August 31, 2012

Why All The Quiet?

Hey Folks,

I know I've been really quiet on the blog lately and it isn't because I've completely abandoned the blogosphere. Quite the contrary. I've been super, super busy on OTHER people's blogs. With two new books out, I have a heck of a lot of promoting to do and I've been very blessed to find some wonderful people to host me on their sites. Guest posts, interviews, features - you name it, I've been doing it.

I hope you've been keeping up with my wanderings through my Facebook author page. Also, I've been keeping a list of most recent interviews in the right margin of my blog. Over there --> and down a bit...titled "Interviews". Find it? But because I've had so many generous hosts, recent interviews can drop off the list pretty quickly, so really, you should subscribe to my newsletter. The newsletter is a weekly recap of the things that happened in my writing life. If you've kept up, you can skim and then delete the newsletter, but if you are like me and take time to sit down and catch up, the newsletter will condense the highlights into one spot where it is easy to find.  Go ahead and subscribe real quick. I'll wait.

Okay, great! Now you know you can ignore me all week and catch up on the big stuff all at once, or -you know- do it however works for you.

Three Times a Charm will be back September 12. I'm always looking for guests for that feature. If you are involved in children's publishing in ANY way, writer, illustrator, blogger, book reviewer, agent, editor and want your stuff featured, just send me an email kaistrand at yahoo dot com.

Thanks for your patience and understanding. I hope you travel to many of the other blogs I've been visiting and say hi over there. My hosts would be stoked and so would I.

Keep reading!

August 22, 2012

Three Times A Charm with Hélène Boudreau & a Bonus Giveaway!

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

This week author, Hélène Boudreau, is visiting with us and offering a book giveaway. See, you already know how awesome she is. Hélène, can you please tell us a little about you? 

I write fiction and non-fiction for children and young adults. I am also a compulsive walker, a bacon lover, and have a bit of a smilie addiction. J


Sorry, dozed off. *slurp* Tell us about your work.

My books include the REAL MERMAIDS tween series (Sourcebooks) about an aquaphobic teenage mergirl, the RED DUNE ADVENTURES chapter book series (Nimbus Publishing) about amateur sleuths solving eco-mysteries and my upcoming anti-bedtime story called I DARE YOU NOT TO YAWN (Candlewick 2013).

I yawned already! I’m hopeless.  How fun. You really write it all, don’t you?

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

  • Top 3 tools of the trade you couldn’t live without.

1. My purple sparkly gel pen for revising.
2. My multicolored post-it notes for revising.
3. Old donated letterhead to print out manuscripts for revising.

I do a lot of revising! My latest manuscript, REAL MERMAIDS DON’T NEED HIGH HEELS (Feb 2013) took about seven drafts before I could bear to show it to my critique partner. She gave me amazing feedback, which I incorporated into another draft before showing it to my agent. In turn, my agent helped me really hone into a few problem areas, which I worked on before submitting it to my editor.

My editor and I did one major revision, one medium revision, one copy-edit revision (which I just submitted yesterday) and there will be one more pass at the manuscript just before it goes to press.

So, yeah…that’s a lot of purple sparkly gel pen ink, post-it notes, and paper. I always feel a pang of sympathy for the poor trees that have sacrificed themselves in the name of my manuscript revisions!

  • Top 3 leisure activities.

1. Walking: There’s nothing better for me than starting my day with a nice, long walk. A lot of people like to listen to music when they exercise but I much prefer audiobooks. I could walk for miles and miles (and have) while listening to someone tell me a story. My longest walk was a 2-day / 50 km (31 miles) distance and I also love competing in walking half-marathons. I’m training for one right now, as a matter of fact. 

2. Mindless TV and movie watching: This is my guilty pleasure. I’m a hopeless romantic so shows like The Bachelorette or cheesy Romantic Comedies are my favourite. And of course, I could watch The Princess Bride a kajillion times, though my husband doesn’t mind—we quote that movie over and over again! ‘Anybody want a peanut?’

3. Reading: I love paperbacks, hardcovers, e-books, audiobooks, books made into movies, movies made into books—you get the picture.

  • Top 3 pieces of advice for kids these days.

  1. Listen to what your parents have to say but think for yourself.
  2. Listen to what your teachers have to say but think for yourself.
  3. Listen to what your friends have to say BUT THINK FOR YOURSELF!

Hélène, where can our tech-savvy readers go to keep up with you and your work?

You can find Hélène on Twitter, Facebook , Goodreads, and on her Website.
Now for the giveaway. Hélène has offered to give one lucky reader their choice of one of the Mermaid books! Isn’t that awesome? What are you waiting for? Enter for your chance to win. You have less than a week! Hurry!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks Hélène for the awesome giveaway and for joining us today on Strands of Thought. I feel a bit guilty that I haven’t invited you sooner! I hope to have you back to visit again soon!


August 20, 2012

Blogview with Children's Author, Margot Finke

Today it is my pleasure to welcome a lady that I’ve looked up to for a number of years. She doesn’t know this, but while I slogged through the trenches on my way to publication it was her fabulous attitude and wealth of information that often guided me. As a matter of fact it was a post on her blog that led me to discover several authors and illustrators from Guardian Angel Publishing were going to be in my area – and the rest as they say is history.

I adore Margot Finke and it is a thrill for me to interview her on my blog today (blog + interview = blogview). Let’s learn more about Margot, shall we?

Margot Finke is an Aussie transplant who writes mid-grade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. For many years she has lived happily in Oregon.  Gardening, travel, and reading fill in the cracks between writing. Her husband is very supportive, and their three children are now grown and doing very well.  Seven wonderful grandchildren round out her life.
Margot has 11 published books, with several more due for publication later this year. She didn't begin serious writing until the day their youngest left for college. This late start drives her writing, and pushes her to work at it every day. Margot said, "I really envy those who began young, and managed to slip into writing mode between kid fights, diaper changes, household disasters, and outside jobs.  You are my heroes! "
I asked Margot a few questions about the craft of writing, but as I mentioned, she is a wealth of information, so be sure to visit her website and blog.

Margot, what makes a book a ‘boy’ book?
A boy book must act like a boy, smell like a boy, and react like a boy.   That means lots of fun action, with no mention of hand washing or clean clothes.  It means visiting smelly, wild places, and even getting dirty.  Throw in a fight, an aversion to anything girly, and have lots of weird and surprising things happening. Add some wild and strange characters, and you have what HOOKS boys on reading.

In your opinion what are key elements to a story that draw a boy into it?
Keep the pace fast and the action coming.  Out of the frying pan and into the fire kinda stuff, with a sprinkling of humor and a dash of “scare your pants off!”
“Rattlesnake Jam” is a really fun PB for boys or tomboys.  Taconi and Claude is a terrific young teen book for boys.

What were your favorite stories when you were growing up in Australia?
Hah! But I’m a girl. However, to mitigate that fact I grew up with the three boys next door. Our huge mango tree was adventure central for all of us.  I had to act like a boy if I wanted to be in their gang. . . so I was the absolute best girl in our town at being a boy!  Go figure.  I loved Treasure Island, Alice in Wonderland, and any sort of adventure that took me away to fascinating places.

Tell us about your latest book.
Kai, you shouldn’t have asked me this.  You will definitely regret asking.  You see I have two new books coming out from Guardian Angel Publishing.  The first is “Mama Grizzly Bear,” a PB about a year in the life of Mama and her cubs.  It is the first ebook in my Wild and Wonderful series to be published in soft cover.  The other six in the series will follow - four about US critters and three about Aussie critters. I am thrilled about this, and I can’t wait for “Mama” to arrive.

Then there’s “Survival by Walkabout” a sequel to Taconi and Claude–Double Trouble, and also from Guardian Angel Publishing.  Due to lies, deception and threats, Bindi and Josh find themselves on walkabout.  The unforgiving Queensland outback nearly does them in, a Medicine Man wants Josh dead, and Dreamtime spirits hover waiting to pounce! Coming soon I hope.

See, I said you’d regret asking me about my next book – more than you bargained for.  Right?

Not at all! I LOVE when authors have so much exciting news to share.

What inspired you to write these stories?
 Nothing inspires me specifically.  I just wake up in the middle of the night with a head full of ideas, plots, characters, and their problems. They infest my brain until I type them and all their angst and dangerous tendencies into a file, give it a name, and then badger some poor publisher into printing it up.

What’s up next for you?

FIRST I would like to offer your readers a FREE pdf Download – a kind of try before you choose option. “SHORT and SWEET” is a sneak peek into 8 of my latest books.  Some are not even published yet.  Download Here:

Now for the BIGGIE. 
I am jumping into the self publishing business with 3 new books: PB Oscar’s Hunt For a Good Mate and Kobi Borrows a Pouch. Partnering with me in this uncharted new adventure is fabulous illustrator Agy Wilson ( She is the brains and I am the brawn.  They will both be illustrated and animated by Agy for Kindle, iPad, IPod and Nook etc.   And hopefully out for the Christmas season.

PLUS my mid-grade ghost mystery, the “Revenge of Thelma Hill.”  My crafty and wonderful ghost takes both her name and her character traits from my dear mum, who I might add, would be absolutely tickled to have her name and character woven into a book I wrote.  Frannie and her twin brother must help the ghost of Thelma Hill trap the man who murdered her.  Dangerous business as they soon discover. Again to be self published by team Margot and Agy.

Then of course there is always PROMOTION.  Like death and taxation, it cannot be avoided.  Books are easy! You think ‘em up, write ‘em down, and then publish them.  However there is NO rest for the wicked writer.  The really hard work now begins.  Promotion never ends.  I suspect, that when I pass on to that Great Writing Workshop in the Sky, I will be like the Ghost of Thelma Hill.  I’ll hover over my unsuspecting family and friends, moaning, and begging them to try some new promotional ploy I am desperate to somehow plug into their uncooperative heads.

Margot, you are full of fun, adventurous news! I wish you the best of luck with your new endeavors. Thanks for visiting with us today!

My pleasure, Kai.  Your blog is a delight to wander through.

Books for Kids – Manuscript Critiques -
Blog - Kobi and Oscar -
Facebook -
HELP for Writers – links to various pages:   

August 17, 2012

C. Lee McKenzie presents Alligators Overhead

It's Feature Friday! I like to do book features on Friday because with the weekend looming, it is often the day of the week when people know they'll have some free time to read and they're looking for recommendations. Feel free to share the post with anyone who you think might enjoy today's featured book.

This week I'm happy to present C. Lee McKenzie. She's a fabulous author and a generous person. She's taking a step into the middle grade world with her newly released book Alligators Overhead.

About the book: Alligators Overhead

Alligators, witches and a spooky mansion aren't your average neighbors unless you live at the edge of the Ornofree swamp in the backwater town of Hadleyville. The town's bad boy, Pete Riley, may only be twelve, but he's up to his eyeballs in big trouble, and this time he isn't the cause. This time the trouble arrives when a legendary hundred-year-old mansion materializes next door and the Ornofree alligators declare war to save their swamp from bulldozers. Things only get worse when Pete's guardian aunt and several of her close friends vanish while trying to restore order using outdated witchcraft. Now Pete must find the witches and stop the war. He might stand a chance if his one friend, Weasel, sticks with him, but even then, they may not have what it takes.

About the author:
A native Californian, C. Lee McKenzie lives on the edge of a redwood forest with her husband and assorted cats. When she's not writing or blogging she's hiking or practicing yoga. She usually writes young adult fiction that deals with contemporary, realistic issues. In Sliding on the Edge (2009) she dealt with cutting, and in The Princess of Las Pulgas (2010) she wrote about a family that loses almost everything and has to rebuild their lives together. Alligators Overhead is her first Middle Grade novel. Lee blogs at] and her website is]

A note from Lee: There's a free eBook (any format) for one of Kai's followers who leaves a comment and says s/he wants a copy of Alligators Overhead. I'm not big into Rafflecopter where readers have to jump through hoops for a book. If you want to tweet this post or give me a like on my Alligators Overhead page on facebook, that would be wonderful . . . just not required. 

Catch up with Lee and her books:

August 15, 2012

Three Times A Charm with Mary Jean Kelso

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

This week author, Mary Jean Kelso, joins us. Mary Jean, tell us about you.

Three things are evident to me now that I didn’t think about as a child: 1) From the time I was able to scribble I was a writer.  I always loved putting things on paper whether it was designing paperdoll clothes with pencil and crayon or putting words on forms. 2) From an early age, I was, and still am, a reader. 3)  I was (and am) a salesperson. Now, it is marketing books.

As a kid I sold things I could order from the pages of comic books: salves, seeds, and anything else that would be sent and the money returned (less my commission) to the company. Always independent, I don’t remember ever asking my parents’ permission to order or sell the commodities. I simply went about my “business” as naturally as breathing air.

In later years I sold Avon Products and rock crushing equipment. Although my title was Customer Service Representative and we had real “salesmen” to do the selling, I worked with the customers to provide pricing and take orders along with the other details of my job.

Unknowingly, my childhood interests set me up to be an author although publication didn’t come easily. Being published in newspapers and magazines wasn’t so complicated. In book form, it was. My first book was published 25 years after it was written.

One would think, once you break the ice, publishing would be a snap. Not so for me. Although I did publish several books over the years it was not until I left one life behind and created another in Nevada that my work finally took off.

I have been here nearly nine years and Cowboy James is my 18th book to be published in that time with two others scheduled for release this year. Two of my children’s books have been brought out in hardback and three should be produced in that form before Christmas.

Andy and the Albino Horse, a series about a little boy in a wheelchair and a therapy horse, will have its fifth book in the series, Andy and Spirit in Search and Rescue, out soon as well as a stand-alone book, Birds in the Flower Basket.

Here I must thank my illustrators, K.C. Snider and Julie Hammond, for their artwork and efforts on the part of the books.

Along with the book publications over the past nine years, I have written for nearly every newspaper in Northern Nevada. I spent five years as a regular correspondent for The Lahontan Valley News. I received the Nevada Press Assoc. Award and the National Press Assoc. Award for my part in the coverage of “Best Spot News” pertaining to the Fernley Flood.

As for the future -- several of my other children’s books are in the queue at Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. The fifth in my Homesteader series, Annabel’s Story, just released from Wings Press. I am part way through the writing process for Love’s Last Reunion, another historical romance, and working on more books for the Andy series as well as other children’s books.

Wow, Mary Jean! That’s a lot of books. Good for you – and your illustrators!

Tell us more about Cowboy James.

Cowboy James competes in the Pee Wee Rodeo stick horse race with a playschool friend, Nell. Before the next rodeo, he practices hard at riding sheep so he can compete in a Mutton Bustin’ contest. Unable to hide his intentions, he finds himself up against the girl again when the competition arrives. Additional educational pages, too!

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

  • Top 3 tools of the trade you couldn’t live without.

Computer! Computer! Computer!

  • Top 3 skills to hone for people just starting in your business.

Spelling (even with spell check this is important.)  Keyboarding skills (it would be an out and out miracle if a publisher would read a handwritten manuscript these days). Observation! This is a skill that is invaluable to the aspiring writer. Learn to take in everything you have the opportunity to see, smell, taste and touch. Who knows when it will fit into a storyline?

  • Top 3 personal and/or professional goals.

1) Last year one of my goals was met. That was to see my books in hardback.

2) To have one of my books published by a publisher that offers a substantial advance.

3) To stay healthy in order to be able to continue on with this writing journey.

Where can our readers go to keep up with you and your writing?,,, Facebook :  Mary Jean Kelso, Author

It has been lovely hosting you this week. Thank you for joining us on Three Times A Charm. Best of luck with your writing.


I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have a book, a blog or a business related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.

August 13, 2012

Penicide - An Intervention

Main Entry:  
Part of Speech:  
the killing of an old man or men

the intentional taking of one's own life.

the intentional taking of one's own writerly life by slashing one’s fingertips with a quill or other sharp object.

I once threatened to commit penicide on a public forum.  Probably not the wisest thing to do. One afternoon last week, friends and family staged an intervention.  I was taken from my laptop forcibly.  As I was being dragged away, I lashed out hoping to grab my spiral notebook but only succeeded in splashing Merlot onto my pajamas.

I was thrown into the shower until the drain slowed from the scum.  My husband tried to dress me in clothes but it had been so long since I’ve put on anything besides sweatpants and a t-shirt that seams were popping and zippers weren’t zipping.  He settled on the nun costume I wore a couple Halloweens ago.

They threw me into the back of the car and strapped me in.  People stuffed in around me so that I couldn’t see out the windows to see where we headed.  The sensation of motion made me sick to my stomach.  The Great Dane they sat on my lap to hold me down made me sneeze.

When the car finally stopped I vomited into a luscious container of flowers rimming the parking lot.  I blinked against the glare of sunlight and tried to recognize my surroundings but the buildings all appeared newer than the year 2000.

I hyperventilated when I thought of all the status updates I was missing and the abandoned game of Bejeweled Deluxe on my computer screen.  I tried to get a sense for how long it had been since I’d last checked my email.  20 minutes?  That’s like three days in agent-response-time!  I saw stars and my knees rattled.

“Where are you taking me?” I croaked.

“Honey,” my husband cupped my chin in his hand, “the kids are tweeting about you.  The postman refuses to come to the door with packages because you’ve threatened him one too many times when he didn’t present a publisher’s contract.”

My best friend held her fingers under her nose when she stepped nearer to address me. “Kai, people think you’ve put dreadlocks in your hair.  The technicians at Yahoo have threatened to cancel your account because of all the times you’ve contacted them claiming your email isn’t receiving messages.”

My writer friend looked at me and shrugged, clearly as confused about what was happening as I was.

“We are taking you to Writer’s Anonymous.” My sister delivers all news like an evening anchor, professional and without emotion. “WA will help you admit you have a problem.  Then they will help you assimilate yourself back into the land of the living.”

I frowned and considered her last statement. Weren’t there dinosaurs in the Land of the Living?

My husband looked pained, but loving.  My best friend looked worried yet hopeful.  My writer friend looked like I was inspiring a story. My sister looked like she could smell me.

I scrunched up my brow and my mouth hung agape. “WA?  Seriously, they call themselves wah?”


myspace hits counter
Occasionally, I resurrect a favorite post of blog days past. If you recognize this post that would be why, and you have a good memory.

August 8, 2012

Three Times A Charm with Melissa Abramovitz

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

This week author, Melissa Abramovitz, joins us. Melissa, tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in San Diego and received my degree in psychology from the University of California, San Diego in 1976. I have always loved to write; in fact I had my first poetry published while I was in high school, but never imagined that I would be a professional writer. For a long time I wanted to be a doctor or a psychologist. But when my two children were small, I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom while having a part-time career, so I decided to enroll in the Institute of Children’s Literature course to hone my writing skills and learn how to market my work. I sold the very first magazine article I submitted to a publication, and thought WOW, this isn’t going to be so difficult. I was so wrong! Since then, I’ve gotten lots and lots (literally hundreds) of rejections, as most writers do. I’ve also published hundreds of magazine articles for all age groups, along with numerous poems, short stories, and educational books for children and teens, so along with the rejections has come many hard-earned successes. When my kids were growing up, writing was my part-time profession, sandwiched between being a homemaker, PTA and classroom volunteer, and hockey/basketball/volleyball/karate/music etc. mom. Now being a writer is full-time for me, and I stay very busy doing mostly nonfiction articles and books. I love every minute of it (well, not the rejections – sigh) and feel privileged to work at something I truly like doing. I also teach some teleclasses for the Working Writer’s Club. My recent publications include a children’s picture book, “The ABCs of Health and Safety” (Guardian Angel Publishing), and a book for writers, “A Treasure Trove of Opportunity: How to Write and Sell Articles for Children’s Magazines” (E and E Publishing). In the near future, I have several new educational book titles and magazine articles coming out, plus I have another picture book under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing.
Tell us more about your two recent releases, ABC’s of Health and Safety and Treasure Trove.

Lots of people think nonfiction is boring and dry, but good nonfiction writers actually use many of the same techniques fiction writers use for bringing a story to life. My main goal in writing nonfiction, which comprises the majority of my work, is to make learning fun, and I’m told I accomplish this goal in ABC’s of Health and Safety and in Treasure Trove. In ABC’s I use rhyming stanzas to make learning about health and safety fun for kids, and the delightful illustrations by illustrator Alexander Morris do much to advance this process. In Treasure Trove, I use examples and anecdotes based on personal experience and on the wisdom of numerous successful writers and editors to help bring the process of planning, researching, writing, and marketing children’s nonfiction to life for my readers. This book contains everything anyone could ever want or need to know about writing magazine nonfiction for young people. From the reviews and comments I’ve received, it seems that such a comprehensive guide was much-needed, and I’m glad to have filled this need.
Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

  • Top 3 books you’ve read in the past year.
I read a lot of children’s books to keep up with what’s out there, and always find many I enjoy. As far as just-for-fun reading, I like popular novels by David Baldacci, Mary Higgins Clark, Robin Cook, Nicholas Sparks, and a few others. I’d have to say that my recent favorites are Stone Cold and Divine Justice (both by David Baldacci) and Marker (Robin Cook). I have written my first novel, for which I am seeking an agent, and have taken much inspiration from the works of these authors. I especially like the well-developed characters and exciting plots they always deliver. Many writers cringe when I mention that I love the work of these popular novelists, but I like what I like. I’m not going to pretend to like the supposedly high-quality literary works that I find boring and weird.    

  • Top 3 skills to hone for people just starting in your business.

I think the 3 most important skills for aspiring writers to hone fall under the umbrella of being professional in your writing and marketing. If you want to be a professional writer, you must act in a professional manner with respect to your 1. writing, 2. marketing, and 3. interpersonal skills. That means taking the time to hone your research, grammar and revision skills. It means only submitting error-free manuscripts. It means politely approaching or querying editors, and it means forging positive ongoing professional relationships with editors and publishers. It means being willing to revise your work so it meets an editor’s needs. It means studying market guides and reading a publisher’s books or magazines so you know what types of material they publish.  And it means accepting the fact that all writers, no matter how experienced, get rejections. So accept these rejections, learn from them, and don’t give up, or you can’t succeed.

  • Top 3 leisure activities.
My favorite things to do when I’m not working are spending time with my children and grandchildren, reading, and volunteering at my local SPCA (I’m a dog lover and animal rights activist).   

Great advice, Melissa. Where can our readers go to keep up with you and your writing?

Thank you for joining us on Three Times A Charm, this week. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed hosting you on SoT. Hope you visit again. Best of luck with your writing, Melissa.


I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have a book, a blog or a business related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.

August 6, 2012

It's Here! The Wishing Well: Another Weaver Tale

I'm thrilled to announce that my book THE WISHING WELL: Another Weaver Tale is here!

About the book: 

Molly Minstrel is treated worse than Cinderella by her mom and sisters. When Molly meets the magical creature, Unwanted, she wishes her problems away. However, you must first understand what you need before knowing what to ask for. Molly will have to look within for the solution to her troubles.

Written for 9 - 12 year olds, THE WISHING WELL is a story of misplaced blame and survival. It is a stand alone story, so it's not required that you have read THE WEAVER first - just the dream of the author.

You can order your hardcover, paperback or pdf copy from Guardian Angel Publishing.

After you read it, please let me know what you think. Email, Facebook, Review on Amazon. I'd love to hear from you.

Happy reading.

August 4, 2012

Dominion by Melody Manful

I Dare You.
Look Over Your Shoulders.
Do You See Them?
They are behind you...
They are always behind you.

Abigail Cells had a nightmare the day before she met Gideon, the new guy in school who has every girl drooling just to be near him. In her nightmare, she was murdered by a magical creature. As she gets to know Gideon, she begins to remember pieces of her nightmare, and was shocked when Gideon turned out to be the creature from her nightmare. Who is Gideon really, should Abby allow herself to fall completely for him, or is he the next disaster waiting to happen


     I should have called the police the moment I woke up, but what was I going to say: “Hello. 911. Help. I think I’m going to die because I had a dream that I died?” Yeah, even in my head I sounded ridiculous.
What happened to me was horrifying. It still is. But you won’t read about it in the newspapers, because it never happened.
“It was only a dream.” That was what everyone kept telling me. Nevertheless, they were wrong. What happened to me wasn’t a dream. I was living it. I died that night. I was murdered in a firestorm.
 Yet, where I am, I’m alive.
One single white lie isn’t supposed to bring with it a lifetime of obstacles, right?
I lied. I said ‘Yes,’ when I was supposed to say ‘No’, and that was how I got here.
I committed a crime. Handcuff me. Sentence me to life. Execute me. Trust me, death will be a vacation compared to the punishment I’m serving.
“You’re such a terrible liar, Abigail.” This is what everyone I know says whenever I try to key up a lie. Then again, what does everyone I know, know for sure?  Nothing!

I wasn’t crazy. No, honestly, before I found myself in ‘wackoland’ I was a walking ray of sunshine. Everything in my over-idolized life was perfect.

Until he came.

First, I thought. Finally. Someone to chase away the monsters underneath my bed, but as it turned out, he didn’t come to chase them away. He was it.

My guardian angel.

Author Bio: Melody Manful was born on the 8th of June 1994 in Tema, A town in Ghana. She started writing at a very early age and has been doing it ever since. She has two siblings, and lives in Denmark with her family. She loves music, reading and writing, and puts a great deal into making her friends happy.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Dominion blog tour:

August 1st: YaReads ( -Cover/Excerpt
August 2nd: Moonlight Gleam's Bookshelf ( Guest Post
August 3rd: Banshees, Books, & Baseball ( Interview
August 4th: Strands of Thought ( Cover/Excerpt
August 4th: Paranormal Book Fan ( Cover/Excerpt
August 6th: Cubicle Blindness Reviews ( Guest Post
August 7th: Cubicle Blindness Reviews ( Review
August 8th: Book Bite Reviews ( Cover/Excerpt
August 9th: The Girl in a Cafe ( ) Cover/Excerpt
August 10th: The Girl in a Cafe ( ) Review/Giveaway
August 11th: Books Over Boys ( Cover/Excerpt
August 12th: Gen's Reviews ( Cover/Excerpt
August 13th: YaReads ( Guest Post
August 13th: The Nerd in Heels ( Cover/Excerpt
August 14th: Fantasy's Ink ( Interview/Giveaway
August 15th: Teen Readers Diary ( Cover/Excerpt
August 16th: Cari Bella Creations ( Cover/Excerpt
August 17th: My Guilty Obsession ( Cover/Excerpt
August 18th: Charlotte Blackwell ( Cover/Excerpt
August 19th: My Guilty Obsession ( Review

August 3, 2012

Dragons, Sock Monkeys and the Royal We

My short story, Kell, was published today on Knowonder. Be sure to stop in and give it a read. Remember you can download the free app and have a new story a day available to read to your child at bedside.

Also, my lovely niece, Jennifer Hartsock is hosting a giveaway on her blog. I know how you all love a giveaway, so hop on over to her site to see how you can enter to win a $20 gift card and a sock monkey key chain (the key chain alone is so worth it!)

Last but not least, I'm preparing my very first newsletter for distribution tomorrow. Have you signed up yet? What the heck are you waiting for? Clicky, clicky: Subscribe to our newsletter (<--I'm even speaking in the royal 'we')

August 1, 2012

Three Times A Charm with David Turnbull

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

This week author, David Turnbull, is visiting with us. David, can you please tell us a little about you? 

David Turnbull was born in Edinburgh and grew up in the Scottish borders, an area of Britain quite similar to the Low Counties as depicted in The Tale of Euan Redcap.
He now lives in South East London, His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies; including stories featured in Mertales and Fangtales both also available from Wyvern Publications. The Tale of Euan Redcap his first published novel. He is currently working on a follow up where Euan Redcap is drawn into further adventures with Captain Zachariah and a host of new characters.

Can we hear more about your book?

 The Tale of Euan Redcap

The Tale of Euan Redcap is a story of kidnap, airships and dragons, with strong environmental themes, aimed at the 8 to 11 year old age group.

To begin with all that Euan wants is not to mess things up for his sister’s birthday party. Fate, however, has different plans as he stumbles into the clutches of the crazed Mrs Zachariah, the captain of dragon ship, The Drunken Molly. Kidnapped and made to be the ship’s fetcher, Euan is forced to struggle for his survival.

When Euan is used as human bait in an effort to catch the great dragon, White Sow, things go from bad to worse. Especially when Euan learns that dragons are slowly dying out, due to the dragon hunters, which will, in time, affect the very way of life of his people.

How can Euan share his newfound knowledge with the world? And can he stay alive long enough?

It sounds like Euan lives an exciting life!

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

Top Three Books I’ve read in the past year.

  1. The Wind Through The Keyhole by Stephen King – This has been described as a Russian Doll of a novel because it is 3 stories in one – a story within a story within a story. It set in the world of King’s epic seven-part fantasy ‘The Dark Tower’ and depicts events involving the Gunslinger Roland Deschain and his Ka-tet in the period between parts 4 and 5 of the original series. If you’ve never read any of the Dark Tower books before, imagine a blend of Spaghetti Western and Lord of the Rings, featuring a cast of contemporary characters who have stepped through a ‘wardbrobe’ style doorway into dark, alternative reality.

  1. Redgunk Tales by William R. Eakin - a series of interlinking short stories centering on the dysfunctional residents of Redgunk, Mississippi and featuring, amongst other things, a Mummy’s brain and a yellow dog with smelly, black lips.

  1. Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky – A post apocalyptic Russia where the remnants of humanity struggle for survival in the dark and frightening tunnels of the Moscow Metro. 
Top Three Tools I couldn’t live without

  1. Notebook and pen – you never know when an idea for a story might pop into your head and relying on your memory is a lot less effective than scribbling it down.

  1. Memory Sticks – Always back up what you write in case your computer crashes and wipes out all the hard work you’ve sweated over.

  1. Ralan’s Webstravaganza - a writer’s market website and much, much more, run by the writer Ralan Conley. I check in with Ralan 2 or 3 times a week to see what calls have gone out for short story submissions to anthologies or magazines.

 Top Three Songs on my playlist

Songs about murder and villainy are my guilty pleasure.

  1. Henry Lee – Nick Cave and PJ Harvey duet in a dark tale of bloody revenge by a woman scorned.

  1. Down in the Willow Garden – The 50’s pop harmonies of the Everly Brothers contrasting with the lyrics of this traditional American folk song about a young man facing the gallows for the murder of his girlfriend down in the willow garden.

      3. The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde – Georgie Fame tells how half a dozen FBI    carbines open fire on the notorious outlaw lovers as they are out strolling in the sunshine.

Where can our tech-savvy readers go to keep up with you and your work?

Further information on The Tale of Euan Redcap can be found at

Thank you for visiting with us on this week’s Three Times A Charm, David. Best of luck with your writing!


I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.