The Rose of Par Kluhnd by Linda Ash

Rose isn’t sure she wants to be captain of her soccer team, much less queen of a strange place – that’s about to be overrun by invaders. When Rose slips into a strange world where her grandmother may have been a queen, she just wants to get home. But when enemies seek her out, finding a way home may be the least of Rose’s worries… and then, there’s that empty throne waiting, possibly, for her.

Read the excerpt!

As the sun set and the light began to wane they moved outside to enjoy a mild evening on the back porch. Rose sank into the cushiony comfort of a lawn chair while Eris ran into the flower garden, begging her grandmother to come with her, “C’mon Grandma, let’s chase fireflies.”

Her grandmother laughed. “Okay,” she said, stepping off of the porch and into the garden. “But remember to stay close to the house.”

Eris turned back to her sister. “Come with us, Rose, don’t just sit there.”

Rose ignored her sister, though. She leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes. She just wanted to relax. Eris didn’t give up and kept calling every few minutes. Finally Rose opened her eyes. It did look like fun. It was getting quite dark. Her grandmother had just caught two fireflies at once and Eris was peeking into her cupped-together hands, watching the glow through a small opening between her grandmother’s fingers.

Rose got up and joined the fun, chasing first this blink, and then the next. She followed one firefly out of the garden and into the meadow, only to lose it. She waited until it blinked again, this time a little deeper into the meadow. She ran toward it and when it went out she kept her eye on its darkened shape as it drifted still further away. She caught up to the hovering shape and when it blinked, she reached out to close her hand gently around it in triumph.

As she did so, three things happened. She heard her grandmother’s voice calling to her. She realized that she was no longer in the meadow but had run two steps along one of the paths into the wood. And without warning a huge, antlered buck bounded suddenly out of the trees at her right.

The massive animal, snorting a warning, leapt across the path and disappeared into the darkness of the forest, leaving Rose’s heart pounding in surprise. Rose heard her grandmother’s voice again. It sounded frantic and far away. She turned to call back and got a shock, her grandmother wasn’t there. The meadow wasn’t there. She stared instead into a shadowy forest that melted away into the surrounding night. Turning completely around, she saw nothing but trees vanishing into dense darkness wherever she looked. And then she heard a growl.

She jumped when a voice sounded in her ear, “Quick, climb up on the rock!” She spun to see who was there and saw only darkness and forest.

“There isn’t time for spinning!” the voice shouted. “Climb up on the rock, now!”

Rose looked to her left and was surprised to see the looming shape of a large boulder. Another growl came from somewhere in the darkness. Immediately she did as the mysterious voice urged, and very quickly she climbed to the top of the boulder.

Confusion played with the fear that began to tingle through her body. She couldn’t remember any boulders this big at the edge of the wood by her grandmother’s meadow – and her grandmother’s meadow had just turned into a forest. She looked down from her perch at the boulder’s top. Shining eyes stared up at her. “A coyote!” she thought, and soon there were others.

Before she could even think of what to do, a small light, pulsing in a spectrum of colors, appeared suddenly at her shoulder and dove at the animals below.

Incredibly the light spoke, “This isn’t what you’re after,” it shouted. “Go chase your buck and leave us alone!”

Rose gasped as one of the animals leapt and snapped at the light. Suddenly the single light was joined by what seemed like hundreds more. They swarmed the animals, flashing and pulsing in a myriad of colors. The coyotes yelped and danced around, snapping at the lights before finally being driven off by them into the dark wood.

One of the lights rose up and hovered in front of Rose’s nose. She was astonished to see that it wasn’t a light at all, but a tiny, winged person – a man, in fact. Swirling patterns of luminescence whirled over his face and body, as if fluttering ribbons of light had been tattooed onto his skin. Multi-hued pulses coursed over them, shining through his clothing. Dragonfly wings of shimmery, translucent silver fluttered at his back. She stared in awe.

The tiny person’s brow filled with serious furrows. “The wolves may be back soon, come quickly and we’ll lead you to safety.”

Rose blinked. “Wolves?” A vision of them, large and dark and coming after her, filled her head, pushing out images of their more timid, yipping counterparts. “They aren’t coyotes?”

“Coyotes?” said the man, “No, they’re wolves and they may be back. Hurry! Get down and come with us.”

Rose didn’t argue. She half scrambled, half leapt off the boulder. “Are you taking me to my grandmother?” she asked as her feet hit the ground. Her bright companion hovered by her face. The other colorful beings, each with shimmering silver or gold or jewel-like wings, formed a perimeter around them and then went dark.

“I don’t know,” the man said, “if she lives in the town, then yes. Quickly, follow me, and keep up! The others are still around us, though you may not see them.”

The word ‘fairy’ had popped into Rose’s head. She began to form the question on her lips to ask if he was a fairy. The chance was lost when, quick as a flash, the fairy person flew down a path in the direction that should have taken Rose back to her grandmother’s meadow, but instead went on and on through a forest that should not have been there.

Read the reviews!

Rose of Par Kluhnd: A Fairy Tale is an innocent but intelligent tale. Written in the classic style of children’s writers such as C.S. Lewis the language is evocative of another age. … Ash’s characters are appealing and realistic, even the mythological beings which, along with Rose’s happily ever after ending, make this story ‘a fairy tale’.”

- Books, off the page book reviews

Look for The Rose of Par Kluhnd at:
 
Amazon (Kindle edition and paperback): http://www.amazon.com/Rose-Par-Kluhnd-Fairy-ebook/dp/B004INHRJ2/

Barnes and Noble (Nookbook): http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Rose-of-Par-Kluhnd/Linda-Ash/e/2940011178979/

Linda Ash currently lives in northeast Ohio with her husband, two college-age kids, a few cats and one dog. She loves to read, write, garden, spin, knit, weave, and go for walks with her dog in the neighborhood park. Her background is in anthropology, but she has been known to dabble in physics and mathematics.

Visit Linda online at:

blog: http://www.blogofauthorlindaash.blogspot.com/

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Linda-Ash/131977026870650



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Odessa by Rebecca Ryals Russell

17-year-old Myrna is drawn into the middle of an epic battle between Seraphym and Demons. An average High School student from Florida, struggling with inner demons resulting from an attack when she was 15, she wakes one morning on the Steampunk planet of Dracwald, home of the demon-dragons responsible for her brother’s recent murder as well as many other atrocities in the news. She meets sweet and sensitive Michael, who explains that according to prophecy, Myrna must gather the remaining six Vigorios (teen warriors with special talents) then train with the Majikals on an enchanted island. He accompanies her on the quest, but harbors a secret past that ironically would destroy all the faith she has placed in him. A handsomely roguish Scientist with suspect motives haunts her dreams and makes sudden appearances in unlikely places, while a sensual dragon warrior defends her against her will.

Will love and lust, jealousy, greed, deceit and distrust break the delicate tie that binds these teen warriors called The Vigorios? Can a troupe of teens help the Seraphym finally defeat the massive empire of evil dominated for eons by the demon-dragons of Dracwald?

Read an excerpt!

Chapter One
I floated on wings of silence like a piece of driftwood at sea. Colored gases swirled around me like silk scarves, brushing against my bare arms and legs. It delighted my senses and tingled nerve endings. For as far as I could see, a myriad of colors swam and twirled dipping and rolling around particles of dark matter and glittering specs of sunbeams in miniature cosmos.

Was this a dream? I didn’t remember falling asleep. In fact, I didn’t remember anything at all. Soft singing and the sharp but pleasant ringing of bells echoed around me. I opened my eyes—had they been shut? Thousands of glimmering radiant beings hovered in the rainbow cosmic cloud. So beautiful. So peaceful. My eyes drifted shut.

“Mind the signs, Myrna,” echoed in my skull and repeated over and over in millions of separate voices in unison. “Mind the signs…Mind the signs….”

. I shoved the covers off with my feet and stood, stretching. The house was unusually quiet. Must be the first up. After showering I listened while I dressed. Still no sounds. I went to the kitchen. No one. This was not like my parents to sleep in, especially later than me. I made my way toward their room.

“Mom.” Softly I pushed on the door which was slightly ajar. “Dad? Anyone up? Hey, sleepy heads….” The room was empty. The bed was made. My stomach flip-flopped. Marcy’s room was next. I padded down the hall then pushed on the half-opened door.

“You’ll be late….” I didn’t finish because no one was there to hear me. Her room was immaculate—which never happened—and empty. Panic pricked my brain like a nest of wasps. My mind was a jumble of anger and fear. People don’t just disappear. Where are they? What happened to them? I ran to Jarrod’s room and found the same thing. I was alone. Sliding down the wall I crumpled in a heap on the carpet.

“Where did you all go without me?” I shrieked at the ceiling, tears burning my eyes. “Where is everyone?”Running to the foyer, I slid on the white tiles in my socks. Swiping at my wet face with the back of my hand I gasped a shuddering breath.

And flung open the front door, daring to look outside.

The slam rattled the dishes in the kitchen cabinets like bones in a closet as I threw it shut. My heart pounded against my ribs. This isn’t possible. I’m still dreaming. The deadbolt lock thudded with a satisfying crunch as I twisted the key. My breath came in short gasps. My mind reeled with the impossible unreality of what I had seen. Who were these people? They were people, weren’t they? Then why had I seen horns and tails? I ran back to my room. Crouching, in the corner behind my bed my head ached from crying and fear. My room was still dark and shadows wavered and squirmed across the walls like living shades. I shut my eyes and slid my hands across my ears to shut out the world. I had to shut out this world that was not mine.

* * * *

I must have fallen asleep again because I woke to a dark room, and knew the sun had gone down. I searched each bedroom along the hallway—not surprised this time to find them empty, but still disappointed. I was alone. Even when alone at home before, I’d known I was not alone. This was different. This was scary.

My stomach audibly rumbled and I jumped at the sound. In the kitchen I luckily found peanut butter and bread, and made a sandwich. The peanut butter stuck to my dry mouth. I drank some milk, diluted with salty tears as I tried to swallow. My eyes wandered across the spotless, silent kitchen until landing on the phone. I picked up the receiver. No sound. Cords and plugs seemed fine. I clicked the receiver button up and down. I always wondered why people in movies did that, but still, I did it again. No sound. I couldn’t even call the cops. Tomorrow I would have to find help. Find out what happened to my family. An unnatural, sudden drowsiness overcame me and I stumbled sleepily back to bed. Why was I so tired? How could I sleep when my entire family was missing? And what about what I’d seen outside earlier? I slept nearly all day so there’s no way I could be sleepy. My eyes shut, almost on their own and I fell into a fitful sleep.

Tossing and turning like a storm-tossed ship at sea, my bed was soon sweat-damp and rumbled. Dreams which morphed into nightmares writhed through my confused brain. Blackness that felt alive as it wove around me like an anaconda, squeezing out my breath, was filled with screeches and banshee wails of pain and suffering. All around, shapes moved in the darkness. Amorphous, slithering, scales on dry stone, sometimes as high as my ceiling, others low on the ground—shapes without shape. Voices that growled like the notes of a tiger beside my ear, whispering words I couldn’t understand. Running. Running. Through trees stacked so closely together I had to inhale to squeeze through them. Water, slimy and brown with more amorphous shapes wriggling through it and around my thighs as I walked through it. Skies heavy and dark, oppressive in their grayness, sucking all joy, pleasure, even satisfaction from my soul.

My eyes flew open and I sat up. In my bed. In my room. In my house. Deep breaths of fresh air filled my lungs, restoring my brain’s oxygen. Then I heard movement in the shadows. Saw the shadows slide across my wall in the vague moonlight that managed to streak through the closed blind. I stared hard, trying to see for certain, unwilling to believe my senses anymore. The dry scraping sound echoed around the room followed by a hiss. More shadows, black as a moonless midnight wove across the floor and walls. My throat, already dry from screaming in my nightmares, constricted—useless. Who would hear me anyway?.

Then the atmosphere in my room changed. The hair on my neck and arms stood up. My skin prickled as though with a soft electric shock. My breathing became ragged and my heart thumped so loudly in my chest I could hear it in the silence of the room. I hadn’t prayed since I was a very little girl, but something in me told me to pray hard right now so I said the only bits I could remember from the days, as a toddler, when Mom insisted I go to Bible School.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want …” my brain screamed for the next words. I repeated the phrase over and over trying to recall them but they wouldn’t come. The shadows no longer clung to the edges of the room but slid across the floor, around the corners of the walls, directly toward me.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…” I screamed as loudly as I could, emphasizing the word Lord. “He maketh me to lie down in still pastures, He restoreth my soul. Yay, though I walk through the valley of death I shall fear no evil for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff protect me. My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all my life, and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever” I knew there were parts left out, but it was the best I could do. I repeated it over and over, getting louder and more confident each time.

The room filled with the brilliance of a noonday sun. I screamed, shading my burning eyes with a hand. Other screeching and scrambling sounds filled the room for several moments until there was compete silence. The brilliance faded and I dropped my hand to see what had happened. I expected to see a gaping hole in my wall or maybe half the house missing with starlight streaming in.

Nothing. There was nothing. My room was empty. I could feel its emptiness. Total and complete silence. But I also felt better. I wasn’t scared. I knew there would be no more nightmares for the rest of this night.

When I woke again, that same gray light as yesterday pushed past the edges of my window blinds spitting its dullness into the room.

After several hours of fruitlessly contemplating last night’s events and finding no food in the kitchen to sate my ever-grumbling stomach I managed to work up the courage to go for help. After dressing I took several deep breaths before opening the door again. I thought I was prepared.

The murky gray light that filled the sky seemed watery and weak. Although there was no cloud cover, there was no sunlight. Several brown dragons swooped through the grayness, casually flying above the buildings of this strange city. I stared wide-eyed, heart pounding. Dragons? On Earth? Had I been taken backward in time somehow? Was this the Middle Ages and I was in a Fairy Tale? I glanced up again as one swooped directly overhead, its beady red eyes watching me.

I have to leave the house. If I ignore them, perhaps they won’t notice me. Heart beating a mad tattoo, I stepped onto the stoop and jumped when my foot landed on something soft. It was a folded newspaper. I opened it and read Jacksonville Times Union. With it securely tucked under one arm I stepped down onto dirt. Dad’s pride and joy green grass was gone.

My heart pounded and lungs burned like I’d just finished a marathon. I twitched and jumped at every sound, spinning from side to side. Squeezing my eyes shut tightly, I inhaled deeply several times trying to calm down. The air stunk of sulphur and coal dust. I opened my eyes. Standing at the end of the yard, a loud chug and zip then a puff of steam enveloped me. I leapt backward, nearly falling into the dirt. A triangular car with a glass top sped down the road. Another headed my direction on the opposite side. The driver sat in the front of the triangle managing the car with a joystick while two passengers sat side-by-side on the rear seat. It maneuvered surprisingly well and was quite fast.

Leading east and west at the end of the walkway, a crushed stone path lined a packed dirt road that ran in front of the house. To the left and right of the house stood tall and short buildings of every description. Some seemed to be stores, others apartment buildings or individual homes like mine. Tall brass street lights stood sentinel on each intersection.

“Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore,” I murmured softly. I flipped a glance back at the house expecting ruby slippers.

A rumble overhead pulled my attention to the murky sky as a glass-enclosed egg with the silhouettes of seated people lining its interior floated by. At the rear spun a huge brass propeller. Occasional clouds of steam escaped into the atmosphere. I grabbed my chest and inhaled deeply several times, settling my nerves. I turned right and, with eyes lowered to avoid making eye contact, began walking down the path.

A layer of black soot coated the buildings and walkways reminding me of photos of Victorian London when chimneys belched black coal dust. Many of the grimy windows displayed new handbills showing a child with the question: “Have You Seen This Child?” underneath. It shocked me to realize each face was that of a different child. How many children had disappeared from this city and where did they go?

Glancing forward occasionally, I was surprised to see the odd assortment of costumes on the people who passed me. While some men wore bowler hats others had formal top hats and long-tailed coats. Women wore long dresses with pinafores and bloomers. Most wore wide-brimmed hats mounted with feathers and other doodads or jaunty small headdresses angled over impressive updoos. Many of these strange characters stared openly at me as they passed, causing goosebumps to roll up my arms and neck. I caught my reflection in a wavy window and realized why they were all staring. My jeans and Pink Floyd tee-shirt definitely stood out. I smoothed back my long black hair and wrapped the ponytail band around it, happy I’d thought to grab one on my way out the door and toss it onto my wrist. My younger sister Marcy showed me that trick. Thinking about her now made my eyes burn, blurring my surroundings. I swiped the back of a hand across them.

“Watch where you’re going, lunchmeat,” a low, menacing voice growled next to my ear. I turned my head to apologize. There was no one beside me. I fell against a building, scraping my arm on the rough siding. Someone had deliberately shoved me. But who?

“Imbecil,” the voice continued. I spun in search of the owner of the voice. I was alone on the walkpath. People across the street stared in passing. One last time, I looked back the way I’d come. I could still hear him like he was next to my ear.

“Mother’v pearl!” I muttered, eyes roving from feet to hat of a giant man who was walking away. He was easily over eight feet tall—not fat, just…big. A black top hat and full-length black cape added to the effect. I wondered for a split instant how he found clothes big enough. He spun a black cane with gold dragon-shaped handle and glittering diamond eyes. He must have realized I was staring because just his head spun backwards. He grinned maliciously at me with a flick of red eyes before his head swiveled back around.

ODESSA IS COMING SOON FROM MUSEITUPPUBLISHING.COM!

Rebecca Ryals Russell writes MG and YA Dark Fantasy and Horror while living with her family in a Victorian house on five acres of North Florida countryside. She also runs a Vacation Rental Log House on the property: Florida Black Bear Cabin. ( http://flablackbearcabin.com )

She is a fourth generation Floridian. She was born in Gainesville, grew up in Sunrise, lived in Orlando and Jacksonville before moving outside Lake City to care for ailing parents. The family now wishes to return to Jacksonville, which is why the house is for sale. (http://mcleranhouse.com )

The daughter of an Elementary-school principal and secretary, for fourteen years she taught Middle Grades, preferring English and Creative Writing. She had several students’ works published in anthologies as well as her own poetry, photography and stories. Her main interests are her four children ages 22, 19, 16, 11 and Irish hubby of 35 years. She enjoys spending her time writing, drawing, going to movies, reading, discussing philosophy with her 16-year-old son.

Over the course of the next few years she has several books being published.

Visit Rebecca online at http://rryalsrussell.com or the book’s blog at http://seraphymwarsodessa.blogspot.com. Like the book’s page on Facebook or follow Rebecca on Twitter

Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes by Larry Peterson

Willie Wiggles hates his slippery feet. They are so slippery that he just slips, slides, and spins all over the place. The only thing he hates worse than his slippery feet is his stupid, ugly shoes. He’s certain everyone is going to laugh at him when they see them on his feet. He’ll be the laughing-stock of the school; no, of his neighborhood. Even the animals will be laughing at him.

There is no way he is wearing those stupid, ugly shoes.

Get ready to laugh, because this is one silly story.  Can you imagine having such slippery feet that you can’t even keep your shoes on? Even worse, can you imagine having to walk around with the stupidest, ugliest shoes on your feet that are specially made to help with your problem?

Well, that’s what happens to poor Willie Wiggles and he sure isn’t happy about it.

While this is a zany story, it tackles a very serious issue: accepting differences. Often young people are anxious about themselves–their appearance, their physical challenges–even when there’s nothing to worry about in the first place.  Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes by Larry Peterson addresses this topic, and it does so by delivering the message in a non-threatening way.  That is easily my favorite part of the book.

The artwork for this book is wonderful. They are simple illustrations, but they work well with the text. They also manage to display a great deal of emotion, despite their simplicity.

Included at the end of the book is an Interactive Guide that contains activities and discussion questions, making Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes perfect for the classroom or home. Parents and educators can use this as a springboard for more meaningful discussions about accepting ourselves and others.

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher: TB Press; 2nd edition
  • ISBN-10: 0982256574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982256572
  • SRP:  $16.95 (hardcover)
  • Book web site: http://www.slipperywillie.com

    Larry Peterson Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/larrytpbx

    Tribute Books website: http://www.tribute-books.com

    Tribute Books Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Archbald-PA/Tribute-Books/171628704176

    Tribute Books Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TributeBooks

    Larry Peterson was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. As a freelancer, he has written many newspaper columns for local publications. Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes is his first children’s book. Peterson has lived in Pinellas Park, Florida for the past 28 years.

    Buy links:
    http://tribute-books.com/shop.html#children8

    Excerpt:
    http://www.freado.com/read/9129/slippery-willies-stupid-ugly-shoes

    Looking for readers to share their thoughts about accepting differences at:
    http://slipperywillie.blogspot.com/2011/01/share-your-thoughts-about-accepting.html



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    Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a Great Deal on Call Me Kate by Molly Roe

     A while back I reviewed the historical fiction novel, Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires by Molly Roe. You can read the review at http://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/call-me-kate-by-molly%c2%a0roe/

    In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the paperback version of Call Me Kate is on sale at Amazon.com for only $3.28! The Kindle edition is $2.99!

    Don’t miss the chance to own this masterfully told historical from award-winning author Molly Roe.

    Visit http://www.amazon.com/Call-Me-Kate-Maguires-Recipient/dp/098146193X right now!

    Find this and other great books at the Tribute Books website: http://www.tribute-books.com

    Fifo “50 States” by Hayley Rose

    I love books that educate while they entertain. This is certainly true of Fifo “50 States” by Hayley Rose.

    In this fun, rhyming adventure, Fifo the Bear invites children to join him on his imaginary tour of the 50 states of America. From Alabama to Arkansas, from Georgia to Indiana, from Missouri to New Mexico, and beyond, readers learn capitals, state flowers, native birds, and  more.

    The states are listed in alphabetical order, which I love, and the repetitive rhymes encourage memorization. Each state’s page also includes the state’s motto.  The charming illustrations by artist Jessie B. Orlet include each state flower, bird, and flag, but also other items the state is famous for, which creates an avenue for additional discussion.

    I wish I had this book when my daughter was studying U.S. capitals earlier this year.

    I highly recommend Fifo “50 States” by Hayley Rose. Learning should always be this much fun.

    Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher: Inkwell Productions
  • ISBN-10: 0981464823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981464824
  • SRP:  $23.95


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    The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure

    I believe every fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder, whether that person is a fan of the books, the TV shows and movies, or both, has a Laura story: the moment when she discovered Laura, connected with her, and how it changed her life. Wendy McClure shares her story with readers in The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie.

    A senior editor for Albert Whitman & Company, McClure brings the reader through her journey as an adult of rediscovering these beloved classics from her childhood.

    A year after the death of her mother, McClure’s eye catches the yellow spine of Little House in the Big Woods in her apartment. She picks the book off the shelf and begins reading. Her boyfriend, Chris, brings home a new set of the Little House books and together they read, explore “Laura World,” and embark on a trip by car to visit the many Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites across America.

    The Wilder Life is both touching and irreverent. The author’s lifelong obsession leads her on this terrific journey into a world that is familiar, yet, altogether new. From tracking down a “crock and dash” churn so she can make butter like Caroline Ingalls, to wading in Plum Creek; from purchasing numerous sunbonnets, to meeting girls competing in the Laura-Nellie Look Alike Contest at the Wilder Pageant in Walnut Grove, MN; and from a surprise during her trip to De Smet, SD, to the meaning found in a visit to the Wilder farm in New York, readers will enjoy following McClure’s travels.

    This is the kind of book that you have to consider as a whole. There are moments when it feels like McClure is poking fun at the whole “bonnethead” obsession and some of the people she meets along the way. She occasionally uses words that were not made for family TV back in the 70’s. She also has her own vision of what faith meant to the Ingalls family versus how it was portrayed on television in Little House on the Prairie and the 2005 mini-series of the same name.

    But when you take those moments and blend them into the entire narrative, you come up with a funny, engaging, and moving look into the impact Wilder’s books had on McClure’s life, and how Wilder’s legacy continues to touch the lives of people everywhere. I am thrilled to have The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure as part of my Laura Ingalls Wilder book collection.

    Title:  The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie
    Author:  Wendy McClure
    Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (April 14, 2011)
    ISBN-10: 1594487804
    ISBN-13: 978-1594487804
    SRP:  $25.95 (Hardcover)

    Will also be available in a Kindle edition and as an audio book.

    This review first appeared at my Laura Ingalls Wilder blog, Laura’s Little Houses.  Though this book is not geared toward children, I occasionally post reviews here of books I feel will be of interest to parents.



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    My Name Is Not Alexander by Jennifer Fosberry

     Come along where a boy’s imagination has no limit in My Name Is Not Alexander by Jennifer Fosberry. When the boy went to bed he might have just been plain old Alexander, but from the moment he woke up, his imagination has turned him into some of the great men from the past. Theodore Roosevelt, Chief Joseph, Jackie Robinson and more help Alexander and his father celebrate the characteristics you’ll want to see passed down to the boys in your lives.

    This is an adorable and fun book. Fosberry’s simple text combined with the fabulous and sometimes silly artwork by Mike Litwin, create a book that young boys will enjoy. Not only is it about using your imagination, it teaches kids about the important traits that made these historical figures great men. What I truly enjoyed is that Alexander considered “Daddy” to be one of these great men too.

    The back of the book contains a “Men Who Changed the World” section that features short biographies of the famous men from Alexander’s imagination.

    My Name Is Not Alexander does for boys what Fosberry’s My Name Is Not Isabella does for girls. I think the author is going to end up with another bestseller on her hands.

    Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
  • ISBN-10: 1402254334
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402254338
  • SRP:  $16.99


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    Interview with Leonard Jacobson, Author of In Search of the Light

    Joining us today is Leonard Jacobson, author of In Search of the Light. This is a children’s picture book geared toward children aged 3-93.

    Thank you for joining us today, Leonard. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

    Well, I can begin by saying that I have lived in the United States for the past 15 years, but I was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. I studied law at the University of Melbourne and graduated in 1968. After graduation, I spent over five years traveling the world. I visited many countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and India. It was a wonderful time and I learned so much about all the different cultures of the world.  I then returned to Australia and began practice as a barrister, complete with wig and gown.  I practiced law for about eight years until I decided that it was not my true calling. Rather suddenly, and without any idea of what I would do in the future, I resigned.  At first I felt elated, but after several months I began to feel depressed with no sense of what my future might hold.

    This really was the beginning of a journey of discovery that transformed my life. I have been a spiritual teacher for the past 26 years. I have written 5 books, and I travel to many locations around the USA as well as Europe, Australia and Asia, sharing my teaching with those who are interested in living a more present, empowered and awakened life.

    When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

    I was never really bitten by the writing bug.  As I said earlier, after giving up my career as a lawyer, I was rather depressed not knowing what to do with myself. A friend said to me, “Leonard, you are creative, why not write a book?”  I asked her what kind of book she had in mind. “A children’s book!” she replied.

    And so I began to write In Search of the Light, but it was a very gradual process that took over three years to complete.

    I had just begun my journey upon a path of personal and spiritual growth. I had attended a few workshops and courses and I became very interested in healing myself and awakening to a higher level of consciousness. As I progressed along my own path of awakening, the book gradually unfolded. Chapter 1 came easily. But Chapters 2 & 3 took over 3 years to complete. It was as if I had to first complete the journey myself and go through all the experiences spoken of in the book. Then I was able to take the animals in the book along the same journey, in search of the light.

    Why did you decide to write stories for children?

    As I said, I wrote a children’s book because my friend suggested it, and I thought it would be fun. I have written four books for adults, each with a theme of spiritual awakening. In Search of the Light was actually the first book that I ever wrote, but it took many years to find an illustrator and get the book published. I was just more focused for many years on working with adults. About 4 years ago, I found an illustrator that I thought would do a beautiful job of illustrating the story and I am extremely happy with her illustrations. Ironically, it took me 3 years to write the book, and it took her three years to complete the illustrations. It really has been a very harmonious collaboration. 

    Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?

    It really depends on what a children’s book author wants to convey. Children have a beautiful innocence about them and I believe that they can easily respond to simple messages of truth if they can feel and experience it within themselves. A child is much more present than his or her parents, and much more connected with the natural world. It is also a time of great discovery and development. However, there is a great deal of pressure on children to develop their ability to use the mind effectively. But there is not much guidance given to them about how to remain present throughout the various stages of development. What happens is that as they mature, they become more and more absorbed into the mind and they gradually disconnect from the deeper levels of themselves and the present moment. If they can sustain themselves at a certain level of Presence, their future will be much easier, and more fulfilling. 

    All of my books for adults are directed towards helping adults still the mind and become more present. This leads to a greater sense of peace, love, and joy in their lives.

    What is your favorite part of writing for young people?

    I enjoy writing for children in a way that connects with their innocence and their sense of adventure. I also like to convey a message that is empowering for them both within the family and at school.

    Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

    In Search of the Light is a 32 page children’s picture book for ages 3 and up. The rhyming dialogue tells an enchanting story of animals in the meadow, who experience a sudden eclipse of the sun. Not knowing what has happened, they believe that somehow the sun has lost its way, and they are concerned that it could mean the end of light. Considering the situation to be most urgent, they form an expedition of four who journey to unknown places in search of the source of the light.

    The first of three chapters introduces the four who journey in search of the light. Ned, the horse is the leader. Peter, the rabbit is his reluctant and somewhat fearful companion. They are joined by Bert, the brave little bumblebee and timid but very sweet Molly mouse.

    Chapter Two takes them into a forest of darkness, where they encounter all sorts of scary things, including witches and ghosts hiding in shadows. Just when things seem hopeless, the wind speaks to them offering advice to seek a guide who has his own inner light. Shortly afterwards, they encounter Frederick Firefly, who guides them to a land where nothing seems right.

    Finally, in Chapter Three they walk down the “path of the opposites” and a bird with a very large beak offers them guidance. Eventually they discover that when they are beyond all judgment, desire and fear, the source of the light is within them, and that it always has been.

    In Search of the Light is beautifully illustrated by Italian illustrator, Fiammetta Dogi, who lives in Florence, Italy.

    Where can readers purchase a copy?

    The book will be available in bookstores nationwide in May 2011. It is available now through my website store at www.leonardjacobson.com.

    Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

    For more information, readers can visit www.insearchofthelight.com. There, they can view a video book trailer, which will give them a really good sense of what the book is all about. There is also a video featuring the beautiful illustrations by Fiammetta Dogi, with me reading Chapter 1 of the book.

    What is up next for you?

    I have at least two books for adults that I am working on. They are based on my lectures here in the USA and also in Australia and Europe. I am on a seminar and lecture tour of Japan, Taiwan and China in April/May of this year. That should prove to be very interesting and provide additional material for the new books. I have the beginnings of an idea for a second children’s book, but it is just an idea at this stage.

    Do you have anything else to add?

    Not really. Thank you for this opportunity.

    Thank you for spending time with us today, Leonard. We wish you much success.



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    Crimson Dream by David J. Normoyle

    Centuries ago, Deren’s people fled to a hidden valley deep in the mountains chased by the Domain, whose powerful Seers could not find them.

    Deren’s safe world disintegrates when his vision foretells his sister’s death by a Domain soldier. Deren can’t defend Bennie because of his asthmatic attacks, so he trains her in archery and prepares his people for war against their ancient foe.

    As the invasion advances, Bennie’s mastery of the bow leads her along unexpected paths. Although she hates killing, she must make hard choices. Her loved ones will die if she doesn’t help them.

    Will Bennie’s encounter with an enemy prince prove the key to survival? Can Deren overcome his physical weaknesses and the doubts of his own father to lead his people?

    With fate and overwhelming force stacked against them, it seems their best efforts will be in vain.
     

    Read an excerpt!

      
    Deren tried to get up to help Oso and Bennie and fell onto his back. He began to gasp, his breath labouring through his lungs, fighting for every mouthful. He took deep sucking drags of air, clutching his neck with his hands. His own lungs were drowning him, refusing to breathe. He looked into the sky, thinking he would die. Although it was only twilight, a ghostly moon peeked over the trees.

    Whistling noises crept up and down his throat. He prayed to the Goddess of the Moon. Yenara, help me. Please, don’t let me die. Bennie needs me. Please.
    A face swam across his vision. “Deren, are you okay?” the face asked. “Deren, try to calm yourself.”

    The voice was laden with worry. A hand touched the side of his face. Warm drops landed on his forehead. “Don’t give up on me,” the voice said in a fierce whisper.

    PURCHASE CRIMSON DREAM AT MUSEITUPPUBLISHING.COM! ALSO AVAILABLE IN A KINDLE EDITION! 

    David was born in Australia, but moved to Ireland at an early age. The early globe crossing must have gone to his head, as he has since backpacked through and lived in numerous countries. He grew up on a farm as the eldest of nine unruly siblings, but since his escape, he prefers city living. His electronic engineering degree is currently gathering dust while he tries new and strange pursuits such as novel writing.


    Visit David online at:

    Website: http://www.davidjnormoyle.com/

    Facebook: facebook.com/pages/David-J-Normoyle/157832707561908

    Twitter: http://twitter.com/davidjnormoyle



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    Interview with Sheila Hendrix, Author of The Betrayal

    Joining us today is Sheila Hendrix, author of YA parnormal novel, The Betrayal. She is a native of Alabama and resides there with her husband of sixteen years. She has no children except for her pets. She is the author of the Young Adult paranormal series, The Dark Circle. We’ll talk to her about her writing, the rewards and challenges for writing for the YA market, and what the future holds.

    Thank you for joining us today,  Sheila. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

    Thanks for having me. I’m 46 years old. I’m a nurse at a psychiatric hospital. I’m married to a wonderful man, I love animals and I have eight dogs. I love to read, write, hike, camp, travel and garden. I do reviews for Affair De Coeur magazine.  

    When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

    I’ve always wanted to write. I just didn’t think I could. It’s always been my dream. 

    Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?

    I love teens. I’ve worked with them for years and I like to give them something they will truly love. Also YA is very popular right now. When I started The Betrayal I knew I had found my niche. 

    What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

    I enjoy coming up with new ideas. Kids are very impressionable and so it’s a challenge to find ways to get them excited. The greatest challenge is keeping it geared toward teens.

    Keeping plots and storylines in order. LOL!  

    Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

    It’s about love, loyalty, two brothers who’d do anything they have to, to ensure the other is safe. It’s about family and sacrifice, heartache and triumph.

    When Zachariah and Matthew McCannon were young, their parents abandoned them, leaving Zack to take care of his little brother, Matt. Though they lived with their grandmother, she was always sick, so Zack was forced to raise him. This was not an easy task. 

    Zack had his hands full because of Matt’s unusual powers. He has visions and dreams that come true, and when he gets angry or upset, he can move things with his mind. Because of this, evil seeks him, keeping Zack on his toes as his protector. 

    As the brothers grew older, they became hunters, pursuing evil supernatural forces. After Matthew has a dream, it sends them on a hunt for cave, not knowing why, but realizing it is necessary. When they arrive, Matt finds the vision was a trap. 

    A Darkness like no other wants to control Matt and kill Zack. The Darkness is named, Alanya, which means, The Destroyer. 

    Alanya hates the brothers. In the past, every time he tried to apprehend Matt, Zack would thwart him by protecting his brother. Alanya is incensed that a mere human boy can beat him, for demons are not to be defied.

     When Alanya asks Zack, “How far will you go to save your brother?” Zack answers, “As far as I have to.” 

    Now, the brothers are faced with a deadly force they never had to deal with before. This demon is on a deadly mission to destroy everything the brothers hold dear. If the McCannon’s are not careful, neither of them will be able to escape. 

    What inspired you to write it?

    I actually had a nightmare and when I calmed down I thought how it would make a great book. 

    Where can readers purchase a copy?

    Amazon right now. In about a month it will be available Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Borders, etc. 

    Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

    Yes I do.

    http://sheilahendrix.com/

    http://thedarkcircle.blogspot.com/

    http://sheilahendrix.blogsopot.com/ 

    What is up next for you?

    I’m working on the second book in The Dark Circle series. The first was The Betrayal. The name of the second is Head Games

    Do you have anything else to add?

    I would just like to thank you for letting me be here with you today! 

    Thank you for spending time with us today, Sheila. We wish you much success.

     

    YOU CAN ALSO PURCHASE THE BETRAYAL AT LULU.COM. AVAILABLE AS A FILE DOWNLOAD!