June 30, 2013

Release of SPREAD YOUR WINGS

knowonder! has done it again.

SPREAD YOUR WINGS: A Collection of Dragon and Princess Stories is now available to order.

31 read-aloud stories focusing on dragons and/or princesses offers parents and their children a month of bedtime stories in one collection.

Why read-aloud stories? Knowonder's focus is children's literacy. The benefits of read-aloud stories are numerous.


  • Builds listening skills
  • Increases child's vocabulary
  • Improves vocabulary skills
  • Develops learning aptitude
  • Strengthens family bonds
  • ...so much more
knowonder! story collections are compiled for children 0 - 10 years of age, but the varied stories will be enjoyed by kids and adults of all ages. 

I'm thrilled that two of my stories are included in the newest knowonder! collection.

KELL -  a story about a dragon who gives up her hoarding after meeting a young princess 

BLITHE AND MIRTH: A JOLLY TALE - My newest story about a princess who is forced to choose a prince to marry and ends up making a very unusual choice. 

You can order SPREAD YOUR WINGS from Amazon in print or for your Kindle.

Please help knowonder! continue their mission of children's literacy. Share the link to this post or to the Amazon page with your friends. Add the story collection to your shelf on Goodreads. Leave a review for the book on Amazon and Goodreads, or purchase another knowonder! collection.

Thank you and happy reading!

June 21, 2013

Building Character with Mea from Magical Mea

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 Mea from Magical Mea. It’s lovely to have you with us, Mea. Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, my name is Mea. I’m the little sister of Matthew. I have magic --  but don’t tell anyone – it’s a secret! I like to hide things with my magic. Later when I find stuff, everyone is so happy. Then I get lots of praise, ‘cuz I’m such a good finder!

Well, that sounds fun, Mea, but I sense sometimes it isn’t. Does it cause problems sometimes?

The problem I have is that I don’t want to do what Matt and Grandma Nonie tell me to do. Matt wants to boss me around and I’m tired of it. I like to hide things and then find them. I like to have fun and play tricks. But they want me to listen to them. They want me to be just like Matt, but I need to be me, not him.

I am the youngest of three girls, so I do understand. Have you learned anything while trying to resolve your problem?

Well, I don’t want to give away the story, but you know everyone can learn things from their older sister or brother. Especially when he’s been there, too. At least Matt doesn’t say ‘I told you so’ at the end!

Let’s learn about you. What is your strongest personality trait?

I have my own ideas. They say I’m a strong personality – like I’m stubborn. I don’t like to do what they tell me. So you see it’s hard for my brother Matt and Grandma Nonie – even our friend Lily – to tell me what to do.

Is there anything about you that people are always giving you a hard time about?

Well, Matt and Grandma Nonie are always telling me I shouldn’t hide things from people – that it’s not nice. I know, but it’s really fun to find things. Everyone tells me what a good finder I am and I like that. Matt and Grandma Nonie always want me to help people, like he did when he had magic.

How do you feel about it?

I got really tired of hearing all that stuff about doing good. It doesn’t sound like as much fun as I have hiding and finding things. That’s why I ran off to do things my own way – without them telling me do this, or do that.

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

I’d like to see little kids not be bossed around by their big brothers and sisters. Just because they’re older, do they know everything? They need to treat their younger sisters and brothers like they want to be treated. Like just be nicer, you know.

Thank you, Mea, for visiting Building Character! Best of luck to you resolving your problem. It sounds like the kind of thing you will have to work on a little at a time, but in the end I’m sure everyone will appreciate your hard work.

Readers, you can learn more about Mea and her story here:

Mea is a trickster. She’s the little sister of Magical Matthew. Mea found her magic power about the same time Matt lost his. Big brother Matthew wants to mentor Mea. He’ll show her how to use her magic for good, like he did. But the more Matt tries to guide Mea, the more she wants to "do it her way.” Matthew is worried Mea might get into trouble.

And learn about Mea’s author here:

Penelope Anne Cole writes and reviews children's books. Previously, she held various positions in Human Resources in management and training, and Teaching at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. One special joy is reading to children to encourage them to read on their own and love literature.

Penelope lives in Santa Clara, California, with her family and their rescued cats and dogs. She enjoys walking dogs, reading, writing, gardening, church activities, singing in choir, and spending time with family and friends.

Magical Matthew is her first published children's book. It celebrates the magic of childhood and the milestone of attaining 'double digits.' Magical Matthew has won the 2013 Book of the Year Award from Creative Child Awards Program in the Positive Learning Behaviors for Kids Category!

The second in the Magical series, Magical Mea, came out in May 2013,from Guardian Angel Publishing. A third book, Magical Mea Goes to School, and Magical M and M, are being illustrated.

Penelope has a B.A. in Liberal Arts, with an English Literature major; an M.A. in Education, and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She is also a Certified Phono-Graphix Reading Therapist from "Read America." She posts her book reviews on Amazon and on her blog: http://penelopeannecole.blogspot.com.
Although Penelope has written throughout her life,

***

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.

June 19, 2013

Three Times A Charm with Lia London

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, Lia London. Welcome to Strands of Thought, Lia. Tell us a little about you, please.

In grade school, I started writing skits for school assemblies, and quickly gained a reputation for writing on-demand scripts.  By my freshman year in college, I was commissioned to write a musical for Children’s Educational Theatre in Salem, Oregon.  I kept writing for others for 20 more years and grew up to be an English teacher.  Then I finally wrote a novel for myself.  While starting a blog to advertise it, I realized I’d rather keep writing stories—but I had too many ideas and not enough time if I was going to keep the blog posts coming.  So I decided to write stories with my readers and created Collaborative Fiction.  The last two (and most of the future ideas) have been geared for Young Adult and Middle Grade readers.  It’s been a blast, and many of the participants are teens and tweens!

Oh my gosh, that is so cool! What a great idea. What kind of collaborative writing do you do? Like what’s the most recent story?

Our latest project, due out some time later this summer, is a science-fiction adventure novel for middle graders and teens.  It’s called Gypsy Pearl and tells of a girl who lived on a space station in a solar system with three planets.  All her life she wanted to go to the Surface, but when she finally got the chance it was because she was being sent to a reformatory for trouble-makers.  Along the way, she meets some gypsies and their strange creature/pet.  Through a series of misadventures, she discovers that she has an important connection to the gypsies and the creature, and that she is destined to become a leader of worlds—if she can only learn to believe in herself.

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.
  1. Magian High (by me and the collaborative fiction participants) because it’s an exciting adventure and it shows what people can do when they work together (a theme in the book as well as how the book came about).
  2. The whole Alvin Ho series by Lenore Look because it’s hilarious and has a lot of personality.  It’s written for grade schoolers, but even my tween and I literally laugh out loud when we read it.
  3. The Princess Tales (a series) by Gail Carson Levine because she takes well-known fairy tales and flips them upside down so that they’re really funny.

Top 3 tools of the trade you couldn’t live without.
1.      My netbook (like a small lap top) because I can take it anywhere to write and access the internet wherever I am if there’s a wifi connection.
2.      My Kindle.  I didn’t think I’d like it, but it lets me get more books for less money, and I can read many books by independent authors that normally wouldn’t be available.
3.      Kids of my own!  Yes, if I didn’t have children to watch and learn from (and test my stories out on), I would do it all wrong.

Top 3 pieces of advice for kids these days.

1.      Learn how to work hard for the things that matter most to you.
2.      Remember that showing respect and kindness go a long way towards building trusting relationships with friends and adults.
3.      Show integrity to the good values you are taught because a good character is your most valuable asset.

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


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

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.

June 17, 2013

Excited to Earn the YA Author Title

Though I've been writing young adult fiction forever, I'm super excited about the July release of my first young adult novel, KING OF BAD!

About the book:

Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA. 

He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?

Want to see the cover?

CLICK HERE!

Add it to your shelf on Goodreads.

And please feel free to share it with everyone you know. I CAN. NOT. WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!

June 15, 2013

Beware of the White Discounted - This Weekend Only

What a wonderful publisher I have. Because I will be at an event all weekend she has discounted my book to help me celebrate. I feel it is only fitting that we thank her by making sure a lot of books sell!

So head over and to my blog and choose your format. Almost all of them have the discount keyed in.

http://www.kaistrand.com/Mid-Grade.html

After you have your copy in hand, share this post or the link to a buy page with your friends and help me spread the word about the discounted priced.

This weekend only - so act fast.

What people are saying:

This book was sooooooooooo good it was mind blowing. The details that were in every sentence made me jump into the book and I felt like I was in the book and living terra's life!” –A Kid’s Review

The ending was ingeniously done considering where it felt the last couple chapters were heading. –DK

This is a classic story of good versus evil, coupled with a coming-of-age quest. Terra has so much to learn about herself, her powers, the new world, dealing with so many emotions, and difficult situations. There are also relationships to build, coming to terms with life and death, and normal every day activities that contrast with the strange new world where Terra has the central role. Kai Strand has created a fantasy world that offers so much that is different and yet populates it with beings that we can appreciate, relate to, and understand. – Penelope Anne Cole, Children’s Author

June 14, 2013

Kai Strand Signing at the Redmond Street Festival

If you are in or around Central Oregon this weekend, be sure to stop at the Redmond Street Festival to visit with Kai Strand. She'll be in attendance with her books and some beloved SWAG. Just look for the Central Oregon Authors booth and stop in to say "HI"

When: June 15 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, June 16 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Where: 6th Street, Downtown Redmond, OR Between Forest and Deschutes.


Building Character with Tobias Rogan from Fresh Meat

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 Tobias Rogan from Fresh Meat. Welcome to Strands of Thought, Tobias. Tell us a little about yourself and what your life is like.

Hi. I’m Tobias Rogan, fifteen years old. I lived in Hampton, New Hampshire with my parents and my two little sisters until I got a crush on this guy, Larry Denning. He was twenty-two and I was dumb enough to think he liked me. Yeah, I like guys even though I am one. So what? Anyway, I was an idiot. Larry assaulted me and changed me into a werewolf, and now I’m never going to see my family again.

Oh! Wow, that makes the normal worries of the teen years pale in comparison. A werewolf? Really?

Yep, I just got turned into a werewolf by this guy I thought liked me. While he was attacking me. Oh, and the werewolf Alpha who took me in told me I can’t talk about it because he’s afraid someone will think a boy who got assaulted by a guy is weak or gay or both. Yeah, no big deal.

What is the strongest personality trait you bring with you into this tough situation?

I’m good with my kid sisters. One is autistic; the other’s only eight. I have to take care of them sometimes when my parents are fighting. I guess I’m a good leader, too; at least my friends usually ask me what to do.

Is there anything about you that people are always giving you a hard time about? How do you feel about it?

My dad gives me a hard time about everything. Not helping my mother enough. Not being into sports and stuff. I’m fifteen; I shouldn’t have to run the house and babysit all the time. I have stuff to do with my friends. And I don’t like sports. That doesn’t mean I’m not a “man.”

What are your three favorite leisure activities?

Hanging out with my friends at the beach. Times three.

“Times three” – I love that! If you could change one thing in this world, what would you change?

I’d make my father stop being a dink to my mother and us. Just because he’s the one earning the money doesn’t mean he’s the only one in our house who’s worth something.

Thanks for visiting with us, Tobias. Readers, here is more about Tobias’ story, Fresh Meat:

Tired of constant fighting at home, fifteen-year-old Tobias Rogan dreams of getting out. Then he meets twenty-two-year-old Larry Denning and believes he's found his chance. Although he hasn't decided completely whether he's straight, gay, or bi, Tobias can't deny his attraction to Larry, and Larry's interest in him is clear.

Then in one afternoon, Tobias's life is turned upside-down. Larry assaults him, turning him into a werewolf in the process. Tobias ends up at the home of the local pack's Alpha. As he attempts to adjust to his new life, Tobias learns that Larry is victimizing other boys. When Larry changes another boy and dumps him at the Alpha's home as a warning to Tobias, Tobias knows he must stop Larry from harming anyone else. But how?


And here is some information about Tobias’ author:

Jo Ramsey is a former special education teacher turned author. She enjoys writing books about characters who don’t believe they’re anything special until they suddenly become heroes. She has been writing since age five, and her first young adult novel was published in 2010. Jo lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters, her husband, a pet mouse, and two cats, one of whom likes to play fetch.

Jo Ramsey’s website: http://www.joramsey.com
Twitter: @JoRamseyYA
***

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.

June 7, 2013

Building Character with Frank from Beware of the White

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 Frank from Beware of the White. Welcome to Strands of Thought, Frank. Tell us a little about yourself and what your life is like.

Hello. My name is Frank. I’m eighteen years old. I graduated from high school last June. I was working for my dad until I got assigned to protect Terra. Oh, I didn’t mention that I’m also a Spirit of Security in the Underworld, did I? I can’t usually talk about that to people from the Outerworld, so I tend to forget.

Tell us more about your assignment to protect, who was it…Terra?

Yes, Terra is a new Nature’s Spirit. Spirits are the offspring of Peacekeepers and humans. They learn they are Spirits when they turn twelve and go to the Underworld for training. Unfortunately for Terra, on her very first night in Concord, she learned the leader of the Trepidus, (the death janitors of the Underworld) wants to eliminate her because she was named in a prophecy as the only one who can stop him from taking over Concord. So I was assigned as her guard whenever she’s in the Underworld for training.

What are some of the biggest stumbling blocks you’ve encountered trying to keep Terra safe?

We really don’t know a lot about the Trepidus. They are an arrogant species. Loners. They just do their jobs and don’t interact with others much. The lack of information has made it difficult to know how to protect Terra and also how to help her resolve the issue. I try to react quickly though. For example, when we learned that the Trepidus could come above ground, I packed up my dog and my car and drove out to Wisconsin to move in with Terra and her mom until the danger passes. I’d rather be on the offense, but sometimes a good defense is all you have.

Let’s learn more about you. What is your strongest personality trait?

I’m very level headed, which helps when I’m called on to break up a tussle between a couple of hot-headed Cobrazards or resolve a dispute between my sisters.

What are your three favorite leisure activities?

Mountain biking, reading and going to the movies.

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

Could I get a do-over?

Sure, what would you do differently?

I wouldn’t confront the Slipt in the alley. I’d just let it go.

Would you like to explain that further?

Not really.

Fair enough. We’ll read your book to learn more about that. Any words of wisdom to share with our readers before you go?

Up here in the Outerworld we are taught to suppress our instincts. I’m telling you to learn to trust them. Develop a one on one relationship with them so that you know when best to listen and when they might be influenced by circumstances. In other words, get to know yourself and trust yourself.

Thank you, Frank for visiting with us and sharing your story. Readers, here is more about Frank’s story:

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?

Buy It:

Or look for it on iTunes
  
About the author

Kai Strand writes fiction for kids and teens. Her debut novel, The Weaver, was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC eBook Awards. She is a (very lucky) wife and the mother of four amazing kids. The most common sound in her household is laughter. The second most common is, "Do your dishes!" She and her family hike, geocache, and canoe in beautiful Central Oregon, where they call home.

To find out more about Kai’s books, download companion documents, find links to her published short stories and discover all the places to find Kai both virtually and in person, visit her website: www.kaistrand.com. She loves to hear from readers, so feel free to send her an email or visit her facebook page, Kai Strand, Author.

Enter to win one of three BEWARE OF THE WHITE related prize packages: a Rafflecopter giveaway

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