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1. Pasadena Teen Book Festival Blog Tour - Spotlight on Tracy Holczer


I'm so excited to kick off the Pasadena Teen Book Festival blog tour! Make sure you read through for an interview with debut YA author Catherine Linka as well as a couple of giveaways and a renaming contest!

Event date: Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 12pm-4pm

Venue: Pasadena Public Library, 285 E Walnut St, Pasadena, CA 91101




Tue March 25 - Read Now Sleep Later - Spotlight on Catherine Linka
Mon March 31 - The Windy Pages - Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil
Mon March 31 - The Windy Pages - Spotlight on Holly Goldberg Sloan
Wed April 2 - FangirlFeeels - Spotlight on Jesse Andrews
Fri April 4 - What a Nerd Girl Says - Spotlight on Andrew Smith
Mon April 7 - What a Nerd Girl Says - Spotlight on Margaret Stohl
Tue April 8 - Adventures of a Book Junkie - Spotlight on Amy Tintera
Thu April 10 - The Consummate Reader - Bridge to Books Guest Post
Fri April 11 - iFandoms Collide - Spotlight on Rachel Searles
Mon April 14 - Nite Lite Book Reviews - Spotlight on Sarah Skilton
Tue April 15 - Nite Lite Book Reviews - Spotlight on Allen Zadoff
Wed April 16 - The Reader's Antidote - Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross
Mon April 21 - iFandoms Collide - Spotlight on Carol Tanzman
Tue April 22 - The Book Twins - Spotlight on Carrie Arcos
Wed April 23 - Read Now Sleep Later - Spotlight on Tracy Holczer
Thu April 24 - Birth of a New Witch - Spotlight on Katherine Ewell
Fri April 25 - The Consummate Reader - Spotlight on Lissa Price
Date TBD - A Bookish Escape - Spotlight on Ann Redisch Stampler


About The Secret Hum of a Daisy


Twelve-year-old Grace and her mother have always been their own family, traveling from place to place like gypsies. But Grace wants to finally have a home all their own. Just when she thinks she's found it her mother says it's time to move again. Grace summons the courage to tell her mother how she really feels and will always regret that her last words to her were angry ones.

After her mother's sudden death, Grace is forced to live with a grandmother she's never met. She can't imagine her mother would want her to stay with this stranger. Then Grace finds clues in a mysterious treasure hunt, just like the ones her mother used to send her on. Maybe itis her mother, showing her the way to her true home.

Lyrical, poignant and fresh, The Secret Hum of a Daisy is a beautifully told middle grade tale with a great deal of heart.

Spotlight on Tracy Holczer

RNSL: What inspired you to write The Secret Hum of a Daisy?

TH: So many things, really. Living life. Having loved and lost. Soup and all its meanings :) And like a good soup, it all came together in HUM.

RNSL: Grace comes from a very creative family: they make things, they write, they help things grow. Other than writing, what are your favorite creative pursuits?

TH: Really, writing is my only creative pursuit. I don’t even listen to the radio in the car. And any “art” I might produce is pretty much limited to unrecognizable stick figures. My kids never asked me to help with any creative project because, even at age five, they were much better than I could have been. Mothering is a creative pursuit, and I am a mother to three wonderful daughters.

RNSL: The Secret Hum of a Daisy is very much about relationships and emotions. Which relationship (i.e. mother/daughter, girlfriends, etc.) or emotion did you have the hardest time writing about?

TH: Being an only child, the hardest part for me was writing about friendship. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a loner or outcast (even though I’ve felt that way at times), but I definitely enjoy my solitude, as any good introvert will. I’ve been more successful at friendship as an adult than I ever was as a child because I did so much observing rather than connecting back then. I wasn’t around very many children until I was in school, and so they baffled me.

RNSL: There's a lot of poetry in your book. Have you always read and written poetry? Did you grow to love it just recently or did it start when you were a child?

TH: I have always written spectacularly bad poetry about love gone wrong. Example:

Yesterday’s rain had left me alone
Locked up inside of my room
Where I unfolded my memories.

December, 1983

Interestingly, I’m not a huge fan of all poetry. I love simple things, poetry included.

RNSL: I love the Spoons Souperie restaurant in your story. What's your favorite soup?

TH: My small but mighty Italian grandmother, who I outgrew when I was ten, was a great soup maker. She had soup for every occasion. Minestrone, Straccetti (which was what she called egg soup even though actual straccetti has nothing to do with eggs), Lentil, and my very most favorite, square soup.

What is square soup you might ask? Well, its soup with little squares in it. Sounds simple, but nothing was ever simple in Nonni’s kitchen. She’d boil the chicken for the stock (always) and hand roll the pasta for the squares. She cooked them Just So and they were the slightest bit chewy. Even I haven’t been able to replicate it, but I have my memories. No problem was ever too big for the healing properties of Nonni’s square soup.

You can find more about Tracy on her website, www.tracyholczer.com, and follow her on Twitter @tracyholczer

Giveaways


#1: ARC of A Girl Called Fearless
Winner may request personalization/autograph
Open to US residents only - ends 4/25/2014
Enter with Rafflecopter #1



#2: Choose from 1 of the books featured at the Pasadena Teen Book Festival
Winner may request personalization/autograph
Open to US residents only - ends 4/25/2014
Enter with Rafflecopter #2



#3: $50 Gift Card to Vroman's Bookstore
Open to attendees of the Pasadena Book Festival only! - ends 4/21/2014

To enter, suggest a new, unique/clever/fun name for the Pasadena Teen Book Festival. Examples of other cool names for teen book fests include (already taken, unfortunately) Teen Author Carnival, YALLFest, and YABFest. What should we call our event from now on? Email your top 3 best name suggestions to info@pasadenateenbookfest.com OR fill out this form! A panel of judges will choose the best name from all of the submissions. The winner will be announced at the Festival!

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2. Mark your calendars: Unstoppable - June 3rd!

The release date for Unstoppable is June 3rd!

At that time it will only be available in print and at Amazon. 

To catch up on the series - Untraceable is currently free and Uncontrollable is $3.99.

You can add Unstoppable to your Goodreads 

If you would like to be a part of the summer blog tour - sign up here.




After everything that has happened, Grace goes to the Everglades to live with her grandmother, Birdee. Even though she is now home-schooled by her bird-obsessed grandmother, the move gives Grace time to relax. She learns to scuba dive and starts boating with old man Rex, Birdee's casual friend/boyfriend. 

One day while out in the marshes of the Everglades, Grace rescues an abused Florida panther, currently on the endangered list. The more she dives into the animal’s horrific condition, the more she ventures into the underground world of the roadside zoos that run rampant in Florida with a total disregard for the law. Eventually, she stumbles upon one large roadside zoo filled with a variety of endangered and illegal animals. 

Before she can gather evidence and report her findings to the authorities, she is kidnapped by the ruthless owner and dragged deep into the Everglades for a hunting challenge. Only this time, Grace is the prey. 

During a sick game of cat and mouse, Grace is offered one chance at survival. With a one-hour head start and very little supplies, time and skill are now all that stands between the hunter and the hunted.



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3. Blog Tour de Toby Turtle 2014!

Pack your snorkel and fins. It's time for the Toby blog tour!

Toby is my upcoming picture book about a plucky sea turtle's adventures from egg to nest. I'll be signing books, talking turtles, divulging my innermost rhyming secrets (and just how many pencils I chewed through to finish this story!).

Without further ado, here is the tour call out:

Award-winning author Stacy Nyikos will be hosting a blog tour June 8-14, 2014, to celebrate the launch of her new book Toby.

Stacy is offering blog interviews, guest blogs, and a limited number of books for review and giveaways.  About Stacy Nyikos – In a quiet little office/at a comfy little desk/Stacy Nyikos chews on pencils/and scribbles silliness…when she’s not plucking splinters from her teeth, that is. Stacy holds an MFA is Writing (silliness) for Children from Vermont College. She spends her days chasing—or being chased—by stories. Toby is her latest catch. He sees it the other way around—catching her in the form of two very curious but courageous rescue sea turtle’s she met during a behind the scenes tour of her local aquarium. Either way, a lot of pencils got crunched writing his story.

About Toby - Birds, and crabs, and crocs - oh my! - stand between Toby and his new ocean home. Can he outslip, outslide, out-double flip and dive them? Join this plucky little sea turtle on his adventures from egg to ocean to find out!


Interviews and guest blogs should be completed prior to May 31, 2014.  This is a perfect opportunity for students, librarians and bloggers to access an award-winning author at no cost.  Bring the arts to life; involve students in the interview and blogging process.

If you require a book/book review prior to an interview, please let me know your mailing address.  We have a very limited number, so contact me right away.

The tour will be publicized by Provato Events through a press release prior to the event.  All interviews will be listed on the Provato Events Website and on Stacy Nyikos’ Blog with links to the blog sites. 

To participate in the blog tour, please contact me today. 

Thank you!

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE <![endif]--> Michele Kophs
15114 NW 7th Ct. | Vancouver, WA 98685
360.597.3432 Direct | 646.219.4841 Fax
http://www.provatoevents.com/blog/Toby.html

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4. Total Eclipse of the Moon

redmoonTax day approaches – everyone's favorite day of the year. Tonight I plan to stay up past midnight and watch the day arrive. Not because I waited until the last minute to do my taxes (although there's that) but because tonight there will be a total lunar eclipse.

Most of North America will be able to see the eclipse and since the moon is close to full it should be pretty dramatic. Because of the timing of the eclipse, sunsets and sunrises in other parts of the world will make the moon look blood red. Kinda cool! If you have cloudy skies or too many city lights to see it, The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles will broadcast the eclipse live starting at 9:45 p.m. PST.

This is also the last week of the blog tour for WISH YOU WEREN'T. Here are the planned stops.  

MONDAY
The Book Cellar: Erica posts an interview about my reading and writing habits.  
Books and Needlepoint: Kristi will post her review of Wish You Weren't.  

WEDNESDAY 
Book Loving Mom: Amy will post her review of Wish You Weren't.

I want to thank all of the bloggers who hosted me during this tour. Book bloggers are seriously the coolest people. They don't make money from this. They do it because they love books and I'm totally honored to have been part of so many awesome blogs.

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5. Thrive by Meenoo Rami

We are thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Meenoo Rami's new professional book Thrive: 5 Ways to (Re)Invigorate Your Teaching. We are early in the blog tour and there are many great stops coming up where you'll learn more and more about the book and Meenoo. So, our post will be the random things we love about Meenoo and the book--the reasons you'll want to pick it up soon!

I first "met" Meenoo on Twitter as #engchat was one of the first Twitter chats I participated in.  It was the one that hooked me on Twitter chats because it taught me just how powerful these conversations could be. And Meenoo INVENTED #engchat.  I remember her telling me when I finally met her in person at NCTE one year, that she created a talk for teachers on Twitter as a way to give back to the community that has given her so much. I realized then what a generous and genuine person Meennoo is. She mentioned that she was thinking of writing a book and I knew that whatever book she would write, I would buy it. I knew that whatever she had to say would be thoughtful and important.

I was lucky to interview Meenoo several weeks ago for a Choice Literacy Podcast. The podcast, "Finding Meaning and Joy in Teaching" can be found at Choice Literacy's website. So much of what she said in the interview continues to live with me.  As I think back on my 27 years of teaching, so much of what she teaches us are the things we don't learn in student teaching, but things that are most important to our lifelong work.  What she writes about are the keys both to being a true professional and to staying true to our students.

There couldn't be a better time for Meenoo to share her voice on the topic of (re)invigorating our teaching lives.  It is easy to be tired about our work these days -- tired from the mandates and the politics and the testing and the criticism.  And Meennoo describes, with honesty, how lonely this work can be if we don't reach out.  Then she reminds us how wonderfully energizing our work can be when we do reach out. I love that this book focuses on the people in our lives.

I love this book because after 27 years, it totally resonated with me.  I think no matter how long you've been teaching--20 days or 20 years, there are ruts in our teaching lives. There are times when staying energized gets hard and times that we feel alone, no matter how many wonderful colleagues we have.  Meenoo talks about those first few years of teaching and how lonely they often were, how isolated she sometimes felt. But she took charge of her teaching and her learning and reached out and found people to learn with.

And I love this book because it reminded me of mentors and I love the way that Meenoo thinks about them. She talks honestly about mentors who were assigned to her and she shares mentors who have been part of her teaching life.  I love that she doesn't talk about one mentor but the idea that we need lots of mentors and each mentors us in a different way.

Meeoo is someone you want to follow. Her book is powerful but so is her blog and her Twitter feed (@meenoorami). She shares thoughtfully and generously and invites us all into the network she has created-- a network of learners who thrive in even the toughest times.

THRIVE Blog Tour Stops!
Be sure to visit all these great blogs who are celebrating Thrive
Hear what they have to say about Thrive 
and read guest posts and interviews from Meenoo herself!
4/9/14
Jen Vincent at Teach Mentor Texts!
4/10/14
Franki Sibberson and Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading
4/11/14
Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy
4/12/14
Kira Baker Doyle at Kira J Baker-Doyle, Ph.D.
4/13/14
Sarah Mulhern Gross at The Reading Zone
4/14/14
4/15/14
Kate Roberts and Maggie B. Roberts at Indent
4/16/14
4/17/14
Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
4/18/14
Troy Hicks at Hickstro
4/19/14
Joy Kirr at Genius Hour
4/20/14
Tara Smith at The Teaching Life
4/21/14
Antero Garcia at The American Crawl
4/22/2014
John Spencer at Education Rethink
4/23
Kellee Moye and Ricki Ginsberg at Unleashing Readers






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6. Review: The Eighth Day

It's a long drive from where I live in California to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, twenty-two hours to be exact. But I made good use of my time. During the trip I was able to start and finish an ARC that I won of THE EIGHTH DAY by Dianne K. Salerni. Five pages in and I was lost to the world. Stopping for dinner was a huge inconvenience. And did my family really need to interrupt to point out the snow / lake / mountains / wild animals we were passing? I think not. In fact, I was so engrossed in the book that I failed in my role as navigator and we ended up more than twenty miles off course before I looked up and realized what had happened. Needless to say, hubby might not be as big a fan of Dianne as I am :P

So what did I love about this book? For starters, the concept is cool: an extra day stuck in the middle of the week that only a few people know about. The problem lies with what certain people decide to do with all that extra time on their hands. By blending modern day situations with Arthurian legends and throwing in a few Dr. Who and Ancient Aliens references, Dianne has created something completely original. Filled with heart-pounding action and wonderful characters–people who grow on you even when you start out thinking you won't like them–this is the type of book that I finish reading and hand off immediately to my kids. If you have a chance to get an ARC, jump on it. Otherwise, look for it when it releases next month. You'll definitely want to add this to your TBR list.

As for the WISH YOU WEREN'T blog tour, there's plenty of fun stuff happening this week. Reviews, deleted scenes, 25 things you might not know about me, and of course, plenty of give aways. Here's where you'll find me around the blogs this week:

Book Dreaming: Shannon O'Donnell reviews Wish You Weren't.
Read This Instead: Kathy will be sharing a deleted scene from Wish You Weren't.
Me, My Shelf & I: 25 Things you may or may not know about me :)
Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile: Jessica will post a review of Wish You Weren't.

All of these sites will be giving away prize packs as well (printed copy of Wish You Weren't, astronaut ice cream and a wish token), so stop by and enter your name to win!

Of course, you can always get your very own copy of WISH YOU WEREN'T from these magnificent retailers. And when you buy the print version from Amazon, you get a free e-book download, too -- bonus!

Amazon   |  Kobo  |  B&N  |   Smashwords  |   Solvang Book Loft

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7. Blog Tour: Task Force Gaea Series by David Berger



I'd like to introduce fellow author, and a good friend, David Berger. I'm a big fan of Top Ten style lists so I asked David, who are his top ten Favorite Heroes/Heroines & why.

1. Wonder Woman: Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved this character. Not only does she have her origins in Greek mythology, an obsession of mine, but she also embodies strength, compassion, wisdom, and love, qualities that both women and men can share. She has “encourage[d] women to stand up for themselves, to learn to fight, and be strong, so they don’t have to be scared, or depend on men” according to her creator, William Moulton Marston. In a way, she was one of my role models growing up, partly because I have a strong mother figure.

2. Black Canary: She ranks up there as a top heroine for me because she’s another strong woman. Simply because she’s a skilled hand-to-hand combatant with no superhuman strength and she can hold her own does she have my respect. Even though she does have her “canary cry,” a shrill scream that can deafen her adversaries, she is known largely because she can go toe to toe with the male heroes.

3. Zatanna: I grew up with more egalitarian sensibilities, so when I was a kid, I loved the idea of female magician who would speak her spells backwards. As a child raised with fantasy fiction and comic books, I saw that she fit both worlds easily, and she has a strength that transcends the physical.

4. Aquaman: We had a pool when I grew up in New York, and I couldn’t wait to go swimming in the warmer months. As a comic book kid, I used to pretend I was Aquaman while I splashed around, trying to communicate telepathically with the imaginary ocean life swimming with me. He used to be looked down upon because he wasn’t the strongest hero or the one with the coolest powers, but I think that’s why I liked him so much. Later, when I learned more about his ties to Atlantis, my connection was cinched since he was also tied to a mythological place, just like Wonder Woman.

5. Green Lantern: My earliest memories of Green Lantern come from Saturday morning cartoons of the Justice League of America and, later, the Super Friends. Like with Aquaman, I used to pretend I had a power ring that could create anything my mind could imagine. The idea that the mind could be so powerful that it could create objects fascinated me, and it was when I was older that I realized that, as a writer, I could also create objects with my mind.

6. Superman: For as much as I love Superman, he’s not in the top five. I think because society tends to favor him and Batman more, and I don’t follow norms very well, I have avoided the idol worship of Krypton’s last son. He’s a powerful member of the Justice League, however, so he deserves great respect, and that’s why he’s one of my top ten heroes. Being the perpetual Boy Scout always fascinated me, too, since he always seemed to find ways to avoid killing his adversaries.

7. Flash: The Flash reminds me of a superhero version of the Greek god, Hermes, and since I’m obsessed with Olympians, I’ve always had a special place in my comic-loving heart for him.

8. Batman: The Caped Crusader entered my life through comics and the Adam West TV show, and he was always a fascination, with his utility belt, his detective’s mind, and even his irreverent playboy vs. staunch hero dichotomy. Even with that, and I’m sure I’ll catch flak for this, he’s not higher on the top ten for me. I attribute that to Batman overload over the past decade or so.

9. Perseus: A list of favorite heroes wouldn’t be complete with Perseus. Ever since the original Clash of the Titans movie with Harry Hamlin and Ray Harryhausen’s animation, I’ve been a huge fan of the guy who slew Medusa. It was one of the first myths I read in school, and seeing how he was just a man who used his mind and the gifts the gods gave him to tackle some enormous obstacles, I had so much respect for him as a character. He was one of my first “superheroes” growing up.


10. Odysseus: When I read the Odyssey in school, I fell in love with Odysseus. Like Perseus, he was like a superhero for me, and reading about his exploits over his twenty year journey to return home to his wife and son just showed me that anyone can overcome obstacles, even seemingly insurmountable ones, with the right mindset.

About his series, The Task Force Gaea


Book 1 SYNOPSIS
During the age of Olympos, when a vengeful goddess shatters the Sacred Scales, both immortals and humans alike suffer. Apollo, the god of truth, goes from a glorious existence as The Shining One to a victim of Zeus’ wrath, and his journey makes him question his godhood, his role in the cosmos, and his views on humanity. Prophecy and the Fates direct his course, and he must make difficult, yet vital, choices. Millennia pass, and Dan, Aleta, Brandon, and Sarah—four reluctant modern-day heroes gifted by ancient civilizations born of the gods—bound by prophecy, have to choose whether or not to save their world when it could mean they never existed. They must master their new powers while battling against incomprehensible forces from the Underworld and repairing the Sacred Scales, destroyed long ago. With the equilibrium between Order and Chaos unhinged, and the Olympian gods struggling to exist, these four must ally themselves with the United Nations to protect an endangered world, becoming the only group who can fight against metaphysical threats to the Earth, forging Task Force: Gaea. Can mortals succeed where gods cannot go?

Buy the book

Amazon | Smashwords | BN
 


Book 2 SYNOPSIS
For Aegis, Zodiak, Aether, and Talon, operatives in the United Nations Task Force: Gaea, life should have returned to normal after they restored the cosmic balance that a reckless elder goddess shattered, but because of the intervention of the Fates, they would never remember what life was like before. With history now unfolding the way it was supposed to, paranoia plagues this new time line, and tight-fisted governments mandate control through a pervasive military presence, DNA scans, and surveillance cameras.

Inexplicable occurrences all over the world give way to a new mission for Task Force: Gaea when an ancient cloudlike evil referred to in prophecy only as The Nebulous One emerges from Tartaros, with the intention of devouring the Olympian gods. But, before she can find them, all of the gods but Apollo have disappeared.

Leaving chaos and human corpses in her wake, she oozes her way across the globe to satisfy her hunger. Apollo will not face this threat alone, and it then becomes a race: will he and Task Force: Gaea find and vanquish this primordial goddess without falling prey to her power before she finds the gods?

Aegis and his teammates, perhaps as a side effect of their encounters with The Nebulous One, have to battle personal demons in the form of potent memories that could jeopardize their mission’s success, seemingly insurmountable obstacles that could indeed mean the end of their team.

Starting in antiquity and moving to the modern day, this epic battle between good and evil leaves both immortal and mortal alike wondering whether memory can be a blessing… or a curse.

Buy the book

Amazon | Smashwords | BN
 



David Berger
Boston born, I grew up on Long Island in New York, and have my B.A. in English with a Master's in Secondary Education. I currently teach AP English Literature, IB English, and Creative Writing in Land O' Lakes, FL. My avid appreciation for fantasy fiction came from a childhood love of Greek mythology and comic books, especially Wonder Woman. Stemming from this literary love affair, I published my first novel, Task Force: Gaea—Finding Balance, in February 2012.

In addition to my fantasy writing, I have written poetry, much of which was influenced by my travels abroad, namely to Ireland. My hibernophilia extends not only to a great love of the Emerald Isle itself, but also to the writers who hail from there, namely W. B. Yeats, and I studied this poet in a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship at the National University of Ireland in Galway in 2005.

Additionally, I have traveled to Spain, France, and England—all with trips I have led with students—and hope to show more of my students what the world beyond Florida looks like.

I'm "living the dream," as it were, and I love life—I just hope it loves me in return. I reside in Land O' Lakes, FL with my partner of 13 years, Gavi, and our two cats, Yankel and Shayna.

Official Author Website  |  Series Website  |  Series Facebook Page  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads
 

 GIVEAWAY

$25 Amazon.com or BN.com Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 04/30/2014. Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com or BN.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kisha from Indie Hoopla Services & Promotions, http://indiehoopla.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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8. Into the Dark Blog Tour: Bree Despain Guest Post Plus Giveaway


I am so excited to be part of the tour of Bree Despain's new book, The Shadow Prince. This is the start to a great new series, Into rhe Dark, which is inspired by the Persephone myth.

As a librarian, I always love to hear from authors about their library experiences. After reading about Bree's, I'm sure we're kindred spirits. I love her story of a remolded library and how far she'd go for the book she wanted! 

And be sure to check out the other spots on the tour! 

Thursday: Book Briefs




Some of my fondest memories are of making new discoveries in libraries. One of my earliest childhood recollections is of the story-time room in my little local library. I remember getting to pick out my own carpet square and look at the rainbow colors on the walls while one of the librarians read from books like Chicken Soup With Rice and Where The Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak was always my favorite) and then begging my mom to let me search the aisles of books to discover something new to borrow. I remember when my library got a computerized cataloging system for the first time (wow, that makes me feel old) and I’d sit in front of the kiosks, entering the names of famous people, subjects, and authors, and being amazed by the lists of books that would pop up in front of my eyes. (Can you tell I was the kind of kid who would read the dictionary for fun?)  


At the time, I had no idea how publishing worked. The way books were made was a mystery to me, and authors didn’t seem like real people at all. They were magical as far as I was concerned. I didn’t know that I wanted to be an author yet, but I still daydreamed about being able to type my own name into the computer catalog and find a list of books either by me or about me. How cool would it be to know that I had left a piece of myself behind for someone else to discover?


When I was in middle school, I found YA books for the first time in the shelves of the library’s used book sale. YA wasn’t very much of thing when I was a teen (remember, I’m old) and I was intrigued to find a book that seemed like it was written just for me. I bought it for fifty cents and took it home—and became obsessed. I spent the next few years searching the shelves of my little library to find more books like that, and then sharing them with my younger sister.


Then I went off to college and walked into my university’s massive library for the first time and discovered that there was more than the hundreds of books I’d had at my disposals as a kid—there were now hundreds of thousands of them. I remember walking up and down the aisles and aisles of books and wondering if I ever wrote a book how anyone in the world would ever find it among all the others?


Discovering books in that seemingly endless library became quite the unexpected adventure. At the time I was obsessed with the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters—a series of books about a family of archeologists who solve mysteries in Victorian/Edwardian Egypt. I remember asking a librarian for help to find the next book in the series, and her replying, “How badly do you want it?” I blinked at her and said “desperately.” That’s when she said, “You’ll need these,” and handed me a flashlight and a hardhat. As it turned out, the library was under going renovations (to become even bigger!) and the floor with the book I wanted was under construction. With no electricity, I had to use the little flashlight and crawl under what felt like miles of plastic sheeting in the dark, between looming shelves, to find the book. I felt like an archeologist myself, searching for hidden treasure. I have to admit, it was kind of scary experience, but undaunted, I returned week after week to go crawling through the dust and the dark for the next books in that series. I always wondered if someone out there would be willing to do the same to find a book that I had written.


Years later, when I was a new mother and young writer, I would take my toddler son to the new Salt Lake City library for story time. I’d help him pick out his own carpet square and listen to the librarian read books like Chicken Soup With Rice and Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak was always his favorite) and then we’d brave the glass elevators (I’m afraid of heights) to go up to the YA section where I would check out books for myself by Meg Cabot and Laurie Halse Anderson—throwing in a few “how to get published” guides—and daydream about entering my own name in the computer catalog system and showing my son my list of books.


A few years later, I sold my first book, and a year after that it hit the bookshelves. Now I had two sons, and took them to our local library with the hopes of finding my name in the computer catalog. Maybe we would even see it on a shelf. I held my breath, not knowing what I would discover when I entered my name. And then it happened, the thing I had been daydreaming about since I was kid: a book by me appeared on the screen. But the library didn’t have my book—because all the copies had been checked out. And not only that, it had more than sixty holds on it. People—lots of people—had discovered my book among all the others. I burst into tears in the middle of the library and my kids thought I was total nut-ball, but they let me cry and point at my name on the screen until they pulled me away, begging to search through the aisles of books to discover something new for themselves.


With the publication of The Shadow Prince last month, my list of books in the library catalog has grown to four—and looking up my own name to see if others have discovered them never ever gets old.


Want to win a copy of The Shadow Prince? Leave a comment below with your own library memory.

-ages 13+
-US or Canada address only
-one entry per person
-ends April 8
-giveaway thanks to Egmont USA



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9. 7 Things You Don't Know About Me

Many thanks to everyone who participated in this month's blog series at readergirlz! I had a lot of fun gathering candid and heartfelt responses from authors. Lorie Ann asked me to post my own list, so here goes nothing:

7 Things You Don't Know About Me

1) I've been writing stories and songs since birth, practically.

2) I am capable of charming squirrels out of trees.

3) There is no television show I have loved more completely from start to finish than Leverage.

4) I love word play.

5) Synchronicity and causality are recurring themes in my life.

6) Chances are, I'm shorter than you.

7) I project. In more ways than one.

So there you have it! I hope March has been lovely for all of you. Don't forget to mark your calendars for Operation Teen Book Drop 2014, which will be happening in just a few weeks on April 17th. Stay tuned to the readergirlz blog, Facebook, and Twitter to learn how you can participate and #rockthedrop!


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10. Pasadena Teen Book Festival Blog Tour


I'm so excited to kick off the Pasadena Teen Book Festival blog tour! Make sure you read through for an interview with debut YA author Catherine Linka as well as a couple of giveaways and a renaming contest!

Event date: Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 12pm-4pm

Venue: Pasadena Public Library, 285 E Walnut St, Pasadena, CA 91101

T-Shirt sign-ups at CustomInk



Tue March 25 - Read Now Sleep Later - Spotlight on Catherine Linka
Thu March 27 - Untucked Magazine - Spotlight on Andrew Smith
Mon March 31 - The Windy Pages - Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil
and Holly Goldberg Sloan
Wed April 2 - FangirlFeeels - Spotlight on Jesse Andrews
Fri April 4 - What a Nerd Girl Says - Spotlight on Margaret Stohl
Tue April 8 - Adventures of a Book Junkie - Spotlight on Amy Tintera
Thu April 10 - The Consummate Reader - Bridge to Books Guest Post
Mon April 14 - Nite Lite Book Reviews - Spotlight on Sarah Skilton
Tue April 15 - Nite Lite Book Reviews - Spotlight on Allen Zadoff
Wed April 16 - The Reader's Antidote - Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross
Fri April 18 - A Bookish Escape - Spotlight on Ann Redisch Stampler
Tue April 22 - The Book Twins - Spotlight on Carrie Arcos
Thu April 24 - Birth of a New Witch - Spotlight on Katherine Ewell

About A Girl Called Fearless


Avie Reveare has the normal life of a privileged teen growing up in L.A., at least as normal as any girl’s life is these days. After a synthetic hormone in beef killed fifty million American women ten years ago, only young girls, old women, men, and boys are left to pick up the pieces. The death threat is past, but fathers still fear for their daughters’ safety, and the Paternalist Movement, begun to "protect" young women, is taking over the choices they make.

Like all her friends, Avie still mourns the loss of her mother, but she’s also dreaming about college and love and what she’ll make of her life. When her dad "contracts" her to marry a rich, older man to raise money to save his struggling company, her life suddenly narrows to two choices: Be trapped in a marriage with a controlling politician, or run. Her lifelong friend, student revolutionary Yates, urges her to run to freedom across the border to Canada. As their friendship turns to passion, the decision to leave becomes harder and harder. Running away is incredibly dangerous, and it’s possible Avie will never see Yates again. But staying could mean death.

Romantic, thought-provoking, and frighteningly real, A Girl Called Fearless is a story about fighting for the most important things in life—freedom and love.


Spotlight on Catherine Linka

RNSL: What inspired you to write A Girl Called Fearless?

CL: I am pretty passionate about the plight of girls in developing nations, and how many of them are taken out of school so they can support their families, or are sold into marriage, some as young as twelve. I wondered what it would be like for an American girl to have her world changed so completely by a cataclysmic event that she and her friends lose all control over their lives. Imagine knowing how life used to be-- driving a car, hanging out with guys, going away to college, falling in love--and you see the world returning to normal after this horrible period, and you think that in a year or so, you'll be off at college when, bam! Your father sells you into marriage to a man twice your age and you have to decide if you've got the guts to make a run for freedom.

RNSL: Your book's premise is pretty scary! What research did you have to do in terms of currently proven science facts? Did you then bend the rules towards fiction or do you think these events could really happen in our future?

CL: Thanks for asking about the science behind the Scarpanol disaster. I'm a big current events/politics dork, so I knew that Europe had banned American beef, because their researchers believe that synthetic hormones in beef act as endocrine disrupters, causing breast cancer. I switched that up by linking a new synthetic hormone for cattle to ovarian cancer, because it is very hard to diagnose, and the survival rate is much lower.

Could these events really happen? While I think that the US is pretty careful about testing drugs and additives in food, there's a lot we still don't know. And I was blown away last year when a Chinese company was allowed to buy Smithfield, the largest pork producer in America. Smithfield dictates to pork farmers around the US exactly what feed and drugs to give the pigs. Imagine what could happen if a foreign government decided to attack the US through our food supply.

RNSL: When did you first start working in the book industry?

CL: Actually, my first job in the book industry was when I'd just graduated from college and went to work as a field sales rep for a college textbook company. I traveled to colleges all over Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, calling on college professors and encouraging them to use our books in their classes. I had summers off. It was a great job.

RNSL: What got you hooked on reading and/or writing?

My mom. My mom read to me all the time. I remember when the new library opened in our town and we were the first in line for a library card. Hers actually had number "1" on it and mine had number "2."

RNSL: What's the most delicious food on earth? Not just your favorite--the one that if it were all things bad for you, poisonous even, you would still really really want to eat it?

CL: Well, I don't know what the most delicious food on earth is, but I just discovered chocolate covered cashews with caramel and sea salt. I ate an entire box last week!

You can find more about Catherine on her website, www.catherinelinka.com, and follow her on Twitter @cblinka

Giveaways


#1: ARC of A Girl Called Fearless
Winner may request personalization/autograph
Open to US residents only - ends 4/25/2014
Enter with Rafflecopter #1



#2: Choose from 1 of the books featured at the Pasadena Teen Book Festival
Winner may request personalization/autograph
Open to US residents only - ends 4/25/2014
Enter with Rafflecopter #2



#3: $50 Gift Card to Vroman's Bookstore
Open to attendees of the Pasadena Book Festival only! - ends 4/21/2014

To enter, suggest a new, unique/clever/fun name for the Pasadena Teen Book Festival. Examples of other cool names for teen book fests include (already taken, unfortunately) Teen Author Carnival, YALLFest, and YABFest. What should we call our event from now on? Email your top 3 best name suggestions to info@pasadenateenbookfest.com OR fill out this form! A panel of judges will choose the best name from all of the submissions. The winner will be announced at the Festival!

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11. It Begins!

wishyouwerentblogtourbanner
Today starts the blog tour of awesome around the internet. Twelve stops, twelve chance to win a copy of WISH YOU WEREN'T and astronaut ice cream – yum!

Here's where you'll find me this week:

Monday: Mundie Kids (I'm guest posting about -- you guessed it -- wishing on stars!)
Wednesday: Cover2Cover (This time I'm talking about other ways to wish)
Wednesday: The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl will be posting a review Friday: Sher A. Hart will have a book review

In addition to the tour, I'm thrilled that the esteemed Middle Grade Ninja will be featuring me this week on his amazing blog. Tuesday he'll do his Book of the Week review of WISH YOU WEREN'T and on Thursday, I'll be answering his famous 7 Questions Interview. If you're a writer and you've never visited the Middle Grade Ninja, do yourself a favor and go now. He's got interviews with agents, editors and writers like Sara Crowe, Tina Wexler, Kendra Levin, Lynne Reid Banks and Ingrid Law. Seriously cool interviews I'll be rubbing shoulders with!

If you're looking for more chances to win, the contest is still open over at Literary Rambles. You can win a copy of the book, a wish token and a pocket watch just like the one Tör uses to manipulate time in WISH YOU WEREN'T. (Although I don't guarantee that this watch will have the same magical properties as Tör's!)

Whew! It's going to be a busy week! I hope I'll see you around the web!

And just in case you forgot, you can always get your very own copy of WISH YOU WEREN'T from these magnificent retailers :)
Amazon   |  Kobo  |  B&N  |   Smashwords  |   Solvang Book Loft

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12. Good Night, Animal World: A Kids Yoga Story


A lot of movement-themed picture books are not the best bedtime picks because they can rile up little ones and make it hard for them to fall asleep. But Good Night, Animal World -- a new children's book by yoga teacher and independent author Giselle Shardlow -- was written to be read specifically at bedtime.

The yoga-inspired text and the illustrations by Emily Gedzyk are all meant to help wind children down at night so they can relax and sleep well. What a great premise -- and one that definitely got me excited (especially as a mother) to look inside this book!

Inside, six characters take readers to six parts of the world -- Australia, England, Guatamala, India, Tanzania, and the United States -- to say goodnight to animals from those specific regions. Each page shows an illustration of an animal, accompanied by some simple text (some imagery about the animal and a goodnight message) and a yoga pose. The 13 poses in the book, chosen for their calming potential, include forward bends, restorative poses, gentle twists, and some inversions.

Below is the "turtle" page from the book, followed by a book trailer that includes other images from the book plus some book reviews -- all set to relaxing music, of course!



It's actually hard to see how children wouldn't be calm after finishing this book. "Embrace their creativity and let them experiment with the poses. Whatever helps them release extra energy before bedtime is the perfect pose," says Giselle. The poses are even laid out in a sequence that facilitates flow from one pose to the next. And my favorite part of the book? The resting pose at the end! Just thinking about it is making me super sleepy… I think I need to take a rest!

This post is part of a blog tour hosted by Mother Daughter Book Reviews, where you can also see the full schedule for the tour. To learn more about author Giselle Shardlow and her series of Yoga Kid Stories, go to her website at www.kidsyogastories.com.

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13. Doodles and Drafts – A Blog Tour with Alison Reynolds

Alison ReynoldsA couple of years ago a diminutive orange cat sprang into our hearts and homes courtesy of picture book creators, Alison Reynolds and Heath McKenzie. That cat was, Marmalade. He caused quite a sensation around our home, so when we heard he was on tour with Alison Reynolds, purrs of satisfaction reverberated throughout the house once more.

Alison Reynolds is no stranger to children’s fiction, but when she teams with illustrator, Heath McKenzie, her work is picture book paean.Heath McKenzie 2

A New Friend for Marmalade, sequel to the hugely successful, A Year with Marmalade, is a simple story about making new friends. But as we all know, the art of forming and maintaining friendships is seldom that straightforward. Hierarchy and the delicate differences between boys and girls all begin to surface in early primary years, making social interplay more of a challenge.

A new friend for MarmaladeWhen Toby, the boy across the road attempts to join BFFs, Ella, Maddy and Marmalade, things go instantly awry. Toby’s endeavours to fit in are not particularly successful nor welcomed by Ella and Maddy. He is over-exuberant, clumsy and dresses funny. Marmalade, however, sees him differently.

In Marmalade’s moment of crisis, his gamble on Toby pays off and beautiful new friendships are forged all round.

I love the snappy, clean layout of this picture book. Swirling text works effectively against plenty of white space, giving readers the sensation of floating seamlessly along with the story.

The narrative itself is succinct and character driven, with enough repeating phraseology to prompt even the most modest beginner reader to join in the fun.

McKenzie’s soft smudges of pastel colour highlight significant aspects and emotions of the story: the girls’ cubby house and sand castle city, Toby’s cap and scooter, and of course, our little orange hero, Marmalade.A NFM illos

Acceptance, tolerance and making that leap of faith permeate appealingly through this dreamy picture book, resulting in a fine example of ‘less is more’. It certainly stacks up for me.

Uncover why sand-castle-city builders from the age of 4 years and up will treasure A New Friend for Marmalade, here.

Stick around with Alison and Marmalade for the rest of their tour and participate in the fantastic competitions listed below. You never know, you might just make few new friends along the way!

The Five Mile Press 2013

Alison Reynolds Blog Tour Dates

March 2014

11th Dee White – review and post http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com/

11th Chris Bell – post http://christinemareebell.wordpress.com/

12th Angela Sunde – interview with Heath http://angelasunde.blogspot.com.au/

12th KBR – book giveaway http://www.kids-bookreview.com/

13th Boomerang Books – Post with Dimity Powell http://blog.boomerangbooks.com.au/author/dpowell

14th KBR Guest post http://www.kids-bookreview.com/

14th KBR Review http://www.kids-bookreview.com/

14th Sally Murphy – Meet my book http://aussiereviews.com/reviews/blog/

15th Buzz Words – Interview http://www.buzzwordsmagazine.com/

17th Ask the Bean Counter – Mr X http://www.alisonreynolds.com.au/

17th Pass-it-on Post and Review- Jackie Hosking http://jackiehoskingpio.wordpress.com/school-magazine/

18th Ask the Publisher – Kay Scarlett http://www.alisonreynolds.com.au/

Pet contest for all ages!

Marmalade the cat is full of personality. Do you have a pet with personality? Win a piece of artwork by Heath McKenzie. Send along a photo of your personality-plus pet to www.alisonreynolds.com.au, alrey@msn.com.au or upload to https://www.facebook.com/alison.reynolds.524

Random book giveaways!

Just leave a comment on one of the posts in the blog tour, comment on Facebook or even email Alison that you want to enter competition to win A New Friend for Marmalade.

Jump the Slush Pile!

Win a free pass to a Children’s editor’s desk. Just comment on this blog post or any other blog during the A New Friend for Marmalade blog tour and add the initials CB. The more you comment, the more chances you have to win the draw.

Jump the Slush Pile!

Win a free pass to a Non-fiction commissioning editor’s desk. Just comment on this blog post or any other blog during the A New Friend for Marmalade blog tour and add the initials NF. The more you comment, the more chances you have to win the draw.

Win an assessment of Chapter One of a chapter book by the fabulous mentor extraordinaire Dee White. http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com/ Just comment on this blog post or any other blog during the A New Friend for Marmalade blog tour and add the initials DW. The more you comment, the more chances you have to win the draw.

Win a free picture book assessment by Alison! Just comment on this blog post or any other blog during the A New Friend for Marmalade blog tour and add the initials PB. The more you comment, the more chances you have to win the draw.

 

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14. Liv, Forever Blog Tour - Guest Post with Amy Talkington


We're very excited to be a part of the Liv, Forever Blog Tour today. Liv, Forever is the debut novel from writer and director Amy Talkington and is published by Soho Teen. Amy is guest posting today on the topic of 10 Things You Didn't Know About Amy Talkington. Let's go!

10 Things You Didn't Know About Amy Talkington

1) I once wore two different-sized potlids as a top.

2) I used to be obsessed with Marcel Duchamp and Jane’s Addiction.

3) I can hold a headstand for 5 minutes. Sometimes.

4) As a kid I went deer hunting with my dad (but never shot anything).

5) I speak a little sign language (my aunt is deaf and has cerebral palsy).

6) I once gave a live interview to CNN atop a yacht in Cannes.

7) I'm a Cherokee (American Indian).

8) During my brief career as a waitress I spilled a plate of spaghetti on a band called Flotsam and Jetsam.

9) Tom Verlaine scored my brother's movie in my old Bowery loft.

10) I have haggled with Gene Simmons... and won.

Thanks, Amy! Also, check out the trailer for Liv, Forever below.



Liv, Forever is in stores now. Local SoCal readers, Amy has 2 events this week. One TONIGHT March 12 at Skylight Books and one tomorrow night March 13 at B&N The Grove. Thanks to Amy and Soho Teen for including us on this blog tour.


 If you want to know all the latest on Liv, Forever follow Amy on Twitter @amytalkington and Tumblr http://amytalkington.tumblr.com/

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15. Book Review – The Opposite of Everything by David Kalish

I remember my topsy-turvy life after my husband broke the news he didn’t love me anymore. I couldn’t remember exactly when things started going wrong and I was plagued with questions and an overwhelming sense of confusion and frustration. I started retracing my steps in hope of finding myself again. I felt like a fragile figurine from the gift shop and I kept thinking “why didn’t you just leave me where you found me since you didn’t want me anyway?” I took myself back to a time and place of safety…I went back to the friends I had ten years prior in hopes of doing it all again and getting it right. Until I read The Opposite of Everything by David Kalish I didn’t realize just how funny that type of re-creation could be! I was immediately drawn to The Opposite of Everything and felt kindred with main character Brooklyn Journalist, Daniel Plotnik and his humorous approach to a difficult situation.

Of course, I don’t claim a divorce is as traumatic or life-altering as a health crisis, and yet an emotional crisis certainly feels just as real. I love the laughter in the face of tragedy approach Kalish’s character takes to aid in his resurrection after disease, divorce, and a tumultuous relationship with his father. The thought of new beginnings, choosing a different path, and a better ending appeals to many of us, and Kalish does a fabulous job of making this journey entertaining and downright hysterical!

Believe it or not, Plotnick’s own father pushes him off the George Washington Bridge and instead of sulking, Plotnick devises a plan to turn life around by doing the opposite of everything he had done before. This first novel by David Kalish is humorous, real, and a story you’ll want to share with friends. The Opposite of Everything was named a finalist in the Somerset Fiction Awards and will quickly climb the best seller lists. Get your copy today and enjoy every twist, turn, and laugh! Congratulations to Kalish on a fabulous book – definitely 5 stars from this reader whose only regret is not meeting character Daniel Plotnik in the real world – he is a character I’d love to have coffee with!



Book Details:
Amazon Link
Length: 191 pages
Publisher: WiDo Publishing (February 17, 2014)
ASIN: B00IIUUSKG



Author Details:
David’s website: www.davidkalishwriting.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7171274.David_Kalish
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dekalish


David Kalish will be touring with WOW! beginning April 21st to help promote The Opposite of Everything, find upcoming dates on our Events Calendar. Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.

Get Involved! If you have a website or blog and would like to host David Kalish or one of our other touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at blogtour@wow-womenonwriting.com.



Crystal is a church musician, business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Reedsville, Wisconsin with her husband, three young children (Carmen 7, Andre 5, Breccan nearly 6 months), three dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, and over 200 Holsteins. You can find Crystal blogging and reviewing books and all sorts of other stuff at: http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

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16. Kishaz Reading Corner/Blog Tour: The Fire and the Light

This edition of Kishaz Reading Corner is a little different because this review is part of a book tour. So let's get to the review and then more about the tour and giveaway.



Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author or publisher for this honest review.

About the Book

Series: Souls of Aredyrah, Book #1

In the world of Aredyrah, things are not what they seem. An ancient Purge has plunged the island into darkness, isolating its cultures by superstition and fear. Dayn lives in the northernmost region of Kirador and knows nothing of the great city-state of Tearia far to the south. All he knows is the Kiradyns are the only survivors of a god’s fiery wrath, and he looks nothing like them. Meanwhile Ruairi, a prince destined for greatness, resents his Tearian obligations, longing for a life he can never hope to have. But when tragedy takes his beauty as well as his name, he finds himself exiled by the very beliefs he once held dear. Both boys long for acceptance in societies that cling to religious ideals, but when fate throws them together, Dayn and Ruairi discover some unwelcome truths: not only are they bound by blood and prophecy, but the teachings they have been raised on are nothing more than lies. Will they reveal what they have learned, risking their lives and the security of those they love? Or will they keep silent, denying their destinies and the future enlightenment of their world?

Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating:  4 stars

Here's why:

I'm all about descriptions and this book is full of them. Not to the point where you feel like you're being told everything. The flow of the narrative as well as the characters (flawed and very believable) made this an enjoyable read.

I would recommend this book to young adults and adults alike. I didn't feel like the author just slapped a story together and put it out there. The storyline was well done and I would definitely be willing to read more books in this series.

Buy the Book






Tracy A. Akers is a former language arts teacher and an award-winning author. She grew up in Arlington, Texas, but currently lives in Florida with her husband, three naughty pugs, and a feisty chihuahua. She graduated with honors from the University of South Florida with a degree in Education, and has taught in both public and private schools. She currently divides her time between writing, lecturing, spending time with her family, and costuming at fantasy and science fiction conventions.

Ms. Akers has won numerous awards for her Souls of Aredyrah fantasy series for young adults. As a Florida Book Awards winner, she was acknowledged for her contribution to YA literature by the Governor of Florida during the 2008 Florida Heritage Month Awards Ceremony. Books One and Two of the Aredyrah Series are included in the Florida Department of Education’s 2008 Just Read Families Recommended Summer Reading List. In addition, Ms. Akers has been an invited guest author at major book events and writers’ conferences, a panelist at fantasy and science fiction conventions, and was on the steering committee for Celebration of the Story, a literary event held at Saint Leo University.

The Souls of Aredyrah Series is Ms. Akers’ first series of novels for young adults.
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads


 GIVEAWAY

$25 Amazon.com or BN.com Gift Card or Paypal Cash, Ebook/paperback giveaway Ends 03/28/2014. Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com or BN.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kisha from Indie Hoopla Services & Promotions, http://indiehoopla.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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17. Welcome to the #WritingProcess Blog Tour!

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The #WritingProcess Blog Tour connects authors all over the world with the intent to share blogs and the writing life. I was tapped to contribute to the blog tour by Natalia Sarkassian, who writes fiction and nonfiction. Her short fiction has received several awards, and her nonfiction depicts an up-close and deeply personal understanding of foreign and exotic cultures. I've had the pleasure of reading portions of Natalia's novel-in-progress, Mrs. May in Egypt, a book that captures the current troubled climate in that country. Do check out Natalia's blog, Post Cards from Italy, where you'll find her photographs to be as enchanting as her writing.

I must confess that I feel a bit uncomfortable talking about myself on this blog, but since I have no other blog available, I decided to use this resource as an opportunity to introduce you to me and to some of my fellow authors. As you explore the #TheWritingProcess Blog Tour, be sure to click on the links from previous contributors. I can assure you that you are in for a real treat. All of these authors are immensely talented folks, and I'm delighted to be included in their midst.

The #WritingProcess Blog Tour asks the participants to answer four questions, so let us begin:

1) What are you working on?

For the past few months, I've been working almost exclusively on the revisions of my novel, Blood of a Stone, forthcoming from Tuscany Press in June 2014. This is a historical literary novel set in first century Palestine. The story follows the adventures of a slave who murders his master, sets out to silence those who could reveal the truth about his past, and eventually finds redemption for his crimes.

Prior to beginning the revisions of Blood of a Stone, I was finishing a draft of my second novel, The Double Sun. Set in the mid-20th century, the story is narrated from four distinct points of view and spans thirty years. The Double Sun is about a family of downwinders, people who have suffered the adverse affects of radioactive fallout from the atomic bomb tests in Nevada during the 1950s and 1960s. Many of these downwinders have been afflicted with cancer and other serious illnesses.

2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?

This is a tough question to answer because I'm not sure how it does differ. However, I can tell you what my readers and critiquers say: My writing tends toward the dark side in that I often write about unlikeable or troubled characters, people who may have good intentions but who make terrible choices. I have also been told that I have a sparse, direct voice--nothing too flowery. Much of my fiction is historical in nature or requires a fair amount of research to add verisimilitude. My first novel, for example, takes place 2000 years ago. My second novel begins in the mid-1950s and ends in the 1990s. Many of my short stories also have a historical setting. Perhaps that speaks to my passion for history and my love of research.

3) Why do you write what you do?

I've always been fascinated by difficult, unstable, or unhappy people. What makes them do the things they do? Why do we love them even when they hurt us? And there is that ever important question: What if? What if Character A does X to Character B, what will happen? Delving deep into my characters, exploring their flaws, foibles, actions, and desires, helps me better understand the human condition.

4) What is your writing process?

Diane Lefer, also a participant in the #WritingProcess Blog Tour (visit her blog, Nobody Wakes Up Pretty), once told me: "You are a careful writer." At the time, I wondered if being a careful writer was a good thing or a bad thing, but Diane, who was also my advisor at Vermont College of Fine Arts, explained to me that she wanted me to take more risks, throw away my cautious nature and see what happens. She sent me off to read Kate Braverman's Squandering the Blue, and I've never been the same since. Risk is now my middle name.

That said, I tend to be an organized writer when it comes to managing my time and my projects. I work on a regular schedule--usually in the morning--and set deadlines for myself. I begin every day filling out a planner, and the highest priority item is the writing. A few years ago, I began thinking of myself as a working writer. In other words, writing is my job. It may be a job that I love, but it's still a job that requires commitment, meeting deadlines, planning, and punctuality. I know that sounds rigid to some people, but when I used to rely on inspiration, I spent a lot of time rolling out unfinished drafts, submitting little, and publishing almost nothing. The change in my mindset has resulted in a higher level of productivity and what I believe to be higher quality writing.

My short stories are often formed around a single image or snippet of dialogue that sends me off on a quest to know more. My novels begin with the ending. I imagine a character at his final destination and begin to sort out the journey that brought him or her there. Years ago, an early mentor taught me the technique of story-boarding a novel. I still use this method for drafting a book and for the revisions because it allows me to see the big picture. In both instances, I block out the novel on a giant bulletin board where I write a one-sentence description of each major scene on an index card. Those cards are then arranged under the appropriate chapter headings on the bulletin board. This makes it easy for me to see where I need more scenes, where I have repetition, where the pace lags, etc. I've shared pictures of my story board for The Double Sun and my revision board for Blood of a Stonebelow.

My story/inspiration board for The Double Sun:





You'll notice that I have headings for years as well as chapters because the story spans three decades. The chapters all have titles, and the scene cards are arranged below the chapters they appear in. On the right side of the board, I've posted my inspirations for the book, including photographs of various settings in the novel.


My revision board for Blood of a Stone:



Colored index cards! Since the story is essentially mapped out and is in the process of being revamped or remapped, I've used color-coded index cards to indicate what revision stage the scene is in. Green cards are still waiting my final revisions. Yellow cards are "good to go." The chapters for this book are numbered with no titles. Earlier versions of this book had different colored cards. It may be all an illusion, but the changes in color give me a sense of progress.

Be sure to tune in next week to read the words of Jennifer (Jenna) McGuiggan. Jenna and I first met in a writing workshop at Vermont College of Fine Arts where I earned my MFA in Writing. I remember that particular workshop as one infused with enthusiasm and excitement. My fellow workshop participants, including Jenna, were incredibly supportive, and we spent a lot of time engaged in stimulating discussions about craft. Jenna is also involved in roller derby, something that scares  the stuffing out of me. Her bio and a link to her blog:

Jennifer (Jenna) McGuiggan is a  writer, editor, and teacher based in  southwestern Pennsylvania. Her articles and essays have appeared in a variety of publications, including Numéro Cinq Magazine, Connotation Press, Extract(s), and Mingle. She previously served as an assistant editor for the journal Hunger Mountain. In 2009, she curated and published Lanterns: A Gathering of Stories,  a collection of prose, poetry, and photography by seven women writers and artists. Jenna received her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2011 and is currently working on several prose manuscripts. Visit Jenna online in The Word Cellar, where she writes about everything from navigating the writing life to venturing into the world of roller derby.



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18. Blog Tour: The Fire and the Light (Guest Post)



Series: Souls of Aredyrah, Book #1

In the world of Aredyrah, things are not what they seem. An ancient Purge has plunged the island into darkness, isolating its cultures by superstition and fear. Dayn lives in the northernmost region of Kirador and knows nothing of the great city-state of Tearia far to the south. All he knows is the Kiradyns are the only survivors of a god’s fiery wrath, and he looks nothing like them. Meanwhile Ruairi, a prince destined for greatness, resents his Tearian obligations, longing for a life he can never hope to have. But when tragedy takes his beauty as well as his name, he finds himself exiled by the very beliefs he once held dear. Both boys long for acceptance in societies that cling to religious ideals, but when fate throws them together, Dayn and Ruairi discover some unwelcome truths: not only are they bound by blood and prophecy, but the teachings they have been raised on are nothing more than lies. Will they reveal what they have learned, risking their lives and the security of those they love? Or will they keep silent, denying their destinies and the future enlightenment of their world?
Buy the Book
Ebooks: Kindle | Smashwords | Nook | Sony | Diesel
Paperback: Amazon | Barnes and Noble


In Consideration of Dayn
Written by Reiv, former prince of Tearia

I have to say, the first time I met Dayn I was not in the best of moods. I had been burned, disowned, and unnamed, had lost my crown, the girl of my dreams, and had been betrayed by my own twin brother! To make matters worse, I had run away, hoping to find some respite from my misery, but ended up facing hunger, exhaustion, and a stranger named Dayn instead. It was bad enough that Dayn looked like my estranged brother, (I am still not sure he has ever quite forgiven me for pressing my blade to his throat,) but the comments that came out of his mouth were so stupid at the time, I thought for certain he must be some kind of simpleton. Needless to say, we got off to a rather rocky start. After a number of arguments about what he knew or did not know, I came to realize he was not stupid, just inexperienced, especially with the ladies. That topic of conversation, which took place much later, was what broke the final tension between us, mainly because the thought of a young man his age having never kissed a woman made me laugh out loud. Afterward, we got along fairly well, we even managed to dodge a few close calls together, but still Dayn’s naiveté made him seem younger than his years, and it made me feel responsible for him somehow. I did not like the feeling of it, in truth we were very nearly the same age, yet over time Dayn has proved to be far braver than I could ever hope to be, so now I think it is he who feels responsible for me.

Tour Schedule


March 3

Indie Hoopla Gala - Interview

March 4

My Fae-void Demon - Review

March 5

Indie Author How-to - Tens List

March 6

Carpe Diem - Spotlight Foxultely Reviews - Spotlight

March 7

Njkinny's Blog - Interview

March 10

My Inner Muse - Guest Post

March 11

A Saintz Dream - Tens List

March 12

My Inner Muse - Review

March 13

The Blood Flow - Review

March 14

Hell Fyre Risen - Guest Post



Tracy A. Akers is a former language arts teacher and an award-winning author. She grew up in Arlington, Texas, but currently lives in Florida with her husband, three naughty pugs, and a feisty chihuahua. She graduated with honors from the University of South Florida with a degree in Education, and has taught in both public and private schools. She currently divides her time between writing, lecturing, spending time with her family, and costuming at fantasy and science fiction conventions.

Ms. Akers has won numerous awards for her Souls of Aredyrah fantasy series for young adults. As a Florida Book Awards winner, she was acknowledged for her contribution to YA literature by the Governor of Florida during the 2008 Florida Heritage Month Awards Ceremony. Books One and Two of the Aredyrah Series are included in the Florida Department of Education’s 2008 Just Read Families Recommended Summer Reading List. In addition, Ms. Akers has been an invited guest author at major book events and writers’ conferences, a panelist at fantasy and science fiction conventions, and was on the steering committee for Celebration of the Story, a literary event held at Saint Leo University.

The Souls of Aredyrah Series is Ms. Akers’ first series of novels for young adults.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

 GIVEAWAY

$25 Amazon.com or BN.com Gift Card or Paypal Cash, Ebook/paperback giveaway Ends 03/28/2014. Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com or BN.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kisha from Indie Hoopla Services & Promotions, http://indiehoopla.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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19. 10 secrets about The Storytellers & KINDLE FIRE winner!

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The Storytellers is my latest release and my first adult paranormal romance. It was so much fun to write and came as a bit of a surprise too, when I least expected it. Did you know there are upwards of 50 characters in the book? At E! I had a few opportunities to work on the show E! True Hollywood Stories for eonline.com. I always found the episodes so fascinating. For me it’s really fun to know the story behind the story. I hope you you do too. So, here’s 10 top secrets about The Storytellers, so just keep it between us, ‘kay? :D At the end of the post you’ll find the list of giveaway winners, congrats all!

1. Djucu nuts appear as lucky charms in The Storytellers and are considered lucky charms in the Caribbean. The nuts grow in tall trees deep in the Venezuelan jungles then float down waterways and into the Caribbean Sea and onto the beaches of Aruba & Curaçao.
2. My dad called the islands just off the northern coast of Venezuela the “A-B-C islands.” This is how I first learned about Curaçao. Ever since I heard Dad talk about the islands they captured my imagination and is one of the reasons why I chose the island of Curaçao as one of the settings of The Storytellers. (A-B-C Aruba, Bonaire & Curaçao)
3. I visited Venezuela as a teenager and my experiences there influenced a few of the settings in The Storytellers and also influence my writing in general.
4. Dr. Alexandra Abernathy’s story line about archeology is loosely base upon some of the experiences my daughter had while she was on archeological digs in Israel and Jordan.
5. Because of my love of jade, I wanted to use jade as an important part of the cursed treasure in The Storytellers. In Central America The Mayans and Aztecs prized jadite jade. The name jade comes from the Spanish “piedra de ijada” — literally “stone of the pain in the side.” Early Spanish explorers gave it this name after they saw natives holding pieces of the stone to their sides to cure their aches and pains.
6. I wrote The Storytellers years ago and put it in a drawer and never thought I’d ever publish the story. It was only after some friends asked if I had ever written anything for adults that I was prompted to dig out the manuscript.
7. I set part of the novel in Georgia because I’ve had a wonderful time on book tours there and I used to love to look at the beautiful red soil out my window every year when we’d road trip from Chicago to Florida when I was a little girl. I remember one time we drive through the eye of a hurricane just outside of Stone Mountain, GA, a place we’d always overnight on the drive down.
8. The name of the mysterious character, Dr. Yuri Knorozov, is a nod to the Soviet linguist of the same name, (Nov. 19 1922-March 31, 1999) an epigrapher and ethnographer who is renowned for his decipherment of the Maya script.
9. Logograms make up the Mayan language and they captivate me. Each script is a little work of art.
10. One of the hardest parts of the novel for me to write concerned the naming and powers of the four idols at the heart of the story: Escrito holds the power of the writer, which we know as the power of the truth; Bailador, the power of the dancer, which holds the power of falling in love; Pintador, the power of the painter, which embodies the power of perception; and lastly Músico, the power of music, which transcends time and space and holds the power of emotion.
And the WINNERS are :D
KINDLE FIRE : drecordova
2 signed copies of Storytellers and swagpack: qwertzuio789 and grandmatinaof2
2 copies of Winnemuca: ddoan_562 & bobbyehopebooth
YAY!!! Thanks so much to everyone who followed the blog tour and took the time to enter the giveaway. Y’all rock!
I’m super excited about the paperback which will be available in the next few weeks. I’ve gotten lots of requests about its availability. And also, the book trailer is coming soon, stay tuned.
 

 


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20. Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway: Stranded (Alaskan Courage #3) by Dani Pettrey

Tour Schedule     Stranded (Alaskan Courage #3)  When her friend vanishes from a cruise ship, reporter Darcy St. James isn't satisfied with their explanation that she simply left her job of her own accord. Something isn't lining up, and Darcy believes the only way to find the truth is to put herself in Abby's position. Within days, Darcy learns her friend wasn't the only person to disappear mysteriously. Last summer, a woman vanished under almost identical circumstances. Gage...

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21. Exclusive interview with Alison Cherry!



What if you lived in a town where redheads reigned supreme? That's the premise of Alison Cherry's satirical new novel Red, set in the fictional town of Scarletville. Felicity St. John has hair to die for - rather to dye for. You see, her mom has been getting Felicity's strawberry blonde hair dyed since she was little, determined to make her daughter popular and powerful. Now Felicity's in high school, about to participate in the Miss Scarlet Pageant, much to her chagrin and her mother's delight. Then a series of anonymous notes appears in Felicity's locker: someone knows the truth about Felicity's hair and is threatening to reveal all unless she does what they say. How far will Felicity go to protect her roots? Will she do what her mother wants, or will she finally be able to just be herself?

Author Alison Cherry, a natural redhead, stopped by my blog Bildungsroman today. Check out our discussion about society, conformity, and individuality, as well as the writing process.

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22. Blog Tour: The Making of Break It Up + Giveaway: Break It Up by E.M. Tippetts

Title: Break It Up Author: E.M. Tippetts Release date: November 12, 2013 Age Group: New Adult Genre: Contemporary Romance Tour organized by: AToMR Tours; http://atomrbookblogtours.com Goodreads - Book Description Kyra Armijo is making a few changes in her life. One of them being, she's no longer going to give it up to every guy who looks at her twice. And she's putting her hopes and dreams for her future first. When the aspiring photojournalist gets the opportunity of a lifetime to...

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23. Blog Tour: Guest post (Author's take on the leading man and lead female) + Giveaway: This Much Is True by Katherine Owen

Title: This Much Is True Author: Katherine Owen Release: August 11th, 2013 Age Group: New Adult/Adult Genre: Contemporary Romance; Sports Romance, Holiday Romance, New Adult College Romance Tour organized by: AToMR Tours; http://atomrbookblogtours.com Links to the book: Amazon: http://bit.ly/TMITamz Kobo: http://bit.ly/TMITkobo Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/TMITBandN Apple iBookstore/iTunes http://bit.ly/TMITiTunes This Much Is True Fate brings them together Fame & lies...

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24. Happy anniversary, readergirlz!

Happy anniversary, readergirlz!

In honor of our seven-year anniversary, we're catching up with rgz divas and featured authors over at the readergirlz blog. Some folks are posting lists of 7 Things You Don't Know About Me, revealing both silly and serious personal traits and anecdotes. Kicking off our anniversary series (or shall we say, anniver-series?) of posts is none other than our own Melissa Walker.

Others are contributing to our Quote Call: See It, Say It. As rgz diva Lorie Ann Grover explained, "Authors, draw from your own works and others; readers share the best bits from the books you heart; and librarians, teachers, and booksellers, jump on in." Click here to answer the Quote Call.

Check out the guest blogs and novel ideas all month long at the readergirlz blog.

readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

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25. Storm Watcher Blog Tour - Review & Giveaway

Sorry I'm late to my own blog tour! I'm still away trying to help my mom recover from an illness. Enjoy the blog tour and good luck 

The Storm Watcher Blog Tour

Feb 19 - Mar 5, 2014

Hosted by readnowsleeplater.com
Join us for interviews, guest posts, reviews, and giveaways!

Tour Schedule

Wed 2/19 - The Book Monsters - review & giveaway
Thu 2/20 - I Am a Reader - interview & international giveaway
Fri 2/21 - Unleashing Readers - guest post & giveaway
Tue 2/25 - Kid Lit Frenzy - guest post & giveaway
Wed 2/26 - Sharpreads - review & giveaway
Fri 2/28 - The Windy Pages - review, interview & giveaway
Tue 3/4 - Read Now Sleep Later - review & international giveaway
Wed 3/5 - The Brain Lair - review & giveaway
Thu 3/6 - Bookalicious - review & international giveaway

Storm Watcher by Maria V Snyder

About the Book:

Luke Riley is lost. His mother's recent death has set Luke and his family adrift. Even though his father, twin brothers, and their three Bloodhounds are search and rescue volunteers, they have been unable to rescue themselves and become a family again. The summer after sixth grade looms in Luke's mind as a long, lonely three months where the only thing he can look forward to is watching The Weather Channel. Luke is fascinated with the weather, but since his mother's death in a storm, he is also terrified. Even the promised 13th birthday present of a Bloodhound puppy fails to lift Luke's spirits. He would rather have a different breed-a petite Papillon-but his father insists he get a Bloodhound.

When Luke decides to get the Bloodhound from Willajean, a dog breeder who owns Storm Watcher Kennel, he works out a deal to help at her kennel in exchange for the expensive dog. Thrilled to have a summer with a purpose, Luke befriends Willajean's daughter, Megan, and together they plan how Luke can get a Papillon puppy instead of a Bloodhound. But nothing seems to work as they struggle with stubborn fathers, summer storms, unhelpful siblings, and hidden guilt. Can one little white dog really save both families?

Alethea's review:

I've been a huge fan of Maria V. Snyder's since her first trilogy, The Study Series, ended a few years ago. I get really excited whenever a new tale of hers hits the bookshelves. So when she mentioned that her first middle grade book was about to be released, I couldn't wait to read it. I usually find Maria's characters and world-building so captivating, and Storm Watcher is no exception to this rule. Luke may be just a boy, rather than a weapon-wielding magician or healer like most of Maria's other protagonists, and the world she describes is the same one we live in, but the ordinariness of these elements actually add to the book more than they detract from it.

At first I couldn't really relate to Luke. I'm the eldest, he's the youngest. I'm totally a cat person. I love storms and am generally oblivious to their danger; even though he's interested in them, their unpredictable aspects scare him half to death. And I (knock on wood!) haven't lost my mother, although we came really close to it last week. But there's a lot that Luke and I have in common too. He's thoughtful and a loner. He hangs on to guilt and is a big worrier. Making plans makes us feel a little more in control of our situations, so when we want something, we plot and scheme until we get it. Once Luke takes stock of the problems and challenges he's facing, he doesn't automatically have all the answers. He struggles and makes mistakes. Snyder shapes him in such a real way that the reader can't help but empathize and root for Luke. She also applies her signature style--putting her protagonists through hardship and peril. Poor Luke--but what doesn't kill him makes him stronger.

I would recommend it to those who enjoy family dynamics, survival stories, underdog tales, and learning things while they read. Maria majored in meteorology, and the weather facts you might pick up on while you read are actually true! And even as a die-hard cat person, I really appreciated the details about the different dog breeds. Storm Watcher is a short, emotional tale that really stuck with me, and I hope other readers will enjoy it as well.

About the Author:

Maria V. Snyder writes adult and young adult fantasy novels and short stories. Formerly an environmental meteorologist, she earned a Masters degree in writing from Seton Hill University; she is currently a teacher and mentor for the MFA program. Storm Watcher is her first middle grade novel. You can contact her at maria [at] mariavsnyder.com.

Available now:

Order from Amazon Order from bn.com Order from bookdepository.com

You can enter to win a copy of Storm Watcher here! 10 copies will be sent out to the lucky few (up to 4 will be sent to non-US winners).

Good luck!
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