Name that Shape-Shifting Dragon Prince! And the winner is…


image courtesy of http://elevit-stock.deviantart.com/art/E-S-Snow-Dragon-580113602

 

On June 11 I started a contest to name a character in my 3rd book: a shape-shifter Prince of dragons. The person who submitted the winning name would be mentioned in the credits of the book. As a bonus, the winner will also receive signed copies of all three books in The Chronicles of Fallhollow series when the third one releases and there may be some additional goodies tucked in with the books. I think I’ll keep that a surprise.

So who is the lucky winner? Why it’s

with her winning name of

I LOVE this name. There were a few I liked but when I inserted this name in the blank spots in my book, the story flowed. Prince Venniver suits this character to a T! His attitude, the way he speaks. I knew the second I put his name in the line where he first appears this was the name to use. Thank you, Deby!!

Thank you all for playing along! Stay tuned for more giveaways and contests and general, all-around fun!!

 

Proud to be an Army Brat


I’m an army brat and I’m proud to say it. My dad served this country with honor and dignity from the age of 18 until he died at the age of 49. He fought in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam twice. Like many of our service men and women, he saw things in war a person should never have to see. He slept with his demons, wrestled with his guilt. He was a soldier. A fighter. A commander shouting orders, some he probably wished he’d never given. He watched friends die, families torn apart. When not at war, he trained the troops. He went fishing. He watched baseball. Through it all, he did his best to provide a good life for his wife, his son and daughter. He rarely complained and didn’t allow his kids to complain either. He taught me to face my problems head on, that nothing was too powerful to defeat me.

I forget that sometimes, but then I hear his voice inside of me yelling at me to pick myself up by my bootstraps and keep going. Thank you, Daddy.

When I was 8-years-old, my dad volunteered to go back to Vietnam. I didn’t understand. I wanted him to stay with me. At a baseball game I asked him why he had to go. He told me something that stuck with me my entire life. I’m sure I don’t have his words absolutely correct but it’s how I remember them. Even at the time I thought them to be profound, and they affected me so much, I put a version of them in my novel (doctored up to fit the fantasy tale that it is.) Here is what that Alabama boy had to say:

“War is a necessary evil. Unfortunately, we all battle some sort of enemy either within or around us every day. The true test of our character lies in the instant when we choose to either ignore or defeat that which seeks to destroy us. Fighting out there … it’s the same thing. This country has seen its share of battles and ridden the wings of freedom for a long time, but there are enemies out there who want to kill us, who threaten our very existence, who wish to stifle the God-given rights of every person on the planet. Trust me, I’d much rather stay home, go to baseball games, drink my beer, but I have to do this. I have to defend what’s dear to me – you, your mom, your brother, my country. The right to sit here, to watch people smack a ball around with a stick, to see people act like idiots if they want. I do what I do so they’ll always have the right to do so. I don’t want to die, but if I do, my death won’t be for nothing. After all, what is more honorable than giving one’s life for love of family, country…and freedom.”

He passed away on July 10, 1972 while on active duty. He was one of the most honorable men I have ever known.

On this Fourth of July, while you’re eating your hamburgers and hot dogs, while you’re watching the fireworks, don’t forget to thank the millions like my dad who fought and still fight, to preserve not only our freedoms but freedoms and God-given rights of people around the world. We owe them everything for keeping us free.

So, if you see a Vet or a service man or woman, say thank you. Honor them. Respect them, for they are the keepers of Old Glory. They are the ones who keep us free. Remember the price. Remember the sacrifice.

Freedom is never free.

 

 

 

 

MERMAID ABOARD by Louise Cypress – A cheesy but adorable novella


NOTE: The author provided me with a copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoyed this read for the most part. It was a quick and easy read, which I like on busy days when I don’t have time for a long, involved novel but want to feed the reading hunger.

I found the story to be cute enough, but the whole insta-love thing was not for me. While Ian and Estella were cute together, they fell in love too fast. Sure, they could be smitten with each other, but I didn’t fall for the love thing. Then again, if I were an 11 or 12-year old reading this story, I’d totally love the puppy love thing, so I guess it’s all relative to the age group reading it.

I felt the language was a bit young for the characters.  They sounded more 14ish than 17ish. And while I appreciated the science talk and how our oceans are in danger due to human littering, and global warming, I felt much of the storyline was info dump. I would have appreciated it more if there were pictures laying around Ian’s room of garbage hauls on a science vessel deck or something that could spark the conversations. I felt the story moved too fast as if the author was trying to shove as much content into 5000 words or less. I think there were some aspects that could have

I felt the story moved too fast as if the author was trying to shove as much content into 5000 words or less. I think there were some aspects that could have used a bit more flushing out and extended. Life doesn’t fall into place so quick and easy. I would have liked to have seen a bit more turmoil. I loved the scene with Estella, Ian, his brother, and their parents in the dining room. THAT was realistic. That was teen angst that I felt was well done. I also loved the innocence of the story, that the author didn’t have to resort to foul language or sex to tell the story. I found this endearing and I miss it so much in middle-grade and YA contemporary reads lately.

As an adult, I thought the story to be on the cheesy side, but, on the same note, I also felt it would be a perfect short story for a middle-grade girl looking for an adorable story about mermaids. Overall, I’d give this story 3 fins. I look forward to more writings by this author.

 

What’s it all for?


Birth. Existence. Death.

What’s it all for?  Why are we born knowing we must die? It makes everything in between the birth and death so futile and insignificant in the scheme of the universe. I mean, we’re all just tiny little microscopic specs in the vast expanse. How could we make any impact on this thing called “life”? We’re really nothing compared to eternity. Sure, some of us will burn bright, and like a star will continue to burn bright long after death because we somehow left a light behind that still resonates. But most of us will shine for a moment in time and then burn out.

So why try to find a way to burn forever when we know there’s a good chance we’re going to fizzle?

For me, it’s because I know each and every one of us is a star to someone. You may not be the star on a rock stage or the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You may not be the President of your senior class or the most popular kid in school. You may not be the one to always gets the promotion, and many times you’re going to feel looked over, insignificant – as if no one sees you or cares.

But the thing is, we’re all stars to someone. Your parents, siblings, your next door neighbor…they may think you’re an angel sent from the heavens. To that lonely kid at school, you may be his/her hero. To the lady you helped in the grocery store, you may be what put a smile on her face. The truth of it is, we tend to underestimate the impact we have on others. We all may appear to be insignificant, but we’re not. Not all of us can be stars. Some of us need to be grains of sand on the beach.  You know why? Because without each and ever single grain of sand on that beach, there would be no beach. You may not stand out individually, but put together with the whole, look how magnificent you are.

Never, never underestimate your importance.  You are important, and your life matters to someone.

My mother-in-law passed away Sunday. She’d been ill for a while and lived in a nursing facility. She wasn’t a star that will burn like the sun into eternity. Someday her light will blip and will go out. But for now, it’s burning bright even though she’s gone. I look at how she touched the nurses and CNAs where she ‘lived’ her final three years. They loved her and when she passed Sunday, a piece of them went with her.

I see the posts on social media, from the people who barely knew her. They are all saying how Nancy touched their lives, how she always made them feel welcome and part of the family. Even those who had little contact with her thought her to be an extraordinary woman. She was a star then. She’s a star now.

She’ll always be a star to her family. She’ll always be a star to me. She was my second mom, and I am blessed to have this star streak through my life. I can only hope and pray to burn as bright in the lives I touch along this journey of life. I hope I will be as kind, forgiving, thankful, and just. I hope I will be as much a symbol of strength and honesty to others as she was. I hope I exude as much compassion and love and understanding. I pray I am as kind, thoughtful and present to those who need me.

I am a grain of sand hoping for star status.

To me, that’s what it’s all for. We’re not here to make a giant impact on the universe. We’re here to make positive impacts on each other. As long as we do that, we’ll always shine in the eyes of those lives we touch. Just remember, eventually, even the brightest star will burn out, but until then, be everything you can be. Make your life count. Touch a life, or two or three. Shine bright and never forget how valuable you are. Someone loves you, and that makes you the brightest star in the universe.

 

And the winner in the mini YA Scavenger Hunt is … (drum roll please)


Hi everyone.

From June 1 to June 7, I took part in the YA Scavenger Hunt sponsored by The Alliance of Young Adult Authors. Over 66,000 people played along and entered the grand prize giveaway.  I didn’t have quite that many enter my mini giveaway, but it was still respectable at 41 entries!!  I’ll take it!

Today, I am announcing the winner of that mini giveaway and the winner is…

Congratulations, Katherine!!!

Katherine is the lucky winner of my book, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING

 and

A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN (her choice)

Thank you, everyone, for playing along.  Please sign up for my newsletter to get the latest news on upcoming giveaways, Young Adult books, interviews and more.

Duh, duh, duh … it’s time for another secret mermaid book COVER REVEAL!


So, April 2016 brought us an entertaining mermaid tale by Tobi Easton titled, EMERGE. Here’s a pic and you can find my review here. Now, here we are, a year and a few months later and we have a new cover for the next book in the series, SUBMERGE. I can’t wait to see where this tale is going to take our fearless heroine, Lia. This is no Disney Little Mermaid story. It’s also not as dark as the original Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, but I’m sure it’s going to be a spectacular ride.

So, without much more ado

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

Submerge (Mer Chronicles #2)
by Tobie Easton

presented by Month9Books!

Be on the look out for this upcoming YA title!

What do you think of the cover?

(I think it’s flippin’ cool! – ha ha. Don’t you love my mild attempt at humor?)

 

 

Now that Lia and Clay’s love has broken the Little Mermaid’s curse, everything has changed. Will Lia’s family remain on land, leading the only life she and her sisters have ever known, or will they move below the waves, to the sparkling new capital city? Lia is adamant about staying on land with Clay for her senior year. But at Melusine and her father’s trial, new revelations threaten what Lia holds most dear.

The verdict will shake Lia’s whole world, calling into question her future with Clay, her feelings for Caspian, and the fate of all Merkind. As she wonders who to trust, Lia sets out on a treacherous path that will lead her away from her sheltered Malibu home to a remote and mysterious school for Mermaids—Mermaids who may hold the secret to ancient magic Lia can use to either get back all she’s lost or to embark on a thrilling and dangerous journey.

Submerge (Mer Chronicles #2)
by Tobie Easton
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books

Google Play | Amazon | TBD | B&N

 

 

Tobie Easton was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where she’s grown from a little girl who dreamed about magic to a twenty-something who writes about it. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California, Tobie hosts book clubs for tweens and teens. She and her very kissable husband enjoy traveling the globe and fostering packs of rescue puppies. Learn more about Tobie and her upcoming books on www.TobieEaston.com.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

 

 

YA Scavenger Hunt #131


Welcome to the YA Scavenger Hunt!

Congratulations! You made it across the turbulent seas and through the wilds of the jungles to reach your next destination. Somewhere on this page, you will find clue #131 in the YA Scavenger Hunt, which will bring you one step closer to completing the mystery story!  In the meantime, let me show you the treasures I’m giving away to one lucky person who answers the following question in the comments below:

Who is the best YA Villain ever?

All names of those who answer will go into a pot, and if you’re the lucky winner, you will win the following ebooks in your chosen format:

 and … your choice of one of the following:

 

 

And now what you’ve been waiting for!!

Clue #131 – your secret word is:GAVE

is the word.

Good luck on your scavenger hunt and I can’t wait to find out who your favorite villain is.

The next two stops on the hunt are:

Kat Stiles

Jessica Hawke

 

Feyre, Rhysand, Lucien, oh my! – my thoughts on A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN


****Spoiler Alert! ****

There may be some spoilers in this review. Please read at your own discretion

I have really mixed feelings on this book, especially since I’ve been waiting on pins and needles since I finished A COURT OF MIST AND FURY. Now THAT book I loved (minus the gratuitous sex scenes).

Don’t get me wrong. I liked this book, but I felt the pacing was off and it was too long. There were some exciting scenes that got me turning the pages, but seeing as it took me about 4 days to read this…

It should have never taken me that long to read this book. ACOMAF was completed in a day and I was left with my mouth open and my heart aching and “No. no no!!” spewing from my lips. I HAD to have the next book. It just couldn’t end that way.

And now that I’ve read ACOWAR…yeah, I could have waited.

I think the book could have used a bit more editing. I felt that some scenes went on far too long and others fizzled before they ever started. I got really annoyed with Rhysand and Feyre. I mean, no one has that perfect of a relationship. There were moments when there should have been angry emotions, where they really should have been totally pissed off with each other, and then it just went poof as if showing true emotion as a couple is a no-no. And let’s not get me into talking about the side characters: Elain, Nesta, Mor. I think Maas underused them. I really wanted to learn more about what happened to Nesta and Elain in the Cauldron, but it was glossed over, with minor mentions here and there. It was so ‘telling’, not ‘showing’, which really irked me. Here was this huge opportunity to share the horrors of what happened to Feyre’s sisters, and it was barely mentioned. And then we learn that Elain and Lucien are connected as mates. (actually, we learn that at the end of ACOMAF, but it’s accented more here.) But Maas never does anything with that. It felt so ho-hum. And then Lucien takes off and he’s gone 1/2 of the way through the book and when we do see him towards the end, it’s brief, glossed over and there is no closure or anything with Elain and him. Does she take off Greyson’s ring? Does she fall for Lucien? Is Lucien really going back to the Spring Court with Tamlin? After everything, he’s just going to leave Elain? He’s mated to her. Up until this part, the ‘mated’ stuff in this series is serious. You can’t just turn it off, and yet, with these two? There is no heat. There’s no trying. This “mated” thing between them is unresolved and bland and monotone. There’s not heat. There’s no try on Lucien’s part. It really irked me. I’d rather have seen Lucien try and Elain shove off his advances. Maybe even use that underdeveloped magic she gained while in the Cauldron to push him away – or bring him closer.

And what’s with Nesta and Cassian? We all know she’s hot for him, but again, it seemed like Maas was too focused on Feyre and Rhysand that she forgot to go all ninja on Nesta and Cassian. Again, an underdeveloped relationship that should have been a case of fireworks going off, but instead, it ended in a dud.

We never do really find out what the creature was under the library. Well, we kind of do, but it’s not scary, at least not what we were lead to believe.

And how does Feyre just become ‘friends’ with all these bad guys. It’s like she just walks in a room and they all will do anything for her. The Attor, the creature in the library, the Bonecarver, they’re just so willing to help her. There is no intensity, no danger. Nothing she has to really work for. I really wanted to see and feel Hybern’s goons coming into the library.  I wanted to see Feyre battle them on her own, but noooo, she was rescued once more, proving she’s not the badass she wants people to think she is.

Even though I was disappointed in this ‘final’ book in the series, it was still a decent read. I also found out at the end that there will be another book coming. I’m not waiting on the edge of my seat.  I hope this new book goes into Lucien’s relationship with Elain, Tamlin and his mother.  I want there to be explorations and resolutions with Nesta, Elain, Cassian and the whole Court of Dreams. I want Tamlin to heal and find peace. I want there to be some sort of ‘forgiveness’ between him and Lucien. I want Lucien and Elain to find their paths to one another. And I want Mor to reveal more of her secret. Yeah, that was another unexplored part that left me hanging.

I give it 4 stars – barely – mainly for the intense scenes that had me turning pages like my fingers were on fire.

This book was bought and given to me as a gift by a friend.  Thank you, TR!!  You’re the best!!

THE TICK TOCK MAN – Release Day Celebration and Giveaway!


I can’t tell you guys how excited I am for this author!!  Such a great Middle-Grade read. Kids are going to eat this one up, and I’m so happy to be a part of The Tick Tock Man’s birthday!! And don’t you just love that cover!!! Gaahh!! so excited!!

 

 

Hello Readers! Welcome to the Release Day Celebration for

The Tick Tock Man by R.M. Clark,

presented by Tantrum Books / Month9Books!

Grab your copy today!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post.

 

Happy Book Birthday, R.M. Clark!

 

 

When the clocks in town stop, thirteen-year-old CJ discovers an unusual “clock world” where most of the citizens are clock parts, tasked with keeping the big clocks running. But soon the seemingly peaceful world is divided between warring factions with CJ instructed to find the only person who can help: the elusive Tick Tock Man.

With the aid of Fuzee, a partly-human girl, he battles gear-headed extremists and razor-sharp pendulums in order to restore order before this world of chimes, springs, and clock people dissolves into a massive time warp, taking CJ’s quiet New England town with it.

The Tick Tock Man by R.M. Clark
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books/Tantrum Books

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

Excerpt 1:

Now it was nine o’clock. I sat up and grabbed the clock with every intention of tossing it against the back wall. What a pleasure it would have been to see it smash into a million pieces. I win!

But, this clock was a birthday present from Uncle Artie. He’d said it was “a special clock for a special kid.” I didn’t like being called “special” because that had a different meaning at school. But it was a cool clock.

Until now. I mean, what kind of noise was that? Certainly not the alarm sound I was used to.

Excerpt 2:

The clock on the radio displayed 4:05. I compared it to my watch, which I had put back on before sitting at the head of the table. The time was frozen at two o’clock. How strange. My watch always worked perfectly. When Uncle Artie gave it to me, he said it was a one-of-a-kind watch that would never need winding. I decided it was best not to tell anyone.

We drove through what we called downtown Hambleton, and only a few people were on the road. It was Thanksgiving, so this was not too surprising. In fact, it was one of the reasons we went for a drive on major holidays. Most people were home, and we usually had the roads to ourselves. Dad and Grandpa liked it that way.

Excerpt 3:

The next thing I felt was a blast of cold air as everything went dark. I found myself floating just above the ground and shrinking by the second. I was pressed against the glass cover of the Hoffhalder. Then, in an instant, I was inside the clock, right next to the gears and chimes and other clock parts. The clock face absorbed mine, and I couldn’t feel my nose or ears. After a few seconds, my vision finally adjusted enough for me to see out into the dining room.

Excerpt 4:

I went to the spare bedroom and grabbed the box for Uncle Artie’s clocks. I replaced them one by one, starting with the crescent moon clock. After the German village cuckoo clock made its way into the box, I noticed something extra strange. All Uncle Artie’s clocks were stuck at two o’clock. How come no one else noticed this? That question troubled me as I put the box of clocks in its resting place. It was as if those clocks had something to say but couldn’t say it.

When I came back down I gave the Hoffhalder another hard look, this time from the other side of the room. As much as I tried to convince myself this was just a clock, I knew that wasn’t the case. It spoke to me, although I couldn’t completely understand it.

Things were going from strange to downright weird.

 

R.M. Clark is a computer scientist for the Dept. of Navy by day and children’s book writer by night. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two sons.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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