October 1, 2014

Three Times A Charm with Trisha Leaver

Today on Three Times A Charm we welcome young adult author, Trisha Leaver. I love introducing my readers to the people who work in children’s publishing.

So nice to have you join us, Trisha. Can you tell us a little about yourself, please?

Hi all *waves hello* I live on Cape Cod with my husband, three children, and one rather irreverent black lab. Seriously, I spend half my days trying to coax him out of my neighbor’s yard! J

When I am not corralling my dog, I spend my days writing YA Psychological Horror and YA Contemporary although those lines seem to be blurring a bit with my new WIP. CREED, my co-authored YA horror, hits shelves November 8th from FLUX. My solo YA Contemporary, THE SECRETS WE KEEP, releases April 28th, 2015 from FSG/ Macmillan.

Wow! Sounds like you have a couple exciting events looming in your near future. Tell us more about SECRETS.

THE SECRETS WE KEEP (releasing April 28, 2015 form FSG/ Macmillan) is YA contemporary about the complicated relationship that exists between sisters.  I have a sister, an Irish Twin as my mom used to say. The bond between us is different than the one I share with my best friend or even my spouse. My sister and I have a common past and shared dreams for the future. We have decades of secrets, and lies, and promises connecting us. Growing up, she was my biggest competitor and my fiercest cheerleader. Sisters tell you the truth, no matter how raw and painful that reality may be, then pick you up and carry you until the ache fades away. The relationship between them is complicated, and maddening, and built on a rock-solid foundation of devotion and loyalty. I wanted to capture the depth of that bond, show that even in the darkest hours, it is our sisters who have the potential to either break us or carry us through.


A girl takes over her twin sister's identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters

Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world.

When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister's life.

I recommend my book to readers who like:

            MY LIFE NEXT DOOR, Huntley Fitzpatrick
            LIKE MANDARIN, Kristen Hubbard
            JUST LISTEN, Sarah Dressen

That sounds great! And it comes out right after my birthday, which will make it easy for me to remember. Okay – now it’s time for the three’s. Please share you top three answers to the following questions so we can get to know you a little better.

  • Top 3 skills to hone for people just starting in your business.

Patience.  I often say that publishing is the “hurry-up-and-wait” industry.  There will be a flurry of activity sandwiched between months of silence. We see a lot of hype around the huge book deals where the author sold in less than four days. THEY. ARE. RARE.  I repeat, they are rare. Silence does not mean inactivity, but things take time in this industry. Acquiring a book is a multi-step process, requiring the approval of several different people.  Be patient during that process. Start something new, revise an old project, CP for another author, but do something to occupy your mind during these information droughts. 

Developing an armadillo-type thick skin.  Rejection and criticism are necessary evils in the publishing industry. They are not a reflection of you personally, but rather one singular person’s opinion of your writing.  Acknowledge your disappointment and give yourself an hour or two to stew over it. Eat massive amounts of chocolate, commiserate with your CP’s, and then move on.

A sound understanding of grammar. Commas are annoying, pesky, complicated, and ohh so necessary punctuation marks that I had very little appreciation for before I started writing. Now I have an intimate, love-hate relationship with them. By the end of your first manuscript, you will too J

  • Top 3 snacks to munch on while working.

~Chocolate covered expresso beans.  I eat far too many, but they are my writing fuel.

~M&M’s, specifically during the editing phase. I frequently edit in hard copy. I find that having the words printed out in front of me helps me catch those little mistakes that my eyes often glance over on a screen.  Anyhow, I put one M&M at the bottom of each page. When I am done revising that page, I get to eat it. J

~Trail mix (and only the kind that has chocolate in it) Why? Because you can pop a whole handful in your mouth and keep going. No need to get up and rummage through the fridge or worry about getting your keyboard all sticky.  Plus, they sell it in the health food aisle, so chocolate and all, it has to be good for you, right?

  • Top 3 pieces of advice for kids these days.

~Not everything you read or hear deserves to be commented on. If it angers you, walk away, get some distance and clarity before you respond.

~ Always be true to yourself, regardless of what everybody else is doing.

~Color outside the lines. Use every crayon in the box, then go back and use them again … all at once … because creativity is not meant to be contained.

  • Top 3 personal mantras or inspirational phrases.

~ If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. ~African Proverb

~I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose. ~Stephen King

            ~The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with. ~William Faulkner

And finally, where can our tech savvy readers find more about you so they don’t miss out on those new books?

Thanks for joining us on this week’s Three Times A Charm, Trisha! Best of luck to you and Creed and The Secrets We Keep.


GUESTS WELCOME!  I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.

September 29, 2014

Spotlight on The Test of Time by Nicole Zoltack

Writer friend, Nicole Zoltack has a new New Adult time travel that we'd like to share with you today. So let's turn the spotlight onto THE TEST OF TIME!
BLURB: Katia jumps at the chance to go to England with her best friend after Rose ditches her deadbeat boyfriend. While walking through the market, she spies a large mansion and recognizes the guy out front as her high school friend Tony. Just as they start to reconnect, Katia passes through times and lands in the arms of Lord Landon, who looks like Tony but certainly doesn’t act like him.
Soon, Katia learns that this 1815 is different from the one in history books. Trapped in a parallel world, Katia struggles to not fall for Landon but his charm proves too much for her. Just when she is about to confess her love for him, Katia travels through time yet again.
The course of love never did run smooth and if Katia can’t figure out and master the test of time, she’ll never see her friends again, or worse, never be reunited with Landon.

Add it on Goodreads

Buy Links:

BIO: Nicole Zoltack loves to write in many genres, especially romance, whether fantasy, paranormal, or regency. When she’s not writing about knights, superheroes, or zombies, she loves to spend time with her loving husband and three energetic young boys. She enjoys riding horses (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dressed in garb. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on. Her current favorite TV show is The Walking Dead. To learn more about Nicole and her writing, visit http://NicoleZoltack.blogspot.com.

You'll find Nicole all over the world wide web:

Wattpad (you can read the paranormal serial she'll start posting soon): http://www.wattpad.com/user/NicoleZoltack

September 26, 2014

This #Giveaway's on FIRE! Win a Kindle Fire

Facebook and Twitter Blast Kindle Fire  

Twitter/Facebook Blast $229 Giveaway
A fabulous group of bloggers & authors have joined together to offer you 1 fabulous prize valued at $229. The winner of this giveaway will receive their choice of a $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash!   For all those who hate the long rafflecopters you should appreciate the fact that this one is much shorter. Just liking on facebook, following on twitter, a free entry and 2 options to share the giveaway make this much faster to enter.  

Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)
  Or $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)
  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)

Each of these bloggers/authors/publishers paid to help sponsor this giveaway.   Sponsor List I Am A Reader Feed Your Reader A Leisure Moment A & E KIRK, YA Paranormal Authors MoreThanaReview Leisure Reads MamaNYC Megan Thomason, author of the daynight series A Book Lover's Retreat BookHounds Author Christie Anderson Sarah Ballance Glistering: Bs Blog Kai Strand Lori's Reading Corner Bound 4 Escape My Nook, Books & More Jeannie Moon MI Bookshelf Sharon Bayliss MyLadyWeb: Women's History & Women Authors Aubrey Wynne: Romance Through The Ages Michael Allan Scott   Sign up to sponsor the next Group Giveaway here: http://www.iamareader.com/category/kindle-giveaway-sign-ups   Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). Ends 10/26/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

September 24, 2014

Three Times A Charm with Joshua Bellin

Today on Three Times A Charm we welcome The YA Guy himself, Joshua Bellin. I love introducing my readers to new authors. Joshua's debut novel is JUST RELEASED.

Thanks for joining us, Joshua. Would you please tell us a little about your awesome self?

I’m a lifelong resident of Pittsburgh, PA who loves (in no particular order) frogs, gorillas, human beings, and monsters. I’m also a husband, father, teacher, environmentalist, political cartoonist, and movie buff. Survival Colony 9 is my debut novel, but there’s plenty more where that came from!

I’m so excited that Survival Colony 9 is finally out! I can’t wait to read it. For the readers who haven’t been obsessing over it like me, can you tell us about it, please?

In a futuristic landscape ravaged by war, a colony’s hopes for survival hinge on one teenage boy in this fast-paced, action-packed story.

Querry Genn is in trouble. He can’t remember anything before the last six months. And Querry needs to remember. Otherwise he’s dead weight to Survival Colony 9, one of the groups formed after a brutal war ravaged the planet. And now the Skaldi have come to scavenge what’s left of humanity. No one knows what the Skaldi are, or why they’re here, just that they impersonate humans, taking their form before shedding the corpse like a skin.

If he can recall his past, Querry might hold the key to defeat the Skaldi. If he can’t, he’s their next victim.

I recommend Survival Colony 9 to readers who like:

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

SURVIVAL COLONY 9 is available now from Simon & SchusterAmazon,Barnes & NobleIndieBound, select Wal-Mart stores, and other online and physical retailers!

Woo hoo! Doesn’t that sound exciting?!

Okay, Joshua, now it is time for the three’s. Give us your top three answers to the following questions so we might get to know you better.

  • Top 3 skills to hone for people just starting in your business.

Skill #1: Get outside yourself and write about people, places, and experiences not your own. One of my favorite writing teachers said not to “write what you know” but to “write what you want to know,” and I think that’s much better advice.

Skill #2: Study craft, but learn the difference between form and formula. Superior writing creates its own form, while inferior writing sticks to formula.

Skill #3: Develop a thick skin. You will be disappointed, rejected, negatively reviewed, sworn at on Goodreads, and lots of other nasty things, but if you remember why you wanted to write in the first place, all this stuff will slide off you.

  • Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a stop-motion animator. My favorite movie was King Kong (1933 original), and I idolized the man who did the special effects, Willis O’Brien, along with his protégé, Ray Harryhausen. I also dreamed of being an artist, either a fantasy illustrator like the Brothers Hildebrandt or a comic-book artist like Jack Kirby. But the truth is, I also wanted to be an author from a very early age. I started my first novel at age eight, and though I didn’t finish it, I still have the typed copy in my file drawer!

  • Top 3 favorite places.

Every summer growing up, my family would go to Diamond Lake, just outside White Cloud, Michigan, where I’d spend a week playing with my cousins (twenty-two of them), swimming, and catching (and releasing!) frogs and turtles. Because of that experience, I also love the pond in the cemetery near my home, where I walk with my wife and kids to watch the wildlife, collect buckeyes, and enjoy the peace and quiet. And I also love the seaside town of Rockport, Massachusetts, where I’ve spent many summer vacations ever since my kids were little. They’re not so little now, and they’ve convinced me and my wife to try other, more exotic locales, but Rockport will always be my favorite!

And finally, where can our tech savvy readers find more about you and your brand new book?

Thanks for joining us on this week’s Three Times A Charm, Joshua! Best of luck to you and Survival Colony 9.


GUESTS WELCOME!  I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.

September 23, 2014

Favorite Author's Favorites

Welcome to FAVE-A-FAVE, all about author favorites. I love that the internet gives us access to authors. I’m a fangirl and I’m not afraid to admit it, and I LOVE to be able to help readers get to know their favorite authors better as well as discover new ones.

Grab a pen and paper, or log onto your Goodreads account, because more than likely you’ll find a title or two to add to your very own list. Please visit the authors’ websites and browse their work. Be sure to come back weekly to learn more about many awesome authors!

First, I asked authors to share with us the scariest book they’ve read.

Period. 8, a Young Adult book by Chris Crutcher is the scariest non-scary book I’ve read.  Sheer treachery is afoot when someone from Period 8 goes missing.  Crutcher is inspired by keeping everything teen comfort and reality while shocking his readers, most of whom do not see it coming. Nancy Stewart – (Nancy writes fiction for kids and young adults)

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alving Schwartz. I honestly only got through a couple—I’m a wimp when it comes to scary! – Meradeth Houston (Meradeth writes for Young Adult and New Adult readers of fantasy and science fiction. Scientist by day, writer by night—basically she’s running on no sleep!)

Katie L. Carroll (author of fiction for teens and kids) shared her favorite YA Fantasy.

I love, love, love when a book surprises me. The whole time I was reading this book (which wasn’t very long because I simply flew through it), I sensed something was off, but I never could quite figure it out. And when everything finally comes together, it still came as a shock to me. That’s the best I can do to explain what I love about this book without being spoilery! [Extra points to Katie for using the word spoilery.]

Deek Rhew (who is an adult thriller author) was pretty adamant that best voice in a book goes to:

I’d have to give this to Nelson DeMille’s character, John Corey, who first appeared in the book Plum Island and since been a main character in half a dozen follow-up books. This guy is sarcastic, capable, chased by demons, an NYPD cop-turned-FBI-agent, but still has a good heart.

But for Dianne Hartsock, (author of m/m erotic romances, both contemporary and fantasy, psychological thrillers, and anything else that comes to mind.) best voice goes to:

Hands down, it's Bryan Dennison in The Red Sheet by Mia Kerick. This author has captured the essence of a sixteen year old boy to perfection. I know this boy, met him in my brothers and the guys I went to high school with. I love this boy for all his faults and his great desire to be a better person than he has been.

Finally, I wanted to know an author's favorite author.

Like many of us, Crystal Collier (who writes fantastic genre mash-ups for teens and young or young at heart women. There may even be cheese involved. Or not.) couldn’t list just one!

Too many. Cassandra Clare, Dean Koontz, Barbara Hambly, Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Anne Ursu and more.

We’d love to hear your favorites. Share some in the comments, or ask our authors more about theirs.

September 22, 2014

Elixir Bound by Katie L Caroll - Sale and Giveaway

I'd like to share all the fun surrounding Katie L. Carroll's young adult fantasy, ELIXIR BOUND (a great book, by the way.) Please take the time to see all that she's offering and we'd love if you share the news as well. Thanks!

YA fantasy
by Katie L. Carroll

Katora Kase is next in line to take over as guardian to a secret and powerful healing Elixir. Now she must journey into the wilds of Faway Forest to find the ingredient that gives the Elixir its potency. Even though she has her sister and brother, an old family friend, and the handsome son of a mapmaker as companions, she feels alone.

It is her decision alone whether or not to bind herself to the Elixir to serve and protect it until it chooses a new guardian. The forest hosts many dangers, including wicked beings that will stop at nothing to gain power, but the biggest danger Katora may face is whether or not to open up her heart to love.

Ebook on sale for $.99 until September 27:

Signed paperback giveaway on Goodreads until September 28: 

About the Author:

Katie L. Carroll began writing at a very sad time in her life after her 16-year-old sister, Kylene, unexpectedly passed away. Since then writing has taken her to many wonderful places, real and imagined. She wrote ELIXIR BOUND and the forthcoming ELIXIR SAVED so Kylene could live on in the pages of a book. Katie is also the author of the picture app THE BEDTIME KNIGHT and an editor for MuseItUp Publishing. She lives not too far from the beach in a small Connecticut city with her husband and son. For more about Katie, visit her website at www.katielcarroll.com and follow her on Twitter (@KatieLCarroll) or Tumblr.

September 19, 2014

Building Character with Rosemary and Josh Cooper from Shadows of New York

It’s Friday! Time for Building Character in which you get to meet characters from a book. Talking to a character outside of their book is fun! Huge. Amounts. Of fun. 

This week Strands of Thought plays host to Rosemary and Josh Cooper from Shadows of New York. Rosemary and Josh are brother and sister (just like the writing team that wrote their story – huh!) 

I’m so glad you guys could join us. I’m really looking forward to reading your book. Can you tell our readers a little about yourselves, please?

Josh: Hi, I’m Josh. Um, I’m eleven years old and this is my sister–
Rosemary: Ladies first, Josh!
J: I was just about to introduce you. You can be so annoying sometimes!
R: Whaevs. Hi, everyone! I’m Rosemary Cooper. I’m six years old and I love glitter!
J: Um, don’t you think there’s something more interesting we should tell them about?
R: Like what?
J: Like the fact that our nanny is a werewolf?
R: Oh, yeah! Aiden is a werewolf. Isn’t that cool?

Oh! Well, that has to make things…uh…interesting. Is there any other conflict are you up against?

R: What does conflict mean?
J: It means something you're fighting against.
R: Oh. I fight with you a lot, Josh. You can be such a poodle sometimes.
J: I'm not really sure what that means. But I think the question was more about the book. I'll answer this one. In Shadows of New York, there's a creature, a shadowy wraith named Mr. Midnight, creeping around, attacking other magical creatures. Werewolves are really good at fighting wraiths, so our nanny Aiden has to help stop him.

What are some of the biggest stumbling blocks you’ve encountered trying to resolve your conflict?

R: Oh my gosh! I'm always stumbling over my baby brother Jackson's blocks. He leaves them all over the floor.
J: I'll take this one, too. Well, Aiden can't just drop everything and chase after Mr. Midnight. He still has a job to do, taking care of us. My stumbling block is that I want to help, but everyone seems to think I'm too young. So I have to get creative and talk them into letting me help.

What have you learned about yourself or friend or family while trying to resolve your conflict?

R: I don't think I learned anything. I was pretty smart to begin with.
J: Well, it’s like Aiden told me: sometimes you have to stand up for the people you love, no matter what.
R: Oo, I know! I learned that I look good in sparkly lipgloss!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

R: I want to be a cat. With a rainbow-colored collar.
J: Probably a werewolf trainer. Now that I’ve learned so much about the Imaginary World, I could probably get a job like that.

If you could change one thing in this world, what would you change?

R: Two words: glitter Fridays.
J: That sounds terrible. What does that even mean?
R: Be quiet, you poodle. It means that everyone would have to wear sparkly clothes every Friday.
J: Okay. I would say that I'd want all the creatures of the Imaginary World to be able to live out in the open without worrying about regular people being scared of them.
R: Oh, that's so sweet. Can I make that mine, too?

See, dear Readers, why I’ve been SO looking forward to this book? These kids are awesome! Here is more information about their book, Shadows of New York.

What do you do when your view of the world gets turned on its head? Eleven-year-old Josh Cooper is surprised when his new nanny ends up being a dude, but that pales in comparison to how he feels when he learns the nanny, Aiden, is also a werewolf. Aiden teaches Josh about the Imaginary World, even introducing him to his friends Larry Fancypants (a suave-yet-goofy vampire) and Steve Lickerman (a tall-yet-meek leprechaun). This fascinating world seems harmless, until Josh learns of the shadowy wraith that’s stalking New York, attacking creatures and stealing their powers. As werewolves are ideally suited for fighting wraiths, Aiden is called upon to help capture the elusive Mr. Midnight, unintentionally drawing Josh even deeper into the strange and mysterious.

Here is some info on the brother/sister writing duo:

Heather Fraser Brainerd is a multi-published author and a renaissance woman. After earning a degree in Anthropology, she embarked on an incongruous career as a workers’ compensation insurance adjuster. She rapidly climbed the claims-handling ladder before surprising her colleagues by leaving the high-powered world of lumbar strains and carpal tunnel syndrome to run a child care center. Thousands of dirty diapers and gallons of strained peas later, she decided that maybe the insurance industry wasn’t quite as bad as she remembered. Unfortunately, it was. Fortunately, a few years later, she met the most wonderful man in the world. Now a stay-home mom to three amazing boys, she is able, at long last, to focus on her writing. She works in a variety of genres, including paranormal mystery, Young Adult paranormal romance, and Middle Grade fantasy. Heather lives in New York with her family and their crazy pug/terrier.

David Fraser was born on March 25, 1973. March 25, incidentally, is International Waffle Day (Vårfudagn in Sweden) and Tolkien Reading Day (The Ring was destroyed on March 25). Elton John shares his birthday. So next March 25, you should eat a waffle while reading Lord of the Rings and listening to Rocket Man. I know Dave will.
Before deciding to become an internationally-famous author, Dave held a number of different jobs. He processed small business insurance policy changes, tested software on digital copier/printers, put out little orange flags in pick-your-own strawberry fields, installed internet cable in schools, shelved books in a library, taught college calculus, and handed out raffle tickets at a Barry Manilow concert. Granted, this last job was a one day temp job, but it was awesome.
Twitter: Heather:  https://twitter.com/HFBrainerd
              Dave: https://twitter.com/DonaldFarster

If you have a character from a children’s, middle grade or young adult book you’d like to see featured on Building Character, contact Kai via email: kaistrand at yahoo dot com.

September 17, 2014

Three Times A Charm with Deirdra Eden & #Giveaway

Three Times A Charm is my weekly feature where I introduce readers to new authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the children’s publishing industry.

Today’s guest is author, Deirdra Eden. Thanks for joining us, Deirdra. Please tell us a little about you.

I love adventures, all different kinds of people, kitties, and unicorns.
I sword fight and do archery. I love to remodel old buildings and explore the woods.
I can walk along the ocean coast for miles looking for shells and pretty rocks or just being memorized by the waves.
I love to walk across wooden bridges, hang out in tree houses, and eat blackberries off the vine and fruit that I pick from the trees.
My favorite time is in the morning at sunrise and when it rains.

I love sunrise too. The most peaceful time of day. Wish I could experience it without having to wake up so early. Now, tell us more about The Watchers.

The Watchers Series has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural.

The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Traditional Apocrypha, The Pearl of Great Price and the Kabbalah.

“The Watchers” are angels or supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness.
Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad.

Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s The Watcher’s Series is non-denominational and is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions.

Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

  • Top 3 tools of the trade you couldn’t live without.

My Book Manager, Laura Watkins
My gorgeous hubby for inspiration and support (and babysitter)
My computer

  • Top 3 most admired people and why you admire them.

Nicey Nash for her straightforward wisdom
Queen Ranya for her efforts in uniting people who are usually at war with each other
Sheri Dew for being as strong as Queen Bodica and helping women understand their self-worth.

  • Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up.

A singer/songwriter
A gymnast
An assassin

Where can our tech savvy readers find more about you and your books?

Thank you, Deirdra, for joining us on Three Times A Charm. Best of luck to you and The Watchers. Readers, be sure to enter Deirdra's giveaway!

GUESTS WELCOME!  I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.

September 14, 2014

King of Bad #Giveaway

Hey everybody! I was unpacking books at a signing and came across a copy of King of Bad with a torn cover. Since I can’t sell it, I decided to hold a giveaway instead!

Along with a signed, slightly damaged copy of King of Bad, I’m also giving away several sets of character trading cards. These cards have been specially designed for book one in the series. There will be a separate design for each book – so be among the first to own a set of the King of Bad cards.

About the book:

Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA.

He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?

Available in print or electronic: Whiskey Creek Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble 


[Pyro] swung the door open with a flourish and indicated for Jeff to go inside. Jeff stepped into the doorway and stopped. They were in some sort of gymnasium. Kids ranging from about 12 to 18 years old were hard at work testing their athleticism in a freak show sort of way. A girl did chin-ups at twice the speed of a top Olympian. A boy ran across a high wire. The most beautiful girl Jeff had ever laid eyes on leaned against the wall across the room. Jeff tore his eyes from her when an oddly shaped ball soared over the heads of the kids. Two boys enjoyed a game of catch. At least Jeff thought the sneers on their faces indicated enjoyment. Suddenly a head popped out of the ball.
“Come on, you wimps, get further apart.”
Jeff’s stomach lurched when he realized the ball was a contorted girl.
In the far corner of the gym a couple of kids were involved in extreme wresting. Jeff watched one kid leap six feet off the ground and pile drive the other kid into the thick stack of mats. He thought they’d have a future in WWE if the super villain thing didn’t pan out for them. Jeff’s gaze wandered back to the beautiful redhead. She smiled at him and his stomach fluttered.
Pyro nudged Jeff into the gym and let the door close. “Each S.V. has at least one prominent ability. Most of us are faster and stronger than the average human, but there are a few that are faster or stronger than the average S.V. There are also those of us who have fire as well as those who have ice. You can usually find an S.V. with a complementary ability to yours.” Pyro pointed at a dark haired girl standing in the center of the room.
The girl had a large bucket in front of her. Her face was contorted with concentration, but Jeff couldn’t see anything happening. Then all at once a geyser of water burst toward the ceiling and it fell back down on the assemblage in a misty rain. The girl’s face broke into an exultant smile as the dripping kids groaned and grumbled around her.
“Wow, that’s really hard to do,” Pyro said, “break an element into so many little particles. She’ll have a headache later.”


I found myself falling in love with all the characters in the book. I loved the different abilities each one of them have. Kai did an outstanding job writing this book. I could not put it down. It is filled with lots of action and even some romance. Everything you want in a book. Victoria for Page Turners Blog

Can't wait for the sequel! – Christopher White for Amazon

You have through October 3rd to enter. The giveaway is open to International residences too. So SPREAD THE WORD!

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My special thanks to the generous bloggers who are hosting a stop on their blogs. 

Trisha Leaver, YA Author 
Katie L Carroll Observation Desk
Angela Smith, Love Is A MysteryViolet Ingram
Michael Thal
Angela Brown
Eric Price
The YA Guy
The Story of a Writer
Book Blather
Mary Waibel
Sharon Ledwith
SA Larsen
Erin Albert Books
Krysten Lindsay Hager
M Pax
Palace of Twelve Pillars
Putting Words Down On Paper
Only But A Dream
Kelly Hashway
Donna McDine

September 10, 2014

Three Times A Charm with Shannon L Brown

Three Times A Charm is my weekly feature where I introduce readers to new authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the children’s publishing industry.

Today’s guest is author, Shannon L. Brown. Thanks for joining us, Shannon. Please tell us a little about you.

I read and read as a kid, particularly every mystery I could find. I didn't plan to be a writer though. I first earned a degree in journalism & communications then a second degree in education. But I didn't end up working in either field. I wrote my first book, a clean romance, shortly after earning those degrees. I submitted it to a publisher, but when it was rejected I moved on.

Fast forward to a day some years later when I was driving and an image of a briefcase filled with feathers popped into my mind. I knew it was the idea for a children's mystery and The Feather Chase was born.
I wrote it while I worked in unrelated fields. I also began writing magazine articles on the side and gradually moved to doing that full-time. I'm now an award-winning writer, have sold more than 600 articles for local, national and regional publications and, until I resigned to finish the book, was the contributing editor for a jewelry publication. (Which tells you, you never know where life may take you.)

I stepped back from most of that writing to edit The Feather Chase and see it published in February of 2014. It's a fun mystery and the first in the Crime-Solving Cousins Mystery series. Now I'm using the classes I had in communications to write and those in education to speak to children about writing.

I'm originally from Alaska but live in Nashville, Tennessee with my professor husband and our adorable calico cat Evie. I'm working on the second book in the series. Hint: It begins with a gift wrapped package that is left on Sophie's front porch.

I find it so brave when people quit their jobs to pursue a writing career. It’s so risky! Now, tell us more about The Feather Chase.

The Feather Chase is a fun mystery for girls ages 8-12. It has tense moments, but it’s overall fun and upbeat.

Twelve-year-old cousins Sophie and Jessica are stuck together for the summer, and they don’t have much in common. Sophie loves hiking and her small town. Jessica would rather be shopping in a city. Then they find a briefcase in the forest with a surprise inside. When they hear footsteps behind them and bad guys run after them, they have no choice but to work together to solve the mystery.

The Feather Chase is available in print and ebook wherever books are sold.
Barnes & Noble:

Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

  • Top 3 snacks to munch on while working. 
Like Sophie, I enjoy fruity things. I often have a frozen grape juice bar as a snack. But I also share Jessica’s love of chocolate. (The two girls have bits of me in them.) Unlike Jessica, I only need one piece of chocolate, and I’m good for the day. Dark chocolate, of course! My third favorite snack would be something sweet like a cookie or a granola bar. Right now I have some snickerdoodles I made stored in the freezer, and I like to grab one and eat it frozen.

  • Top 3 leisure activities. 
Reading is probably my favorite thing to do. I read a novel in bed every night. Mysteries are my favorite, and it helps me relax so that I can sleep well. The books aren’t boring; fiction just quiets me down.

Shopping and baking tie for second place. Baking from scratch is also relaxing, and I love being able to share the things I bake with others. Like Jessica, I enjoy shopping. To me, it’s like a treasure hunt—I hit the sales and find great deals for things I really like.

Hiking on a trail through the woods is both awesome exercise and relaxing. I guess all of my favorite leisure activities are relaxing to me. Unlike Sophie who sees hiking and camping as equal, I’ll stick with the hiking and sleep in a nice bed at night. I grew up camping in Alaska—everything from boating to a camping site next to a lake to flying in and sleeping on a frozen river in the winter. I fit a lifetime of camping into my life early on.

  • Top 3 favorite places. 
Almost anywhere in rolling, green hills. I think my home of Nashville, Tennessee is beautiful. I’m from Alaska and we had tall mountains right behind my house, more than half the year covered with snow. I picture the fictional town of Pine Hill in The Feather Chase as having rolling hills around a lake. I hope to be able to visit somewhere that looks like that.

A beach is high on my list of places to visit. I spent a lot of time in Hawaii growing up and love walking on a warm beach with the water lapping at my feet. I say “warm” because I walked on a beach in Alaska and my feet went numb. Really.

Beautiful cities in Europe are also a favorite. I gave Jessica the hometown of London, England. I’m a huge anglophile and have read hundreds of books set in England.

Where can our tech savvy readers find more about you and your books?

Thank you, Shannon, for joining us on Three Times A Charm. Best of luck to you and The Feather Chase.


GUESTS WELCOME!  I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.