Tuesday, 27 June 2017

PRINCIPAL KIDD: School Rules book #1 by Connie T. Colon

A graduate of Syracuse University and former advertising executive, Connie has a degree in art but now also paints with her words.

She had the unique opportunity to work one-on-one with award winning author, Jerry Spinelli at the Highlights Workshop in Chautauqua.

An active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Connie had served as a Committee Member for the NJ Chapter.

She has sold over 60 articles and over 100 photos to publications including Highlights, Fun For Kidz, AppleSeeds, and Faces.

Her ongoing feature “Dear Tommy” had run in Faces magazine for over seven years. Connie occasionally teaches magazine writing workshops at SCBWI events and loves to visit schools.

She recently released PRINCIPAL KIDD: School Rules Book #1 which is a humorous chapter book series based on one of her animation concepts.


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About the Book


The series is about the zany predicaments 11-year-old whiz kid Oliver Kidd faces as principal of Eggshell Elementary school. In book 1, SCHOOL RULES!, Principal Kidd risks losing his new job and having the school shut done unless he can undo damage from the new kid-friendly rules he put into place.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:


Chapter 7


Oliver entered the office of hard-of-hearing guidance counselor, Mrs. Winnie Huggswell. She was the school’s oldest employee who was somewhere between 65 and 99 years old, no one knew for sure. She was round with spare chins, and eyes that twinkled and crinkled when she smiled. She passed Oliver a plate of the best smelling homemade cookies.

Mrs. Huggswell looked into Oliver’s eyes with concern. “What’s troubling you, dear?”

“I was uninvited to Tucker’s party,” he said. “Even Chelsea’s going!”

Confused, Mrs. Huggswell looked out the window. “What? It’s snowing?”

“No, wish I was going to the party,” said Oliver, speaking a bit louder now. He slouched in his chair and pouted. “Sometimes I just want to be one of the guys.”

“Oh, a disguise.”

Mrs. Huggswell rummaged through a bin of dress-up clothes and accessories and handed Oliver a fake mustache and a hat. “Here, try this on.”

Oliver put on the shiny gold hat. He looked at himself from several angles in the mirror on the wall.

“Not too sure about this gold hat.”

“Don’t call me an old bat!”

“No,” he said. “You’ve confused my words!”

“What? My cookies taste like turds?”

Oliver shoved several cookies in his mouth at once. He spewed out crumbs while talking with his mouth full. “No, see? I love your cookies.”

Mrs. Huggswell smiled. She put the cookies in a bag and handed them to Oliver.

“Good. I’m glad,” she said. “Take the rest. They’ll help you make new friends.”

Oliver sighed and then screamed out, “Great idea. Thanks!”

Mrs. Huggswell pressed her palms against her ears and scrunched up her face.

“No need to shout at me, dear.”

Oliver gathered the disguises and cookies before waving goodbye. On his way back to his office, he felt confident he could handle anything.

That confidence washed away when he saw who was waiting for him in his office.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Soul Awakening by Paul Lonardo

Paul Lonardo is a freelance writer and author. He has had both fiction and non-fiction book published, including titles that have been excerpted in Reader’s Digest and reviewed in Publisher’s Weekly.

Soul Awakening is his third romance novella. Reunion of Souls was published by Liquid Silver Press in 2105, and last summer Wild Rose Press released Enchanted Desire.

From the Ashes, a collaborative book written with a Gina Russo, is a true story of her survival from the deadly 2003 Station Nightclub fire in Rhode Island which claimed the lives of 100 people, became the basis of a 2013 documentary web series, The Station, which Paul produced.

Paul has been interviewed as part of several documentaries, including NBCUniveral’s I Survived a Serial Killer, featuring the true crime story depicted in the book Caught in the Act, A Courageous Family’s Fight to Save their Daughter from a Serial Killer.


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About the Book


Something otherworldly is happening in a small Texas town.

As a small Texas town mourns the tragic death of its high school football star, Alecia is struggling to adjust to life without the boy she has dated since sixth grade and thought she would be with forever.

When Braden comes to her as an apparition, she finds herself falling for Riley, Braden’s best friend and teammate. Has Braden returned to spy on her, or for some other reason?

Alecia’s not sure, but she soon realizes she must find a way to accept Braden’s death and welcome love back into her life, or risk losing everything.

The Power of Secret Love changes everything…

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Keep reading for an excerpt:


Alecia was amazed how fresh this memory was in her mind. She felt as if they were reliving the moment now.

“You know, Alecia, I really wanted to kiss you that day.” Riley’s face was in partial shadow, but his eyes were fixed on hers.

“I wanted you to kiss me,” Alecia admitted, and with those two statements all the romantic tension and nervous energy they’d been feeling instantly abated.

“I have to confess you’re the real reason I didn’t want to play the game. It wasn’t because of Braden.”

“Me?” Alecia had a lump in her throat.

“I couldn’t focus on anything because I was thinking about you.” Riley shifted forward slightly, his entire face illuminated in a shaft a light. His eyes looked green and were filled with intensity. “I’m in love with you. I always have been.”

It was like being on a roller coaster again; her head was spinning. “What about Beth?”

“We had a fight a few days ago. About you. We broke up.”

That would explain Luke, Alecia thought, and why Beth had been acting so strange toward her all week.

“And with you being best friends with Beth, I got to be around you more.”

Sensing motion again out of the corner of her eye, Alecia quickly turned her head in that direction.

Riley looked around briefly. “What’s the matter?”

“It’s nothing.” Alecia gazed into Riley’s eyes and was instantly distracted by the way the green and brown flecks glinted in the waning afternoon sunlight that penetrated the old barn from many shallow angles.

As Riley pressed his lips against hers and she felt his hot breath in her mouth, nothing else mattered. When he wrapped his arms around her back and pulled her tight against him, their front teeth briefly rubbed together. As if in response to this contact, their tongues came to the rescue, intertwining in a tender and comforting embrace.

Alecia closed her eyes, and in her mind she and Riley were back inside the small wooden hut in Galveston, wet and cold from the rain.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Dream Crypt by Renee Scattergood

Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn't start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark fantasy and paranormal thrillers.

She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, A God's Deception.

Aside from writing, she loves reading (fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter. Visit her site for more information and a free copy of Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6).


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About the Book


Rylee is a normal girl, living in a normal world. At least that’s what she thinks until an Onyx Warrior tells her the truth. She is trapped in a dream world by an ancient and powerful vampire, while he feeds on her blood at his leisure. Worse, her only chance for escape is likely to get her killed.

Rylee is trapped in a dream world by a sadistic vampire while he feeds on her blood. Can she escape this nightmare or will she be ensnared in her torment for the rest of her short life?

Rylee must escape the malicious vampire's dream crypt or die trying!

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Keep reading for an excerpt:


Mikayla had been waiting for her. Somehow she knew Rylee was coming, or maybe she'd been there the whole time. Rylee didn't know anymore, and her head hurt every time she thought about it.

“It's never bled before, and I thought it would never stop,” Rylee said then explained what happened with the 911 call.

Mikayla looked troubled. “It must have been him. He was checking up on you. He might even suspect someone is trying to help you.”

“Is this real? It's really happening?”

“I'm sorry, but it is," Mikayla said, resting her hand on Rylee's shoulder.

“How is it possible?” Rylee put her face in her hand hoping she'd wake and find this had all been a nightmare.

“The vampires use mind control powers to implant false memories and keep their victims in a dream-like trance where they live out their lives, oblivious to what's happened to them.”

Rylee looked up. “How exactly can you help me then?”

“You'll have to kill yourself. Jumping off a—“

“Are you insane?" Rylee took a step back. "I'm not killing myself.”

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Bread for the Table by Tara Botel Doherty

Tara Botel Doherty was born in Los Angeles. She was raised by her grandmother and mother blocks away from famed Hollywood Boulevard. It was a Bohemian upbringing filled with art, dance, and guitar lessons and movie sets where her father worked as a lighting technician. This environment helped generate her love of the arts, especially books and writing.

She wrote her first book in the first grade. Educated in both public and parochial schools where the fundamentals of perseverance and patience were drilled into her, Tara understood the work ethic. She spends her days and nights teaching English in the San Fernando Valley.

Now residing up in the Santa Clarita Valley, aka the ‘Rita with her husband and daughter, she writes regularly about her adventures in Hollywood.


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Click here or a preview of Growing Up Hollywood: the Annie and Gracie Stories!


About the Book


Bread for the Table relates a single day in the life of Sage a 30-year-old aspiring jewelry designer working as a waitress in a pseudo New York deli in Los Angeles. A postcard from her mother triggers a series of flashbacks, which bring Sage's life into focus.

She remembers her protector – dear older sister, Rose of Sharon and her untimely death; her remote father, whose only communication was reading passages from novels written by John Steinbeck; her grandmother, the only consistent figure in Sage's life; and her mother.

The last time Sage and her mother shared an intimate moment was stirring a pot of soup shortly after Rose of Sharon's death. Her mother's last instructions before she went to buy bread to complement the soup were to keep stirring the soup so it wouldn't burn. Dutifully Sage stirred, but her mother never returned. She was five years old. Now she has received a postcard from a woman she hasn't seen in twenty-five years.

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Keep reading for an interview with the author:


Where are you from?


I am a Hollywood girl, full of the tales of pathos in Los Angeles.


What genres do you write?


Literary Fiction

How long does it take you to write a novel?


I actually wrote this book in 12 weeks when my first thesis was rejected by my advisor in grad school.


Which authors have most influenced you?


Harper Lee, Janet Fitch, and Flannery O'Connor are all female writers who have created strong and unforgettable voices in literature.

If you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?


Janet Fitch. She was not at USC teaching when I attended USC. Originally I applied to USC because Betty Friedan was on the faculty. Unfortunately, she was not active on the faculty when I arrived.

What are your goals as an author?


I want to have my short story collections out there as well as my novel. These are stories and characters of Los Angeles.


What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?


Two of my students had questions about my novel. It is amazing when 12-year-olds are demanding answers from you.

What is the worst writing advice you've ever received?


When my advisor in grad school told me my stories about Annie and Gracie weren't very good and he refused to present them to the committee.

What made you decide to self-publish?


I had an agent twenty years ago, and my novel wasn't picked up. That was devastating. Flash forward twenty years and one of my students asked me what was I going to do in ten years when my own kid was gone and in college. That mad me think about my future.

What is the best thing about self-publishing?


I am in control. But also the worst thing, I am responsible.

Would you recommend self-publishing to other authors?


Yes, I recommend it. Take control of your future as a writer. Remember subject matter is subjective. Not everyone is going to like it.

What are you working on now?


Two short story collections, Growing Up Hollywood and Night Crawlers

How do you market/promote your work?


Every day I am working on marketing. This is actually more work than writing. Social media, reviewers, reviews, it all takes time and energy. I work full time plus a part time job, so I try to do one thing every day for my writing.

What would you like Sage to do next?


Remember it all takes place in a day...but there is always a tomorrow.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Shadow Stalker by Renee Scattergood

Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn't start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark fantasy and paranormal thrillers.

She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, A God's Deception.

Aside from writing, she loves reading (fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter. Visit her site for more information and a free copy of Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6).

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About the Series


Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 - 6)


Auren learns she is destined to enslave the people of her world, and Drevin, emperor of the Galvadi Empire is determined to end her life before it happens. Her foster father, Kado, has sworn to protect her and trains her as a shadow stalker. But her training is cut short, when their people are overrun by the Galvadi Empire. Now she has to find a way to help her people without succumbing to the prophecy.


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Shadow Stalker Part 2 (Episodes 7 - 12)


Auren is captured by the Galvadi trying to rescue her friend, Jade, and tortured by the man who is supposed to love and protect her. When Makari finally realizes she's not the delohi-saqu as his father claims, he helps her escape, but their plans don't go as expected.



Shadow Stalker Part 3 (Episodes 13 - 18)


Things go from bad to worse when the Galvadi Empire develops a new technology to use against the shadow stalkers. Now Kado and Makari are more determined than ever to keep Auren away from their enemies, but Auren decides enough is enough and takes matters into her own hands. She turns herself over to the Galvadi to get close to Drevin and Makari has no choice but to play along. He is forced to either torture Auren to prove his loyalty or die knowing she will be tortured and enslaved anyway. Somehow, they must get close enough to Drevin to bring him down and put an end to the Galvadi’s tyranny once and for all.



Keep reading for an excerpt:


"Are you ready?" Kado asked me.

"Ready for what?"

He removed a wooden lid covering the well and took a rope from a hook inside the opening. "You will need to climb down into the hole."

"And then what?"

"Well, that will be up to you."

"You're not making sense again."

He tilted his head toward the well. "Go on."

I sighed. This seemed like a silly lesson. I had rappelled down many cliffs and into many caverns with Kado over the years. It was nothing new to me. Maybe he was going to start with the easy stuff. I grabbed the rope and sat on the wall of the well. Then I swung my legs over the side and started my descent.

It looked a lot deeper than it was. It was so dark I couldn’t see the bottom, and the opening became snugger as I lowered myself into the hole. By the time I reached the bottom, the walls touched me on all sides, but not enough to slow my progress. Then it opened up, and I found myself in a cavern of some sort. A little further, and my feet were on the ground.

I waited for my eyes to adjust to the darkness and then looked around the open space. The walls were obscured from view, but I heard the burbling of an underwater spring nearby. I looked up and was almost blinded by the light shining through the shaft I had just descended. I thought Kado might be coming down after me, but I didn’t see him.

"Okay I'm down here. Now what?"

"Let go of the rope."

I dropped the rope, and watched it disappear through the top of the hole.

"Kado, what are you doing?"

Without a word, he put the lid over the hole and left me in complete darkness.

Friday, 2 June 2017

The Weightless One by Anais Chartschenko



Anaïs Chartschenko hails from the Canadian wilderness. She has come to enjoy such modern things as electric tea kettles. Her published works include two collections of poetry, Bright Needles and The Whisper Collector as well as a novel in verse, The Weightless One.

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Join my magical mailer to have tea with the gnomes and me!


About the Book


Every bit of food I eat
Is turning into more thoughts
And what do I do with the thoughts
I am too afraid to say?

After a party changed everything, Miranda loses her appetite. She is placed in an eating disorder treatment program, where she must be brave enough to face the truth she was trying to bury.

A novel told in verse

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Keep reading for an excerpt:


Reasons I Have To Stay


I was signed in,
I have no choice.
They tell me
My heart is failing.
They tell me
When you starve
Long enough, your body
Starts to eat your muscles.
Your heart is a muscle. It becomes
Your unwilling dinner.
They show me charts with
Low iron, low this and low that.
They tell me I need to take this
Serious.
But it doesn't seem real.
All that is real is my sudden
Total lack of control, total
Forced surrender, it feels
So broken it can never be
Fixed-
I can't agree to any of these
Things. Not even when I
Feel my heart forget a beat.
Not even when I'm hooked
To machines.

Reasons I Should Get To Leave


I don't count calories.
I don't weigh myself.
I don't obsess over models.
I don't exercise.
I don't take laxatives or
Diuretics.
I don't make myself
Throw up.
I don't care what you think.
I think for myself.
I'm not this, I still have
My period.
Okay?

Little Fish


We lay in a tight row
Like sardines,
Wrapped tight in
Blankets and thick
Fuzzy pajamas
Getting our blood
Pressure checked
Lay down, and close
My eyes to the other
Girls' gossip, they
Try to include me,
But I have nothing
To say in the morning
This is a strange torment,
Laying so close to the others
Trapped between laughter
And the talk of having to
Drink ensures or not,
Of having to go to an
Increased nutrition plan,
Of family therapy sessions
Coming at the end of the
Week.

Doll


Kara began
Pulling out
Her hair
Extensions
Bundles of
Blonde lay
On the floor,
Her lion mane
Alopecia found
“I’m sick of
The lies!” She
Twisted her
Face up her
Hands knotted
In hair
“Where did this
Come from?
I didn’t grow it!”
We watched
In horror
We watched
Unable to
Look away
From her
Transformation
Underneath she
Was so small
Like a fragile glass
Doll,
Her features too
Large for her head
Her hair was only
A few inches long
Thin dirty dishwater
Blonde strands like
Weeds dried out
In the sun
She smiled
She laughed
She burrowed
Her face in
Borrowed hair
And
Cried.