December 30, 2013

Cover Reveal for Star of the Team by Beverly Stowe McClure

Coming in January from 4RV Publishing:

STAR OF THE TEAM by Beverly Stowe McClure

A girl.
A dream.
An accident.
A dream shattered.
 
Ten-year-old Kate Taylor wants to be the star of her basketball team, Angels, but when her tooth is knocked out at one of the games, her goal is in jeopardy. Even though the dentist replants the tooth, her mother, who is also her coach, refuses to let Kate play unless she can come up with a way to protect the tooth.
 
 With the encouragement of her friends and teammates, Kate tries everything. She asks her sister, Zoe, how her boyfriend, Ray, protects his teeth when playing football. Zoe is clueless. Kate wears her friend Simon’s catcher’s mask to practice, but it’s too big and blocks her view of the goal. Kate stuffs cotton balls in her mouth and thinks she’s swallowed one. Nothing works.
 
 To add to Kate’s problems, Emily, the new girl at River Bend Elementary, is great at basketball. Kate worries Emily will be the star of the team. On top of that, Simon, the school brain, as well as klutz, says he plans to join the Angels, even though boys are not allowed.
 
 In the final game of the season, Kate faces a decision that will not only decide who wins the game, but whether she’s star of the team or not.

Be sure to add STAR OF THE TEAM to your 2014 to-read list!

 
About the author:
 
Beverly Stowe McClure is the author of picture books, early readers, middle grade and teen novels. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, both national and North Texas. A fourth generation Texan, she lives in the country with two cats, and a variety of wild critters.

Congratulations, Beverly. Can't wait to read STAR OF THE TEAM!

December 18, 2013

Enter to Win Before Dec 20th

My KING OF BAD Standard Virtual Tour comes to an end in just two days. Hurry to enter to win a signed bookmark and a $25 Amazon gift card. You only have through December 20th, so don't delay.

Two simple ways to help me spread the news of the tour during these last two days:

  1. Visit my Facebook page and click like and/or share on the links to the stops. 
  2. Click the social media buttons in the blog posts to post to your Twitter, Google+ or Facebook account.

Here are a list of my tour stops:

December 2: Reading In Twilight
December 2: Bunny's Review
December 3: Andi's Young Adult Books
December 4: Welcome to My World of Dreams 
December 5: Dawn's Reading Nook Blog
December 6: Books on Silver Wings
December 9: Long and Short Reviews
December 10: Straight from the Library
December 11: Sandra's Blog
December 11: Writing into the Sunset
December 12: Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews
December 13: My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews
December 16: Wicked Readings by Tawania
December 17: J.C. Martin, Fighter Writer - Review
December 18: Queen of All She Reads
December 19: Unabridged Andra
December 19: Farm Girl Books
December 20: Kit 'N Kabookle


Just to be clear, this is a completely separate giveaway from the Review Tour that recently ended.

Thanks for helping me get the word out and good luck in the giveaway!

December 13, 2013

Enter to Win by Dec 16th

The reviews are in, but the giveaway isn't over. However you only have a few days to enter to win a signed bookmark and a $25 Amazon gift card. 

November 22: Love is a Mystery

November 29: Unabridged Andra

December 6: Books in the Hall 

December 13: Dalene's Book Reviews
December 13: The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl


Plenty of ways to enter - but HURRY, giveaway ends December 16th!

For a chance to win second prize, follow my Standard Virtual Book Tour. Stops can be found on my website: www.kaistrand.com

December 11, 2013

Three Times A Charm with Jennifer Gladen

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

Today’s guest is a fellow GAP author, Jennifer Gladen.

Jennifer Gladen is a children’s author who lives and writes in Pennsylvania. She is the author of A Star in the Night, Teresa’s Shadow, and Angel Donor through Guardian Angel Publishing. She contributes as a columnist at Catholic Mom and is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild (C.W.G.) and the S.C.B.W.I. She has written several children’s stories, poems and articles, and started her own Catholic e-zine titled My Light Magazine.

Hi Jennifer! Welcome to Strands of Thought. Can you tell us about your books.

A Star in the Night- David makes his way home on Christmas Eve and sees this is no ordinary night. Accompanied by a shimmering star and some tough decisions, David encounters three experiences that will change his view of Christmas forever

Teresa’s Shadow- One night at bedtime Teresa discovers Corky, a furry visitor, in her room. Corky is no ordinary monster. In fact he seems just as scared as Teresa. Teresa soon realizes she must help Corky get home. But how can she when she’s afraid of the dark and Corky is afraid of the light?


Angel Donor – Olivia never asked to have a disease like Biliary Atresia. It made her liver sick and only a transplant will make her better. After waiting several months and close to losing hope, she gets the call she’s been waiting for. The journey of her life is about to begin

I also do school visits and presentations about writing and the publishing world. In addition, authors frequently ask me to review and critique their work. So I am happy to announce that I am available to offer my critiquing and proofreading services for a small fee. Contact me at jennifer_gladen5@msn.com with Critique Request in the subject line if you are interested in a professional critique at a low cost. Include in your e-mail: title, word length, genre and age group. I specialize in children’s literature.

I recommend my book to readers who like: 

A Star in the Night is pretty unique, but it’s closest to picture books on the true meaning of Christmas. Fans of Go Away Big Green Monster or A Monster Under Alex’s Bed may enjoy Teresa’s Shadow. Angel Donor is another unique book, but similar books are Now Caitlin Can and The Inside Story.

Readers, Jennifer wants to know: If an author could visit your child’s school, what would your child enjoy the most? What would they want to see?

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

  • Top 3 skills to hone for people just starting in your business.

Three skills an author must hone are: Submission Etiquette, Using a critique group, and patience. I also run a children’s magazine, and these issues pop up all the time. Follow the submission guidelines to the letter. Include your cover letter and bio – look professional. Critique groups are essential both for those just starting out and for experienced authors. The last thing you want to send to a busy editor is a rough draft. Finally, patience is a must. Following up is good and crucial, but allow for the allotted time listed in the guidelines. You want your name to be known for your work, not as THAT author.

  • Top 3 leisure activities.

I read. I read every night. Reading ties right into writing. My other relaxing activities are enjoying a cup of coffee while reading my SCBWI bulletin, and networking with other authors (Yes, I am attached to my computer. But, my kids and my cat always know where to find me.)

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

I always wanted to be an author. I wrote in journals, diaries and old copybooks to create books.  I also wanted to be a teacher and a mom. Interestingly, I have managed to do all three. But writing has always been my first love.

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

Please include contact information; websites, blogs, social media here:
You can find me and my books at:
Twitter: @jengl

Thank you for charming us on this week’s Three Times A Charm, Jennifer! Best of luck to you and your writing.

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

December 4, 2013

Three Times A Charm with Connie Arnold

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

Today’s guest is author, Connie Arnold. Connie is a fellow Guardian Angel Publishing author. She’s here today to celebrate her most recent release from 4RV Publishing. Welcome to Strands of Thought, Connie! Can you tell us a little about you, please?

I live in North Carolina with my husband, and we have two children and three grandchildren. Writing inspirational poetry and books for young children has been a focus of mine in the last few years. In addition, I am a musician and volunteer for Lupus Foundation of America. 

Tell us about your newest release.

Count 1,2,3 With Me is my second picture book. It is illustrated by Ginger Nielson and published by 4RV Publishing. I also have four books of inspirational poetry and a recently released devotional. On my blog, www.conniearnold.webs.com, I share poems, excerpts and reviews of each book, and signed copies can be purchased. I also have a blog for sharing poetry and my children’s blog, http://childrensauthorconniearnold.blogspot.com

I love that you write for so many different audiences. It shows you are a well rounded human being.

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

  • Top 3 snacks to munch on while working.

My first thing in the morning food to eat is a banana, and that is often my most productive writing time. Other snacks are apples and trail mix (I just have to be careful to only have a small amount of this on hand or can get carried away eating it!).

  • Top 3 leisure activities.

When I have leisure time, I enjoy listening to music, either just relaxing and listening, or more likely doing something else at the same time, like checking emails and reading friends’ status on facebook. I also love to read and always allow some time for that each day, usually just before going to bed.

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

I loved music from the time I was very small, so I wanted to be a musician, preferably an extremely talented and famous one! I did get that wish, but on a much less grand scale. For a while I wanted to be a teacher, one like a teacher I had that I loved and admired and who made learning fun. The closest I’ve come to that was in writing Count 1,2,3 With Me, which helps children learn to count in a fun way! Next I wanted to be a nurse, but only for a short time because I didn’t think I could ever give somebody a shot and felt terrible around a person in pain. Although I didn’t follow through on that desire at all, my daughter is working toward becoming a nurse, and I’m thankful for that!

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

conarnold@gmailcom
@conarnold - Twitter

Connie, thank you for charming us on this week’s Three Times A Charm! Best of luck to you and your writing.

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

November 27, 2013

Three Times A Charm with Eric Price and a Giveaway

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

Today’s guest is young adult author, Eric Price. Welcome to Strands of Thought! Can you tell us a little about you, please?

I grew up in central Illinois, but I now live in northwest Iowa with my wife and two sons. I began publishing in 2008 when I started writing a quarterly column for a local newspaper. My first short story, “Ghost Bed and Ghoul Breakfast,” a spooky children’s tale about a haunted bed and breakfast, came out later the same year. I’ve published more than 30 nonfiction articles/columns, four short stories, and a poem. Three of the short stories have won honorable mention in the CrossTIME Annual Science Fiction contest.

Congratulations on the release of your book, Eric, tell us about Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud.

As the only son to King Kendrick, Owen despises the idea of being king one day. Magician may be the only career he’d like less. He has dreaded the days leading up to his fifteenth birthday, when his father will certainly declare Owen heir to the throne. But at the birthday celebration, his father falls ill. The only person in the kingdom that may be able to save him is a magician–the very same magician Owen holds responsible for the death of his mother.

Owen and his companions will have to travel the continent of Wittatun in search of the cure for King Kendrick. On the journey, they will battle strange beasts and harsh climates, befriend extraordinary magicians, and meet a dragon before returning to Innes Castle–where much has happened in the days since he departed.

I recommend my book to lovers of fantasy. It has enough twists and turns to satisfy a hardcore fan, and it’s short and fast paced to appeal to fantasy novices or even people at lower reading levels than young adult.

Readers, Eric wants to know your top 3 favorite fantasy novels?

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.

I intended to list three classic novels here, but I do that all the time, and I read Suzanne de Montigny’s post earlier this month, so I decided to plug some authors at my publisher:

Elixir Bound by Katie Carroll—the fast pace and interesting characters kept me glued to this book.

Julius Caesar Brown and the Green Gas Mystery by Ace Hansen—What young guy doesn’t find potty humor funny; now that I think about it, what person doesn’t find potty humor funny?

Kai, I intended to add Beware of the White here, but I figure most of your blog readers have probably read it, so I’m going to deviate from my publisher to a book I grabbed at the bookstore, and had to put everything else I was reading on hold so I could read it.

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher—I’m not even sure I understand how much I loved this book. I think it would appeal to either a fan of Shakespeare or Star Wars, as a fan of both, my copy will be tattered and dog-eared by the end of the year.


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

Spell check—I’m a horrible speller. I’m getting better, but I still need spell check a lot.

Dictionary—Sometimes spell check doesn’t work, or it can’t figure out what I’m trying to type. Plus, as a writer you learn some words don’t mean what you think they mean. (oh my gosh, this happens to me all the time!)

Thesaurus—Stephen King wrote in On Writing, you’ll never find the right word in the thesaurus (or something to this extent). The point he made was use the words you know, don’t look up new words just trying to make yourself sound smart. I agree with him 100%. I still need my thesaurus because sometimes the word I need just won’t come to me. I still avoid the words I don’t know—unless they’re really cool; how else is our vocabulary supposed to grow?

  • Top 3 super heroes and/or super villains – and why they are your favorites.

I could write on this topic for hours. I could write about my 3 favorite categories of super heroes and break that list into subcategories, but I’ll keep it simple… as best I can. I’ll even limit myself by sticking to Marvel, and further limit it by sticking to the X-Men. (It should be noted, my time with the X-Men was 1992 to 1996. I’m rather clueless as to what’s happened after that.)

Wolverine—He has attitude, an adamantium skeleton with retractable claws (when Magneto hasn’t ripped it out—I’ll get to him later), and a mutant healing factor that makes him nearly immortal.

Magneto—He’s a classic sympathetic villain. He grew up a Jew in the 1940s. His family was torn apart by people who hated those different than them. Now as an adult, he sees a similar hatred by homo sapiens toward homo superiors (mutants). His friend, Charles Xavier, leader of the X-Men, dreams of a world where homo sapiens can live in peace with homo superiors, but due to his experience in concentration camps, Magneto cannot share that dream. Plus, he can control magnetism, and he uses it to remove Wolverine’s metal skeleton (see above, see also X-Men #25 and Wolverine #75).

Apocalypse—He’s the baddest of the bad (King of Bad… if you will). The first mutant, born in Egypt around 3000 BC (BCE if you prefer) he eventually takes over the world around 3800 AD (or CE), and at various times throughout alternate timelines… so he’s nothing if not patient and persistent.
One of those alternate timelines is, in my opinion, the best storylines in comic book history: The Age of Apocalypse. Legion travels time to kill Magneto, but accidentally murders Charles Xavier in the 1960s. Xavier never forms the X-Men so Magneto forms them in Xavier’s vision. But when Apocalypse rises in the 1980s, Magneto’s team doesn’t defeat him as Xavier’s team did, so Apocalypse takes over the world. An amazing dystopian world is created where, amongst other cool things, Wolverine and Cyclops finally have it out, resulting in Wolverine losing a hand and Cyclops losing an eye.
As Apocalypse is a firm believer in survival of the fittest, it’s hard to classify him as evil per se, he just tries to wipe out those who are week and those who promote the survival of the week… OK, so he’s evil, but he will team up with the good guys if they are fighting someone even more evil than him (see X-Cutioner’s Song).

Lol. I love that you love comics. And thanks for the nod for Beware of the White. There are so many talented authors at MuseItUp, it makes me feel really good about having a book there.

Where can our tech savvy readers find you online, Eric?

You can find me on my website, authorericprice.com; on Twitter, @AuthorEricPrice; Facebook, Author Eric Price and Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud; and Goodreads, Eric Price. I’ve also started a group on Facebook called, Young Guys Read, Too. It’s open to authors of stories aimed at young men, as well as people interested in reading those stories. My goal is to increase reading interest in young men by helping them interact with the authors writing their books.

Thanks for charming us on this week’s Three Times A Charm. Best of luck to you and your brand new book.

Readers! Eric is a generous author. He’s got not one but two giveaways going. Check them out!

***

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

November 20, 2013

Three Times A Charm with James Crofoot

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

Today’s guest is my fellow MuseItUp author, James Crofoot. Welcome to Strands of Thought, James! Can you tell us a little about you, please?

Hello, my name is James J Crofoot and I love writing. Always have, and having people enjoy my stories is my bonus. For relaxation and to keep balanced, I practice Tia Chi, Chi Kung, other energy strengthening exercises. In addition, of course, those early morning walks where the muses inspire me.

Congratulations on the release of your book! Tell us more about it.

My first book, "The Journeys of a Different Necromancer", is really a collection of short stories, which follow a young mage on his travels. The main character, Thomas, starts out wanting to learn to read and write. In the process, he gets more than he bargained for. He desperately wants to get away from his very small village. He wants to see the capital of the kingdom and then the world from there. In his travelling, although he uses his knowledge for good, he begins to wonder if what he does should be done.

Okay James, now for the Threes. Share with us your top 3 answers to the following questions to help us know you a little better.

·        The top three books you recommend for readers.

1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – This book opened my mind to high fantasy. I told me of a world beyond the mundane.

2. "A Mid-summer Night's Dream" by Shakespeare – This one because it tells a tale of the Lords of the wood, it tells of love and how even those lords of the wood laugh and love.

3. Fairy Tales! – Not the sanitized stories of today, but the older the better. Hans Christian Anderson, and The Brothers Grimm. Learn how stories were once passed from generation to generation.

·        Three pieces of advice for kids these days?

1. Stay in school. Learn all they have to teach.

2. See the world. Climb a mountain. Sail on a sea. Go not as someone on vacation, but as someone who may not return.

3. And most importantly – Live and love with all of your heart.


·        Three favorite phrases –

1. Rage against the dying of the light…
                                     
2. Seize the day
                                        
3. "To be or not to be…"

Readers, now it is your turn! James want to know your responses to these three questions:

  1. What do you dream of when you look to the horizon?
  2. Have you found a favorite quote?
  3. Why did you choose that quote? 
Where can our readers find you and your book online?



You can also find my book on Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Thank you for charming us on this week’s Three Times A Charm! Best of luck to you and your writing, James.

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


November 15, 2013

Building Character with Layla and Samson from The Prophecy

Welcome to 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 is host to Layla and Samson from The Prophecy. It is especially exciting to be a part of their RELEASE DAY! *throws confetti* I love a good release day and I’m thrilled to be a part of this one.


Welcome to Strands of Thought, you guys. Tell us a little about yourselves and what life is like in your book.
Layla:  Hello!  I’m Layla Givens, and this is my adopted brother Samson Mantar. 

Samson:  Hi. 

Layla:  We’re from the kingdom of Vanguard, which means we are super strong.  Our countrymen and women have been at war for centuries with the neighboring kingdom of Etherea.

Samson:  Ethereals do all kinds of freaky mind control.  If you let ‘em, they’ll have you rocking in a corner, sucking your thumb, and twirling a sliver of your hair.  No lie.

Layla: <eye roll>

War and mind control, sounds like a fun place for a couple of teenagers! Or maybe you are more like superheroes at this point. Do you have a sidekick – ha ha - or best friend? 

Layla:  Samson, for sure.  From the moment his family found me on their doorstep, we’ve been inseparable.  We’re only a few days apart in age, so we’re like twins. 

Samson:  Are you serious?  You would be my sidekick, Layla, not the other way around.  I’m faster, stronger, and bigger.  That makes me the hero and you the sidekick.

Layla:  Think again. The hero, or heroine in this case, has to be smart and…

Samson:  Are you saying I’m not smart??

Layla: Don’t give me that look, Samson Mantar!  You didn’t even give me a chance to finish what I was saying.  I just meant you’re impulsive.  The heroine can’t be impulsive.  She has to save the sidekick’s hide when he is. 

Author Erin:  You know the question says sidekick OR best friend, right?

<silence>

Samson:  I suppose I would accept the title “best friend.”

Layla:  I suppose I would too.

Author Erin:  Thank goodness…moving on…

Oh, hey Erin! Readers, let me introduce the author of The Prophecy, Erin Albert. Nice of you to drop in, Erin. Okay, Layla and Samson, back to you guys. Tell us, what exactly are you up against in your story?

Layla:  My whole life I’ve been hiding from the Ecclesiastics and the merciless Elder Werrick.

Samson:  She matches the Prophecy’s requirements and could be taken to the Ecclesiastical Compound for testing.  Some really sick stuff goes on over there.

Layla:  We don’t know that for sure.  Those are only rumors.

Samson:  She doesn’t take this situation seriously enough. 

Layla:  I’m not the Fulfillment, so it doesn’t matter.

Samson:  Elder Werrick could kill you simply because he thinks you might be the Fulfillment.

Layla:  I’m stronger than he is.

Samson:  Physically, sure, but I’ve heard he has darker powers available to him.

Layla:  You believe everything you hear.

Hmmm, Layla, Samson sounds pretty sincere. I’d take his warnings to heart. So, we’d love to get to know you two better. What would you say is your strongest personality trait?

Layla:  I’m fierce. 

Samson:  She’s strong…there’s a difference.

Layla:  I’m strong AND fierce.

Samson:   <rolls eyes>

Author Erin:  What about you, Samson?  What’s your strongest personality trait?

Samson:  I can’t pick just one:  dashing, funny, charming, strong…

Layla:  <groans>  This list will take all day with his overinflated ego.

Samson:  Hey! 

Layla:  He’s loyal.  That’s his strongest trait. 

Samson:  Yeah, yeah, I like that.  I’ll go with loyal. 

Aw, that’s nice, Layla. It was great to meet you guys. I wish you lots and lots of luck in your story. It sounds like you have a lot of skills, but that a little luck might not hurt. And thanks again, Erin for stopping in too! Enjoy your release day and your release month and your release year…it’s all so much FUN!

Readers, here is a little more on Layla and Samson’s story, The Prophecy:

Growing up on a small farm in the kingdom of Vanguard, seventeen-year-old Layla Givens lives a deceptively tranquil existence. But her carefully constructed life quickly falls apart when she’s abducted by a religious zealot who proclaims her The Fulfillment of an ancient peace prophecy and whisks her away to marry her greatest enemy.

Wilhelm, Prince of the Ethereals, is reluctant to meet his new bride. He's grown up believing Vanguards are evil, an enemy to fight and fear...not love. Can he set aside his prejudices and work alongside Layla to bring lasting peace after centuries of war?

Nash, a loner who has never fit in, carries a huge secret, one big enough to destroy both kingdoms. When he accidently meets Layla, he’s no longer content to live in the shadows, but he must resist his growing attraction—for her safety and for the longevity of the two kingdoms.

When Nash's secret is revealed, a firestorm sweeps through both realms, with Layla at the center. Now she must choose between duty and desire while the fate of two nations hangs in the balance.


And a little about the author of The Prophecy:

Erin Albert is an author and fitness trainer.  Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word.  She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the "Grammar Police."  In her free time, Erin enjoys acting, running, kickboxing, and, of course, reading and writing. 

Find me online:
Twitter:  @ErinAlbertBooks
Website:  www.erinalbertbooks.com  
***
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.

November 13, 2013

Three Times A Charm with Crystal Collier

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

Today’s guest is children’s author, Crystal Collier. Welcome to Strands of Thought, Crystal! Can you tell us a little about you, please?

I am the author of MOONLESS, and a former composer/writer for Black Diamond Productions. I can be found practicing my brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. Having lived from coast to coast, I now call Florida home with my creative husband, three littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in my closet). Secretly, I dream of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese.
Congratulations on the release of your book, Moonless! Tell us more about it.

On the moonless night following her sixteenth birthday, Alexia’s nightmares become reality: a dead baron, red-eyed wraiths, and forbidden love with a man hunted by these creatures. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with her beloved and risk becoming one of the Soulless. 

MOONLESS is Jane Eyre meets Supernatural.

I recommend my book to readers who like:

Twilight
Pride and Prejudice
The Mortal Instruments or The Infernal Devices series

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

  • Top 3 leisure activities.
1.      Reading a book (especially to my littles). The library probably has a permanent bench devoted to us by now.
2.      Writing, especially when it’s dark out. There’s something so exciting about writing in the dark.
3.      Playing piano—but usually just something I’m making up as I go. Ah, it’s so liberating to compose music!

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

1. I always wanted to be a singer and a stage actress. Then I realized how strange theater people can become. Don’t get me wrong, I adore them and was one for a long time, but now I’m content with periodic vocal performances. 
2. An author or Ad Specialist. These days you have to be both, so lucky me!
3. A teacher. Here’s another dream fulfilled. We home school AND I serve in our church as the president of a children’s organization with over fifteen teachers and about eighty children (ages 1 to 12). I’m also overseeing our scouting program and girls activities (ages 8-12), but my favorite part is teaching or assisting in individual classes.

  • Top 3 personal mantras or inspirational phrases:
1.      All else fails, eat cheese and be happy.
2.      Dare to dream: life is what you make of it.
3.      If life hands you cucumbers, make pickles.

Readers, now it’s your turn! Share your top 3 responses to Crystal’s questions to you:

If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Why?
And what would be your first order of business?

Where can our readers find you and Moonless online?


Readers, don't miss your chance at Crystal's epic giveaway. 




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November 6, 2013

Three Times A Charm with Suzanne de Montigny

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

Today’s guest is children’s author, Suzanne de Montigny. Welcome to Strands of Thought, Suzanne! Can you tell us a little about you, please?

I was raised in the beautiful Fraser Valley near Vancouver, Canada, surrounded by jagged mountains. I was piano girl and initially began a career in music, writing scores for television and countless industrial and corporate videos. Eventually, I drifted into education where I learned I could weave a good story that kept the kids asking for more. When I married at 39, and began a family, I decided to stay home. During this time, my father died and I was hit with a tremendous need to write. In the basement, I found an old unicorn story I had written in grade six, thus re-igniting my love for unicorns. The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy is the first of a three-part series for tween-aged kids. I was very pleased when it won a gold in the 2013 Global E-Book Awards for Best Fiction/Alternate History.

Wow, sixth grade! That is a story a long time in the making. Congratulations on the award. Tell us about your most recent book, Suzanne.

A loud, hissing sound filled the air. The unicorns looked up, their eyes filled with horror.
Azaria, a unicorn colt, is intrigued when the young, clairvoyant dinosaur, Darius, foresees a terrifying change to their world. When a giant fireball smashes into the earth, the unicorns struggle to survive the hurricanes and starvation that follow. But nothing compares to the danger when the creatures-that-walk-on-two-legs settle in the valley, and their leader discovers the healing power in the unicorns’ horns. Greedy and ruthless, Ishmael will stop at nothing in his pursuit of wealth – even the complete extinction of the herd. Azaria must find a way to outsmart Ishmael before it’s too late.

I am also working on the second of the Shadow of the Unicorn series at present. No spoilers other than to let you know they find Darius-the-seer again.

Then, there’s my teen novel, A Town Bewitched nearly ready to go. Kira, a child prodigy in classical violin struggles to fit into the small town of Hope, Canada. When her father dies, a mysterious fiddler with no past appears at his funeral. Within days, the fiddler takes the people by storm with her mesmerizing Celtic music. When someone vandalizes the town, leaving dead and gutted birds as a calling card, only Kira knows who the perpetrator is.

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

·        top 3 recommended books for tweens and teens?

Tex the Witch Boy, by Stuart R. West is one of my favourites because the story is based on real bullying situations. Not to mention you simply can’t put it down because it’s so good. I think this is a must for every teen to read.

If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, by Barbara Ehrentreu is a must-read for teen girls because it deals with the pressures the so-called popular girls go through and how it’s not all peaches and cream. Mostly, it shows teens the horror of bulimia.

In A Pickle, by Beth Overmyer is a wonderful story of a boy who keeps traveling back to the same time where he meets a homeless man. The tale really opens wide the eyes of anyone who hasn’t thought of how homeless people got to where they are – on the street. My son loved this book, and so did I.

·        3 professions you thought you’d like to do as a child.

In 1964, I thought I’d like to be a farmer’s wife. After all, I loved animals and thought it’d be fun to have cows and pigs and horses.

In 1968, I dreamed of being the first astronaut to land on the moon. My dream was dashed the following year when Neil Armstrong and Buz Aldrin took the first giant steps for humankind.

In my teens, I wanted to be a composer and professional pianist. I did it for several years, but it didn’t pay the bills very well, so I drifted into teaching music in the public school system where I was quite happy for 20 years.

·        3 people you admire the most in the world?

Well now, don’t laugh. Queen Elizabeth II simply because she can stand up and do the right thing through a lot of controversy. The dame has class!

Mother Teresa. I know she’s passed away, but if you’ve ever seen the poverty in India (they have 31,000,000 orphans) and the work she did…it fills my eyes with tears.

My own dad, Dr. Pol de Montigny. He died seven years ago, but when he was alive, he inspired so many people to make something of themselves. He really cared about people and that’s how I want to be.

Where can our readers contact you?

You can purchase a copy of my ebook, The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy At:

It’s also available on iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Thank you for charming us on this week’s Three Times A Charm! Best of luck to you and your writing, Suzanne.

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



October 30, 2013

Three Times A Charm with Gia Volterra de Saulnier

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

Today’s guest is children’s author, Gia Volterra de Saulnier. Welcome to Strands of Thought, Gia! Can you tell us a little about you, please?

I was born and raised in Fairhaven, Massachusetts and attended University of Lowell (now University of Massachusetts, Lowell). It was there that I learned to love jazz. 
I have been performing jazz and other kinds of music for over 20 years, throughout the New England area. I live in North Reading, Massachusetts with my husband Richard and my son Charlie.

Tell us about your most recent book, Gia.

With the main goal of helping to bring music back into classrooms in Massachusetts and across the United States, I created the picture book, “Journey to Jazzland.” In the book, readers join Windy Flute, Spitz Trumpet and their friends as they travel to a legendary place where music is joyous, creative and free.

I am a true believer in music programs in schools! My daughter is in her senior year of college studying to be a Music Therapist. I often wonder what she’d be doing if we stayed in California where they’d already cut so much of the music programs.

Gia what classics do you recommend?

Oh so many children’s picture books that are great, but here are my top three favorites:
“The Giving Tree” – Shel Silverstein
“Where the Wild Things Are” – Maurice Sendack
“The poems and readings of Winnie the Pooh” – E.E. Milne

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

·        The top 3 tools of the trade.

I can’t live without: a laptop (seriously, where was this tool in the 1990s?), Facebook – I am addicted, but it is a great tool, and the internet (yes, I guess Facebook is on the internet, but really Google, Twitter, all that social media as well is fabulous for me)

·        My top 3 leisure activities.

Knitting – I’m sort of an avid knitter, although I still can’t knit socks (sigh), watching movies on cable – especially Foreign movies (those are my favorite – my top favorite is “The Red Violin”, hanging out with my family is always fun too.

·        Top 3 hit songs from when you were in the age range of your target audience.

Oh boy, that was a very long time ago: The top hit songs when I was 5 – 9?  Probably “Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles, (and now I have that song stuck in my head thank you very much), “You are the Sunshine of my life” – Stevie Wonder, “Ballroom Blitz” – The Sweet

I have a Ballroom Blitz earworm, thanks! Ha ha. Gia, where can our tech savvy readers find out more about you and your work?

My website is still under construction (hopefully will be out soon), in the meantime, my blog is http://www.giazzworld.blogspot.com, and Facebook is http://www.faceboook.com/gia.saulnier and my fan page is http://www.facebook.com/journeytojazzland


Thank you for charming us on this week’s Three Times A Charm! Best of luck to you and your writing, Gia.


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

October 23, 2013

Three Times A Charm with Karen Pokras Toz

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

Today’s guest is children’s author, Karen Pokras Toz. Welcome to Strands of Thought, Karen! Can you tell us a little about you, please?

I write middle grade and adult contemporary fiction. My middle grade novels include the Nate Rocks series, Millicent Marie Is Not My Name, and Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas. I began writing for kids on a dare when my own children told me they had nothing interesting to read. I won that dare and have since won several awards for my works. I’m a native of Connecticut, and now live outside of Philadelphia with my husband and three children.

A dare! That’s great, Karen.

Tell us about your most recent novel.

I recently published my fifth middle grade novel called “Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas.” Pie is about a twelve year old girl named Georgie Harris. Georgie loves to dance and spent many years taking ballet lessons with her best friend, Amber. However, when her parents decided it was time to move to be closer to her grandmother, Georgie did not take the news well: dance lessons in this new town were just too expensive.

Instead, Georgie spends her time baking pies and visiting her grandmother in her nursing home. There she meets a woman named Eve, who turns out to have danced with a world famous ballerina in Russia back when she was a child. Georgie and Eve’s stories intertwine as their friendship progresses throughout the tale, where Georgie learns many lessons about dreams and friendship.

I recommend my book to readers who like:

Are You There God It’s Me Margaret – Judy Blume
Starring Sally J. Freeman As Herself – Judy Blume
Ballerina - Nada Ćurčija Prodanović

That sounds like a story with a wonderful journey. Okay, Karen, 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.

            1. My Laptop/Ipad/Phone – I’m not a pen/paper girl. I like to type – whether it be on my computer or even on the notepad of my phone when I’m waiting for the schoolbus. The only exception is #2...

2. AquaNotes – Have you seen this? It’s a waterproof pad of paper that hangs in the shower. I love it.  (AWESOME!!!! I HAVE TO CHECK INTO THAT!)

3. Coffee. It’s not really a tool, I know. But for serious writing or editing – those times when things are coming together and are no longer just scraps of AquaNotes floating around, coffee is a must.

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

Variety Show Performer (think Marie Osmond – except I can’t sing or dance)
Fashion Buyer for a Department Store (thinking I could get free designer clothes)
Stock Broker (after watching Wall Street – didn’t we all want to be stock brokers after watching that?)

  • Top 3 personal mantras or inspirational phrases.

“We have the power to shrink our dreams to fit reality, or the power to stretch our reality to fit our dreams.” – Anonymous
“Dream big and rock on!”
“You are never too old to set another goal or live another dream.” – C.S. Lewis

Where can our tech savvy readers find you online, Karen?

Connect with me online:
                                   

Thanks so much!!

Thank you for charming us on this week’s Three Times A Charm! Best of luck to you and your writing, Karen.

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.