Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Harley James and the Perils of the Pirate's Curse by Leah Cupps


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Leah Cupps will be awarding $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.

Will Harley find the magic pearl before Port Royal is destroyed?

Harley James, explorer and amateur cryptologist, has just arrived in Port Royal, Jamaica—home to the Caribbean’s famous sunken pirate city. Her latest mission? Prevent a mysterious, mythical blue pearl from being discovered and prevent city’s total destruction.

No sweat for an adventurer like Harley, right?

But just when Harley thinks she’s on the right track, everything she believes is turned upside-down. Her friends become enemies; her enemies become friends; and Harley isn’t sure who to trust—including the ghost who’s started following her around.

With time running out, Harley must rely on her codebreaking expertise to discover the truth, solve the riddles, and save the city from certain disaster!
Read an Excerpt

Standing next to Dad was the captain of the ship, Tom. He was really tall—six foot something—and had teeth that lit up against his dark skin when he grinned.

I looked back toward the city of Port Royal, with all its boats and bustle. From where I stood, it was only about two inches tall on the horizon. Definitely far enough away that we weren’t going to crash into a wharf, especially with Captain Tom at the helm. Except for the fact that he was now standing next to me on the deck.

“Wait a minute,” I said, glancing at Tom. “If you’re here, who’s driving this thing?”

It’s bad enough being seasick, but being seasick on an out-of-control ship? That’s even worse, I thought.

“Oh, we’ll be fine for a bit,” Tom said. “This ship, she can almost steer herself.”

I clutched my stomach, not because I didn’t believe him but because another wave hit up against the ship, sending my guts into a nosedive.

Tom laughed. “You worried about your tummy? I have some tricks that may help. Walk with me.”

Dad nodded to me, signaling it was okay to follow. Dad is very overprotective of me, to the point where I get completely annoyed. Granted, I’m only eleven years old, but I am very capable of taking care of myself. In fact, last year, I saved the world from an army of Mayan zombies by stealing back a magical statue from a super bad guy.

About the Author:
Leah Cupps is an author, designer and entrepreneur. She came up with the idea for Harley James with her oldest daughter Savannah. Savannah had taken an interest in Mayan history and so the two of them worked together to come up with the idea for the first Harley James book; the Mystery of the Mayan Kings.

Leah lives in Indiana with her husband and three children. She is also the cofounder of Vision Forty Press, a small family owned publishing company.

Author website:
Facebook: Buy the book for only $0.99.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2022

My Mummy After Our Baby by Namita Mahanama

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Namita Mahanama 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?

I was drawn to write this children’s book because I felt like there were no resources available for this particular life-condition.

When I fell ill with postnatal depression, I wished we had something to explain what was happening at home to my 4-year-old son at the time, in a gentle and soft way. We were so engrossed in our reality and the darkness, that we didn’t have the capacity to do it ourselves.

I vowed upon my recovery that I would make a book to fill this exact void, because I know how much our family would have benefitted from having this tool in our belt.

I did enjoy writing the book…and learned a lot about the process as a self-publisher, so I gained a lot from the experience!

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

I wanted to be a dentist! I always knew I wanted to be a health professional as I have always loved science and maths vs the arts.

As I grew older, I realised that I can’t handle blood so ended up becoming a pharmacist instead!

Ironically though, I must be the master at manifesting…as my husband is a dentist! I get to be involved within our dental businesses and the industry, without the blood…so I feel like I have actually realised my childhood dream without the dirty work!

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

I would definitely write to her these main points (ironically, I am in the process of recording my latest THRIVE with Whole-istic Healing Co. podcast episode, about what 10 things I would tell my younger self!);

+ To have more fun and not take life too seriously!

+ To know just how worthy she is, how she does not need any external validation or approval from anyone or any circumstance…she always has been worthy and always will be!

+ To always make time to do the things that fuel, rejuvenate and allow me to feel rested…no matter how busy I am, as I will be a better mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend if I do carve out time for these things

+ I would tell her to shine her light on the world and to not dim her light for anyone…she deserves to take up space and have her place in the world!

+ I would tell her to live in her divine feminine more…of allowing more joy and flexibility, rather than only living in her divine masculine of ‘doing’.

+ I would really want her to know just how special she is and that she needs to believe it from an inner space of knowing…as it will save her so many years of time and energy!

I would tell all of these things to my boys too…so they know how deserving they are to be here, how worthy and to have the confidence in being exactly who they are right now and not waiting until they have ‘this, that or the other’ but to embody this knowing RIGHT NOW!

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

I always tell my husband that I would love to be a fly on the wall! I could watch how people lived, what they did in their spare time, listen to what they say! I have always found it fascinating knowing what people are like outside of their mask…it does sound creepy though now that I write it down!

What book is on your nightstand currently?

I currently have Dr Shefali Tsabary’s ‘The Conscious Parent’ that she signed and gave to me on her tour here to Sydney!

I have it on my nightstand, because she is my real-life hero and I felt so blessed and honoured to have met with her, to have volunteered and helped with her event here in Sydney and to have her autograph and picture!

I love her content and all of her books, as I always grow and learn from her teachings. Her ‘portal of pain’ theory or concept was what allowed me to hold on when I was fighting for my life with my postnatal depression…so her wisdom truly saved my life, and I will be forever indebted and grateful for her power of speech and knowledge.

Favorite hot beverage. Why?

Coffee…coffee and coffee! I have a caffeine addiction, so without it I am a headache riddled and tired mess!

I love instant coffee (Nescafe here in Australia), with a splash of milk…as it is lighter and easier to digest for me than barista made coffee (I am weird I know!)

Ideal summer vacation.

At a beautiful beach resort in Bali or Fiji or Hamilton Island…cocktails by the pool or beach…kids playing on the sand or in the pool…warm air on my body, whilst I sip my drink and read a book or journal!

Absolute BLISS!

Counting down to do this again…as we would go to Bali from Perth every 3 months pre-Covid, and have not done it in 2.5 years now…so itching to go to a resort ASAP!

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

I would absolutely love to be stranded on a desert island with my hubby Chandi or eldest son Ari! I know that I would have so much fun with both of them, and that they would be brave and look after me if we saw any strange animals or had to embrace a challenge there.

They would just chill with me, talk, have quiet time together…and it would be absolute bliss!

I wouldn’t take my youngest Kaiyaan, who now at 3.5, is a terror of a toddler and I would be pulling my hair out…if he wasn’t doing that to me already! Maybe in a year or two, we could all go there together and it would be just divine!

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

I would spend it on staying at a luxury resort, having a multitude of massages and facials…I would spend it on a personal trainer there, any courses with coaches there at this retreat too…completely self-indulgent!

From a philanthropic point of view, I would spend some at the retreat, and then help to build a women’s health centre there with access to nurses and health facilities for pregnant and post-birth mothers to access all of the resources they needed in that township.

My desire to help women’s health during this perinatal period extends to all aspects and areas of the globe…and I truly want this to be my life’s mission to allow access to resources that ALL women need for their health and life…but also for their children and their family.

Mothers are the backbone of our next generation, and we need to support and hold them now…especially now that we have moved away from our ‘tribal’ living.

Playlist for your current book.

I currently am writing an Ayurvedic Ecookbook for pregnancy and post-birth for mothers and their families. As an Ayurvedic Yoga Teacher and soon to be Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant, this book is close to my heart as a way of being able to give back knowledge and information to help women best nourish and rejuvenate themselves during this journey from maiden to matrescence.

I am so excited to be bringing it into the world, together with MY Mum who helped me along my journey to recovery…as well as the Ayurvedic principles running through her veins with her Indian heritage. It is a real blessing to be bringing it all together with her, so this is a project that is close to my home and heart.

My Mummy After Our Baby: A Journey Of Hope and Healing is a beautifully written and illustrated story, about the reality of post-natal depression setting in after the birth of their perfect little baby. It is a gentle, soft, perfectly put together story, filled with an abundance of emotion and heart to explain what is happening at home, for all children who may be feeling lost and confused about what is happening to their Mummy after becoming unwell.

It is written by a mother who experienced this twice herself and vowed to create a beautiful explanation and tool, in order to provide hope, solace and strength for other families, that she wished was available for her children.

This beautiful book is written in the hope of educating, as well as to be a connective and bonding tool, at a time when a family needs it the most. It is gently and eloquently written, with the most amazing illustrations, that will form the basis of a vital healing tool in the home of everyone who is going through this harrowing chapter.

The author has brought the prospect of hope in a perfect package here and is her gift to you and your family, to navigate through this chapter with as much peace and lightness as possible.

Read an Excerpt

The next day when Aydan went to school, his Mummy went into the hospital and after six hours of having a really sore tummy ache, she welcomed their beautiful little boy Kameron into the world!

The sun shone brightly that day, the birds chirped happily and his Mummy and Daddy were crying with how grateful, happy and blessed they felt! Aydan had never seen his Mummy glow so brightly and he loved his brother instantly for giving that to her.

Aydan had to be brave for a few days whilst his Mummy stayed in the hospital with Kameron to rest her body…but was so excited to welcome them back home.

When his Mummy did come home, she was so happy to see Aydan that she cried and glowed all at the same time! Rupert was so excited too that he couldn’t stop wagging his tail and cuddling his Mummy. It was perfection!

The next morning, Aydan noticed his Mummy looked a bit tired and she wasn’t shining as brightly as he remembered. He cuddled her and told her just how much he loved and missed her.

As the Autumn leaves started to fall down heavily over the next few days, Aydan looked at his Mummy and noticed that today her light had almost completely gone. Her smile, her glowing eyes, the light in her heart had almost completely disappeared and he felt so sad not knowing where they had all gone.

About the Author:
Namita is a mother of two boys and draws upon her heart-wrenching first-hand experience of post-natal depression, after the birth of both of her children. She is creating a myriad of support tools for women and their families, to navigate through their journeys of PND with as much ease and grace as possible.

Namita is a registered pharmacist who has qualifications in Ayurveda and Ayurveda Yoga teaching, as well as being a PMC (paediatric massage consultant) and CIMI (certified infant massage instructor). She draws upon her professional knowledge as well as her own experience, to be the support lifeline at a time when families need it the most.

Her intention is that she can be a beacon of hope and shine much-needed light, on the road towards the mothers and the entire family's healing and recovery. She hopes to inspire and uplift you through this chapter in your life.

Connect with Namita Mahanama


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Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The Secret Benefits of Invisibility by C.W. Allen

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. C. W. Allen will be awarding $10 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?

First and foremost, I write middle grade books because that's what I like to read! I so vividly remember what it felt like to be that age. Being a tween is equally frustrating (too young for teen privileges, but old enough that adults have more expectations of you) and magical (capable enough to do things independently, but still young enough to have a sense of wonder, creativity, and idealism). I think this creates a lot of interesting opportunities for characters to have independent adventures while still seeing the world differently than adults do. It also presents some unique challenges. An adult character is in charge of their own money, schedule, and transportation. They don't need permission to do things. Even if their decisions might have negative consequences, doing what they want is still a matter of simply choosing to. Kids have a lot more restrictions, which creates more interesting plot hurdles for the characters to get over. I'm also not terribly interested in reading or writing romance, which tends to be a big focus in young adult writing, so middle grade is the perfect sweet spot for me.


I have a mantra I try to apply to all my writing: I want to create stories where kids succeed because they're kids, not in spite of it. I want my characters to show off the superpowers kids have, the skills adults forget about, rather than pulling off their successes "okay for a kid, I guess". This is a major focus in The Secret Benefits of Invisibility, where the kids find out that being ignored and underestimated makes them ideal candidates for spy duty!


What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

I mostly read mysteries. For some reason I had a lot of trouble finding mysteries meant for kids that were not too simple or too spooky for my tastes, so I ended up with Agatha Christie novels! There is a middle grade renaissance going on right now, and I'm so glad today's kids have more relevant reading options.


My favorite middle grade authors from my childhood were Ellen Raskin (The Westing Game), E.L. Konigsburg (The View From Saturday), and Barbara Robinson (the Herdmans series). I love how all three captured a perspective and writing voice that felt so true to being a kid. Reading these stories made me feel respected, understood, and seen. All their characters carried on without needing adults to save the day or walk them through tough decisions.


What book is on your nightstand currently?

I'm slowly working my way through Kate Milford's The Raconteur's Commonplace Book. I'm a huge fan of her Greenglass House series, and the next book I'm working on writing has a story-within-a-story device, so I'm hoping a book all about storytelling will give me some inspiration. There's also usually at least one volume of R.A Spratt's Nanny Piggins series sitting out because they're my kids' favorites for read-alouds. Nanny Piggins is perfect for this because each chapter is a self-contained short story, so you can read them in any order. Plus, they're hilarious. I love reading out loud with my kids. I even do some character voices!


Favorite TV show from your childhood?

I have really vivid memories of watching Duck Tales as a kid. Besides the mysterious clues and wacky adventures, it probably had the best cartoon theme song of all time. When they rebooted the show a few years ago I made my kids watch a couple episodes of the original series with me before I let them move on to the new version! They liked the new one better, but whatever. The old theme song is still better.


Favorite hot beverage.  Why?

YES, food questions! I love talking about food.

I don't drink coffee and I've never found a tea I liked, so when I want a hot beverage I go for cocoa. I like to sprinkle some chai spices in the water before I heat it up, and I usually use less of the cocoa mix than the package calls for so it's not too sweet. No marshmallows. Whipped cream would be for a real dessert cocoa, not for a breakfast or bedtime drink.

Now that I think about it, steeping spices in the water and mixing it a bit weak makes it sort of like a chocolate tea. Is that a thing? I guess it is now!


Favorite pizza toppings.

I'm not a huge fan of tomato sauce, so my favorite pizza would have a roasted red pepper sauce or garlic butter sauce for the base layer. And I'm originally from the Midwest, so I prefer the crust styles they do there: either a thick deep dish or thin cracker-style crust, nothing in between. Lots of cheese. Then green onion, black olives, mild pickled jalapeños, and bacon.

Sadly, no one else in my house likes olives, and they have no problem with tomatoes. So I have never actually eaten this pizza, but it sounds delicious. I really ought to name this concoction… the Italian Cowboy, maybe?


Create an ice cream flavor. What’s it called?

Coconut lime ice cream—it's got to use real lime juice and zest, not like a lime-flavored popsicle—with chocolate peanut butter cup chunks mixed in. I have no idea what to call this, but if someone invents it, I want to eat it! I guess you could replicate your own with regular coconut ice cream, Reese's cups, and a lime… if you'll excuse me, I'm off to the kitchen now! No reason, just got an idea I want to try… 


For Zed and Tuesday, adjusting to life in modern-meets-medieval Falinnheim means normal is relative. Lots of kids deal with moving, starting new schools, and doing chores. But normally, those schools aren't in underground bunkers full of secret agents, and the chore list doesn't involve herding dodos. The one thing that hasn't changed: all the adults treat them like they're invisible.

When a security breach interrupts a school field trip, the siblings find themselves locked out of the Resistance base. With the adults trapped inside, it's up to Tuesday, Zed, and their friends to save the day. And for once, being ignored and underestimated is coming in handy. After all, who would suspect a bunch of kids are capable of taking down the intruders that captured their families, let alone the murderous dictator that put them into hiding in the first place?

Turns out invisibility might just have its benefits.

Read an Excerpt

"You ducklings get a good night's sleep," Obaachan called from her bed. "We've got a big day tomorrow."

This was news to everyone, including the captain. "What's happening tomorrow?" Solomon asked, squinting suspiciously at her. On the hammock tree, heads popped up all over the upper branches.

"Our next operation, of course."

Solomon laughed, but it didn't strike Tuesday as a "what a great joke" kind of laugh. More like a "the thing you just said is so ridiculous I must have misheard you" laugh.

"I appreciate your enthusiasm," he said, "but half my agents are still off checking the other safe houses. I won't be making any new plans until they report back."

Now it was Obaachan's turn to laugh. "Good thing your agents aren't invited, then. I have a few plans of my own. Don't fret yourself, pigeon—the children and I will handle it."

"My Operations team is leading this—" he started, but Obaachan cut him off.

"Don't forget I outrank you," she said sternly.

Solomon and Corvus exchanged a glance. "Does she?" Corvus mouthed silently.

Solomon shook his head.

"Call it seniority, then. Can't argue with me there!"

Solomon folded his arms. "And this plan involves the children how, exactly?"

"Well we can't exactly show up in Anduvia with a bunch of well-trained, competent-looking people, now can we? You'd have Tyrren's informants on your tail the moment you set foot in town. Obviously, this operation calls for a more specialized skill set."

Orion cut in, speaking slowly while his tongue caught up to his thoughts. It was like he was trying to puzzle out the answer to Q minus Purple. "You need the specialized skills…of people with no training whatsoever?"

"Exactly," said Obaachan, rolling over and fluffing her pillow. "You can't teach someone how to be invisible."

About the Author:
C.W. Allen is a Nebraskan by birth, a Texan by experience, a Hoosier by marriage, and a Utahn by geography. She knew she wanted to be a writer the moment she read The Westing Game at age twelve, but took a few detours along the way as a veterinary nurse, an appliance repair secretary, and a homeschool parent.

She recently settled in the high desert of rural Utah with her husband, their three children, and a noisy flock of orphaned ideas. Someday she will create literary homes for all of them. (The ideas, not her family.)

Relatively Normal Secrets (Cinnabar Moth Publishing, Fall 2021) is her debut novel. She writes fantasy novels for tweens, picture books for children, and short stories and poems for former children. Her work will appear in numerous anthologies in 2021. She is also a frequent guest presenter at writing conferences and club meetings, which helps her procrastinate knuckling down to any actual writing.

Amazon Author Page
Barnes and Noble
Cinnabarmoth author page

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Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Harley James and the Mystery of the Mayan Kings by Leah Cupps

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Leah Cupps 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.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your children’s book.

My name is Leah Cupps, I am a designer author and entrepreneur. I have spent the last eight years building eCommerce companies with my husband David. We have now sold all of those companies and it was time for a change. I started writing mystery thriller books for adults in 2019, and had some success, but I was struggling to find my passion. So, when my daughter starting studying Mayan history, I thought, what if we wrote an adventure story together? That’s how Harley James was born.

What inspired you to write this book?

My daughter Savannah was watching a documentary series on the lost cities of the Maya. I had always wanted to write an ‘Indiana Jones’ style book, so I asked her if she would like to write one together. We went back and forth and came up with the name Harley James and then conceptualized the story

. What has been your biggest challenge in terms of writing a children’s book?

The biggest challenge for me has been making sure that I write in ‘kid-language’. What that means for me is making sure that my dialogue and descriptions are a great fit for kids.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking of writing a children’s book?

My advice would be to write your story first, let all you inspired ideas flow into a story. Then, find a great editor who specializes in children’s literature to help you knit it all together.

What message do you think your book gives your readers?

Harley James is always looking to help others and do what is right. She stays true to her mission, but does it in a way where everyone wins.

Will Harley Find the Missing Mayan Statue & Save the World?

Amateur cryptologist Harley James has just landed in the sticky jungle of Tikal, Guatemala—home to the famous Mayan ruins. She’s made a few friends, a few mistakes…and a ground-breaking discovery.

The legendary statue of the long-lost Mayan King.

Just as she is about to impress her father with her discovery, the statue is stolen. Right from her own room!

And what’s worse? The legend says if the statues of the three kings are reunited, they’ll bring back an army from the dead to rule the world.

Follow along with Harley as she tracks down the missing Mayan statue, solves a few riddles and stumbles upon a secret society that will change her life forever!

Read an Excerpt

Around 1600 Years Ago in Tikal, Guatemala

Eloy tucked the statue under his arm, tightening his grip as he stumbled forward into the jungle. He could hear the cries of the battle for Tikal behind him and feel the heat from the buildings burning under the pale moon. The statue was vibrating against his bare skin, the green glow around it beating to its own rhythm.

Three thoughts tumbled through his mind...

It was the final night of the 400-year Baktun cycle.

The Three Kings, Jasaw, Yax K’uk, and Jacinto, were dethroned.

The last of their loyalists were being exiled.

Earlier that night, the elders told him that when the Three Kings were defeated, a powerful magic had captured their souls. The priests then cast a spell and locked those souls inside three jade statues.

Separated, the statues were useless stone relics.

But together?

If the statues were reunited on the Eve of the thirteenth Baktun, the Three Kings would return. And in their revenge, they would bring an army of the dead to rule the world.

Eloy, a clever young boy of just eleven years old, had been charged with hiding one of the magical statues. He shuddered for a moment, thinking of what was hidden inside. The statue glowed in his arms, and he felt his feet move a bit quicker, knowing that the cover of night wouldn’t last for long.

“Run,” his mother had warned him. Her eyes had been bright with fear, her voice quaking as she spoke. She brushed a tuft of black hair from his eyes. “Run, my son, and don’t look back.”

“I will, Mama,” he replied. He willed his knees to stop shaking as he spoke. His mama must not know he was scared.

And now he ran. The elders had told him of an ancient temple hidden in the jungle just a few miles from Tikal. Older than the Temple of the Jaguar. There, he would hide the cursed little statue; hidden forever inside, and perhaps he along with it.

He volunteered to make this sacrifice. For the liberation of Tikal. For the protection of the world from the wickedness of the Three Kings.

Shouts emerged from behind him. He pushed his legs harder. His lungs burned as hot as the city in flames behind him.

The loyalists were gaining on him.

When he saw what was just ahead of him, he smiled. They were too late. The temple was just a few more steps away. And once he was inside, the statue would be hidden forever.

In a place where no one would ever find it.

Unless, of course, they were good at solving riddles.

About the Author:
Leah Cupps is an author, designer and entrepreneur. She came up with the idea for Harley James with her oldest daughter Savannah. Savannah had taken an interest in Mayan history and so the two of them worked together to come up with the idea for the first Harley James book; the Mystery of the Mayan Kings.

Leah lives in Indiana with her husband and three children. She is also the cofounder of Vision Forty Press, a small family-owned publishing company.

Amazon link:
Author website:

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Monday, June 6, 2022

Daddies and Daughters Stick Together by Aissatou Balde and Diariatou Sow

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Aissatou Balde and Diariatou Sow will be awarding a $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.

Diari doesn’t mind when Mommy goes into the city for work, because she and her little sister, Fatima, get to spend the whole day with Daddy.

From when the moon trades places with the sun until the sun trades places with the moon, daddies and daughters do everything together.

A day with Daddy means cooking, learning, dancing, and playing. After all, Daddy knows that with a little imagination, a sense of fun, and a lot of love, every part of a normal day can feel special!
About the Authors:
Aissatou Balde is the creative director and editor in chief of, a lifestyle brand sought after by all those looking for an authentic and positive representation of womanhood, motherhood, and family. Aissatou currently lives in Indiana with her husband, Alhassane, and her two daughters, Diari and Fatima.

It’s no surprise that six-year-old Diariatou Sow would become an author at such an early age. Diari is an avid reader, eager learner, and incredibly creative kid who loves learning new languages. When she is not dancing, drawing, playing with her little sister, or writing with her mom, she is hanging out with her dad, which is her favorite thing to do.

Nandi L. Fernandez is an illustrator, concept artist, and animator. While she grew up in Uganda, Zambia, and Liberia, her love for travel, art, and exploring different African cultures was nurtured. Nandi has worked as a concept artist and has illustrated educational materials and various children’s books. She currently resides in the United Kingdom.


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Thursday, June 2, 2022

Kickstarter Campaign: Tales from Cloud Canyon by Dr. Rachel Kowert

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions to let you know about the Kickstart Program. Dr. Rachel Kowert PhD will be awarding a $75 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC or 1 copy each of the 3 Cloud Canyon books (available in November) 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?

My inspiration really came from frustration out of what was currently available for my children to read. In 2019, when my daughter was 4 years old,I was lucky enough to pick up about a hundred different paperback books at a garage sale of a former teacher and had started reading her a new book every night before bed. After a few weeks of this, I started to notice a theme: there were very few books with female protagonists and when there were, they were pigeonholed into a damsel in distress or only successfully navigated their challenges with the use of superpowers. While there is nothing wrong with a female superhero or a knight in shining armor, I wanted something different.

After a bit of digging, I realized there was a dramatic lack of representation in children’s literature. The Nielson 2018 book scan report found that of the top 100 best-selling children’s books, 1 in 5 did not feature a single female character, only 2 out of the top 100 featured a black, Asian, or minority ethnic character in a central role ( with 70% of the black, Asian, or ethnic characters were in non-speaking roles) and only 1 out of the top 100 featured a disabled child but they did not speak or have a key role.

Fueled with discontent, I called my friend who runs a small micro press and told her she needed to write or commission some books with strong female characters at the heart of them. She told me I should write them. At the time, this made me audibly laugh! However, after sitting with her words and fueled by her encouragement, I decided to open up my notes section in my phone and give it a try. In less than two weeks I had written what ended up becoming the first collection in the Tales from Cloud Canyon Universe: the 26 stories of Pragmatic Princess. In 2019, I successfully kickstarted these stories as the collection Pragmatic Princess: 26 Superb Stories of Self-Sufficiency and raised more than $25,000 in 30 days and earned an INDIES award for educational children’s picture books. So I guess I can write children’s books.

Over the last few years, I have continued to write and expand the Cloud Canyon universe and am excited to announce that I am launching a second Kickstarter June 4 for a BRAND NEW collection of three topical short stories: Here, There, & Everywhere, Invisible Friends, and The Secret to Success. These stories were the ones that I felt were still missing from my children’s library.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

My favorite books as a child were the poetry collections of Shel Silverstein. They were silly and fanciful and some had lessons to teach whereas others were pure frivolity. I still love these collections today.

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

For as long as I could remember I wanted to be a teacher. This was, at least partially, because I had such wonderful and inspirational teachers when I was younger. I too wanted to share my knowledge and experience with others to help others make their dreams come true. In a roundabout way, I think I did reach that goal!

What candy do you give out at Halloween?

The candy that I would want to eat! I mean, at least half the bowl gets eaten by my family before it even goes out on Halloween night!

What book is on your nightstand currently?

I am currently reading through The Witcher series of books. I just started the second book in the novel series, Blood of Elves.

Hunger Games or Twilight? Why?

The Witcher. Not only is this story one of the best fantasy series’ ever written, it provides a truly relatable and flawed protagonist who struggles with mental health and disability.

Ideal summer vacation.

Warm weather and a good book.

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

I really love the character of Yanni in The Secret to Success because despite the fact that he struggles to learn new things, he keeps trying (and encourages others to do so as well).

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

Hermoine Granger (Harry Potter), Arya Stark (A Song of Fire and Ice), Galadriel (Lord of the Rings), Yennefer of Vengerberg (The Witcher)

Who was your teenage crush? Why?

Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation. He was a smart kid, my age, and got to live on a space ship! What is not to love.


Tales from Cloud Canyon is a series of character driven, topical short stories celebrating the everyday child, doing everyday things, with their everyday abilities designed for children aged 3+. Developed by a research psychologist and mom of 3, these stories were developed to be entertaining, educational, and celebrate the power of the everyday within our the beautiful, diverse world.

This Kickstarter collection features three topical short stories from the Cloud Canyon Universe: Here, There, & Everywhere, The Secret to Success, and Invisible Friends. Each of these titles are fully illustrated from artist Randall Hampton and are about 25 pages long.


The fictional characters in childhood stories are some of our earliest teachers. We learn a range of things through the observation of these symbolic models, such as what is right and wrong, a desirable and undesirable behavior, gender roles, norms, stereotypes, and more. The role of models is particularly influential in childhood as it can have a long lasting impact on development.

Each story in this collection was developed to not only be entertaining but educational as well, with the stories' characters modeling a range of age-appropriate skills spanning four areas of human development: intellectual, social, emotional, and moral. The skills that are modeled within any particular story are displayed on the back cover of each book and explained in more detail on the last page of the book.


Tales from Cloud Canyon changes the narrative by reflecting and celebrating the beautiful and diverse reality of our world. The characters within the Cloud Canyon Universe were developed to represent a range of shapes, sizes, abilities and disabilities, and traditional and non-traditional families.

In the Cloud Canyon universe:

-More than half the characters are female
-More than half the characters come from an ethnic-minority background
-1 in 10 characters have a visible disability
-Characters come from traditional and non-traditional families
-Different body shapes are represented
-she/her, he/him, and they/them pronouns are represented

It was also equally important that these details were not the central theme of the stories themselves as our shape, level of ability, and what our family unit looks like are just some of the many parts of who we are and not necessarily the defining feature of our stories.


All of the stories have been written and are currently being brought to life through the illustrative magic of Randall Hampton. The physical production of the books is expected to start in June 2022. Time from production to shipping is about 6 - 8 weeks (+/- 2-4 additional weeks due to COVID delays). Once Rachel receives the books, they will be shipped to backers. There is an expected arrival date of the books no later than November 2022.

Read an Excerpt

The Secret to Success tells the story of Quinn and Yanni. Quinn is a quick study. but learns on a school ski trip that everything may not come as easily. This story highlights the importance of persisting through frustration and failure and the power of friendly encouragement.

For the rest of the day, Quinn kept trying,
And found each attempt more gratifying.
Through determination and her sheer will,
Quinn finally mastered the bunny hill.

Yanni’s feet still weren’t fully complying,
Staying upright, but they kept on trying.
And with each try, they did in fact progress,
And by the end, they started falling less.

Quinn never made it up the big hill with her friends,
But realized that it didn’t matter in the end.
Instead, she focused on doing her best that day,
Letting her preset expectations fade away.

While her classmates all talked about the big ski lift,
Quinn focused on Yanni’s words and her new mind shift:
The true secret to success is power of will,
Which is often much stronger than actual skill.

About the Author:

Dr. Rachel Kowert is a research psychologist, award-winning author and mom of three. In 2019, she launched her first Kickstarter project from the Cloud Canyon universe was a collection of female centered stories entitled Pragmatic Princess: 26 stories of self sufficiency and raised more than $25,000 in 30 days and won an INDIES award for educational children's picture book.



Randall Hampton is an author, illustrator, husband and father of 3. He is the Creator of "The Little Game Master" series of books and considers himself a story teller above all else. When he is not spending time with family and friends, Randall enjoys reading, video games, music, and table top games of all sorts.

Kickstart Campaign:

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Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Bad Boys Don't Date Clumsy Girls by KE Strand

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. KE Strand 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.

When the school’s bad boy infiltrates her shelter, will she lose her sanctuary or her heart?

Hopelessly clumsy Ava, is too focused on graduation and keeping both feet on the ground to have a boyfriend. She has enough to worry about with a less than ideal home life.

Bad boy Dylan can’t help but find Ava’s klutziness entertaining. That doesn’t mean he wants to date her.

When court-ordered community service forces them together at the animal shelter, Ava fears she’s lost her refuge. Dylan’s arrogance gets under her skin. And she finds it unforgivable the dogs prefer him after everything she’s done for them. A spontaneous water fight heats things up and suddenly she anticipates each meeting. But his reputation might be too much for her to overlook.

Will Ava be forced to find a new escape? Or will she stumble her way into his heart?

Bad Boys Don’t Date Clumsy Girls is a light-hearted, clean young adult romantic comedy. The first book in the Oak Grove High series by KE Strand. It will make you cringe, cry, and cackle.

Buy Bad Boys Don’t Date Clumsy Girls for your latest binge read today.

Read an Excerpt

There must be something I can talk to Rex about. He likes baseball, but I don’t know what position he plays or who the local professional team is. That’s out. He’s in my Bio II class, I could ask about the homework. Yeah, that’s lame. We both know I get a better grade in the class than he does.

“Aren’t you eating?” I blurt. “I could get you a refill on my fries if you’re hungry.” I’ll have to thank Bek for the inspiration later.

“No, I ate, thanks.”

I wilt. That’s the extent of my small talk. I should just shut up and listen to Sam too. I reach for my iced tea. At least I can stick a straw in my mouth and pretend that’s the reason I can’t chatter merrily with the hot baseball player. Unfortunately, the cup catches the lip of my plate and slips from my hand. I jerk to recover it, but only manage to nudge it and change its trajectory so that it splats to the table and spills its entire contents down Rex’s shirt and into his lap. He leaps backward out of the chair, tea soaking the front of his pants as well.

The room burst into laughter and applause.

I want to slink under the table. Instead, I grab Sam’s napkin and blot at Rex’s leg.

He grabs the napkin from my hand. “I’ll do that.”

Only then do I realize where I’d been blotting. I turn seven more shades of red. Honestly, I’m probably purple by this point. I’m surprised the heat of my embarrassment doesn’t instantly dry Rex’s clothes.

About the Author:
KE Strand escapes within the pages of a book when real life thwarts her own outdoorsy adventures. But her favorite escape is into a story about young love. KE Strand writes clean teen romance because she loves those heart pounding moments of having a crush. The excitement, fear, and confusion of falling in love for the first time. And the relief and thrill of the first kiss. Each time you pick up a KE Strand book you’ll fall in love for the first time. You can find her on the following social media

Amazon Author Page


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