Thursday, December 9, 2021

People of the Sun by Ben Gartner

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn winner will receive a $50 Amazon/BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The explosive reveal about who John and Sarah really are and why they’re traveling through time, with their most gut-wrenching challenge yet.

In the time of the Aztec, a scoundrel named Cortés arrives and the kids are forced to make an extremely difficult decision: If you could change history, should you? For more twists, more danger, and more fun, read the third book in The Eye of Ra series, People of the Sun!

Read an Excerpt

The ground shook like the end of the world.

At least, that was how it felt to John, who had never experienced an earthquake while growing up in Colorado. And they’d only lived in Maryland for a month before taking this trip to California to visit their aunt. On their second day in the steep mountains of Santa Cruz, while hiking through an old-growth redwood forest that reminded John of a fairy tale, he suddenly felt woozy. But he wasn’t sick. His legs swayed like he was dancing the hula, as if the ground beneath his feet were the roiling sea. Birds took to the sky. Their aunt’s dog, Nickel, barked and snapped at the air, her ears tucked back and tail between her legs.

“Sarah?” John looked over to his sister and held out a hand to steady himself.

She wore the same expression of bewilderment for a moment, then realization dawned across her face. “Is this an earthquake? Cool!”

Her voice rose and fell with the waves just like her knees riding the shifting earth as if it were a skateboard or a pair of skis. Dander like fireflies floated down from the trees and sparkled in the sun’s rays.

“Earthquake,” Aunt Lorraine confirmed. “Just a little one. Hold on, it’ll end in—”

The earth eased to a halt.

“There ya go, all done.” Aunt Lorraine heaved a breath. “For now.”

“For now?!” John hunched over, ready to fall flat on the ground if it got any worse.

About the Author:Ben Gartner is the award-winning author of The Eye of Ra time travel adventure series for middle graders. His books take readers for a thrilling ride, maybe even teaching them something in the meantime. Ben can be found living and writing near the mountains with his wife and two boys.



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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Shattered by C. Lee McKenie

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. C. Lee McKenzie will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Courage put Libby Brown into the final selection for the Olympics, but betrayal crushed her spine and her chance at the Gold. Now she has two choices, use her courage to put her life back together, or remain shattered forever.
Read an Excerpt

I’d just made it to my room when my cell chimed. I pulled it out of my pocket and stared at the name on the screen. Javier Martín.


“It’s Javier from the pool. Do you remember me?” His low-pitched voice came through the phone even deeper and richer than when we’d talked earlier today.

How could I not remember? Just hearing him made butterflies dance along my arms. “How…how did you get my phone…my number?” Why was I stammering? Surprised, I guessed. That and until today, I hadn’t realized just how hungry I was for some male energy in my life.

About the Author:
I’m someone in love with the English language...well, any language for that matter. How did we decided to use words, intonation, structures to communicate? Does our language come from our culture or does our culture come from our language? I love to drive people nuts with questions like this.

I have a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days my greatest passion is writing for young readers. My young adult novels are Sliding on the Edge, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative, Sudden Secrets, and now Shattered, A Story of Betrayal and Courage. Sometimes I write Middle Grade Fantasy and have four of those stories published.

When I’m not writing I’m hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot questions about things I still don’t understand--like what is language anyway?

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Monday, November 29, 2021

A Moment in Time by Martin Dukes

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Martin Dukes will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

I was growing up in the sixties and seventies and the first book I can remember being totally bowled over by was The Hobbit. This book was my initiation into Tolkien’s amazing universe and it wasn’t long before I had first laid my hand on The Fellowship of the Ring, in the school library. This was by far the most adult book I’d read up until then and I felt very grown-up taking it to the desk and getting it checked out. When I got home and started reading it I found myself completely entranced by the world of Middle Earth, the wonderful depth and detail of it. There’s an large area of hills and open woodland close to where I lived then and my equally Tolkien obsessed friends would roam these woods pretending to be elves or otherwise acting out scenes from the books. I was always a big reader but Lord of the Rings was the first book that really captured my imagination. In addition, it made me want to create worlds of my own and give names to all its features and places. My school exercise books used to contain, in the back pages, little sketch drawings of islands with rivers, mountains and cities. Geography was amongst my favorite lessons because I learned to places such features in a geographically convincing manner.

What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

I would say ‘Hey, chill out! You’ve got a tricky few years ahead, but it’ll all work out in the end. Being hilariously bad at sport may seem embarrassing to you now, but it really doesn’t matter in the big picture. Be kind to your mom and dad. I know it seems like they just want to ruin your life and put a stop to your attempts to be like the cool kids, but actually they were once where you are now, and they have your best interests at heart. If they don’t want you to go to that party you’re desperate to go to, it’s because they know that kid’s parents, they know that neighbourhood and they’re anxious about you. They’re allowed to be. They love you. One day, when you’re a parent, you’ll get it too. So knuckle down to your work and appreciate the friends you do have, rather than trying to be like those who seem to have that easy popularity and that way with the girls. It’ll all come together in time. Oh, and that daydreaming thing you do, that your teachers are constantly beefing about. Don’t listen to them. That daydreaming thing is your essential preparation for what you’re going to do later in life. You’re going to be a writer.’

Favorite class in high school. Why?

I loved English and History but I guess my favorite class was Art. Drawing was something that always came easy to me and I think most people derive enjoyment from what they can do well. In addition, my childish attempts at drawing cartoons and painting pictures always won me the praise of proud parents and brought me delighted blushes as they showed my lurid masterpieces to friends and relatives. As I was growing up, I found my Art lessons to be amongst the most fulfilling. Imagine my distress when, at the age of fourteen, I found that my school’s subject option scheme obliged me to choose between Biology and Art. Naturally, my parents, who still nurtured hopes that I might grow up to be a scientist, insisted that I choose Biology over Art. Instead, I was obliged to study Woodwork as a practical subject, a subject I despised and for which I had precisely zero aptitude. My woodwork teacher, soon despaired of my ability with the saw and the chisel. Although my homework drawings of tools were of the most exemplary standard, my attempt to make a yacht resulted in hilarious failure and I was eventually allowed to sit in the woodstore with a book. I never gave up on my Art, though. My favorite teacher was the Art mistress and I used to go and spend time in her studio at lunchtimes and after school. I eventually went to study Art at college, having turned up to interview with no official qualifications at all but a folder full of work I had made in my own time. I’m glad I never gave up, because I ended up teaching Art and Graphic Design for thirty-eight years and apart from writing, (and my wife!) it’s been the love of my life.

You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

I live on the edge of an area of urban sprawl, with some lovely open fields nearby, that are constantly mooted as sites for building new housing. They’re wonderful open spaces, that people use to walk their dogs and to take their children to learn a little about nature. If I had a million dollars to hand, I would buy those fields and establish a trust to keep them in public ownership for all time. I’d establish a mix of different habitats, ranging from woodland to heathland, have a big pool dug and make meadows for butterflies and dragonflies. I’d surround the place with a nice high fence to keep out people with motorbikes and four-wheel drive vehicles, who might want to churn it all up. In addition, I’d put up information displays at the entrances, so that people can learn about all the insects, birds and animal species that live there. I’d make it a place of quiet and rest for people to go when they want to get away from the city and find peace in nature.

summer vacation.

I’m not one for lying about on beaches, even with a book! Likewise, I don’t want to spend my holidays abseiling, kayaking or engaging in other energetic activities. I am not really a physical being at all and treat my body pretty much as a conveyance for my head. Instead, I would wish to visit Italy, dividing my time between historic cities, with lots of museums/galleries to explore, or quiet, off the beaten path villages and rural towns, where I can indulge my passion for history and archaeology. I have a particular interest in Classical History as well as Renaissance Art, which I used to teach at school. For many years I guided tours to Florence, Venice and Rome, and it is always a great pleasure to return to those familiar places. My ideal day would consist of exploring an Italian hill town, looking at churches and local galleries, followed by a gentle walk in the countryside and an evening with good company, good food, good wine and a good book. Perfection!

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

I’d love to be able to fly. I’m sure this must be a very common daydream and must have been as far back as the dawn of human existence. I can imagine the caveman looking up from his misdirected spear throw and envying the startled bird its swift flight into the air. In a way, given the rapid progress of science in recent centuries, it seems odd that our race was entirely earth-bound until the development of hot air balloons in the eighteenth century. But that, and later developments, relied on advances in technology. What I would like to be able to do, is launch myself into the air and soar and zoom simply through the power of my mind over the elements, using my body and my arms only to guide myself more aerodynamically through the skies. I’ve seen extraordinarily brave and daring people wearing flight-suits, jumping off mountain precipices and flying is such a way, although their trajectory is necessarily always downward. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of Superman, surely had it right in singling out this ancient human desire, when making this one of his prime attributes.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

I always wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Not that I really feel completely grown up, even now, as a sixty-two year old! If we mean the attainment of mental and physical maturity, then I would admit to have achieved only one of those. In some ways, I still feel like a child in an adult’s body, and that’s something that I cherish. I would hate to lose the wide-eyed wonder of the child, when gazing out at the world, or the breadth of imagination that accompanies it. Picasso said ‘At the age of sixteen I could draw like Raphael; I spent the rest of my life trying to draw like a child.’ This open-minded way of engaging with the world is what I have tried to retain throughout my life. I always enjoyed the potential of words for painting mental pictures and the potential of words, as of music, in creating beautiful patterns of sound. In addition, as a particularly dreamy child, I always wanted to permanently fix in place the content of my imagination. Writing gives us the opportunity to do that, and to use words to paint pictures that each reader will see differently. Naturally, the desire that others should read your work, is part of this urge. I doubt there are many writers who are content to keep their work un-shared in a desk drawer. I want people to share and to enjoy what I have written.

do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

I like writing about teenagers. My whole professional career has involved working with this age group, and so I think I have a good instinctive insight into the teenage mind. For this reason, I believe that I can write convincing teenagers. In addition, I have vivid recollections of that period of my own life. It’s a most interesting part of a anyone’s life, this extraordinary transition from the world of the child to that of the adult, beset with perplexing physical changes and the attendant emotional challenges that hormone supercharge can bring. It’s a rich field for literary exploration, as legions of writers have discovered. In addition, I think there are places you can go in this genre that may be denied to those writing exclusively for adults. For teenagers, the childhood world of myths and fairy-tales remains close at hand. Re-clothing those worlds and reinterpreting them in more adult contexts gives tremendous scope for imaginative exploration.

Alex Trueman has just turned fifteen. He's a typical teenager, a bit spotty, a bit nerdy and he's not exactly popular at school, not being one of the 'cool' kids. His tendency to day-dream doesn't exactly help him to be cool. either! But being cool isn't as good as the talent Alex discovers he has - stopping time.

Yes that's right. Stopping time!

Well, for everyone except Alex, that is, who finds that whilst everyone else is caught in a moment in time, he is able to carry on as normal. Maybe not quite 'normal', after all, he's able to stop time, and whilst that's not exactly as good as a certain 'boy wizard', it's pretty close!

The only trouble is that reality for Alex isn't always what is seems, and being plunged into an alternative can be a bit tricky, not to mention the fact that he makes an enemy almost as soon as he arrives, which tends to cause a problem.

Will Alex Trueman, nerdy daydreamer, be able to return to reality or will he be stuck forever in his alternative? Is a moment in time enough for Alex to discover the superhero he needs is probably himself?

A Moment in Time is the debut novel of author Martin Dukes, and is the first in a series of Alex Trueman Chronicles, which take the reader, along with Alex, into a bedazzling world of time travel, alternative reality and flying sea creatures. His further adventures include the past, possibly the future and definitely a fight to save reality itself.

Read an Excerpt

“What on earth are you doing?” rang Alex’s mum’s voice from behind him, and then “Oh!” as she took in the scene of the accident. The two girls were led past Alex. He gaped. There was something so familiar about that girl, and as she passed their eyes met. There were tears in hers – anguish, shock – and then as she passed by a glimmer of recognition. Alex almost called out, but what was there to say? Then she was gone, her head turned away once more as the crowd swallowed her up. His mum was scolding him, grabbing at his arm, but Alex hardly heard. He remained frozen, watching until the two girls vanished inside the police station. Then he allowed himself to be drawn away back towards the High Street, letting his mum’s complaints wash over him.

“… out of your pocket money,” she was saying. “Great clumsy clot. And running off like that. What on earth did you think you were doing?”

A stranger appeared at Alex’s side, a young man with a struggling goatee beard and a kindly face. He wore an ill-fitting suit. Before Alex could react, the stranger had taken his hand and pressed something into it. Alex glanced down. It was a page torn from a jotter with a name and a telephone number scrawled upon it. Alex looked up.

“Come on,” called his mum impatiently from up ahead.

But the young man had gone. Alex glanced wildly up and down the street. He looked at the paper again. ‘Kelly’ was the name.

About the Author: I’ve always been a writer. It’s not a choice. It’s a compulsion, and I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. Lots of childish scribbles in notebooks, lots of rejection slips from publishers and agents testify to a craft long in the making. In addition, it has proved necessary to earn a living by other means whilst those vital skills mature. For thirty-eight years I taught Art and Graphic Design, thirty-seven of them in a wonderful independent girls’ school in Birmingham, UK. For much of the latter part of this career I was Head of Department, which gave me the opportunity to place my own stamp on Art education there, sharing with the pupils there my own love of Art and the History of Art. Over a decade I was able to lead annual visits to Florence, Venice and Rome (some of my favourite places on the planet) as destinations on my Renaissance Tour. These visits created memories that I shall cherish for the rest of my life.

I love history in general, reading history as much as I read fiction. I have a particular interest in the ancient world but I am also fascinated with medieval times and with European history in general. This interest informs my own writing to the extent that human relationships and motivations are a constant throughout the millennia, and there is scarcely a story that could be conceived of that has not already played itself out in some historical context. There is much to learn from observing and understanding such things, much that can be usefully applied to my own work.

Teaching tends to be a rather time-consuming activity. Since retiring, I have been able to devote much more of my time to writing, and being taken on by the brilliant Jane Murray of Provoco Publishing has meant that I am finally able to bring my work to the reading public’s attention. I like to think that my ideas are original and that they do not readily fall into existing tropes and categories.

I am not a particularly physical being. I was always terrible at sport and have rather poor physical coordination (as though my body were organised by a committee rather than a single guiding intelligence!). I tend to treat my body as a conveyance for my head, which is where I really dwell. My writing typically derives from dreams. There is a sweet spot between sleeping and waking which is where my ideas originate. I always develop my stories there. When I am writing it feels as though the content of my dreams becomes real through the agency of my fingers on the keyboard. I love the English language, the rich majesty of its vocabulary and its rhythmic possibilities. My arrival at this stage could hardly be describes as precocious. However, at the age of sixty-two, I feel that I have arrived at a place where I can create work of value that others may appreciate and enjoy.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Just a Girl in the Whirl by Annie Wood

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Annie Wood will be awarding a $40 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

It kind of just happened naturally. I wrote two other books, rom coms, Dandy Day and A Quantum Love Adventure and it turned out that a lot of my readers were teens and young adults. I’m also a screenwriter and playwright who often writes coming-of-age stories, which is exactly what young adult and new adult is in the book world. It just feels natural to me. I started writing book versions of my screenplays.

And even though, I am officially very much a full fledge adult, the way I think now, about myself and the world, hasn’t changed much from when I was a kid and a teenager.

I recently read in the book “The Power of Neurodiversity,” about the concept of neoteny, which is Latin for “holding youth.” It’s when you retain childlike quality into your later life. I have that. I definitely have that. So did my mom. Hey, maybe it runs in the family. I know that “childlike” can be taken in a negative way but I see it as a positive way of holding on to the newness, always asking questions, staying open and appreciating the wonder around you.

Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens his/her locker – what will we see inside?

Lauren has stacks and stacks of journals full of her poetry and loose leaf papers that she scribbled her ideas on. She has a purple pencil case full of her favorite pens and pencils, each one carefully chosen for their smoothness and darkness. There’s three books of poetry by e.e. cummings and a copy of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and on the inside door is an enamel sticker of a vintage typewriter with the words, Just Write It Out! There’s a Dora the Explorer key chain that her baby sister gave her for good luck and a photo of the whole family having a picnic in their backyard back when they were all together and happy.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Little Prince and Where the Sidewalk Ends. I love stories about a young person learning life’s lessons. But I like them told in a light hearted and interesting ways. And as far as Where the Sidewalk Ends - that’s told by funny poems and drawings by Shel Silverstein.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

An actor. Always. The story goes, when I was three years old I put my hands on the TV and announced, “I’m going to be on the TV!” Or maybe i said “in” the TV. I can’t remember. But I’ve just always known that being part of storytelling is where it was at for me. A writer is something I’ve always been. My dad is a playwright. I wrote my first short story when I was around 7 years old. It was about a Leprechaun and a pot of gold. And I still can’t spell leprechaun. Spell check can though. I’m still an actor as well as a writer and a visual artist. I just want to tell stories in all the ways that I can.

What reality show would you love to be on? Why?

I was the host of a dating show in the 90s (BZZZ!) so I think I’d like to host another dating show. I love love.

Favorite TV show from your childhood?

Soooooo many! I love TV! Okay, here’s what pops into mind, Mork & Mindy, Laverne & Shirley, Fantasy Island, Schoolhouse Rock and Free to be You and Me. I realize most of your readers haven’t heard of these, that’s okay. They live on! I recommend if you’re going to YouTube any of them that it’s Free to be You and Me. I was a tiny toddler when it first aired but then watched when it reran. I feel like it helped shape who I am.

What four literary characters would you most like to have over for dinner?

Willy Wonka, Mary Poppins, Glinda the Good Witch and Winnie-the-Pooh

Love and Good Vibes,
Annie Wood

A 17 year old girl is overwhelmed with responsibilities trying to keep her messy family together. Everything spins out of control when her addict actor dad who bailed on the family three years ago leaving her with her lovable but bi-polar mom and her two little sisters, comes back into town and wants to reconnect.

Writing poems is her only escape. Just a girl in the is about family, forgiveness, and having enough courage to live your own life, your own way.

Read an Excerpt

“I never know what to say to her.” Matty complains.

“You don’t need to say anything. Just your presence is enough.”

I put Sara’s old baby monitor in Mom’s room so I can hear Matty enter. I imagine Mom is watching TV with it turned off again.

“This is my favorite part.” Mom says.

Matty doesn’t say anything. She’s probably just staring at her. Matty often just stares at her.

“Tell me something I don’t know,” Mom says.

After a moment, Matty says, “Did you know that Americans watch two hundred and fifty billion hours of television a year?”

I can hear Mom applauding and then saying softly, “I love you so much, Matty.”

Matty says nothing in response. I could almost hear her heart break into a million little pieces, then I heard footsteps, and then the door closing. Matty comes zooming down the stairs. She pauses and looks out the front window. “Grandma Gayle is here.”

Grandma Gayle is Dad’s mom and when she knocks on the door, it means one thing and one thing only: it’s payday.

I open the door. She stands there, studying me. I know I look like a mess with my wild, unbrushed hair and olive oil stained t-shirt. I’m the polar opposite of this woman who stands before me. Gayle is tall, super thin, and doesn’t look like anybody’s grandma. Not at all. She speaks abruptly, using as few words as possible so she can get to the point quickly. I’m pretty sure she uses less words than the most mortals.

About the Author:
Annie Wood is an Israeli-American, Hollywood native, and a lifelong actress and writer. The web series she created, wrote and stars in, Karma’s a Bitch, was Best of the Web on Virgin America.

Wood was part of the NBC DIVERSITY SHOWCASE with her comedic scene, That’s How They Get You. She’s written 100s of scenes for actors that have been used by Emmy Award-winning TV director, Mary Lou Belli in her UCLA course and casting director, Jeremey Gordon in workshops all around town.

As an author, she has three books out: Dandy Day, Just a Theory: a quantum love adventure and her first YA novel, Just a Girl in the Whirl (Speaking Volumes Publishing)

Annie’s also an Internationally exhibited mixed-media artist, a produced playwright, and was the third female solo dating game show host in the history of television with the nationally syndicated show, BZZZ! that she also co-produced. (Which just re-ran in 2020 on BUZZRTV!)

Annie writes and creates art daily.

She also runs the Twitter account for the Women of the Writers Guild West Follow us here —> @WoWGAW
She is part of the Middle Eastern Committee at WGA and a Dramatist Guild Member and an Authors Guild Member

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Monday, November 22, 2021

Spell Sweeper by Lee Edward Födi

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lee Edward Födi will be awarding a Spell Sweeper prize pack: Hand-made miniature broom, hand-made magical creature egg, spell bottle, and bookmarks to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

There's nothing magical about wizard school
. . . at least, not for Cara Moone.

Most wizard kids spend their days practicing spells and wielding wands, but Cara? She’s on the fast track to becoming a MOP (a.k.a. Magical Occurrence Purger). You see, when a real wizard casts a spell, it leaves behind a residue called spell dust—which, if not disposed of properly, can cause absolute chaos in the nonmagical world. It’s a MOP’s job to clean up the mess.

And no one makes more of a mess than Harlee Wu. Believed to be the Chosen One, destined to save the magical world, Harlee makes magic look easy. Which makes her Cara’s sworn nemesis. Or she would be, if she even knew Cara existed.

Then one of Harlee’s spells leaves something downright dangerous behind it: a rift in the fabric of magic itself. And when more rifts start to appear around the school, all in places Harlee has recently used magic, Cara is pretty sure the so-called “Chosen One” isn’t going to save the world. She’s going to destroy it.

It will take more than magic to clean up a mess this big. Fortunately, messes are kind of Cara’s thing.

Read an Excerpt

How magic works
(and why we have to clean it up)

* * *

In books and movies, wizards stroll around, flicking their wands, turning people into toads or zapping recalcitrant dragons into submission. In reality, it’s not that simple.

Magic is messy.

It’s like when you squeeze toothpaste onto your toothbrush—there’s always a bit that ends up on your brush handle, the counter, or dripping down your chin. Magic works the same way.

The first thing you learn in wizard school is that there is a Field of Magical Matter. When wizards want to perform a spell (or, if you want to get all official about it, a Magical Occurrence), they have to access the Field. Basically, they have to squeeze a giant magical toothpaste tube. And, like I said, it’s messy, always leaving something behind. We usually refer to it as spell dust, but it’s essentially leftover enchanted residue. How much depends on the Magical Occurrence. A wizard utters a simple spell? You just circle your broom around her feet and go for lunch. Someone magically relocates, let’s say for the sake of argument, a giant statue of the school’s founder? You better strap on your full spell sweeper kit because it’s going to be a loooong day.

But you do need to strap on the kit, because spell dust is definitely not the sort of thing you want to leave sitting around for very long. It causes ALL sorts of problems.

About the Author:
Lee Edward Födi is an author, illustrator, and specialized arts educator—or, as he likes to think of himself, a daydreaming expert. He is the author of several books for children, including The Secret of Zoone and the Kendra Kandlestar series. He is a co-founder of the Creative Writing for Children Society (CWC), a not-for-profit program that helps kids write their own books. He has the joy of leading workshops for kids in Canada, the US, Korea, China, Thailand, and other places here and there. Lee lives in Vancouver, where he shares a creative life with his wife Marcie and son Hiro.


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Ethan's STEM Adventures by Louis J. Desforges

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Louis J. Desforges will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

Telling stories is an excellent way to inspire children. Stories provide children with a view into new and exciting world of characters, places, cultures, and traditions.

Storytelling enhances creativity, inspires curiosity, and broadens a child’s immigration – making them more open to new ideas and concepts while teaching them about life, themselves, and others.

Sadly, children along all dimensions of diversity rarely see themselves represented in the characters of the books that they read.

My purpose is to be intentional about creating more diverse, equitable and inclusive stories that will inspire and cement deep within a child’s framework the confidence to achieve their dreams, regardless of their prevailing circumstances. “I see me, therefore I can be”

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

I was really captivated by the Hardy Boys and later by Nancy Drew and their adventures. I’ve always been a very curious person; as a young person growing up, I was intrigued by the enigmatic, the mythical – so for most of my young adult life, I lived a life of adventure vicariously through the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

Great question –This is something I still think about as an adult – I would love the ability to teleport; having the ability to teleport to amazing vacation spots at a whim – who wouldn’t want to skip the lines at the airport, spending hours traveling or commuting. I can have my morning café in Paris, leisurely lunch in Italy, and after work, have a drink at any local pub anywhere around the world and still be home in time for dinner!

Favorite TV show from your childhood?

That’s a really tough question – and it depends on the time frame – and whether the show was an animated series or not. I would say that my favorite of all time category is 21 Jump street with Johnny Depp; runner up would be the A-Team. For animated series, hands down it would be all time classic - Thunder Cats. I was literally heartbroken for years when it ended…literally…till tis day I can recall the deep sadness when I tuned in at the regular scheduled time and nothing – no warning, just gone.

What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

Without a doubt, I would write to my teen self to celebrate his difference – I would tell him that all the things that made him different would later become his superpower in adulthood.

Like the infinite-shade of colors, the richness of life is enhanced by our natural inclination, as creative beings, to hold distinct perspectives on just about any subject. Collectively, however, I believe we all appreciate the profound significance of all the things that influenced and molded us from an early age—the moments and events that are weaved intricately into our memories.

Who amongst us cannot recall a story, no matter what artistic form used to bring it to life: a book, a show, a play, a comic, a song, a movie, or even a real-life character (that family member, teacher, coach, or friend) who shaped the lens with which we view the world then, now, and always.

For this very reason, I believe children should see themselves represented in all areas of human endeavors, cementing deep within their framework the possibilities that await, regardless of prevailing circumstances.

My hope is to bridge the diversity gap in STEM by creating excitement around Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math through diverse representation.

"I see me, therefore I can be."

So it remains, like the infinite shades of color, the richness of life is enhanced by the stories and experiences that holds us. -Louis J. Desforges

Read an Excerpt

As far as the eye can see
I wonder what adventures wait for me!
Summer, spring, winter, and fall
I can’t help wonder about it all
Science is the way we see
What was, what is, and what can be
Earth Science, Life Science, Social Science…Whew!
Physical Science and formal Science too!
All the ways to tell the story of me and you
And everything in between
That can or can’t be seen
I can be a
Biologist…Meteorologist…Or Zoologist
I can be an Astronomer, Geographer, or Oceanographer…
Whichever I prefer!

About the AuthorHaving endless curiosity, Louis has always been enthralled by the inner workings of everything around him.

With a natural and insatiable drive to build, explore, and understand, one of his fondest childhood memories is harvesting toasters, microwaves, TVs, and other discarded electronics in his Brooklyn neighborhood so he could take apart and rebuild them, or scavenge parts to build his own remote-controlled cars or planes.

He is the first to admit that nothing ever worked as intended, or at all, for that matter, but that never really mattered to him. As long as he was dissecting, constructing, exploring and learning, his cup was always full.

Today, his tinkering looks very different. Louis spends countless hours building and rebuilding Lego sets with his four-year-old son.

With any free time left after work and family life (usually late at night), you can find Louis in his workshop (any available free space with a flat surface) writing, painting, sculpting or toiling over his photography; nonetheless, his deep love for STEM remains, and at its core feeds his endless curiosity and desire to understand the inner workings of everything.



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Monday, November 15, 2021

Summer Storms by Thomas Grant Bruso

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Thomas Grant Bruso will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Sixteen-year-old Earl Layman is going stir-crazy. Secluded with the flu inside the four walls of his home and only the escape of his video games to help him through, Earl is struggling to keep his sanity.

That is until he notices the boy next door, seventeen-year-old Rex Chambers, raking leaves in the adjacent yard.

Earl’s summer is about to change. Before another torrential rainstorm hits the small upstate New York town of Betham County, they meet during an awkward cell phone exchange. As they start to connect through occasional texts, Earl and Rex enter the throes of adolescent lust.

In the early stages of forging a lasting connection, their family situations threaten to destroy all they are working for.

Read an Excerpt

Now, on this morning in early May, Earl’s thoughts returned to his past. He stared at the photos wedged beneath the glossy plastic sheets of film in the photo album.

He took a breath as he turned through pages of smiling faces—his family members in various pictures. He smiled back, deep in thought, tears falling and blotting the top of the album.

A rattling of glass bottles jarred his concentration, pulling him out of his momentary trance. He set the photo album on his bed and went to the window, gazing out into another sweltering day. Though gray clouds buckled beneath a darkening May sky that promised another rainstorm, the air was thick like clam chowder.

He was at home, sick from school for the third day this week, if his fever didn’t break. Earl had been bedridden with nowhere to go. He checked his cell phone for messages—from anybody. He missed human contact from his class friends, especially his best friend, Andy Gelman.

Traffic hummed along on the main artery of Betham County, a street over, and Earl caught a glimpse of a woman walking her dog. A young bicyclist pedaled to class. And the boy next door, Rex Chambers, on whom Earl had a small crush, bagged recycling for weekly pickup. Rex looked up at him, waved, and smiled. “Mornin’.” He placed the recycling bin by the side of the street and ambled to the fence separating the yards.

Earl’s face flushed; his skin tingled. Maybe it was the flu, or he was just feeling embarrassed. Shy. Staring at the cute guy who rode his mother’s motorcycle to school every morning this year made Earl light-headed.

“Cat got your tongue?” Rex yelled up from the neighboring yard, pulling the motorcycle away from where it was leaning against the fence and reaching for the helmet hanging on the handlebars. “You need a ride to school?”


Rex tossed the black Darth Vader–like helmet back and forth in his hands like a basketball. His dark hair was slicked with a generous amount of gel, and his angelic eyes and chiseled face set the cogwheels in Earl’s rusty thoughts in motion. “I haven’t seen you around this week. Where’ve you been?” Rex asked.

Earl grinned back at the tall, handsome boy. Was Rex keeping track of how many days I’ve been out of school? “I’m sick.”

“Another day, then?”

Earl nodded, lifted a hand to wave. “See you around.”

“If you need anything, let me know.”

Earl bit down on his bottom lip. He couldn’t believe the boy next door had talked to him; he did not know Rex well. They didn’t talk every day, and when they passed each other in the hallway at Betham County High, Earl was too nervous to speak to him or engage him in conversation. He’d smile at the gorgeous guy, but it was a brief moment in his long day. A fleeting exchange of waves or grins, and both young men went their separate ways. The only class Earl and Rex shared was study hall. But by ninth period, Rex usually ditched the boring forty-five-minute class to take off on his motorcycle and ride around town.

“Feel better!” Rex yelled up to him. He put the helmet on, swung his leg over the cycle and started the engine. “I’m off! Another boring day at Betham County High.”

About the Author: Thomas Grant Bruso knew at an early age he wanted to be a writer. He has been a voracious reader of genre fiction since he was a kid.

His literary inspirations are Jim Grimsley, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Karin Fossum, Joyce Carol Oates, and John Connolly.

Bruso loves animals, book-reading, writing fiction, prefers Sudoku to crossword puzzles.

In another life, he was a freelance writer and wrote for magazines and newspapers. In college, he was a winner of the Hermon H. Doh Sonnet Competition. Now, he writes book reviews for his hometown newspaper, The Press-Republican.

He lives in upstate New York.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Iridescent by S.H. Everly

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. S. H. Everly will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

For 17-year-old Katrina Peterson, life is never the same after she finds out she’s moving back to California. Upon arrival, Katrina learns that the town has secrets, and at the heart of them is the mysterious and popular Jared, who’s been dreaming about her long before she came to Santa Cruz. Only one thing seems to have all the answers: a map given to her by her mother. But Katrina wonders how long she can keep her own secret from Jared. Will he ever accept her for who she truly is? But, more importantly, can she? A story filled with friendship, family, love, and even faith, Iridescent will take you away to the beaches and ocean waters of Central California, and on a magical journey in this coming of age book.

Read an Excerpt

On the day of the camping trip, we piled into a school bus and rode to the edge of the forest. Kristen was wearing a black windbreaker, and she wore her long hair down. I was wearing a light blue jacket and a pair of jeans with some hiking boots.

Our English teacher, Mr. Thompson, was the trip super‐ visor. He lectured us about the history of the forest, told us about the different animals we might encounter, and cautioned us about the potential dangers of camping. After promising to be careful, we got off the bus.

I chatted with Kristen as the tour guides arrived. They introduced themselves, and to my surprise, the guides were Jared and his brother, Steve. I recognized Jared’s auburn bronze hair, and up close, I could see his sharp jaw and blue eyes. Steve was a little taller than Jared with brown hair, a chiseled jaw, and brown eyes.

Jared was wearing Timberland boots with a pair of hiking pants and a light jacket over a dark gray henley. He began 50 reading off a list of yet another set of rules for the hike. As he was talking, our eyes met.

Had he caught me staring again?

My cheeks flushed red, and I could feel them burning, but he gave me a quick smile and turned back to his paper. He said the campsite was about seven miles away—that was a little further than I had expected.

We got in a single-file line and followed Jared into the forest. I held onto my backpack a little nervously as we walked along the tree-lined trails, and I looked up at the large trees. They were massive, and they only seemed to grow in size as we went deeper into the forest.

The woods were teeming with life. I watched as a few birds flew overhead. The birds flew through a few sunrays that were filtering through the leaves, and I could see a quick flash of blue feathers as they went through the light. Soft, velvet-looking moss climbed up the sides of trees, weaving their way upward, and green leaves fanned out, glowing slightly from the sun that wanted to peak through.

About the Author:

Sarah is the author of Iridescent. She is a lover of the ocean and the beach which have inspired her writing, and she is also inspired by her Christian faith. In her free time, she loves baking gluten-free recipes and painting. Something on Sarah's bucket list is to write a full first draft on a typewriter. She is excited to continue writing the sequel to Iridescent, Book 1 of the Iridescent Series.


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Monday, October 4, 2021

Trygg the Dinosaur by Paula Louise Salvador

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Paula Louise Salvador will be awarding $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Welcome to Books in the Hall! Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

I love stories for that great age group of kids who are around 8 to 12 years old. The books have to be good, because kids will just walk away if they’re not. And when children’s fiction is great, the shine in the eyes of young readers is proof of their absolute rapture with the storyline. At home, when our children were young, we always read to them. In fact, I was reading “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” by C.S.Lewis to our daughter when I went into labour for her soon-to-arrive brother. I never did finish the book with her, and she takes great pleasure in reminding me that she’s still waiting to find out what happens at the end. She’s a mother herself now, so I’ve since read lots of books to her daughter. In fact, corrections and suggestions from our granddaughter regarding early versions of my Trygg manuscript were valuable and appreciated. (There’s no critic more direct and blunt than a grandchild, and I appreciate her contributions every day.)

Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens his/her locker – what will we see inside?

Okay, let’s pretend that Trygg the little Troödon meat-eating dinosaur went to “school”. He had to learn how to hunt, but nobody was around to teach him. So I think that his “locker” was a lakeshore, full of clams and frogs for snacking. His locker neighbour was a small mammal, an Alphadon that sort of looked like today’s opossums. He might have tried once to “stuff her in his locker”, as a joke, or as a way to keep her there until he could come back to eat her. Except it didn’t work. When the “school halls” were empty, he grabbed the Alphadon and brought her up to his mouth. But she played dead, with her “mouth rigid in a stiff grin.”

“Hey!” the little Troödon growled. “You laughin’ at me, fur ball?”

That was embarrassing enough, but then he felt whiskers wiggling right in his face. That was it for the young Troödon. He released the Alphadon. Then he closed his “locker” and went to search for “any snails he could gulp down without having to think about it.” (Sort of like going for an ice cream.)

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

I love baking rhubarb crisp. You take something sour and tough that the neighbors are giving away because they have grown too much in their gardens. Then you add lots of brown sugar and lemon juice and an oat-flake topping (with more sugar and some butter.) Bake it in the oven (don’t rush) and voilà, from sour-to-sweet and irresistible. Sort of like writing a kids’ fiction novel.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

NO FIXED ADDRESS by Susin Nielsen

This is an enthralling middle-grade novel that tackles a difficult subject when “twelve-and-three-quarter-year-old” Felix and his mother are one step away from being homeless. But then they end up living in van in a park in Vancouver, B.C. To his friends at school, Felix pretends that all is fine until it becomes hard to get cleaned up, and harder to find enough food. I know Vancouver, and I know the park, and I have seen the homeless people there. I can’t wait to see how Susin Nielsen ends her story.

Which of your characters would you most like to meet IRL? Why?

I actually have already met all of my characters. Well, to be honest, I’ve met their skeletons, but for dinosaurs that’s saying a lot! Horatio the Hypacrosaur is a four-footed plant-eater. And he’s big (29 feet or 9 metres long). If I ever got into trouble, I’d like Horatio to come to my rescue. As long as he didn’t step on me.

If you’d like to see that I’m not making all this up, check out our website where we’ve posted photos of the actual skeletons of the real dinosaurs that we filmed during the production of our science documentary, DINOSAUR BABIES: THE NORTH AMERICAN STORY. The video is available for download here:

Two young dinosaurs from opposite sides of the floodplain bump into each other by chance. He’s a small meat-eater, and she’s a big plant-eater. They’ve got no parents, no food, no friends. They’re supposed to be enemies, but they decide to stick together instead. It’s not easy. When she gets caught with him, she ends up banished from her herd. He faces a huge rival who could stomp him out with one back foot. They have to outsmart a gang of bullies with sharp teeth and long, curved claws. And they struggle to survive the natural disasters of drought, mudslides and a bubbling tar pit. Worst of all, when they lose contact with each other, they fear betrayal. What if their friendship has been broken?

Read an Excerpt

On the other side of the lake, the surrounding cliff quivered. A chunk of dark grey earth slid off the slope and gushed through the water. Barely ahead of the mud, another Troödon was running, kicking water into the air. He jumped onto the sand just before the sludge buried the shore behind him. The animal lurched forward then pulled up short. He was huge, bigger than the whole nest.

The little Troödon stretched both arms out. “Take me with you!”

The big Troödon leaned over, but instead of lifting him up, he placed a long clawed finger on his small head and pushed him roughly down, right on top of the closest egg.

“Hey!” the little dinosaur sputtered from the mess of smashed shell and sticky yolk. “That’s no way to help a friend.”

The big Troödon fixed his fierce yellow eyes on him, quickly sizing him up. “I got no time for friends,” he yelled as he sprinted off the island. His deep voice carried back over the water. “You’re on your own, runt.”

The little Troödon knew that he had to save himself. A mass of clay, stones and broken sticks was rising fast around him. He planted one foot in the base of his nest, then he hooked the strongest toe claw of his other foot into the rim. He pushed off and jumped out just before the mud surged over the edge and buried all the other eggs.

“Run!” he cried. “But where?”

About the Author:
Paula Louise Salvador has had great adventures as a documentary film maker and writer. The scariest was when she stood under the ribs of a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton – in the dark! The most fun was filming dinosaur dig-sites from a helicopter. On the dangerous side, she had to dodge alligators in Mississippi – and keep all fingers and toes out of the water.

Paula has met fascinating people, particularly jazz legend Oscar Peterson and composer Philip Glass, who performed in her show on electronic music.

In “BUILD GREEN” for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s “THE NATURE OF THINGS”, Paula and Dr. David Suzuki visited rock star Randy Bachman’s super sustainable house. (He played his guitar for us.)

Finally, it was a tiny dinosaur that captured Paula’s heart. For her documentary “DINOSAUR BABIES The North American Story”, Paula held the fossilized egg of a little Troödon. He was curled up inside, just about to hatch. (His leg bones looked like a chicken’s.) That’s where Paula’s story of Trygg begins.

Paula has a Masters in French Literature from l’Université de Provence, France and a Bachelor of Arts (including Children’s Literature) from McGill University, Canada.



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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Let's Talk: Going to the Zoo by Lisa Jacovsky

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lisa Jacovsky will be awarding a signed copy of the book and the first book in the series and a coloring book of the illustrations (US only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

That is a very good question and one I have asked myself. I found even when I started a second series that I wrote in the point of view of the character and from a child like voice. I think it is how it comes out when I write but I also think I love to connect with children. I find it easier to connect than with adults sometimes. Helping our children see something different means they will grow to be an adult that has the same values. I think doing that is the best way to make a change in this world. For me writing is about doing something good. I think that is why I gravitate towards children’s books.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

Always the supernatural books lol Anne Rice and Neil Gaiman were always my favorites to read. Also, any mystery like Nancy Drew was always a favorite. I have always been drawn to reading thrillers and mysteries, very different than what I write lol. Even today those are my favorite genres to read and even tv shows to watch. I just find those supernatural worlds fascinating. A good mystery is so fun to try to solve before I finish the book. It is so hard to not skip to the end lol. I end up devouring a book if it is that good then to see what the answer to the mystery is lol

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

Oh I'm a total chocoholic lol I love anything chocolate but my favorites have to be reeses and snickers peanut butter cup. Sometimes I'll change it up and want a kit kat or Hershey bar but I definitely have my favorites. I love ice cream too, chocolate peanut butter and mint chocolate chip are my two favorites unless I go down the shore. Then you have to get Kohrs ice cream with the swirl, nothing better on a hot day at the boardwalk.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

I always did want to be a writer, never knew what I wanted to write. I also really wanted to be a teacher too. I always loved working with kids and that was the one thing allowed me to do that. I always thought I would do something working with kids but never knew what else was out there besides teaching. Needless to say, I tried it and was not a fan lol I love what I do now in early intervention =)

What book is on your nightstand currently?

That would have to be the second book in the Grishaverse, Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. I watched Shadow and Bone and was completely obsessed lol Im the type of person I cannot wait for the next season takes too long so I buy the book lol l did the same thing with the outlander series, I love that I love reading so I don’t have to wait 😉

What reality show would you love to be on? Why?

Omg this is a huge one lol absolutely real housewives!! And there is one for my home state of NJ=) I absolutely love the shows, I think they are so fun but also full of strong, entrepreneur women who so are so inspiring. These family women, amazing mothers and wives and who had already or made their own business. I look up to so many from different states and would love to be on NJ or any really, just to be surrounded by these powerful women. I also think they just know how to have so much fun and show that no matter your age you can still have a good time=)

Favorite hot beverage. Why?

Definitely hot chocolate. Im a weirdo and do not drink coffee lol everyone asks me, how do you have energy then? Lol I'm not really sure but I do sometimes drink a protein shake so I know that helps in the mornings =) I live in NJ and having a hot chocolate on a cold winter day is one of the best things and honestly one of my favorite things about the cold. It really makes me feel good and tastes amazing.

You’re stranded on a desert island—which character from your book do you want with you? Why?

Honestly, it would have to be the vampire Lestat from Anne Rice’s books. She is one of my favorite authors and her series is one of my all time favorites. I feel like the Brat Prince is such a character that I would never be bored. He has such stories to tell from his past and present. He also has this personality that won him the title of Brat Prince which I think would just make anything fun lol. Also, being a vampire, he is one of the bunch that can fly so we would not be stranded for long😉 though I would not mind stay for like a year just to pick his brain and get to know his personality more lol.

Favorite pizza toppings.

Oh this is a fun one since pizza is my favorite food lol it depends on my mood but typically cheese is my favorite. I love pepperoni too and lately ive been getting pepperoni a lot on my pizzas. Except when I go down the shore. That big slice needs to be cheese because that’s a shore staple lol. Sausage is always good thought and I love Hawaiian for some reason with bacon and pineapple sometimes too lol

You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

Oh this is an easy one lol traveling!! I absolutely love to travel and have a few trips coming up. I recently went to Costa Rica and fell so in love with the country. Seeing the world and being immersed in different cultures is such an incredible thing to be able to do. I feel blessed to be able to travel, have these experiences and meet new people. Learning about history, our culture is something I really enjoy and would do more of if I had the money.

Harper and Emma are two best friends who first met at the pool in the summer. Emma has Autism which affected her speech. Harper became determined to find a way to talk with her new friend and learned about Autism. Neither girl would allow anything stand in their way of becoming best friends.

Now, Harper and Emma are excited to go to the zoo for the first time. This is a new adventure for them which they are going on with their daddies. Once they get there, they are amazed at the different animals they see. Then, while admiring them, a group of children come by and begin to laugh and point at Emma. She had been flapping her hands and making noises in excitement watching these new animals. Harper is confused by this but does not allow the bullying to continue. She educates the bullies about Autism and who Emma is. The bullies eventually walk away however, one little boy stayed behind. He apologized for his actions and wants to be friends. The three new friends finish their day at the zoo exploring and meeting new animals making memories with their daddies.

Abou the Author:
Lisa Jacovsky currently is a Doctoral Level student at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is excited for the possibilities having her Doctoral degree will bring her. She has been in the field of ABA since 2014 where she began her career working with adults in residential group homes. She moved onto working with children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2018 and is currently working in Early Intervention. It is her experience with children that inspired her to finally fulfill her dream of writing a book. Lisa began writing short stories when she was seven years old. Writing is a passion for her and one of the many things she enjoys. Lisa lives in New Jersey where she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working on the next stories of the Rascal Cat brothers silly shenanigans.

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Monday, September 27, 2021

Amanda911 by Mark Schreiber

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


 What did you do on your last birthday?
Took my son and a friend to an Indian restaurant.

What part of the writing process do you dread?
None. I love writing.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
No. I’ve written over 40 books.

Tell us about your latest release.
Amanda911 deals with the challenges and opportunities of the world’s newest profession – influencer!

“Sixteen-year-old Iowa schoolgirl Amanda Dizon may be the nation’s most unremarkable teenager, until she falls down a well and finds herself instantaneously transformed from irrelevant to influencer. Mark Schreiber’s sly, rollicking masterpiece, Amanda911, follows Amanda’s escapades and sends up the craven, fame-obsessed virtual culture of today’s adolescents. As insightful as Dickens and as innovative as Heller, Schreiber is the definitive satirist of the social media generation.”—Jacob M. Appel, author of Einstein’s Beach House




Read an Excerpt

I can’t believe you guys! exclaimed Nicole. You never heard of MakeItRain? It’s crowdfunding for personal tragedy.

But I only fractured one ankle, said Amanda. The doctor said I can probably go home tomorrow.

But nobody knew that when the story broke, did they?

What is this figure? asked Amanda’s mom. $305,050? Is that the goal?

The goal is ten thousand dollars! Nicole shouted above the music.

$305,050 is the amount pledged. So you can easily afford to buy me a Jaguar. I just want a basic one. And you’ll have money left over to buy a car painted rainbow colors for yourself, and probably a house with a life-size stuffed unicorn.

A life-size stuffed unicorn?

This can’t be legitimate, whispered Amanda’s mother.

Amanda’s mom grabbed her daughter’s arm. Can you please give us a minute, Nicole?

She helped her daughter into a wheelchair and wheeled her into the corridor, where it was quiet enough to talk in normal voices, and bright enough to see each other clearly.

She knelt down so that their gaze was level. Are you OK, darling?

Are you kidding? This is the best day of my life!

You suffered a traumatic experience.

The well? I should have fallen down that thing a long time ago!

Listen, this is all nice and fun, and I’m glad all your classmates have finally taken an interest in you, even if they have ulterior motives...

Mom, cut to the chase.

But none of this is real. It’s just entertainment. The RainMan account, the six million friends...

It’s seven million now!

About the Author:

Mark Schreiber was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1960, graduated high school at age fifteen and began writing novels full-time. Princes in Exile, which explores a prodigy’s struggle to accept his own mortality at a summer camp for kids with cancer, was published in 1984 and made into a feature film in 1991. It has been published in ten countries, received two awards in Europe and was shortlisted for the Austria Prize. Carnelian, a fantasy, was published by Facet in Belgium. Starcrossed, a rebuttal to Romeo and Juliet, was published by Flux and translated into French and Turkish. His illustrated science book, How to Build an Elephant, was published as an Apple app by Swag Soft. He has written over forty books and received two State of Ohio Individual Writer Fellowships. For the last seven years he has been a digital nomad, living on four continents. He currently resides in Costa Rica.


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Monday, September 20, 2021

Dread Watch by Jared Agard

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jared Agard will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A secret fear.

An antique pocket watch with a tragic past.

When 8th grader Caleb Meyer stumbles upon the old watch at an abandoned railroad museum, he's sure that if he has it, all his fears will vanish.

But the watch is more than just spindles and gears. A twisted ghost lives within, a Dreadmonger, feeding off the fears of his victims.

And Caleb, seeking to finally be rid of his secret, is walking right into the Dreadmonger's trap.

*** Note: This book has a fun companion Reading/Literature Course especially for those who homeschool.

Read an Excerpt

I was putting the pieces together. “So, you believe that the railroad museum is haunted by the ghosts of the people in the train accident? Do you think they killed that Bradford kid?”

Austin smiled. “I’m not sure what I think. All I know is there’s a dark feeling in there. Especially in that one room. Especially around that chest.”

“Hi Caleb.” I jumped. Lilly had walked up behind me and I hadn’t even noticed.

“Oh, uh… hi.” I could barely string words together. She was talking to me.

“I want to show you something.” She held out her hand. A diamond earring sat in her palm, its facets sparkling in light cast from the cafeteria’s windows.

“What’s wrong with this?” she demanded.

My brain was on lockdown, my pulse pounding in my head. She stood there, only a foot or two away from me, her hand on her hip, waiting for an answer. I’d always hoped she’d talk to me. Now she was and I was totally blowing it. I blurted the only thing my brain would give me.

“Uh, I don’t know. It’s very pretty.”

Her lips cinched together. “It is very pretty. But, there’s only one. There are supposed to be two, Caleb.”

“Oh yeah. Two. That’s right.” What in the world was she talking about? I glanced back at Austin and Hillary for help. Their faces were red, on the verge of exploding with laughter.

Thanks guys.

“Do you know the last time I saw the other one?” Lilly demanded.

I tried to force myself to look at her, but failed and ended up staring at my apple. “Uh, no.”

“It was in my ear when I went into the museum last night, but it wasn’t when I came out.”

Oh. She lost it in the museum. She was blaming me.

“I . . . uh, I’m really sorry about that. I didn’t really want to scare you. I just wanted to scare Blake.”

“You didn’t scare me that much, Caleb. Your little ghost trick was a shock at first, but only someone really gullible would’ve been scared of it for more than two seconds.”

“Blake was scared of it for more than two seconds,” I said. Lilly slipped a quick smile, but then she reverted to being mad at me again.

I glanced over her shoulder and found Blake, glaring at me from across the cafeteria, angrily stuffing his mouth full of cafeteria creamed-corn.

“To be honest, I didn’t even want to go to that museum in the first place. You guys both owe me.” Now she was staring Austin down.

“What about Blake? He was the one who convinced you.” Austin rubbed his chin.

“True. But I don’t want Blake coming with us tonight.”

“What’re you talking about?” Austin asked.

“I need to find my earring. It probably fell off when Caleb scared us, so we’re all going back to the museum tonight so you both can help me find it.”

About the Author:
Jared Agard was writing and illustrating books as far back as he can remember. His mother was a school librarian and knew all the best books to read. Now, he teaches Art and Film at the Beaverton Academy of Science and Engineering in Beaverton, Oregon, which is his dream job, besides being an author. He values creativity and always has a new idea rattling around in his brain. He loves watching cartoons, goofing off with his boys, and chili dogs. He is married to the most gorgeous woman on the planet and has three amazing boys, two tiger oscars, and the most pathetic dog you’ve ever seen.


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