Today I'm part of my friend Monique's cover real as her Ginnie West series gets new covers. Monique is having a giveaway as part of this blog tour (so see the Rafflecopter entry form below!)
Since we are less than a month away from the release of Penumbras, I thought I'd post some chapters as it gets closer. Today, I am happy to post Chapter Two! You can get to it (or Chapter One) via the buttons below. Check back each Wednesday for new chapters.
Also, if you didn't get a chance earlier, you can still enter the giveaway on Goodreads :
You can also pre-order a signed copy at a significant discount:
I'm very happy to be part of the the blog tour for The Dream Keeper
by Mikey Brooks. I love the cover!
Mikey is a very busy author/illustrator and a super nice and enthusiastic guy. Here's a little about Mikey and the book:
Mikey Brooks is a small child masquerading as adult. On occasion you’ll find him dancing the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown up. He is the author/illustrator of several books including BEAN’S DRAGONS
, the ABC ADVENTURES
series, and author of the middle-grade fantasy-adventure novel, THE DREAM KEEPER
. He spends most of his time playing with his daughters and working as a freelance illustrator. Mikey has a BS degree in Creative Writing from Utah State University. He is also one of the hosts of the Authors’ Think Tank Podcast.TEASER:
Dreams: Dorothy called it Oz, Alice called it Wonderland, but Nightmares call it HOME.
When an evil shifter takes over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, it falls to 14-year-olds Parker and Kaelyn to stop him. Their only hope lies with Gladamyr, the Dream Keeper, but can they trust a Nightmare to save their world? SYNOPSIS:
Loser—the most frightening word to ever be uttered in junior high school. Even the coolest kids are afraid of being associated with it. 14-year-old Parker Bennett is no exception. He can’t even be himself around his friends for fear they might not accept who he really is. When circumstances force him to team up with Kaelyn Clarke, the biggest loser in the ninth grade, Parker has to decide what is more important; protecting his social status or saving the world. Nightmare named Fyren has taken over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, with the intention of controlling mortals, and it falls on Parker, Kaelyn, and Gladamyr – the Dream Keeper – to stop him. They learn being called a loser is no longer a fear, when compared to the terror of real nightmares. EXCERPT FROM BOOK: P
arker was about to assassinate the general of the goblin army. It wasn’t murder, it was an assignment. He tried to justify what he was about to do as he jumped from the rooftop and landed just above the battlement wall. It was the perfect spot to scout the camp. The goblins filling the keep were everywhere, sharpening blades and axes or gathering weapons for the impending battle. Parker noticed a large troll in the right hand corner of the space below, hammering solidly on a sword large enough to split three men into six. He spotted his target.
The general of the goblin army was a large brute with golden braids hanging down his chest. He was the one who had ordered the burning of Parker’s home village. The one who had ordered the death of Parker’s family and friends. This monster, this villain, was the reason Parker had set out on his journey to seek vengeance upon the unjust. This was the creature responsible for Parker swearing allegiance to the Mightercore army, who quickly gave him the role of assassin-scout.
Parker maneuvered his way down the wall, careful not to move too fast or his invisibility cloak would lose its power. He placed his foot in one crevice, then his hand in another. After a few moments of skilled climbing, Parker found himself precariously positioned just behind the golden haired brute, leaving only a small distance between him and his foe. In a quick session tactic, Parker could ignite his blade with the magic of the Mightercore and his target would be no more. He positioned himself to strike, raising his sword and whispering the incantation that would release the blade’s power—.
He ignored whoever was calling his name; they did not matter. All he saw was the villain before him. The completed spell ignited Parker’s sword with a blazing haze of blue fire, and he had to act fast.
The loud call startled him and he swung too late. The goblin general had already turned and he struck, forcing Parker back against the rocky battlements. Parker parried the attack and thrust forward with a low slash. The general sidestepped and lunged forward again. Parker parried and rolled away from the wall. A lightning spell was the only magic he had left. If he could find enough time to call out the incantation, he could have the general radiating electrons from every appendage.
He rolled until he was a good ten feet from his opponent, then quickly stood. Lifting his hand into the air, he called down the lightning. The sky filled with a brilliant white light, and the crack of thunder reverberated off the walls. Parker briefly closed his eyes then opened them, praying he had hit his target. As the white dust began to clear, he made out an image before him. He peered at it, his heart thumping.
The screen went black.
“Parker, I’ve called you three times. Now get off that machine and go do your homework.”
If you would like to find out more about Mikey or this book, here are some links:AUTHOR LINKS:
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Mikey-Brooks/e/B00B8ICZ4W
Goodreads at: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17727253-the-dream-keeper
Facebook at: http://facebook.com/writtenbymikeybrooks
Twitter as: @writtenbymikey
WattPad: http://wattpad.com/MikeyBrooks BOOK LINKS:
Paperback Create Space: https://www.createspace.com/4260677
This is the first line of the book--one of my favorites.
The Nashville Children's Theatre is a truly magical place. Unfortunately, like many magical places, there is trouble in the land.
In this case, it is a revenue shortfall.
NCT is dear to my heart. I worked there for three years. I know the staff. They are some of the finest theatre professionals around. They consistently turn out high-quality theatre for children and families. In fact, TIME magazine named them one of the top 5 children's theatres in the US. They also run camps, teach classes, and provide other services for children and families--including many children who attend because of a ticket subsidy program.
Unfortunately, producing high-quality theatre for disadvantaged kids costs more than it brings in.
I can attest that the folks at NCT are extremely cautious stewards. They work harder than you can imagine to stretch each dollar. Unfortunately, times are tough.
Now, they have a $70,000 shortfall as the fiscal year ends. If you want to make a straight donation, you can do that by clicking here
(go to the bottom of the letter). I'm sure any amount would be welcome.
This is a very worthy cause!
Okay, full disclosure: Carole is a friend of mine. Howevever, don't let that stop you from believing me when I tell you that this book was a really fun read! I enjoyed it immensely.
It is a clean mystery that kept me guessing until the end. And Carole's wit really came to life in the characters. There is one pair especially, and ideologically mismatched pair that had me laughing out loud.
One of Carole's gifts as a writer is the ability to write eccentric characters who are very funny--but also very realistic and dimensional.
The book is set in Yellowstone, and Carole does a wonderful job bringing the setting to life. I felt like I was walking those trails myself.
"Who is Trying to Silence Penny?
Penny Thorton's dreams of being a park ranger start to unravel her
first week on the job when she finds a dead bear in Yellowstone's
backcountry. Shots are fired as she runs away, but once she tells
the authorities, all evidence evaporates. Penny's aunt Iris, who is
bent on eradicating an invasive species of daisy from the park, puts
that mission on hold when more bears are killed and she becomes
entangled in the mystery. After several attempts on Penny's life, she
and Iris learn to trust no one not even their friends."
Seriously, this book was a lot of fun!
Check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/Poaching-Daisies-Yellowstone-Mystery-Warburton/dp/1599928744/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370320312&sr=8-1&keywords=poaching+daisies
*A few years ago, I made up a recurring meme on bradbenbell.com called "Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned From Showtunes" (EIENTKILFS) Based on the premise that there is a showtune fro pretty much every occasion or emotion.
In many places, it's the season of graduation and year-end celebrations, so I think it might be valuable to talk about the giving of awards. Specifically, what to do when your child doesn't get one.
Last week, our school had an awards assembly. During this awards assembly several awards were given. My Kindergarten son did not receive one--although several of his good buddies did.
As we drove home, we had an interesting conversation. At first he mentioned the awards ceremony (I didn't bring it up), assuring me that he hadn't wanted an award. But as we talked, he opened up enough to admit that he was struggling with the fact that he didn't get an award and his friend did.
Here's the thing: he had a wonderful, wonderful year. I'm talking so wonderful that he cried on weekends and was discouraged over Christmas and spring breaks because he couldn't be in school.
He loved his year! But at this moment, all those happy memories and all the fun he had were quickly minimized because he didn't get an award. Hold that thought for a minute.
Back to the story: I assured him that this was very natural and normal and then we talked about the choice to make. He could focus on feeling unhappy for himself, or try to be happy for his friend. I explained that each of these feelings were sort of like living things. Whichever one he fed with his thoughts and feelings would get bigger. I asked him which one he thought was the better thought, which one he wanted to encourage.
Happily, he decided he wanted to try to focus on being happy for his friend.
It's funny because as soon as he made that conscious decision, it didn't seem to matter to him anymore--and his good memories of the year are back.
Awards are kind of a mixed blessing, aren't they? They are wonderful when you get one. When you don't? Not so much. People really struggle with this. I've found that myself. I have been in many situations where I was nominated for an award that I didn't end up winning. Let's be honest--it stings. It can even hurt. The human response is to be mad at the winner, or the givers of the award.
But this is the wrong response! It's wrong because it's unfair to the others involved. It's wrong because it's arrogant and narcissistic (why do we assume we deserved the award? Perhaps there were factors of which we aren't aware).
But mostly it's wrong because it will bring misery to the person who indulges in this kind of response.
Here's the point I think is important to consider. If your child is being nominated for an award, chances are it is something they like and are good at. Chances are they have fun or draw some satisfaction from this activity. Focus on that, not the award! Focus on the intrinsic value, focus on what they learned and did. Don't focus on the award--or the lack thereof. If you do, then you run the risk of tainting those happy memories. And that would be a huge shame. It is the definition of being penny-wise and pound-foolish if you think about it.
Over the years I've noticed something. The people who don't get awards are tempted to let the lack of the award make everything that came before of no worth. In other words, someone might have years and years of happy memories from an activity--a sport or plays or something else. They might have had fun with their friends, learned and grown, and had all kinds of other benefits. The day before the award was given, these were good and happy memories, and their recollection of their time in this activity was positive.
But then--they don't get the award and suddenly it all changes. Those happy memories become nothing and an expiration date appears. Happy memories fade and hurt and bitterness appear. And that leads to unhappiness. Don't let that happen!
It's not only that memories can be ruined. I've also seen relationships ruined over the lack of an award. Teacher-student relationships that were close and wonderful, or the relationships between two friends or colleagues that became strained. What a shame!
Especially because, short of a Nobel Prize or Pulitzer Prize, most awards don't really tend to mean as much as life goes on. Seriously, how many adults are still all that excited about the awards they won in elementary or middle school--or even high school.
However, it is a sad mark of the times that parents and students are driven to quantify every activity by achievement. We can no longer simply enjoy doing something. We have to be the best--and prove it. I have seen students collect awards and accolades like some people collect stamps. But they get no joy from these awards. Only misery if they don't get one. It's the 21st century equivalent of being a miser. These are adolescent Silas Marners.
Which is my son going to treasure more in the long run? A really great Kindergarten year or getting that award? Chances are, had he received an award, he would have forgotten in a week or two. A year and it would be ancient history. But his good and happy memories of his year? Those can last a lifetime.
So--when your child doesn't get the award, stop a minute. Acknowledge the sting, but then re-direct. Focus on what they got from the experience. And give them the gift of memories and growth that will last for the rest of their lives.