November 21, 2016

Authors Meeting Authors (Fangirling Involved)

If you aren't an author yourself, you might think that we all hobnob with each other regularly. But the truth of it is, we almost all have our own holy grail of authors that when/if we meet we are reduced to squealing fans around.

Before I was published, I met Tamora Pierce. The reason I was at her reading was because I was a fan, not because I was an aspiring writer. So when I won a copy of her new book in a drawing, I was beyond happy. But I've always been painfully shy, and I couldn't even bring myself to approach her to get the book signed. What a dork! I really wish I could relive that moment.

Just to prove I'm not the only author out there who fangirls when she meets her faves, I collected a few stories to share.
Tracey M. Cox on meeting Bruce Coville:

It was amazing. One of those moments when you tell yourself to, “Be cool. Be cool”, but inside your hopping around going, “Oh my gosh. Oh. My. Gosh. OH MY GOSH!” Hahaha.

Kim McDougall on meeting Timothy Findley

It was a long time ago (maybe 20 years): Timothy Findley is the author of my all-time favorite novel "Not Wanted on the Voyage." I met him at Books and Breakfast in Montreal's Ritz Carleton at a signing for his newest release Piano Man's Daughter. I told him I wished that I had a copy of Not Wanted on the Voyage for him to sign, but I loved it so much that I kept giving my copies away to friends to read. He asked me for my address and said he would try to send me one. Months went by and I forgot about it. Then in the mail, I received a hardcover version of the book with his usual mantra "Against Despair" and his signature. He apologized for the wait because he'd been on tour. But he didn't forget. Classy guy. 

Melissa Abramovitz on meeting Ray Bradbury

In 1986 I attended a lecture and book signing by Ray Bradbury in Santa Barbara. At the time, I was hoping to start writing professionally and was taking a class through the Institute of Children's Literature. After the lecture, I asked Bradbury to sign one of his books for me, and told him that his lecture had really inspired me to start writing a story that had been percolating in my brain for several years. He was so gracious and encouraging, it was really awesome to hear someone so famous taking the time to encourage me. And I still remember the advice he gave me: "Never give up. Writing is hard, but if you love it and stick with it, you will get somewhere." I went home and started writing that story, and three years later it was published as a novella.  

Me on meeting Maggie Stievfater

I learned she'd be presenting at WordStock one year and this time I was determined to overcome my stupid shyness. I even stood in a long line in order to get her signature. When I finally got to the front, I said something like, "Hi, I don't know if you'll remember my name or not, but I'm Kai Strand." She responded very enthusiastically that of course she remembered. My niece was with me and doing a project for her blog and Maggie graciously allowed her to video the interaction while she signed my book. BTW, Maggie is hysterical, so it was tons of fun all around. I was pretty tongue tied, though she assured me I didn't sound like a simpleton or an idiot. I took my book back and wandered off, totally happy to have met one of my all-time faves. 

Then I read the signature. She actually did remember me! She's so cool!

Have you geeked out over an author or a celebrity that you met? I'd love to hear your story.

November 16, 2016

Cover Reveal #FadinIintotheShadows by Kelly Hashway

Cover Reveal time. I love participating in cover reveals. Covers are so much fun! First, let's find out what this book is all about.

Fading Into the Shadows by Kelly Hashway

When sixteen-year-old Ella Andrews’s best friend, Avery, goes missing, she’ll do anything to get him back—starting with punching the no-brain cop who couldn’t care less about the disappearance.

Ella’s convinced Avery’s been kidnapped, and she tries everything to find him—even following a strange shadow to another world where the constellations are real-life figures in the sky. But three star groups have fallen and are destroying the world.

The fallen constellations are not the only enemy. Melanie, the princess of Stellaris, is forcing Ella, Avery, and an army of other kids kidnapped from their world to fight the rogue constellations, even as the land is draining away their life. The longer they stay, the more they fade into substanceless shadows—a fate worse than death.

Stay up to date:

Coming January 16, 2017!

Okay, ready? Drum roll please:

Here's how you can stay in touch: 

All Links for Kelly Hashway

November 7, 2016

November #InkRipples - Heritage



1. something that is handed down from the past, as a tradition

2. something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth; an inherited lot 
or portion

3. something reserved for one

Yeah...seriously. I got nothing to add to this topic. Is that sad, or what? My maiden name is SMITH, so that doesn't help. We have no family traditions, no titles, no HERITAGE. 

So help me out. Do you have a heritage you like to brag on? Please share it in the comments.

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first 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.

November 4, 2016

Building Character with Alexia Dumont from Timeless by Crystal Collier

Yay – 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 Alexia Dumont from her newly released book Timeless by Crystal Collier.

Alexia & her author Crystal are on tour promoting Timeless (Maiden of Time #3) and they have AWESOME giveaways going on, so be sure to spin the wheel at the bottom of this interview.

Welcome to Strands of Thoughts, Alexia. Can you tell us a little about you, please?

Hello. *waves uncomfortably* I am Alexia Dumont, only child of Baron Dumont and heir. While my father’s estate is impressive, it compares little to the heritage my mother left me: the power to manipulate or travel through time. I am the Maiden of Time. My mother before me, who left this world when I was born, was also the Maiden of Time.

Maiden of Time? That sounds fun. So, do you just hop from decade to decade and enjoy the current fashions, or what?

I left my husband and home in the eighteenth century to stop the Soulless from becoming. With little enough information, I stepped back through time and have been surviving the thirteenth century while gathering my people, and questioning if I sacrificed my happily ever after for a vain hope.

But forgive me, I have not explained the Soulless. They are eternal creatures who live in darkness and only come out to hunt (or prey upon the living) on moonless nights. Once they were like me—gifted, long-living, and *clears throat uncomfortably* beautiful. The Soulless curse came upon them by means of a madman. I know little else. But it spreads. When the Soulless prey upon one of my bloodline, that individual becomes like them: eternal, rotting corpses who can never be sated, and who hunt every moonless night.

It is them I seek to free. And those they have brought to ruin.

Oh, so not so fun after all. What are some of the biggest issues you’ve run into while trying to stop the Soulless?

Other than my time nearing? I am with child, soon give birth, and then I shall no longer be found upon the earth. My daughter, who was born in the thirteenth century, could not explain my absence in her childhood, and my husband (who has lived for centuries) tells me the eighteenth century is the only time in which he has discovered of me.

My husband… I fear what will become of him when I do not return.

Wait. You daughter was born in the thirteenth century and your husband lives in the eighteenth? My mind just imploded. Besides blowing peoples’ minds, is there anything else about you that people give you a hard time over? Does it bother you?

They tell me I trust too easily. Well, I would rather live in a world where I trust one too many people wrongly than trust no one. We are meant to build relationships and rely on others.

I’m like that too. Sometimes I feel so gullible, but I can’t imagine being cynical instead. Any final words of wisdom to share?

Treasure those you love. Your time with them is finite, and though it seems this moment will stretch forever, too soon it will end. Make each day precious.

Thanks, Alexia, for joining us today. Best of luck on your quest. Readers, here is some more information on Alexia’s story, Timeless.


In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

Buy it now:

And here is the 411 on Alexia’s author. I can vouch for Crystal’s epic writing talent. She was part of the short story blog I hosted, Lightning Quick Reads, and I loved her work!

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog, FacebookGoodreads, or follow her on Twitter.

(Email address is required for awarding prizes.)