosphere of the room.
“Who do you think helped me with all of this?” I smiled at the sudden arch of her eyebrows as I took my seat across from her. “I got all the candles and stuff, but she came in to light them all and set the table. Of course she made the meal. As soon as I asked what your favorite meal was, she offered her assistance.”
            Tears glimmered in Ella’s eyes. “No one’s ever done anything like this for me before.” Her voice choked on emotion. “And now my two favorite people…”
I grasped her hand across the table and squeezed. “Ella, I know this isn’t a grand gesture by any means, but…”
“But it is!” Ella interrupted. “The candles, my favorite meal, the private setting. Where are we anyway?” Even as her eyes scanned the rustic paneling of my dad’s “hunting” cabin, she didn’t wait for an answer. “Ayden, my parents have never surprised me with so much as a peck on the cheek. I’ve always been the one to plan things among my friends. I know how much thought went into this and I’m…” Her voice broke off and tears flooded her eyes again.
“I’d like to say we’re even then.” I gave her what I hoped was a snarky grin, but what probably looked desperate and needy. “You’ve saved me from myself, and I’ve shown you—I don’t know, a small measure of my…something—but truth is, I’ll never be able to repay what you’ve done for me.”
Ella laughed her tears away. “My motivations are strictly selfish. Who wouldn’t want to be your girlfriend? You’re handsome, rich, and very attentive.”
The spark in her eye made me want to wrap my arms around her and attend to her lips. Instead, I raised my glass and waited for her to do the same. “Merry Christmas, Ella.”
She clinked her glass against mine. “Merry Christmas, Ayden. Thank you for making me feel very, very special.”
     I took a sip and grasped her hand one more time, though I knew I should allow her free access to her stew. “This meal doesn’t quite show how special you are. I hope to have many more opportunities to show you exactly what you mean to me.”
I leaned forward and feathered my lips across the back of her knuckles. The mischief in her eyes were a promise of opportunities to come.
***
I hope that whets your appetite for more WORTH THE EFFORT. We have all sorts of fun posts and giveaways in celebration of the season. Visit these blogs to learn more:
The Schedule
Dec 12th - Zane Sachs
Dec 14th - Chess Desalls
Dec 15th - Kai Strand
Dec 16th - Zoe Dawson
Dec 17th - Amanda Porter
Dec 18th - Joy Penny
Dec 19th - Mary Waibel
Dec 20th - Cynthia Witherspoon
Dec 21st - K.K. Allen
Dec 22nd - Ann Everett
Dec 23rd - Erin Rhew and Deek Rhew

and enter to win here:

December 9, 2014

The Lumpy Duckling Blog Tour and #Giveaway

I'm excited to announce that Lumpy and Wheezy will be taking their story on tour!


Starting tomorrow, December 10th, THE LUMPY DUCKLING and I will be touring the blog-o-sphere with book spotlights, reviews and interviews. And though there will be fun galore, my tour host, I Am A Reader, and I are offering a giveaway of a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash as extra incentive to join the fun.

You'll find the tour schedule here. Please make your way through the stops and thank the hosts for their generous time and attention on THE LUMPY DUCKLING.

Help me spread the word. Click the bird to tweet about the tour:
  Tweet: Follow The Lumpy Duckling by @KaiStrand - Blog Tour and #Giveaway http://ctt.ec/O1s0l+

Join us December 10th through the 18th. See you around the blog-o-sphere!

November 30, 2014

#CyberMonday Book Deals from Kai Strand

If you'll be participating in Cyber Monday, I wanted to let you know about a couple deals I'm offering on my print books. First, have you visited my MARKETPLACE? I recently set up a storefront through Square, which allows me to offer signed copies of my books.


In order to celebrate the recent release of THE LUMPY DUCKLING, I'm offering 10% off your order when you get a complete set of the Weaver Tale series. These books are written for 9 - 12 year old readers. They are individual stories, all set in the same fictional village of word weavers (storytellers). The softcover are $9.95 each and the hardcover are only $15.95 (already discounted from the Amazon price). But the 10% discount applies to the complete order, so load up on all my books or several copies of a favorite story to share with the kids, teachers, librarians in your life. As long as you have one complete set of the Weaver Tales series on your order, you qualify to use discount code #WTSDISCOUNT upon checkout.


Speaking of series, I have a young adult series about super villains and super heroes. This is a great time to give the first two books in the series, because the third and final book in the series will be released early 2015. Print copies of KING OF BAD and POLAR OPPOSITES are $14.95 each.


Last, but not least, I have a contemporary book for the older middle grader - 10 to 14 year old-ish. This story is about a young inventor whose invention makes her an overnight sensation and the darling of the media. That is, until they turn on her and start to print lies. Can Natalie keep her sunny disposition and gain control of what they print about her? Print copies of SAVE THE LEMMINGS can be ordered for only $8.99 ea.

As a special Cyber Monday only deal, I'm offering free shipping - a $5.00 value. If you want to take advantage of this deal - use code CYBERSHIPPING upon check out. (Discounts cannot be combined) But it is only good through Cyber Monday!

Quantities are limited, so don't delay in placing your order. Visit my MARKETPLACE now.

If you read electronic books, or like to give them as gifts, all of my books are available in electronic format. As a matter of fact, I have three additional titles that are only available in electronic format. Visit my WEBSITE to browse my complete lineup of middle grade and young adult titles.

November 28, 2014

Building Character with Maggie Mae from Detective Extraordinaire The Case of the Missing Cookies

It’s Friday! Time for my blog feature, Building Character in which you get to meet characters from a book. Talking to a character outside of their book is fun! Huge. Amounts. Of fun. 

This week Strands of Thought plays host to Maggie Mae from Detective Extraordinaire The Case of the Missing Cookies. Hey Maggie!Thanks for joining us. We’d love to hear more about you.

Hi everybody! This is my first interview ever. I’m Maggie Mae. I’m 6 years old and have one older brother who is always sneaky. I love, love, love solving mysteries with all my detective stuff, like my notebook, pencils and magnifying glass! Oh, and I even have a detective’s badge that I got at a fall fair at my school.

Solving mysteries sounds very exciting. In your new Detective Extraordinaire story – The Case o f the Missing Cookies, what conflict are you up against? 

I asked my grandma what conflict meant and she said it meant a problem. Well, we have a big problem. Grandma was baking cookies, her super-duper Snickerdoodles, for a bake sale, and someone stole them. Someone in Grandma’s house stole the cookies right off the table while they were cooling.

Uh oh! That’s sneaky. What are some of the biggest stumbling blocks you’ve encountered trying to resolve this mystery? 

Everyone has an alibi, but some of the alibis in my family are weak! I know what an alibi is because I like to read stories about other detectives. If you don’t know what it is, I’ll tell you. It is a reason why someone can’t be the thief, like they were busy or not home when the cookies were stolen.

What’s your strongest personality trait? 

I am determined. I will find the cookie thief. I won’t give up until I do.

Let’s go into some more personal questions. What are your three favorite foods? 

This is an easy question. My first is Grandma’s super-duper Snickerdoodles. My second is my mom’s homemade pizza with little chopped up pepperonis on top. My third is apples, but only red ones. I do not like green.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

My mom says to always be polite even when questions are so easy to answer. So, I will say what I’m sure everyone here already knows. I want to be a DETECTIVE!

What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers?

I can share my dad’s words of wisdom since I don’t really have any yet. My dad always says, “Work hard. Play hard.” He means that you should always try your best, no matter what you are doing. He also wants us to finish our work first.

Great advice, Maggie. Thanks for visiting with us. Readers, you can read on for more information on Maggie Mae’s story, Detective Extraordinaire The Case of the Missing Cookies.

Maggie Mae, detective extraordinaire, is on the case of who stole her grandma’s super-duper snickerdoodles. With her detective’s badge and notebook, she finds clues, interviews suspects, and sets a trap. Who did it--Grandpa, her brother Ben, or Toby the dog? Finally, she reveals the culprits and saves the cookies.


Autographed from Margo: http://margodill.com/blog/books/



And read about Maggie’s author here:

Margo L. Dill is the author of Maggie Mae, Detective Extraordinaire: The Case of the Missing Cookies (pic book), Finding My Place: One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg (middle-grade), and Caught Between Two Curses (young adult). She is also a speaker, writing teacher and freelance editor, working for St. Charles School District, WOW! Women On Writing, High Hill Press and educational testing companies. She lives in St. Louis with her family. To find out more, please visit: http://margodill.com/blog/

Please include contact information; websites, blogs, social media here:




***

If you have a character from a children’s through young adult book that you’d like to see interviewed, drop me an email (kaistrand (at) yahoo (dot) com)

November 26, 2014

Three Times A Charm with Ruth Silver

Today on Three Times A Charm we welcome, Ruth Silver. I love introducing my readers to the people who work in children’s publishing.

Thanks for joining us, Ruth. Would you please tell us a little about your awesome self?

I’m the author of the best-selling YA Dystopian trilogy, Aberrant. I’m passionate about writing and I love story-telling. I’ve been actively writing two series: Royal Reaper and Orenda. My interests also include traveling, reading, and photography. My favorite vacation destination is Australia. I currently reside in Plainfield, Illinois. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, and my book blog Write Away Bliss.

Please tell our readers about your work.

I love YA novels. My favorite genres are paranormal, dystopian, and fantasy. I’ve written three series one falling in each of the above categories. For lovers of paranormal, my Royal Reaper series follows the life of Princess Ophelia as she’s murdered and gets the opportunity to become a grim reaper. It’s dark meets light in a tale that’s appropriate for ages fourteen and up. For lovers of science and fantasy, Orenda is about a girl, Lil Porter, that travels to a parallel universe and discovers a world unlike her own filled with magic, fairies, and dragons. Orenda is packed with adventure and a demon sorceress that must be fought to save both worlds. Written for young adults, Orenda is appropriate for readers as young as twelve. If you love the dystopian genre, the Aberrant trilogy takes place in the futuristic society of Cabal, where women can no longer naturally conceive. Eighteen year old Olivia Parker gets married and discovers on her wedding day she was born naturally, which makes her a threat to the perfect system of government. An action-packed dystopian thriller that has reached #1 on Amazon in Science Fiction Romance.

I recommend my book to readers who like: The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Mortal Instruments

Now it is time for the three’s. Give us your top three answers to the following questions so we might get to know you better.

  • Top 3 books you recommend reading and why you recommend them.

-The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Yes you’ll need a box of tissues and you might figure you know what the story is about before reading it (kids with cancer) but it’s a story greater than kids dying. The writing is poetic and the emotion will draw you in and tangle you into its web. Highly recommend.

-The Selection Series by Kiera Cass
Why you should read it? The Bachelor meets Dystopian Fiction. I never watch The Bachelor but when it’s in fiction, there’s something about it that I love. (Years ago I read a fan fiction novel with the same premise). If you love romance, a love triangle, and want a fun easy read, give this one a try.

-The Soul Thief by Majanka Verstraete
Reapers, Angels of Death, and a teenage girl. Isn’t that enough reason to grab this title? Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down.

  • Top 3 leisure activities.

Blogging, Reading, and Photography. My favorite books are YA novels. I love capturing photos of people. I used to be a wedding and portrait photographer.

  • Top 3 favorite places.

Australia, Hawaii, and Cozumel. I love vacationing and would love to travel to Europe next.

And finally, where can our tech savvy readers find more about you and your work?


Thanks for joining us on this week’s Three Times A Charm, Ruth! Best of luck to you and your books.

THANKS!


GUESTS WELCOME!  I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.

November 21, 2014

Building Character with Queen Boudicca from Boudicca; Britain's Queen of the Iceni

It’s Friday! Time for my blog feature, Building Character in which you get to meet characters from a book. Talking to a character outside of their book is fun! Huge. Amounts. Of fun. 

This week Strands of Thought plays host to Queen Boudicca from Boudicca; Britain’s Queen of the Iceni. Thank you for joining us, Your Highness. We’d love to hear more about you.

I am Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni tribe in what the Romans call Britannia.  Descended of queens and kings among the Aedui in Gaul, I spent my early life as a slave following Roman conquest of my people generations before.  When I was nineteen years old, I escaped my abusive Roman mistress, a sister to Roman Governor Gaius Suetonius Paullinus.  Crossing the channel from Calais to Dover, I made my way north to Camulodunum where I met King Prasutagus of the Iceni.  Two months later, we were married, making me queen of the Iceni.  It was a happy marriage cut short Roman violence against our people, setting in motion the events for which history best remembers me.

We learned a little about you and your author on this previous interview. But let’s dig a little deeper. What exactly are you up against in your story?

The Romans are determined to conquer Britannia and enslave all its free peoples just as Julius Caesar conquered Gaul.  As queen of the Iceni and a former slave to the Romans, I am determined to prevent Britannia from suffering the same fate as my Aedui tribe in Gaul near the Seine.

Very admirable. What are some of the biggest stumbling blocks you’ve encountered trying to resolve your conflict?

The Romans are a formidable enemy.  No one has ever beat the legions past a battle or two.  Their battle tactics and savage brutality are second-to-none in the western world.

What have you learned about yourself while trying to resolve your conflict?

I am truly lost now that the Romans have killed my beloved husband.  I do not know how to live without him.

My most sincere condolences, Queen Boudicca. Can you tell us about him?

My husband is King Prasutagus of the Iceni.  True to Celtic values in freedom and equality among all people, Prasutagus and I are close to the same age and live together as true equals both politically and in the management of our marriage.  Our two daughters are strong, wise, and highly educated.  We are truly in love and respect each other very much, even though we greatly disagree on the best course of action with regards to Romans.  Prasutagus trusts them much more than I do, in part out of desperation.  Having experienced Roman brutality first hand, I despise the Romans and everything they stand for, especially their complete disregard towards and hatred of women.

What is your strongest personality trait?

I am very religious -- as are most Iceni.  Though the druid strongholds are mostly in western Wales and on Ynys Mon (which the Romans call “Mona”)  in particular, the druids have a powerful presence among we Iceni.  Should Ynys Mon fall, our lands are the agreed upon haven for all druid law-givers, clergy, and teachers.

If you could change one thing in this world, what would you change?

I would restore Celtic culture, freedom, and religion to all the western world -- as it was before the Romans came.  We believe in freedom and equality for all people, regardless of sex, social standing, profession, and so forth.  We are all one.  We need each other.  I fear that as the Romans continue their conquests these values are being lost.  Woe to the world the day that we cease treasuring each other and start seeing some people as better than other people.

What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers?

All people are equals.  All life is precious.  Love one another as true equals.  Believe in the power of that love for one another and the world shall change.  Though it take two thousand years, we need not just accept Roman tyranny and slavery.  We can be free again.  We can learn to love again.  There is no evil that cannot be undone if we believe again for we are all one in freedom and love.

Sage advice indeed. Thank you for visiting with us, Queen Boudicca. Readers: you can learn more about the Queen’s story here:

Why is The Morrígan's raven crying? Only Britons with hearts for true liberty know!

In 43 CE Roman conquest of Britannia seems all but certain -- until a chance meeting between King Prasutagus of the Iceni and a runaway slave of royal decent from the Aedui tribe in Gaul changes the fate of the British islands forever.

Rise up for liberty with the true story of Boudicca: Britain's Queen of the Iceni and discover one of the most inspiring stories in history!

Based on the accounts of Roman historian Tacitus and supplemented with archaeology presented by the BBC. Told through the eyes of a 5th century mother and daughter facing the Saxon invasions.

Audio edition narrated by Richard Mann.

Boudicca:  Britain's Queen of the Iceni
available in audio, digital, and QR paperback editions
USA Audible: http://tinyurl.com/AudibleBoudicca-USA   
UK Audible: http://tinyurl.com/UKBoudiccaAudible
 SmashWords:  http://tinyurl.com/SmashBoudicca
Barnes and Noble:  http://tinyurl.com/NookBoudicca
iTunes:   http://tinyurl.com/itunesBoudicca-RM   iBookstore:  http://tinyurl.com/iBookstore-Boudicca

And read about her author here:

Born, raised, and educated in Lincoln, Nebraska USA, author-historian Laurel A. Rockefeller educates while she entertains, encouraging readers to think about current events and history in a completely new way. Using exhaustive and comprehensive research across dozens of academic disciplines, Laurel's stories come alive so vividly it is easy to forget you are learning something new.
Can it be any wonder that secondary school teacher Lorraine Carey calls Laurel's "Legendary Women of World History Series, "...a gold mine for educators that want an all inclusive history unit?" Debb LaVoie agrees, "Laurel A. Rockefeller weaves a wonderful story." Rabid Reader Reviews adds, "I really enjoy Laurel Rockefeller's work and believe that she'll be responsible for introducing many young women to historical figures they will admire."
As a low vision author who lost most of her sight to a traumatic brain injury while in secondary school, Laurel is passionate about high quality audio books. London-born British actor and voice actor Richard Mann narrates Laurel's audio book editions with superb performances complimentary to and enhancing Laurel's powerful and vibrant creative non-fiction storytelling. Hear Mr. Mann in action on Audible at http://tinyurl.com/AudibleBoudicca-USA.
Students, educators, and parents: check out Laurel's "suggested reading" bibliography list at the end of the kindle edition of each Legendary Women of World History Series book. You will also find useful study guides and/or timelines after the reading list designed to enhance your learning experience.
Talk to Laurel and join the conversation on twitter at https://twitter.com/laurelworlds, follow Laurel on pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/peersofbeinan, then check out Laurel's blog at http://peersofbeinan.wordpress.com.

If you have a character from a children’s, middle grade or young adult book you’d like to see featured on Building Character, contact Kai via email: kaistrand at yahoo dot com.

November 19, 2014

Three Times A Charm with Tracy Clark

Today on Three Times A Charm we welcome author, Tracy Clark. I love introducing my readers to the people who work in children’s publishing.

Tracy and I connected after she noticed I live in the same town as her best friend. Small world, huh? Glad you could join us, Tracy. Can you tell us a little about yourself, please?

I am allergic to bios. Just kidding. I’m actually allergic to some vinegars but that’s probably not what you’re interested in. I live in northern Nevada with my two teenage kids and on teenage cat. I love to read YA and I LOVE to write YA. I’m a private pilot who used to skydive but never at the same time. I also volunteer as RA for the Nevada chapter of the SCBWI. http://www.scbwi.org/

When I was young and my big sister and I had dishwashing duty, we’d wash a spoon first so we could take nips out of the vinegar decanter while we worked. I absolutely love vinegar. I’m very sad for you right now. Even if you’re like, “No really, it’s okay.”

You write young adult. Tell us about your books.

My debut novel, SCINTILLATE, is the first book in The Light Key Trilogy. Kirkus Review called it “…a powerful, heart-wrenching adventure.” It’s a paranormal romance but I like to think of it also as a metaphysical mystery dealing with auras and the energy between people. DEVIATE, book 2, releases 3/3/15.

Be on the lookout for an INSANELY COOL promotion for The Light Key Trilogy: #DV8TLC starting 11/22! The prizes are incredible! And for you folks who love to write fanfic, you are going to flip over the Grand Prize!

I recommend my book to readers who like:
LET THE SKY FALL – Shannon Messenger
THE INFERNAL DEVICES – Cassandra Claire
THE LUX SERIES – Jennifer Armentrout


DV8 ß I see what you did there. Clever! Okay, now it’s time for the threes. Please share with us your top 3 responses to the following:

  • Top 3 pieces of advice for kids these days.

1.      Be kind. To yourself, to others. Being kind can be a very brave act. The world needs your kindness and it starts with you.
2.      One of the most important things you will ever do is find what truly fuels you—your passion. Try things, search, be open, and when you find the thing that “sparks” you, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.
3.      Listening to yourself above the voices of others is one of the hardest things to do. DO IT. There’s an inner voice inside that knows the right answers for YOU, that knows YOUR truth. If you truly listen to it, it won’t steer you wrong.

  • Top 3 personal mantras or inspirational phrases.

1.      Feel the fear and do it anyway.
2.      Sometimes, you’ve got to be yourself and you’ve got to be okay with no one else understanding.
3.      “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing YOU can be.” Maya Angelou

  • Top 3 favorite personality traits that appeal to you.
1.      Humor
2.      Passion for life – Joie de vivre
3.      Open-mindedness

Really great responses, Tracy, and can I just shake your hand for being the first to answer the personality trait question. I love that question and your answers are awesome!

Where can our tech savvy readers find out more about you, your books and this awesome giveaway?

Twitter: @TracyClark_TLC

Thanks for joining us on this week’s Three Times A Charm, Tracy! Best of luck to you and your books.

THANKS!

GUESTS WELCOME!  I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.

November 14, 2014

Building Character with Leah from An Absence of Light

It’s Friday! Time for my blog feature, Building Character in which you get to meet characters from a book. Talking to a character outside of their book is fun! Huge. Amounts. Of fun. 

This week Strands of Thought plays host to Leah from An Absence of Light. Leah, I just started reading your story yesterday and I’m already pulled in. So, if you don’t mind, I’d love to speed through this interview so I can get back to it. Why don’t you start by telling our readers a little about yourself.

Hi, my name is Leah. Thanks for having me. It freaks me out a little to talk about myself in public—I’m pretty sure most anyone would think I’ve lost it if they knew what I do. I guess I wonder that, too, sometimes. But, someone’s got to fight the Shadows, right? And that sounds a little better than alien invasion preventer, I think.

Oh – aliens? Is that the conflict you’re up against?

Most everyone I’ve ever told about the Shadows hasn’t believed me, but I’d love to see them gone. All of them. I don’t know how they do it, but they seem to breed evil and hatred in people. Somehow I got stuck being able to see them, and it’s not something I can turn off. Getting rid of them is goal #1.

Are you fighting this battle with a best friend or a side kick? Anyone?

I am lucky to have stumbled across several people who can also see the Shadows. And while I haven’t known them long, they are definitely some of my closest friends. I guess fighting for your life next to someone creates some kind of bond. But there’s Manuel, his mom, Sarah (but we all just call her Nana), and of course Adam. Adam’s usually pretty bent on making sure I don’t get him killed—someone I’d like to avoid too—but underneath, I’m pretty sure there’s a nice guy in there. I hope.

I was kinda wondering about Adam. He seems—how do I say it—worth being patient with. Let’s lighten the mood a little. What are your three favorite foods?

I’ve pretty much become addicted to Nana’s food. I’ve always loved Mexican food, growing up in LA and all, but Nana’s food is the best. I adore her tortillas, quesadiallas, and tamales. But, a shake from In-and-Out is also pretty amazing. I kinda like to eat J.

I miss In-and-Out so much! What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I started at Standford when I was 16, I thought I’d go into biology or chemistry. Something scientific that involved working in a lab. But now? Everything in my life’s been turned upside down and I honestly don’t know what I’ll end up doing. Maybe someday I’ll get to go back to school. If the Shadows don’t chase me out again.

Thanks so much for visiting with us this week, Leah! Best of luck to you and your new friends as you battle the Shadows. I can’t wait to find out how it turns out. Readers, here is more info about Leah’s story, An Absence of Light:

Leah’s always seen the shadow creatures. She thought she was immune to their evil—until now.

She’s walked into a massacre, stolen a BMW, and is running from the law for a crime she didn’t commit. Nineteen-year-old Leah’s life just went from mildly abnormal to totally crazy at lightning speed. But no one will believe that the shadow creatures are framing her for the murder, because she’s the only one that can see them. At least that’s what she thought.

When Leah stumbled across a group who share her ability, she discovers they have something she doesn’t: a way to fight back. When the group offers to teach her how to kill the shadow creatures, Leah jumps at the chance. But something is brewing with the creatures. They’re tracking down the hunters like there’s no tomorrow. Leah suspects that maybe there won’t be, and it’s up to her to make sure tomorrow comes. Because she’ll do anything to stop the shadows, including risking her life—and the life of the one she loves—to keep the world from being lost to darkness forever.

Buy your own copy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or direct from Evernight Teen.

Now find out a little about Leah’s author:

Meradeth Houston's never been a big fan of talking about herself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about her:
>She's a Northern California girl. This generally means she talks too fast and use "like" a lot.
>When she's not writing, she's sequencing dead people's DNA. For fun!
>She's been writing since she was 11 years old. It's her hobby, her passion, and she's so happy to get to share her work!
>If she could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because she's terrified of heights.

Find Meradeth Houston online at: www.MeradethHouston.com
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Amazon, and of course her blog!

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If you have a character from a children’s, mid-grade or young adult book that you’d like to be interviewed, please contact Kai Strand via email (kaistrand at yahoo dot com)