August 31, 2011

Three Times a Charm with Kit Grady

Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry.

This week I’m honored to welcome the very talented illustrator, Kit Grady.
Kit Grady is a full time children’s illustrator and author living in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. Her love for drawing animals, nature and children began very early. She continued her passion studying art at Virginia Commonwealth University and later studied under Caldecott winners Uri Shulevitz and Gale Haley.  Her clients include The United Methodist Publishing House/Cokesbury, Kaeden Books, Guardian Angel Publishing and Meegenius.  She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. When not writing and illustrating she visits schools and libraries to celebrate the joy of reading.
Kit is best known for her bright colors and expressive animals.
Wow, you must stay so very busy. What is the latest and greatest adventure?
Kit has just released a new e-book for Meegenius, Mollie the Merbaby, which has just been placed on the best sellers page. She also has illustrations for a new picture book, Louie V Trims the Tree by Tracey Delio, to be released in August 2011. She recently won first place in the SCBWI Carolinas chapter for her manuscript, Chicken Roundup and is currently working on a revise on spec for a publishing house.
Congrats, Kit, on so many successful projects!
Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.
Please choose just 3 of the following questions to answer. You can answer as thoroughly or as simply as you wish. The idea is for our readers to learn a little more about you, so use it to your advantage.
  • Top 3 pieces of advice for people just starting in your business.
-Write what you know and never give up
-Do your homework, and find out all you can about this business
-Keep your behind in the chair and stay there and work and work some more. 
  • Top 3 leisure activities.
When I’m not drawing you will find me working in my flower or vegetable garden, hiking in these beautiful North Carolina mountains, and eating ice cream. 
  • Top 3 illustrators.
My favorite three illustrators, but there are so many……
Jan Brett,
Lisa McCue,
and Kay Chorao 
Kit, where can our readers learn more about your many projects and get their hands on some of your books?
Stop by my website at
 Visit Kit Grady’s blog at
You may find out more about her books and new releases at KITGRADYBOOKS
And say hi on facebook

August 24, 2011

Three Times A Charm With Nancy Sharpe

Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry.

This week children’s author, Nancy Sharpe, who joins us to talk about her newest release, a picture book called, If Wishes Were Fishes. Let’s learn a little about Nancy:

N.A. Sharpe was born in Wilmington, Delaware and attended the University of Delaware studying Psychology and Elementary Education.  She is a single mom and currently lives in central Florida with her son and three dogs, Xena (a German Shepherd), NaNu (a Morkie) and Figment (a Yorkie).

Throughout high school and college, she volunteered in the elementary school system, and, after receiving her degree, taught autistic and schizophrenic children in a private school in Pennsylvania for five years before moving on to an administrative career. 

She has always had a deep rooted love of storytelling and children's literature. This is her first picture book. She has one fantasy book published and is currently writing a Young Adult fantasy adventure series in collaboration with her son.

Wow, Nancy, I’ve known you for a number of years now and I didn’t know you worked with authistic and schizophrenic children. That’s really admirable.

Tell us more about your newest release, If Wishes Were Fishes.

JT Trumanowski is a six-year old with a BIG problem…his grandparents! How do you survive a whole weekend alone with them when you do exactly what they say and still end up in so much trouble?!

            JT adores his grandparents and is thrilled to be invited to spend the weekend with them. He tries hard to follow their requests to a “T” with one disastrously humorous result after another. “Why can’t they just say what they mean?” he wonders. Talk about a failure to communicate! Join JT as he discovers people may mean what they say, they just don’t always say what they mean…clearly.

If Wishes Were Fishes, from 4RV Publishing is my first picture book. It is illustrated by the very talented Ginger Nielson and was awarded second place in the Preditors and Editors readers’ poll. I am very excited to announce this book has recently been released in Kindle and Nook format for those who prefer their books electronically, and, of course, is available in paperback format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and bookstores everywhere. I am more than happy to send autographed bookplates for readers who would like to have them.

Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

·    Top 3 pieces of advice for people just starting in your business.
* Read. Really, read as much as possible to keep up with current trends.
            *Write. It’s fun, helps to build good writing practices and develops your natural voice. Take the opportunity to think outside the box - occasionally stray away             from your comfort zone and try something new - a different genre, a different             point of view. It keeps things fresh and, who knows, you may find a new niche or             genre that you enjoy.
      *Workshops. I love workshops - you can always learn something new. I particularly like online workshops - the internet is an amazing place that can open up new horizons and networking opportunities. One of my favorite sources is the Muse Online Writing Conference. It’s in October, it’s free, and extremely fun. I highly recommend this conference. (You must pre-register) It’s a great experience with many wonderful opportunities to network and learn no matter what stage your career is at - hopefully I’ll see you there!

·    Top 3 snacks to munch on while working.
* I absolutely must have a nice tall glass of sweet iced tea to sip on while working.
            * My favorite crunchy snack is popcorn.
            * My favorite sweet snack is chocolate, mmmmm chocolate what can I say … <3

·    Top 3 leisure activities.
* I love fantasy and read and write as much as I can.
* I love to visit the theme parks and have fun with the attractions, shows, parades, and all the other fans.
* Movies. I love storytelling in all its forms and get lost in a good movie.
Oh my gosh, recently I came to the conclusion that I love the old rock group Kansas because of the storytelling in their songs. Point of No Return, Portrait (one of my all time faves!), Carry On Wayward Son…all really good stories!

Where can our readers learn more about you, If Wishes Were Fishes and your other published work?

My author site:  NA Sharpe
My fun site:         The Cybrarie
My blogs:           Realms of Thought     and    The Cybrarian’s Book Reviews
Facebook:          NASharpe

If Wishes Were Fishes is available at:

Nancy, thank you for visiting Strands of Thought and sharing more of YOU and Fishes with us. I hope your writing finds its way into the hands of readers everywhere!


August 22, 2011

Tal Yanai Presents Life Is Not a Candy Store

During his formative years, Tal Yanai was not happy with his reality. What he was creating in his life was not in alignment with what he wanted in his heart or what he knew and deeply felt was possible.

As a struggling student, he was considered a troublemaker in school. Then one day, during a bike trip from the kibbutz to the sea, he was asked to take charge and make sure none of the other kids lagged behind. For the first time in his life, at age fifteen, Tal got a taste of what it meant to assume responsibility and be a leader. This one experience planted the seed for his goal to assume a leadership role in his later life. After finishing high school, having been raised on Kibbutz, Einat, Israel, he volunteered to serve as a leader in the Kibbutzim Youth Movement, which focused on principles such as volunteering, mutual help, and giving to one’s community and country.

In tenth grade he was diagnosed with dyslexia, which explained his learning difficulties but it did little to ease his frustration with himself and his everyday struggles. He had no mentors he could confide in or look up to. And no matter how hard his parents tried, his living on a kibbutz meant they had little influence during his teenager years.

At the age of twenty-three, when he moved to the U.S., Tal found solace in a higher power and started on a spiritual path, which has led him to align himself with his soul’s essence and mission.

For two years he worked as an historical analyst at the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, established by Steven Spielberg after the filming of Schindler’s List. As part of his job, he listened every day to testimonies of Holocaust survivors. Many were children or teenagers during WWII and their stories greatly influenced Tal’s decision to become involved with educating youth, so he proceeded to get his Teaching Credential in Social Studies.

Bringing two wonderful children into the world gave him a new sense of urgency to share and teach everything he’s learned about God and spirituality. Today, Tal teaches Hebrew and Judaic Studies in Temple Beth Hillel in the San Fernando Valley as he continues his quest to explore the meaning of soul and achieve his full potential as a spiritual teacher.

Kai: It is nice to have you with us today, Tal. Let’s talk about your book. What age range is it for?

Tal: I wrote my book, Life Is Not a Candy Store: It’s the Way to the Candy Store, for teenagers (ages 12-19), but from comments I received so far, parents are also enjoying the reading.  

Kai: Can you share a memory of yours or a story of you from when you were within the age range of your target readers?

Tal:  Growing up in a small community called “Kibbutz” in Israel left me with many wonderful memories which came from the freedom I had to explore life around me. However, because I was (and still am) a struggling student, I also have many memories of being frustrated and angry with myself and others.

Kai: How has life changed for children today than when you were that age?

Tal:  The biggest change in the life of teenagers today is the role technology plays and the, almost, unlimited exposure teens have to the world around them. 

Kai: How is life still the same?

Tal: What is still the same is human nature; teens today face the same difficult transformation process from being kids to becoming adults as other teens have faced throughout human history.

Kai: What was your favorite toy or activity when you were that age?

Tal: As a teenager I spent much of my time on the soccer field. It’s where I found joy, doing something I was good at. 

Kai: What inspired, Life Is Not a Candy Store: It’s the Way to the Candy Store, and how did you decide on this age range for your book?

Tal: What inspired this book is seeing the pain we cause each other when we act in selfish ways, not thinking about the consequences to others and ourselves.  This is true for people in all ages, but as a father and as a teacher it was important for me to pass my message to teens first. And there is another reason I decided to write this book; when I was a teen, I felt frustrated and trapped. But after finding the road to an emotional and spiritual freedom, I decided to “share the news” with teens who feel the same way I felt. 

Kai: Finally, I have four kids. Over the years, they’ve attended a lot of birthday parties. I love the idea of building a theme gift around a book. If you were to give a gift basket to a child based on your book, what else would be in the basket besides, Life Is Not a Candy Store: It’s the Way to the Candy Store?

Tal: In my gift basket, in addition to Life Is Not a Candy Store, you would find a special notebook to write down things you experienced and ideas that inspired you. You would also find a comfortable pillow so you could sit in a quiet place, look inside, be still and connect with God to feel His love for you. Happy Birthday :)

Kai: Tal, that gift sounds lovely! I hope our readers use that idea next time they are preparing a gift for a teen. Best of luck with your book, Tal. Thank you again for joining us on Strands of Thought.

August 21, 2011

Write On Con Live Chats WERE AMAZING!!!

They all were (well the ones I participated in) and seriously, if I had the tenacity, I could write a post about each one I lurked over. I learned so very, very much about the idiosyncrasies of the business that I either never knew before or had simply forgotten. Oh my gosh, and the funny! Barbara Poelle and Holly Root somehow managed to have their audience in tears while they educated us on the do and do not of the industry.

PLUS: I gained loads of respect for the brilliance of the literary agents who took the time to be involved in the chats. Holy wow, do they know their stuff. I actually think Jennifer Laughran from ABLA might be precognitive. Either that, or the fastest reader/typist in the west. Swear it seemed like she was answering questions before they were posted.

Anyway, one chat I sat in on that stirred up the thinkers in my head was with Sara Megibow from Nelson Literary Agency. She talked about traditional publishing verses the ever increasing popularity of self publishing. I’m so enthralled with this topic these days because I feel it is such a game changer for us on so many levels. Plus as my frustration with my own agent/publishing search grows, the self publishing side is always a temptation. I have my own personal reasons for continuing to deny myself the plunge into the dark side and being involved in this chat reinforced my decisions. But I wanted to share a couple very important points Sara made.

A chatter asked the question: Do you think the mid list is heading toward self-publication? And if so, are agencies with e-publishing in house a good option? Or should we go it solo? I might have leaned forward in anticipation of this answer because this is one of those game changers I referred to above. Agents who support their authors self publish (or epublish) titles they don’t feel fit the traditional market.

Sara’s answer was brilliant: Going it solo is a tough thing. I think one needs to be incredibly well resourced (educated, organized and analytical) to go it alone. However, it's a wonderful way to go if you are the personality type who likes to be in control. I think backlist is wonderful for self pubbing, but midlist? depends on the situation.

Her point about someone needing to be well resourced is SO valid! And I don’t think a lot of the people who are jumping into epublishing on their first book really understand that. Heck, I’m only starting to really get it. Well resourced also includes an established platform and some kick ass book marketing skills because your book goes NOWHERE without effective marketing. People will not talk about something they don’t know about. You have to get it into their hands in order to spark the word of mouth that is so crucial to book success. (BTW, you know I’m passionate about a subject when I use all caps and swear words – IDK, is kick ass actually a swear word? Regardless I’m not comfortable using it unless I really mean it.)

Sara shared some of her thoughts to sum up the talk. Her first thought was something I’ve always tried to articulate on the subject myself, but I think she said it better. The “middle finger” analogy really drives the point home:

#1 - if you self publish to give the middle finger to NY (ie. if you've gotten oodles of rejections and just simply can't get an agent or an editor), that's not likely to be the best reason to self publish. BUT, if you self publish because you UNDERSTAND how it works - the legal, the marketing, the cover design, the promotions, the editing, and you have a project that's just not right for NY (too short, too strange, a backlist title, etc), then that's a GOOD reason to self pub

I’ll share her advice to those of you throwing around the idea of self pubbing:

If you self publish - get educated. Find out what it takes, follow authors who are successful at it and make it about quality and successful sales, not just about because you can.

Like I said, at this stage in my career, her talk reaffirmed my decision to continue to pursue a more traditional route. That may change in the future as I gain more knowledge and maybe a funding source, because like Sara said, self publishing is not free publishing. But for now I’m comfy with my decision even if I remain a cross of determined and frustrated with my path.

Your turn. Thoughts? Questions? Rants? Tips? Anything you’d like to share about the traditional vs self publishing question?

If you are registered with Write On Con, you can read through Sara Megibow’s entire chat here.


August 17, 2011

Three Times A Charm With Neha Garg

Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry.

This week we are joined by a new friend I made over on Google+. I love social media! Neha Garg and I would never have bridged the 5000 mile gap between our cities without the internet.

Neha, tell our readers more about yourself.

To use the age old cliché, I am IT Manager by day and Writer by night. I live in London UK and work in IT as a day job. At least, that is what I am calling it since I am hoping to have my writing paying the bills soon.

When not writing or IT managing, I am trying my hand at cartooning. In addition to being funny, I find that there is something immensely satisfying in blowing up people's noses and giving their bodies exaggerated proportions.

Love the visual that evokes! What kind of projects do you have going on right now?

I work as a children’s columnist for a UK newspaper called Asian Voice. For now, I am publishing 400 word short stories, weekly. I am working on expanding the column to include poetry as well, which is the same as the short stories only rhyming and, in my opinion, more fun.

All my current work can be found on my website, 

On a more unpublished note, I am also working on two books alongside everything else (I do feel a bit like Super-Woman these days). The first, a Middle Grade genre fantasy and the second a collection of short stories about the adventures of the fine folk of FaerieRealm.

I also publish general thoughts on things that I have found useful while going through the learning curve of the craft of writing. These can all be found on 

Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

  • Top 3 pieces of advice for people in the field of writing

1.      Write, Write, Write as much as you can. Write anything. Journal entries, blog posts, fiction, non-fiction, emails, beautifully phrased facebook status updates etc will all do. Practice makes perfect.

  1. When starting out don't worry about genre. One genre might lure you more than another but try your hand at everything. Soon you will find a niche. As an example, when I first started out I was determined not to have anything to do with writing Picture Books but now, what with my new found love in cartooning, I think picture book writing is a grand idea.

  1. Find Crit friends. Friends who will help critique your work. These can be your family members as well if they can be objective enough. My mum tells me I am awesomesauce but that doesn't really help my writing. Building a critique group is very important as it helps you learn about your mistakes from very early on and avoid them as you go.

  • Top 3 authors.

  1. Roald Dahl – I specially love him as a person. I mean he used to write his daughters' names in the grass and then tell them that fairies wrote it using fairydust. I mean how awesome is that?
  2. J.K. Rowling – Her books come alive and that is the kind of writing all of us want to achieve
  3. William Sears – In his book, God Loves Laughter, his subtle sense of humor leaves me in stitches and it is the kind of humor I want to achieve in my writing and cartooning.

  • Top 3 illustrators

  1. Quentin Blake
  2. Elizabeth Jones (
  3. Helga Pearson (

Where can our readers learn more about you and your work?

My permanent home is but I can be reached using the following

twitter: @nehagarg83

Neha, thank you so much for joining us on Strands of Thought. It is a pleasure to get to know you and learn about your work. Best of luck!


August 13, 2011

Wanted: Reviews of The Weaver

I love to read reviews of The Weaver that have been posted on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and/or Goodreads. So, to entice you to spread The Weaver love, I’m offering to mail an autographed bookplate to anyone who posts a review on any of those sites.

Can I just say that I have the coolest bookplates ever?!

To claim your coolest bookplate ever prize, just send me an email (kaistrand at yahoo dot com ßof course format that correctly) telling me where you posted your review and your screen name for that site. Include your mailing address and I’ll send an autographed bookplate that you can stick inside your copy of The Weaver – or to your forehead – it’s really up to you.  I’ll even include a bookmark and lots of appreciation. So much appreciation, it might require extra postage.

Word of caution: Amazon likes the reviews posted on their site to be unique. So, please be sure to tweak your review a bit if you are posting to another site.

Look forward to hearing from you! Tell a friend.

August 11, 2011

Love You, Mom

This post is intensely personal. Maybe I shouldn’t even share it. But as a writer it feels so wrong to not write about it.

Two weeks ago today, my sister called to say that our mom had passed away. Mom had battled mounting health challenges for a number of years, so I guess in theory our loss shouldn’t be a surprise. Yet it was. It is.

It still is.

I learned so much from Mom. She didn’t teach me how to cook. Or how to keep house. God knows she tried. She was my go-to guru for all things business. She was a trailblazer; a female in middle management in the earliest days of women’s lib. Savvy and instinctual, she had a sixth sense for all things corporate.

She was so smart.

She was my number one fan. When I was going through her papers I found all the manuscripts I’d shared with her, printed out and filed. Dog-eared and loved. She read this blog. She bought multiple copies of my book and sent them to friends all over the world.

She was so much more.

I miss her horribly. I can’t believe how much this hurts. I know the best thing I can do is continue to love my life, value my loved ones. And I will. But I just felt an odd obstacle by not shouting out loud, “I knew this beautiful woman. She’s gone and I’m grieving her.”

My mom is survived by me, my two sisters and our eight children. Her loss is mourned by many relatives and friends from her 76 years of life. We will be gathering for a private memorial over Labor Day weekend. I suspect we will share lots of tears and laughter and our love and appreciation of each other. The best of her will live on through us, but I’m sure I’ll miss her for a lifetime.

Love you, Mom. Rest in peace.

August 10, 2011

Three Times A Charm With Beverly Stowe McClure

Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry.

This week children’s author, Beverly Stowe McClure, joins us from the deep in the heat of Texas.

Beverly, thank you for agreeing to be a part of my weekly feature “Three Times a Charm.” 

Thank you, Kai, for inviting me.

Beverly has visited Strands of Thought before, but for those who missed that interview, here is a refresher course.

When Beverly was a child she hated to read. Even though her eighth grade teacher sent her poem “Stars” to the National High School Poetry Association, and it was published in Young America Sings, an anthology of Texas high school poetry, she hated to write. In spite of her rocky relationship with books, she attended Midwestern State University and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree. She taught in elementary school for twenty-two years. Reading Dr. Seuss to her sons and Newbery winners with her students made Beverly realize what she’d been missing all those years: Reading was fun.

Now, she reads most every day. She also writes. She lives in the country with her husband, cat, and other wild critters that come to visit. 

Beverly, you’ve been so busy lately! Tell us about some of the great things going on in your life.

My first picture book, Frankie’s Perfect Home, was published by Guardian Angel Publishing in June. It’s been a different experience from my other work. Seeing the illustrator, Alex Morris, bring my characters to life has been awesome. He did a beautiful job.

My YA historical fiction, Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines, Twilight Times Books, is a finalist in the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, which tickles me. It’s fantastic to receive recognition for a story you‘ve spent months and years writing and editing. The book also is nominated for the eBook Global Awards. Waiting to see how it does there. Ardy M. Scott illustrated the lovely cover.

Life on Hold, a young adult contemporary novel, will debut soon. Aidana WillowRaven did the beautiful cover. Can’t wait to see it in print. 4RV Publishing also has my early reader, Tumbleweed Christmas, that is now being illustrated.

Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

·    Top 3 pieces of advice for people just starting in your business.
      1.  Never, never give up. Say “I can do it. I can do it.” Then do it.

      2.  Read everything, fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, teens’ book, adult books. Subscribe to newsletters and blogs to get your name out there.
      3.  Join groups such as SCBWI, Verla Kay Boards, JacketFlap, Library Thing, GoodReads, and others for feedback and advice. Writing is a lonely profession and it’s good to keep up with the latest trends and what’s going on in the writing world.

·    Top 3 snacks to munch on while working.
      Root beer float with vanilla ice cream
      Brownies with pecans
      Lightly salted potato chips

·    Top 3 leisure activities.
      Walking and observing the birds, butterflies, flowers, and clouds
      Genealogy and scrap booking
      Playing songs from the 50s on the piano

Where can our readers learn more about you and your work?

Thanks, Beverly, for visiting with us today. Best of luck to you and all your projects. I’m so thrilled for you.

Thank you, Kai, for your cool questions.

August 8, 2011

LaNiyah Bailey presents, Not Fat Because I Wanna Be

LaNiyah Bailey is a 6 year old author with a message for children like her – just because you are bigger than other kids, that doesn’t mean that people have the right to bully you.
In her debut book, Not FAT Because I Wanna Be, LaNiyah details the struggle of Jessica, a fictional girl who has an underlying medical issue that causes her to gain weight. Bullied by her peers, Jessica learns to accept her body and eventually opens up about her condition to her classmates.

LaNiyah is not only speaking to other children through her book, but has become an
advocate for anti-bullying organizations.

With a message that words can hurt and that not all weight gain is due to an unhealthy lifestyle, LaNiyah hopes her book will enlighten and entertain her young readers.

Recently, I asked LaNiyah a few questions about her and her book, Not Fat Because I Wanna Be. Sit back and enjoy this charming interview.

Kai: LaNiyah, what age range is your book for?

A: It is for ages 3 -10

Kai: What inspired this story and how did you decide on this age range for your story?

LaNiyah: Well, this story was inspired by the things I went through with kids teasing and bullying me. I decided not to sit around anymore and tell my story. I told my mom, my dad and my grandma and they thought it was a great idea to do it. And that’s how it came about.

Kai: How does your book help readers make a difference against bullying?

LaNiyah: I think it can make them take a stand against people who are bullies that tease and hurt other kids because they are different and it can help people who bully see how it makes others feel when they bully or tease them.

Kai: What is your favorite book (besides your own J)?

LaNiyah: Cat & A Hat By: Dr. Seuss

Kai: What is your favorite activity?

LaNiyah: Well I love playing and running with my yorkie-poo Diva, she is 2 years old and lots of fun. I like playing hop-scotch with my mommy and playing with my collection of dolls.

Kai: Finally, I have four kids. Over the years, they’ve attended a lot of birthday parties. I love the idea of building a theme gift around a book. If you were to give a gift basket to a child based on your book, what else would be in the basket besides (your book’s title)?

LaNiyah: I would put a lot of colorful and fun stuff inside the basket. I would put a ball, a jump rope, a water bottle, a headband and some fruit snacks in it. It could be for a girl or a boy.

Thank you K. Strand for having me today. Thank you for supporting me and my book and I want to invite your readers to my website .

They can come there to leave comments on my blog and talk about bullying and being healthy.

Kai: Thank you, LaNiyah, for spending time with us. Your message is an important one and I wish you and your book loads of success.

August 3, 2011

Three Times A Charm With Kate Ellison

Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry.

This week we are joined by young adult author, Kate Ellison. Katie tell us what you are all about.

When I'm not writing, I enjoy watching NBC comedy shows, playing video games, and eating ice cream cake. While it’s true that I'm currently working on a zombie novel, don’t let that fool you. I am decidedly Team Unicorn.

Katie, you have a great book out called, The Curse Girl. Being a sucker for the classic Beauty and the Beast, I really enjoyed your modern take on it. Talk to us about The Curse Girl.

When her father tries to steal magic from the mysterious mansion outside her hometown, seventeen-year-old Bee is the one who becomes a prisoner of the beast who lives there. But the so-called monster, Will, isn't anything like she expected. He's the same age as she is, for one thing. He's also really handsome, contrary to the local legend. Well, maybe the whole "beast" thing is meant to be metaphorical, because he's a total jerk.

Between the house's weird magic and Will's snobby attitude, the situation is nearly unbearable, and Bee only wants to escape. But there are some major complications. The curse won't let anyone leave, for one thing. The witch who cursed Will left him a riddle to solve and an hourglass of sand to track his time left. And although she'd rather eat dirt than help Will, Bee has to work with him to figure out the riddle so they can break the curse, or she's going to remain a prisoner in the curse house forever. Because the hourglass is almost empty . . .

THE CURSE GIRL is a YA fantasy novella.

Yep, I give it two thumbs up. Read my thoughts on The Curse Girl here.

Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

  • Top 3 blogs you follow.
It was tough to pick only three, but …

1.      Hyperbole and a Half – HILARIOUS stuff. Not writing related, just brilliant, hysterical observations about life in general. Bonus: there are lots of funny pictures!
2.      Nathan Bransford, Author – Nathan writes thoughtful posts about all kinds of stuff in the business, and he’s very friendly to indies. He’s an incredibly kind, well-spoken person too.
3.      Wordplay – This writing blog by author KM Weiland is chock-full of insights and tips for better prose.

  • Top 3 pieces of advice for people just starting in your business.
Here’s what I wish I’d been told as soon as I began writing:

1.      Read everything you can get your hands on—romances, memoirs, middle grade fiction, young adult novels, mysteries, thrillers. Read classic literature and blockbuster bestsellers. Read widely and often.
2.      Write a lot. It has been said that the first million words are practice (Was this Stephen King? I’ve heard this quote attributed to several people, so I’m not positive who it belongs to for sure). Write and write and write some more.
3.      Writing is often a very solitary activity, but you don’t always have to do it alone. Surround yourself with crit partners, beta readers, and writer friends who can encourage you. Twitter and Blogger are my favorite places to connect with fellow writers, and lots of people also use Facebook, LinkedIn, and now Google + for this purpose.

  • Top 3 snacks to munch on while working.
1.      Sun chips and ranch dip, yum. *eats a sun chip* (No, literally. I just ate one.)
2.      Soft-serve ice cream from McDonald’s
3.      Ice cream cake, the best of both incredibly delicious worlds. Pardon my drooling.

Where can our readers learn more about you and your work?

You can visit me on my blog:

Or follow me on Twitter: @KEllisonWrites

How can we get our hands (and voracious reader eyes) on The Curse Girl?

Thanks Katie for visiting with us today. Best of luck to you , The Curse Girl and your future writings.


August 2, 2011


Recent Reads

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare – humble rating: Motivational Speaker – I’m not sure how I feel about this installment. The writing is great. The story development is great. As usual. I’m not questioning Miss Clare’s abilities. I’m just not sure I was too crazy about the direction Jace and Alec took. I loved Simon’s growth and even Maia and Jordan’s storyline. But both Jace and Alec seemed so – oh, must I say it?! Wimpy. I’m sure this is part of the overall journey. But I don’t have to like it, do I?

Ever by Gail Carson Levine – humble rating: Golf Clap – I don’t quite know how to describe my relationship with this book. I think I felt detached from the story. I wanted to like it more than I did in the end. Good writing, especially of Kezi dancing and making her rugs.

Warped by Maurissa Guibord - humble rating: Golf Clap++ – Really well written. Loved the journey and the bad guy (well lady actually) was satisfyingly bad.


The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet by Erin Dionne - humble rating: Golf Clap – Fun story, loved Hamlet’s voice. My library had this shelved in young adult, but I think it should be in middle grade.

My own humble rating system: Please feel free to ask for clarification or to dispute my opinion.  I only ask that we ALWAYS remain respectful to the author.

Chirping Cricket – At the end all you hear is the chirp of the cricket.  I doubt I’ll ever use this because I can’t publicly embarrass someone knowingly.  However, I must have a ‘beginning’ rating in order for the rest to make sense. 

Golf Clap - The polite ovation that follows a well-placed shot.

Motivational Speaker –You are left fired up and eager to get to work making the world a better place.  You can’t wait to tell your friends all the insights and inspiration you took away from it. 

Rock Concert – Hooting and hollering, cheering, singing and clapping throughout the performance.  Swaying and lit lighters accompany ballads.  Riots break out if there is no encore.

August 1, 2011

What Would You Do With $1,000?

Enter the Boost Your Buzz $1,000 Giveaway! One lucky person is going to win $1000 USD paid via Paypal! 
Gain entries in this giveaway by following Strands of Thought (must be the Google friend connect account - um, this one you are reading), Kai Strand, Author on Facebook or my Twitter account

The giveaway starts August 1st 12 am EST and will run until August 15th 11:59 pm EST and is open worldwide. 

$1,000 CASH prize will be delivered via Paypal after the winner has confirmed. The winner has 48 hours to confirm their winning notification.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours of receipt of the winning email a new winner will them be drawn and so on and so forth.

Boost Your Buzz $1,000 Summer Giveaway can be entered on Survey Junkie,  Simply Stacie or Little Yaya’s (you only have to enter on one of the sites as the forms will be the same on each).