Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fury of The Storm Wizard by Shauna Black


I fell in love with this story several years and several versions ago. I love the concept-- magic in the Old West. A shape-shifting dragon (Boone) masquerades as a human when he has to, but loves to be able to fly freely whenever he can. Boone is a character you can't help but love. He's fun, funny, kind-hearted, mischievious, and is hopelessly addicted to ice cream.

Jesse, a human boy about to be a thunder mage is also endearing. He is a half-orphaned boy who is trying to make sense of way too many changes in too little time. His mom dies and he is struck by lightning all in the same day. The lightning brings to life magical powers that had lain dormant his whole life and causes him no end of trouble.

Add in a whole cast of colorful characters and you have one entertaining middle school read. This book is perfect for reluctant boy readers--full of fun and magic and a glimpse into what the world was really like 150 years ago. (minus the magical dragons and mages, of course--but then again, people say there is magic all around us, so who knows?)

A Storm is Brewing

In Silver Valley, an unusual string of mining accidents has locals whispering of dark magic. When the marshal sent to investigate goes missing, his young assistant Boone turns to Jesse and Eliza for help. But Jesse is a new mage with raw magic, and Eliza is hiding a secret. The three must learn to trust each other before the valley is destroyed and they are ripped away from everything they hold dear.

A snippet of The Fury of The Storm Wizard:

Jesse started trembling. “Life ain’t better here,” he said. “I wish we’d never left Kansas. I wish we’d never come here.”

“There ain’t nothing left in Kansas for us but painful memories, son.”

Jesse glared at Pa. “How can you say that? How can you forget Ma so soon?” His words were punctuated by a crack of thunder.

“You watch your tongue, boy!” Pa took a step forward, hand going up as if he meant to strike Jesse.

The area around them suddenly froze, the ice growing as if winter had arrived in fast motion. Ice crusted the plants around them, the bushes, the trees. It pulled down the branches and leaves with its weight. 

Pa stopped dead in his tracks, staring at the frost that glistened on the ground between him and Jesse. “How are you doing this?” he whispered. 

Author Bio:
Shauna E. Black fell in love at an early age. Her first romances resided on the shelves of the mystery section in the library. She went through The Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, and Sherlock Holmes before someone introduced her to The Chronicles of Prydain. This sparked an enduring love for wizards, dragons, magic, and all things fantasy that Shauna still enjoys today. She always has her head in the clouds and her nose in a book.

Naturally, her love for reading evolved into a desire to create, and she became a writer. When she was a young teen, her English teacher made the mistake of offering extra credit for original short stories, and was suddenly swamped with Shauna's writing. Dutifully reading each story (at least, she wrote encouraging things in the margins), this teacher inspired Shauna to follow her dreams, leaving her with a warm spot in her heart for all English teachers.

Today, Shauna still keeps a box in the attic full of her early manuscripts, most written in pencil on lined paper. She lives in the high desert of the southwest with the other loves of her life: her husband and four children. She likes to drag them along on springtime hiking adventures to the many Anasazi ruins near her home, where she finds inspiration for her writing. She also likes to bake bread, do anything artsy, and travel to exotic locations to collect wind chimes.


Blog Tour List
TUESDAY - May 27



FRIDAY - May 30


SUNDAY - June 1

MONDAY - June 2

TUESDAY - June 3



FRIDAY - June 6


SUNDAY - June 8

MONDAY - June 9

Monday, May 26, 2014

#My Writing Process Blog Hop

I was invited by my friend, Jaime Buckley, to participate in the #My Writing Process Blog Hop.  Here's his bio: Jaime Buckley is a husband and father of 12. Writer, author, game designer, illustrator and Pepsi Connoisseur, he loves to share his experiences and encourage new talent. His vision of this fantasy world has been a consuming passion for nearly 20 years. With eight books, three games, 13 comics and two graphic novels published to date, there is still a great amount of work to be done.

“Wanted Hero was never meant to be a single storyline, but it is wrapped together in a single story. It’s my story. It’syours. It’s the story of human struggle–of pain and anguish and rising above the conflicts of our lives to become what we were always meant to be. Something more.

Check out his blog at: here (he has a TON of fun stuff going on there.)

What is #MyWritingProcess about?

“We writers share these things, but informally during workshops and at conferences (and, for a handful of established writers, in printed interviews), but not so much through our open-forum blogs. With the hashtag #MyWritingProcess, you can learn how writers all over the world answer the same four questions. How long it takes one to write a novel, why romance is a fitting genre for another, how one’s playlist grows as the draft grows, why one’s poems are often sparked by distress over news headlines or oddball facts learned on Facebook…”

So on to the 4 questions: 

1) What am I working on? A couple days ago I finished the first of 3 short stories for three different anthologies I am participating in this summer. It was inspired by the song: A Few of My Favorite Things and is part of an anthology to raise money for research and awareness for childhood illness. The first two books in the trilogy benefit Autism and Down's Syndrome. 

The second anthology story will benefit authors and their families who are facing devastating medical bills, and the third is a story to help uplift and inspire other parents who have lost children to miscarriage and stillbirth. (I've lost 7 babies and found hope and encouragement in other such stories.)

Before the short story, I completed the 4th book in my middle-grade Ginnie West Adventure series: Being West is Best. I'm really excited about it's release and have started brainstorming Book 5. My first picture book has been released this week as well. It is called: Popcorn and is a fun story featuring my main character, Ginnie West, and her twin brother at 3 1/2. Popcorn is the story that started my Ginnie West series 30 years ago as a story I conceived to entertain the kids I babysat.

Here's a middle page: 

Cute, huh? My illustrator, Mikey Brooks, has done a fabulous job with this book. 

I have also recently completed a novella to introduce my second series--a family drama. Although, I am thinking about turning the novella into a full-length novel and calling it book one. :) 

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? I write realistic fiction with a dose of humor. (think Judy Blume or Beverly Cleary) I have been compared to each author several times lately and I am honored by the comparison. My Ginnie West series deals with hard subjects such as child abuse, divorce, alcoholism, finding acceptance within one's self, as well as with peers and is meant to be empowering and uplifting to kids (and adults) as they navigate through the craziness of adolescence. I think real life is magical in it's own way and explore that magic in my series. I love stories about ordinary people behaving in extraordinary ways.

 3) Why do I write what I do? When I started writing as an adult, I was given 2 very good pieces of advice: One) Write what you know, and Two) Write a book you'd like to read. 

I was a foster mom to more than 100 kids over a 12 year period. When I was 12, I had friends who were abused that I couldn't help simply because I was a kid and didn't know what to do. So, as an adult, I wrote a series about 2 BFFs who help one another  find joy and strength in each other as they overcome the unwelcome residual effects one of them experienced  having been abused and abandoned six years before. 

In my first book, The Secret Sisters Club, 12 year-old BFFs scheme to get Ginnie's widower dad to date Tillie's divorcee mom. Things get more complicated when Ginnie stumbles across her late mom's journals and her dad takes them away. It has been described as "Parent Trap meets An American Girl" and has a fun feel.

In book 2, Trouble Blows West, Ginnie gets on the wrong side of the biggest bully in 6th grade and Tillie has to deal with the reality of a child living with an abusive dad, a fate she has recently escaped. Ginnie learns a lot about compassion and forgiveness as she tries to  help her BFF. Ginnie also learns that not everybody wants to be helped as she tries to be the bully's ally, because he won't let her be his friend.

Neither girl lives in a "traditional" family with 2 parents and siblings, but each realizes that family can be about who you want to be with as much as it is about who you are born to. In the 3rd book, Simply West of Heaven, both girls realize that their dream to become sisters may not be ice cream and fudge sauce when a blast from the past shakes up their world and causes them to question what sisterhood really means.

 4) How does my writing process work? Writers tend to belong to one of two camps: the plotters or the pantsers. Plotters often detail their whole book before they begin writing and pantsers often discover the true story they want to tell as they write their book. I happen to be a pantser who realizes my story benefits from a little bit of plotting. I tend to pick an arc or 2 for each main character and decide on a few pivotal try/fail or try/succeed cycles, then start my book, filling in the gaps along the way. I also try to write the ending by the time my book is 1/3 to 2/3 finished so that I stay focused. I tweak along the way as needed, but find that I always discover something I hadn't thought of before I started the newest book. It is this discovery that makes writing incredibly enjoyable for me. I love when my characters hijack the story in a way that makes it better and stronger.

Next week, on June 2, 2014, please check out 3 of my awesome author friends:

Pauline is a retired police officer, hanging up her gun for a pen. She lives in the south-eastern suburbs of Australia and jumps between two genres; historical fiction and crime. When not writing, she's busy raising her son, reinvigorating her garden, and 'chinking' glasses of wine with her friends.  Her debut novel, Pull Of The Yew Tree (HF) was released in May 2013 by her London-based publisher, and the first of her crime novels is due to be released in September of this year.

2) Krista Wayment: http://www.kristawayment.com/

Krista Wayment has been making up stories since she learned to talk. Writing naturally grew out of that. Krista is an avid Fantasy and Science Fiction fan, and a total nerd. She is also a software engineer and loves playing video games. Although, curling up with a good book is still one of her favorite past times.

3) Victoria Morris: http://www.destiniesofmirnth.com/

Victoria lives on the edge of a misty magical forest in the Pacific Northwest with one husband, two daughters, a big white dog and one huge resident bald eagle that likes to circle over her house when she brings in the groceries. A lifelong artist and not quite as long writer, Victoria is building a universe inside her head that has taken form in a six book fantasy series, with a middle grade trilogy on the side. While illustrating the world and all its characters is always on her mind, she draws portraits in her spare time to relax.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mrs D's Chapter Books Blast


About Book 1

The Trees Have HeartsTitle: The Trees Have Hearts | Author: Mrs. D | Publication Date: March 31, 2014 | Publisher: Mrs.D. Books Publisher | Number of pages: 41 | Recommended age: 6 to 10

Summary: A Mom's Choice Award Winner The story of a young girl, left friendless because she could not speak a new language, will touch your heart. It will take your child into the imaginary world of a little girl who moved to America from a different country. Unable to speak English, the lonely girl could not find friends. She lived in an old house with a small garden, where three blooming trees and the mysterious wind became her first imaginary friends. The garden friends developed a wonderful friendship with the lonely girl, and helped her overcome her fears and worries. Through the story, they taught her how to make real friends and helped her cope with difficult moments while adapting to new surroundings. Unforgettable characters will open a beautiful imaginary world to young readers, inviting them to share the fears, tears and joys of a little girl. The story will teach the true meaning of friendship while showing readers the beauty of nature. This book will open an unknown imaginary world through the eyes of a child...

Book Trailer


Amazon | Barnes and Noble


About Book 2

The City Kittens and the Old House CatTitle: The City Kittens and the Old House Cat | Author: Mrs. D | Publication Date: July 11, 2013 | Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing | Number of pages: 37 | Recommended age: 6 to 10 Summary: This story revolves around Christmastime and a family who once adopted a lost kitten, naming it Nyda. Nyda has now grown old and has settled into a calm, uneventful life with her new family-until the day before Christmas, when the family's older daughter brings two playful kittens, Mickey and Jack, home for the holidays. The two kittens from the big city are a change for the family, and for Nyda. The old cat likes her settled life and is not happy about the new arrivals. She's also very protective of her belongings. The city kittens annoy her, and the old cat grumbles about the new additions to the family- until she hears a story one night that makes her feel bad. The kittens aren't the soft or spoiled brats she had thought they were . .

Book Trailer


Amazon | Barnes and Noble


The Buzz

The Trees Have Hearts: "This is a lovely book for young girls, and especially young girls who face loneliness because of being in a new place. They are sure to find peace and encouragement in the special values taught in The Trees Have Hearts. Mrs. D does a wonderful job of reaching out to kids in a unique way in this book. The beautiful trees give warmth and peace as they spread their blooms throughout the garden and into the hearts of those who read this book." ~ Joy Hannabass, Readers' Favorite
The Trees Have Hearts: "In The Trees Have Hearts, Mrs. D. demonstrates love, compassion and a touch of mystical ability as she manifests what the trees might say, if they spoke to a lonely little girl. Then again, maybe she writes to alert us all to listen with our hearts. I highly recommend this book." ~ 5 Star Review, sunnyrock, Amazon
The Trees Have Hearts: "The author writes a lovely story about a lonely little girl with a great big imagination. She turns her beautiful garden into her sanctuary of imaginary friends that remain in her heart and follow her into adulthood. The lessons to be learned in this story is love of nature, respect for nature and changes of nature from one season to the next. Just as children go through many changes from season to season. This would be a good bedtime story. reading a few pages each night nurturing your child's imagination and leaving them with sweet dreams." ~ 5 Star Review, It's Time to Read Mamaw, Amazon
The City Kittens and the Old House Cat: "The City Kittens and the Old House Cat is an inspiring story written from a cat's point of view. The story can be understood by all pet lovers. The book has some beautiful and colorful illustrations. That makes the book very attractive and visually appealing, something which all the kids love. Children's books should be colorful and bright. The message of tolerance is very important in the current living situation. The book has a nice moral which can be explained to children and they can be asked to practice it too." ~ 5 Star Review, Mamta Madhavan, Readers' Favorite
The City Kittens and the Old House Cat: "Snuggle up in front of the fire and share this sweet kitty tale with your little ones. Bright, richly detailed illustrations bring the story to life as the old cat learns to accept two little intrusions. Fun book to put on your wish list, especially around the holiday season. A delight for any cat or animal lover!" ~ 5 Star Review, CLMurphy, Amazon
The City Kittens and the Old House Cat: "Mrs. D. weaves wonderful lessons of acceptance, adoption and not judging other people without getting to know them into this sweet children's picture book. I highly recommend it for young children." ~ 5 Star Review, P.J. LaRue, Amazon

About the Author: Mrs. D

Mrs D ~ Olga D'AgostinoMrs. D. (Olga D’Agostino), an award-winning children’s author, was born in western Ukraine. She lived in the historical city of Lviv, where she studied business in Lviv Business College and worked in the food industry. In 1992, she immigrated to the USA with her two small daughters and for years worked in her own business. In 2011, she began her career as a writer, focusing on writing children’s books that have meaning and provide valuable lessons. Two of her children’s books, The Trees Have Hearts and Good Morning, World!, won Mom’s Choice Awards in 2013. She is a member of SCBWI and speaks a few languages fluently. She lives in the famous town of Smithville, NJ, with her husband Patrick and a meticulous old cat named Nyda. Published books by Mrs. D. include Carlo the Mouse on Vacation, The Trees Have Hearts, The City Kittens and the Old House Cat, Good Morning, World!, and Carlo the Mouse, Book 1: Too Many Rules for One Little Mouse and The Little Girl Praying on the Hill(a short story for an older audience). Coming in 2014: The Royal Palmand Carlo the Mouse, Book 2: Now We're Talking! The full series of Carlo the Mouse and her new books, The Mysterious Life Inside a Closet, That Is How Things Are (two connected stories): The Autumn Wind, and The Kitten and the Sparrow, and three rhyming stories in Who Is Most Important in the Fridge? will be published in the near future. Her books are available in print on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and as e-books for most popular electronic devices. For updates on Mrs. D.’s books, please visit her website: www.mrsdbooks.net.

Website | Author Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page


* $50 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon $50 Gift Card Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice) Contest ends: June 10, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Mrs. D and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com. a Rafflecopter giveaway MDBR Book Promotion Services

Monday, May 12, 2014

Children's Book Week Blog Hop

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Children’s Book Week Kid Lit Giveaway Hop, hosted by Youth Literature Reviews and Mother Daughter Book Reviews

I am a middle-grade author. I write for kids.

You ask: Why write for kids? My answer: Why not?
Books can transport even the shyest child into a safe place to explore their feelings and emotions within a new world that may—or may not—share the same fears, values, rules that they hold. 

As a youth, I enjoyed such fun series as The Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. Judy Blume’s many books helped me deal with the changes that tweens experience.  Anne of Green Gable, Tom Sawyer, and Pippi Longstocking (not realistic fiction—but definitely a fun read) are characters you can’t help but love. 

 The main character in my Ginnie West Adventures series has been compared to all of these wonderful books and characters and I am honored by the comparison. 

Bookmark FRONT (1)

If you'd like a chance to win a copy of all 4 of my printed books (above), please enter the Rafflecopter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you a children's book or teen literature blogger, an author, a publisher, or a publicist looking to share copies of a fabulous book? Mother Daughter Book Reviews  and Youth Literature Reviews  are joining forces to provide you with the opportunity to take part in the Children's Book Week Giveaway Hop 2014, featuring links to giveaways for fabulous children/teen's books, gift cards, cash, or other prizes.  What better way to celebrate Children's Book Week?

You will find an assortment of fun books and opportunities to win great prizes on the following blogs:

Monique's Musings(US for print books)--(WW for ebook winners)
~ Bellossoms: Lovely Little Flowers (US & Canada

The Secret Sisters Club is on special right now: $.99__________________