Friday, March 29, 2013


Kai Strand's new middle grade fantasy adventure, Beware of the White, releases on May 17th. 

About the book: 

As is tradition, Terra learns on the Saturday past her twelfth birthday that she is a Natures Spirit. It is her legacy to serve in the peaceful underground city of Concord. Learning she is named in a prophecy and being threatened by the leader of the death tribe…that part breaks tradition.

The Trepidus are the death janitors of the Underworld, responsible for delivering fatalities with a smile and cleaning up after themselves, until Blanco, recent leader of the Trepidus, decides the day of reckoning for his species is coming. He begins organizing the creatures and leads them toward an uprising. The prophecy says there is one person who can stop him. Terra.

With Spirit of Security, Frank, protecting her, Terra attempts to complete her training and discover her Spirit talents. Together, they go on a rogue investigation to learn how to defeat Blanco. In the end, it comes down to a battle of the minds. The future of Concord is at stake. Will Blanco, the older, more experienced being win? Or will Terra, the young, new Spirit earn back the peace of the city?

This is a clever fantasy adventure filled with fascinating creatures in a lush Underworld setting. Kids will relate to Terra and she won’t be the only one crushing on Frank! Bad guy, Blanco, will give you goose bumps. As the leader of the death tribe, death is his business. You have to wonder, can he be defeated?

Don’t miss teasers and release news. Sign up for the Strands of Thought Newsletter. 

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AND enjoy the beautiful COVER!!!!!!

What Kai says about herself:

I write fiction for kids and teens. Mother of four. Wife of one. I love singing, gardening and walking.
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.


A gorgeous cover, Kai. Looking forward to reading the book, in its finished state.

Happy Reading


Monday, March 25, 2013


Today, I have the pleasure of hosting Christine Amsden, author of Cassie Scot ParaNormal Detective., The Immortality Virus, and Touch of Fate. Christine Amsden has been writing science fiction and fantasy for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. (You can learn more here.)

In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.

Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children, Drake and Celeste.

Here's a sample from her latest novel, Cassie Scot Paranormal Detective. Christine tells me this scene was cut, but I love it and want to share it with you anyway.

            A couple of years ago, when I was attending a local junior college, I had a friend named Jen who loved to read fantasy novels. Despite her best efforts, she never got me to read them, but she loved to tell me all about the adventures of sword and sorcery and, to a lesser extent, tales of modern fantasy.

            I told her stories about my family, too. On more than one occasion she would burst out laughing and tell me I ought to write my ideas down.

            I guess she never actually believed that I come from a long line of sorcerers. Considering how normal I turned out, I suppose I can't blame her.

            One day, as we were chatting after class, my mom sent me a text message asking if I could pick up a couple dozen eggs on the way home from school. I mentioned the message to Jen, who got an oddly pensive look on her face. Then she said, “If your mom's a sorcerer, why's she texting you?”

            I drew a blank. “Because she's out of eggs?”

            “No,” Jen said, “I mean, doesn't magic cause modern things to break or something?”

            “Why would it do that?” I suspected that whatever she was on about had something to do with the books she liked to read. Though I'd never been interested in those types of stories myself, I was truly intrigued by the idea that magic and modern technology might not work well together.

            “Well, because magical energy and things like electricity might interfere with one another.”

            “You are aware that our bodies send out lots of electrical impulses, right? I mean, it's just a force of nature, like heat or sound.” I was picturing someone having a heart attack every time they managed to cast a spell.

            Jen frowned. “I hadn't thought of that. I guess it's not electricity, then, just modern gadgets.”

            “So what, anything invented after 1353?”

            “All right, all right, I get it,” Jen said. “But why would a sorcerer use a text message when she'd have magical alternatives?”

            “You mean, like a journey book, where she writes a message on her end and it shows up on mine?”

            “Yeah, something like that.”

            “Well,” I said, drawing out the answer for effect, “I guess it's because a journey book requires human blood and the cell phone company just wants a two year contract and a monthly service fee.”

Ha, ha! I love it.

Thank you, Christine for visiting my blog today.

Watch for my review in April.

Happy Reading.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Awhile back I posted this information on YA Authors You've Never Heard Of (me) and since I've been editing and writing and etc. this week I thought I'd share it with those of you who have not already read it. Enjoy.

Goody, goody! A royalty check arrives in the mail or is deposited in my Paypal account. Time to go shopping. Let me see. What can I buy for a buck fifty? A candy bar? A birthday card? Now I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I’m thankful for every penny my books earn and I exaggerated a little. When my royalties from all my books add up it’s somewhat better. Oh, I can’t go purchase a new car, but there are ways to add to my writing income without spending a couple of years on a novel. I can write magazine articles or short stories for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Chicken Soup stories are usually less than 500 words and pay $100 to $200 plus 10 copies of the book. Pretty nice income for a few words and the subject matter covers many topics. I was fortunate to have my story “Traveler” published in What I Learned from the Dog. They’ve also not accepted three other stories I sent them. (They do not reject an article, which is nice, even though it means the same when they fail to publish it.) But you know the old saying, never give up, so I’m working on a story for a future book.

They have a call out for two subjects: "Devotional Stories for Wives" and "Miraculous Messages from Heaven 101 Stories of Eternal Love, Powerful Connections, and Divine Signs from Beyond." (These topics may be expired by now, but they add others continually.) See more at Select the Submit Your Story link on the left tool bar and follow the directions. It will show topics they’re interested in and how to submit.

This is a nice way to pick up extra cash. I’m crossing my fingers this time. They receive hundreds of submissions so it’s tough. But that’s a challenge and writers enjoy a challenge, right?

Good luck.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Quote for the week:  Spring is nature's way of saying "Let's Party."  Robin Williams

Here it is a new week. I hope you had a lovely weekend. Spring break for the students in our area is over. It's back to school and countdown until the next holiday. How well I remember my teaching days and looking forward to the breaks.

Today I'd like to share a bit about my forthcoming book for MG readers. It's a long story with a happy ending. Way back in 2006 I sent the manuscript to a wonderful publisher and they wanted to publish my story. Great! I was excited. Unfortunately, the publisher went out of business. Not that I wish the former publisher bad thoughts, they are really nice, nice people, but I think life works in mysterious ways, for I now have a super publisher helping me get the story in tip-top shape. It has undergone edits, been changed from readers ages 7-10 to the 8-12 age group, many corrections, including the title, made, and is a much better story now. The manuscript is now awaiting the next round of edits after all the changes. Crossing my fingers it's good to go.

Watch for STAR OF THE TEAM coming out hopefully this summer. A huge thank you to Vivian Zabel and Harry Gilleland at 4 RV Publishing for your faith in my story. And for Aidana WillowRaven who will see that it has the perfect cover and illustrations for the story. 4 RV Publishing rocks.

How about you, dear friends. Share your good news with us.

Happy reading and writing.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Today, it is my pleasure to host Author Matthew Mather.
Matthew Mather is author of the #1 best-selling Atopia Chronicles and CyberStorm novels, as well as a leading member of the world's cybersecurity community. He started out his career working at the McGill Center for Intelligent Machines, before going on to found one of the world's first tactile feedback companies, which became the world leader in its field. He also created a major award-winning brain-training video game called MindHabits. In between he's worked in a variety of start-ups,everything from computational nanotechnology to electronic health records, weather prediction systems to genomics, and even social intelligence research. He spends his time between Charlotte, NC, and Montreal, QC, hanging out with his bright and beautiful girlfriend Julie and their three dogs and a cat who thinks he's one.

If you'd like to learn more about Matthew, you can connect to his new author Facebook page.
He has written an article to tell us a little more about cyberspace and outer space. Very interesting.

Outer space meets cyberspace - the final frontiers collide

Cyberspace and outer space dont just sound similarthey are very similar! How? Well thats a very good question...
Cyberspace and outer space, first and foremost, are both entirely technological domains. They are new areas of human activity that are only accessible through advanced technologyif you remove the technology, both space and cyberspace become inaccessible to humans.
Both are also seen as a global commons, domains that are shared between all nations, such as the oceans. Like the oceans, however, they are global commons that are rapidly becoming congested, and new rules are needed to be put in place to make sure that everyone can use them. In fact, space can even be seen as a part of cyberspace, because almost all modern communications satellites are now internet-based.
Congestion is a problem for both space and cyberspace. Did you know that about 90% of email is spam? This had the effect is seriously clogging up cyberspace systems, and can be dangerous since a lot of the spam contains malware and viruses.
Space is clogged up in a different way, from junk that is left behind. The total number of satellites in orbit is in the hundreds, but there are tens of thousands of small chunks of debrisfrom nuts and bolts that fell off spacecraft, all the way to discarded booster rocketsthat clog up entire orbital regions. Even a flake of paint can be dangerous when you consider the speeds and energies involved. Orbital velocities require speeds of about 17,000 miles-per-hour relative to the surface of the earth, and if a flake of paint was orbiting in the opposite direction from a satellite, they would collide at a combined speed of 34,000 miles-per-hournearly seven miles per second! At that speed, a flake of paint would pack the energy of a grenade.
Another way that space and cyberspace are similar is that, by and large, they are both outside of United Nation frameworks for rules that govern how countries should behave. Instead, they are both governed by “ad hoc” sets of agreements, between individual nations or general agreements. This has important consequences, because a lack of rules tends to translate into problems no matter what the environment!
The final, and perhaps most important, way that space and cyberspace are similar is that they are both considered military “high ground.” Space became if primary important to nations around the world, back in the 1950s, because it gave a nation, for the very first time in history, the ability to gather information and project power globally. It broke the relationship between a nations physical territory and its ability to influence other people, anywhere on the planet.
For exactly the same reasons, cyberspace is now overtaking outer space as the new military “high ground.” The cyber world offers unparalleled opportunities to gather information and influence events around the world, no matter what a countrys physical boundaries may bein cyberspace, it is very hard, if not impossible, to define borders. It is no coincidence that aspiring global powers, such as China and Iran, are working hard on building their space programs at the same time as building sophisticated cyber programs.
The main difference between cyberspace and outer space is cost. Where it costs hundreds of millions of dollars to put a satellite in orbit, it costs only thousands of dollars to buy a few computers to start hacking. The main currency of the cyber world is information, and all it takes are a few very bright minds to cause damage.

If youd like to read a fictional account of how all of this could go wrong, I invite you to download my new novel

CyberStorm, which chronicles the struggles of a family in New York City as they try to escape a major cyber incident. It is being released today, March 15th, and for today ONLY it is available for $0.99 (the price will go to up $3.99 after this).


Here are my thoughts on Cyberstorm:

By Matthew Mather

What if your life suddenly became a challenge for survival? What if you heard that a foreign computer code, designed to knock out the U. S. energy grid, has been embedded in U. S. power plant control systems? What if the everyday things you take for granted, like water, electricity, and food, are no longer available and you have to scrounge, steal, or get them any way you can? Not a pleasant thought, is it?

Author Matthew Mather’s latest novel, CYBERSTORM, may answer these questions for you. And you may wish you hadn’t asked. Mike Mitchell thought he had problems with his wife Lauren’s parents. That was before he heard reports that websites had been hacked and defaced, and a code designed to knock out the U. S. energy grid was embedded in power plant systems. Rumors suggest that China is responsible. People are dying too from what is suspected as bird flu. Soon Mike, Lauren, and their two-year-old son, Luke, along with their neighbors are scrounging for food, heat, and water, while trying to figure out what is going on and who is responsible. With the passing days and no answers, just starving people, Mike discovers just how far some will go to survive. Imagine killing for a handful of peanuts. Some of the scenes are rather gory, though they do show how desperation can bring out the worst in people and also the best.

I read mostly books for young adults and children because that’s what I write, but CYBERSTORM caught my attention and once I started reading the book I was glad I did. The scary thing, in my opinion, is that the events in the novel could be possible. Think how much we depend on our computer network, and how our world would change if some power gained control of the banks, businesses, and even our government. Matthew Mather’s book gives the reader a glimpse at what it might be like to face a cyber attack. CYBERSTORM is also a story of family and friendships and how things are not always what they seem. I recommend it and believe you’ll enjoy the read as much as I did.



Monday, March 11, 2013


Quote for the Week: Wherever you go ... no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. Anthony J. D'Angelo

Today I am delighted to host Author Victoria Simcox.
Victoria was born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, to an Austrian immigrant mother, and a Dutch immigrant father. She now lives in Western Washington with her husband, Russ and their three children, Toby, Kristina, and William. Her other family members are a Chihuahua, named Pipsy and two cats, named Frodo and Fritz. Besides being an author, Victoria is a home-schooling mother of twelve years and an elementary school art teacher of eleven years. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys managing her two older children's Celtic band. She also loves writing, reading, painting watercolors, hiking, good movies, and just simply hanging out with her family and friends.

Victoria is giving away 3 ebook copies of her Middle-Grade Novel THE MAGIC WARBLE to three lucky winners. The giveaway is US/International. To enter for a chance to win a copy of her lovely book visit one of her sites listed below and either like or join.


Victoria Simcox on Twitter.

If you'd like to know a bit more about THE MAGIC WARBLE, here is my review. Enjoy.


By Victoria Simcox

Take a girl, a present from her teacher, and a pet rat, add dwarfs and fairies, a wicked queen and a prince, a ball called the Magic Warble and a Book of Prophecy, mix together and you have a story of adventure that will keep you wondering what will happen next.

In Author Victoria Simcox’s fantasy novel THE MAGIC WARBLE, for MG readers, twelve-year-old Kristina Kingsly’s teacher gives Kristina a present that changes her life forever. A tarnished silver ball called The Magic Warble is inside the present and Kristina and her pet rat, Raymond, soon find themselves in a place called Bernoven, where she discovers she is the chosen one and must place The Magic Warble in its resting place, thus saving Bernoven from a curse. Along the way she meets a cast of delightful characters, among them Prince Werrien. As she and the prince struggle to reach Bernoven they face one danger after another, including the wicked Queen Sentiz and her son, who are determined to stop Kristina and Werrien. Will they reach their destination in time, lifting the curse over Bernovem? Or will they fail?

THE MAGIC WARBLE is not only a fantasy story, it is also a story of friendship, family, and trust. Black and white illustrations give a visual image of the appearance of some of the characters and what they're doing. The author has created a fantasy world of beauty and also danger. An enjoyable read for the young and the not-so-young, as well.

Happy Reading 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


To celebrate the release of their sweet love stories, Kelly Hashway and Beth Fred are hosting The Sweets Blogfest on March 6. You have a chance to win ebooks of Love All and The Other Marlowe Girl. The rafflecopter for the contest will be available March 6 to 12 AM on the 10th. Winners will be announced the following Monday. To enter go to Kelly's blog and/or Beth's blog. Don't miss out on the fun.

See at Goodreads.

See at Goodreads.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Read an eBook Week

Quote for the week:  Spring is in the Air: Despite the forecast, live like it's spring. Lily Pulitzer

Read an eBook week is March 3 - 9, 2013. My publisher, Twilight Times Books, is giving away free eBooks. You can download these at Twilight Times.

All week
Book Reviewers Talk about their Craft by Mayra Calvani, Editor
How I Wrote My First Book: the story behind the story by Anne K. Edwards and Lida E. Quillen, Editors
Mazurka by Aaron Paul Lazar
Touch of Fate by Christine Amsden
Who is Margaret? by Celia A. Leaman Sunday, Mar. 3rd -- Behold the Eyes of Light by Geoff Geauterre
Monday, Mar. 4th -- Death on Delivery by Anne K. Edwards
Monday, Mar. 4th -- Double Forte' by Aaron Paul Lazar
Tuesday, Mar. 5th -- Jerome and the Seraph by Robina Williams
Wednesday, Mar. 6th -- Monkey Trap by Lee Denning
Thursday, Mar. 7th -- No place for Gods by Gerald Mills
Friday, Mar. 8th -- Striking Back from Down Under by Dr. Bob Rich
Saturday, Mar. 9th -- The Case of the Displaced Detective: The Arrival by Stephanie Osborn
Saturday, Mar. 9th -- Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine Issue Sept/Oct 2005
Saturday, Mar. 9th -- Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine Issue Jan/Feb 2006 Be sure to check out the official web site for Read an E-Book Week. A number of publishers are offering give-aways during the week. For example, Smashwords is offering hundreds of free ebooks.

Also, my eBooks, though not free, are a bargain.

A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat - Tween Paranormal

Just Breeze - Tween Contemporary

Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines - YA Historical
Twilight Times

Listen to the Ghost - YA Paranormal
Twilight Times

Rebel in Blue Jeans - YA Contemporary
Twilight Times

Secrets I Have Kept - YA Mystery
Wings ePress

Happy Reading.

Friday, March 1, 2013


Music has charms to sooth the savage breast.

Literal meaning. That literal meaning may be misinterpreted somewhat as this phrase is commonly misreported as 'music has (or occasionally 'hath') charms to soothe the savage beast'.


The phrase was coined by William Congreve, in The Mourning Bride, 1697:
Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.
I've read, that things inanimate have mov'd,
And, as with living Souls, have been inform'd,
By Magick Numbers and persuasive Sound.
What then am I? Am I more senseless grown
Than Trees, or Flint? O force of constant Woe!
'Tis not in Harmony to calm my Griefs.
Anselmo sleeps, and is at Peace; last Night
The silent Tomb receiv'd the good Old King;
He and his Sorrows now are safely lodg'd
Within its cold, but hospitable Bosom.
Why am not I at Peace?
I found this information at The Phrase Finder site. So my Friday First this first day of March 2013 is what is the first song or singing group you remember as really liking?

When I was a kid, my aunt and uncle had a Wurlitzer Juke Box from the restaurant they once owned. Every time we visited them, I'd play the records that were on it. My favorite song back then, and still one of my favorites today, was On Blueberry Hill sung by Fats Domino. Ocassionally I hear it on the radio, 50's channel, and it brings back pleasant memories of those visits.

Okay. Your turn.

Have a super weekend. Happy reading and writing.