March 30, 2013

A Reading from Queensicle by Kai Strand

For those of you who may not know, I am a staff writer for Knowonder.

Knowonder is a leading publisher of engaging content that drives literacy; the most important factor in a child’s success.

Parents and educators use Knowonder tools and content to promote reading, creativity, and thinking skills in children from zero to ten.

Knowonder’s books deliver original, compelling stories and content, creating an opportunity for parents to connect to their children in ways that significantly improve their children’s success.

Ultimately, Knowonder’s mission is to eradicate illiteracy and improve education success through content that is affordable, accessible, and effective.

Volume 4 of Knowonder's story collections was published at the beginning of this month. It includes my short stories Bungling Lulu and Queensicle. As a treat for little ones, I've recorded myself reading from my story Queensicle.

Kids love to meet the author. So have your child sit down in front of your computer or with your tablet or phone and a copy of Herman's Horrible Day, opened to page 156. And they can read along with me. My reading isn't perfect, but it is heartfelt. And that's what matters most when you are reading with your kids.




You can order your print or Kindle copy of Herman's Horrible Day from Amazon, or visit www.knowonder.com to browse the other books available.

Thanks for your support.

March 29, 2013

Cover Reveal for Beware of the White


Kai Strand's new middle grade fantasy adventure, Beware of the White, releases on May 17th (That's only 7 weeks!). 

About the book: 

As is tradition, Terra learns on the Saturday past her twelfth birthday that she is a Natures Spirit. It is her legacy to serve in the peaceful underground city of Concord. Learning she is named in a prophecy and being threatened by the leader of the death tribe…that part breaks tradition.
The Trepidus are the death janitors of the Underworld, responsible for delivering fatalities with a smile and cleaning up after themselves, until Blanco, recent leader of the Trepidus, decides the day of reckoning for his species is coming. He begins organizing the creatures and leads them toward an uprising. The prophecy says there is one person who can stop him. Terra.
          With Spirit of Security, Frank, protecting her, Terra attempts to complete her training and discover her Spirit talents. Together, they go on a rogue investigation to learn how to defeat Blanco. In the end, it comes down to a battle of the minds. The future of Concord is at stake. Will Blanco, the older, more experienced being win? Or will Terra, the young, new Spirit earn back the peace of the city?
***
This book has been years upon years in the making and is a labor of love for Kai. Reluctant heroine, Terra, and crush worthy hero, Frank, join forces to defeat the über creepy bad guy, Blanco. But when death is your business, can you even be defeated?

Don’t miss the release, sign up to be notified by the publisher when the book is available for pre-order. 

Find the Notify Me! button on the book's sale page.

AND enjoy the beautiful COVER!!!!!!





Building Character with Jenny from All Aboard!: Jenny's Story of the Mayflower Voyage


It’s Friday! Time for my blog feature, Building Character in which you get to meet a character from a book. Talking to a character outside of their book is fun! Huge. Amounts. Of fun. 

This week Strands of Thought is excited to host Jenny from All Aboard: Jenny’s Story of the Mayflower Voyage. It’s so great to have you with us, Jenny. Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Jenny and I first lived in England. We had to get out of England because things were bad there for us because we worshipped in a different way and people didn’t like it. We had to escape and we went to Holland and left there in 1620 setting off for a land over the waters, which Pa called ‘our promised land’. We would be able to worship in peace there. It was exciting to go all that way by ship, but it was frightening too. There were not many white people where we were going but there were natives who belonged to this country called Indians. Sometimes they killed people, but we had heard of some friendly ones. I didn’t know whether I wanted to meet one or not. I did, and the ones we met were very good to us.

My, my, Jenny. That is a lot of change for a girl your age. And to meet Indians, too. Good thing you already understood that being different doesn’t make you bad, huh? You know, because of the way you worship. What are some of the challenges you face in your new home?

The conflict that I have been trying to cope with is accepting the way things are. They are not the way I would like them to be. Our way of life is tough. We came here with almost nothing and we had to build our own houses and plant our own vegetables. I used to get such a sore back when I first started looking after my part of the garden. I think the worst thing has been when everyone on the ship started getting really sick and they died. My little baby sister died of this awful disease that was going around. We had to bury her at sea. It is hard to try and forget the pain you feel. Once I had a baby sister and now I don’t.

I’m sorry you lost your sister, Jenny. It sounds like your new lifestyle is quite different from what you were used to.

Just when you think things are getting better, we get a storm and all our vegetables are ruined and we have nothing to eat, or our corn won’t grow. It seems we are nearly getting there and are able to provide for ourselves and then . . .  oh no, our crops fail and we have to start again. And when we were on the ship coming over, we’d think all the leaks had been fixed up and then there would be another leak in the ceiling right over our bed. The damp made people cough and they became very ill. Things like that.

What have you learned about yourself?

That I can do it. I mean that I can put up with the hardship. That when someone else dies during the awful winter we have just had, I don’t go to pieces. I think we are all learning to be brave and Pa says we must look to our Maker for our strength and I think I am learning to do that and this helps me cope when times are hard. Also, friends are important. It is hard to get through all this by yourself. You need a friend.

I’m glad to hear you’ve made new friends. Tell us about them.

Isobel, her name is. She is my best friend. There are other girls we play with like Mercy and Rebecca, but Isobel and I talk together. I mean, really talk, and we can have a lot of fun together. She likes climbing trees too, even though we are not allowed too.

Jenny, what would you say is your strongest personality trait?

I think it is that I accept people, not for what color their skin is, but for what they are like inside. We have made friends with the Indians, the natives in our new country, America, and I know there are lots of different things about them but underneath they feel the same as we do.

And finally, Jenny, if you could change one thing in this world, what would you change?

I would let everyone be themselves. I would let people worship their god however they wanted to and I would make sure that no one would go without food and I would encourage people to love everyone for what they were like inside. Oh, did you say ‘one thing’? Sorry.

That’s quite all right. Those are all good things to want to change. Good luck in you new home, Jenny and thank you for visiting with us.

Readers, here is more about Jenny’s story:

They say truth is stranger than fiction. Well this book is a mixture of both. ‘All Aboard!: Jenny’s Story of the Mayflower Voyage is a true story, written for children, with fictional events skillfully woven into it by Australian author, Madeleine Calcutt. This is a truly amazing period of history, and the author pays tribute to the courageous men and women who fought for their freedom and pioneered a new country, which is now America. Children will not want to put down this action packed adventure story. What an easy and pleasurable way for them to learn about early America! Look up Amazon.com under the author’s name and you can buy it through Amazon or through the publishers, Lighthouse Christian Publishing: www.lighthousechristianpublishing

And here is some information about Jenny’s author:

The author, Madeleine Calcutt, has always loved writing, even in her childhood, having written scripts for theatre companies when she was in her teens. Her teaching background led to a career as a children’s librarian in schools and public libraries.
            This writing passion was further fired up after completing several writing courses. Her experience with these, culminated in her teaching creative writing in local community centers. Several writing groups that Madeleine coordinated evolved from the writing classes. She also worked as a tutor for a correspondence writing college.
            Madeleine has written children’s picture books, plays, children’s short stories, stories for women, and has had her Mayflower novel and an adult novel called ‘Step of Faith’ published. She is writing a series of historical fiction novels for older children and young adults and has recently completed the second novel in the series. This novel, based on early Australian history, is about convicts and is called, ‘Transportation!: Linney’s Convict Years’. Her next one deals with the blitz in England in WW2.
Visit Madeleine at www.madeleinecalcutt.wordpress.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.

March 27, 2013

Three Times A Charm with Philip Coleman


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, Philip Coleman. Philip tell us a little about you, please.

I’ve worked as a biologist for most of my lifein Ireland, Belgium and now in Switzerland, where I work for WWF (the panda people, not the wrestlers!). I used to write stories as a teenager, and even co-edited the school magazine, but I didn’t come back to writing until 2006 (and I won’t tell you how long after my schooldays that was!). This is my first published novel, after a couple of failed attempts. I wanted to capture the atmosphere of the time I spent living in Brussels, when my kids were around the same ages as Sean and Maeve in the story (though my kids are NOT like them and anyway they’re grown-up now. I live in the French Alps now; it’s a long commute to work but I’m surrounded my stunning scenery and, of course, I’m learning to ski.

I visited the French Alp when I was a teenager. The little village I stayed in for a couple weeks, Méribel Les Allues, was the inspiration behind the fictional village in my Weaver Tales books. LOVED it there. You must be inspired all the time.

Can you tell us more about The Master’s Book?

Sean moves to Brussels to a house that is a crime scene...

In 1482 Mary, the last Duchess of Burgundy, lies on her deathbed in a castle in Flanders. She is only 24. In her final moments she makes a wish that, 500 years later, will threaten the lives of a boy and a girl living in Brussels.
The Master’s Book is the story of Sean, an Irish teenager, just arrived in Brussels to a house that is also a crime scene. Together with Stephanie, his classmate, he finds an illuminated manuscript, only for it to be stolen almost at once.

Where did this manuscript come from? Who was it originally made for? Is there a connection with the beautiful tomb Sean has seen in Bruges? Above all, why does someone want this book so badly that they are prepared to kill for it?

Part thriller and part paper-chase, this book is aimed at boys and girls of twelve and over.

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.

Well, I have could offer lots of highbrow recommendations (see below) but, for a combination of something that’s entertaining but educational at the same time, I’d pick the following:

1.      Empire of the Sun, by J.G. Ballard.
Forget the Spielberg movie; the book is much better. All kids in their early teens – but especially boys – should read this excellent portrayal of a brave and smart young boy who sharpens his survivor skills in a Japanese internment camp in WWII.

2.      The Siege of Krishnapur, by J.G. Farrell (that’s another J.G.!)
Set in the Indian mutiny, this is part of Farrell’s Empire Trilogy but it’s the most exciting and accessible of the three books. I read it aloud to my kids and the loved it. It’s edge of the seat and very funny.

3.      My Family and Other Animals, by Gerald Durrell
Durrell wrote lots of very funny books about studying and collecting animals for his zoo but his account of life in Corfu in the 1930s with his eccentric family is the best of all, with both the animals and the humans as key characters.

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

Lots of brave people in history and recent times have risked and lost their lives in pursuit of justice but, for completely emotional reasons, it’s always more poignant (and more shocking) when the person concerned is a young woman. In this regard I would mention Sophie Scholl, who was beheaded by the Nazis in 1943 for distributing anti-Nazi pamphlets, and (yes I know this may be controversial) Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer while defending the home of a family in Gaza from demolition.

My third choice is also a martyr in his own way and that would be Abraham Lincoln. He was more human than he is sometimes portrayed and he didn’t always do the right thing but, as well as being a fundamentally decent man in a very difficult situation, he was extremely smart (much more than the people who worked with him, most of whom came from less poor backgrounds) and I like smart!
(I like smart too, Philip. A lot!)

  • Top 3 authors OR Top 3 illustrators.

How about two authors and one illustrator?

Well, I said I could go highbrow so for the authors I would choose Fyodor Dostoevsky, author of masterpieces like Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov, and Joseph Conrad, famous for Lord Jim, Nostromo, and The Secret Agent, among others.

For illustrators it has to be Mervyn Peake (also a talented author of works like the Gormenghast trilogy), who did superb illustrations for books such as The Ryme of the Ancient Mariner, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, The Hunting of the Snark and several of his own books, including the whimsical Letters from a Lost Uncle.


Philip, how can our tech-savvy readers keep up with you and your writing?

I’m in the process of setting up a new website with a blog. In the meantime, my email address is philipdcoleman@gmail.com

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

THANKS!

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

March 25, 2013

Visit with Jennings Wright author of IXEOS


Today we welcome Jennings Wright, author of the young adult/new adult title, IXEOS.


Hi Jennings! We are excited to have you visit. Can you please introduce yourself and your book?

Thanks for having me! My name is Jennings Wright, and my latest book is called IXEOS. I live in North Carolina with my family, although I’m still a Florida girl at heart. I’ve got two kids, 16 and 20, and they are the reason I wrote a Young Adult/New Adult book this time around. I love that age! IXEOS is a sci-fi fantasy story a dose of dystopian thrown in for fun. I have had a blast writing the trilogy, and hope readers will enjoy it just as much.

If you were to suggest the perfect beverage and snack to accompany the reading of your book by a reader tucked under a throw and curled up on the couch, what would it be and why?

I think fresh made popcorn and an Icee would be perfect! I can picture a big bowl of popcorn being slowly grabbed by the handful, almost absentmindedly. (Popcorn is better for this than chips, because you always want to check out the chips and get the folded ones or the whole ones before you eat the broken ones, right?)  And an Icee… Well, who doesn’t want an Icee? And you can’t drink it too fast without getting a brain freeze or having it get too chunky, so it would last a long time. Plus I love salty/sweet combinations.

If you could live through one scene in your book, which would it be?

Ixeos isn’t really a world for the faint hearted, and there aren’t a lot of “feel good” scenes. I think I’d like to live through the McClelland’s arrival on Ixeos, without knowing what’s going on. We can always imagine that we’d be brave and calm  in such a situation, but I wonder if I really would be brave and calm when I found out I was stuck in another world with no way to get home? Plus, I’ve always had a secret desire to go to another world, like Narnia.

Did you cry while writing this book? How many times? Why?

I didn’t cry writing it, but I did cry the first time I read it through. I don’t do any editing while I write, so when I read my first drafts for the first time, it’s almost like reading something someone else wrote. One of the main characters is killed, which was a hard decision while writing but not really emotional at that time. I was thinking, “Well, it’s a war. They can’t all survive. This makes sense…” But when I read it, I bawled! I even thought about changing it (especially when my daughter sent me a dozen texts all in caps after she read it!), but I decided that ultimately it was right for the story because it brings the reality of the dire situation fully to light.




Which is your favorite supporting character from your book and why?

That’s a hard question because this book has a lot of characters! I have two favorite secondary characters: Hannah, who has been in Ixeos for eight years, and Marissa, who is a computer geek who has only been there a couple. Both are bright and dedicated to the cause, and work really hard in their respective jobs to try to help the rebels and outsiders achieve their ultimate goal of freeing Darian from prison. Hannah is from the South and is physically tough and pretty fearless. Marissa is confident in her abilities and able to hold her own in a group of guys.

Your main character is caught outside in a sudden rainstorm. Are they mad, happy or indifferent? Why?

There are really three main characters in the book: Neahle and Clay McClelland, who are siblings, and their cousin Marty. They’re all very different, but any of them would love to be caught in the rain in a place where there are no Firsts and no danger. But since they are usually traveling around at night, trying to be fast and stealthy, rain would be a serious bummer the rest of the time. It slows them down, makes them cold, and causes them to leave wet footprints when they go inside. Now, if they were home on Earth, Neahle and Clay would be happy about being caught in a summer rainstorm, since they’re from a beach town. But Marty would be mad, because he’d probably have a laptop with him and all he’d think about was that it was going to get ruined.

Thanks, Jennings, for making Strands of Thought one of your stops on your tour.

About the book:
The McClellands are enjoying a lazy summer vacation at the beach when they are lured from our world into Ixeos, an alternate Earth. Finding themselves lost in a maze of tunnels under Paris and surrounded by strangers, they discover that they have been brought to Ixeos for one purpose:  to take the planet back from humanoid aliens who have claimed it. With the aid of the tunnels and a mysterious man named Landon, the teens travel the world seeking the key that will allow them to free Darian, the long-imprisoned rebel leader. But the aliens aren't the only problem on Ixeos -- the McClellands have to deal with brutal gangs, desperate junkies, and a world without power, where all the technology is owned by the aliens, and where most of the population has been killed or enslaved. The worst part? There's no way home.


About the author:
Born and raised in Florida, Jennings spent her early years reading anything she could get her hands on, when she wasn't spending time in and on the water. She won a prize in the 6th grade for her science fiction stories.

Jennings attended the University of Tampa, graduating with a B.A. in Political Science, and almost enough credits for B.A.s in both English and History. She attended graduate school at the University of West Florida, studying Psychology. She spent time over the years doing various kinds of business writing, editing, and teaching writing, but mostly having and raising her family, homeschooling her children, owning and running a business with her husband, and starting a non-profit.

Thanks to a crazy idea called NaNoWriMo Jennings got back into creative writing in 2011 and hasn't stopped since. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, also a business owner and writer, and two children, and travels extensively with her family, and her non-profit in Uganda.



 Readers, after you've left a comment for Jennings here, visit Ixeos' tour page for your chance to enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card or Pay Pal cash and to find links to the rest of Jenning's tour. Thanks for reading!

March 22, 2013

Building Character with Lia Weaver from Frost


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 Lia Weaver from Frost. Welcome, Lia. Tell us a little about yourself and what your life is like.

My name is Lia Weaver. I’m the daughter of Eloise and _ Weaver, and like our name suggests, we are Weavers. I don’t have much time to talk, so keep it short.

I understand. Why don’t you quickly share what challenges you are up against?

My parents are dead. That leaves me to make sure the family—my twin brother, younger sister, and I—survive. We have to make our weekly quota, take care of the farm, and keep from starving. And we have to keep away from the monsters that roam the wilderness. They’re called Watchers, and they only come out at night. They’re deadly—they killed my parents. We don’t have time to think about anything else. We’re trying to stay alive here, and I can’t risk doing anything stupid. Life is a tightrope and I’m doing my best not to fall.

Oh, did I mention that my sister brought home a fugitive from outside the Frost? And any contact with those people is forbidden?

One of these days, her bleeding-heart foolishness is going to get us all killed.

Please tell me you aren’t in this alone. Do you have a best friend?

You must mean Ann. She’s the daughter of the Mayor, but don’t let that fool you. She isn’t a slimy bastard like he is. She is everything I’m not—sweet and timid and refined as fine china.

What is your strongest personality trait?

I do what has to be done and I keep my family alive, if that’s what you mean. (My sister Ivy might say it’s my stubbornness, but she’s just annoyed at me because I made her weave this afternoon instead of letting her wander outside.)

What are your three favorite leisure activities?

Surely you’re joking. I wouldn’t know the meaning of leisure. Well, sometimes we tell riddles while our fingers are busy weaving. That’s the closest thing I can think of.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Alive.

What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers?

Work hard, don’t ask questions, and always stay on the paths when traveling the Frost. The Watchers don’t usually cross the paths. Don’t carry any technology—they’re drawn to it like flies to carrion. And never, ever go out at night if you value your life.

Readers, if you are as hooked by Lia’s harrowing plight as I am, read more about her book:

FROST, #1 in The Frost Chronicles

In the icy, monster-plagued world of the Frost, one wrong move and a person could end up dead—and Lia Weaver knows this better than anyone. After monsters kill her parents, she must keep the family farm running despite the freezing cold and threat of monster attacks or risk losing her siblings to reassignment by the village Elders. With dangers on all sides and failure just one wrong step away, she can’t afford to let her emotions lead her astray. So when her sister finds a fugitive bleeding to death in the forest—a young stranger named Gabe—Lia surprises herself and does the unthinkable.

She saves his life.

Giving shelter to the fugitive could get her in trouble. The Elders have always described the advanced society of people beyond the Frost, the “Farthers,” as ruthless and cruel. But Lia is startled to find that Gabe is empathetic and intelligent…and handsome. She might even be falling in love with him.

But time is running out. The monsters from the forest circle the farm at night. The village leader is starting to ask questions. Farther soldiers are searching for Gabe. Lia must locate a secret organization called the Thorns to help Gabe escape to safety, but every move she makes puts her in more danger. 

Is compassion—and love—worth the risk?

The first 3 books in The Frost Chronicles—Frost, Thorns, and Weavers—are available now in ebook and print editions. Find Frost at these places:

Amazon (Kindle and paperback editions): http://www.amazon.com/Frost-The-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B007Q4LLWE
Smashwords (all digital formats): http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/144165

About Lia’s author:

KATE AVERY ELLISON loves ice cream cake, board games, and long walks in the rain. She lives in Atlanta, GA, with her geeky husband and two bad cats. You can find out more about her writing on her blog at http://thesouthernscrawl.blogspot.com/, or follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Katiewriting

March 20, 2013

Three Times A Charm with Bob Dixon


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, Bob Dixon. Bob tell us a little about you, please.

I am a two-time Guinness World Record holder for the world’s longest cartoon strip. I created and wrote a number of comic book titles for Pocket Change Comics, including Assassinette: The Mind Stalker, Psyco Duck, Jester's Dead, The Holy Knight, Riplash, Shadow Slasher, and Warzone 3719. I have written two children books titled Rooty the Tree Troll and Holiday Bunny. I have written two novels A Tough Call and Mouch and Company: The Dream Psychic In addition, I am a certified special education teacher who works with children who have emotional behavior disabilities.

You’re a busy guy, Bob. Can you tell us more about Mouch and Company?

Mouch and Company: The Dream Psychic
Being a teenager is tough enough, but try it when you have schizophrenia and psychic abilities that make all of your imaginary friends real... The odds are against Mouch-he's locked up in Talsom Mental Asylum; his only friends are a sock puppet and his shadow. Worst of all, he suffers from amnesia; his earliest memory is of being found alone in a mall wearing nothing but a pair of polka-dotted boxer shorts, a pair of fluffy white bunny slippers, and a hat made from a newspaper.... and covered in a generous amount of blood. When an elderly gentleman visits him and reveals that Mouch is not crazy but is actually a psychic, Mouch does what any rational person would do-he runs for the door. Once outside of Talsom, Mouch soon finds himself thrust into a battle against a sinister movement of dark psychics who threaten to destroy the entire psychic community.

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.

Coffee computer and ah did I mention coffee

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

My wife my son and my daughter because quite honestly they are the most amazing people I have ever meet in my life


·                                 Top 3 leisure activities.

Camping hiking and believe it or not writing

Bob, where can our tech-savvy readers go to keep up with you and your writing?


Bob, thanks for charming us on this week’s Three Times A Charm. Best of luck to you, your writing and those kids you work with.

THANKS!

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


March 15, 2013

Building Character with Hazel Nutt from the What Squirrels Do Trilogy


It’s Friday! Time for my blog feature, Building Character in which you get to meet a character from a book. Talking to a character outside of their book is fun! Huge. Amounts. Of fun. 

This week Strands of Thought is excited to host Hazel Nutt from the What Squirrels Do trilogy. It’s so great to have you with us, Hazel. Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, my name is Hazel Nutt and I am a toddler who is nutty about the outdoors and nature, especially squirrels. I like to chat to squirrels and they tell me their secrets. 

What the squirrels don't know is that with my parents' help, I have created 3 picture books exposing their best kept secrets! I am both the author and the narrator of these books and there is at least one picture of me in each of the books.

I hope that my enthusiasm and love of nature is catching, and that I can encourage other young children to get nutty about nature as well.


We’d love to learn more about you, Hazel. What would you say is your strongest personality trait?

I am very persuasive.  When I talk to squirrels I have to encourage them gently to tell me about their secrets.  A lot of smiling, showing a lot of interest and being ever so complimentary does wonders.  It also helps that I keep a supply of nuts and treats in my pocket! These curious creatures certainly can chatter, once they start they don't stop.

What are your favorite leisure activities?

1: I love the outdoors, whether I am walking, running around, or in my buggy.  I particularly like running around in the fields and walking through the woods.

2: I like to interact with nature, whether that be admiring the trees, chatting with squirrels, feeding the ducks, or scoping the woods for new animals to chat to!

3: I create blog posts describing how I see the world and I also tell other toddlers how to train their parents, to make life as fun as possible!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

My parents tell me that I can be anything that I want to be.  So far I have considered being an acrobat, a ballerina, a clown, an explorer, a fashion designer, a jockey and a stunt person.

I am already an artist and a writer, but what I'm really interested in at the moment is to be a conservationist like Jane Goodall.  I really want to help animals and if I can make a career out of it, I will!

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

I'd make sure that everyone respects trees as they are both beautiful and essential.  The squirrels tell me that they don't just bury their acorns and nuts to find again later to eat, but they bury them so that other trees can grow and breathe life into our planet.  Squirrels are great believers in the circle of life.

What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers?

Don't take anything at face value!  If squirrels can get up to all these shenanigans behind our backs, just think what the foxes, rabbits, or even our pets might do when we are not looking! Keep your eyes, ears and imaginations open and who knows what craziness might come to light.

Readers, here is more information about Hazel’s stories complete with where you can buy them:
 
The What Squirrels Do is a trilogy of picture books that gives people an insight into these curious creatures, not EVER revealed to the public before.  It will shock you to know some of the devious tricks squirrels play, it will solve some of life's mysteries, like why there are shopping trolleys in the middle of the woods, and they will make you laugh.

These books cannot fail to bring a smile to the faces of both child and whoever is reading the book to them - Mummy, Daddy, brother, sister, grandparent or carer.

What Squirrels Do When You Are Not Looking

What Squirrels Do:  The Squirrel Olympics

What Squirrels Do: Just for Fun






More about our author, Hazel Nutt:
Hazel Nutt is a baby who is nutty about nature, especially squirrels, whom she often has a good natter with. They tell her their secrets and her parents help her write them down to share with the world, as picture books.

Loving nature is really important to her and Hazel Nutt hopes to make sure that lots of other kids get nutty about nature as well, starting with squirrels!

Author Website: http://www.hazelnutt.com

Also your chance to win signed copies of the books:

***
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.

March 13, 2013

Three Times A Charm with Kay Glass


Welcome to the 2013 version of 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 we welcome author, Kay Glass. It is always fun for me to host another Kai/Kay/Kae – there aren’t that many of us. Kay, tell us a little about you, please.

I wear many hats- wife, mother, and author being the top three! I’m married to my high school sweetheart, and we have two beautiful children: an 11-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter. We have 2 dogs and 5 cats, so it’s never dull around here.

I started writing a year and a half ago, and I haven’t slowed down since! I’ve recently branched out from the adult scene to young adult writing. As long as I have my laptop and mp3 player (with a good set of earbuds) life is good. My writing generally comes from phone conversations that start with, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?”

Tell us about your book.

Puppet of the Fates is the first novel in the Strange Curses trilogy, a young adult paranormal romance. Meet Serene Poole, a 16-year-old girl cursed with horrible luck. She’s a walking disaster and can’t go a day without getting hurt- sometimes the injuries are minor nuisances, but other times they are more severe, requiring stitches, casts and stays in the hospital. She doesn’t understand why she suffers the way she does, until one terrible night she learns the truth. In a past life she committed a sin- a sin so terrible that she's cursed by the Three Fates to have horrible luck until she pays off her karmic debt.

Meet Ryder Whyte, the 17-year-old boy next door who's always been a friend, and now wants to be more. But this isn't your typical love story, as every chapter has been woven by the Fates, who won't let their blossoming love go untested. For the truth will come out about her past sins, and in this incarnation she will have the chance to redeem herself, and maybe even for true happiness- if she lives long enough.

Wow, that sounds great! I just added it to my to read shelf on Goodreads

Now for the threes. Help us know you a little better by answering your top three choices to the following questions:

  • Top 3 tools of the trade you couldn’t live without. My laptop, Android, and Facebook! Anytime I’m without any one of the three for long I get antsy! I tend to spend the majority of my day networking or writing, so that’s where the laptop comes in handy, as well as Facebook. And when I’m away from my laptop, I stay involved via Android, so I’m never out of touch for long.

  • Top 3 leisure activities. Riding my bike, reading (either on my Kindle or an actual paperback or hardback), and playing games on the Xbox 360. I love to read pretty much any piece of fiction I can get my hands on, and I spend more time doing so than riding my bike, as it is winter and I don’t do well in the cold. And you can usually find me preparing for the zombie apocalypse 5 nights a week- okay, playing 360 games, but it’s the same thing!

  • Top 3 authors. Aiden James, Nora Roberts, and Stephen King! I started with Stephen King books when I was 8 (which might explain a lot about me!) and I was hooked. I love description, lots of detail, and his writing fits the bill. Aiden James is a wonderful author, and he, too, provides a lot of detail in his work. He’s known for his paranormal works, and they vary in subject so there’s something for everyone. I love Nora Roberts as well, mainly under her pseudonym J.D. Robb where she writes about Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her husband, Roarke. I’ve been hooked on the series for years!

Kay, where can our readers go to keep up with you and your writing? 


Thanks for charming us on this week’s Three Times A Charm, Kay. Best of luck with the release and with your writing!

THANKS!

I’M 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.

March 12, 2013

Book Blasts Giveaway - To Love or Die in a Steamy-Reamy World


To Love or Die in a Steamy-Reamy World


10 Tales of Steampunk Silliness and Spookery
In the cozy seaside village of Steamville, New Hampshire, an unfaithful zombie, out of control werebots, succubi in corsets, and more wreak havoc in this short story collection from the author of Elemental.


Purchase
Just .99 cents





Praise

"Well written and very fast paced. You won’t get bored or find your mind wandering. I’d love to see a sequel to this collection and see what happens next. I give this book five out of five donuts."

"This book starts off dipping its toe right into the heart of the story, not unlike Ms. White's YA novel Elemental, and the story never really slows down to a lazy pace; making it a very easy and fast read."

"Ms. White wonderfully succeeded in instilling humor into ten short stories about vampires, zombies, ghosts, and one mad scientist. Each story is brilliantly linked. The Victorian era setting delightfully adds to the humor."

"This is a wonderful mix of Steampunk and Horror written in Emily White's unmistakable brilliance and style. Does it get any better than that?"



About Author Emily White

Emily White lives in NY, wedged between two of the Great Lakes and a few feet of snow and ice. She's spent most of her life running away from the cold, and even spent a year in Iraq, but now contents herself with writing her characters into warm, exotic places in faraway galaxies. When not tapping away at her computer keys, she can be found reading, reading, and reading some more. And when she's not doing that, she's usually playing video games with her husband, peek-a-boo with her kids, or walking through her garden, wondering why the bugs insist on eating all her vegetables.



Also by Emily White






Book Blast Giveaway
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 3/24/13


a Rafflecopter giveaway http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MGEwMDk2ODM4YmEyM2MyMzNmNmEwNjhkYWFjNGMwOjgxMw==/

March 8, 2013

Building Character with Sabah from Edge of the Falls



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 Sabah from Edge of the Falls. Welcome, Sabah. Tell us a little about you.

My name is Sabah. I’m the oldest child the Mistress rescued after being thrown from the City.

That sounds intriguing. What conflict are you currently up against?

A society that threw me away as a child, and a guardian who has more secrets than any one person ever should.

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

No one is what they seem—people I have loved my whole life have been lying to me. When you can’t trust people that close to you, who can you trust?

Oh, that is tough. Tell us about your best friend.

Berg? Oh. Well. It’s complicated. He was adopted at the same time I was, and he saved my life. He’s always been there—I can’t imagine life without him, honestly.

Then, there’s Arjun. Who also saved my life—and who made me face some of the things about the Mistress that I didn’t want to see. He’s not always easy to be around—and he’s bossy—but I sorta love that about him.

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

How scared we all are. It’s why Citizen’s live with the rules of the Commission—and I think if we were able to let go of our fear, we could actually live.

What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers?

Sometimes, you just have to do what scares you. It’s hard. It’s painful. There’s a chance you won’t get the outcome you want. But until you take a chance, you’ll always wonder what might have happened.

Thanks for visiting with us, Sabah. We wish you luck in your tenuous situation. 

Lovely readers:,here is more on Sabah’s story Edge of the Falls:

Sabah always knew where she belonged—with Berg—and what was expected of her—to care for the other children the Mistress took in.

But when a ban-wolf saves her life, things begin to change.

Arjun isn’t like the other ban-wolves, the savage creatures that are barely human. He’s gentle and furious and as Sabah spends time with him, she can’t seem to get him out of her mind. But in a world of darkness, control, and danger, is there a place for two outcasts?

A romantic retelling of Beauty and the Beast in a dark dystopia.
                       

Learn about Sabah’s author:

Nazarea Andrews is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. She loves chocolate and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, and overgrown dog.

@NazareaAndrews

Sabah and her book are on a blog tour to celebrate the release of Edge of the Falls. Be sure to click over to Nazarea’s website for more tour stops – after you leave a message, that is! Thanks for reading.
***
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.

March 6, 2013

Three Times A Charm with Gerilyn Marin


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.

Are you kidding? I've only been interviewed once before (at Halloween), but that was by a long time reader-turned-blogger. So, as you can probably imagine, when I was told, out of the blue, "Someone wants to interview you for their blog," I almost fell over.

When I was first given your contact information, actually, I thought fate smiled on me, 'cause one of my first novel characters (not in this work, but another that I'm putting through pre-edits now) is name Kai-Yun.

Well, I’ll let you catch your breath. We don’t want you fainting on SoT. That’s really cool about your character’s name. Do you pronounce it “Ky?” Most people say my name like that, but it is actually pronounced like the letter “K.”

Readers, our enthusiastic guest is author, Gerilyn Marin. Gerilyn, tell us about yourself, please.

—I am a wife and mother of four (we just celebrated my baby girl's first birthday).Born and raised in Queens, New York. I'm a believer in paranormal phenomena, and make my husband sit through countless documentaries on archeology and ancient cultures with me. On the flip side, I'm also a huge fan of anime & manga, and indulge in the occasional video gaming-binge. I trained in Taekwondo during my teenage years, spent a lot of time stomping around Greenwich Village and frequented gothic landmarks (the nightclub 'The Bank', and the clothing shop Funhouse) that—heartbreakingly—no longer exist.

I really only write paranormal/urban fantasy 'cause that's where my heart lies. I was raised with a healthy respect for the supernatural and come from a family with a history of psychic sensitivity. I, personally, have no interest in stories that do not have anything paranormal in them. I find normal boring, I think J. I'm extremely proud to be able to say that I have received several awards and nominations from 2007-2011 for my amateur writing.

Tell us about your book.

"Buried" is the first installment of a paranormal YA trilogy. 17 year old Cadence McKenna lives in the small, East Coast town of Fane's Cove. Fane's Cove is a peculiar place in hauntings and poltergeist activity are considered regular happenings, and newcomers to town are extremely rare. Cadence becomes reluctantly fascinated with the new boy, Grey Addison . . . because he's normal, and that doesn't sit right with her. Normal just doesn't happen in Fane's Cove.

In an effort to figure out who he 'really' is and why he's there, Cadence tries to get close to Grey. Together they dig into Fane's Cove's forgotten history and learn things about the town, and their own—much more personal—pasts, than anyone would ever want to know.

This story is currently released in serial format on my publisher's website, www.CuriosityQuills.com. Buried will be released as a complete novel on March 18th! It will include a bonus chapter as well as a preview chapter for another series of mine.

Now for the threes. Help us know you a little better by answering your top three choices to the following questions:

  • Top 3 snacks to munch on while working.

1.  Tostitos with lime and Coke Zero.
2.  Twizzlers (sugar free if I can find them).
3.  I know this one doesn't 'munch', but I would have to say coffee! Definitely coffee, and lots of it.    

  • Top 3 leisure activities.

1.  Drawing—comic/anime-style characters, mostly.
2.  Reading, though I can't tell you the last time I was actually able to finish a book. I'm usually a pretty avid reader, but when I'm writing I've found that I just can't focus on reading. Probably for the best, since once I start reading and get immersed, I just want to keep going and forget about my own work.
3.  Actually, writing J. Fanfiction. I know, that has a lot of negative connotation (partly from authors, partly from the fact that, thus far, the literature that has been published from admitted fanfiction writers hasn't exactly been stellar). Putting the negatives aside, it's a great escape for the creative processes because you can focus on just telling a story.                 You're working with characters that you, and your readers, both, already know and love (or hate) so there's no ground work involved in familiarizing your audience with the people you're writing about.
            I also, wholeheartedly believe that for early writers, trying to find their own voice and hone their writing, it can be a fantastic medium for that very reason. Think of it like the art courses where the students are instructed to recreate works by the masters. I have many friends in the fanfiction community who are working authors, so I'm not alone in this, by a long shot.

  • Top 3 illustrators.
           
1.  Michael Turner (RIP) the comic artist of Witchblade and Fathom fame. I learned a lot of the way I draw body structure from his work.
2.  Naoko Takeuchi whom, many old-school manga fans know, she is the creator of the Code Name: Sailor V and Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon books.
3.  Rounding out this list would have to be Rumiko Takahashi, the creator of the manga Inuyasha.

Gerilyn, where can our readers go to keep up with you and your writing? 

Blog:            http://gerilynmarin.blogspot.com/

Thanks for charming us on this week’s Three Times A Charm, Gerilyn. I love the idea of a serial novel. Best of luck with the release and with your writing!

THANKS!

OPEN CALL FOR GUESTS! 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.