September 19, 2014

Building Character with Rosemary and Josh Cooper from Shadows of New York

It’s Friday! Time for 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 Rosemary and Josh Cooper from Shadows of New York. Rosemary and Josh are brother and sister (just like the writing team that wrote their story – huh!) 

I’m so glad you guys could join us. I’m really looking forward to reading your book. Can you tell our readers a little about yourselves, please?

Josh: Hi, I’m Josh. Um, I’m eleven years old and this is my sister–
Rosemary: Ladies first, Josh!
J: I was just about to introduce you. You can be so annoying sometimes!
R: Whaevs. Hi, everyone! I’m Rosemary Cooper. I’m six years old and I love glitter!
J: Um, don’t you think there’s something more interesting we should tell them about?
R: Like what?
J: Like the fact that our nanny is a werewolf?
R: Oh, yeah! Aiden is a werewolf. Isn’t that cool?

Oh! Well, that has to make things…uh…interesting. Is there any other conflict are you up against?

R: What does conflict mean?
J: It means something you're fighting against.
R: Oh. I fight with you a lot, Josh. You can be such a poodle sometimes.
J: I'm not really sure what that means. But I think the question was more about the book. I'll answer this one. In Shadows of New York, there's a creature, a shadowy wraith named Mr. Midnight, creeping around, attacking other magical creatures. Werewolves are really good at fighting wraiths, so our nanny Aiden has to help stop him.

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

R: Oh my gosh! I'm always stumbling over my baby brother Jackson's blocks. He leaves them all over the floor.
J: I'll take this one, too. Well, Aiden can't just drop everything and chase after Mr. Midnight. He still has a job to do, taking care of us. My stumbling block is that I want to help, but everyone seems to think I'm too young. So I have to get creative and talk them into letting me help.

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

R: I don't think I learned anything. I was pretty smart to begin with.
J: Well, it’s like Aiden told me: sometimes you have to stand up for the people you love, no matter what.
R: Oo, I know! I learned that I look good in sparkly lipgloss!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

R: I want to be a cat. With a rainbow-colored collar.
J: Probably a werewolf trainer. Now that I’ve learned so much about the Imaginary World, I could probably get a job like that.

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

R: Two words: glitter Fridays.
J: That sounds terrible. What does that even mean?
R: Be quiet, you poodle. It means that everyone would have to wear sparkly clothes every Friday.
J: Okay. I would say that I'd want all the creatures of the Imaginary World to be able to live out in the open without worrying about regular people being scared of them.
R: Oh, that's so sweet. Can I make that mine, too?

See, dear Readers, why I’ve been SO looking forward to this book? These kids are awesome! Here is more information about their book, Shadows of New York.

What do you do when your view of the world gets turned on its head? Eleven-year-old Josh Cooper is surprised when his new nanny ends up being a dude, but that pales in comparison to how he feels when he learns the nanny, Aiden, is also a werewolf. Aiden teaches Josh about the Imaginary World, even introducing him to his friends Larry Fancypants (a suave-yet-goofy vampire) and Steve Lickerman (a tall-yet-meek leprechaun). This fascinating world seems harmless, until Josh learns of the shadowy wraith that’s stalking New York, attacking creatures and stealing their powers. As werewolves are ideally suited for fighting wraiths, Aiden is called upon to help capture the elusive Mr. Midnight, unintentionally drawing Josh even deeper into the strange and mysterious.

Here is some info on the brother/sister writing duo:

Heather Fraser Brainerd is a multi-published author and a renaissance woman. After earning a degree in Anthropology, she embarked on an incongruous career as a workers’ compensation insurance adjuster. She rapidly climbed the claims-handling ladder before surprising her colleagues by leaving the high-powered world of lumbar strains and carpal tunnel syndrome to run a child care center. Thousands of dirty diapers and gallons of strained peas later, she decided that maybe the insurance industry wasn’t quite as bad as she remembered. Unfortunately, it was. Fortunately, a few years later, she met the most wonderful man in the world. Now a stay-home mom to three amazing boys, she is able, at long last, to focus on her writing. She works in a variety of genres, including paranormal mystery, Young Adult paranormal romance, and Middle Grade fantasy. Heather lives in New York with her family and their crazy pug/terrier.

David Fraser was born on March 25, 1973. March 25, incidentally, is International Waffle Day (Vårfudagn in Sweden) and Tolkien Reading Day (The Ring was destroyed on March 25). Elton John shares his birthday. So next March 25, you should eat a waffle while reading Lord of the Rings and listening to Rocket Man. I know Dave will.
Before deciding to become an internationally-famous author, Dave held a number of different jobs. He processed small business insurance policy changes, tested software on digital copier/printers, put out little orange flags in pick-your-own strawberry fields, installed internet cable in schools, shelved books in a library, taught college calculus, and handed out raffle tickets at a Barry Manilow concert. Granted, this last job was a one day temp job, but it was awesome.
Twitter: Heather:

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.

September 17, 2014

Three Times A Charm with Deirdra Eden & #Giveaway

Three Times A Charm is my weekly feature where I introduce readers to new authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the children’s publishing industry.

Today’s guest is author, Deirdra Eden. Thanks for joining us, Deirdra. Please tell us a little about you.

I love adventures, all different kinds of people, kitties, and unicorns.
I sword fight and do archery. I love to remodel old buildings and explore the woods.
I can walk along the ocean coast for miles looking for shells and pretty rocks or just being memorized by the waves.
I love to walk across wooden bridges, hang out in tree houses, and eat blackberries off the vine and fruit that I pick from the trees.
My favorite time is in the morning at sunrise and when it rains.

I love sunrise too. The most peaceful time of day. Wish I could experience it without having to wake up so early. Now, tell us more about The Watchers.

The Watchers Series has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural.

The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Traditional Apocrypha, The Pearl of Great Price and the Kabbalah.

“The Watchers” are angels or supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness.
Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad.

Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s The Watcher’s Series is non-denominational and is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions.

Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

  • Top 3 tools of the trade you couldn’t live without.

My Book Manager, Laura Watkins
My gorgeous hubby for inspiration and support (and babysitter)
My computer

  • Top 3 most admired people and why you admire them.

Nicey Nash for her straightforward wisdom
Queen Ranya for her efforts in uniting people who are usually at war with each other
Sheri Dew for being as strong as Queen Bodica and helping women understand their self-worth.

  • Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up.

A singer/songwriter
A gymnast
An assassin

Where can our tech savvy readers find more about you and your books?

Thank you, Deirdra, for joining us on Three Times A Charm. Best of luck to you and The Watchers. Readers, be sure to enter Deirdra's giveaway!

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.

September 14, 2014

King of Bad #Giveaway

Hey everybody! I was unpacking books at a signing and came across a copy of King of Bad with a torn cover. Since I can’t sell it, I decided to hold a giveaway instead!

Along with a signed, slightly damaged copy of King of Bad, I’m also giving away several sets of character trading cards. These cards have been specially designed for book one in the series. There will be a separate design for each book – so be among the first to own a set of the King of Bad cards.

About the book:

Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA.

He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?

Available in print or electronic: Whiskey Creek Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble 


[Pyro] swung the door open with a flourish and indicated for Jeff to go inside. Jeff stepped into the doorway and stopped. They were in some sort of gymnasium. Kids ranging from about 12 to 18 years old were hard at work testing their athleticism in a freak show sort of way. A girl did chin-ups at twice the speed of a top Olympian. A boy ran across a high wire. The most beautiful girl Jeff had ever laid eyes on leaned against the wall across the room. Jeff tore his eyes from her when an oddly shaped ball soared over the heads of the kids. Two boys enjoyed a game of catch. At least Jeff thought the sneers on their faces indicated enjoyment. Suddenly a head popped out of the ball.
“Come on, you wimps, get further apart.”
Jeff’s stomach lurched when he realized the ball was a contorted girl.
In the far corner of the gym a couple of kids were involved in extreme wresting. Jeff watched one kid leap six feet off the ground and pile drive the other kid into the thick stack of mats. He thought they’d have a future in WWE if the super villain thing didn’t pan out for them. Jeff’s gaze wandered back to the beautiful redhead. She smiled at him and his stomach fluttered.
Pyro nudged Jeff into the gym and let the door close. “Each S.V. has at least one prominent ability. Most of us are faster and stronger than the average human, but there are a few that are faster or stronger than the average S.V. There are also those of us who have fire as well as those who have ice. You can usually find an S.V. with a complementary ability to yours.” Pyro pointed at a dark haired girl standing in the center of the room.
The girl had a large bucket in front of her. Her face was contorted with concentration, but Jeff couldn’t see anything happening. Then all at once a geyser of water burst toward the ceiling and it fell back down on the assemblage in a misty rain. The girl’s face broke into an exultant smile as the dripping kids groaned and grumbled around her.
“Wow, that’s really hard to do,” Pyro said, “break an element into so many little particles. She’ll have a headache later.”


I found myself falling in love with all the characters in the book. I loved the different abilities each one of them have. Kai did an outstanding job writing this book. I could not put it down. It is filled with lots of action and even some romance. Everything you want in a book. Victoria for Page Turners Blog

Can't wait for the sequel! – Christopher White for Amazon

You have through October 3rd to enter. The giveaway is open to International residences too. So SPREAD THE WORD!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My special thanks to the generous bloggers who are hosting a stop on their blogs. 

Trisha Leaver, YA Author 
Katie L Carroll Observation Desk
Angela Smith, Love Is A MysteryViolet Ingram
Michael Thal
Angela Brown
Eric Price
The YA Guy
Jo Linsdell
The Story of a Writer
Book Blather
Mary Waibel
Sharon Ledwith
SA Larsen
Erin Albert Books
Krysten Lindsay Hager
M Pax
Palace of Twelve Pillars
Putting Words Down On Paper
Only But A Dream
Kelly Hashway
Donna McDine

September 10, 2014

Three Times A Charm with Shannon L Brown

Three Times A Charm is my weekly feature where I introduce readers to new authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the children’s publishing industry.

Today’s guest is author, Shannon L. Brown. Thanks for joining us, Shannon. Please tell us a little about you.

I read and read as a kid, particularly every mystery I could find. I didn't plan to be a writer though. I first earned a degree in journalism & communications then a second degree in education. But I didn't end up working in either field. I wrote my first book, a clean romance, shortly after earning those degrees. I submitted it to a publisher, but when it was rejected I moved on.

Fast forward to a day some years later when I was driving and an image of a briefcase filled with feathers popped into my mind. I knew it was the idea for a children's mystery and The Feather Chase was born.
I wrote it while I worked in unrelated fields. I also began writing magazine articles on the side and gradually moved to doing that full-time. I'm now an award-winning writer, have sold more than 600 articles for local, national and regional publications and, until I resigned to finish the book, was the contributing editor for a jewelry publication. (Which tells you, you never know where life may take you.)

I stepped back from most of that writing to edit The Feather Chase and see it published in February of 2014. It's a fun mystery and the first in the Crime-Solving Cousins Mystery series. Now I'm using the classes I had in communications to write and those in education to speak to children about writing.

I'm originally from Alaska but live in Nashville, Tennessee with my professor husband and our adorable calico cat Evie. I'm working on the second book in the series. Hint: It begins with a gift wrapped package that is left on Sophie's front porch.

I find it so brave when people quit their jobs to pursue a writing career. It’s so risky! Now, tell us more about The Feather Chase.

The Feather Chase is a fun mystery for girls ages 8-12. It has tense moments, but it’s overall fun and upbeat.

Twelve-year-old cousins Sophie and Jessica are stuck together for the summer, and they don’t have much in common. Sophie loves hiking and her small town. Jessica would rather be shopping in a city. Then they find a briefcase in the forest with a surprise inside. When they hear footsteps behind them and bad guys run after them, they have no choice but to work together to solve the mystery.

The Feather Chase is available in print and ebook wherever books are sold.
Barnes & Noble:

Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

  • Top 3 snacks to munch on while working. 
Like Sophie, I enjoy fruity things. I often have a frozen grape juice bar as a snack. But I also share Jessica’s love of chocolate. (The two girls have bits of me in them.) Unlike Jessica, I only need one piece of chocolate, and I’m good for the day. Dark chocolate, of course! My third favorite snack would be something sweet like a cookie or a granola bar. Right now I have some snickerdoodles I made stored in the freezer, and I like to grab one and eat it frozen.

  • Top 3 leisure activities. 
Reading is probably my favorite thing to do. I read a novel in bed every night. Mysteries are my favorite, and it helps me relax so that I can sleep well. The books aren’t boring; fiction just quiets me down.

Shopping and baking tie for second place. Baking from scratch is also relaxing, and I love being able to share the things I bake with others. Like Jessica, I enjoy shopping. To me, it’s like a treasure hunt—I hit the sales and find great deals for things I really like.

Hiking on a trail through the woods is both awesome exercise and relaxing. I guess all of my favorite leisure activities are relaxing to me. Unlike Sophie who sees hiking and camping as equal, I’ll stick with the hiking and sleep in a nice bed at night. I grew up camping in Alaska—everything from boating to a camping site next to a lake to flying in and sleeping on a frozen river in the winter. I fit a lifetime of camping into my life early on.

  • Top 3 favorite places. 
Almost anywhere in rolling, green hills. I think my home of Nashville, Tennessee is beautiful. I’m from Alaska and we had tall mountains right behind my house, more than half the year covered with snow. I picture the fictional town of Pine Hill in The Feather Chase as having rolling hills around a lake. I hope to be able to visit somewhere that looks like that.

A beach is high on my list of places to visit. I spent a lot of time in Hawaii growing up and love walking on a warm beach with the water lapping at my feet. I say “warm” because I walked on a beach in Alaska and my feet went numb. Really.

Beautiful cities in Europe are also a favorite. I gave Jessica the hometown of London, England. I’m a huge anglophile and have read hundreds of books set in England.

Where can our tech savvy readers find more about you and your books?

Thank you, Shannon, for joining us on Three Times A Charm. Best of luck to you and The Feather Chase.


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.

September 8, 2014

The Sending by Jandy Salguero Book Blast & #Giveaway

The Sending  The Sending A city's peace is shattered when two university students go missing, and only Daneel and his friends know the shocking truth of what happened. Finding themselves under attack, Daneel leads them in a race to escape the mounting violence. Mara is willing to kill for the beliefs of the faction that raised her. But as she seeks out her mark, using a rare, mystical form of travel known as the Sending, Mara discovers a powerful connection that challenges the truth of everything she’s been taught. While Daneel fights to protect those he cares for, Mara must choose whether to cling to the ideology of her home—or open her scarred heart to a searing attraction and the promise of a new life.  

  Praise for The Sending The Sending reads like a dystopian Romeo and Juliet where strong, full characters from very different places inevitably collide with passion and conflict. Salguero fills a fresh, vibrant world with a nerve-tingling fast plot. Prepare to be immersed. ~Tamara Ward, author of Hidden Betrayal The Sending is a thrilling, fast-paced, science fiction-romance that's impossible to put down. Edge-of-your-seat action scenes, and a romantic attraction so intense that it will make you want to turn down the air conditioning, The Sending is a great read that left me hungry for more. I loved this book! ~Sterling R. Walker, author of The Orphan Ship
Purchase Your Copy
Excerpt As one of the hawks flew across the tiny plane of space framed by her window, Mara closed her eyes. She envisioned herself there, experiencing the grace and the power of their movements. She imagined the control of that journey and thought that one day she might have that type of power over her own fate. Mara felt a kinship with the graceful hunter. It knew the thrill of conquest coupled with the need for survival: opposite sides of the same implacable coin. The compound had taught Mara to use that need to a greater advantage than she had before. Her chest tightened. Before? No, there was no before. Everything was after. After her home had been raided, after her family had been killed, after she had been forced to fend for herself. She’d had only the passive help of a few others who had suffered the same fate, who had used her as much as she had been forced to use them. She was a young six years when she lost her family. The memories of their life together had quickly begun to fade into the cruel background of her new life, into an icy, nearly paralyzing bath of hunger and fear. The fear had covered everything. It had even blanketed the things that had seemed gentle and innocent to her before, so that nothing was safe. For a long time, the fear had ruled her with a cold, hard hand.

Jandy   Author Jandy Salguero Growing up in southern Louisiana, Jandy Salguero's life was full of friendly smiles, good food and tall tales. She holds a BA in French from Brigham Young University, where she met her husband in the midst of the great Rocky Mountains. She now resides in a small town outside of Raleigh, NC. Her days are full of grade-school antics and underfoot toddler toys-- courtesy of her two handsome boys. She is currently working on Book 2 in the Senitha's Light series, due out in early 2015.  
  BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 10/3/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

September 3, 2014

Three Times A Charm with Penelope Anne Cole

It’s time for Three Times A Charm. I love meeting new authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the children’s publishing industry and sharing their careers with my readers.

Today’s guest is award winning picture book author, Penelope Anne Cole. Welcome to Strands of Thought, Penelope. Tell us a little about you, if you don’t mind.

Hi, I’m Penelope Anne Cole. I’ve taught and tutored at every grade level. I enjoy writing children’s stories for read aloud time. I believe that reading to children is the best way to help them love literature. I have a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and an M.A. in Education. When I’m not writing stories or reviewing children’s books, I enjoy walking my dog, reading great children’s books, gardening, church and choir activities. I’m a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, the Fremont Area Writers of the California Writers Club, and I’m a Certified Reading Therapist with Read America. My book reviews are on my blog at

Penelope, you are so generous with your reading time. Thank you for supporting your fellow authors by reviewing our books. And speaking of books…I hear you have a brand new release. What’s it about?

I’m excited to add Ten Little Tricksters, to my published books. It’s a reverse counting book with cute Halloween creatures out trick or treating—for ages 4 to 7. My Magical Series is recommended for older kids, 6 to 9:  Magical Matthew, (in Spanish: Mágico Mateo) and Magical Mea. Both books show kids dealing with problems and overcoming obstacles. What would you do with a magical secret power? The next year two more are coming:  Magical Mea Goes to School and then Magical M and M. 

Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

  • Top 3 books you recommend reading and why you recommend them. 
Lately, I’ve been on a middle grade book reading spree. It’s my preferred children’s literature genre. I adore Kate DiCamillo’s books and have read Because of Winn Dixie, Flora and Ulysses, The Tale of Despereaux, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. I also love Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret. These are all near perfect MG novels. I have three I’m working on in various stages of revision.

  • Top 3 pieces of advice for kids these days.
As a parent and teacher, I’m usually giving advice to parents. Okay, here goes for kids. (1) I advise kids to go outside more—play, run, explore, go to parks, enjoy the great outdoors. Many kids are inside a lot—some studying, but too many watching TV, YouTube/Internet, playing video games—being entertained. They need to get active to be healthy and be more in touch with the natural world. (2) Please read more great books. There are wonderful books that will open up their minds and imaginations much more than their virtual internet world. (3) Please learn the joy and satisfaction of helping others, be it other kids, animals, or any person in need—volunteer, get involved, and help out. You will feel great—like Matthew and Mea do in my books!

  • Top 3 favorite places.
Although I’ve traveled all over—the U.S., Hawaii, Europe, even some trips to Asia—I don’t travel much these days. My top three favorite places are parks, bookstores, and my own yard. All Parks are wonderful, either in a natural setting, or one carefully planted and maintained. You can see trees, grass, flowers, animals, and enjoy them all. All Bookstores are marvelous because you can explore the wonderful world of words and pictures. Bookstores are getting fewer and fewer—enjoy the ones we have left. And my own yard is my personal park and retreat. It gets nicer with each new plant, tree, flower, veggie, and herb I plant. Watching things grow is uplifting.

Really great advice, Penelope. So, before we all run outside, where can our tech savvy readers find you online?

My blog, where I review children’s books:
My website, listing all my books, awards, writing services,
My Facebook page is: PenelopeAnneColeAuthor
My Twitter is: Twitter@pennyannecole
I post book reviews on my Pinterest Board, Amazon, B&N, and Goodreads.

It was wonderful of you to join us on this week’s Three Times A Charm. Best of luck to you and your books.


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.

August 28, 2014

Sign Ups for the Damaged Goods Giveaway Blog Tour

I was unpacking my books at a recent signing and found one with a torn cover. *sad face* But that's okay because I decided to make a giveaway out of it and I'm asking for your help. Along with the slightly damaged copy of KING OF BAD, I'll be giving away some cool swag, too. Signed bookmarks and TRADING CARDS (which are not damaged, btw)! The book will only be available for US addresses, but there will the trading cards available for International addies.

I'm looking for bloggers who can post a book spotlight and the rafflecopter code anytime between September 15 and September 30. All hosts will be able to add either their Twitter or Facebook page to the rafflecopter code to snatch up some new followers.

I'd love to have you participate. Thanks ahead for helping me make a fun and successful giveaway.

August 27, 2014

Three Times A Charm with TC Mckee

Welcome to Three Times A Charm. Today’s guest is YA author, TC Mckee. She's touring the world wide web, talking about her shiny new release. I love introducing my readers to the people who work in children’s publishing.

Thanks for joining us, Tammy. Would you please tell us a little about you?

Author of The Bone Treaty, book one of the Seal of Solomon Series/August 2014. Owner of an elder care/concierge firm located in Virginia, which has nothing whatsoever to do with writing. I’m the Acquisitions Editor and owner of BookFish Books, a small YA publishing house which has everything to do with writing. I’m a chronic reader and writer. Lover of fiction, especially historical. I’m accused of being a Jane of many trades, an accusation I balk at often. I live in Virginia with my husband, one daughter, and one incredibly spoiled Great Dane.

How very ecclectic your life sounds. Elder care, book publishing and a Great Dane. Now, tell us about your book, if you will?

To boast a bit about me. My new book, The Bone Treaty just debuted like two weeks ago. My cheeks are still hurting from all the smiling. There’s just something thrilling about holding your own book in your hands for the first time. Not gonna lie, I teared up a little.

About the book:

A power as old as King Solomon awakens when a seventeen-year-old girl marks the brooding hot abductor ordered to seize her. 

Addie Heaton’s not your average high school student. Orphaned at two, she’s spent most of her life reading the emotions of others. It’s a little trick she likes to call color-vision. But lately, a stranger has been trailing her, putting off shades of black and red—colors Addie hasn’t seen since the night her parents were killed—colors Addie never wanted to see again. 

But when Addie comes face to face with Conal Reed, owner of the terrifying shades, she learns her stranger’s a little different too. He’s brooding hot, mysterious, and all too elusive. Conal loves to materialize, and then vanish at all the wrong times. Nice. 


After years of keeping her ability a secret, Addie’s found another person with gifts, someone who may know what she really is. But Conal’s not talking. He’s having more fun showing up uninvited, teasing her senses, and disappearing at all the wrong times. Instead of finding answers, Addie finds herself reconsidering ever being alone and naked again.

Congratulations, Tammy. I agree, holding your real, live book is a supreme thrill. But seeing a reader with it…way better!

Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

  • Top 3 pieces of advice for kids these days.

Never give up on your dreams. Never depend on others for happines, you have to own and generate your own happy. Recognize beauty in the mirror when it stares back at you every single day. We’re all amazeballs in some way (I only used “amazeballs” cause it makes my daughter cringe). That’s how I generate my own happy.

  • Top 3 favorite places.

The Beach, specifically the Caribbean whenever possible. Charleston South Carolina, somewhere around Magnolia House cause I think I lived there once in a past life. I bet I rocked a corset. Or not. I would have totally boycotted those. And lounging on the couch beside the hubs watching whatever’s on TV. Actually, I like to be wherever he is most of the time.

  • Top 3 personal mantras or inspirational phrases.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. -Eleanor Roosevelt.
Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes. -Oscar Wilde.
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. -Henry David Thoreau

Where can our tech savvy readers find more about you and your lovely, new book?

Thanks for joining us on this week’s Three Times A Charm, Tammy! Best of luck to you and The Bone Treaty.


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.

August 26, 2014

Favorite Authors' Favorites

Welcome to my feature FAVE-A-FAVE, all about author favorites. I love that the internet gives us access to authors. I’m a fangirl and I’m not afraid to admit it, and I LOVE to be able to help readers get to know their favorite authors as well as discover new ones.

Grab a pen and paper, or log onto Goodreads, because more than likely you’ll find a title or two to add to your very own list. Please visit the authors’ websites and browse their work. Be sure to come back weekly to learn more about many awesome authors!

  • First, I asked authors to share with us which book is their favorite book from their childhood.

Tuck Everlasting (Natalie Babbitt) because I could see what she wrote in my mind like watching a movie. –Mary Waibel (Mary writes fantasy and fairytale type fiction for teens) 

Where the Wild Things Are  by Maurice Sendak.  I love the monsters and the main character who is able to escape his childhood demons for a short time and realize that maybe things aren’t so bad at home. – ChrisWeigand (Chris writes Christian Fantasy fiction for kids and teens.) 

This is tough. I like so many, but one of my favorites is REPLICATION: THE JASON EXPERIMENT, by Jill Williamson.

Imagine that you’re a clone, created for one thing, to save humanity. This is Martyr, AKA Jason 3:3 Martyr has one wish before he expires: to see the sky. Martyr is such an innocent, hopeful character that I thought of him more as human than as a clone and really hoped he’d find a way to see the sky and also to survive. The author develops each character so that the reader relates to them and wants them to succeed.

  • When I asked Sheri Larsen (who writes about the unseen and the average teen/tween who's not so average.) what her favorite book world was, she did not hesitate.

Life A.D., by Michelle Reed (Speculative Fiction). As unique as the world was, it was as tangible and plausible.

  • Finally, I wanted to know some authors’ favorite author.

Dean Koontz is definitely high on my list. I love how he can make the most weird stuff seem real. I've enjoyed every single book I've read by him from Fear nothing, Odd Thomas, A door away from heaven, to The husband. When I pick a book by him I know I'm in for a good read. -Jo Linsdell (Jo is an author and illustrator of children's picture books and also non-fiction - her main topics are book marketing and Italy). 

Sandra Brown, Thriller, Suspense. She knows how to write broken characters and yet she makes them so likeable. –Angela Smith (Angela writes romance novels in an attempt to solve love’s mystery, where happy-ever-afters are a given and characters seek adventure) 

We’d love to hear your favorites. Share some in the comments, or ask our authors more about theirs.

August 22, 2014

Building Character with Zadie Stonebrook from My Tethered Soul

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 Zadie Stonebrook from My Tethered Soul. Great of you to join us, Zadie. Can you tell our readers a little about yourself, please?

Hi, I’m Zadie. I’m seventeen years old, which is a bit scary for me, because … well, let’s just say I was safer when I was still sixteen. I have an older sister named Mara, and she’s been through hell. And I mean that almost literally. The problem is I’m afraid I’m going to know exactly how she felt first hand. Hopefully Mara can help me out of this mess.

I remember reading yours and Mara’s story in My Sister’sReaper. It was so intense! What are you up against now?

I feel like I’m being haunted by a Reaper. I hear whispers and see shadows move. Don’t get me wrong, I know how to handle a Reaper. I’ve been training for almost a year for the very purpose of saving my mom. But I can only defeat a Reaper if I know where it’s at.

Besides not knowing where the Reaper is, what other stumbling blocks have you encountered while trying to resolve your conflict?

Well the biggest obstacle is that I cannot control my actions when a Reaper takes hold of me. So I’m going to have to get him before he gets me.

Wow. That’s all very serious stuff. Let’s lighten the mood a bit. Okay? Tell us about your best friend.

Naomi is a wild, loud, and totally extroverted best friend. She keeps me in check so I don’t slip into insanity from all this Reaper drama. And she totally has my back.

What are you three favorite books or movies?

You see, my boyfriend Gavin and I LOVE classic B movies. Our favorite is probably Night of the Living Dead. We’ve also shared popcorn and cuddles over Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and The Blob.

I’m so glad to hear that you get to have some fun, too! So, Zadie, if you could change one thing in this world, what would you change?

To demolish the pact with Reapers. But in order to do that, I’m going to have to go to the source of the original agreement. Or, at least, a descendant. Which basically means I’m going to have to track down a witch.

Oh my gosh! It sounds like you still have a lot of work in front of you. Best of luck and thanks for joining us today. Readers, you can read more about Zadie’s most recent story, My Tethered Soul (Reapers Rite #2)

It’s been months since Zadie faced her sister’s Reaper, months during which she’s been under her mentor’s magical protection. But now that she’s turning seventeen, that protection is about to run out.

When dark forces lure Zadie to wander at night, she’s manipulated into committing unspeakable acts. With her friends and family at risk, Zadie must try to use her powers to break free from the Reaper’s grasp, or surrender to the Reaper’s Rite, which can only lead to death.

And now read about Zadies author!

Dorothy Dreyer has always believed in magic. Born in Angeles City, Philippines, to a Filipino mother and American Father, Dorothy grew up a military brat, living in Massachusetts, South Dakota, Guam, New Jersey, and New York. She now lives in Frankfurt, Germany, with her husband, two teens, and two Siberian huskies. Dorothy not only writes books with some element of magic in them, but has a fondness for reading those kinds of books as well. She also enjoys movies, chocolate, take-out, and spending time with family and friends. She’s known to make a pretty sweet cupcake when she has the time. She also tends to sing sometimes, so keep her away from your Karaoke bars.

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