Wednesday, May 28, 2014


American RideHost of AMERICAN RIDE, Stan Ellsworth breaks the mold of the stereotypical High School history teacher.

Former history teacher Stan Ellsworth tours the country on a Harley Davidson for the television show “American Ride.” Ellsworth’s approach to American history in AMERICAN RIDE removes the “bow tie and sweater vest” of history professors, puts on the “skull rag and denim vest” and breaks down stereotypes. His adventurous spirit and love for the United States is contagious and engaging. His approach is more like an invitation to walk (and ride) with him through the footsteps of history. He hopes the stories and “postcards” from the highways and byways of the country will make American history relevant to today’s audiences, and motivate them to take an active part in the preservation of the values this country was built upon.

Now in the sixth season, Stan takes you across the world to see how the clouds of war gathered once again and what led America to enter WWII. New episodes air each Monday 9PM ET/ 7PM MT on BYUtv. If you've missed any episodes, you can catch up with all of the previous seasons online anytime at


The 6’ 2”, 300-lb muscle-clad Harley Davidson-riding host of BYUtv’s acclaimed American history program, American Ride, would like nothing better than to inspire the next generation of George Washingtons, Susan B. Anthonys and Thomas Jeffersons. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and raised in the Carolinas, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Pennsylvania, Ellsworth was steeped in the landmarks and stories of American history throughout his formative years. His family lineage includes such historic luminaries as Revolutionary War patriot Ethan Allen; both Generals of the Cival War, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant (also the 18th president of the U.S.); and American folk heroes Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett.

Ellsworth’s goal—both when he was in the classroom, and now in his weekly television program—has always been to “wake people up” to the stories of our founding fathers and mothers, and to the sacrifices they made in creating this nation. In his gruff baritone voice, he speaks eloquently of our heritage and extols the wisdom and bravery of those who came before.

“LET’S TAKE A RIDE” ~ Stan Ellsworth

Facebook * Twitter * Website

book blast button




Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 6/17/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an 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 Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


~Inspired Kathy~

I Am A Reader

Book Blasts & Blog Tours

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Here's Teaser #3 for Kelly Hashway's forthcoming novel THE MONSTER WITHIN.
I want to know more. How about you?
Also, I'm announcing the winner of my 501 followers contest. Patches was too busy to draw the winner, so I went to Random Org. The winner has been notified. A huge thanks to all that left a comment. I appreciate your thoughts and kind words.
The winner is:
clee McKenzie
Congratulations. I hope you enjoy the book.

Monday, May 26, 2014


I am delighted to be a part of the tour for Joe Scott's picture book
The Friend Ship Friendesha
About the Book
Meet the Friendeshans, a lovable race of beings who spread friendship and positive energy throughout the galaxy! In this first book of an inspiring new series, the Friendeshans encounter the Oily Spoilies, creatures that thrive on meanness and negativity. What will happen when an Oily Spoily spy gets aboard the Friendeshans' ship?!
Title: The Friend Ship Friendesha
Genre: Children's Illustrated books - ages 3 -8
Author: Joe Scott
Publisher: Hillcrest Media Group


Way, way far away, deep in outer space, spun a clean, green planet named Friendesha where all creatures lived together as friends. This planet was home to the Friendeshans, the happiest beings in the galaxy. They were bursting with pozzi-power - that's the positive, loving energy inside every living thing. The Friendeshans had so much pozzi-power they had to give it away! And so they built a pozzi-powered Friend Ship, the F.S. Friendesha. The crew of the F.S. Friendesha traveled all around the galaxy, looking for sad and droopy planets that needed just a little bit of extra pozzi-power. And when they found one, they would go to work. They'd hide in logs, bogs, and bushes, and whenever they saw a grim or grumpy creature, they'd pop out and give it a "Friendesha" with their glowing, humming wands. A Friendesha is a special spark that lights up all the pozzi-power that's hiding inside someone. It can put a grin on the grumpiest grizzle-rat!

About the Author

Joe Scott is a contractor and real estate developer who built a thriving enterprise from a truck and a toolbox. He has negotiated thousands of business deals involving corporate executives, homeowners, bankers, laborers, and union officials. In addition, he has hired, and been hired by, individuals from every walk of life. Through these dealings, Joe has learned that all people fall into three types - givers, takers, and those who both give and take. Knowing how to recognize and cope with all three types is the key to his success. In this children's series, he hopes to instill in kids a good foundation for a happy and positive life. His first book, "The Joe Dial", released in 2011, is age appropriate for those who are 12 to 95 years old. The Friend Ship Friendesha series is based on the adult book, "The Joe Dial."


Congratulations, Joe. This looks like a book young readers will enjoy.

Happy Reading.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Happy Wednesday.
Guess what, ladies and gentlemen. We have 501 followers on this blog.
The numbers stayed at 496 like forever. Then one day I took a look and there we were.
500 and then 501
Thank you, all, for following me.
To celebrate, I'm having a giveaway. No, it won't be a Rafflecopter. I barely know how to use one of those things. Since I'm an old-fashioned "girl" we'll do the giveaway the old-fashioned way. I'll either use Random Org to choose the winner, or my cat. Patches used to love to draw winners. Lately she's been kind of lazy.
This is a previous contest I had where she picked the winner.
I wrote the names on paper, and she's looking them over. 
She got tired and had to take a break.
Back to business now.
She tried to eat the winning paper and she didn't want to give it to me. I'm tougher than she is though.
Now, back to the giveaway. A $10.00 gift certificate to Amazon, plus a copy of my YA paranormal Listen to the Ghost, Kindle, Nook, or Paperback, or a copy of my YA contemporary Life on Hold, Silver Winner in the Children's Literary Classics Award, Kindle, Nook, or paperback. Or, if you prefer pirates and adventures, you can choose my Tween paranormal A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat, Kindle or Nook only. And, all you have to do is leave a comment stating which book you'd like and your email address so I can notify you if you're the lucky winner. The giveaway will end Tuesday, May 27, winner announced Wednesday, May 28.
Random Org or Patches will choose the winner.
Happy Reading.

Monday, May 19, 2014


Squee! There's one month until the release of The Monster Within! That means it's time to celebrate! And what better way to celebrate than by having a giveaway? But before we get to the giveaway, check out the cover and blurb for The Monster Within.

The moment seventeen-year-old Samantha Thompson crawls out of her grave, her second chance at life begins. She died of cancer with her long-time boyfriend, Ethan, by her side—a completely unfair shot at life. But Ethan found a way to bring her back, like he promised he would. Only Sam came back wrong.

She's now a monster that drains others' lives to survive. And after she kills, she’s tortured by visions—glimpses into her victims would-have-been futures had she not killed them. Barely able to live with herself and trying to make things right, Sam ends up a pawn in a vicious game of payback within the local coven of witches.

But when the game reveals what Ethan had to do to save Sam, she must make a choice that will change all their lives forever.

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
ISBN:  978-1-937053-85-7
Release Date: 6/17/2014
Formats: Paper, e-book 

Add it on Goodreads.
Pre-order on B&N or Amazon. 

So, what can you win? 

  • 1 signed copy of The Monster Within
  • The Monster Within bookmarks
  • a mask (winner's choice of purple, green, or gold)
  • a mood ring (winner's choice of small, medium, or large)
  • a triquetra necklace (not shown in picture)
  • a paperback ARC of Cold Calls, a YA thriller by Charles Benoit
  • a hard cover copy of The Magnolia League, a witchy YA by Katie Crouch
  • a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner's choice; gift card not shown in picture)

Sound good? Enter by filling out the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 15, 2014


I am so excited today to tell you about Award  Winning Author Mayra Calvani's latest YA novel, THE LUTHIER'S APPRENTICE.

I adore this cover: the girl, the violin, the sense of something about to happen.

Title: The Luthier's Apprentice
Author: Mayra calvani
Author web site:
Publisher: Twilight Times Books,
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Distributors: Amazon Kindle; Apple iBookstore; Nook; Kobo Books; OmniLit, etc
Release date: May 15, 2014 ebook; August 15, 2014 print
Pages: 184


Barnes & Noble:

Promo blurb:

Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), one of the greatest violinists who ever lived and rumored to have made a pact with the devil, has somehow transferred unique powers to another…  

When violinists around the world mysteriously vanish, 16-year-old Emma Braun takes notice.  But when her beloved violin teacher disappears… Emma takes charge. With Sherlock Holmes fanatic, not to mention gorgeous Corey Fletcher, Emma discovers a parallel world ruled by an ex-violinist turned evil sorceress who wants to rule the music world on her own terms. 

But why are only men violinists captured and not women? What is the connection between Emma's family, the sorceress, and the infamous Niccolò Paganini?  

Emma must unravel the mystery in order to save her teacher from the fatal destiny that awaits him.  And undo the curse that torments her family—before evil wins and she becomes the next luthier's apprentice…

The Luthiers Apprentice

Chapter One

Brussels, Belgium

Present day

Sixteen-year old Emma Braun got off the school bus and strode down Stockel Square toward her home. She glanced up at the October sky and wrapped her wool scarf tighter around her neck. Heavy dark clouds threatened a downpour.

As she passed a newspaper stand, the headlines on The Brussels Gazette caught her attention:

Emma stopped. For a moment she could only stare. She dug into her jacket pocket for coins and bought a copy.

The newspaper article left her stunned. Not only because three well-known violinists had gone missing in the last several months, but because the latest one was her teacher, Monsieur Dupriez.

The news story seemed so hard to believe, she stopped at the next street corner to read it one more time.

It was the last week of October, and the shops and homes were lightly adorned with Halloween decorations. Pumpkins and Jack-o-lanterns sat on doorsteps. Witches, broomsticks, and black cats hunkered down in windows and shops. Just last evening, Emma had sauntered along this street with her best friend Annika, unconcerned and looking forward to Halloween. Now, everything had turned dark and ominous.

The strange incidents she had experienced for the past two weeks added to her stress.

At first she had thought they were a string of coincidences, but not anymore. While scowling at obnoxious Billie Lynam during school recess, for instance, she wished he would fall flat on his face… and half a minute later, her wish was granted. On various occasions she guessed peoples thoughts before they spoke. And yesterday, on her way home from school, she accurately guessed the meal her mom had left on the table for her.

Was she some kind of a psychic? If so, why now? People didnt develop powers like these overnight. Did they?

She hadnt told her mom about her new abilities yet; only Annika knew. Maybe she would tell her mom today, after she shared the news about Monsieur Dupriez.

As Emma approached her home, she quickened her step. By the time she reached the door she was almost running. She raced into the hallway and dropped her book bag on the floor.

“Mom!” she called, looking in the kitchen, then in the living room. The house was silent. “Mom!” she called again, racing up the stairs to the bedrooms. Entering her mother’s room, Emma found her sitting very still on the bed with a crumpled letter in her hand.

When her mom saw her, she hastily put the crumpled piece of paper into her pocket and rose from the bed. Her arched brows were furrowed with anxiety.

Emma momentarily forgot the newspaper article. “Are you okay, Mom?”
“I’ve just received some unsettling news,” her mom said. “I must make a trip to see your Aunt Lili. Shes ill. She…I dont know how long Ill be gone.”

Aunt Lili? Emma frowned. More surprises. Emma had never met her moms eccentric only sister, who lived alone in the Hungarian mountains secluded in an old chateau surrounded by dark woodsor so her mom said. Though again, her mom hardly ever mentioned her.
“What’s wrong with Aunt Lili?” Emma asked. “Cant I come with you?” She had always been intrigued by her mysterious aunt.
“No. You’ll stay with Grandpa. You enjoy working with him, dont you?” Her brown eyes met Emmas before turning away, and though her voice sounded matter-of-fact, Emma detected a trace of ambivalence.

Emma sighed. She loved violin making with a passion, but Grandpa was a bitter taskmaster. No matter how much she tried to please him, she never could. Maybe thats why her mom often seemed so reluctant about her apprenticeship.
“I’d rather go with you,” Emma said. “Plus, next week is holiday.” All Saints holiday weekor Toussaint, as they called it herealmost always coincided with Halloween.
“That’s out of the question. I dont know how long Ill be gone. Besides, you cant miss your violin lessons, not with the Christmas competition at the academy coming up soon.”
“I’m not so sure about that,” Emma said gravely, extending the newspaper.

Her mom took it. “Whats this?”
“This is why I came running up the stairs.”
Her mom read the headlines. She gasped and looked at Emma. When she finished reading, she sat on the edge of the mattress and stared into space. “Oh, my God...” she whispered.

Emma sat next to her mom. “It says Monsieur Dupriez disappeared in his study. The doors and windows were locked from the inside. The police dont have any explanation. How can this happen? Its not logical. Its not humanly possible.”
“No, not humanly possible…”

“Just like the other three—that German violinist, the French one, the American. Nobody has explained their disappearances. Who would want to kidnap violinists?” When her mom didnt answer, she began to gnaw at her fingernail.

As if by reflex, her mom pulled Emmas hand away from her mouth.
“Sorry,” Emma mumbled. “I’m just worried about him.”
“Poor Madame Dupriez. We must visit her. She must be in quite a state.”

“Can you call her now?”
Her mom sighed. “I will. In a moment.” She looked at Emma, her features softening. Gently, she smoothed Emmas glossy chestnut locks and side fringe away from her face. “Dont worry, everything will be fine. You mustnt be afraid.”
“Afraid? Why would I be afraid?”

“I mean, about Monsieur Dupriez.” Her mom appeared flustered.

“I’m not afraid. Im worried, and angry. I want to find out what happened to him. Without him, I dont even want to take part in the competition.”

Monsieur Dupriez had been Emmas teacher since she was four years old. But more than teacher, he was her mentor.

“You will do your best at the competitionwith or without Monsieur Dupriez. Do you hear me?” her mom said. Then her voice softened. “Listen, darling, I know how close you are to Monsieur Dupriez, but you cannot allow his disappearance to destroy your chances at the competition. Im not asking you to win, only to do your best. You have great talent, a gift, and your duty is to use it to the best of your ability. Never forget this. Monsieur Dupriez would never want you to forget this.”
“You still haven’t told me whats wrong with Aunt Lili,” Emma said, changing the conversation. “Why must you go to her now, after all these years?”

Looking into Emmas face, her mom hesitated, as if unable to decide whator how muchto say. “You know shes always been ill, a recluse. She…” She rose from the bed and walked to the window, then opened the curtain. It had started raining, the drops pelted against the glass. “This time its serious. She may die.”

Emma couldnt help feeling a twinge of suspicion. She hated distrusting her mom, whom she loved more than anything in the world, but this time her mom was lying. Emma trusted that feeling, another of her freaky new abilities. She felt an overwhelming urge to chew her fingernails, but tried to control herself. For her mom, a violinists hands were a work of art.
“But what’s wrong with her? What kind of disease does she have?” Emma insisted.
“Her heart is very weak.” Her mom turned away from the window to face Emma. Her voice was laced with impatience.
And again Emma thought: Shes lying.
“Please don’t worry about it,” her mom went on in a lighter tone. “Ill try to come back soon.”
“How soon?”

“As soon as I can manage.”

“Grandpa is always in such a nasty mood,” Emma complained.

“Well, that isn’t news, is it?” Her mom stared down at the floor, as if absorbed by her own thoughts. After a pause, she added, “Hes old and his back always hurts. You know that.”
“I love Grandpa, but he’s so freaking…” She tried to come up with the right word. Bizarre. Instead she said, “Mysterious. You know, with his violins.”

Her mom looked at Emma and frowned, as if waiting for her to say more.
“You know what I mean, Mom. With that room at the top of the stairs. The one that’s always locked.”

Her moms features hardened. “He keeps his most valuable pieces in there. You must never disobey him. He would be very disappointed.”
“Who said I would go in there?” Emma asked, trying to sound innocent. If there was something she intended to do, it was going inside that room. Once she’d almost been successful. For some crazy reason, Grandpa had forgotten to lock it one day. But the instant she touched the doorknob, he had called her from the bottom of the stairs, his wrinkled features twisted into a mask that had left her frozen. He had appeared enraged and afraid at the same time.
“When are you leaving?” Emma asked, shaking off the past to focus on the present issue.

“As soon as possible. Tomorrow, probably. I’ll get the plane tickets today.”

“Emma, please. If you’re going to complain or say anything negative, I dont want to hear it.”

Fine. Obviously, this wasnt the best time to bring up her new psychic powers. She headed to the door.
“Where are you going?” her mom asked.

“To my room.”

“I’ll call Madame Dupriez to see if we may visit her after dinner. In the meantime, I want you to pack. Youre moving to Grandpas tomorrow.”

In her room, Emma dragged her suitcase from the top shelf in the closet and set it on the floor.
“Hi, Sweetie,” she said to Blackie, her rabbit. “Want to get some exercise?” She opened the cage door so Blackie could hop out and roam about her room. Blackie was housebroken, and smart as a cat—or close to it.

She stared at the elegant taffeta gown hanging from her wardrobe door, a strapless design a la Anne Sophie Mutter shed already bought for the upcoming violin competition.

She sighed.

Slumped on the bed, Emma wondered for the umpteenth time about Monsieur Dupriezs strange disappearance.

Where could he be?

My Review
By Mayra Calvani
I have to admit I knew nothing about luthiers or violins before I read this novel. When I was in fifth grade a teacher was giving violin lessons and I so wanted to learn. My parents said we couldn’t afford it, but now, many years later, Author Mayra Calvani has given me a glimpse into the lives of both the violin teachers and their students, and much more.

THE LUTHIER’S APPRENTICE, a YA dark fantasy novel by Author Mayra Calvani, is set in present day Brussels, Belgium, not long before Halloween, which adds to the mystery of the story. Emma Braun’s violin teacher, Monsieur Marcel Dupriez, is missing, and he’s not the first one to vanish without a trace. Two other teachers have disappeared in the past few months, along with other teachers that vanished over many years. To add to the mystery, Emma’s been having strange incidents lately, as well, and is beginning to wonder if she has psychic powers. When her mother unexpectedly decides to visit her sister, Lili, and leaves Emma with her grandpa, who makes violins, Emma and her best friend, Annika, decide to find out what happened to the violin teacher. Along with Corey Fletcher, another student of Dupriez, they set off on a journey of magic and danger on their quest to discover the fate of their missing teacher.

Mayra Calvani has created a world of fascinating characters, some good, some evil, along with interesting information about famous violinists that young musicians will enjoy reading. Told from alternating points of view, we get a look inside the thoughts of several different characters. The author has even thrown in the beginnings of a young romance. Short chapters move the story along and add to the suspense of what happens next. THE LUTHIER’S APPRENTICE would make a great addition to high school libraries, as well as your local library and your own private library. I enjoyed learning about the process that goes into making a violin, also. Good news: This is the first book in a series. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next story.
About the Author:

Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned over ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium.

Connect with the author on the Web:

Facebook Fan Page:



Congratulations Mayra.

Monday, May 12, 2014


Monday, the beginning of a new week. And I have a cover for you today. PK Hrezo's novel, INDUCTION DAY, sequel to BUTTERMAN TRAVEL.
Wow! This cover begs you to open the book to see what's happening, don't you think? I do.
The year 2069 is coming to a close, and eighteen-year-old Bianca Butterman's pilot license is finally official. She's ready for the Induction Day she’s waited for since she was a kid—the one that will secure her name on the Butterman family tree of time travelers. But ever since the media discovered Bianca is pop superstar Tristan Helms’ latest new honey, everything Bianca does or says becomes a target of criticism. Having her professional credibility topping the gossip sites across social media is an open invitation for the government to step in and regulate Bianca’s Induction. Now she will have to ask herself if saving 1500 people from drowning is worth losing everything she’s ever worked for, including the Butterman family biz.
Congratulations, PK.
Learn more at PK HREZO's blog
While I have a captive audience, I'd also like to share my Writer's Rebel Creed for the past month.
S. A. LARSEN 's brilliant and fun idea.
I write Monday through Friday, sometimes on Saturday, usually in the morning. My brain takes a holiday in the afternoon.
Still working on believing in my abilities. Winning the Sharp Writ Book Award has helped.
Fearless. That's me. I jotted down an idea that will be different to my usual writing. It's in line, waiting its turn.
About revisions. Yes, I need lots of them and finally, after weeks and months, they are beautiful. Not so much at first though.
I try to post and encourage my writing community, on Face Book and Google and other places.
Supporting other writers with cover reveals, reviews, and spotlights is fun, and I get to read a lot of super stories, too.
What have you been up to lately?
Happy Reading.


Friday, May 9, 2014


Today, I have the pleasure of reviewing Award Winning, Fabulous Author Kai Strand's novella WORTH THE EFFORT:ELLA'S STORY. And let me tell you, it's a great one.

By Kai Strand
Have you ever seen a homeless man or woman living on the street or under a bridge or in an alley? If so, what were your first thoughts? Were you afraid? Did you ignore him or her and hurry on past? Or were you curious about the person and wondered what his story was?
WORTH THE EFFORT: ELLA’S STORY, a YA novella by Author Kai Strand, is the story of seventeen-year-old Ella Jones who lives with her mother since her parents’ are divorced.  She doesn’t really like her mother or father; she suspects they don’t care for her, either, and she definitely does not want to be like them. Early one morning when Ella arrives at the restaurant where she works, she discovers a homeless boy about her age. Her first reaction is fear, which would probably be true of most of us. Ella doesn’t know that meeting the boy, Ayden, will soon change her life in ways she could never imagine.
Kai Strand has created characters that are so real they might be teens in your town, searching for meaning to their lives. Ella learns so much about not only Ayden but about herself as well.  As much as I like Ella and cheered her own, Ayden is my favorite character. He’s a mystery; he’s kind and gentle; he’s unpredictable and constantly puzzles Ella. Ms. Strand has captured both teens’ personalities just right. WORTH THE EFFORT: ELLA’S STORY is a story of family, love, and recognizing what is truly valuable in life. This novella would make a great addition to schools to perhaps help students see that our first impressions of a person sometimes are wrong . Be sure and pick up a copy for your own private library, as well. I’m happy to know we’ll meet Ella and Ayden again. Can’t wait.

In case you missed the spotlight on Wednesday, here's a little about the author.

When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website,
Kai is also a super crit partner.


And you definitely do not want to miss Kai Strand's giveaway. Check it out at Kai's Blog. Good luck.
Happy Reading

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Today I have the pleasure of spotlighting Author Kai Strand's YA Novella, WORTH THE EFFORT-ELLA'S STORY.

Isn't this cover beautiful? It tells so much about the story too.
About the novella:
Ella Jones is a coward. There is a teen boy living in the alley behind her work and she is terrified of him.
Desperate to leave behind the stereotypical and judgmental world she was raised in, Ella forces herself to make a true connection with seventeen-year-old Ayden Worth. As their friendship grows Ayden’s quiet, gentle ways teach her true courage.
But there’s more to Ayden’s story than Ella knows. When their worlds collide in the most unexpected place, Ella feels betrayed. Will she find the courage to learn who Ayden really is, or will she determine he’s not worth the effort?
His homelessness doesn’t scare me anymore. Well, not as much, at least.
It has been about two weeks, or so, of finding him in the alley behind my work. The more mornings that pass without incident, the more I trust he won’t come at me with a knife. Maybe I don’t really expect him to become violent, but my initial fear of him has decreased to a strange mix of caution and paranoia. It springs up inside me every morning the shadows move. My watchfulness is hanging around longer than I’m happy to admit. He’s a human being, not a starved mountain lion.
The first time I saw him, I’d bopped around the corner into the alley, all ignorance and innocence. It was 4:00 A.M. and still dark as pitch outside. The only light behind the tall downtown buildings was the single dim bulb over the door to the café I work in. In the two years I’ve worked at Read Between the Beans, I’ve never felt vulnerable. Because of school, I request the opening shift. It allows me to get four hours of work in before most people even think to start their day. Not once have I looked over my shoulder, or spooked at a noise, or realized how utterly alone I am.
Until that one morning.
As I slid the key into the lock movement, just beyond the splay of light cast by the grimy fixture above my head, caught my attention. The unexpected presence made me jerk my hand back. The key fell to the ground and bounced away. Fear of knowing I wasn’t alone in the alley, realizing what an easy target I made, and always had, froze my mind. I didn’t know if I should look for the intruder or find the key. Run away or try to get inside the restaurant.
“You dropped something,” he croaked. More shifting in the shadows.
My heart accelerated to a terrifying pace as my unwanted visitor stepped into the light—rumpled, dirty clothing, shaggy hair, head down, concentrating on the ground. As he approached, I still couldn’t move. I don’t know if it was some misplaced politeness—that I didn’t want to cause him embarrassment by showing my petrifying fear of him—or if I was afraid my fleeing would kick start a predator instinct, inciting him to give chase. I’m still bothered by the fact that I couldn’t make myself run away.
He bent, picked up my key, stepped forward, and handed it to me.
Our eyes met as I took it from him, and I gasped. He was young, maybe my age. Were there really homeless seventeen-year-olds? I gulped.
I remember feeling so bad about the gasp and the gulp.
He shuffled back to his spot near the dumpster.
“Thanks,” I said.

About the author:

When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website,
Today is also the first Wednesday of the month which means it's INSECURE WRITERS SUPPORT GROUP day. Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! The IWSG was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh. His awesome co-hosts for the May 7 posting of the IWSG will be Mark Koopmans, Joylene Nowell Butler, Elsie, and Lisa Buie-Collard! 
Be sure to check all the wonderful blogs where you'll find all kinds of encouragement and friendly thoughts. Click on the links above to get started.
Has anyone ever told you "Never give up?" Yeah, I thought so, but it's true. As writers we wait and wait and wait, until sometimes we feel like giving up.  We wait for edits. We wait for artwork. We wait for a book to come out. We wait for someone to read our books. We wait for reviews. And on and on. Sometimes we may even question why we thought we were writers. What ever gave us such a silly idea? Never give up, huh? Easy to say, but tempting.
And then, one glorious day, the editor sends her/his notes and advice and we shout "Awesome!" and start editing. Or the artist has the most gorgeous cover for our precious story and we cry because she/he got it just right. Or someone actually buys a copy of our baby and reads it. And the review brings a huge smile to our faces.
Now, aren't you glad you Never Gave Up?
Happy Writing.

Monday, May 5, 2014


And here it is...

Series: The FIRE trilogy – the Hand of Kali Series
Volume: 2
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: Mid 2014
Publisher: Infinite Ink
Blood & Gold on Goodreads

As Maya perfects her Fire skills she finds there is more to being the Hand of Kali than just wielding Fire.

A surprising summons to Mount Kailas takes Maya on a journey to meet the Lord of the Hindu Pantheon – Lord Shiva himself. This time the God’s request may not be so easy to fulfill.

Maya and her friends must flee the demons and the ruthless killers on their trail to retrieve the golden bow of Lord Rama.

Can Maya get the bow back in time, and also save a certain demon king in the process?

I have been a writer from the time I was old enough to recognise that reading was a doorway into my imagination. Poetry was my first foray into the art of the written word. Books were my best friends, my escape, my haven. I am essentially a recluse but this part of my personality is impossible to practise given I have two teenage daughters, who are actually my friends, my tea-makers, my confidantes… I am blessed with a husband who has left me for golf. It’s a fair trade as I have left him for writing. We are both passionate supporters of each other's loves – it works wonderfully…

My heart is currently broken in two. One half resides in South Africa where my old roots still remain, and my heart still longs for the endless beaches and the smell of moist soil after a summer downpour. My love for Ma Afrika will never fade. The other half of me has been transplanted to the Land of the Long White Cloud. The land of the Taniwha, beautiful Maraes, and volcanoes. The land of green, pure beauty that truly inspires. And because I am so torn between these two lands – I shall forever remain cross-eyed.

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