Friday, September 30, 2011

Witches, Magic, and Love Potions

Today, I'm reviewing the YA novel, Tris and Izzie, by Mette Ivie Harrison. So pour a cup of coffee, relax, and read on.

  • Reading level: Young Adult

  • Hardcover: 272 pages

  • Publisher: EgmontUSA (October 11, 2011)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 1606841734

  • ISBN-13: 978-1606841730


    By Mette Ivie Harrison

    EBook courtesy of Net Galley and Egmont

    Take witches, magic, and love potions, add a tangled romance along with two-headed dogs and giant serpents, and you have a magical tale that will likely leave you dreaming about weird creatures that devour their victims, if you dream at all.

    In author Mette Ivie Harrison’s ya novel, TRIS AND IZZIE, Isolde’s (AKA Izzie) mother is a witch, but no one knows it. Izzie is just a normal girl. Or is she? Anyway, her best friend, Branna, needs help with love. So Izzie, of course, decides to take matters into her own hands and find true love for Branna. To do this, she makes a love potion. Things don’t work out the way she planned, however. And what about Izzie’s relationship with her boyfriend, Mark? It’s suddenly changing and Izzie doesn’t want it to. Or does she? After all, the new guy in school, Tristan, is a hottie that she can’t keep her hands off of. The lesson here, I think, is don’t mess in your best friend’s love life because you may end up discovering things you don’t want to know. Humor, well-crafted monsters, and a likeable heroine make for an interesting read.

    Even with the monsters and disasters at the school, the tone of this story is light and fun. If you’re in the mood for a quick read with characters that are sometimes as confused as real teens are, I think you’ll enjoy Ms. Harrison’s TRIS AND IZZIE. Why don’t you pick up a copy and see for yourself.


    Wednesday, September 28, 2011

    Think Christmas

    They're here. My copies of Tumbleweed Christmas have arrived. It is so cool to see my characters come to life through the illustrator's drawings. Bridget McKenna makes her debut with my story. I think she has a promising career as an illustrator ahead of her.

    The book is an early reader and is available at 4 RV Publishing and Amazon. Check back later for other places to purchase. Christmas is coming. Books make great gifts.

    Happy Reading and Writing.

    Friday, September 23, 2011


    I tried and tried to get the graphic posted. I've done it before, but today for some reason it won't show up. Just when I think I know all the answers, they change all the questions. It really is a pretty welcome to autumn. This is my favorite season. Especially this year after such a hot, dry summer. After this week's rains, the field is greening up a little. Yesterday, rain lillies were blooming in the pasture. The newspaper today showed pictures of monarch butterflies that are now migrating south for the winter. Usually we have some that feed off the wildflowers and roost in the trees as they pass through. I haven't seen any this year. No wild flowers except the lillies that only last a day or two. No water in the the pond. There are a couple of bright spots. My Texas sage that I thought would die this summer have perked up and even have a few blooms. I managed to snap pictures of several quail, a scissortail, and a young Mississppi kite. Life is good.

    My son corrected me and said this is a Cooper's hawk. So what do I know? :)

    Bobwhite Quail - They make a lovely call - "Bob White, Bob White"

    Scissortail - Notice the long beautiful tail. I wish the colors were brighter so you could see better.

    While we're on the subject of animals, I recently read a book that I won in a contest (love contests) called A Buffalope's Tale, by Philip Caveney, a story about a ... buffalope, of course. From the jacket flap:

    "From the bestselling Sebastian Darke stories, Max the talking buffalope - Sebastian's hairy, surly sidekick - now takes centre stage to show you how his adventures began. Along the way he develps his wise-cracking role, shows off his combat skills and gets in plenty of moaning practice, shaping him to become the perfect companion for a young boy with adventure in his heart."

    Told from Max's point of view, this is a story that will make you laugh and make you cry. At least it did me. I haven't read the Sebastian Darke stories, so I met the little buffalope for the first time here. Now, Max would make a very interesting pet. You'd never get bored, that's for sure.

    Published by The Book Build Ltd., Great Britain, 2010.
    ISBN: 978 1 84624 563 3 

    Have a nice weekend.

    Happy Reading and Writing. 

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Ahoy, Mateys.

    Quote of the week: Be faithful in small things ... because it is in them that your strength lies. Mother Teresa

    The quote has nothing to with the following:

    It's talk like a pirate day today. (Everyone keeps telling me.) I should have know, since I wrote a pirate story. The manuscript I'm shopping around has ghost pirates, and I've done a bit of research on these scurvy dogs. It is a lot of fun to talk like a pirate. For more  useless err useful information about International Pirate Day, go  here.

    Enjoy the day, lads and lasses.

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Professor Atlas and the Summoning Dagger Review

    From Goodreads:

    In 1342, an old wizard stands atop a pile of rubble that was once a bustling village, complete with happy citizens, a vibrant marketplace, and a mighty castle. Cursing the conflict that brought this civilization to an untimely end, the old wizard bestows his last bit of magic on a spectacular dagger. He buries the dagger deep within the earth, praying that one day it will be found by somebody brave enough, and smart enough, to save the village from ruin.

    Centuries later, Tyler Gerard and his best friend Brandon Giles enter a contest, the prize for which is the opportunity to join legendary explorer Professor Fielding Atlas on his quest to ind the Summoning Dagger of Mercastus. Although both boys have the full and active imaginations that are typical of seventh graders, nothing will prepare them for the incredible adventure that lies ahead...

    PAUL MAGUIRE lives with his wife and two sons in New York City, a place he has called home since 1990. After working on the New York Stock Exchange for more than two decades, he decided to shift gears dramatically and pursue his lifelong dream of writing. Professor Atlas and the Summoning Dagger is Maguire's first effort in this new endeavor, and he hopes to continue telling the tales of Professor Atlas's adventures in many future installments.

    Maguire wishes to give thanks to his family for the many ways they have helped him during this effort. To Coleen, who offered a great deal of support and encouragement, and to Andy and Finn, who provided the ideas and the inspiration which truly brought Professor Atlas to life. Maguire also thanks his father, Jim, who taught him how to tell a story, and his mother, Diane, who taught him almost everything else.(less)
    Paperback, 220 pages
    Published July 13th 2011 by Dog Ear Publishing, LLC
    1457505096 (ISBN13: 9781457505096)
    My Review:
    Have you ever thought how an event that occurred hundreds of years in the past might affect your present and even your future? Have you ever had the opportunity to spend the summer with your hero whose life was one adventure after another as he traveled all over the world? What if winning a simple contest would grant you the chance to learn more about your hero? Sounds easy enough, huh?

    In author Paul Maguire’s debut novel, PROFESSOR ATLAS AND THE SUMMONING DAGGER, almost eighth-grader Tyler Gerard and his best friend, Brandon Giles, are about to find out answers to the above questions. The contest should be a cinch, right? The boys know just about everything there is to know about Professor Fielding Atlas. The professor will select two winners to accompany him to England where he’ll be studying a site where a medieval castle once stood. Well, the test is not exactly what the boys were expecting, but they put their ingenuity to work to solve each question presented to them. I’m not going to spoil the fun for you, but they do win and soon find themselves in London. Villains, time travel, a dagger, a castle, threats of being beheaded, you name it. Mr. Maguire’s novel covers just about everything. The boys and Professor Atlas get out of one mess only to find themselves in another. If it’s possible to change history, Tyler, Brandon, and the professor are the guys that can do it.

    The author has written a story with plenty of action and adventure to keep you reading on into the late hours of the night. I think you’ll find yourself rooting for the boys as they encounter a host of unusual characters and obstacles, but deal with them many times like typical teen boys would do. I believe we’ll be seeing more of Professor Atlas, Tyler, and Brandon in future stories. This is a fine debut novel. I’m looking forward to more from this author. I think you will be too once you’ve read PROFESSOR ATLAS AND THE SUMMONING DAGGER.

    Paperback copy courtesy of the author and Dog Ear Publishing.

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Reading Time

    Happy Monday, All.

    This past week, I read Frankie's Perfect Home to three groups of children. Two of them were at the Wichita Falls Public Library for their story time. The other reading was at Hastings Books, Music, and Videos. Now, I planned to take pictures, lots of pictures. Yes, I did. I took my camera. Ready. Well, I got a few, but most of the time I simply forgot. Anyhow, here's what I have, not showing the little ones too much, of course, for their protection.

    The librarian has a really neat program. Besides reading to the kids she made a cowboy. The theme of the day was Texas, to go along with my armadillo story.

    Even the duck liked to hear about Frankie.

    A couple of the girls decided to look at the felt armadillos on the bulletin board. The librarian had a cute program where she used armadillos to work with the kids on their colors and numbers.

    At Hastings, one bright little boy looked at the book and said he never saw a blue armadillo. I laughed and said "Neither have I." So we talked about what color they really are.

    The children loved the animal finger puppets I gave each of them. Unfortunately I couldn't find armadillos for them, but they liked the mixture of lions, tigers bears, etc.

    I had a wonderful time. Hope the wee ones did too.

    Have a nice week.
    Happy reading and writing.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011


    The Muse Online Writers Conference

    Affiliated with the award-winning sites and Writer's Digest Top 101 Writing Sites:
    The MuseItUp Club & Apollo's Lyre & MuseItUp Publishing

    Registrations are now open but please bookmark and come back often as more workshops are added. This year there will be no individual workshop registrations. You can pick and choose and take as many workshops as you want.

    Pitch Sessions 
     are now OPEN. Deadline to send in your pitches: September 25, 2011. Don't miss this deadline otherwise you'll need to wait for next year.

    No matter where you live, what you write, at what point you are in your writing career, you'll find a workshop that fits your needs during our weeklong conference.
    No hidden costs. Our conference is FREE, but we do ask for donations to help support this site and our cause - to continue offering you FREE workshops each year.


    Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I'll be presenting a workshop on Vision Boarding.

    You may already do this in your writing, but you can do it in other aspects of your life as well. Join us as we discuss characters, setting, and plot. Looking forward to seeing you in October. Polish those pitches for your work and delight an agent or publisher with your story.

    Happy Reading and Writing.

    Monday, September 5, 2011

    Abithica Review

    Quote of the week:  Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. Confucius

    Today I'd like to introduce you to Susan Goldsmith and her debut book, Abithica. Susan earned her Bachelors Degree in Journalism from the University of Arizona. She was selected to serve as Rep. Morris K. Udall's Assistant Press Secretary and was honored by handing his resignation to the Senate Press. Later she became an Undercover Private Investigator at Pinkerton, worked as an outside Sales Rep at Dun and Bradstreet and spent five years in pharmaceutical sales.
    She met husband, Bryan, in Mr. Ledezma's biology class, at age 13, setting off fireworks that still light the sky over Madera Canyon, AZ, to this day! Those presently enjoying the show include her daughters Riley and Reagan, 3 1/2 dogs, 3 cats and a parrot who she's trying to teach Shakespeare and failing. Note: Her 210 pound English Mastiff, Teddy Bear, counts as 1 1/2 dogs.

    Presently a stay-at-home mom, she stumbled across a pondering personal question after reading Thomas Moore's Care of the Soul, that being her own worst fear. Losing her husband and children was the answer, arriving while she vacuumed the living room. What if she were to be taken from them without their knowledge? What if another soul was inserted in her place? She'd look the same, but oh, what would happen then?

    The question soon became an obsession, the idea of 'soul switching' was born, and the result was her first novel, Abithica

    Published: June 2011
    Publisher: Twilight Times Books
    Paperback 225 pages
    ISBN: 13-9781606192351
    Also available on the Nook and Kindle

    Silver medal finalist in the 2011 Reader's Favorite Awards, Supernatural Fiction Category.

    My Review:

    Imagine finding yourself in one host body after another, not even knowing what you are, much less who you are. Is she some sort of parasite that lives in others’ bodies and feeds off of their lives, their loves, their hurts? This is the dilemma facing our heroine in Susan Goldsmith’s debut novel Abithica.

    Ms. Goldsmith’s story begins with our character finding herself in a woman named Sydney’s body. What is her purpose for being there? What does God have in mind for her? In her previous host, she helped patch up a man and his wife’s relationship. Boy, could he kiss. You see, one of the problems our girl encounters in these bodies is feeling the emotions her host body feels yet knowing the kiss or whatever is not meant for her. What is she supposed to do for her present host, Sydney, who seems to be at odds with her mother and also is on the run from something or someone? Sound intriguing? You bet. I predict you’ll not be able to put the book down as you follow the character who has no identity of her own, just the name that is her host body. You’ll be pulled along with her as she feels the joy and sadness of a man she could love but who loves the body she’s in. She also seems to attract children. Can they see something in her that adults cannot see.

    Yes, I’m asking a lot of questions because our heroine has a lot of questions. I think you’ll enjoy discovering the answers along with her. The author has written a winner. I’m looking forward to more stories from Ms. Goldsmith.