August 9, 2013

Building Character with Richard "Tex" McKenna from Tex, and the Gangs of Suburbia

Welcome to my blog feature, Building Character in which you get to meet a character from a book. Talking to a character outside of their book is fun! Huge. Amounts. Of fun. 

This week Strands of Thought is host to Tex McKenna from Tex, and the Gangs of Suburbia. Welcome to Strands of Thought, Tex. Tell us a little about yourself and what your life is like.

Hey, um, I’m Richard “Tex” McKenna. Boy witch. Now, what are we doing here again? I hope no one’s gonna’ read this. I’d like to keep my witchiness a secret. It’s hard enough being in high school with bullies and a heinous vice-principal. Sure don’t want others knowing I’m a witch. That’s all I need.

It’s not like I chose to be a witch. Just found out last year. My mom’s legacy was passed onto me. Wish she’d passed on a ton of cash or something. But that’s my luck. Tex McKenna, broke male witch.

Besides being a boy witch in high school, tell us what other conflict are you up against.

What am I not against? Last year, when I found out I was a witch, it fell upon me to find out who was killing the bullies at Clearwell High. Long story. This year sucks much more. My girlfriend, Olivia, dumped me. Some dumb reason about not wanting to be on welfare or something. I dunno. Girls are more indecipherable than the nebulous rules of witchcraft. Guess I should mention that this year (my junior year) it fell upon my admittedly bony shoulders to save someone’s life. Through crazy events out of my control, I have to join a high school gang. I know, right? Tex McKenna, gangsta! And there’s this weird girl, Elspeth, who I’ve never seen before, don’t know, have no clue about. But she’s kinda’ hot. And she knows I’m a witch.

What have you learned about yourself, or friends, or family while trying to resolve all of this?

Nothing’s more important than loyal loved ones. My dad, even though he doesn’t have a clue, is always there for me. Then there’s Olivia. My ex.  She dumped me (did I mention that?). But she’s still there, willing to help. Even if it is as just “friends.” Gah! Just wish she wasn’t showing so much attention to the golden tanned Greek God, Brandon. Guy’s dumber than a bowl of cereal. Doesn’t stop every girl in school from ogling him. Jerk. There’s Mickey, my witch mentor. Hair bluer than sky and a slap sharper than a knife, she’s tough, the rock I need. Don’t know if I’d consider him a friend, but Detective Cowlings, possibly the only gay cop in Clearwell, Kansas, is a valued ally. But he suspects there’s more to me than meets the eye. He’s right, of course, but don’t tell him. People aren’t going to read this, right?

Is there anything about you that people are always giving you a hard time about? How do you feel about it?

Like a lotta’ kids, I’m bullied. No real reason. Just ‘cause I’m different, I guess. I’ve been called tons of names, but that pales in comparison to the true threat to my existence. Okay, okay, I know that sounds over-the-top, but really, every day you survive at Clearwell High? Victory! And, besides, I’m a teenager. It’s my right to be melodramatic.

 If you could change one thing in this world, what would you change?

Okay, I’m gonna’ cheat. Two things HAVE to change. One: I want my girlfriend, Olivia, back. I’ll do anything. And I do. But the stupid love spell goes wrong. In a major way. It’s complicated. Two:  I want an end to high school bullying and the random violence. It’s horrifying, yet I’m always in the midst of it. Really, though, it’s up to everyone banding together. Knowledge is power. So is witchcraft. But I can’t use it to fix everything. Barely understand it. I don’t even understand myself.

You are right, Tex. Kids have the most power to end bullying. By standing up for each other, they would stop the bullies preying on the weak. There is power in numbers. Thank you so much for stopping in and talking about your new story. I’m sure no one will see this, don’t worry! However, if we do have any readers, here is more about Tex’s book.

Tex And The Gangs Of Suburbia: Tex McKenna’s junior year of high school is just as bad as his sophomore year. Maybe worse. Olivia’s dumped him.  He's caught up between two warring gangs and gone “undercover” with the Modern Gangstas to unmask a murderer.  All this poor Witch Boy and supernatural trouble magnet wants to do is end the school year alive.  And maybe find out who the mysterious punker girl is and how she knows all his secrets.

Super special AmazeBalls Deal! Act fast, hit up the MuseItUp website, and you can buy both the Tex books for the price of one! My publisher's going cray-cray! But don't tell her and buy before she changes her mind! Our lil' secret!

TWITTER: @StuartRWest


About Tex’s author, Stuart R. West:

After working as a graphic and production artist for the last 23 years, the company for which I labored shuttered its doors in July of 2010, finally allowing me the time and mental energy to tackle something that I'm passionate about.   

“Tex And The Gangs Of Suburbia” is the second novel in a trilogy detailing the adventures of my teenage witch, following the initial book, “Tex, The Witch Boy.” The trilogy is meant as entertainment but also deals with current social issues teens face. “Tex And The God Squad,” the third book, will soon follow.

I'm married to a professor of pharmacy (who greatly appreciates that I now prepare dinner for her) and have a 20 year old daughter, who hasn’t yet decided what to do with her life. But that’s okay…it took me 25 years or longer.

August 2, 2013

Building Character with Selena and Jordan from No More Goddesses

Welcome to my blog feature, Building Character in which you get to meet a character from a book. Talking to a character outside of their book is fun! Huge. Amounts. Of fun. 

This week Strands of Thought is host to Selena and Jordan from No More Goddesses. Welcome to Strands of Thought girls. Tell us a little about yourselves and what your life is like.

Hi, I’m going to start as Jordan is being all shy and everything. 

“Don’t roll your eyes at me chica!  You know it’s true.”


Okay, where were we?  Oh, yeah, hey, I’m Selena and Jordan over there just happens to be my BFF.  We both love romance and yes, even vintage Audrey Hepburn movies.  I have a mega sweet tooth.  **Love bubblegum.  Also love hawt guys, vlogging about romance and of course more hawt guys, and adventure.  Unless it involves being around one nasty Goddess chica.  Then I rather stay home, thank you very much!

Girls, tell us what you’re up against.

Okay, I didn’t believe Jordan at first.  I love the chica to death but seriously, who would believe that goddesses actually exist?  Well, I didn’t until things started happening and then being the friend I am, I had to help her out.  The biggest conflict we had is trying to get Hathor to leave us alone.  Easier said than done.  Sigh.

A goddess!? Wow, how do you beat that? What are some of the biggest stumbling blocks you’ve encountered while trying to get rid of Hathor?

First, like I mentioned before, who was going to believe us?  You’d think Jordan would get her Professor dad to help us but of course not.  Thank goodness for Andrew, Mr. Mythology Geek, whose knowledge of ancient gods did come in handy.

What have you learned about yourself while trying to resolve your conflict?

Okay, I already know that I’m loyal to a fault.  I mean, I’ll do anything for my friends especially Jordan.  We’re tight.  I might have thought she was loca but I’d never say that to her face.  No, I’d help her to the very end.

Jordan has been really quiet! Why don’t you tell us about her Selena?

Jordan is my BFF.  We’ve been friends since elementary school. Others might think she’s a little strange—okay, sometimes her Audrey Hepburn passion kind of goes overboard but hey, that’s part of her charm!  She got me into the whole AH thing.  Now I can’t stop watching the old movies!  Also love her grandmother who is the coolest. 

We’d love to learn more about you. What is your strongest personality trait?

Being loyal.  Yep.  That’s me.  Ms. Loyal!

Is there anything about you that people are always giving you a hard time about? How do you feel about it?

Okay, for one, people say I’m mega hyper.  Hey, it’s better than just being laid back.  Also that I eat too much sweets.  Nah, so not true.

**Selena pops a huge bubble.

Nope, not true at all.  Next question?

What are your three favorite leisure activities?

Shopping for cute clothes, watching Tessa’s Treasure with Jordan, and hanging with my friends at In N Out Burger. 

I love In N Out! I wish we had them up here in Oregon. What do you want to be when you grow up?

A famous vlogger.  Do they have jobs like that?  Because if they do?  I’d totally rock at it.

Idk if it’s a job, but my niece posted a picture of her and a famous vlogger on Facebook yesterday. So, if you could change one thing in this world, what would you change?

It should be against the law for goddesses to mess with us.  Isn’t there some kind of rule book on that?  Need to ask Andrew.  He’d know.

Thanks for visiting with us girls. Readers, here is more about Selena’s and Jordan’s story, No More Goddesses:

When fifteen-year-old Jordan Lake discovers an ancient bracelet in her grandmother's house, she uncovers a family mystery that links her favorite actress, Audrey Hepburn, a romantic movie, and an aunt she never knew. Jordan hopes the bracelet will bring her love. Instead, it becomes a nightmare, unleashing the curse of Hathor, the Egyptian love goddess, who decides it's fun to mess with theMcKnight High School social scene. Only Jordan holds the key to vanquish Hathor, but will she figure it out in time to save her school and get a date to the dance? 

And here is some information about Selena’s and Jordan’s author:

When writing No More Goddesses, Kim Baccellia watched almost all of Audrey Hepburn movies and learned to love this famous icon after watching and reading all she could on Audrey. She has also always had a secret desire to travel to Egypt and visit the pyramids. The closest she’s come to fulfilling this dream are her younger sister Autumn and Egyptian-national brother-in-law Eihab, who were kind enough to share some things with her, including a Hathor sistrum and some incense. Kim's other works include Crossed Out, a YA paranormal, published by Lachesis Publishing, and a YA multicultural fantasy, Earrings of Ixtumea, which was re-released in March 2012 by Muse It Up publishing. A member of YARWA, Kim is currently writing the sequel to Crossed Out. She's also putting the finishing touches on a YA multicultural dystopian novel. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.

Website: www.
Twitter: @ixtumea
FB: @kbaccellia
Review site for YABC:
If you have a character from a children’s, tween or young adult book that you’d like to see interviewed on Building Character, please contact kaistrand at yahoo dot com.

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August 1, 2013

Goodreads 2013 Summer Reads - Need Your Votes Please

Both of my summer releases have been added to the Goodreads 2013 Summer Reads list. Please hop on over and cast a vote to help them climb the chart. Let everyone know they should add these books to their to-read shelf. Thanks for your help!

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