June 24, 2016

Building Character with Kira from A Town Bewitched by Suzanne de Montigny

Yay – it’s Friday! Friday’s begin the weekend and weekends offer all sorts of READING time! So to help you make your reading decisions, I’d like to introduce you to Kira from her book A Town Bewitched by Suzanne de Montigny. First a little about the book:

It’s tough for Kira, growing up in the small town of Hope as a child prodigy in classical violin, especially when her dad just died. And to make matters worse, Kate McDonough, the red-haired fiddler appears out of nowhere and bewitches the town with her mysterious Celtic music. Even Uncle Jack succumbs to her charms, forgetting his promise to look after Kira’s family. But when someone begins vandalizing the town leaving dead and gutted girds as a calling card, Kira knows without a doubt who’s behind it.




Welcome to Strands of Thoughts, Kira and congratulations on the publication of your very own story! Can you tell us a little about you, please?

Hi, my name’s Kira. I’m fourteen and my dad just died, and with his death, my dreams of the violin I need to further my studies. You probably wonder why I’d be worried about a stupid violin,  but you see, I’m a child prodigy, and I don’t mean that in a braggish way. It’s actually really tough being a child prodigy  because everyone thinks you’re a nerd. But I need that violin to do my final conservatory exam. However, there’s another  problem. Some strange red-haired woman has suddenly come to town who plays the fiddle. No big deal, right? But the whole town’s gone fiddle crazy. Yeah, that’s right. Fiddle crazy in a small town that likes rock. It’s like they’re bewitched. But the worst part is, my Uncle Jack who promised to take care of us now that Dad’s gone has fallen for her. And  not just that. Someone’s been vandalizing the town leaving dead birds that have had their organs removed. The police even found human teeth marks in part of an organ. I think it’s her – Kate McDonough. She’s not the angel everyone thinks she is. I mean, just look at her eyes. They’re pale blue like a wild animal’s. She’s not normal.

I’m sorry about your dad. Do you have anyone in your life that can help you through the grief as well as whatever crazy things are happening to the town?

My BFF is Charlotte, and oh, has she got problems too. She was adopted from China into a white family and she’s the only Asian in town except for the old couple who run the Golden Sun restaurant. And Travis, the biggest bully in our school takes every chance he gets to run her down for being Chinese. I hate that guy. Anyway, she and I stand together against Travis and the In-girls, the coolest clique in our school. The thing I love about Charlotte is that she’s going to help me get to the bottom of this fiddler problem. We’re trying to figure out who Kate McDonough really  is before it’s too late.

Anyway, you can hear my whole story right here:


Thanks for joining us today, Kira and sharing some inside info on your story, A Town Bewitched. Readers, here's a little about Kira’s author:

Suzanne de Montigny wrote her first novella when she was twelve. She is the author of award-winning the Shadow of the Unicorn series. Her third novel, A Town Bewitched, was awarded the Dante Rossetti Best Coming of Age Novel. She and her sons are avid fiddlers. She lives in Burnaby, B.C. with her two sons, husband, and Buddy the dog.




June 22, 2016

Three Times A Charm with Cindy Dorminy & Tuned Into You

Hey y’all! Welcome to 3x’s A Charm. I love, love, love to introduce readers to the people involved in children’s publishing. Today we welcome young adult author, Cindy Dorminy. Cindy, tell us a little about you, please.

Unlike most authors, I didn’t grow up wanting to be a writer. I wasn’t even an avid reader, but I had a vivid imagination and I loved movies. I still do. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not quoting one of my favorite lines. When I’m not at my day job as a research coordinator, I love to write sweet love stories. I share my house with my musician husband, an awesome teenage daughter (my go-to person for teen-speak), and Daisy Mae, the sweetest pooch on the planet. I live in Nashville, Tennessee where live music really can be heard everywhere, even at the airport and grocery store.

The only live music you’ll find in my grocery store is me – singing in Latin as I browse the aisles. Not quite the same, though – huh? So, tell us all about your book.

Tuned Into You

A summer party is the last place Lydia Flowers wanted to be. Her toughest softball competitor would be more fun than Abe Fischer, the Nashville Teen Idol superstar. He’s a lip-syncing party animal with a short fuse; at least that’s what the tabloids say. Except Abe’s nothing like the guy Lydia’s read about online. He’s sweet and the way he talks to his horse could even make her go weak in the knees.

Life throws Lydia and Abe a curve ball when they are wrongfully arrested for destruction of property. Her choices? Work on the Fischer Farm beside Abe or the arrest goes on her record and ruins her shot at a softball scholarship. With few options, Lydia agrees to a summer working like a dog beside Abe and their initial dislike turns to attraction. If Lydia doesn’t watch out, she just might lose her heart to the dreamy-eyed singer.

When the press gets wind of the secret Abe’s family has been keeping from him, he’ll have to risk pushing Lydia away and striking out in the ultimate game of his life. Lydia will have to decide if Abe’s messed up life in the spotlight is worth risking her heart and the scholarship of her dreams.

I recommend my book to readers who like:

Tiffany King: Turtle Bay
Angie Stanton: Rock and a Hard Place

Now let’s move on to the threes. Give us your top 3 responses to the following to help us get to know you better.

       Top 3 most admired people and why you admire them.

1.      My husband Mark – He’s my best friend and he’s put up with a lot from me over the years and he still loves me. He makes me laugh every day and without him, there would be no Maddie Rose.
2.      Maddie Rose – Even though she’s only thirteen, she’s so cool, smart and funny. If I could go back in time and be a teen again, I’d want to be her best friend.
3.      Sylvester Stallone – I know that sounds odd after the other two very personal people I mentioned, but if you’ve read this far, you know I love movies. When Stallone was a nobody, he wrote a screenplay you might have heard about: Rocky. He believed in it so much that he wouldn’t sell the script unless he could be cast as the main character. And the rest is history. He believed in himself enough to take a chance at losing everything and look where he is today.

       Top 3 leisure activities.

1.      I lift weights. At 5 AM 3-4 days a week, my husband and I drag ourselves downstairs and lift weights. I’ve been slinging iron since the eighties and even was a competitive bodybuilder back in the day.
2.      Gardening – I’m not great at it, but there’s something about working with the earth that helps me figure out a frustrating scene.
3.      Movies – As I mentioned early, I love going to the movies. I’ll even go by myself. When I was a teen, I saw the movie Grease over thirty times in the theatre (of course, going to the movies was much cheaper back then). I own a projector and can show movies on a big screen any time I want!

       Top 3 personal mantras or inspirational phrases.

Of course, mine are movie quotes.
1.      Do, or do not. There is no try. (Yoda, Empire Strikes Back)
2.      There is no normal life, just life. (Doc Holliday, Tombstone)
3.      Just keep swimming. (Dory, Finding Nemo)

Cindy, where can our tech savvy readers find out more about you and your work? Especially that brand new book.

@cindydorminy Twitter and Facebook

Thanks for visiting with us today. It was great to get to know more about you and Tuned Into You.

THANKS!

June 17, 2016

New Release - A Love That Disturbs by Medeia Sharif

Happy release day to A LOVE THAT DISTURBS by Medeia Sharif! This sounds like an intense read. I'm really looking forward to it. Get your own copy now!

A LOVE THAT DISTURBS by Medeia Sharif
Evernight Teen, June 17, 2016
Purchase from Amazon (merchant sites will be updated on the author's site)

Maysa Mazari is alarmed by her mother’s talk about arranged marriage. As a hijab-wearing Pakistani-American, she wants to find love on her own. Her judgmental Muslim clique has protected her from racist taunts, although the leader is turning on her as Maysa strays from the group because of her attraction to Haydee.

Haydee Gomez is a former gang member and juvenile detention student. Now living with a clean-cut aunt, she wants to turn her life around, even though one person will never let her forget her roots—Rafe, her abusive pimp. Haydee attempts to pull away from a life of prostitution when she develops feelings for Maysa, although Rafe isn’t willing to give her up too easily.

Finding themselves in danger from Maysa’s friends and Haydee’s pimp, it’s apparent their love disturbs everyone around them as they fight to stay together.

Find Medeia – YA and MG Author

Blog   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Instagram   |   Amazon

June 15, 2016

Small Town Setting - Ghostly Visions by Penny Lockwood

 Today, I welcome Penny Lockwood, author of the middle grade ghost stories, Ghost for Rent and Ghost for Lunch, which are now combined into one conveniet book, Ghostly Visions. Penny and her books are from small town Oregon and she's here to talk about why she chose these adorable little towns for her stories' settings. 

Take it away, Penny!

GHOSTLY VISIONS
A Tween Book Set in Rural Oregon

Ghostly Visions is a two-for-one book for grades four, five and six, containing Ghost for Rent, set in Scappoose, Oregon, a small rural community of about 6,700 people, and Ghost for Lunch, set in St. Helens, Oregon, the county seat for Columbia County, and home to about 13,000 people.

Why did I choose these small towns for my stories?  It’s simple.  I followed the basic rule of writing: write what you know.  In September 1978, my husband and I moved from California, where we met, to Scappoose, Oregon.  We fell in love with the rural area, the friendly people, and the beautiful countryside. I could have chosen Connecticut where I grew up or California where I lived for a year, but I chose Oregon since this is where my children were raised. 

When she was much younger, my daughter insisted I wasn’t a “real” writer since I had never published a book but published short stories and non-fiction articles instead.  As a challenge to myself, I wrote Ghost for Rent (first published in 2002 with Hard Shell Word Factory, now defunct, and revised for this edition). I enjoyed the characters so much I went on to write Ghost for Lunch.  My publisher, 4RV Publishing LLC wanted to present both books together and thus Ghostly Visions was born.

Scappoose is about 30 miles northwest of one of the major cities in Oregon—Portland. Wendy, the main character, begins her life in Portland and soon finds herself along with her brother and mother in Warren, a rural area between Scappoose and St. Helens. My husband and I lived in Scappoose when we arrived in Oregon for about five years before moving to six acres in Warren.  Our children both attended Scappoose Schools, including Otto Petersen Elementary School, where Wendy goes to school in Ghostly Visions. Since I’m quite familiar with the area, and not many books are set in Columbia County, Oregon, it made sense for me to place my characters here.

Whenever I needed inspiration for a scene, I just had to look out my office window at the fields outside our home, or drive along one of the many back roads.  In fact, the idea for Ghost for Rent came from a neighbor.  She mentioned hearing piano music playing in her rental home although no one was near the piano.  It was easy for me to find a house to use as inspiration since there are many older farm homes in need of repair in the area.

Scappoose is a very family-friendly town. It has grown quite a bit since we moved here 38 years ago.  While it didn’t have a pool or cinema when our kids were young, there has always been enormous support for sports activities such as soccer, baseball, and basketball both within the school and league teams.  Access to a pool and cinema were seven miles up the road in St. Helens. We are within sight of some of the major peaks of the Cascade Mountains such as Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Hood. We are reminded daily of how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful part of the country.

When my children started school, I found full-time work in St. Helens.  Once again, it was easy to place my characters there since I spent many hours traveling back and forth, working, shopping, eating, and walking around the area.  The second of the stories, Ghost for Lunch, is set more in St. Helens and centers around a former hotel that has been turned into a restaurant.  The inspiration for this story came from a news article about one of the local restaurants that is reported to be haunted.  Since I worked around the corner from this restaurant and have eaten there numerous times, it made sense to have Wendy’s adventures take place there.

St. Helens is a lovely area with both an “old” town and a new town.  Originally, it was two towns, Houlton and St. Helens. St. Helens was the area down by the river and was the major port city along the Columbia River until the docks burned down around 1853.  While repairs were made, the ships went further up the river and docked in Portland.  Soon Portland took over as the major shipping port along the river and St. Helens lost its hold on the shipping industry. There are many stone buildings in old town, including the original courthouse built in 1906 and City Hall that formerly housed a bank in the early1900s. St. Helens has been the location of a few movies including Halloween Town and Twilight.

Currently, both Scappoose and St. Helens are much different from the time period of the books, which are set in the 1990s. When Wendy and her family first move to Scappoose, it has no major shopping areas.  There is one area for a grocery store, a pharmacy, and a hardware store.  Now, the town boasts a Sears appliance store, Fred Meyer Shopping Center, a Goodwill Super Store, a Bi-Mart, numerous restaurants, banks, hair salons, a multi-plex cinema, and other essential stores for local residents to do their shopping.  Other changes are coming as Portland Community College expands to the area.  The closeness of Scappoose and St. Helens to Portland, make them ideal places for folks to leave city living and yet be within commuting distance of work, major restaurants, theatre and other entertainment.

St. Helens has also changed.  While it originally had a selection of local stores, many of those have closed down such as J.C. Penney, A &W, Tony’s Shoes, St. Helens Book Shoppe, and others.  Many of these closed when Wal*Mart moved in.  Others closed down when the economy failed. Still others, such as Dari Delish mentioned in Ghost for Lunch have survived over the years. The old town until recently housed mostly antique and thrift shops.  Now, there is a push on to renovate this area and bring in new businesses and develop the waterfront. I tried to maintain some accuracy to the time period, but again, I allowed myself some leeway.

While writing the stories, I did take some artistic liberties and added streets that aren’t in the area, such as Lockland where Wendy and her family reside.  Descriptions of the old Scappoose Library and the moon rising over the Columbia River, however, are accurate.  I did take a bit of liberty by stating the Columbia River is visible from the hotel/restaurant since it is actually a block away from the river.

Ghostly Visions is about ghosts, but it’s also about the importance of family and friends. Wendy Wiles attracts ghosts, first in Ghost for Rent, when her parents separate and she, her brother, and mother move into a haunted house. The story begins in Portland, Oregon and quickly moves to small town, Scappoose, Oregon. Miserable at leaving her friends and beloved Portland behind, Wendy meets her neighbor Jennifer who tells her the house Wendy’s mom rented is haunted. After two of them appear to Wendy, the girls find themselves tracking down the mystery of who the ghosts are and why they "live" in the Wiles' home.

In Ghost for Lunch, Wendy’s friend, Jennifer, moves away, leaving Wendy sad until new neighbors and their restaurant in St. Helens bring ghosts back into Wendy's life. She, her brother, and their new friend discover the two cases are connected. Once again, the young sleuths use clues and lots of brainstorming to figure out who is haunting the restaurant.

Ghostly Visions is available direct from the publisher 4RV Publishing LLC for $15.99 including shipping and handling: http://www.4rvpublishingcatalog.com/penny-lockwood.php.  It can also be ordered from your local bookstore with the following ISBN numbers: ISBN-10: 0982642326, ISBN-13: 978-0982642320, or through Amazon, for $18.99 http://www.amazon.com/Ghostly-Visions-Ghost-Rent-Lunch/dp/0982642326?ie=UTF8&keywords=ghostly visions&qid=1465503637&ref_=sr_1_1&s=books&sr=1-1.

June 8, 2016

Bitter Envy by Kimber Leigh Wheaton on Kindle Scout

I'm excited to share Kimber Leigh Wheaton's Kindle Scout campaign. If you aren't familiar with Kindle Scout, it's an Amazon program that helps authors find an audience for their book before it's published. Kimber is an excellent author and it sounds like Bitter Envy is another winner. But don't take my word for it. Read the excerpt she's shared with us here, and then hop on over to her campaign on Amazon to read more and most importantly to nominate Bitter Envy for publication! Kimber explains it way better than I. Take it away, Kimber...



Bitter Envy, a YA urban fantasy romance, is on Kindle Scout!

Don't know what Kindle Scout is? It is, "reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books."

Readers nominate their favorite books, and those books may receive a publishing contract through Amazon. If a book scores a contract, everyone who nominated it receives a free Kindle copy!

I would be honored if you would consider nominating Bitter Envy! You can read the first chapter and a half on Kindle Scout. 


As a special thank you, please enter my giveaway. You don't have to nominate my novel to enter, but I do appreciate your support if you decide to.

~Kimber Leigh


Bitter Envy
Enchanted Underworld, Book One

Kimber Leigh Wheaton

YA Urban Fantasy Romance
Currently on Kindle Scout


Scarlet Angel—assassin, inquisitor, and overall bane to shifter existence.
Five years ago, my parents sold me to dark shifter lord Uriah Amstead in exchange for a house and a monthly stipend. He took my light magic powers, developed them, warping the light into something darker through means that would make a hardened criminal flinch.

Born an enchantress, I wield the light magic that is a natural constraint to shifter dark magic. But now I use my powers to help Uriah grow his criminal empire. I torture shifters with my light magic, and sometimes I’m forced to kill. Those who think it’s a choice don’t understand the atrocities that Uriah would commit to keep me in line. I always choose the lesser of evils. But even that doesn’t sit well with my conscience.

The faces of my victims haunt me every night. I’ve always coped by knowing the shifters I tortured and killed were evil people who thought they were above the law. Now Uriah has taken even that small comfort from me. Through his orders, I tortured and killed an innocent man. Sure I thought the man guilty at the time, but the damage is done.

In the shifter underworld of sunny San Diego, it can be hard to know whom to trust. But I have to take a chance… because this time Uriah has gone too far.

I am Envy Davis, the Scarlet Angel, and I am through being a pawn.


Excerpt

As I round the corner, my heart slams into an erratic beat. Donovan is leaning against my Camaro, and there’s no Jack in sight. Though the sky is overcast, I consider digging out my sunglasses. But that would be cowardly. I chased away one of Uriah’s hired goons with little more than a flare of magic and a scowl… I can certainly face Donovan head-on without getting lost in his eyes.
When I reach the car, I give him a bright smile. “Hi, Donovan. Something you want?”
“I heard you scared one of Uriah’s henchmen so badly he may have needed clean pants,” he says with a crooked grin. “Are we alone out here?”
“I assume you’re referring to spies?” I ask, not expecting an answer. “As far as I can tell.”
“Let’s get in the car so we can talk.” He walks to the passenger door. “Does Jack sweep for bugs?”
“Mmm-hmm, every morning.” I unlock the door, and slide into the driver’s seat. “Though, with that asinine thug here today… he could’ve planted something.”
Donovan nods but doesn’t say anything as he pulls out a small RF detector from his backpack. I watch in silence as he sweeps the interior of the car for electronic devices. After several minutes, he tosses it back into his bag before leaning back with a heavy sigh.
“It gets so old,” he says, shaking his head. “Can you believe I’ve been sweeping for bugs as long as I can remember?”
“I never really worry about it.” I run my fingers over the leather-wrapped steering wheel. “Jack was shifter special forces for a long time. He’s paranoid enough for both of us. I wonder where he is…”
“I asked for a few minutes alone with you,” Donovan says, pulling one of my hands from the wheel. “He’s lurking nearby, waiting to pounce if needed.”
“So, what’s up?”
“Well, I was planning to take you to see High Priestess Rowena this afternoon. Sound good?” he asks while caressing my knuckles with his thumb.
I bite back a sigh, unwilling to share just how good his thumb feels on my fingers. “Yeah, that’d be great.” My relief from his statement comes out in a slight giggle.
“Did I just hear the Scarlet Angel giggle?”
“I don’t giggle.” Of course another giggle belies that statement.
“I think it’s adorable.” He leans in to rest his forehead against mine. “I feel honored that you’re comfortable enough with me to share the side you hide from everyone.”
“What side?”
My question comes out in a breathy whisper. He’s close enough to kiss… all I have to do is lean forward an inch or two and close the distance. His hand moves to the back of my head, his fingers entwining in the hair at my nape.
“The softer side,” he says, brushing his lips across my cheekbone. “The vulnerable side.” His lips caress my temple. “The side that makes me want to hold you in my arms and protect you from everything… even if you don’t really need it.” He cups my face in both palms. “Why do I feel this way?”
“I don’t know,” I reply in a choked whisper. He just put into words everything I’d been feeling for the last two weeks.
“Since the moment our auras melded together, I can’t seem to stop thinking about you.” He shifts back so he can gaze at me. “At school, at night, my aura constantly searches for yours.”
“Our magic calls to each other… but it shouldn’t.”
“No, it shouldn’t,” he says with a strangled groan. “You’re light and I’m dark.”
“Sun and moon?”
He laughs. “Something like that. Our magic should seek to destroy the other… so why doesn’t it?”
“I’m not the light you claim me to be, and you aren’t the dark you claim to be.” When he continues staring at me like he expects some sage answer, I sigh. “Maybe your Wiccan will know.”
“You ready to go see her?”
The moment I nod, my cell rings—the opening riff to “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” by Judas Priest. Uriah’s ringtone. Jack programmed it in last week as a screw you to the spider shifter. It’s the last thing I want to hear at this moment.
“It’s Uriah,” I say, clenching the phone to the point of pain.
“I suppose it wouldn’t be good to ignore it.”
“Yeah, prob’ly not.” After swallowing around my dry throat, I answer the call. “Envy.”
“Ah, my precious Angel, I have wonderful news.” Uriah’s voice oozes syrupy saccharine.
I flinch from his words. Wonderful news for him is always devastating for me.
“What?”
“So impolite, little one,” he says with a dry chuckle. “All work and no play… well you know the rest.”
“I have tons of homework, Uriah.” The lie rolls off my tongue. Lying has become so easy, almost second nature. The realization makes me sad. “What do you want?”
“Someone has become too meddlesome for his own good,” Uriah says in a flippant tone, like he’s commenting on the weather rather than torture. “Not only that but this particular individual crossed a line last night when he raped Mickey’s fourteen-year-old daughter. No one crosses my people. An attack against them is an attack against me. Kill him.”
“I… uh—”
“That’s an order I expect to be obeyed,” he says in a much harder voice. “Don’t make me regret my decision to waive punishment for your earlier transgressions.”
“N-no. I-I mean yes,” I stammer as childhood traumas resurface at his words. “Please contact Jack with the info, and I’ll get right on it.”
“Tonight, darling Angel. I want Alfonse Dupree dead tonight. He’s one of Heinrich’s scientists. It shouldn’t be too hard for you. The man is closing in on the millennial mark, so I doubt he has much fight left in him.”
He disconnects the call. I stare at the phone clutched in my hand in silence. Another assassination. Is this one legit, or will I kill another innocent man? What choice do I have? It’s this criminal or something so much worse. Hot tears prick my eyes as the memories threaten to surface.
So many lost lives… all because I said no.
“Envy, are you okay?” Donovan asks, breaking my trance.
“Um, yeah. Fine.” My light sniffle betrays my true emotions.
“I’ll call my father. Maybe he can shed some light on this Alfonse Dupree.”
“I’d appreciate that.” Not that I have a choice either way. It’s him or… well I simply can’t deal with the alternative.
“Father, what do you know about one Alfonse Dupree, works for Heinrich?” Donovan puts the phone on speaker, and his father’s voice fills the car.
“Bottom feeder. Scientist willing to experiment on children,” Tiberius says in a booming voice. “Rapist, murderer, Nazi war criminal. He’s been a blight on our society for over nine hundred years… or so he says. In fact that lunatic claims to have created the Black Plague in his laboratory and unleashed it across Europe.”
I’m struck silent for a moment as I contemplate the atrocities this madman committed. How many innocent souls died at his hands? “What a relief,” I finally manage to blurt out.
“Who’s with you Donovan? No don’t answer that. Scarlet Angel—assassin, inquisitor, and bane to shifter existence.” His blunt words make me flinch. “You were supposed to go see our high priestess today… I suppose that’s off the table now.”
“No one is more disappointed than I am, my lord,” I reply, trying to control the rising anger. Yelling at Tiberius won’t help my situation at all.
“So I guess Uriah is having you play judge, jury, and executioner tonight then?”
“No, sir. Just executioner.”
“As you can imagine, based on what happened with Alexander, Envy is a tad reticent to follow Uriah’s orders without confirming the intel,” Donovan says, cutting through an awkward silence.
I close my eyes as a wave of nausea washes over me. Alexander was innocent, and I killed him. His poor family… how can I ever atone?
“Well, you can sleep easy tonight, Scarlet Angel,” Tiberius says, his voice mocking. “Dupree is a perfect target. Our government protected him after Germany fell in World War II. He’s as bad as they come.”
“I never sleep easy.” My voice is hard, grating. “I always choose the lesser of evils. But even that doesn’t sit well with my conscience.”
“Such the little philosopher.”
“Father, stop mocking her!” Donovan snaps at his father. “We’ll talk about this later.”
“You bet we will, son,” Tiberius replies in a deep baritone. “Now, Envy, I want you to meet with High Priestess Rowena tomorrow afternoon, no matter what… or I refuse to speak with you further. If you pass her tests, we’ll meet for dinner at Jake’s.”
He disconnects the call before I can comment. I really wish I didn’t need his help, but I can’t afford any pride right now.


About the Author

Kimber Leigh Wheaton is an award-winning, bestselling YA author with a soft spot for sweet romance. In addition to writing, she works as an editor for two publishers, as well as select indie authors. She is married to her soul mate, has a teenage son, and shares her home with three dogs and lots of dragons. Kimber Leigh is addicted to romance, video games, superheroes, villains, and chocolate—not necessarily in that order. (If she has to choose, she’ll take a chocolate covered superhero!) Winner of the 2014 Rising Star Award at the BTS Red Carpet Awards in NOLA & a Silver Medal for YA Mystery/Horror in the 2015 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards.

Author Links:
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/URgwH



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June 6, 2016

June #InkRipples – Movies


Why is the book often better than the movie? I’m pretty sure I’ve figured this out. Well, most people have figured out why a book is better than a movie, but I’ve figured out how not to be mega disappointed in the movie.

Expectation.

People often walk into the movie thinking the book will magically be shown in its entirety and they’re gobsmacked when one of their favorite supporting characters is cut completely out of the story line and the subplot about the characters’ tchotchke collection obsession is dropped. “That’s a major character building element that was missing. How do people who haven’t read the book understand the intricacies of that character’s mania?”  And… “Henry Spellgood…he added so much to the story! I was so sad we didn’t see him at all.”

I call these viewers “purists.” They don’t want anything to change. They don’t want to find a single element missing and they refuse to accept the time restraints the film producers and editors faced when putting together a final product. They are the reason so many books are being made into two and three movies. Much to my chagrin.

I am not a purist.

Perhaps because I’m expected to write blurbs for my books, I’m accustomed to seeing the ‘high level’ story. I know – no, I understand – that you can’t convert the entire book into a 150-word blurb any easier than you can a film. You have to find the drop dead important aspects of a story and skip the rest. Often, simply introducing the many characters that stroll through a book onto the screen (especially supporting characters) takes far more time than their character is worth. Of course those quirky characters add tons to the book – just like they would IRL (in real life) – but on screen, having to condense their introduction and back story in order to make their presence make any sense, takes far more time than they are worth and so their important actions/characteristics are given to a more significant character and they are erased completely.

Now, do the screenwriters and editors always choose the important aspects of the story? No. And sometimes it really ruins the story and leaves viewers frustrated. They may think the reason the story failed on film is because Henry Spellgood was left out, when in reality it was because the screenwriters cut too much back story or the editors had crappy scene transitions.

But then there are the Harry Potter films. Perhaps their success is because the author was involved in the screenwriting process. I thought the Hunger Games movies were well done too. Was that author involved? Allegiant? Not so great. The Mortal Instruments (movie - I haven't seen the t.v. show)? Ugh!

However, I thought Eragon was better than the book and I was sad they didn’t continue with that series – even though I didn’t read the rest of the books.

Which books have you enjoyed as movies? Were any of them better on screen, in your humble opinion?

Ripples in the Inkwell is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the second Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

June 1, 2016

Three Times A Charm with Chantal Gadoury & Allerleirauh

Hey y’all! Welcome to 3x’s A Charm. I love, love, love to introduce readers to the people involved in children’s publishing. Today we welcome young adult author, Chantal Gadoury. Chantal, wow us with a little about you, please.

My name is Chantal Gadoury and I’m from a small town in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania, named Muncy. I enjoy to paint in my spare time, drink a good cup of coffee when I can and appreciate watching my favorite Disney classics with loved ones. When I’m not busy crafting or reading, I’m dedicated to my family at home: my mom, sister and a furry-puppy-brother (and my Dad, who has now lives in heaven.) As a 2011 college graduate from Susquehanna University, with a degree in Creative Writing, writing novels has become a dream come true!

Congratulations on the degree. Can you tell us all about your book?

Once Upon a Time… 
In the Kingdom of Tränen, a King makes a promise to his dying wife to only remarry someone who has her golden hair. With time, the King finds his eyes are turned by his maturing daughter. Realizing her father’s intentions, Princess Aurelia tries to trick her Father by requesting impossible gifts: dresses created by the sun, moon and stars and a coat made of a thousand furs. When Aurelia discovers his success, she knows she must run away from her privileged life and escapes the kingdom disguised by the cloak and under a new name, “Allerleirauh.” 

Aurelia enters the safe haven of the Kingdom of Saarland der Licht, where she is taken under the care of the handsome and gentle Prince Klaus. Hoping to not be discovered by her father’s courtiers, Aurelia tries to remain hidden under her new false identity. Unexpected love is found between Aurelia and Prince Klaus and is challenged with an approaching arranged marriage between the Kingdom of Saarland der Licht and a neighboring ruler. With the possibility of discovery hanging in the air, Aurelia must face the difficulties of her past with her father in her journey of self-discovery before the Prince and his entire Kingdom learns the truth of her real identity, and she looses him forever.

I recommend my book to readers who like:

“Beauty” by Robin McKinley, “East” by Edith Pattou and “The Fairest Beauty” by Melanie Dickerson.

Now let’s move on to the threes. Give us your top 3 responses to the following to help us get to know you better.

  • Top 3 snacks to munch on while working:
    1) Iced Coffee with Sprinkled Donuts. 2) Ben and Jerrys. 3) Chips – and when I say chips, any chips!


  • Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up:
    I wanted to be a Broadway singer, an English Teacher and a Lawyer. I loved to sing (and still do). When I was in my 11th Grade English class learning all the classic books, I wanted to teach these too! I wanted to have students love English as much as I did! A Lawyer was just one of those jobs that I thought I’d be able to do because of my ability to argue so much.


  • Top 3 places you find writing inspiration.
    The Ocean – because of how calm and relaxing it can be. It’s just you and the waves, and the wind. The River – Again, because of how calm and relaxing it can be. I guess in a way – any sort of body of water does it for me. My writing desk – a lot of inspriation happens there.

Chantal, please share with us where our tech savvy readers can find out more about you and your work. Especially that beautiful book.


Book Trailer: 


Available at Amazon  BN  Kobo Createspace 


Thanks for visiting with us today, Chantal. It was great to get to know more about you and Allerleirauh.


THANKS!

May 31, 2016

Commencement Speech - The Human Experience

Let’s face it, it’s unlikely I will ever be asked to give a commencement speech, but this time of year all the You Tube links to inspirational speeches show up in my news feed and my very own son graduates high school in a few days, so I was inspired to give a commencement speech regardless of the lack of venue. Pretend we are in an auditorium packed with family, friends, and-most importantly-graduates. The Principal/Dean steps to the lectern…

***

Today we present our graduates with a woman who is a wife, a mother, an author, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, an employee, and a friend. Welcome Kai Strand.

*Applause*

Thank you to the faculty, staff, parents, family, friends, and students for the warm welcome. You may be wondering why I’m standing here in front of you today. I don’t have major accomplishments to tout; such as, organizing clean water for people in remote African villages, or providing warm coats for homeless children. I don’t even have an impressive degree to accredit me. I spend my days working a couple different jobs, raising children, coordinating efforts with my husband to keep our family functional, and picking up dog poop. I’m a very average person. Which is the point, really.

Of those of you who eagerly wait the moment you move your tassel across the mortarboard, many of you have grand dreams and endless ambition. You hope to change the world. Maybe you plan to become a scientist, a politician, a doctor, or a lawyer. To discover new technology, pass groundbreaking law, cure cancer. And some of you will do just that.

But most of you, like me, will live ordinary lives. As the years progress, you’ll have several jobs, some of which you’ll like a lot, most that you wont. Maybe you’ll report to someone or you’ll be the one others report to. I’ve been both. Over the course of your lives you’ll buy cars, maybe a house or two, you might get married and raise a family. There will be points in your life where you’ll struggle to make ends meet and each meal will include either potatoes or pasta – the only foods you can afford. Luckily, there will likely be periods where you are flush and able to buy speedboats or tour Europe. Or maybe you’ll be satisfied with being able to afford a daily Starbucks indulgence. This ebb and flow in life is normal. Very normal.

But you know what? Even normal people make a difference. Each day, when you go to work, or stop to pick up groceries, or browse for your next pleasure read at the bookstore, you will interact with people. You will talk about important things or make casual observations. Your words, your attitude, your actions will impact each and every person you meet. You will inspire a person or tear them down with a simple response to the service they provide. Holding a door open for the weary person behind you might be all he or she needs to walk into the lab where they’ve seen countless failures. All they need to cure cancer.

Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Eleanor Roosevelt, they did not live in a bubble. When they weren’t changing the world, they lived mundane lives and were impacted, inspired by every day people.

Recently a woman told me I inspire her. She has several novels started and not a single one finished. I think that I finish novels impresses her more than the fact that I have twelve novels published. When she admitted to her inability to finish novels, I felt a familiar tug of empathy. Finishing is hard. So I shared some tips of how I push myself through to the end. It was a nice conversation. And you know, it isn’t the first time I’ve been told, “you’ve inspired me.” No matter how many times I hear it, I react the same way. I cock my head and stare, like a curious kitten. It always takes a little longer for the meaning of the words to compute in my head. Even more surprising than the fact that my actions or words have resonated within someone is the fact that someone is watching. As an author I have a public persona. One I work hard on. Being quippy on Twitter takes a lot of effort. Yet even after all the hours I pour into making sure people are watching me, I’m still surprised to learn people are watching me. Let me tell you, people are watching you too. Not just your mother, or the brother who loves to hold things over your head, but your four year old niece, the quiet employee you work with on Thursday afternoons, the sales associate at the bookstore where you buy all your reading material, the professor who you’ll eventually hit up for a reference letter.

Even my ordinary life has had extraordinary moments. At the tender age of thirteen I traveled alone to France to spend the summer with a family I didn’t know. In my mid-twenties I visited Dublin, Ireland to hire and train an employee at a brand new manufacturing plant. Of course, as a mother, there were four life-altering moments when each of my children was born. But there was also my freshman year in high school when a boy I’d known my entire life, died from injuries he’d suffered from falling off his bicycle. And then when my roommates and I lost many of our treasured childhood belongings in a fire. There was that time my boss called me at home to ask me if the rumors she’d heard about me quitting were true – and that she was pretty sure the rumor about me sneaking off to empty hotel rooms with the bellboys, wasn’t true. Each of the extraordinary moments—whether good or bad—all had one thing in common.

Me.

I controlled my reactions. The words I used. The impression I left. I chose if I wanted to learn something from the experience or just be sad or bitter or gloating. As I rose to the occasion, or stayed strong, or restrained my anger—the whole time—there were people watching. Though I usually never thought about that aspect of it. If I was a homesick 13 year old or, like now, a nervous 51 year old giving a (fake) commencement speech, I am the constant in the equation. And regardless of if your aspiration is to be an astronaut or a schoolteacher, or if you go on to inspire a cashless economy or work at the dollar store, if you achieve your doctorate or never step into a classroom again, our human experience is the common denominator. Always.

Every day, every one of you will make a difference in large or small ways. You will—you do—change the course of life by who you are. I challenge you to consciously be a positive influence on this world in your day-to-day life while you work toward that big change your livelihood will make. Go off and do big things, but in the mean time, do a lot of really great small things.

Congratulations graduates.

May 25, 2016

Three Times A Charm with Katy Newton Naas

Welcome to Three Times A Charm. I love to introduce readers to the people involved in children’s publishing. Today we welcome middle grade author, Katy Newton Naas. Katy, can tell us a little about yourself?

I’ve been creating characters and telling stories since the day I learned to talk. As a child, they sometimes got me into trouble. I knew I wanted to write books when I won a Young Author's competition as a second-grader for my short story titled, "The Grape Pie." (Don't let its tasty title fool you - it was actually a sad little tale!)

I devoured books as a child and young adult, always doing chores and odd jobs in order to make enough money to buy more of them. Though I continue to age, my true literature love is and has always been children's and young adult fiction.

I currently teach middle school reading and high school English in southern Illinois, as well as children's church. I graduated from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a bachelor's degree in English Education and a master's degree in Reading and Language Studies. I enjoy my life out in the country with my husband, two kids, and fourteen pets.

Fourteen pets! Holy cow. Wait, do you have a cow among those pets? You’re here to talk about a couple books today. Tell us them.

Here are the blurbs to accompany my two middle grade novels, Guardian and Operation: Bully Renovation.

GUARDIAN:
Drake, Kinsey’s assistance dog, has been her best friend since the day she met him. They have a special connection – he can sense her seizures before they occur. The other students have always loved having Drake in the classroom, making Kinsey feel special, not strange. But just a short time in a new middle school changes all of that.

OPERATION: BULLY RENOVATION
            Jack Sullivan is Blackwell Middle School’s scariest bully. When students and teachers see him coming down the hallway, they run the other way. He has no friends; he doesn’t need them. School is a waste of his time.
            But after a car accident with his father leaves him in need of surgery, Jack has to have a tissue donor. Strangely, he then begins having memories from events that never actually happened to him – memories of being bullied by bigger, meaner boys. Jack learns he is experiencing cellular memory, making him receive the memories of his tissue donor…who just so happened to be a weak, helpless victim of bullying.
            Jack decides he has to make things right. To do that, he offers each of his former victims an apology, along with the chance to let each one get even with him. But Jack quickly learns that earning their forgiveness won’t be easy... 

I recommend my book to readers who like:

GUARDIAN: dogs, stories about people with challenges
OPERATION: BULLY RENOVATION: pranks, laughing

Those both sound great. Now let’s move on to the threes. Give us your top 3 responses to the following to help us get to know you better.

  • Top 3 books you recommend reading and why you recommend them.
Wonder by RJ Palacio – because you will fall in love with Auggie in a way you’ve never experienced from any other book character
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk – because Annabelle is so incredibly strong and learns that her actions matter
Freak the Mighty – because it changed my life when I was a kid and after I read it, I knew all I wanted was to write books

  • Top 3 leisure activities.

1)      Spending time with my kids…all 16 of them! (2 children, 3 dogs, 3 cats, and 8 ducks)
2)      Curling up in my chair with chocolate milk and a good book
3)      Writing. I make time to do it every day, even if things are crazy-busy and it’s after midnight before I get started.

  • Top 3 favorite places.

1)      THE BEACH. Any beach. Just let me feel the sand in my toes.
2)      Disneyworld. Even when you’re all grown up, you can still feel the magic there!
3)      Playing outside in the yard with my kids, no matter the season. Snowball fights, water balloon fights, baseball games…I love it all!

Where can our tech savvy readers find you and your book online?


Katy, it’s been a pleasure hosting you today. Best of luck to your books and with your writing.

THANKS!