Friday, August 31, 2012

Interview with Emlyn Chand

Interview with author Emlyn Chand

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?
Harry Potter, duh! If Hermoine and Luna had a baby, it would be me. Ponder this for a moment...

If you were a bird, which one would you be?
Oh, boy did you ever ask the right person this question. Widely known fact, I’m a crazy bird lady. Evidence: my sun conure, Ducky, is the mascot for my business, Novel Publicity. He also has his own blog and is on Twitter, Facebook, and GoodReads. Furthermore, I write a children’s book series called the Bird Brain Books—each volume features a different feathery protagonist. To answer your question, if I could be any bird, I’d be my pet Ducky. He is EXTREMELY spoiled and pretty famous in his own right.

If you were a super hero what would your kryptonite be?
Facebook. The villain could distract me with an interesting comment thread or funny photo and then sneak right on by to destroy the world.

Favorite music?
Here’s an answer you never saw coming from a YA author:  Frank Sinatra. I love Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, anything happy. They “make me smile in my heart.” I swear half of me is stuck at twelve years old and the other half is in its seventies—whatevs.

Favorite Food?
Ice cream! No... Taco Bell. No, tiramisu. No! Ice cream, definitely ice cream!

Favorite Candy?
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups—the miniature ones, because I swear they taste different than the big ones!

Hidden talent?
Hidden? Please! If I have a talent, you better believe I’m going to show it to the world. I always liked getting attention ;-)

What is your dream cast for your book?
Let me just say this:  I have a part for Taylor Lautner if any of my books are ever made into movies. Even if it doesn’t make sense for him to be in it, I will make it make sense. In the Farsighted series, I could totally see him playing Alex. 

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
Oh, you betcha. I’m really into creating playlists for each of my books. You can check out playlists for Farsighted, Open Heart, and Pitch (which will be release in 2013) at Farsighted’s list is more alta-rock and represents the character Alex; his theme song is “Enter Sandman” by Metallica. Open Heart’s list is primarily Bollywood and represents Simmi; her theme song is “Main Yahaa Hoon” from the movie Veer Zaara. 

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Hearing someone liked my book. Yes, it’s as simple as that. Farsighted has won something like ten awards now, and each of those makes me feel great, because it means someone got what I was trying to do and appreciated it. I also love it when fans email me or connect with me on Twitter and Facebook—those simple little things make my day so bright. Don’t forget to reach out to your favorite authors; we just love it! 

About the author:
Emlyn Chand emerged from the womb with a fountain pen clutched in her left hand (true story). Since then, she has always loved to hear and tell stories. When she's not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm Novel Publicity. Emlyn enjoys connecting with readers and is available throughout the social media Internet world. Visit for more info. Don't forget to say "hi" to her sun conure Ducky!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Scent of the Roses by P.G. Forte - Guest Post & Kindle Fire Giveaway

Scent of the Roses
Oberon, book 1
by P.G. Forte

For years, Scout Patterson has tried to run from the mistakes in her past. Now Scout is going home to face the ghosts she has never laid to rest, and find the love she thought she d lost forever. 

Add on Goodreads, and buy on Amazon

A Sense of Place
Guest Post by P.G. Forte 

It seems like I’ve been in love with California for most of my life. Something about the sun-drenched mystique of it appealed to me from a very young age.  It’s not perfect, of course. No place is. But that’s one of the nice things about writing fiction. It gives you the opportunity to improve on reality and create a world that’s better than real life.

I’d been living in California for about thirteen years when I first got the idea for the Oberon series. Northern California, Southern California, Central Coast—I’d lived in and loved them all; and so I had a very clear idea about what kind of atmosphere I wanted for Oberon. 

I wanted it to have the laid-back, beachy feel of the South combined with the new age inventiveness of the North tempered by the slightly-buzzed, wine country charm of the Central Coast. I wanted to give it cool foggy mornings, warm sunny days and bright starry nights. I wanted rolling hills and winding roads all leading to a quaint little village perched atop sheer, coastal cliffs.  And above all else I wanted it to have a hint of magic—or maybe more than a hint.

See, I knew the town itself would play a very important part in the series, and that was never just because of its physical location. There’s a paranormal component to the series that needed to be made manifest in the town of Oberon as well. 

I did have a bit of an advantage going in.  After all, the west has always had certain, rather specific, mystic properties in most mythic traditions—going all the way back to the ancient Egyptians who placed the “land of the dead” on the western banks of the Nile. In Celtic mythology, Tírna nÓg, the ‘land of the young’ was said to be located on a series of islands in the western sea. So by simply locating Oberon on the West Coast, I figured I was already ahead of the game, already tapping into the Collective Unconscious.

I didn’t just leave it at that, however. I also added in elements of Earth Magic and drew from a wide range of spiritual traditions, both old and new, to create a location that was steeped in mysticism. Not that everyone in Oberon believes in that kind of nonsense. Yes, I populated the town with witches and wizards, empaths and channels, psychics, and shamans, even a ghost or three; but there are also quite a few “normal” folks thrown into the mix, as well as a healthy group of skeptics. The town needs them. They provide grounding.

The Oberon I ended up creating is a very special place. It’s reminiscent of many of the towns I’ve lived in or visited, but it’s also taken on a life of its own.  Every now and then I’ll pass a place in real life that reminds me so strongly of some feature that exists in Oberon that I’ll be amazed by the resemblance.  Until I remember why it seems so familiar.  That’s usually because it’s a place I’d borrowed and improved on for my own vision of the perfect, quintessential California town. Somehow, my make-believe version has become so real to me that it often seems like life is imitating art, rather than the other way around.  I guess that’s the real magic of fiction. 

Find out more at, on Twitter, and Facebook.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton - Waiting on Wednesday

This is one that I have waiting for review, but since I am anxious to read it, I wanted to share it with you.

What Happens Next
by Colleen Clayton
Expected publication: October 9, 2012
by Poppy (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)

How can you talk about something you can’t remember?

Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still...), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.

Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect... or so she thinks.

Add on Goodreads. 

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.  

Never Doubt the Power of Social Media - Gregory G. Allen, author of Chicken Boy - Kindle Fire Giveaway

Chicken Boy: The Amazing Adventures of a Super Hero with Autism by Gregory G. Allen
March 7, 2012 by MeeGenius

"I have a superhero inside my head. I call him Chicken Boy" proclaims our hero.

What others may see as odd "quirks", a child living with autism explains as all a part of his being a superhero. Told in the first person perspective, Chicken Boy offers a small glimpse into the mind of one child who wants others to understand they shouldn't fear someone simply because that person is a little different.

Add on Goodreads, and buy on Amazon

Never Doubt Power of Social Media
by Gregory G. Allen 

To say I owe much to social media for the publication of my children's book would be an understatement. But let me just give a little backstory first on how Chicken Boy was born.

The story was based on my ten year old godson who I spend every Wed. night with going to his favorite restaurant with his mother and sister. Because of him, I became much more aware of autism over the years. His sister and I started making up a story one night about our little 'superhero' and that grew into this book. It was important for me to tell it from the child's perspective and I'm so aware this is but one story (one small story) on the large line that is autism. Yet it still felt important for me to share it.

After writing it, a friend told me about the MeeGenius author challenge and I joined 400 other manuscripts that were entered last fall. I had no idea what I was in store for. All the stories were put up online and the next thing I knew, it became a contest for votes. I only know so many people in the world, but boy did they work hard to spread the word. Before I knew it, I was getting wonderful comments all through the voting process with the MeeGenius Author Challenge from people in the autism community that read the story. It was sometimes overwhelming and yet humbling to hear how the story was touching all of these people…these strangers.

People tweeted about the book to get votes. Strangers. Famous people. Autism organizations. It was an incredible feeling. And then the winners were announced and the book won because of social media. Winning the People's Choice Award came with publication of the digital book by MeeGenius, a $1500 prize and a library of the MeeGenius books being donated to my godson's school in New Jersey in the US. 

So many people were asking me if they could get the book in print, I knew it was important to do just that. So I went to an indie publisher (who has published my adult books), took my prize money and used it to get the illustrations and layout design fixed to create a 32 page picture book that I could hand over to this publisher (as they had yet to go down the road of publishing children's books). But now I can give readers the choice between digital and print. And I'm so grateful to MeeGenius for the social media platform they gave me during the voting to come in contact with so many autism organizations. I dubbed my friends #TeamChickenBoy as they took to social media and were able to make contact with so many wonderful people.

About the author:
Gregory G. Allen was raised in Texas, but now calls New Jersey home. His mother (an avid reader) passed on the love of written words to Gregory. He is an award-winning author & composer, a playwright, and manages an arts center on a college campus. He has had several short stories published, a musical theater writer with over ten original musicals produced, and contributes articles and blogs to online sources.

Find out more at, on Twitter, and Facebook.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Serafina and the Silent Vampire by Marie Treanor - Release Day Blitz

Serafina and the Silent Vampire
by Marie Treanor

Silence has never been so sinful…

Welcome to Edinburgh's unique psychic investigation agency, Serafina's.

Serafina MacBride is psychic - but not strictly honest. While staging a hilarious vampire attack at a client's party, Sera is stunned to encounter a real vampire - annoying, gorgeous and inaudible to everyone but her. When her client's son is found dead with puncture wounds in his neck, she tracks the silent vampire to his lair.

But the amoral and seductive Blair is also on a mission - to find and kill a nest of young vampires who've invaded his territory. Soon Sera is drawn into the bizarre world of the undead, where danger lurks in the shadows along with forbidden sensual delights - and a murderous conspiracy to flood the world with financially astute vampires who talk.

Supported and hindered by Blair's eccentric, undead friends, and by her own motley crew from Serafina's, Sera and Blair uncover surprising truths about each other and about the mysterious Founder from whom all vampires are descended.

In the end, Sera draws on powers she never knew she had in a frantic fight to defeat the forces of evil and preserve the strange, complicated being she's trying so hard not to love.

Add on Goodreads.

About the author:
Marie Treanor lives in Scotland with her eccentric husband and three much-too-smart children. Having grown bored with city life, she resides these days in a picturesque village by the sea where she is lucky enough to enjoy herself avoiding housework and writing sensual stories of paranormal romance and fantasy. 

Marie has published more than twenty ebooks with small presses, (Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Changeling Press and The Wild Rose Press), including a former Kindle bestseller, Killing Joe. Blood on Silk: an Awakened by Blood novel, was her New York debut with NAL.

Find out more at and on Facebook.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Dementional by Tonya Cannariato - Guest Post & Kindle Fire Giveaway

by Tonya Cannariato
August 23, 2012
Katarr Kanticles Press

Mark Inman has two loves: particle physics and Sarah. She agrees to become his wife at the same time his experiment to find the Higgs boson goes off the rails.

Journey with Mark while his existence melts and reforms in unpredictable ways as the veils between realities thin. His exploration of the minutiae of quantum physics builds a fascinating tapestry of alternate universes.

His search for survival, and the search for meaning and what is real, drive Mark as he experiences lives he never dreamed possible. His only touchstones: find Sarah and find his way home.

Add on Goodreads, and buy on Smashwords or Amazon.  

Is an ounce of prevention really worth a pound of cure? Which is more valuable? Why do you feel this way?
by Tonya Cannariato 

I'm introducing Mark Inman, the particle physicist protagonist of Dementional. 

From the character’s perspective
As a scientist, I try to design experiments that follow the medical doctor's creed of “do no harm”; it fits with my pacifist inclinations. This, despite the fact that I'm employed by the Pentagon. However, I chose to work for that organization on the understanding that there is a strong argument to be made for the fact that a strong defense diminishes the need for countries to go on offensive adventures, so I'm doing what I can to help make sure the US maintains its security. My fascination with sub-atomic particles has led me to extend the experimentation around the recent discovery of the Higgs Boson as a way of establishing a dark matter shield that would be nearly impossible to break, given the unpredictable nature of quantum interactions.

The problem is, being too cautious doesn't get you to the cutting edge of discovery, while being too blasé regarding unintended consequences leads to the kind of disaster documented in the book about me, Dementional. 

Ultimately, from the perspective of scientific inquiry into the nature of soul and what it means to understand yourself as a distinct individual, the experiment that led to my dislocation in spacetime was a radical success. From the perspective of duplication of my experience, I would argue there couldn't be strong enough safeguards in place to prevent random, accidental dislocations that could have the unintended consequence of driving a nation mad. I'm still not sure whether my travels were more mental than physical—and I'm also willing to suspend scientific inquiry into what I went through, in the hopes that I've rediscovered my equilibrium.

About the author:
A voracious reader since she was a toddler, and an ordained spiritualist, Tonya Cannariato has now presided over the marriage of her love of reading and her love of writing. She’s lived a nomadic life, following first her parents in their Foreign Service career through Africa, Europe, and Asia, and then her own nose criss-crossing America as she’s gotten old enough to make those choices for herself. She’s currently based in Milwaukee with her three loves: her husband and two Siberian Huskies. She suspects her Huskies of mystical alchemy with their joyous liberation of her muse and other magical beings for her inspiration. She loves to sleep, to watch her interesting dreams, some of which are now finding new life in written form. 

Find out more about Tonya on her website, Twitter, and Facebook

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Writing From a Child's Point of View - K.G. Wehner - Kindle Fire Giveaway

Dr. Von Thistle's Curious Concoction: The Miss-Adventures of Amy & Tracy
by K.G. Wehner

It’s 1958. Eleven-year-old cousins Amy and Tracy Cimino are burdened by pounding drums only they can hear. Amy feels it’s linked to her recent nightmare. Although Amy often has dreams that come true, Tracy isn’t worried. She’s much too busy coming up with a talent she can showcase on a popular radio show.

When a well-known scientist shows up at their mothers’ big gala, all their guests are smitten with him. Except Amy, who feels he is the man in her nightmare. Tracy thinks Amy is making a big deal out of nothing. What would a famous scientist want with ordinary ol’ them?

Except Amy and Tracy are anything but ordinary. They can speak with each other telepathically. And while Amy predicts the future through dreams, Tracy discovers she has her own amazing talent…one she can’t share with the world. In trying to escape the evil scientist who is intent on kidnapping them, they find time portals that send Amy to the future while Tracy becomes stuck in the past.

Amy’s nightmare does seem to be coming true after all. Can they escape the evil scientist once and for all, or might they be trapped in different time periods separated from each other forever?

Add on Goodreads, and buy on Smashwords or Amazon.

Writing from a Child’s Point of View
by K.G. Wehner

When my sister and I were four and five respectively, we morphed into characters we named Amy and Tracy, even invented their history. Thanks to our mother allowing us to watch a movie where a person is swallowed by quicksand, Tracy’s mother met the same fate. Amy’s mother died from a heart attack walking in a forest. The motherless girls were sent to an orphanage and adopted by abusive parents. Finally, after being returned to the orphanage for noncompliance, both girls found a home with two rich sisters who lived together in a mansion. (Years later my mother admitted feeling concerned that we killed off our characters’ mothers and pretended that their adopted mothers treated them cruelly. She was relieved to know we didn’t need therapy.)

Since my sister and I were not up on American history as youngsters, we placed Amy and Tracy in the 1400’s, living in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (much to my Cousin Helen’s amusement). Their fathers were Vikings, we decided. That’s why they were never around. (No wonder their mothers were rich…all the pilfered gold and jewels!)

Of course, when I wrote my book many years later, I had to be historically accurate. I decided to use the year 1958. That way the characters could travel back or forward in time, and I could sneak a little history into the storyline. Other than that, I tried to keep the story as organic and honest to our childhood stories as possible.

I thought I’d managed to do it, but when I paid to have an agent critique my first ten pages at a writer’s conference, he said, “Your child characters sound too adult, and I can’t differentiate Amy from Tracy. They sound like the same person.”

That was my first of many “aha” moments. He was right. The kids spoke too formally. They were too similar. I spent the next few years learning how to be a child again. I gave my characters distinctive personalities. Tracy is the dreamer: impulsive, imaginative, and a little bit sloppy. Amy is the thinker: a planner, likes things tidy, and follows through on the goals she sets for herself. Together, they can solve any problem.

Being an adult means being creative in a different way. I have to invent ways to get my kids to finish their carrots and devise clever methods to make brushing teeth and putting on pajamas fun. I still have to think like a kid, but I do it in spurts. When it comes to writing a story from a child’s point of view, I have to dig deep into my memory to find the child inside of me that longs for adventures. I think that’s what I like about writing for kids. I can return to that place where I felt the most happy, loved, and secure. I can relive the days when my sister and I would pretend to be two adopted kids, every possibility a road leading to who knew where, every day a fresh opportunity for imagination. 

Connect with K.G. Wehner on Twitter and Facebook.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Reinventing Claire by Darian Wilk

I haven't done a teaser in a while, but here you go.

"I started crying.  And not the weepy, sniffle kind either, where you delicately blot a hanky to your eye.  No, the snorty, heaving sobbing you only want to do locked in your bathroom with the shower running so no one can hear you.

Reinventing Claire
by Darian Wilk
August 20, 2012 
On page 8 of my ARC copy. 
Add on Goodreads.

Anyone can participate in Teaser Tuesdays. Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Be careful to NOT include spoilers! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title and author.
Teaser Tuesdays was created by MizB of Should Be Reading.
What do you think about this teaser? Please also share your own.

Darian's first novel, Love Unfinished, is currently FREE on Amazon. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

People Watching is Cool - Darian Wilk, author of Reinventing Claire

Reinventing Claire
by Darian Wilk
August 20, 2012

People get divorced, but that's what happens to other people. That's what Claire thought anyway, until her husband, Charlie, tells her he wants a divorce.

Claire has no choice but to take on the title of Divorced Woman and face the question she has no idea how to answer. Who is Claire without Charlie? Her family believes her newly divorced woes can be cured by landing herself a boyfriend. With her dating dunce cap in hand, Claire stumbles her way through the foreign territory of online dating.

A teacher from hell, a softball coach, and a sap later, Claire proclaims herself the dating idiot she thought she was and fears she's doomed to be a lonely, crazy cat lady. But an accidental run-in with an old acquaintance might change everything. What starts with comparing dating battle wounds over a cup of coffee quickly turns into something Claire had given up on.

As Claire discovers maybe there is love after Charlie after all, Charlie realizes his mistake. He wants her back, and he'll do anything to prove it to her. Now Claire must choose who deserves her heart, and if she's really willing to give it away again.

Add on Goodreads.

People Watching is Cool
Guest Post by Darian Wilk

One of the most frequent questions readers ask me is not how I come up with ideas, but how do I create such realistic characters?  This is the part where I give the awe inspiring answer only a brainiac like me could come up with, which will send an explosion heard throughout the literary community… I must give credit to my stealthy, honed, people watching skills.  Wait for the writing world to erupt into applause…wait for it, wait for it…nothing yet?  Crap.  Guess I’m still stuck in the trenches…

The success I’ve had thus far comes from years of being a wallflower and watching, well, you.  People watching is cool.  Admit it, you like it too.  When you see that woman at the grocery store, in a Superman t-shirt, yellow shorts, and her worn out Kermit slippers – you’re staring too.  People watching is not only highly enjoyable, for me it’s also apart of work.  It’s part of my research.  Thus giving me a justifiable excuse to continue staring – I’m working by staring.

Often times I can’t hear the conversation between the cashier and the woman in the Superman shirt, and I don’t really care what they’re talking about.  Dialogue fitting to a character comes naturally when they behave as they should.  I want to see their movements, their reactions, and expressions.  People watching is how I’ve learned the subtleties of people, which I pour into my characters and is what hopefully gives them that realistic flare.  For example, what’s an easy way to spot a couple on their first date at a restaurant?  It’s not the flirtatious smile, or how attentive he seems.  The giveaway?  A woman always has perfect posture on first dates.  The established couple?  She’s slouching and checking Facebook on her phone.

While it may look like I’m just staring at someone for a random reason, I’m actually learning.  I’m studying the traits of real people, to create real people.  I’m learning how a woman reacts to back-handed compliments from her mother-in-law, how a frustrated mom quiets her kids at the mall, and how people react when they run into someone they hoped to avoid. 

A writer could drown in the advice of proper ways to create realistic characters.  Everyone is an expert, or has proclaimed themselves one.  But for me, if my characters feel as if they come to life on the page, it’s not from the hundreds of articles or books I’ve read, it’s credited to watching real people.  So you never know, maybe the next time you wear your Kermit slippers to the store, I’ll be studying you, and you’ll end up in my book. 

About Darian Wilk:
I'm a women's fiction writer, author of Love Unfinished and Reinventing Claire. I love the challenge and thrill of putting words onto paper, and forming it into a story. For me, the only thing better than that are my kids.

On the occasions I'm not engulfed in writing, you'll find me reading a book, either for fun or for review on my blog, Crazy Lady with a Pen. When I'm not reading, I'm spending time with my friends and family. Life is too short to pass those beautiful little moments life has to offer by, I want to soak up every moment I can.

For more information about me, my books, reviews, or my blog, please visit my website, You can also find Darian on Twitter and Facebook. (And occasionally as a reviewer on Krazy Book Lady!)

Darian's first novel, Love Unfinished, is FREE on Amazon August 20-24th. Get your copy now! And check out the new cover. That's my quote!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Nate Rocks the Boat by Karen Pokras Toz - Character Guest Post & Kindle Fire Giveaway

Nate Rocks the Boat
by Karen Pokras Toz
Grand Daisy Press
April 20, 2012

The Adventure Continues...With fourth grade finally winding down, 10-year-old Nathan Rockledge is looking forward to a fun and relaxing summer at home with his friends. That is, until his mom decides he has to go to overnight camp with his annoying older sister. When his best friend, Tommy, decides to tag along, Nathan thinks maybe his summer won’t actually be so bad. After all, he does get to be away from his mom's awful cooking for an entire six weeks. Amongst Color War competitions, a flaky counselor, and a bully named "No-Neck,” Nathan turns to his trusty sketchpad, transforming himself into Nate Rocks: 10-year-old extraordinaire. His speedboat ready for action, Nate saves the day time and again from the perils of floods, snakes, ghosts, and even the most wanted criminals. Join Nathan, Tommy, Abby, and a whole new cast of characters as Nate Rocks once again proves nothing can hold him back.

See my review of Nate Rocks the Boat. 

Add on Goodreads, and buy on Smashwords or Amazon.

What Would I Change About My Story
Character Guest Post from Nate
by Karen Pokras Toz

My author, Karen Pokras Toz, has asked me to pick one thing to change about my story, Nate Rocks the Boat. But honestly, there are just too many things to pick from.  It’s not that I don’t like my story – I do. It’s just that, there are some things in there that I could definitely do without – let’s go down the list: 

1.     Lisa Crane. Was it really necessary to bring my Mom’s best friend’s annoying daughter into the story again? Wasn’t it bad enough that she was in the first book, Nate Rocks the World? Not only that, but you had her come to my going away party where she causes me both physical harm and emotional distress. Yeah – not happy about that one. At least you didn’t have her tag along with me to summer camp, but as long as we’re on the topic ... 

2.     Abby. Yup – you know what I’m talking about. You made my know-it-all whiny older sister go to the same overnight summer camp as me. Talk about mean! Why couldn’t she have just stayed home with Lisa Crane? Ever since the horseshoe incident at my party, they’ve practically been best friends. They would have had a great summer together. Instead, I got stuck with Abby. Thanks. 

3.     Camp.  Now overall, I have to admit I had a great summer. But there were a few things I could have done without – kickball games, color war, and no-neck to name a few.

But just so you don’t think I’m a totally ungrateful ten-year-old, I do want to thank you for sending Tommy along with me – plus the food was really good. Oh and can we talk about Bobino for a minute? He totally rocks! Confused? Well get yourself a copy of Nate Rocks the Boat and see for yourself! 

About the author:
Karen Pokras Toz is a writer, wife, and mom. Karen grew up in the small town of Orange, Connecticut and graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Finance. She also attended the University of Richmond, where she studied law and business, receiving both a JD and an MBA. Karen is a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Karen lives in Montgomery County, PA with her husband and three children.   

You can find out more about Karen Pokras Toz and how to connect with her on her website

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pegasus by Marilyn Holdsworth - Kindle Fire Giveaway

by Marilyn Holdsworth

Widowed at thirty, Hannah Bradley is a successful journalist focusing on animal abuse issues. An accidental meeting introduces her to lawyer, Winston Caughfield III. Drawn to Hannah’s gentle beauty and fierce commitment to her work, Win joins her in a fight to save wild mustangs from slaughter.

Together they rescue a badly injured horse with a mysterious background. Hannah’s search to discover the animal’s true identity leads them into a web of black marketeering and international intrigue. Action packed with crisp colorful dialogue the story propels the reader to a race against time conclusion. Marilyn Holdsworth delivers a gripping tale of mystery, adventure and romance guaranteed to hold the interest and capture the heart. She brings true-life characters together with real-life issues to create a fast-paced irresistible story.

Add on Goodreads, and buy on Amazon.

About the author:
Marilyn Holdsworth graduated from Occidental College, where she majored in literature and history. She has traveled extensively in France and currently is a Huntington Library Fellow. Marilyn is a descendant of James Monroe, has visited Monroe's Virginia residence, and conducted research at the James Monroe Museum. She currently lives in Southern California.

Connect with Marilyn on Facebook. 

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10 Ways YA Novels Leave You Totally Unprepared to be an Actual Adult

10 Ways YA Novels Leave You Totally Unprepared to be an Actual Adult  
Guest Post by Donna Gambale

As someone in my mid-20s, I still fancy myself a "young" adult — but reading YA novels hasn't exactly prepared me for the more adult side of life.

Slowly but surely, I'm learning the correct solutions to the everyday problems my friends and I face, but I much prefer the YA answers. Here's why:

Problem 1: 
The creepy guy at work watches your every move.

Actual Answer: Restraining order.
YA Answer: He's a sexy paranormal being who wants to love you forever. Kiss him!

Problem 2: 
You have too many bills and not enough money.

Actual Answer: Sell everything you own on Craigslist. Beware of serial killers.
YA Answer: Ask mom and dad for an advance on your allowance.
Problem 3:  
There's a really difficult test coming up for your master's class.

Actual Answer: Spend two weeks with your head buried in your textbook. (Despite this, you may still fail.)
YA Answer: Study for five minutes — or better yet, not at all! No worries, you'll pass!

Problem 4: 
Mythical creatures approach you, begging you to help them.

Actual Answer: You may require medication.
YA Answer: You're the one person in all the world who can save their magical realm.

Problem 5: 
That guy you're dating is a real jerk.

Actual Answer: Break up with him. Stat.
YA Answer: Despite his troubled past, he'll soon reveal that he's a romantic, considerate guy who's perfect for you.

Problem 6: 
Even though you moved out three years ago, your parents won't stop telling you what you're doing wrong in life. (AKA everything.)

Actual Answer: Move far away, and/or change your cell phone number and email address.
YA Answer: Aren't parents those people who live in your house and never interfere as you gallivant off into life-threatening situations?

Problem 7:  
Your college loans are killing you ... and you can't get a job related to your major.

Actual Answer: Do you want fries with that?
YA Answer: But doesn't everyone get a full scholarship to a super selective, likely-Ivy-League school, followed by a dream career?

Problem 8: 
You know that guy you just met and exchanged five words with? You're in love! Can it be true?

Actual Answer: It's not love; it's beer goggles. Drink some water, sleep it off, and in the morning, realize your perfect 10 is a perfect 2.
YA Answer: You're meant to be!

Problem 9: 
You've already spent thousands of dollars being a bridesmaid for numerous weddings ... and half your friends are still single.

Actual Answer: Time to make some enemies. And eat ramen like you're still in college.
YA Answer: Awesome! It's like senior prom ALL OVER AGAIN.

Problem 10: 
Two great guys like you, but you have to choose between them.

Actual Answer: Pssst — one is married, and the other one is forty and still lives in his parents' basement.
YA Answer: After months of debating and stringing them both along, you'll pick the one who's OBVIOUSLY meant for you, but the other guy will totally be cool with being your BFF. Awesome!

About the author:
Donna Gambale works an office job by day, writes young adult novels by night, and travels when possible. You can find her online at, where she and her critique group blog about writing, reading, networking, and the rest of life. You can also follow her on Twitter

This post was originally posted on First Novels Club by Donna Gambale. It is reprinted here with permission from the author. 

I came across this post quite by accident one day while searching for something else. I thought it would make an excellent follow-up to a recent guest post, The Mass Appeal of YA Fiction - It's Not Just For Teens by Kimberly Kinrade.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Wicked Wives by Gus Pelagatti

The Wicked Wives
by Gus Pelagatti

"Wicked Wives" is based on the true story of the 1938 Philadelphia murder scandals in which seventeen wives were arrested for murdering their husbands. Mastermind conspirator Giorgio DiSipio, a stunning lothario and local tailor who preys upon disenchanted and unfaithful wives, convinces twelve of them to kill their spouses for insurance money. The murder conspiracy is very successful until one lone assistant D.A., Tom Rossi, uncovers the plot and brings the perpetrators to justice. "Wicked Wives" is a story made for Hollywood, combining murder, corruption, treachery, love, lust and phenomenal detail as it vividly captures Depression-era Philadelphia. 

About The Wicked Wives, from the author: 
The Wicked Wives, is a noir suspense thriller of historical fiction:  murder, betrayal, court room drama, love and lust based on the true story of the 1938 poison scandals in Philadelphia.  

When I was eight years old, I overheard adults in our South Philadelphia neighborhood discussing seventeen disenchanted and unfaithful neighborhood wives who allegedly murdered their husbands for insurance money. This was a fascinating topic for an 8 year- old boy eavesdropping on adult conversation.  People were discussing the true story of Philadelphia’s  infamous 1938 poison murder conspiracy scandals.   My fascination led to obsession as I grew older, and I knew that I had to write about these women, their lovers and their husbands.

The setting of The Wicked Wives takes place when the times were marred by the Great Depression and the prelude to World War II, and is largely confined to the City of Philadelphia.  At 293 pages, the novel is equal parts murder, suspense, love, lust, corruption, treachery and intriguing court suspense leading to a dynamic ending.

The protagonist, First Assistant D.A., Tom Rossi is placed on the horns of a dilemma.  He wants the party’s nomination for District Attorney but powerful Deputy Mayor Bill Evans refuses to back him; unless Tom prevents the arrest of the deputy’s niece, Lillian Stoner, for the homicide of her husband, Reggie.  Evans demands that Tom not order an autopsy on the body.  He gives Tom 24 hours to decide or threatens to have him disbarred, defeated in his campaign to win the nomination for D.A. and to have his girl, Hope, fired as a nurse from her city job.  Hope is part African American, but can pass for white.

Tom’s anger at Evans outweighs his logic.  Before an autopsy confirms a homicide, he orders arrests of Lillian and her lover, Giorgio DiSipio, for the murder of Reggie Stoner.   Their arrests make headline news.  Homicide is deluged with phone tipsters accusing Giorgio of being involved in many other similar suspicious deaths involving adulterous wives and insurance.  Many of the wives live within a few blocks of Giorgio’s tailor shop.  But, the medical examiner concludes that pneumonia caused death, not homicide.  Infuriated, Evans has Hope fired, damages Tom’s political future, begins disbarment proceedings against him and causes a break-up of his love affair with Hope.  The Globe Newspaper headline reads:  “D.A. Candidate’s Girl-friend Fired From PGH for Lying About Colored Background.”

A fascinating conspiracy unfolds.  The poison gang’s colorful and hilarious characters help to deep-six a minimum of 20 husbands.  The supporting cast includes Giorgio, “The Don Juan of Passyunk Avenue.”  Aside from Lillian, “the society wife”, the wives include Rose, the “Kiss of Death Widow,” Eva "the nymphomaniac" and the "hopelessly in love" Joanna.

The gang’s ring leaders, the mysterious Lady in Black and her companion, the Giant, continually elude arrest and systematically execute key state witnesses prior to the wives’ trials.

After many comical episodes, intriguing detective work and two suspense filled high profile trials, 10 wives plead or are found guilty of murdering their husbands.  Tom concludes that a life without the love of his girl-friend is a life without pleasure.  He goes to her with hat in hand to propose marriage.  But Hope coldly rejects him.

The Wicked Wives is a story made for Hollywood, combining murder, corruption, treachery, lust and phenomenal detail as it vividly captures Depression-era Philadelphia. 

I'm a practicing trial lawyer with offices in center city Philadelphia.  I began my law career as a criminal lawyer, and have more than forty-seven years of criminal and civil court- room trial experience.  It is from this experience and personal interviews with judges, lawyers, and witnesses that were involved in these cases, that the novel is based. 

Add on Goodreads, and buy on Amazon.

About the author:
Gus Pelagatti is a practicing trial lawyer with over 47 years of experience trying civil and criminal cases including homicide.  He’s a member of the Million Dollar Advocate Forum, limited to attorneys who have been recognized as achieving a standard of excellence as a trial expert.  He has spent years researching the true story of the 1938 insurance scam murders, interviewing judges, lawyers, police and neighbors involved in the trials.

Gus was born and raised within blocks of the main conspirator’s tailor shop and the homes of many of the wives convicted of murdering their husbands.
Find out more at  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Super Sweet 16th Century by Rachel Harris - Waiting on Wednesday

My pick this week for Waiting on Wednesday is My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris! Rachel has been featured on the blog before, and she is awesome. I actually have an ARC of this, and I am excited to start reading it as soon as I get a chance.

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century
by Rachel Harris
Expected publication: September 11, 2012 by Entangled Teen

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

Add on Goodreads! 

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine. 

The Bridge of Deaths by M.C.V. Egan - Anniversary of the True Life Event

The Bridge of Deaths

By M.C.V. Egan is a paranormal, historical romance based on true events from 1939. The story is presented through the eyes of a young couple in present day London and by a woman in Florida who is the obsessed granddaughter of one of the men who lost their lives that day. The book is carefully footnoted so that any curious reader can find the file, book or newspaper where all of the information is found. The journey for the reader is through the possibility of the paranormal in the use of past-life regressions documented from a source who today requests to remain anonymous, as well as from various psychics and a Peruvian Shaman. The journey through the paranormal is as compelling as the journey through the well-known and little known events leading up to WW II.

The Event

On the morning of Tuesday August 15th 1939 a passenger plane from British Airways LTD left London, England en route to Stockholm, Sweden. The G-AESY Lockheed Electra 10A was to make two stops on its way to Stockholm; Hamburg, Germany and Copenhagen, Denmark. The plane and passengers never made it to the latter and the pilot was the only survivor that day when five deaths were reported.

My Maternal Grandfather

Amongst the dead was my maternal grandfather, Cesar Agustin Castillo; a 42-year-old bio-chemical engineer who worked for Standard Oil of New Jersey, the most fascinating man I never met. Surrounded by his collection of books in mysterious languages, his carefully bound collection of National Geographic magazines from the 1930s and a wide array of other mementos, he was as well the most important relative I never met.   As I embarked on a quest for answers and stories surrounding his life, but more so his death, I discovered that the other men on board became important to me as well, and so I researched them as well as best I could. The easiest to research was Anthony Crommelin Crossley, poet, politician, athlete and fisherman.

The Politician

As an English Member of Parliament at the time of his death, this 36-year-old man left an astonishing amount of ‘footprints in the sands of time’ from all his endeavors. Found only as a footnote in most history books as one of the anti-appeasers during the Munich Pact of 1938 or as a blatant lie in the pages of the infamous David Irving book Churchill’s War. Anthony Crossley was visible in numerous events, some of which are still relevant to the world today. Anthony Crommelin Crossley was the sole voice for the Arab cause during the 1930s discussions in regards to The Palestinian Territories. He aptly predicted in 1932 exactly how WW II would begin through the Polish Corridor. Interacted with Generalissimo Franco in Spain and as a Catholic had ties to the Holy See. It is difficult to understand how such a man could have fallen through the proverbial cracks of history.

The Paranormal

The book is presented as a paranormal love story in which a young couple opens their mind to the possibility of past lives and as such finds that they are linked to the events of August 15th 1939. The search takes this young couple to some of the archives I used for my research in the UK, The National Archives at Kew, the Colindale Newspaper Archives in London and the British Airways Archives, at the time located in South Hounslow, near Heathrow. Where I spent the better part of June in 1996 copying by hand every piece of paper from the file due to the fear that I may be opening a ‘can of worms’ I was not allowed to photocopy the files that year.

The Romance

The young couple Bill and Maggie’s search helps them find a woman across the Atlantic who is obsessed to find out what happened that day, the day her grandfather died. The woman is that small part in my complicated and full life, that small part, which focused only on this story, I am a busy married parent, whereas she is so consumed by the story that there is room for nothing else in her little life. She is alone and surrounded by her files and books as if they were the people in her life. Her five corpses are her friends. She too has sought the help of the paranormal in her search.

The Search

Making good use of today’s technology and the information superhighway, I allowed the characters to get the answers to their questions in an interesting and interactive way. I love when my readers tell me what conclusions they formed and how they felt they were in search of history and search of philosophies themselves. The Bridge of Deaths carefully analyzes the data from the autopsies reluctantly performed twice in Denmark so that the reader also gets his/her CSI investigator type of rush. The information is presented and questioned, but the reader is given the benefit of expert opinions from a noted pathologist in South Florida as alternate possibilities. The point of the book is that while informing and entertaining the reader, the windows of possibilities and conclusions are at the end for each an every-one who enjoys the book to make.

Add on Goodreads, and buy on Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

About the author:
M.C.V. Egan lives in South Florida with her husband and teenage son. She is fluent in four languages; English,Spanish,French and Swedish. From a young age became determined to solve the 'mystery' of her grandfather's death, she has researched this story for almost two decades. The story has taken her to Denmark, England and unconventional world of past lives and psychics. 


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