Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012


Quote for the week: All encings are also beginnings. We just don't know itat the time. Mitch Albom

MySpace Comments and Memorial Day Comments Have a lovely week.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Do you enjoy visiting new worlds with characters you'll either like or hate or maybe a little of both? If so, then you must read Catherine Stine's YA Novel FIRESEED ONE. Here are my thoughts about the story.

Don't you just love this cover? Catherine illustrated the book herself.

The Review

By Catherine Stine
Illustrated by Catherine Stine

Sometimes the people we know are not who we think they are, even if they’re our parents. Sometimes our worst enemy turns out to be the person we care about the most. Life changes, and we often find ourselves having to make tough decisions. In Author Catherine Stine’s young adult novel, Fireseed One, eighteen-year-old Varik faces challenges he never dreamed of when he inherits a sea farm after his father’s death. Since his mother was murdered years earlier, Varik is now left alone to carry on the important business of growing food for people in many of the sectors of Ocean Dominion that depend on the produce from Varik’s farm.

Problems plague him from the start, and he soon finds himself on a mission with Marissa, a thief, to discover the whereabouts of his father’s pet project, Fireseed One, that could save the world from starvation. As the two teens search not only for the plants but for answers to questions about their families, their relationship changes from hostile and distrustful to the beginnings of love. A gentle love story between two former enemies is just the right touch for Catherine Stine‘s futuristic adventure. The author has developed a world with familiar places, like Kansas, Vegas, Black Hills, that now are so hot people must wear special suits to survive, and also new places under the sea where most of the world’s food is grown. It makes me wonder if someday our major food sources might come from the sea. An interesting thought.

The author’s illustrations complement the writing, giving the reader a glimpse into Varik’s and Marissa’s lives. I especially like the little fellow on page 245. What is it? You’ll have to read the book to see. The characters have faults like real people, which makes them more human. You’ll want to help them each time they face danger and decisions, at least I did. I recommend Fireseed One for science fiction lovers, adventure lovers, and readers who enjoy young romance. The book would be a great addition to middle school and high school libraries, too. The novel ends with another dilemma for Varik to solve that, in my opinion, is very creative. I just hope book two comes out soon.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Eric Hoffer Awards

Quote for the Week:  The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is. C. S. Lewis

I have a bit of good news today. We, as authors, work on our stories, brainstorm them, write them, revise them, revise them, revise them ... you know what I'm saying. And when the book is finally out there for people to read, we cross our fingers that someone will like it. Now, contests mean different things to different people. Some don't care for them; others can take them or leave them; others think they're great. All I can say is placing in a contest sure does feel good to me. It makes those months and years of writing, crying and wanting to give up worth every smile and tear. And now for my news .

My YA Historical Novel, Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines, is an Honor Book in the 2012 Eric Hoffer Awards, Young Adult Category. They even have a short review of the book here. I am honored to be honored. This is the second award for Caves. It also was a Finalist in the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Novella Category.

Thanks for letting me share my news with you.

Have a super week.

Happy Reading.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


May 20th is the next free day on Amazon for The Pineville Heist. Just one day. The book will be then be Kindle Nation Daily's eBook of the Day on May 22. On May 21st when the book goes back to the paid store, Booboo Stewart from Twilight starts promoting via facebook and twitter too.

Don't miss out on this great opportunity for a free eBook. Also coremember the ntestIt's simple. Click on CONTESTS on

and follow the prompts. Download and enjoy the eBook exclusively from Amazon for only $1.99 and LIKE “Pineville Heist” on Facebook and you’ll earn chances to become a character in my next book, The Sum of Random Chance due out this summer. There are signed books and limited edition T-Shirts to win too. You can also earn more chances by following the official twitter site @pinevilleheist.

Good luck. Happy Reading

Friday, May 18, 2012


Jolene Perry is back with us today to talk about her latest novel for young adults.

Jolene grew up in Wasilla, Alaska. She graduated from Southern Utah University with a degree in political science and French, which she used to teach math to middle schoolers.

After living in Washington, Utah and Las Vegas, she now resides in Alaska with her husband, and two children. Aside from writing, Jolene sews, plays the guitar, sings when forced, and spends as much time outside as possible.

She is also the author of Night Sky and The Next Door Boys.

Here's what Jolene has to say about her story.

Sometimes a story is more personal than you expect it to be.

I read an article in an online newspaper that talked about the YA books coming out that year which dealt with abusive relationships.

I'd part mapped one out a while back, and thought maybe I'd work on it - all evidence that the market had just gotten an influx of them didn't sway me the way it should have…

The more I wrote in the story, the more personal it became.

I was not ever hit by my boyfriend in high school. He never screamed and yelled at me - though I heard him trashing his room a few times when I left after an argument, and he didn't hesitate to show me when he was pissed about something.

He'd pick fights with me over the phone and hang up, knowing it meant I'd sneak out to "straighten things out."

There was one really horrible night with him that I'd blocked from my mind for a long time, that I remembered when I was writing, so I used it.

I see these cases my husband talks about with women who are beaten and bruised and making up excuses and going back over and over. One ended in murder a couple of weeks ago. A case my husband will be prosecuting when it goes to trial.

The abuse story I told is nowhere near that dramatic, but so much of Ronnie's story was mine. WAY more than I realized while I was writing it. When I got to the end, and started writing down the parts of her story that were real (I always do this for my author site), I realized more and more how much of me was in that girl.

I stared at my computer screen in shock.

I had one of my best friends, who was a guy, who I shared more with than I probably did to most of my girlfriends - (like Luke from Knee Deep) and a boyfriend I'd known since I was a kid (like Shawn from Knee Deep) And I felt this draw to my boyfriend, only because I'd known him for so long, not because we really had anything left in common.

I felt more like I was stuck in this relationship, and didn't even realize I didn't want to be there until I visited a friend in college and saw how much more LIFE was out there. It was just that the idea of this one person had been in my head for way too long.

And where did I end up? Married to the best friend.

People talk about writing what you know, and then talk about keeping yourself out of your books. But you know what? I KNEW that situation - and I know I'll get some bad reviews (like you always do - ESPECIALLY when you tackle a tough topic) that are going to say that Ronnie's actions weren't believable.

But here's the thing - I told her story, the best way I knew how. Ronnie's reactions with pieces of my truth. And there are some drastic differences, but there are also some startling similarities. So, to me, Ronnie's actions were completely and totally understandable.

And that's the story of how Knee Deep came to be.

That is quite a story, Jolene. Thanks for sharing it with us. Now, about Knee Deep.

Knee Deep Summary

Shawn is the guy Ronnie Bird promised her life to at the age of fourteen. He's her soul mate. He's more uptight every day, but it's not his fault. His family life is stressful, and she's adding to it. She just needs to be more understanding, and he'll start to be the boy she fell in love with. She won’t give up on someone she’s loved for so long.

Luke is her best friend, and the guy she hangs with to watch girlie movies in her large blanketopias. He's the guy she can confide in before she even goes to her girlfriends, and the guy who she's playing opposite in Romeo and Juliet. Now her chest flutters every time he gets too close. This is new. Is Ronnie falling for him? Or is Juliet? The lines are getting blurry, but leaving one guy for another is not something that a girl like Ronnie does.

Shawn’s outbursts are starting to give her bruises, and Luke’s heart breaks as Ronnie remains torn. While her thoughts and feelings swirl around the lines between friendship and forever, she’s about to lose them both.
Knee Deep Excerpt

My front door opens. “Hello?” Shawn calls.

“In here!” I say back. Suddenly this feels weird. Why would this feel weird? This is just what happens when one of us is stuck at home. Why would today be any different? But my heart’s beating against the inside of my ribs, trying to tell me this is different.

Luke scoots away from the couch. Does he feel it too? That maybe him and me hanging out alone for the day might not have been the best idea?

Shawn steps through the hallway and scowls when his eyes meet mine and then pass to Luke. This shouldn’t be a big deal. Except...I’m so stupid. I was just thinking how I needed to make Shawn’s life outside of his house less stressful, and part of me
knew it was weird that Luke was here without Shawn. I thought it, and did nothing. But again, it is just Luke.

“What’re you doing here?” Shawn asks. His dark eyes fix on Luke.

“I figured you’d be here, man.” Luke stands up. “It’s like we always ditch together, right?”

Romeo and Juliet kissing in the pool on the TV screen probably isn’t helping anything. Maybe Shawn won’t notice, or maybe it’s just sending my heart into crazy flutters because this tension between Shawn and Luke and, I guess, me, is happening during the most romantic scene of the movie.

“Uh, I don’t know.” Shawn’s still scowling, his brows pulled low and his jaw tight.

“You would’ve hated it,” I say. My eyes catch his, but his are as black as his mood seems to be. I’m so stupid. Why did I have to let Luke stay?

“Yeah, maybe.” Shawn’s narrowed eyes go from Luke to me, back and forth, as if judging the situation. Really? What did he think could possibly happen between Luke and I? Even if this is suddenly on my top three ‘most awkward moments’ ever. I can’t even think about what the other two might be. Maybe I’ve just found number one.
Romeo and Juliet all day.” Luke laughs, but I know him well enough to see he’s trying really hard to be relaxed. His shoulders are too stiff, and his normal stance is too rigid. I wonder if Shawn sees it too. “Guess I’ll leave you two alone.” Luke’s trying hard to keep his voice light.

“Yeah.” Shawn has yet to return Luke’s smile. “I almost never see my girl anymore.”

It’s like I’m on the edge of my seat, tension pinpricking every part of me. I’ve never seen Shawn like this.

“Well, I should get my ass to rehearsal anyway.” Luke gives Shawn a friendly pat on the shoulder before heading outside.

I don’t watch him go. My eyes are on Shawn, trying to figure out what to expect next.

“What the hell was that?” His sharp gaze is now pointed directly at me.

I stand up and lean to the side, trying to be relaxed. “It didn’t seem like a big deal this morning.” Maybe if I play it off as nothing Shawn won’t be so mad. He knows Luke and I are friends. No big deal, I tell myself again. But I don’t know if I’m trying to convince myself or Shawn.

“Was he here when we were texting?” he asks. His voice may be low, but not in a good way. It’s low in a way that makes him sound like he’s past the edge of reasonable anger.

My body’s screaming for me to take a step back, which makes no sense. This is Shawn. My Shawn. “No.” But I’m weakening by the second, almost shaking inside. His jaw tightens again.

My eyes close as I remember, and dread fills my chest. “He got here as I sent my last one.” Is that bad? Good?

“And you didn’t think to tell me? What the hell is that?”

I jump at the sharpness of his voice. Shawn doesn’t need this stress. I know this. I reach forward to put my arms around him. We just need to hold one another for a minute, then it’ll all be fine.

He stops me, grabbing my arm—hard—just above my wrist.

“This is not okay.” His jaw is set.

“Hey.” My voice shakes. My body shakes. I’m actually scared of Shawn for the first time ever. I jerk my hand once, but he tightens his grip...impossibly tight. My lungs can’t pull in a breath; there’s just not enough air in the room anymore. “Shawn, you’re hurting me.” He can’t mean to hurt me. He can’t.

His face is stuck in a sharp scowl.

“He’s your friend.” My voice is crying. I want to try and pull my shaky arm out of his grasp again, but I’m afraid to; he’s squeezing so hard. Tears are hot against the back of my eyes, threatening to spill over.

“How would you feel if I spent all day with some chick?” The words come out as angry spit from between his teeth.

I open my mouth to answer but can’t, the lump in my throat has taken over. All I can think about is that I need to find something to say so he’ll let me go. Some way to get the air through my throat to form words. “It’s just Luke,” I plead, sucking in a breath.

“Whatever.” He throws my arm back at me, turns, and walks out the door, slamming it hard behind him. My body jumps at the sound.
I stumble backward onto the couch. I’m like a leaf battered about in the wind. Nothing’s working right. I need to sit. Normally I’d run after him, but I have no idea what to expect. And I’m afraid. Of Shawn.

He’s never been that way before. Ever. He’s moody and particular, but this seems...extreme. I’m cradling my wrist with my other hand, afraid to look at any possible damage. It hurts to move it. What just happened here? How did it happen?

It’s like there suddenly must be something fundamentally wrong with the universe. But the TV’s still on. My house looks normal and quiet. I’m still breathing, but Shawn, my Shawn, just hurt me. Lying down seems so anti-climactic, but I can’t bring myself to do anything else.

When Juliet realizes Romeo’s dying the sobs take over, and I pull my knees to my chest as if making myself smaller will somehow dull the pain.

It doesn’t.
Oh, wow! I sure want to read more. Thank you, Jolene.
To learn more about Knee Deep and Jolene, check out these sites.
The book's official site is:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I don't know about you, but entering contests is one of my favorite things to do. I've won some great books and other goodies too. If you're a contest junkie like me, here's one you might be interested in.

Awhile back I reviewed THE PINEVILLE HEIST by Lee Chambers. Well, a lot has been happening with this book. For one thing, it has a new cover.

The Pineville Heist

by Lee Chambers
The Pineville Heist is the debut #1 Thriller from writer/director Lee Chambers. The screenplay version attracted Booboo Stewart (Seth Clearwater) from the Twilight movies for the lead in the motion picture slated to shoot later this year.

Amazon Rankings


Here's the Fun Part:

The author is running a contest via his facebook page and his website:
The contest is simple. Click on CONTESTS on
and follow the prompts. Download and enjoy the eBook exclusively from Amazon for only $1.99 and LIKE “Pineville Heist” on Facebook and you’ll earn chances to become a character in my next book, The Sum of Random Chance due out this summer. There are signed books and limited edition T-Shirts to win too. You can also earn more chances by following the official twitter site @pinevilleheist.


The Sum of Random Chance is a fantasy drama that features Cole Wilkes, an eager rookie reporter for a small town paper who stumbles upon Sara Mackey mysteriously foiling a robbery at a grocery store. Desperate for success, Cole sets out to make his name on Sara's unique gift. From the homeless man on the street to the cafe owner where she works, Sara seems to positively affect all she meets and Cole becomes increasingly intrigued by her presence. Is Sara special in some way or are all the magical moments pure coincidence? Do the random choices we make in life lead us down a path of no return or will Cole gain a sense of self-worth before he sells her out?


Good luck to all who enter. (Including me.)

Monday, May 14, 2012


Quote for the Week:  Just when you think it can't get any worse, it can. And just when you think it can't get any better, it can.
Nicholas Sparks

I'm pleased to welcome Christine Henderson to my blog to start a new week. Chris has been a writer since she was a child when she made teeny magazines for her dolls. One of her friends once told her she would someday be a well-known writer, so she would keep all the letters and cards that Chris sent her. Chris may not be the famous writer her friend thought she would be -- yet. She's working on it! Learn more about Chris at her blog.

Christine would like to share some thoughts with you today. Go, Chris.


By Christine Henderson

When you start writing their first novel you can’t wait to get their words on paper to let the world in on your wonderful thoughts. Form and style don’t matter as all you can think about is getting your story out there for all to read. Then you may decide to take a writing class to just polish up your masterpiece.

Once in your class if you have a good teacher, you realize there is a lot more to writing than putting words on paper. Unless you plan on self-publishing what you write has to have a broad appeal to sell. If you talk to agents or publishers they can’t really give you specifics of what they are looking for other than something that will grab them. But what grabs them today, may not tomorrow.

For instance, in my childhood I read fairy tales and fables in children’s picture books. Today if you go to your local book store those books are few and far between. Those fairy tales of old are considered too wordy for today’s easy readers. One of the most endearing picture book author’s is Dr. Seuss but if an author today submitted his wordy style of writing the book most likely would be rejected. However, his books still remain perennial favorites.

Another example of something old is new again is the Boxcar children series which was first published in the 1940’s in a children’s novel format. Today they are being produced as a child’s graphic/comic book style which shortens the text and tries to give the stories more punch for today’s readers who have a lower attention span.

Classic middle grade books of yesteryear included the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries which have been replaced by the 39 Clues series. It’s not enough now to have a mystery series, that series included a special prize for the master clue solver. The other change has been book length. Where the words in children’s easy/first readers have been cut, now MG books could be anywhere from a couple hundred pages up to 800 thanks to Harry Potter books.

Last year’s top 5 best selling MG books included four in the fantasy/paranormal genre and one horror. According to Amazon’s current best sellers for this year, the top 3 are still in the fantasy/paranormal genre with a Wimpy Kid book and the book that spawned the movie, Hugo . Does that mean that book styles are changing? Or is there just an over-saturation of books in the paranormal genre that publishers are looking for something new. That “something new” in several cases now includes books by authors who wrote best selling adult novels but have moved down in scope to writing for the MG markets including John Grisham, Rick Riodan, and James Patterson.


Thank you, Chris, for the memories. Reading Dr. Seuss to my children was the beginning of my love for children's books. And one day, I'm looking forward to reading your books.

Have a great week.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Children's Book Week

May 7-13, 2012

Children's Book Week is the national celebration of books and reading for youth.
Established in 1919, Children's Book Week is the longest-running literacy initiative in the country. Each year, books for young people and the joy of reading are feted for a full week with author and illustrator appearances, storytelling, parties, and other book-related events at schools, libraries, bookstores, museums, and homes from coast to coast!
Administered by Every Child A Reader
and sponsored by the Children's Book Council
Children's Book Week celebrates the transformative power of literacy.

Have you done anything special to celebrate this week? I'm going to donate a couple of my latest books to the library.

Happy Reading

Monday, May 7, 2012


Quote for the week:  Don't walk behind me...I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.  Albert Camus

At 2 AM Sunday morning I sat at my door and watched our neighbor's house burn to the ground. Thank heavens they escaped without injury. The cat woke them. The house was already filled with smoke. They had time to save nothing, but managed to get the vehicles out of the attached garage.

We live in the country so there's maybe half a football field between their house and ours. A lot of trees too. I couldn't see details; it was dark and no street lights. But I watched firetruck after truck bring water. We also have no water out here, so all the firefighters had was whatever their trucks carried. They came and went, doing what they could. The house, of course, burned to the ground.

As I watched, I was reminded of how temporary our earthly possessions are. The family will survive. Hopefully, they will rebuild. It's lonesome now, looking across the field, especially at night. Where once friendly lights glowed, now darkness hides the night creatures. I'm sorry their pets did not make it. But one cat was a hero.

The firefighters and other personnel that came to their aid, from the small area towns nearby, are also heroes.

Have a nice week and be thankful for your blessings.

Friday, May 4, 2012


I just read the latest picture book written by Mayra Calvani, a dear friend and super author, and can't wait to tell you about it.

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults. Her children’s picture books include Crash, The Magic Violin, Humberto, the Bookworm Hamster, Frederico, the Mouse Violinist, The Doll Violinist, The Water Cycle: Water Play Series Book I and the upcoming The Fox in the Night. She’s had over 300 reviews, articles, stories and interviews published online and in print. She’s represented by Mansion Street Literary Management. Visit Mayra:


  • Paperback: 20 pages
  • Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc (March 15, 2012)
  • Illustrator: Alexander Morris
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616332379
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616332372

  • My Review:

    Rain. Hail. Snow. Blizzards. Some people love to watch raindrops tap against the windowpane on a drizzly day. Others prefer to play in the snow and build snowmen and throw snowballs at friends. If you or your children are wet weather lovers, can you explain to your wee ones how the rain forms and what happens to the water when it reaches earth?
    If you need help, Author Mayra Calvani’s new picture book, THE WATER CYCLE, WATER PLAY SERIES BOOK 1, will take you on a delightful journey through the water cycle. The book begins with the water droplets huddled inside the cloud until they’re too heavy, when they fall to earth. The different types of rain are described, from drizzle to downpour, from hail to snowflakes, and to everything in between. What makes the book so much fun, to me, are the questions the book asks the reader. This involves the child to not only read the words and look at the illustrations, but to think about the effect rain or snow or floods have on people. Speaking of the illustrations, Alexander Morris has created characters with personality. What do I mean by that? Has a raindrop ever winked at you? Or what about the tiny raindrops with … I think I’ll let you find them for yourself when you read the book.
    THE WATER CYCLE would be a great book for Kindergarten, first, and second grade classroom science lessons. Students would have fun while they were learning. If it had been available, I would have used the book in my third grade classes when I was teaching. The book ends with activities for the children to do. I imagine young readers will want to read about the rain over and over. This is the first in a series. I’m looking forward to the others.


    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    The Post College Guide to Happiness

    Quote of the Week:  Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak ... Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. Winston S. Churchill

    For historical fiction lovers: The Kindle edition of my award winning ya historical novel, Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines, has been discounted to $2.99. If you'd like a copy here's the link:


    Now on to the review of a book that's in modern times.

    Title:  The Post College Guide to Happiness

    Author:  Brian Cohen

  • Paperback: 148 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace (October 18, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 1466434139
  • ISBN-13: 978-1466434134


    My Review:

    The word happiness means different things to different people. What makes one person happy doesn’t necessarily make another person happy. So what’s the difference?

    In Bryan Cohen’s book, The Post College Guide to Happiness, the author relates how he found happiness in his life. He decided to share his story with others, by writing a guide to happiness for recent college graduates. Let me tell you, though, I’ve been out of college for many years and I still found the book enlightening. So no matter your age, you’re likely to see something here that will refresh your happiness if you’re already a happy person, or help you in your search for happiness. The book contains seven categories with workouts and exercises. You have the chapter “Brainy Bliss” for those in a rut. Sometimes I’m comfortable in my little rut; other times it gets boring and I need to make changes. The Post College Guide to Happiness
    gives you a workout to help you break out. Or how about the chapter “Money and Happiness.” Of course, money brings happiness. Or does it? Do you have goals? If not, this book will help you set your goals. There’s way too much information here to tell you everything. My favorite chapter is Chapter 3, “True Love and Contentment.” It’s all about how we react to a given situation. Though I haven’t had a chance to try them yet, the workouts look promising.

    The author uses examples of real people, telling their stories and suggesting further reading. He even include a “controversial chapter” in trusting God as your supply. I agree with his thoughts on prayer. A prayer should begin with “thank you.” At the beginning, your prayers should be positive. Then you need faith and to believe. That’s all I’ll say now. I don’t want to give anything away about the book. But if you’re searching for happiness and money hasn’t given it to you, popularity hasn’t brought what you need, and all the other things you thought you needed to be happy, give The Post College Guide to Happiness a read. You’ll be happy you did.
    I won a PDF copy in a contest.