Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy Monday and a New Contest

Quote of the week: Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Terry Lynn Johnson, author of Dogsled Dreams, has posted about The Elevensies Book Feast, a fabulous contest on her blog. Some fantastic debut books are scheduled for 2011, and this is your opportunity to win some of them. For details, visit the Bookfeast website.

I plan to enter. When you see the great books listed, I bet you will want to as well.

More news. Just Breeze, my tween novel, is now available on Kindle. Yay! Check it out at Amazon. Can you tell I'm excited?

Have a super week. Happy reading and writing.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Wonderful Story About A Dog and His Author

Today, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Sandra J. Gerencher, a special education teacher in the Bangor Area public school system. Prior to becoming a teacher, she worked at Lehigh University in a school-based program, as a Program Specialist for adults with disabilities. Over the past 20 years she has worked with children and adults with special needs in such areas as counseling, Behavior Specialist Consultation, behavioral research, crisis intervention and abuse therapy. Sandra graduated from Lehigh University with a M.Ed. in Special Education (2004) and from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia with an M.S. in Counseling Psychology (1999).

Ms. Gerencher has written the award winning book, Second Chance.

PBS Kids Recommended title

Watch the video.

YouTube video book trailer embed html code:

Read an excerpt:


Visit the book's Web site:

Book web site:

I had the opportunity to read Second Chance. Here is my review:

Animal shelters are filled with dogs and cats and other creatures waiting for someone to love them, for someone to give them a forever home. With each visitor to the shelter, their hopes rise that this person will be their new mommy or daddy. Their hopes die when they aren’t chosen.

Author Sandra J. Gerencher has written a story about Chance, a four-month-old Rottweller, German Shepherd mix, that lives in a pen at the shelter with his buddy, Ruffles. One day a lady and little boy are looking at the animals, and when she hugs and kisses Chance he knows he has “the lady eating out of my paw.” The lady adopts Chance and soon he’s living in his new home with the little boy and three other dogs, who he later discovers are all adopted, except for one dog. From the beginning Chance and the boy have a special connection. Chance can talk to the boy, who talks back to him. The author's book Second Chance, gives a lovely picture of the special relationship between a special boy and his dog.

Telling the story from Chance’s viewpoint allows the reader to see how a dog might view his world and the people who inhabit it. We witness humor and wonder as Chance adjusts to his family. Many of the words he hears confuse Chance. What does adoption mean? What is autism? In his new home, Chance has rules to follow, as do his new brothers and sister, as well as the boy Ryan. The author cleverly weaves information about autism into this touching story about being different. This would make a good supplemental reader for school classes to help students understand that some children and adults are different, but that this difference makes each of them unique. Once you read this book, you'll want to run to the nearest shelter and take all the precious animals there home with you.

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 28 pages

Publisher: Tribute Books (April 14, 2008)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0981461921

ISBN-13: 978-0981461922

You can learn more about Ms. Gerencher and Chance at the following sites:

Sandra J. Gerencher Facebook:
Tribute Books website:
Tribute Books Facebook:

Tribute Books Twitter:

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Choker Review

Quote for the week: Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. Mark Twain

Today I'm reviewing Choker by Elizabeth Woods.

Reading level: Young Adult

Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (January 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 144241233X
ISBN-13: 978-1442412330
Hardcover: $11.55

This review is from the eGalley copy.
Zoe is Cara’s best friend. But sometimes people are not always what they claim to be, and Zoe is also Cara’s worst enemy. Do you enjoy suspense stories? Do you like a plot that keeps you guessing until the very end?

If you answered yes to any of the above, Elizabeth Woods’s debut novel, CHOKER, has all the ingredients to keep you reading far into the night. Cara, like most teenagers, wants to fit in, to belong. Instead, the other girls taunt and tease her; they laugh at and make fun of her. The only friend she has is Zoe. Zoe, however, has problems of her own. There’s also Ethan, the handsome athlete that Cara is attracted to. He has a girlfriend though. Then accidents start to happen, and Ethan’s girlfriend disappears.

The author developed her characters nicely. I liked Cara and was cheering for her to find happiness with Ethan. Yes, I like a good romance along with the suspense. The author also created characters that I hoped would get what they deserved. The only problem I had with the story was at the beginning when so many names were introduced. At first I was confused, but later, the characters came to life for me, especially the major characters. This is a fine debut novel, containing mystery, suspense, and a bit of romance. You might want to read it with the lights on.

Happy Reading and Writing.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Addition to 2011 Debut Author Challenge

I'll probably be adding books to my 2011 Debut Author Challenge list as we go along, starting today. I just received a delicious looking eGalley of Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton. Putting it on my list.

On another note, if you haven't already voted in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll, or don't have another favorite YA novel in mind, Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines is there. I would appreciate your vote. There are a lot of good books in competition, some by my friends. Anyhow, it's all in fun. You can vote here: Preditors and Editors Poll. Thanks bunches.

I ran across this contest by accident. It's for SCBWI members, the Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards. Looks like fun too. You can learn more here.

Have a super weekend, everyone.

Happy reading and writing.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Meet Debut Author Kai Strand

It is my pleasure today to host Kai Strand, dear friend and crit partner. Her debut book, The Weaver, for MG readers, has recently been released. Here's what Kai has to say:

I lived in Wisconsin the first fifteen years of my life. My mom and I moved to Southern California the summer before my sophomore year in high school. I met my husband six years later at work. I worked in corporate America for about 10 more years and in that time had four children. Finally I decided enough was enough and quit my job to stay home and raise my kids. The very first day I was home I baked cookies and my husband was laid off from his job.

So we sold our house and moved to central Oregon. We still live there and love it. I work part time now and after all these years my husband and I work together again.

I've always been a storyteller and writer, but I didn’t consider becoming a professional writer until my oldest daughter and I became hooked on the Harry Potter series and we were between book releases (the fourth and fifth book, I believe.) I decided while I waited for the release of the next HP, I’d create my own characters and my very own world. In fewer than four months, I had completed my very first middle grade novel.

Kai kindly answered some questions to tell us more about herself.

Bev: Tell us about your recent release, The Weaver.

Kai: About The Weaver: In a town of word weavers, Mary suffers through her third year of Novice Word Weaving. Mary thinks her troubles are over when she meets a gnome-elf who grants her a wish.  But instead of weaving a better story, she's weaving strange yarn charms to accompany her still pathetic tales.

I think children will relate to Mary. Mary feels different and inept. I think many kids (and adults!) often feel their differences stand out like a neon sign on their forehead. The Weaver has an old-fashioned feel but with a timeless theme. It’s a lyrical tale full of storytelling. Written for children 9 – 12 years old.

Bev: How did you find your publisher?

Kai: I’m so glad you asked. This is a great story! I read on a writer’s blog that there was going to be a multi-author book signing for a children’s book publisher in my area. I thought, “What? There aren’t any children’s authors around here.” So I did some research and learned that an illustrator lived nearby. I figured she had a big event to plan, so I contacted her and offered to help. She graciously invited me to the dinner the evening before the signing. So I met many of my (now) fellow angels as well as our busy, busy editor. It was a lovely event and I had so much fun. And silly me, it took more than a month after meeting them before I realized The Weaver might be a good fit for the publisher. I feel very blessed to be with Guardian Angel Publishing.

Bev: Do you outline your stories or just let them flow organically?

Kai: My writing has always been ‘go with the flow’. I do start a companion document for each manuscript where I can dash off plot ideas when they strike and keep track of character names and traits, stuff like that. I’ve learned the hard way that when I take the time to formally outline, it kills my creative flow and I lose interest in the story. I’m a total geek when I’m going through a first draft. I “ooh” and “awww” over my more creative ideas and giggle at sarcasm as if the character really did say it themselves (not me). I love first drafting.

Bev: Describe your writing schedule.

Kai: Um, yeah…well. Don’t have a schedule. Sometimes I’m really disciplined. Just haven’t been lately. Saturday through Monday are the days I have the most time. I try to split it between marketing/promotion, researching submissions and writing. “Try” being the operative word in that sentence.

Bev: What does your family think of you as a writer?

Kai: I have crowned myself the world’s luckiest writer. Even have the tiara to prove it. They are completely understanding of how my writing has a direct impact on the quality and timeliness of their meals. They know the vacuum doesn’t get used if I’m revising because instead I’m pacing the house mumbling about plot holes. But the BEST, BEST, BEST thing they do, is listen. They’ve sat for hours upon hours listening to me read my stories aloud. World’s luckiest writer!

Bev: Name your favorite book/author as a child.

Kai: I was completely and utterly enthralled with Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion series. I wanted to ride a black horse through the desert. I wanted to tame that wild stallion’s temper. I loved Son of The Black Stallion and The Black Stallion and Flame. It surprises me now to realize those two books were published thirteen years apart. But they were all published before I was born, so I didn’t ever think about it then. I just devoured every Black Stallion book I could get my hands on. My school library was my favorite place.

Bev: If you could live in any time period, past or present, when would you choose and why?

Kai: Too many choices! How wonderful to be a young woman from a wealthy family in 1900, great fashions, courted by eligible bachelors. Or, to be a trailblazer on the Oregon Trail in 1800, discovering flora and fauna never before seen. But instead I write fantasy and fiction in the new millennium. I’m glad it was decided for me.

Bev: What have you learned about the publishing world since your book came out that you were not aware of before?

Kai: It is only just released, so I think I still have a lot to learn. But the first lesson was one of humility. I discovered that my book data had been uploaded to Amazon. I squealed and showed the kids. Then got up and served dinner.

Bev: Are you currently working on other stories? Tell us about them.

Kai: I’ve got another middle grade novel about 12 year old Natalie Isabelle Cailean Edwards (N.I.C.E.) who achieves sudden and unexpected nationwide fame. It changes her life dramatically and not all for the better. She has to figure out how to handle her fame before her life spirals completely out of her control.
I also have a young adult fantasy that I love, love, love (okay, I actually love all my stories, is that wrong?). This one is about 16 year old Jeff, who is recruited to an academy for super villains where he never really fits in. What with his main super power refusing to show up, the girl he hangs out with being kicked out of the academy for being good, oh…and his manners (not a popular thing with villains). Being a good-bad guy is harder than it sounds.

There is a paranormal romance and a modern princess tale. I’ve got so many ideas tumbling around in my head.

Bev: Where can your fans learn more about you? Website? Blogs?

Kai: I would love for people to visit my website;, browse around, and read the short stories I’ve linked to. I maintain a blog for fellow children’s writers Strands of Thought. I’m on Twitter and I have an author page on Facebook where I’d love to connect with readers. (I really love Facebook)

Thank you for visiting my blog today, Kai. I wish you the best of luck with your writing.

Kai: Thanks for inviting me, Beverly. You’re a gracious hostess.

And now for the lovely book.

Reading level: Ages 9-12 Hardcover: 94 pages
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc (December 10, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1616331216
ISBN-13: 978-1616331214

The Weaver by Kai Strand

In a town of storytellers, Mary suffers through her third year of Novice Word Weaving. Mary thinks her troubles are over when she meets a gnome-elf who grants her a wish. But instead of weaving a better story, she's weaving strange yarn charms to accompany her still pathetic tales.

The Weaver is a middle grade novel that offers a little fantasy and a lot of storytelling.

Buy your copy of, The Weaver, from Guardian Angel Publishing or on Amazon.

Find me on Facebook and stay up-to-date on all related book information.


Friday, January 7, 2011

2011 Debut Author's Challenge

I'm signing up for this fun challenge at The Story Siren's blog. Below are listed the debut books I'll read in 2011. It's possible I will read more. If you're interested in joining the fun you can learn more at The Story Siren.

Griffin Rising - Darby Karchut

Dogsled Dreams - Terry Lynn Johnson

Haven - Kristi Cook

Choker - Elizabeth Woods

Possession - Elena Johnson

Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle - Cricket Rumley

Wither - Lauren DeStefano

Darkness Becomes Her -  Kelly Keaton

Ten Miles Past Normal - Frances O'Roark Dowell

How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend - Gary Ghislain

Dark Inside - Jeyn Roberts

Mercy Lily - Lisa Albert

And more.

Happy Reading.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Reflections on 2010

Quote of the week: Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer. Barbara Kingsolver

Looking back at 2010, I have to say it was a good year.

I signed a contract with 4RV Publishing for my YA novel, Life on Hold. It is now with the editor, undergoing edits. We've done two rounds, waiting on the next and then, hopefully, the copy edits. They've also accepted my picture book, A Tumbleweed Christmas. Details to follow when I know them.

I signed another contract with Twilight Times Books for my MG story about the Orphan Trains, based loosely on my mother's life. Scattered to the Winds.

Guardian Angel Publishing assigned artist Alex Morris to illustrate my picture book, Frankie's Perfect Home. What I've seen is just right for my little armadillo.

Our oldest son and daughter-in-law came for a visit in the spring. They had reservations for Christmas, 2009, but we had the blizzard, closing DFW airport, as well as the highway to our house, so they had to cancel. Glad to see them finally.

My YA historical novel, Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines, Twilight Times Books, came out June 15. I had book signings, contests, and more are planned for 2011.

A nice ending to the year was the announcement that Just Breeze, 4RV Publishing, was the first book sold at the 4RV Bookstore. If you live in the area, check it out. I wish I lived closer.

4 Love of Books & Art

c/o OpenMarketplace

8235 Hwy 51 North

Millington, TN 38053



The best part of the year was that DH only had a few visits to the hospital. Much improved.

I also was on a win streak and have some great books, some that I've already devoured from cover to cover, others waiting their turn. I think I've mentioned most of the ones I've already read in previous posts. Also, they're listed on GoodReads and Shelfari. I'm going to keep better track this year.

Leaving you with Just Breeze: