July 13, 2016

Three Times a Charm with SMW Claw

Welcome to Three Times A Charm. I love to introduce readers to the people involved in children’s publishing. Today we welcome middle grade author, Sunshine Claw. Sunshine, we’d love for you to tell us a little about you.

I lived a miserable and unfulfilling existence* until the day I was invited to play Ultimate Frisbee by one boy, and left madly in love with another (my husband).

We Claws live with a hoard of ordinary, run-of-the-mill children, whom we believe to be spectacular and exceptional, and for whom we would gladly dash into a burning building to save.

Or just make the mundane, daily sacrifices required over a lifetime.

*5.775% accurate

Let’s hear more about Goggles Gone Strong.  

Goggles Gone Strong is my debut children's novel for ages 9+. In the book Calypso Blue finds herself on a strange island with a strange family, wearing an absurd pair of goggles, but has to save the dad from a giant saltwater crocodile, the mom from a sacrificial ritual, herself from mauling by the evil guy's vicious tigers (oh, and a shark!) before she can figure out those danged goggles and nab the treasure to bring it home.

I recommend my book to readers who like…well, I'm not aware of any books similar to mine and I've asked many people (readers) and none of them have ever been able to come up with anything either. So, I'd have to say it's about the same reading level as The Mysterious Benedict Society, the same suspense level as The False Prince, and the same adventure level as The Swiss Family Robinson.

Sounds fun! I’m totally curious what those goggles are all about. Okay, let’s move on to the threes. Give us your top 3 responses to the following to help us get to know you better.

Top 3 books you recommend reading and why you recommend them.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I know you've all read this, but have you read it keeping in mind that Harry Potter is the greatest Christian allegory written in our time? And no, I'm not talking about the series as a whole, which it is, but each and every book, every chapter.

Here are just a few examples off the top of my head from Sorcerer’s Stone: Ron sacrificing himself in the chess game so Harry and Hermione can progress, Harry "dying" for three days until he comes to in the infirmary, Harry is a "seeker," etc. There are many, many more.

Naturally, I've always loved The Chronicles of Narnia for the same reasons. The Voyage of the Dawntreader narrowly beats out The Horse and His Boy as my favorite. Mostly because I love the imagery of the beautiful ship sailing to the ends of the earth and all the magical islands they visit on their way.

And just for fun, I recommend The Incorrible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood. I think the tag line is: It's said of some ill-behaved children that they must have been raised by wolves; these children actually were. 

The series is pretty adorable.

Top 3 leisure activities.

Writing is actually my top leisure activity. For a couple years I unwound at night (after the kids were in bed) by vegging out on Facebook, and design and political blogs. One day I realized I had nothing to show for it. I wasn't a better person (some might argue I was a worse person :); I wasn't better friends with anyone; I hadn't acquired any new skills or talents.

I decided to do something that over time would add up to something, something that would last, something I could hand over to my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I decided to write a book. And it turns out it works great to help me unwind.

I also like to run and search the State Regional Archives in Prague for ancestors.

Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up.

The fondest ambition of my heart was (and always has been) to be one heckuva mother. It is the place *almost* all of my study, energy and time goes. I think it goes without saying, I'm not a perfect mother. I make mistakes just like any mother does. But it's something I'm always working on and improving. Right, Claw kids? Right???

Beyond that I had secondary dreams of being an architect. I have way more floor plan drawings from when I was a kid than essays.

Then in college I had vague ambitions of becoming a Botanist. Taxonomy was the area I was most interested in, with visions of me in tropical rain forests collecting and cataloging specimens in the back of my head. But studying Botany turned out to be one of the biggest regrets of my life. I sure wish I'd studied something I loved. Or heck, found even moderately interesting.

Finally, please share with us where our tech savvy readers can find out more about you and your book.

Thanks for joining us today, Sunshine. It was great to get to know more about you and Goggles Gone Strong.


July 8, 2016

Building Character with William Bradshaw, King of the Goblins

Yippee – it’s Friday! Friday’s begin the weekend and weekends offer all sorts of READING time! So to help you make your reading decisions, I’d like to introduce you to William from his book William Bradshaw, King of the Goblins by Arthur Daigle. First a little about the book:

            Hello, my name is William Bradshaw, and through no fault of my own I am King of the Goblins.  I made the mistake of applying for a management position advertised by the law firm of Cickam, Wender and Downe.  Thing is, they didn’t say the job was to ‘manage’ the goblins on the world of Other Place as their king.  Goblins don’t really want a king, and it’s a rare day when they do what I say.  They’d rather cause trouble, set traps and generally annoy everyone.

Okay. So, you like to cause conflict, but what conflict are you up against?

Conflicts, plural.  I have two big problems as King of the Goblins.  The first is my goblins.  They’re not as bad as everyone makes them out to be, most of the time, but they like causing trouble.  Pit traps, pie throwers, putting skunks in your underwear drawer, they can do all that and more before breakfast.  I’m trying to get them to be a little less idiotic, and just as importantly I’m trying to get them to believe in themselves.

That leads into the second conflict.  You see, goblins are the smallest and weakest race on Other Place.  They’ve been pushed around throughout recorded history.  Men, elves, dwarfs, ogres and others think nothing of robbing goblins.  That includes stealing their land.  Many goblins live in wastelands, dumps and other ruined places because those are the only locations where no one will try to drive them off.

What are some of the biggest stumbling blocks you’ve encountered trying to resolve all of this?

My biggest problem is that the goblins have no interest in winning.  With all the losses they’ve taken over the centuries they figure why bother trying when they’ll get beaten anyway.  It’s taken a lot of effort to get them to believe that they’re better than anyone thinks they are, and that their enemies aren’t nearly as tough as it seems.

Problem number two is that just about everyone on Other Place hates goblins.  Goblins are looked down on by most of the people on this world.  This means when a big problem comes up, I have a really hard time getting help from anyone but goblins.  Okay, goblins don’t go out of their way to be friendly, but the different races aren’t model citizens, either.

Tell us about your best friend or side kick.

I have a crew of loyal followers I can count on, which makes it hard to pick one as best.  I figure I’ll go with Domo.  He’s the closest the goblins ever came to having their own leader, and while we didn’t get along too well to start with, we’re good friends now.  He knows a lot about Other Place and he understands goblins more than anyone else.  I can turn to him for help, and he hasn’t run off  no matter how much trouble I find myself in.

Loyalty is awesome, isn’t it? What is your strongest personality trait?

I think fast in tough situations.  Being King of the Goblins means being one step away from disaster, with a fifty-fifty chance of it being caused by outsiders or my own goblins.  You have to react fast when trouble comes up.

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

Nobody on Other Place likes goblins, and since I’m their king nobody much likes me.  They figure I’m responsible for their pranks and traps, or that I’m as bad as they are.  I thought that would change after I helped them out by destroying the Staff of Skulls, but instead it made me more despised than ever.  You see, there are goblins just about everywhere on Other Place, and people are used to ignoring them or pushing them around.  When I proved goblins are capable of doing amazing things, it made those people scared, because they wondered what would happen if their local goblins started standing up for themselves.

How do I feel about an entire world looking down on me?  Most days it’s not that big of a deal.  I see the goblins improving and that’s what matters.  I’ve also run into a few people who appreciate what I’ve done.  It’s rare, but it happens.  That gives me hope that things are going to get better.

Let’s get to know you a bit better with some personal questions. What are your three favorite leisure activities?

#1 People not trying to kill me.  That’s so rare it feels like a leisure activity.
#2 Gardening.  This one is hard since the Kingdom of the Goblins used to be a dwarf strip mine.  Getting weeds to grow here is a challenge.
#3 Looking for ways out of my king contract.  Cickam, Wender and Downe gave me a contract when I became King, a nightmare of legal jargon, doublespeak and  outright lies.  If I can find a loophole in the contract I can go home.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Grown up?  Hey, I graduated college!  As for what I want to be, I’d say anything besides King of the Goblins looks really good.  I like these guys, I do, but I’d go back to Earth in a minute if I could.

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

Besides going home?  I would love it if everyone on Other Place realized that goblins deserve the same rights and respect as anyone else.  I think half the goblin pranks and trap making would disappear right there and then if they were treated better.  I wish I could say all of it would vanish, but I know goblins well enough to say that’s not going to happen.

And finally, Williams, what words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers?

First, don’t look down on people.  They may be doing worse than you, and they may have done something to bring bad luck down on themselves, but no one deserves to suffer.  Second, have faith in yourself and your friends.  The goblins could have won more often over the years if they’d believed in themselves and really made the effort.  Third and last, avoid the legal profession at all costs.  Trust me on this one.

Now that you’ve enticed our readers with your story, share with us how they can acquire your book.

I am including the book blurb for my first book and the buy links for all three books.

William Bradshaw, King of the Goblins:

There's a new King in Town! That's the good news. The bad news is that Will Bradshaw has problems. He's new on the job but he's already made enemies with a fire-breathing dragon. His friends are not much better: goblins whose favorite pastime is messing things up, trolls with anger management issues, an over-achieving fire scepter, and an un-cooportative magic mirror. Aside from all that, all he has to worry about is a war. And that's the trouble. Throughout recorded history the goblins have never won a battle, much less a war. But things are going to be different this time around. William Bradshaw is determined to win, using every means at his disposal, including stealth, subterfuge and exploding outhouses.

Links: William Bradshaw, King of the Goblins:
            William Bradshaw and a Faint Hope:
            William Bradshaw and War Unending:

Readers, here is some information on William’s author:

Arthur Daigle was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.  He attended the University of Illinois Urbana Chapmaign and received a degree in Biology, which seemed like a good idea at the time.  He has worked in such diverse jobs as zoo intern, research assistant, grading essay tests, water quality tester and garden associate.  It was pretty much inevitable that Arthur would take up writing since he has been a fan of fantasy and science fiction since he was old enough to walk.  Arthur has written three novels, William Bradshaw King of the Goblins, William Bradshaw and a Faint Hope, and William Bradshaw and War Unending.  Readers should expect more books in the future, as all attempts to stop him have failed.

Contact (or cyber stalk) Arthur Daigle:

Thanks for visiting, William!

July 6, 2016

Rare Free Series Opportunity

Worth the Effort - Ayden's Story turns two years old this month and I'm celebrating by offering it free of charge to subscribers of my newsletter. Ayden's Story has never been offered for free, so this is a big deal! Since Ella's Story is always free to download, this means you can get the entire novella series for absolutely nothing.

Seventeen-year-old Ayden Worth shouldn’t have to seek peace of mind in the streets. But as family pressures mount, his anxieties increase, and he turns his back on comfort for a life in homeless camps and back alleys.

Then one fateful day he runs into the only person he ever wanted to know better. Ella Jones. His memories paint her as kind and undemanding, and it seems the years haven’t changed her. Her simple expectations draw him to her. Against all odds, a relationship buds and grows.

Yet, as Ayden repairs his life, Ella suggests he help others who also struggle. Will Ella turn out to be just like his dad, expecting more from him than he can give? Or will he prove that he is worth the effort?

Wow. The emotion in this book surpasses the first, and I was blown away. This book is so much more than teen romance. It's about self-discovery and self-acceptance. It was a beautiful and encouraging story. Kristen, Pretty Little Pages

Ayden himself has got to be one of my all-time favorite characters. He's so...real. He has issues and insecurities and deals with them in such a real way that makes you think that he could just walk off the pages of the book (I wish! He sounds so handsome!). I really love how this story tackles harder issues of life, even in a numbered of pages. The reader goes through so many emotions with Ayden that you can't help but feel for him the entire time. – Paige M.

Why would I do this? For many reasons, actually. To introduce new readers to my work in the hopes the interest will carry over to my other titles. To rekindle interest in the Worth the Effort series by increasing sales ranks and number of reviews for the book on retail sites. To grow my mailing list - especially since I will release a contemporary romance soon that should appeal to readers who enjoy Worth the Effort. But heck - does it matter, because - FREE READS!

I'm also offering a bonus giveaway. Those fabulous readers who follow through and post a review of Ayden's Story will be able to choose another free ebook from my backlist! Any ole book they want of my published works.

But this offer is only good in the month of July.

So sign up for my monthly mailer to claim your free book and to stay in touch with my new releases, book events, and other exclusive subscriber giveaways.

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July 4, 2016

July #InkRipples – Inspiration


noun  in·spi·ra·tion \ˌin(t)-spə-ˈrā-shən, -(ˌ)spi-\

- something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create : a force or influence that inspires someone
- a person, place, experience, etc., that makes someone want to do or create something
- a good idea

If you’ve read an interview or three of an author, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that I find inspiration for my writing in my kids, husband, nature, and in living life. But since we are talking about inspiration in this month’s Ink Ripples, I thought I’d talk about some of the less common circumstances that provide inspiration.

Deadlines. A powerful motivator and a source of “forced” inspiration. I can think about a story or blog post (such as our monthly Ink Ripples post) for months before I put fingertips to keyboard and force myself to write something that is due in the morning. Or I might not be able to think of anything to do with a topic until that deadline looms and suddenly my mind is a whirl of ideas. This is how I wrote Super Bad.

Books on Craft. It’s funny how reading a book about how to write well inspires me to go out and try to write well. I’m sorry to admit it is most likely because I’m thinking, “Sheesh, I can do better than that!” while reading. I'm pretty cocky about my skill - when I'm not writing. Then all that swagger goes out the window.

Reading. There is nothing more inspiring than reading a really great book. Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Forgive Me Leonard Peacock, Throne of Glass. Reading those made my mind itch. Made me want to create something readers would get lost in.

Believe it or not – a name. Yes, sometimes it is as simple as hearing/reading/coming up with a really good name. For a person or a town. For a coffee shop or a game. I came up with the title Save the Lemmings and HAD to write a story to go along with it.

Dreams – of course. I suspect this might be one of the most common forms of inspiration for writers. The problem is what was epic in a dream can’t always be fleshed out into a fully formed idea that is long enough for a book. My paranormal romance, Ghost Touch – published under the name LA Dragoni – was a dream. It took me years to be able to make a story out of it.

What inspires you in your job?

Ripples in the Inkwell is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the second Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.