Ancient Tripod of Peace by Kalen Cap – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kalen Cap will be awarding a $40 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.

Teens Lexi and Gil face relic-thieving secret societies.

Plagued by loneliness in her Lake Erie Islands community, vegan Lexi hopes to make like-minded friends in high school. But her dad’s job is jeopardized when relics are stolen from his museum, changing her priorities. And she finds her new teachers’ eerie dislike of her troubling.

His dad in jail, cipher enthusiast and bacon-loving Gil hopes freshman year will provide a clean slate. Soon, he discovers secret codes within a Shakespearean play while paired with Lexi, pulling him into an ancient mystery.

With the official museum burglary investigation stalled, the mismatched teen sleuths join forces to try and crack the case. Lexi’s inquiries and Gil’s codes capture their teachers’ attention. But these teachers have the stolen Tripod of Peace, a powerful relic sought by rival secret societies. Caught in these societies’ crossfire as thieves wield an instrument of astounding power, Gil and Lexi are in danger.

The Ancient Tripod of Peace is the first book in novelist Kalen Cap’s Teen Thief-Catchers Series. If you like stories with artifact treasures, fighting secret societies, and spirited protagonists, you’ll enjoy this novel.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Brandon flicked on the light switch. The yellow bulb provided a muted view of the dusty, windowless room.

A box with shiny tape near the entrance looked new. It contained three metal pieces, each about thirty inches in length, that he needed. He unboxed the items, each unevenly notched and appended with short metal lengths, and set them by the door. He found the only large piece, a tripod seat, already unboxed in the back of the room. The museum board had pulled the tripod seat from the prior evening’s exhibit opening on the main floor.

Though he’d received a text confirming arrangements as planned, Brandon grew worried two remaining pieces were displayed upstairs after all. He wouldn’t risk triggering the security system in the main exhibition hall to retrieve them if they there. Breaking into the warehouse was already too far beyond his comfort zone.

The room’s dust taking its toll, Brandon sneezed. He frowned, worried a sprayed dripping might get him caught by some high tech analysis like those used in crime television shows. It’d be my luck to be caught by snot.

Or sweat. Tears of perspiration streamed down his cheek. Brandon checked the room again. Curation opportunity? What a joke!

Sue Ballentine, who hired him for the job, had called it a “curation opportunity.” Though Brandon knew selling steroids was illegal, stealing objects from a museum was a more aggressive crime. But he needed the money to finish paying his supplier.

Brandon knew not to cross his steroid supplier in Detroit.

About the Author:

Kalen Cap is a writer living in Ohio and regularly commutes back and forth between Columbus and Port Clinton residences. Set among the Lake Erie Islands, “TheAncient Tripod of Peace” is his second novel, first of the Teen Thief-Catcher series. His first novel, “Tangled Ties to a Manatee,” was published in 2012.

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Buy the book at https://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Tripod-Peace-Thief-Catchers-Novel-ebook/dp/B07B29FTBX

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Nadia’s Heart Part Two by Wendy Altshuler – Spotlight and Giveaway

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


*****

In Nadia’s Heart, Part One, amnesiac Nadia knew that something was wrong, so she went in search of her missing heart. What she encountered has only brought more questions: about her origins and her ties to the people of the Land of Silence. She learned that her heart was indeed removed, and that her memory was erased by an evil Voice. But why? Now Nadia and her glowing-eyed companion, Georgeonus, must help recover the stolen hearts of the children of the Land of Silence. In Part Two, they will do battle against the evil Voice and travel to frightening places. They receive help from a powerful Witch and Wizard, and Nadia gets her heart back—but it’s not at all what she expected. Can they rescue the stolen children’s hearts in time?


*****
From Chapter IV: The Silver Witch:

They remembered that her visit had been preceded by a magick dust.

The dust came from above, the air tingled, and miniscule, silver particles glistened as they fell. It was musical, and as they breathed, they smelled fresh air like new spring, and they felt an excitement of imminent magick. She appeared suddenly, and at first no one knew where she had come from or how; she was just there on the road. She came as naturally as if she had approached them from the road. But as the magick dust settled, they realized—remembered—that the Silver Witch had dropped out of the sky.

As she stood there smiling at them, they remembered that they had looked up at the sky at a circling dot which descended. As it approached, it formed the shape of a square, floating quilt. The Witch was soon revealed to be sitting on top in black garb and hat, her silvery skin thick and rubbery. With both hands placed on diagonal corners of the quilt, she jumped off and shook the fabric out like clean laundry and parachuted down to them, the tennis sneakers on her feet ready for the road. Softly she landed, snapping the quilt upward and folding it once, twice, three times, and again and again until it was a small square deposited into one of her pockets.


*****

Wendy Altshuler is a writer-producer who explores myth in new media. She writes fantasy novels and creates works in stop motion animation. Her credits include award-winning screenwriting and WGA-accredited representation. With a degree in psychology and a Master of Arts from Columbia University, Altshuler documented the work of international choreographers and wrote and produced regional programming. Her short plays have been performed at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, at regional schools and most recently, Puppet Showplace Theatre. Altshuler’s young adult book series has been hailed as “emotionally moving, uplifting and wholesome,” and “spirited and haunting. . .with much symbolism and beauty.”


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Would I Read This Book If I’d Never Heard of Me? by Tonya Duncan Ellis – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Tonya Duncan Ellis 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.

If I’d never heard of me would I read my book?

Most definitely! Bullying is a hot topic, so the subject matter of the book would grab me immediately. This would be a book that I could discuss with my child that might open the door to issues they may be dealing with at school. The book cover and the inside illustrations are super-cute and make it appear even more engaging and exciting.

Finally, I might check out some of the book’s reviews:


Sky-blue

 

5.0 out of 5 stars I love Sophie Washington!

October 30, 2017

Format: Paperback

I love Sophie Washington! Her chapter book has just the right balance of real life and excitement that will appeal to early readers. More important, this story shares a vital message: even if it is unpopular to “snitch,” everyone needs to stand up to bullies and tell the truth. I enjoyed how the author weaves in Sophie’s relationship with her little brother and how she grows through this relationship as well. Sophie is a believable character with foibles just like all of us, and her experiences will delight kids from first to fifth grade.

 

(Four stars) Laurie

I believe that children who are Sophie’s age would understand her reasoning. Being a relatable children’s author requires understanding what children feel, believe, and how they behave. The author here does an excellent job of showing Sophie’s childlike decision-making. The illustrations are adorable and advance the story.

5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Story and Wonderful Preteen Relationships

By John Hope on November 8, 2017

Format: Paperback

Sophie Washington: The Snitch is a fun slice of life of preteen life. The author perfectly jumps into the head of Sophie from the first sentence, taking the reader on the rollercoaster ride of surviving the fifth grade with school and sibling pressures, but most of all a bully to contend. Sophie’s friendships are so real and endearing, they’re remind me of my friends at that age. Her warmest relationship is with her little brother, who has troubles of his own and loves his big sister, praying for her at her darkest moments. The book’s ending is as expected but still very satisfying and provides a great take away for kids reading this. There’s no doubt kids would love this book. I highly recommend it.

The book’s great presentation and positive reviews would show me that others have enjoyed Sophie Washington: The Snitch and convince me that I would too.

There’s nothing worse than being a tattletale…

That’s what 10-year-old Sophie Washington thinks until she runs into Lanie Mitchell, a new girl at school. Lanie pushes Sophie and her friends around at their lockers, and even takes their lunch money. If they tell, they are scared the other kids in their class will call them snitches, and won’t be their friends. And when you’re in the fifth grade, nothing seems worse than that.

Excitement at home keeps Sophie’s mind off the trouble with Lanie. She takes a fishing trip to the Gulf of Mexico with her parents and little brother, Cole, and discovers a mysterious creature in the attic above her room. For a while, Sophie is able to keep her parents from knowing what is going on at school. But Lanie’s bullying goes too far, and a classmate gets seriously hurt. Sophie needs to make a decision. Should she stand up to the bully, or become a snitch?

Enjoy an Excerpt

I’ve got a secret. Want to hear it?

Secrets are usually nice. Like when my dad surprised me with a new goldfish last year. Or the time Grandma Washington unexpectedly visited us in Houston from her house in Corpus Christi.

I used to love secrets. But this one’s not so great.

No one knows it, except my best friend Chloe. It’s her secret, too. We don’t talk about it, ‘cause if we do people won’t like us. And in the fifth grade being liked is as important as having a fun birthday party, or staying up as late as possible, or…Christmas.

For now, I’m not telling. Chloe’s not either.

“Hey Sophie, wait up!” Chloe yells as I make my way down the hall to our first period math class. “How was your weekend?”

“The same old, same old,” I reply, hoisting my math book and binder up in my arms. “Cole whined about having nothing to do, so Mom and Dad took us to the zoo and then out for ice cream. On Sunday I caught up on all my homework after church.”

Cole is my seven-year-old brother. My mom thinks he’s an angel, but I think he was sent here to drive me crazy. Just this morning at breakfast, for example, he pulled my ponytail while she wasn’t looking, and then started crying loudly after I whacked him with an empty Cheerios box. Of course, I’m the one who got in trouble. My dad is nicer to Cole than he deserves, but I think he’s figured out his game a little bit better than Mom.

“Nothing much exciting happened at our house, either,” says Chloe, “but I did get this cute new purse.” Chloe is what you’d call a Fashionista. I admire the pretty, powder blue bag and notice the red, glittery, slide-on shoes she wears on her feet. She always manages to make our boring, private school uniforms look stylish.

“That’s nice,” I say.

As we near the classroom I see someone in the shadows and my heart starts to beat fast.

“Just great,” I mutter.

Lanie Mitchell, the class bully, heads our way from the opposite direction.

She sees us, grins, and blocks our path. Most of our classmates are 10, like me, but Lanie is already 12 years old. She’s the second tallest girl in 5B, behind Chloe, and a little bit on the chubby side.

About the Author: Tonya Ellis remembers hiding in the restroom from a few bullies during her elementary school days. She encourages kids to speak out if they are being mistreated. She knew she wanted to become a writer after an article she wrote was published in her hometown newspaper. Since then, Tonya has worked as a journalist, written for newspapers and magazines and won awards for her books. When she’s not busy writing, she enjoys reading, biking with her husband and two sons and daughter, and travelling to interesting places. SOPHIE WASHINGTON: The Snitch is the second book in a series about Sophie and her friends.

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Jack Gregson & the Forgotten Portal by Peter Wilson – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions.
Peter Wilson will be awarding a $25 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.

Winner of the Bronze medal in the 2017 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards in the Pre-Teen Fiction-Mystery category.

Something has changed at Gregson Manor. An evil force from the family’s past has returned to upheave their lives. Jack and his cousins explore the family secrets as they are pulled through a portal into a universe of endless worlds and possibilities. Together, they race to escape and destroy the evil Theorden and his followers who strive to unlock the power of the Forgotten Portal and wreak havoc on Gregson Manor and the World.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Amazing! It makes sense then. If Theorden had that book in his possession, he could create hundreds of portals and attack Earth from multiple places at once. He could place those Horde stones all over the globe and overrun your world in a matter of weeks!”

“I don’t get why is he so interested in invading Earth.”

“Earth is quite unique, Jack. Because its portal has been kept a secret, it has allowed you humans to grow and thrive without the influences of magic and other civilizations. Unlike other worlds, you haven’t spread out across the Universe and there are now seven billion of you on the one planet. You don’t have magic, but you have weapons that can kill hundreds of thousands of people with the push of a button! If Theorden managed to take control of your people and technology, and combine it with his magic, he’d be unstoppable. He would control the Universe!”

Jack sat back in shock. Control the Universe? He couldn’t understand why someone would want that much power.

“Jack. If David and Rosie went back to the Manor, they should have taken the book with them. It isn’t safe carrying that around. Why did you three decide it should be brought here when you split up?”

Jack shifted uncomfortably where he sat. “We didn’t really discuss it. We didn’t really talk about splitting up either…”

Anthrow looked at him and then sighed. “You decided to come here alone, and didn’t tell them. Why?”

About the Author: Peter Wilson has been writing for years. He started with short stories (many of them just 55 words long). The storylines and genres he chooses to write in are fantasy, horror & fast paced thrillers, as that is what he enjoys reading.

A number of years ago Peter sat down to write another short story, based on a prompt given in an online writing competition. As the word count rose, he realized that it wasn’t so short and it had turned into a novel: Jack Gregson & the Forgotten Portal, which recently won a Moonbeam award. He’s currently working on the sequel to the book, in what he plans to be a trilogy.

Peter lives in Sydney Australia. When he’s not writing, he works in the digital world, creating content for games, music and movie companies.

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The Details of My Reality by Katie L. Oslin – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Katie L. Oslin will be awarding a $50 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.

Amy Thatcher is full of despair since her best friend is no longer by her side. Known as the ice queen, Amy is quick to dismiss people and barricade her sweet and beautiful soul. Although young, she’s wise beyond her years. And nothing and no one is going to get in the way of achieving her goals; or so she thinks.

Life soon shows Amy that it has other plans. She’s suddenly thrust into a world full of difficult circumstances and even more difficult decisions.

Enjoy an Excerpt

He hugged me tightly for so long I wondered if he’d ever let me go. Our cigarettes developed the longest ashes I ever saw. As mine finally fell to the ground, I was reminded of how quickly I fell for Johnny and how our relationship had been burning for the last three years. Eventually, we, too, like that ash, would fall. We would end up a memory of something that burned so deeply into our souls and it too would eventually turn to ash.

Such thoughts swirled through my mind, as I drove without a destination. Eventually, I found myself at the park where Johnny and I went that fateful night when he showed me the secret overlook and took my virginity and my innocence. I decided to park the car, then I grabbed my emergency blanket, flashlight, and cigarettes and walked toward the precipice where it all began.

A tear fell down my cold wet cheek. I sighed and gave him my heartbreaking answer. “Honestly?” I held back my tears as best I could. “I want you to leave me alone, Johnny. I want you to love me enough to let me go. I want you to help me finally get over you by staying the hell away from me. I want you to stay out of my life and let me be. Please, Johnny, I’m begging you.

“I want to be happy. I deserve that, and you of all people know it. Since I can’t have it with you,” I said, crying a little harder, then I deserve to have it with someone else. So, please, Johnny, if you love me like you say you do, you’ll let me go.”

About the Author:

Katie L. Oslin is a Midwesterner who started writing diaries, poetry and many short stories at a very young age. As a newly published author THE DETIALS OF MY REALITY is her first novel.

She is also a wife, mother and bachelor’s prepared registered nurse. Living on the coast of North Carolina, she frequents the beach and finds inspiration in the sound of the waves and the solitude of her surroundings.

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Winter Blogfest: Christine Potter

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win an ecopy of What Time is it There? and a Bean-approved piece of tie-dye to a lucky US or Canada winner.

It’s All About the Tree!


It is for us, anyway: two childless (we prefer child-free, although we love kids) retired schoolteachers who met when we were both on the north side of forty. Ken and I have a lot in common. In our days in the classroom, we taught kids the subject we live and die for, and now get to do it full-time ourselves. He’s a musician, and I’m a writer. And we both adore Christmas trees.

We like the lovely-smelling live ones, thank you very much—but in recent years we’ve also developed a fascination with the aluminum trees of the 1950’s and early 6o’s that our parents’ more cosmopolitan friends had in front of their living room picture windows. Ken and I finally broke down and bought an aluminum tree a few years back. It goes in the little room behind my office where we watch TV at night, and has blue lights and blue ornaments. Ken has been known to jump the gun and put that silvery glitter up right after Halloween. Yeah, I know…

Dirty secret: the aluminum tree is only one of three. He puts it up early ‘cause it won’t drop needles.
Live tree number one goes in the living room, the only room in our very old (like mostly from the 1700’s) house that has a high ceiling. Ken’s birthday is December 14th, and that’s the day we usually do the job. Live tree number one gets decorated with his huge collection of glass ornaments from the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. We used to put Ken’s equally huge collection of antique Christmas lights on the living room tree, too—he’d rewired them, and run them through a special circuit box he’d constructed to dim them down a bit and keep them from drying out the tree. Some of the bulbs are Edison era! (Did I mention the man is obsessed?)

These days, we’ve gone the LED route, though, words I never thought I’d type. Important fact: you can buy totally acceptable multi-colored LED lights that will not burn your house down. Not burning your house down—or worrying about doing it, or realizing that you’ve left the tree lit and frantically driving back over the Tappan Zee Bridge—is worth a lot! So we’ve bowed to modern times.

Live tree number two? It goes in our bedroom, of course. Didn’t you always want to fall asleep under a Christmas tree when you were a kid? We do, every night—well, next to it, not UNDER it, from December 14th to January 6th. Note: the bedroom tree has been LED-lit for years. The ornaments on it are the ones from my single-girl decades, and are a bit more hippie-dippy than Ken’s mid-century ones. I made a lot of them myself: cardboard and gesso with water color paints on them, sequined things from India that my high school best friend bought in an import shop. My young adult novels are set in 1970 and 1972 for a reason: I loved those years.

We do other decorations: white LED lights outside, on pine garland hung from our front porch—and last year I put some amazing cobalt-colored LED lights on the bare branches of a trumpet vine over the path from our mailbox. That blue was just stunning. We have two absurd-looking glowing reindeer, too: almost life-sized. They go in front of our house. I love them like crazy. Ken’s still not sure about them, I think.

Could I put in a quick word for The Bean Books, my time traveling trilogy on Evernight Teen? If you like hippies, Christmas trees, time travel, and the oddest Christmas miracle ever, you’re going to love those books, especially Bean 3, What Time Is It There? Good for kids over 16, and good, too, for those of us old enough to have seen the Grateful Dead live.

Merry Christmas from our house to yours! May you not break ANY of your glass ornaments, may all your packages arrive on time, and may your trees drop nary a needle!


Late autumn, 1972. Just over a year ago, Bean and Zak headed for colleges two thousand miles apart, promising to write, but to see other people … until Bean fell for the wrong guy and Zak fell off the planet. Now, Bean’s got two weeks’ worth of Zak’s year-old letters she still can’t bear to open–and a broken heart. Her new best friend, a guy named Amp, wants her to read the letters and be done with it, but he may have his own reasons for that. When Sam shows up at Bean’s school unexpectedly and Bean tumbles into the 19th century from the cellar of a ruined church, things start making a bizarre kind of sense. That is, if she can just fit all the pieces together again…

About the Author: Christine Potter lives in a haunted house–for real. Besides the ghosts that turned up in a recent investigation, she shares her digs with an organist/choir director husband (plus his two pipe organs) and a pair of very spoiled tom cats. She’s been assured that her ghosts are harmless, just “very old spirits who don’t want to leave,” which is understandable. It’s a comfy house.

Christine Potter is the author of the time traveling YA series, The Bean Books, on EVERNIGHT TEEN: Time Runs Away With Her (Book One), In Her Own Time (Book Two)–and the newly-released What Time Is It There? (Book Three). She is also a widely published poet, a choral singer, and a darn good cook.

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Winter Blogfest: C. Lee McKenzie

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win one eBook of Double Negative and a bonus Christmas short story ( also eBook).

 Christmas 2017

Gift of the Magi

It’s that time of year. Countdown to Christmas. We’re about to tuck another year away in the archives. This holiday always sends me scurrying to find my favorite stories—the classics that everyone knows, the timeless tales that teach us important life lessons. I have several favorite stories, but there are three that I never fail to pull off the shelf in December.

All I need to read are the opening lines of O’Henry’s The Gift of the Magi, and I enter the world of selfless love that belongs to Della and Jim. Or I read Marley’s name, and Scrooge’s ghosts rise up and make me take account of my deeds, good and bad. Bring on the story of redemption. Hans Christian Andersen’s, The Little Fir Tree helps me set aside my grumbling discontent. Live for the moment the story tells us. Enjoy what you have.

Here are the beginnings of my favorite Christmas stories. Each one is so different and each one bears the signature style of the author and the time they set down the words.

Do you have others you return to when this holiday comes each year?

The Gift of the Magi

ONE DOLLAR AND EIGHTY-SEVEN CENTS. That was all. She had put it aside, one cent and then another and then another, in her careful buying of meat and other food. Della counted it three times. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

A Christmas Carol

Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge’s name was good upon ’Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

The Fir Tree

FAR down in the forest, where the warm sun and the fresh air made a sweet resting-place, grew a pretty little fir-tree; and yet it was not happy, it wished so much to be tall like its companions— the pines and firs which grew around it. The sun shone, and the soft air fluttered its leaves, and the little peasant children passed by, prattling merrily, but the fir-tree heeded them not. Sometimes the children would bring a large basket of raspberries or strawberries, wreathed on a straw, and seat themselves near the fir-tree, and say, “Is it not a pretty little tree?” which made it feel more unhappy than before.

Sixteen. On the path to prison. One last chance.
Will Hutch McQueen take it?
Touching but gritty, this young adult story will grab your heart and hold you in its clutches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author: C. Lee McKenzie has a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days her greatest passion is writing for young readers. Some Very Messy Medieval Magick is the third book in the time-travel adventures of Pete and Weasel, with Alligators Overhead and The Great Timelock Disaster being the first two. Sign of the Green Dragon, another book for young readers, jumps into ancient Chinese dragon myths and a quest for treasure. She has published four young adult novels: Sliding on the Edge, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative, and Sudden Secrets. When she’s not writing she’s hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot questions about things she still doesn’t understand.

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Winter Blogfest: Pamela Woods-Jackson

 

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win one copy, either paperback or ebook, of TEENAGE PSYCHIC ON CAMPUS. . 

Holiday Blog

Yes, I’m an author, but I also work at a living history museum in Fishers, Indiana. (Conner Prairie for any of you that would like to visit!) Holidays are particularly busy, starting in early October as the museum hosts its annual Halloween festival, The Headless Horseman, based on Washington Irving’s story “Sleepy Hollow.”

Thanksgiving and Christmas programming is an exciting time, as well as an opportunity to step back from our hectic 21st century lives and think about holiday celebrations from our country’s early years. The museum sponsors a gingerbread house competition, meals with Santa, lectures and demonstrations on how early Hoosiers prepared for a long winter, and an evening walk through the historical area lit only by lanterns and candlelight. There is nothing like a dark, snowy night, listening to nothing but the crackle of fires and the soothing voices of the actors, to inspire me to be a better writer.

What does all this mean to my writing? It means I have a busy holiday season, true, but I try to incorporate what’s all around me into my novels. My most recent release, TEENAGE PSYCHIC ON CAMPUS, is set in the Indiana county where I live, and elements reminiscent of the museum’s Halloween festival managed to creep into the haunted house Caryn and Gary investigate. I also created a fictionalized version of Conner Prairie and used it in my YA GENIUS SUMMER, in which my POV character volunteers in a living history museum and fantasizes about living in the nineteenth century. And I have an as-yet-to-be-published YA that features a haunted hayride similar to the one the museum offers.

As writers, we tend to write what we know. I can’t say I’m personally psychic, or a genius, or have a degree in marketing like my main character Caroline Benedict in CERTAINLY SENSIBLE, but with a bit of research and talking to friends and co-workers, I can come up with plausible stories. Working in a living history museum has given me not only a love of history but a treasure trove of ideas to blend into my stories, hopefully for the enjoyment of my readers.

Caryn Alderson may be a psychic medium, but she can’t predict her own life. She’s totally blindsided when she discovers her boyfriend has cheated on her. Her best friend Annabeth attempts to jump-start Caryn’s stalled love life by introducing her to Gary Riddell, a fellow college freshman who can talk to ghosts. To paranormal groupie Annabeth, their abilities make them the perfect match. Unfortunately, Gary’s acting career and Caryn’s love of journalism clash when Caryn writes a hatchet piece about Gary’s acting abilities, and then publishes it in the campus newspaper. Dating is definitely out!

Then the two of them are asked to help the campus Ghost Stalkers club investigate a haunting at a local farmhouse. Caryn and Gary must combine their offsetting paranormal skills to locate more than just ghosts.

About the Author: I am the author of TEENAGE PSYCHIC ON CAMPUS which was released April 28, 2017 by The Wild Rose Press. It is a sequel to CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE PSYCHIC (The Wild Rose Press, 2010), which was a 2011 Epic Ebook Contest finalist. My YA novel GENIUS SUMMER was released in November, 2014, by Vinspire Publishing. It was a finalist in the 2013 San Francisco Writers Contest and was awarded the Literary Classics Silver Medal Seal of Approval in 2015. My contemporary romance CERTAINLY SENSIBLE, released December 2, 2015 by The Wild Rose Press, was a Gold Medal winner in the 2016 Literary Classics Award Contest.

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Winter Blogfest: Peggy Rothschild

 

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win a Punishment Summer Mug plus paperback copy of the book. Shipping to US residents only. 

The Holiday Season in Southern California

In Southern California, it’s hard to believe the holiday season is almost here. Thankfully, we’ve finally shed the 100 degree weather that hit in late October and now there’s a slight nip in the air. While I don’t think I’d want to live in a snowy climate again, I do love it when the weather turns cool.

A couple years ago, we decided that living in an area without snow was no reason not to build a snowman. That October, we bought a number of white pumpkins in varying sizes and, after Thanksgiving, we assembled our pumpkin snowman and proudly displayed him on our front porch.

This year we’ll have some added holiday excitement; we recently adopted a 2-year-old cat. As cat lovers will tell you, you just don’t know who’s a Christmas-tree climber until the tree actually goes up. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that she’ll be content sleeping under the tree.

Aside from going crazy with the decorations – inside and out – our biggest holiday tradition is sharing Christmas Eve dinner with family friends. The tradition started the first Christmas after my father died. My best friend’s mother invited my family over for dinner and a tradition was born. We’ve gone back and forth to one another’s houses for Christmas Eve every year. Even when I lived in Massachusetts, I made it back to California for our Christmas Eve tradition. This year, my mother’s friend has grown frail and we’re talking about changing it to a Christmas Eve lunch. As our families evolve, so do our traditions. But the one thing that doesn’t change, is the love and joy we share.

Wishing one and all a Happy Holiday Season!

Sixteen-year-old Nicki is sent to stay at her grandfather’s cabin near the town of Punishment in the Mendocino Forest. Soon after arriving, she begins to suspect Grandpa is keeping secrets. From hidden pot farms to human trafficking, she soon discovers nothing in the ‘Mendo’ is what it seems. It’s a good thing Grandpa’s taught her how to shoot.

About the Author: A native Californian, Peggy Rothschild grew up in Los Angeles. Always a mystery-lover, she embraced the tales of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys before moving on to the adult section of the library. An English major in high school, she switched to art – her other passion – in college. Peggy has authored two adult mysteries, CLEMENTINE’S SHADOW and ERASING RAMONA. PUNISHMENT SUMMER is her first young adult novel.

At present, Peggy and her husband live in the beach community of Ventura with their cats – who are always willing to rip apart any pages they feel aren’t up to snuff. In her spare time she can be found drawing and painting, or out in the yard weeding, pruning, and generally getting messy.

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Winter Blogfest: Melody Wiklund

 

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of my novel Eleven Dancing Sisters.

Advent Traditions

Lately I’ve been at college during the season leading up to Christmas every year. This creates an odd variation in the way I anticipate Christmas. For one thing, I come to see Christmas as being not December 25, but the day I leave on the airplane to go home. This year that’s December 13, almost two weeks ahead of time. But then there’s also the fact that I’ve come to associate Christmas and the season around it with being home and taking some time for myself between semesters. And that’s a good attitude to have towards a holiday, I think, but it’s not how I used to think of it. Until college, my focus the month before Christmas was on Advent.

My family is Catholic but doesn’t necessarily go to mass more often during Advent or start saying novenas or anything that formal. Instead, we prepare for Christmas by filling a yarn manger. The manger is a shoebox covered with brown masking tape, and as the four weeks of Advent progress, we try to do extra good deeds or acts of religious devotion, and for every act we do that is devoted to Advent, we put a strand of yellow yarn in the manger. It’s meant to look like hay, which it really doesn’t, but it’s softer than hay so perhaps it is all for the best. As for the acts, they’re generally simple enough: praying a decade of the rosary on the way to school or telling a girl you like her shirt. They just have to be extra, something that without keeping Advent in mind you wouldn’t necessarily have done.

On Christmas day in the morning my mother puts a white stone statuette of baby Jesus in the manger. Tiny, eyes closed. My sister and I used to ask permission to pick it up and hold it in our hands, astounded at its fragility. And we would worry throughout Advent that the yarn we earned wouldn’t be enough, and he would sleep on only a thin layer of yarn over bare cardboard.

This tenderness, almost maternal, is what we keep in mind as we work our way through Advent. We are preparing a place in our lives and in our hearts for Jesus—or, if you’re not religious, for love. Although I must admit there’s also a certain element of competition to it. There’s nothing more embarrassing than seeing your sister put four strands of yarn into the manger at the end of the day when you can only put in one. Your good deeds can get a little aggressive when that happens! But maybe that’s not a bad thing. At least a number of girls in your class will get the impression that you really, really like their shirts.

Erin has a good reason for sneaking into a fae castle: her sisters—princesses of Erdhea—have been secretly visiting it for months, and she just knows they’re in trouble. Unfortunately that’s not an excuse she can give fae lord Desmond when she gets caught. Because Erin is a princess too, and whatever schemes Desmond has, Erin wants no part of them. Instead, she tells him she’s a simple war nurse, and offers no excuse at all.

Desmond can’t have humans wandering in and out of his castle, not when the Fae’s presence in Erdhea must remain hidden. He needs to know how and why Erin sneaked in. But before long, his concerns about Erin are blooming into interest, then fascination, then something else altogether. Under the eye of a lovelorn fae lord, can Erin keep her secrets? Will she even want to?

About the Author: Melody Wiklund is a writer and a student. Native to Massachusetts, she spends half the year in Kansas, pining for brighter leaves in the autumn and more snow in the winter. Apart from writing, she enjoys knitting, especially since it makes gifts a lot easier during the Christmas season.

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