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.

Author Website: http://dorothydreyer.com

August 20, 2014

Three Times A Charm with Meradeth Houston

Welcome to Three Times A Charm. I love introducing my readers to new authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the children’s publishing industry.

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

I've never been a big fan of talking about myself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about me:
  • I'm a California girl. This generally means I talk too fast and use "like" a lot.
  • I have my doctorate in molecular anthropology. Translation: I sequence dead people's DNA and spend a whole lot of time in a lab, which I love.
  • My other passion is teaching. There's nothing more fun than getting a classroom of college kids fired up about anthropology!
  • If I could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because I'm terrified of heights.

Anthropology does seem really intriguing. I’d love to sit in on your classes! Now, tell us about your book, if you will?

My most recent release is Surrender the Sky, in the Sary Society series (which also includes the stand alone titles Colors Like Memories, and The Chemistry of Fate). A little about my book:

Gabby lives by two unbreakable rules: don’t expose her kind, the Sary, and don’t fall in love—too bad some rules are made to be broken.

When Gabby’s most difficult charge accidently shoots her in front of a class full of students, the event exposes her carefully hidden identity. She shifts from looking like a normal teen to her secret Sary form, revealing her wings and the existence of her kind—immortals who try to keep people from committing suicide. Her incident attracts the attention of the next leader of the Sary, Jassen, who offers her an impossible bargain: she can keep her wings if she makes amends with those who know the truth. Things get more complicated when a rebel Sary, intent on exposing them to the world, starts interfering with Gabby’s work. And there’s no denying her attraction to Jassen, who is torn between his duties and his heart. With threats at every turn and her immortality on the line, Gabby has to find a way to save the Sary or surrender the sky forever.

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 computer (yes, I’m one of those people who refers to their laptop as their baby!), music (all different kinds, depending on what I’m working on), and time (at least a few minutes where I know I won’t be interrupted constantly—this can be really hard to come by!).

  • Top 3 skills to hone for people just starting in your business. 
I’m no expert, but I’d say: read as much as possible, write tons, and stick with it—it’s going to take a whole lot of determination and work to get to the end (but it’s worth it!).

  • Top 3 favorite places.
I’m a beach person, so anywhere near the ocean is tops on my list! Also, I love my family home in Northern California. And, if I could live anywhere, it would probably be Barcelona—I love that city!

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

Find Meradeth Houston online at: www.MeradethHouston.com
FacebookTwitterInstagramTumblr, and of course her blog!


Thanks for joining us on this week’s Three Times A Charm, Meradeth! Best of luck to you and Surrender the Sky (and Colors Like Memories and The Chemistry of Fate). So guess what, readers! Meradeth and I are blog swapping. Leave a comment here to tell Meradeth how great it was to meet her and hear about her amazing sounding books and then hop on over to her blog to read my interview! We know you can’t get enough.

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.

August 19, 2014

Favorite Authors' Favorites

It is time to learn some more author favorites. When I put the call out to authors to answer my ‘Favorites’ questions, I didn’t expect for my to-read list to grow so fast. 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 other awesome authors!


I asked authors to share with us which book is their favorite Young Adult Fantasy.

GRACELING by Kristin Cashore
This book has a great fantasy hook with the Graces, a wonderfully complex female lead in Katsa, a rich fantasy world, a totally crush-worthy romantic interest in Prince Po, and a plot that kept me reading for hours on end. Pretty much everything I look for in a book! –Katie L.Carroll (Katie writes fiction for teens and kids) 

Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush Series. I fell in love with Patch and Nora. They are such a great couple with a lot working against them. Besides the romance, the action scenes and the well thought out plot are phenomenal. I couldn’t put the books down. –Kelly Hashway (Kelly also writes fiction for kids and teens.) 

The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. These books left me spellbound and truly invested in the characters. And who wouldn’t love to kick some demon bootae? –Erin Albert (Erin writes fiction for the young adult crossover market.) 

I also asked authors which book has their favorite book world.

I don’t know that I have an all time favorite world, but I would really, really love to visit The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. What a fantastical place that circus is, filled with mystery and magic. –Kai Strand (yes, me! I write fiction for kids and teens) 

Middle Earth, of course, as only Tolkien can write it. His world is so rich and full and amazing, with characters who have become my friends over the years. I open his books and feel like I'm coming home. -DianneHartsock (Dianne is the author of m/m erotic romances, both contemporary and fantasy, the psychological thriller, and anything else that comes to mind.) 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I always find myself wishing she’d written more than that one perfect book. -Shel Delisle (Shel writes lighter fiction for teens. She also has a book, Glory, under a pen name M.E. Wynne that could be considered ya, or new adult, or adult. The main character is in his twenties, so go figure.) 

What world would you most like to visit or which young adult fantasy transported you? Please share your own thoughts in the comments, we love to talk books!

August 15, 2014

Building Character with Frost of Ankh from Sweet Sleep

Happy Friday! It’s time for my blog feature, Building Character in which you get to meet a character 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 a character from Sweet Sleep. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. Why don’t you introduce yourself, please?

Frost of Ankh here.

Nice! A man of few words. It’s great to meet you Frost. Can you tell us more about your story? Like, what conflict are you up against?

I’m a thousand years old. The love of my life had her memory wiped. I finally fall in love again and the chick is already dead. It’s a little bit funny.

Funny. Huh. That’s an interesting way to put it. What are some of the biggest stumbling blocks you’ve encountered trying to resolve your conflict?

Well, it’s not really necrophilia. This prophecy says she’s going to be absorbed into her twin. Two souls becoming one. Her twin sister is in love with someone else…it’s complicated.

Indeed. What have you learned about yourself, friends, or family while trying to work your way through this? 

My moral compass has always been a little bit off.  Pretty much anything goes. I’m not shocked by my behavior. I guarantee the rest of my clan never even flinched. Grey thinks my flexible morals are hilarious.

Tell us about your best friend or a side kick.

That would probably be Grey. He’s Scottish and Australian. It’s a long story. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He’s a good guy. Funny as hell. He’s sleeping with my ex. It’s been a thousand years, if she has to make her way through the guys in the clan. She could do a lot worse than Grey. Grey’s job is to calm down Lexy. Grey is her handler. Lexy is clan Ankhs Dragon. In Clan lingo that means she’s an emotional Dragon and a warrior. She’s not a green scaly dragon.  Grey, Lexy and Arrianna were the last ones to come back out of the testing. That was over forty years ago. 

Tell us more about you. What is your strongest personality trait?

I have certain skills with women. I have the same skill set as Lilarah. I mean Lily, my ex whatever she is. That’s a story for another place and time.

Yes, let’s keep this interview family friendly. Is there anything about you that people are always giving you a hard time about? How do you feel about it?

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful. That commercial used to crack me up. It’s how I feel on most days. Girls love me, even some guys. True love is unattainable for me. I’m a little bit bitter about that, but I manage to find ways to occupy my time recreationally.

What are your three favorite leisure activities?

I’m afraid I can’t answer that one with a PG rating. Just kidding, I’m on a personal search for the world’s best burger. Also the world’s best pizza place. I love beaches and women with curves.

I’m addicted to pizza and have the curves to show it, so we should get along just fine. What are your three favorite foods?

Burgers, Pizza and Spaghetti. That was an easy one. 

What do you want to be when you grow up?

In control of my own life. I want to be free.

Three favorite books or movies?

Mallrats, Super Troopers, All of the Porky’s and Police Academy movies. We tend to watch a lot of messed up funny shows, Zombie shows and Horrors.  I loved the Harry Potter series, and anything by Stephen King.

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

The second tiers (Ankh, Trinity, and Triad) we change the world every single day, but Mortals (first tiers) never hear about it.

And finally, Frost of Ankh, what words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers?

In the magical lyrical genius of Rascal Flatts, Life is a highway; I’m going to ride it all night long. Joking, that was a joke. I know what I want to say, Stand back up. When life kicks you down. Stand back up.

Thanks for joining us, Frost. Readers, read more about Frost's book, Sweet Sleep here:

The Rules of The Correction   

A Thousand years ago the Correction began.

The creation of new immortals became illegal.

Under third tier law any human with an ability that uses it to alter a life path has committed an offense punishable by Correction.

 Any human sired by a third tier soul (immortal) must also be destroyed.

 They allow you to live until after your 16th birthday.

 You get a chance to fight back.

 They want you to fight back.

      Those are the rules.

      You won't know they're coming.

      Be Brave for these are your final moments. 
     
      Everyone in your genetic line must also be Corrected. Erased from the world like a spiritual virus.
     
     This is your Sweet Sleep.    

     If you survive your Correction and awaken from your Sweet Sleep.

     You must join with the first clan that comes.

     You will not survive on your own.

     Your miracle was not free.
     There was fine print to be read at the bottom of your contract. 

     You have signed up for a second chance at life, as a sacrificial lamb for the greater good.
    You are on your way to the slaughter.


    This is not a fairy tale... This is a nightmare. 

Buy Sweet Sleep on Amazon

Readers, you can learn about Frost's author here:

Kim Cormack worked for 15 years as an Early Childhood educator in preschool, daycare, and as an aid. She has been blessed to live most of her life on Vancouver Island in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. She currently lives in the gorgeous little town of Port Alberni with her crazy little family. She is a single mom with two awesome kids, Cameron and Jenna. Cameron is eight years old and Jenna just graduated. Jenna wants to be an archaeologist and specialize in ancient languages. 
     She is a lover of shenanigans and pranks and she often pulls off one or two a week, just because she can. She adores all that is wild and hilarious. Her home is full of laughter, and, if each day She can find a way to make just one person laugh so hard they have an accident, it was a day well spent for her. She spends most of her time parenting, creating hijinks, or disappearing into her own mind and journeying through other realms. She hopes when you read her books you laugh, you cry and then you step out of your box for a minute and notice the magic that is absolutely everywhere. 
     On January 28, 2009, She traveled back to her childhood in a miraculous dream. She woke up in the middle of the night and typed a whole children’s book into her cell phone. It was a collection of first moments….being four years old and holding a baby chick. Then running on the beach and playing in the sand. She says she could remember so clearly how it all felt – So clearly she lived it all over again. Another time, she was on the B.C Ferries thinking about her son Cameron and the shark boots he’d been obsessed with for six months and the shenanigans he always blamed on the boots. It was the boots that wanted to roll in the mud or jump in the puddle. (Sharks apparently love the mud. She says she didn't know this little tidbit of information until she had a son.) As a result, she published her first children’s book, Shark Boots, in May of 2010. Her second book, Being Four, followed in 2011. She continued to write many more funny and strange children's books after these first two. Then one night She had another dream, only this time it was a nightmare. From that nightmare came an entire book series, a series that she has been eating, sleeping, and breathing since that very first sleepless night. When she awoke from the nightmare, she had a creepy song continuously playing in her head. She immediately wrote down all of the details of the dream to make the song go away. Yet the song continued to play….
The result of this nightmare is her first YA book, Sweet Sleep, the first in her YA Paranormal Fantasy series, The Children of Ankh, Coming August 7th 2014 from Corvallis Press.  She can't wait to share these characters with the world.



Sweet Sleep


To be a part of the Sweet Sleep blog tour contact http://www.childrenofankh.com


















August 12, 2014

Favorite Authors' Favorites

Welcome to my new feature all about author favorites. One thing I really love about the internet is the access it gives us to authors. Heck, 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.

When I put the call out to authors to answer my ‘Favorites’ questions, I didn’t expect for my to-read list to grow so fast. 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!


I asked authors to share with us which book inspired them to write.

Many Waters by Madeline L’Engle, because I loved the story and it made me realize that instead of trying to find more books like it, I could create something myself. -Meradeth Houston ( Meradet writes Young Adult and New Adult fantasy and science fiction.)   

NUMBER THE STARS by Lois Lowrey, MG. When I was teaching fifth grade, we read Newbery books together in class. They all were good, but NUMBER THE STARS was my favorite. We had the students research WWII before we started reading so they’d better understand what was happening, and not only did the kids learn a lot, this teacher learned too. I had been writing articles for children’s magazines, but the students’ enthusiasm for reading this book and others started me to thinking about writing novels for children. -BeverlyStowe McClure (Beverly writes fiction for children and teens.) 

There isn’t one. I’ve always written, but The Island of the Blue Dolphins spurred me into the historical genre at the age of 11. In fact, I wrote my first 100 page “fan fiction” based off that book using side characters. It was epic—at least in my eyes. =) –Crystal Collier (Crystal writes fantastic genre mash-ups for teens and young (even if only at heart) women. There may even be cheese involved. Or not. ) 


I also asked authors which book has the most atmosphere.

For me, hands down, the most atmospheric book I’ve read is the contemporary Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. Set in the deep Missouri Ozarks, the protagonist, sixteen-year-old Ree Dolly is Shakespearian in her attempts to keep her brother and sister safe. A yarn of true genius, the word ‘atmosphere’ was invented for this book. -Nancy Stewart (Nancy writes fiction for kids and young adults) 

SERAPHINA by Rachel Hartman. This book was brilliantly written from start to finish—characters, setting, action, and voice. -SA Larsen (Sheri writes about the unseen and the average teen/tween who's not so average.) 

The Fog, by James Herbert—fog overtakes a town and incites fear in readers. -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.)  

Now let’s hear from you! If you’re a writer, which book inspired you to write? If you aren’t a writer, share your story about what a book DID inspire you to do. What book do you feel has the most atmosphere?

Are there any ‘favorites’ questions you’d like me to ask the authors that you haven’t seen yet? I’m putting together the questions for the next round of interviews, so let me know in comments and I’ll get it added.

August 11, 2014

Writer's Bluck

Yes, that is a u instead of an o. Yes, I am suffering from writer’s bluck.

Writer’s bluck is a condition every author suffers from at some point (or many points) in his or her career. It is the point when she questions, “Is this worth it?” “Is anyone listening?” and “I wonder if Shopko is hiring?”

I’ve actually been in this funk for a while now. Hoping and praying it would pass. I have tried to dress up my current wip (work in progress) in spandex and a cape hoping I would be more inspired to add words every day. I have set goals like: When the fifth blogger agrees to read & review your book, you get frozen yogurt. I have even gone so far as to make a mock up of my next Super Villain Academy novel with ME as the cover model.

Look I'm a super hero
or is it villain?!
(Full wrap version)

Nothing has helped to breakthrough the bluck. Sometimes admitting you have the problem is the first step toward recovery. Meanwhile, I'm wondering, do you have any suggestions on any home remedies I might try? The funnier and more outrageous, the better!

August 8, 2014

Building Character with Kacie Ramsey from Tortured Souls

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 Kacie Ramsey from Tortured Souls. Great of you to join us, Kacie. Can you tell our readers a little about yourself, please?

My name is Kacie Ramsey, and I see dead people. Yep, I'm a physical medium, been told I'm quite powerful. I'm a fifteen-year-old high school sophomore. I love acting, especially musical theater. This semester I'm starring in the school musical Anything Goes. Though I love drama, that love is limited to the stage. My life is so full of drama at times, and it drives me crazy. I'm a member of the Orion Circle, an elite club of paranormal hunters. I have an awesome boyfriend, Logan, who is also a physical medium.

Wow. That sounds like a tough talent to have. Within all of that, can you tell us what conflict you’re up against?

Maybe a better question would be what conflict am I not up against. Homicidal ghost, Mommy issues, crazy innkeepers, out of control powers—yet all that is eclipsed by the souls of those poor, trapped children.

Trapped children? Oh my.

Can you share with us what you’ve learned about yourself or friend or family while trying to resolve your conflict?

I learned that my dad really does love me. I spent so much of the last six years thinking he hated me—no not hate… that he merely tolerated my presence. See Dad’s a skeptic and never believed I could see spirits. He blamed me when my mother walked out on us six years ago. The fact that he’s willing to support me and take a leap of faith means the world to me. I just wish I’d confronted him sooner…

Oh, jeez, Kacie. It sounds like you are hinting at something important there. Maybe we can lighten the mood. Tell us about your best friend.

My best friend is Celia. She and I met in elementary school seven years ago. Our friendship turned into something closer to sisterhood after her brush with a mischievous spirit. Celia is everything I’m not: outgoing, perky, and utterly boy-crazy.

What are your three favorite leisure activities?

I love running, musical theater, and video games.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Well, I used to want to be a famous actress, but it occurred to me that I’d hate the paparazzi, not to mention constantly being in the public eye. So, my second love is animals. I want to be a marine biologist or a zoologist, not sure which yet. I still have two more years until college to decide. Whatever I do, I’ll continue to help spirits in need.

I agree that fame seems like a bad deal. Before we say goodbye, do you have any words of wisdom to share with our readers?

You must learn to accept who you are and be true to yourself. When I suppressed my psychic abilities, it ultimately created more problems than it solved. I was miserable pretending to be okay when I wasn’t. It wasn’t fair to me or the people I cared about.

Great advice, Kacie. Thank you for visiting with us today. Readers, here is more information about Kacie’s story: Tortured Souls

Sometimes Rest in Peace isn't an option

Kacie Ramsey sees ghosts—and it's ruining her life. Her mother left, her father blames her, and no matter how hard she tries, she can't keep the ghosts away. Now a new power has emerged. Nightly visions of grisly murders and a relentless predator draw her to the brink of insanity.

When the phantom appears at a party, Kacie's longtime crush, Logan, saves her. He invites her to join the Orion Circle, a group of supernatural hunters with chapters in schools all over the country. Through the Circle, Kacie learns to embrace her spiritual powers, and for the first time in her life she feels in control rather than a victim.

But the Foxblood Demon will not give up so easily. A demented serial killer in life who trapped the souls of the thirteen children he murdered, imprisoning them within the walls of his mansion. Now in death, he plots his return while drawing power from the pure souls of the children. He recognizes something in Kacie he's never seen before—a medium powerful enough to provide a vessel for his tainted soul.

Kacie can't ignore the tortured souls of the children crying out to her every night. With Logan at her side, she will fight the Foxblood Demon. But can they banish this powerful phantom, or will Kacie lose not only her body, but her eternal soul to the monster.


And now some information on Kacie’s author:

Kimber Leigh Wheaton is a bestselling YA/NA author with a soft spot for sweet romance. She is married to her soul mate, has a teenage son, and shares her home with three dogs, four cats, and lots of dragons. No, she doesn’t live on a farm, she just loves animals. Kimber Leigh is addicted to romance, videogames, superheroes, villains, and chocolate—not necessarily in that order. (If she has to choose, she’ll take a chocolate covered superhero!) She currently lives in San Antonio, TX but has been somewhat a rolling stone in life, having resided in several different cities and states.


a Rafflecopter giveaway If you have a character from a children’s, tween or young adult book that you’d like to see interviewed on Building Character, please contact kaistrand at yahoo dot com.

August 5, 2014

Favorite Authors' Favorites

Welcome to my new feature all about author favorites. One thing I really love about the internet is the access it gives us to authors. Heck, 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.

When I put the call out to authors to answer my ‘Favorites’ questions, I didn’t expect for my to-read list to grow so fast. 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!


I asked authors to share with us some of their favorite contemporary fiction novels.

Well Spring Novels by James L. Rubert. Adult Christian fiction.  This is a powerful series of Christians fighting the evils of the world. Christina Weigand (Chistina writes Christian Fantasy fiction for kids and teens.)

I love contemporary novels, especially romance, and there are so many to choose from. Can I say my novels? Because I love to read, but I write what I love to read and I’ve read mine (for editing purposes) more than I’ve read any others on the planet. Angela Smith (Angela writes romance novels that attempt to solve love’s mystery, where happy-ever-afters are a given and characters seek adventure.) 

Hmmm…this sits on the fence between contempory and historical, but I loved At Play in the Fields of the Lord by Peter Matthiessen. It’s an adult novel set in the rainforest of South America. Everything from language to setting to character to plot is so close to perfect. Shel Delisle (Shel writes lighter fiction for teens. She has also written under the pen name M.E. Wynne.) 

I also asked authors their favorite book world.

The Devil Take You (HK Carlton) because it is an amazing piece of historical fiction I want to run away with time and time again. Mary Waibel (Mary writes fantasy and fairytale-type fiction for teens) 

Pandora from Avatar by Stephen Charles Gould. I would love to live in a world like that with a perfectly lithe body, complete with any color skin (in this case blue) and long tail. I like that everything on Pandora is connected through energy and everyone respects and appreciates all life. How often do you get to cry when a tree is destroyed? Ruth Colter (Ruth writes lite sci-fi suspense fiction with strong female characters.) 

I could EASILY spend my days in twisted town of Moonlight Bay (Dean Koontz’s Fear Nothing and Seize the Night) where animals have been scientifically modified to be super smart and a creepy military research base begs to be explored. Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson world, would be another place I’d LOVE to spend my time. Who wouldn’t want to be the son of a deity and go on grand adventures? Deek Rhew (Deek is an adult thriller author.) 

Now let’s hear from you! What are your favorite contemporaries and book worlds and why?

August 1, 2014

Happy Release Day to Ayden's Story

I'm so excited for the official release of WORTH THE EFFORT: AYDEN'S STORY, the novella duet to ELLA'S STORY.

Seventeen-year-old Ayden Worth shouldn’t have to seek peace of mind in the streets. But as family pressures mount, his anxieties increase, and he turns his back on comfort for a life in homeless camps and back alleys.

Then one fateful day he runs into the only person he ever wanted to know better. Ella Jones. His memories paint her as kind and undemanding, and it seems the years haven’t changed her. Her simple expectations draw him to her. Against all odds, a relationship buds and grows.

Yet, as Ayden repairs his life, Ella suggests he help others who also struggle. Will Ella turn out to be just like his dad, expecting more from him than he can give? Or will he prove that he is worth the effort?

***
What do I mean by novella duet? Each story is told in the main character's point of view. Ella kicked it off by explaining to us what it was like to meet a homeless kid. We found out that she hadn't even known there were homeless teenagers and it scared her - a lot.

Well, just like in a well crafted love song, there has to be a harmony of voices. So Ayden gets his chance to let his voice shine by telling us his version of things. Now we get to spend some time on the streets. We learn what touches him the most - things like kindness.

Individually, the stories are complete. Together they are more complete. They fit like a puzzle. They harmonize like a duet.
***
What are people saying about AYDEN'S STORY? Some clips from a few of the first reviews:

"These are two wonderful, uplifting stories. The telling of the same events from both sides is truly unique. This pair of books illustates the axiom: "Never give-up". Because, in the end, it is always "Worth the effort"." -Amazon Review

"I love how Kai Strand makes real characters tackle real problems without all the fluff you find in most romance novellas. She writes about them as if they were really people." Goodreads review

"Ayden himself has got to be one of my all-time favorite characters. He's so...real. He has issues and insecurities and deals with them in such a real way that makes you think that he could just walk off the pages of the book (I wish! He sounds so handsome!). I really love how this story tackles harder issues of life, even in a numbered of pages. The reader goes through so many emotions with Ayden that you can't help but feel for him the entire time." Read more of this review on The Paige-Turner Blog.

I'd be honored if you add your own review for AYDEN'S STORY.

You can purchase your copy here: WORTH THE EFFORT: AYDEN'S STORY

Help me spread the news! Click the link to share the news of AYDEN'S book launch on your Twitter page:

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July 30, 2014

Three Times A Charm with Mary-Jean Harris

Welcome to Three Times A Charm. I love introducing my readers to new authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the children’s publishing industry.

Today’s guest is author, Mary-Jean Harris. Thanks for joining us, Mary-Jean. Please tell us a little about you.

I write young adult fantasy and historical fiction, both novels and short stories. My first book, Aizai the Forgotten, was released on June 20 with Muse it Up Publishing. I am now writing the sequel to Aizai the Forgotten, which will continue where the first book left off.

I am also a student at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada studying theoretical physics with a minor in philosophy. I love animals and have a miniature poodle and rabbit, and some day (soon, I hope) I want to have a Bernese Mountain Dog. I have travelled to England, Scotland, and Peru and hope to travel to many other interesting places with old ruins and castles, and beautiful places to hike.

Now, can you tell us about your book?

My young adult fantasy novel Aizai the Forgotten follows the adventures of Wolfdon Pellegrin in seventeenth century France and Spain as he searches for the lost land of Aizai. It is a story about magic hidden in the world and a mystery that Wolfdon finds himself more involved in than he could have imagined.


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

There are so many great books, but I’ll pick 3 instead of 50 and say Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogy, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien, and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. So first off, I think the Merlin Trilogy (and the 4th book after the trilogy, The Wicked Day) are probably my favourite books ever. They are Arthurian stories told from the point of view of Merlin, starting from when he was a boy in the first book to an old man in the last. They’re so beautifully written and you really feel like you’re in the book when you read them. The characters are amazing and you get so invested in them, even if, like with all Arthurian tales, you know how things will turn out in general. The books are really magical, but there is not a lot of actual “magic” in them except for Merlin’s powers, which are not as simple for him to access as in other stories. It’s more the magic of the writing that takes you to wonderful places.
For The Lord of the Rings, this is a wonderful story that really captures the best of people and the worst, and the world of Middle Earth is so real and detailed that you can enter the story. At the same time, Tolkien makes the story epic, encompassing the fate of the entire world, and very personal, by narrowing in on humble character points of view such as Frodo, who manages to persevere and overcome the power of the ring to save the world.

And finally (I could talk about books I like all day!), Jane Eyre is one of my favourite classics. I used to not be a fan of first person narrative, but Jane is such a likeable and intriguing protagonist to follow, and she’s very smart and I completely follow the way she thinks. I love the story, and like Mary Stewart’s books, you get so invested in the characters! Also, Jane’s relationship with Mr. Rochester is really unique, and they’re both such intelligent and interesting characters that you want things to work out for them and stay with them all the way through the story.

For anyone who’s interested, I have a “best books” list on Goodreads if you want to check it out: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/5526063-mary-jean-harris?shelf=the-best

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

Pencil, notebook, and laptop. I don’t really need anything for inspiration, because I can imagine enough myself. The pencil has to be an ultra-comfort mechanical pencil, the notebook has to be portable, easy to write in, pretty, and have lines that are spaced small enough so I don’t have to write large. I find Moleskine notebooks are the best for this. I like to take my notebooks with me everywhere, and I always write by hand first. It’s too hard to think creatively when you’re typing and looking at a screen. Be that as it may, I also need my laptop to type things up, organize my writing, and do research. And a laptop is better than a computer because then you can do everything outside, when it’s nice out, that is.

  • Top 3 favorite places.

Out of the places I’ve visited, I’d have to say the Isle of Skye in Scotland, the Amazon, and Disney World! I went to England and Scotland last summer, and I especially loved the Isle of Skye. I stayed in a remote B&B in the country by the water, and it was such a nice place to walk and explore. Also on the Isle of Skye is a mountain range called the Quiraing and a “fairy glen” and “fairy pools” that were really beautiful.

I also loved the Amazon rainforest when I went to Peru a few summers ago. I stayed at a wild animal rehabilitation centre to help volunteer, and it was such a nice area, so peaceful, and I got to sleep outside in hammocks at night. And Disney World is just awesome. I loved Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom the best, and I definitely want to go back there. No one is too old for Disney!


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


Thanks for joining us on this week’s Three Times A Charm, Mary-Jean. Best of luck to you and Aizai.

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.