Cover Reveal: Joshua and the Lightning Road by Donna Galanti with Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals


Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

Joshua and the Lightning Road by Donna Galanti

presented by Month9Books!

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

Joshua and The Lightning Road

Stay away from the window, don’t go outside when it’s storming and whatever you do, do not touch the orb.

Twelve-year-old Joshua Cooper’s grandpa has always warned him about the dangers of lightning. But Joshua never put much stock in his grandpa’s rumblings as anything more than the ravings of an old man with a vast imagination. Then one night, when Joshua and his best friend are home alone during a frightful storm, Joshua learns his grandpa was right. A bolt of lightning strikes his house and whisks away his best friend—possibly forever.

To get him back, Joshua must travel the Lightning Road to a dark place that steals children for energy. But getting back home and saving his friend won’t be easy, as Joshua must face the terrifying Child Collector and fend off ferocious and unnatural beasts intent on destroying him.

In this world, Joshua possesses powers he never knew he had, and soon, Joshua’s mission becomes more than a search for his friend. He means to send all the stolen children home—and doing so becomes the battle of his life.

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Title: Joshua and the Lightning Road
Publication date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Tantrum Books/Month9Books
Author: Donna Galanti


Donna Galanti

Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is the author of books 1 and 2 in the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and Joshua and The Lightning Road (Books 1 and 2, 2015). She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives in Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle again—preferably with ghosts. For more information on Donna and A Human Element, please visit: AND

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


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Gaining a publisher’s trust as a reviewer

A couple of years ago I picked up Heather Burch’s, Halflings, read it and reviewed it on my blog.  A few weeks afterwards, I received an e-mail from the publisher, Zondervan.  They liked my review and wanted to know if I would like to review more books for them.  Of course, my answer was a big YES!!!  They proceeded to send me two more books.  Sadly, I wasn’t particularly fond of either one of them, so I didn’t review them online.  I felt I wouldn’t do justice to the authors or to Zondervan.  I mean, let’s face it.  I’m still a newbie author myself.  Who am I to slam someone else’s dreams on a public forum.  If I was a professional reviewer and people waited with bated breath to know what I thought, then that would be a different story.  Right now, I’m not that person.  I’m a start-up author with a blog who likes to talk up the books I like or that I think others will enjoy.

To make a long story short, after a long hiatus, Zondervan contacted me a few days ago with a request to pick books from a list I might be interested in reading and reviewing.  There was a picture and a blurb for each one in the e-mail and they were all MG or YA reads.  I sent a message back saying I couldn’t pick just one but if I had to, I’d go for the paranormal/fantasy first.  Their response?  “We’ll be happy to send them all.”  Really????   How crazy is that?  There are around 8 books all together AND all but one happened to be on  my TBR list.  The first four arrived Wednesday and Thursday.  Want a peak?

zondervan books May 2013


I’m so stoked!

I think my luck in landing my review gig with Zondervan has a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time as well as being honest in my review without being disrespectful.  The books they send and that I read are Young Adult, and Zondervan knows my blog caters to their target audience.  It’s a win-win situation all the way around.

Since my review of Halflings, I have met Heather Burch, and in February of this year, I received a signed copy of her second book in the series, Guardian.  The third and final book in the series, Avenger, is propped in that pretty little picture above.  I am thrilled to have the opportunity to read and review this series.

And all it took was one honest review of one book.

I am thrilled Zondervan chose me to periodically review their YA books.  Maybe this will lead to another job all together:  book reviewer extraordinaire.  🙂  How much fun would that be?  I mean, where else can you get copies of books for free that you want to read in exchange for a review?  To me, that sounds like pure bliss.

So for those of you who don’t think reviews drive people to your blogs?  Think again.  All it takes is the right person to get you noticed.  Zondervan Publishing has my utmost respect, and I am honored to have theirs.


And the winner is?

Today, some lucky person who commented on  my blog between December 1 and December 29 is going to win an e-book of the Make Believe anthology.  I wonder who it could be.  Shall we find out?  May I have a drum roll please?


And the lucky winner is:

free glitter text and family website at

Congratulations, Kourtney!  Please contact me at kford2007(at)gmail(dot)com  to provide me with the format you prefer.

I also have more bookmarks and digital signed e-book covers of the Make Believe anthology to giveaway so tune in tomorrow to discover if your name will be added to the winner’s list!

I want to thank all you for tagging along with me in 2012 and I look forward to more conversations in 2013!  

G is for Gandalf versus Dumbledore

This is a continuation of the A-Z blog challenge.  Click here to see the list of all 1935 participants!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series as well as watched all the movies, and each time I’m drawn to the parallels between the two. As a writer, it has been drilled into me how important it is to make my characters and my story unique, to not let them be like something that has already been done. Yet here I am, looking at these two stories, both unique in their settings and story, and I can’t help but compare two of the prominent characters: Gandalf and Dumbledore.


– They both have long white hair and beards
– They are both the greatest, wisest and kindest wizards of their time.
– They rally around the underdogs and help them to defeat the “Dark Lord”
– They care about those less fortunate than them
– They are both guides, counselors
– They are both very well respected
– They both like to interfere
– They are both courageous
– They both fight fearsome enemies
– They are both unmarried


– Gandalf’s and Dumbledore’s magic are not the same, nor are the reasons they use it.
– Gandalf has one wizard to face: Sauron. Dumbledore has many running around who want to see him dead.
– Dumbledore is more passive than Gandalf. He’s more of a ‘let me teach you the skills, but you’re going to have to do the rest’ kind of guy. Gandalf doesn’t have time nor the inclination to teach magic. His focus is defeating the bad guy and he’ll get in the middle of the action and put his life on the line to do it.
– Gandalf rides horses and wields a wicked sword. Dumbledore can vaporize you with a thought?  Why does he need a sword?
– Gandalf comes back from the dead. Dumbledore…yeah, not so much.
– Gandalf and Dumbledore are both fatherly types, but Gandalf is more stern. He’s more of the sort who’ll bop you over the head for doing something foolish. Dumbledore will talk to you, make you see the errors of your ways.
– Dumbledore’s knowledge is limited. Gandalf’s is vast.
– Dumbledore had a brother. Gandalf didn’t
– Dumbledore was mortal. He could rid himself of this world. Mortality, however, was not a gift Gandalf had. He HAD to make sure the underdog succeeded. If he failed in his task, Sauron would have taken over Middle Earth, and without the Valar’s intervening, life would have been much worse. The whole world was a risk. If Sauron lived, Gandalf would have to live with his own failure forevermore. Gandalf had much more at stake should he lose the battle for Middle Earth. Dumbledore got off easy because he could die.

There is a whole other list of character similarities between Harrry Potter and Lord of the Rings:

Harry = Frodo
Ron = Sam
Voldemort = Sauron = Dark Lords (please)
Dementors = Ringwraiths
Horcruxes = The Ring
Fred and George = Merry and Pippin
Sirius = Aragorn/Faramir
Hagrid = Gimli
Regulus = Boromir

But I won’t go into that today. What I do want to say is that it’s okay to recycle characters when you write, so long as you make the characters and stories ‘yours’. Make them unique to you, to your world. Give the reader something they don’t expect. Study the past characters. What can you do to make yours different from what’s been done? Give your characters vulnerabilities. Strip away the clichés and define your characters, your story. If you’re lucky, someday someone may compare your best-seller novel to a classic. I could think of worse things to happen.

And now for your entertainment needs:

What is your most valuable book?

I love old books.  There is so much history surrounding them.  Who was the author?  Where was it printed?  Who was the original publisher?  What year was the book printed?  The imagination can run wild as to who the original owners were.  Did they like the book?  Was it actually owned by someone related to the author?  Did it travel across oceans?

There is quite a bit of money to be found in antique books, but there is no price tag high enough for two finds in my collection that literally cost me $2.00

My first book is a pocket book of The Holy Bible.  My husband found this book when cleaning out an old house that was abandoned and the new owners needed work to be done.  He brought it home to me and it has become one of my most treasured possessions.

As you can see from the copyright (MDCCCLVI – 1856),
this book is 156 years old.  (Hmm, wonder what Kindle or Nook will ever survive 156 years or more).  This particular pocket bible was printed by G.E. Eyre and W. Spottiswoode, Printers to the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty.  It is a rare book, affordable at the time by only the wealthy and it shows in the binding and cover.  Look at the beauty in this book’s leather design and in the gilded page edges.  You’ll never, ever, EVER get that with a Kindle.

But the beauty doesn’t stop there.  Inside I found remarkable insights to the owner:  four-leaf clovers, a clipping from a newspaper, a red feather, and a tiny patch of hair, tied neatly in a string. 

Inside the front and back cover are references to family history.  The owner was born in Londonderry, Ireland and was given the bible by her mother when she departed Liverpool at the age of 16.  She arrived in Ellis Island aboard The Teutonic on April 25 1894.

She married in 1926, settled in Oskaloosa, Iowa, and had 5 children.  Her last baby, a boy, died at the age of 8 weeks.

Kindle and Nook and all you other e-readers…Blah!  This is proof there is more to books than the story the author intended us to read.  Books have history.  They’ve traveled, they hold treasures untold.  e-Readers just turn it all into black and white.  For me, I prefer the color, the imagination.

My next treasure is one I picked up for $2 at a book store in Atlanta, Georgia.  It is The Sketch Book by Washington Irving.

The cover is a bit worn, but folks, it’s suede.  Suede.  What books nowadays have suede for a binding?  Look at the gold floral embossment. Stunning.  And look at the inside?  Look at the artwork!

After doing some research, this book is 164 years old.  It was the second printing, published in 1848, and includes 2 previously unreleased short stories:  “A Sunday in London”, and “London Antiques”.  Other short stories include “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”.  In addition, there are several pages that are still connected to each other at the bottom, see?

What I found most humorous in the book is what was written in the Preface to the revised edition.  Authors, you will appreciate this excerpt from a famous author as he takes you on his adventure into publication (have fun with the Victorian English).  In this excerpt he is speaking of a few of his short stories he sent to the United States for publication because he felt that “…much of their contents could be interesting only to American readers”.   The bold, underlined parts are what made me chuckle.  Enjoy. 🙂

“By the time the contents of the first volume had appeared in this occasional manner, they began to find their way across the Atlantic, and to be inserted, with many kind encomiums, in the London Literary Gazette.  It was said, also, that a London bookseller intended to publish them in a collective form.  I determined, therefore, to bring them forward myself, that they might at least have the benefit of my superintendence and revision.  I accordingly took the printed numbers which I had received from the United States, to Mr. John Murray, the eminent publisher, from whom I had already received friendly attentions, and left them with him for examination, informing him that should he be inclined to bring them before the public, I had materials enough on hand for a second volume.  Several days having elapsed without any communications from Mr. Murray, I addressed a note to him, in which I construed his silence into a tacit rejection of my work, and begged that the numbers I had left with him be returned to me.  Two days, Mr. Irving?  Seriously? You’d never survive in today’s publishing world The following was his reply: 

MY DEAR SIR:  I entreat you to believe that I feel truly obliged by your kind intentions towards me, and that I entertain the most unfeigned respect for your most tasteful talents.  My house is completely filled with workpeople at this time, and I have only an office to transact business in; and yesterday I was wholly occupied, or I should have done myself the pleasure of seeing you. 

If it would not suit me to engage in the publication of your present work, it is only because I do not see that scope in the nature of it which would enable me to make those satisfactory accounts between us, without which I really feel no satisfaction in engaging.—but I will do all I can to promote their circulation, and shall be most ready to attend to any future plans of yours.

With much regard, I remain, dear sir,

Your faithful servant,

John Murray

Quite a rejection letter, wouldn’ t you say?  LOL!

He goes on to write about his ventures into publishing, including sending his works to Sir Walter (then Mr.) Scott.  Irving goes on to tell the story of multiple rejections by publishers until he finally decided to publish the first edition of The Sketch Book, “at my own risk”, with a bookseller of unknown fame, “…and without any of the usual arts by which a work is trumpeted into notice.”   Finally, after much to do, Sir Walter Scott convinced John Murray to undertake the publishing of The Sketch Book.  It was printed in Philadelphia by the Henry Altemus Company.  In Mr. Irving’s own words, “…under the kind and cordial auspices of Sir Walter Scott, I began my literary career…”  It helps to have friends in high places, even in 1848.

Is it any wonder why I treasure this 164 year old book?  It is this, this holding of history in my hands that keeps me from moving into the electronic age of Kindles and Nooks.  My heart grieves for the day when there are no more tangible books.  The words may remain, but the hidden history within the bindings will be gone.  It is my intent to all authors, to keep books around for as long as possible.

By the way, the bible has been appraised at close to $300 and The Sketch Book, even in the tattered shape it’s in, almost $100.  To me…they’re priceless.

Do you have any treasured, valuable books in your collection?

I want the fairy tale…

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved fairy tales.  Not just loved them.  I devoured them.  There was something about the romanticism and fantasy that fed my soul.  I was drawn to the magic, the fairy godmothers, the possibility of finding the prince of my dreams, getting married in a beautiful white sparkling ball gown and living happily ever after.

My favorite stories were Sleeping Beauty, The Princess and the Pea, the Ugly Duckling and Cinderella.  The Wonderful World of Disney managed to fuel my imagination even more with their versions of my favorite tales.  In fairy tales, good always triumphs over evil and the antagonist always gets his or her just reward.

Why can’t real life be like fairy tales?

Imagine a world where bullies learned their lessons, where every teen girl was noticed for the beauty inside, not out.  A world where abusive parents were punished for their atrocities, and teen boys could be heroes with super powers to save the world.  Imagine a world with no drugs, no teen suicide, no eating disorders, a prince for every princess, a happily ever after for everyone.  It’s a dream I have.  Maybe someday my dream will come true.  Until then,

What about you?  Do you wish for the fairy tale or do you live for the challenges of reality?  What is/was your favorite fairy tale?