December 5, 2016

December #InkRipples – Cookies

Yesterday (December 4) was National Cookie Day. According to Punchbowl, the English word “cookie” is derived from the Dutch word “koekje,” which means little cake. Dutch bakers used to test oven temperatures on small amounts of batter so that they would not waste the entire cake mix if the temperature wasn’t right. It was not long before they discovered that these tiny pieces of cooked batter were actually quite tasty!

Funnily enough, I didn’t know about National Cookie day, but the day before, my daughter mentioned that she wanted to celebrate by baking some cookies. I thought to myself, “Hey, I have a blog post due to post on Monday about cookies. Sweet!” So I asked her what kind of cookies she wanted to make so I could buy the ingredients. She chose chocolate and peanut butter chip cookies. Not once did I complain.

When I was a tween I used to love experimenting with cookies. I would throw anything that seemed compatible into cookie dough, I’d make huge cookies and tiny quarter sized ones. Obviously I never came up with the next “it” cookie or I’d be blogging about baking, not writing. But it was fun to do.

I rarely bake now. I don’t have the patience. But I love to eat the results of other people’s efforts. My favorite kind of cookie is probably snickerdoodles – mostly because of nostalgia. Mom used to bake them when I was little. Do you bake? Do you take care packages to your neighbors this time of year? What is your favorite kind of cookie?

By the way: We've determined our topics for #InkRipples 2017. I'll be posting the topics here on my blog on Wednesday. Please swing by again to make note of which months you'd like to join us. We'd love to have your thoughts added to the ripple. 

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first 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.

November 21, 2016

Authors Meeting Authors (Fangirling Involved)

If you aren't an author yourself, you might think that we all hobnob with each other regularly. But the truth of it is, we almost all have our own holy grail of authors that when/if we meet we are reduced to squealing fans around.

Before I was published, I met Tamora Pierce. The reason I was at her reading was because I was a fan, not because I was an aspiring writer. So when I won a copy of her new book in a drawing, I was beyond happy. But I've always been painfully shy, and I couldn't even bring myself to approach her to get the book signed. What a dork! I really wish I could relive that moment.

Just to prove I'm not the only author out there who fangirls when she meets her faves, I collected a few stories to share.
Tracey M. Cox on meeting Bruce Coville:

It was amazing. One of those moments when you tell yourself to, “Be cool. Be cool”, but inside your hopping around going, “Oh my gosh. Oh. My. Gosh. OH MY GOSH!” Hahaha.

Kim McDougall on meeting Timothy Findley

It was a long time ago (maybe 20 years): Timothy Findley is the author of my all-time favorite novel "Not Wanted on the Voyage." I met him at Books and Breakfast in Montreal's Ritz Carleton at a signing for his newest release Piano Man's Daughter. I told him I wished that I had a copy of Not Wanted on the Voyage for him to sign, but I loved it so much that I kept giving my copies away to friends to read. He asked me for my address and said he would try to send me one. Months went by and I forgot about it. Then in the mail, I received a hardcover version of the book with his usual mantra "Against Despair" and his signature. He apologized for the wait because he'd been on tour. But he didn't forget. Classy guy. 

Melissa Abramovitz on meeting Ray Bradbury

In 1986 I attended a lecture and book signing by Ray Bradbury in Santa Barbara. At the time, I was hoping to start writing professionally and was taking a class through the Institute of Children's Literature. After the lecture, I asked Bradbury to sign one of his books for me, and told him that his lecture had really inspired me to start writing a story that had been percolating in my brain for several years. He was so gracious and encouraging, it was really awesome to hear someone so famous taking the time to encourage me. And I still remember the advice he gave me: "Never give up. Writing is hard, but if you love it and stick with it, you will get somewhere." I went home and started writing that story, and three years later it was published as a novella.  

Me on meeting Maggie Stievfater

I learned she'd be presenting at WordStock one year and this time I was determined to overcome my stupid shyness. I even stood in a long line in order to get her signature. When I finally got to the front, I said something like, "Hi, I don't know if you'll remember my name or not, but I'm Kai Strand." She responded very enthusiastically that of course she remembered. My niece was with me and doing a project for her blog and Maggie graciously allowed her to video the interaction while she signed my book. BTW, Maggie is hysterical, so it was tons of fun all around. I was pretty tongue tied, though she assured me I didn't sound like a simpleton or an idiot. I took my book back and wandered off, totally happy to have met one of my all-time faves. 

Then I read the signature. She actually did remember me! She's so cool!

Have you geeked out over an author or a celebrity that you met? I'd love to hear your story.

November 16, 2016

Cover Reveal #FadinIintotheShadows by Kelly Hashway

Cover Reveal time. I love participating in cover reveals. Covers are so much fun! First, let's find out what this book is all about.

Fading Into the Shadows by Kelly Hashway

When sixteen-year-old Ella Andrews’s best friend, Avery, goes missing, she’ll do anything to get him back—starting with punching the no-brain cop who couldn’t care less about the disappearance.

Ella’s convinced Avery’s been kidnapped, and she tries everything to find him—even following a strange shadow to another world where the constellations are real-life figures in the sky. But three star groups have fallen and are destroying the world.

The fallen constellations are not the only enemy. Melanie, the princess of Stellaris, is forcing Ella, Avery, and an army of other kids kidnapped from their world to fight the rogue constellations, even as the land is draining away their life. The longer they stay, the more they fade into substanceless shadows—a fate worse than death.

Stay up to date:

Coming January 16, 2017!

Okay, ready? Drum roll please:

Here's how you can stay in touch: 

All Links for Kelly Hashway

November 7, 2016

November #InkRipples - Heritage



1. something that is handed down from the past, as a tradition

2. something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth; an inherited lot 
or portion

3. something reserved for one

Yeah...seriously. I got nothing to add to this topic. Is that sad, or what? My maiden name is SMITH, so that doesn't help. We have no family traditions, no titles, no HERITAGE. 

So help me out. Do you have a heritage you like to brag on? Please share it in the comments.

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first 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.

November 4, 2016

Building Character with Alexia Dumont from Timeless by Crystal Collier

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 Alexia Dumont from her newly released book Timeless by Crystal Collier.

Alexia & her author Crystal are on tour promoting Timeless (Maiden of Time #3) and they have AWESOME giveaways going on, so be sure to spin the wheel at the bottom of this interview.

Welcome to Strands of Thoughts, Alexia. Can you tell us a little about you, please?

Hello. *waves uncomfortably* I am Alexia Dumont, only child of Baron Dumont and heir. While my father’s estate is impressive, it compares little to the heritage my mother left me: the power to manipulate or travel through time. I am the Maiden of Time. My mother before me, who left this world when I was born, was also the Maiden of Time.

Maiden of Time? That sounds fun. So, do you just hop from decade to decade and enjoy the current fashions, or what?

I left my husband and home in the eighteenth century to stop the Soulless from becoming. With little enough information, I stepped back through time and have been surviving the thirteenth century while gathering my people, and questioning if I sacrificed my happily ever after for a vain hope.

But forgive me, I have not explained the Soulless. They are eternal creatures who live in darkness and only come out to hunt (or prey upon the living) on moonless nights. Once they were like me—gifted, long-living, and *clears throat uncomfortably* beautiful. The Soulless curse came upon them by means of a madman. I know little else. But it spreads. When the Soulless prey upon one of my bloodline, that individual becomes like them: eternal, rotting corpses who can never be sated, and who hunt every moonless night.

It is them I seek to free. And those they have brought to ruin.

Oh, so not so fun after all. What are some of the biggest issues you’ve run into while trying to stop the Soulless?

Other than my time nearing? I am with child, soon give birth, and then I shall no longer be found upon the earth. My daughter, who was born in the thirteenth century, could not explain my absence in her childhood, and my husband (who has lived for centuries) tells me the eighteenth century is the only time in which he has discovered of me.

My husband… I fear what will become of him when I do not return.

Wait. You daughter was born in the thirteenth century and your husband lives in the eighteenth? My mind just imploded. Besides blowing peoples’ minds, is there anything else about you that people give you a hard time over? Does it bother you?

They tell me I trust too easily. Well, I would rather live in a world where I trust one too many people wrongly than trust no one. We are meant to build relationships and rely on others.

I’m like that too. Sometimes I feel so gullible, but I can’t imagine being cynical instead. Any final words of wisdom to share?

Treasure those you love. Your time with them is finite, and though it seems this moment will stretch forever, too soon it will end. Make each day precious.

Thanks, Alexia, for joining us today. Best of luck on your quest. Readers, here is some more information on Alexia’s story, Timeless.


In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

Buy it now:

And here is the 411 on Alexia’s author. I can vouch for Crystal’s epic writing talent. She was part of the short story blog I hosted, Lightning Quick Reads, and I loved her work!

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog, FacebookGoodreads, or follow her on Twitter.

(Email address is required for awarding prizes.)

October 26, 2016

Cover Reveal: Inhuman by Kama Falzoi Post

Today, I have the distinct pleasure of revealing the cover for InHuman, a sci-fi thriller by Kama Falzoi Post! Without further ado, here's the amazing cover!

Author: Kama Falzoi Post
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Release date: December 13, 2016
PublisherBookFish Books
Cover ArtistAnita Carroll at Race-Point

About InHuman

Mira’s mother sizes up bodies at the morgue like she’s rifling through the sales rack: this one’s too big… this one’s too small… ah, here it is. Just right. The perfect vessel for the one they’ll

call Adam.

Since Adam’s survival is the key to drawing out the Conduit—a slippery sort bent on evacuating souls from their human bodies—Mira must help him pass for a typical teenage boy. That means showing him how to talk right, walk right, chew with his mouth open... blend in.

Ironic, because blending in is has always been a challenge for Mira, especially with hair the color of a Dorito. But at their small, secluded prep school, blending in is a matter of life and death.
Because the Conduit is watching.

About Kama Falzoi Post

Kama Falzoi Post is a functioning member of society, a part-time introvert, a pinnacle of contradictions, the mother of a hurricane, a step-mother, and an author. She enjoys drinking red wine and then drinking more red wine, listening to music that moves her, and taking things too far.

She developed a love of books and writing at a very early age. Her stories have appeared in a handful of literary magazines including Inkwell and SmokeLong Quarterly, and most recently in the anthology Outliers of Speculative Fiction. She lives in a small town outside a small city with her husband, son, and too many cats.

October 24, 2016

Monday Stress Relief

It strikes me that we have two things going against us (at least in the U.S.) today. An intense political climate and the fact that it's Monday. So to help you relax a little, here are a few pictures of my cats. They are siblings born almost a year ago on Friday the 13th, making their all black fur extra fun! They've been a part of our family since January when they were old enough to leave their mama.

Whisper (who is actually really loud)

Jett (who we refer to as parkour kitty)

Jett is big with medium length fur. Whisper is small with short sleek fur. 
If a black cat crosses your path - pet it.

Make it a great week!

October 19, 2016

My International Classroom Visit

There are certain decisions that become more important when you know they will be on display. Which travel mug to use? The ceramic Starbucks hot air balloon. Lip color? Nothing too dark. The shadows can make you look like you’re going for the goth look. Pants or skirt? Pajama bottoms – it’s Skype, headshot only.

If you’re on my social media, you know I had the amazing opportunity to visit with a class of tenth grade literature students from Lycée International Nelson Mandela, Académie de Nantes. For those of you who have no working knowledge of French “Académie de Nantes” means school of Nantes. As in Nantes, France. Nantes, France is approximately 5,000 miles from my hometown of Bend, Oregon. Needless to say, I had to get up early that day. But not to travel, just to do my hair and make sure to catch the students before they went home for the day. There's quite a time difference between the west coast of America and France.

Last July the very innovative teacher, Marie-Hélène Fasquel, invited me to participate in a project with her class. Together we chose an excerpt from one of my young adult books. I provided some witty and charming information about myself for a slide show, which included a picture of 13 year old me standing under the Eiffel Tower, and Marie and I agreed on a date in October.

At the time it felt so far away, but I’m pretty sure I blinked and it was 6:00 am Pacific Daylight Time, Thursday, October 13th, and the first student was taking the hot seat in front of the camera.

“What is the hardest thing about writing? What is the easiest thing about writing?”

"Middles are the hardest!"

Each of the students came and sat in the hot seat to ask their question and listen to my answer. I was so grateful to Marie for arranging for me to meet each student like that. Plus my writer brain was exploding from all the fabulous character fodder. These students all had an uncanny confidence and attractiveness. 

One of the students asked if kids in American classrooms study my work like they were. I was a little sad to say that though I’ve done a number of classroom visits none of them have been after they studied a book, but then I remembered there is a class reading one of my books together and I’ll visit when they finish. So it’s happening. Yay!

There were some questions that are always hard for me to answer; favorite author, favorite books. When asked if I’ve ever read a book and realized my own books had influenced the writing, I hated to admit that I suspect I’m too dense to ever recognize that. Seriously, I can totally imagine myself thinking, "This is good. I like this author’s style." But never making a connection. Ha ha.

“Do you have to travel a lot as a writer for inspiration?”

“It isn’t required, but it’s a good excuse!”

I turned the tables a little and asked if they read my excerpt or listened to the audio recording. They all chimed in that they read it. Such smart kids! I mean, I don't write in French. I asked who liked to read and they all raised their hands so we talked books a bit.

The visit was just under an hour and it went way too fast. I’m beyond thrilled to know they spent time studying my work. I hope it resonated in some way like meeting them has within me. I can’t thank Marie enough for opening that door.

Merci beaucoup! À l'année prochaine.

October 14, 2016

Cover Reveal for The Next Best Thing by Wendi Nunnery

Don't forget I've got a fun/easy giveaway running through Sunday. See this post for details and then hop on over to my Facebook and Twitter to share all the messages to enter to win. 

The Next Best Thing Blurb:

Four years ago, Emma Fraser’s first love took his own life. Now, twenty years old and in college, Emma and her best friend, Andy, are still mourning the loss of a friend and brother. Nothing is the same as it once was…and things are about to change even more.

Too heartbroken to even consider falling in love again, Emma stays distracted by school and work. Until she meets Landon and, for the first time ever, finds herself believing she might actually have a future with someone. But when Deegan Burke—the man responsible for all of Emma’s heartache—gets out of prison early, Emma is suddenly confronted by her worst fears. And when faced with choices she never thought she’d have to make, Emma discovers that the only person she really wants by her side is the last person she ever expected.

Pre-Order The Next Best Thing Here and Get 50% Off!

Author Bio:

Wendi Nunnery is the author of The Mayfield Family StoryThe Best Kept Secret, and The Next Best Thing. She is also the founding editor of Lady Literary Magazine and her work has appeared in The Huffington PostThe Simply Beloved, and Introvert, Dear. Wendi is a proud Georgia Southern University alum and believes colorful language is good for the soul. She lives, loves, and mothers in Atlanta, Georgia.

Connect with Wendi:

Learn More About Wendi’s Books:



October 10, 2016

Word of Mouth #Giveaway

Let’s have some fun! Help introduce me and my work to fellow readers and you might win one of two fun big mouth key chains.

Bright and early each morning during the week of October 10 – 16, I’ll put a post on my Facebook page and Twitter that you can share. You’ll know which post because it will include the hashtag #BigMouth. Each time you share them, you’ll be entered for a chance to win one of two fun key chains. The winners will be chosen randomly (week of October 17th) from a pool of all the shares.

Just to be crazy, I’m gonna make this open internationally, so share and share and don’t worry about who’s watching, because everybody can get in on this one. To qualify to win not only must you share my message on Facebook and/or Twitter, you must follow me on the social media outlet where you shared my message. 

On Facebook and Twitter, enter "Kai Strand #BigMouth" in the search field and share and/or retweet each result!

Thanks for your participation! I hope it's fun for you - and GOOD LUCK!