Cover Reveal: Star of the Team by Beverly Stowe McClure

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A girl.

A dream.

An accident.

A dream shattered.

Ten-year-old Kate Taylor dreams of being the star of her basketball team, Angels. When Kate’s tooth is knocked out at one of the games, and her mother, who is also her coach, says she can’t play until the tooth the dentist replants heals, Kate’s dreams are in jeopardy. Add Emily, the new girl at school who claims she’s the best, and Kate faces a challenge to prove that she is the star.

Will Kate succeed? Or will Emily ruin Kate’s plans?

Coming from 4RV Publishing in January!

Beverly Stowe McClure is the author of picture books, early readers, middle grade and teen novels. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, both national and North Texas. A fourth generation Texan, she lives in the country with two cats, and a variety of wild critters.

Links to purchase will be shared in January on the following sites:

 

I’ll keep you updated on my sites:

http://www.facebook.com/beverlysmcclure
https://twitter.com/beverlymcclure
http://goodreads.com/author/show/11462.Beverly_Stowe_McClure
http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com

A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat by Beverly Stowe McClure

pirate-blockade-runner-cat-200x300A perfect, not too spooky, ghost adventure that kids will enjoy is the latest novel from award-winning author Beverly Stowe McClure.

Erik Burns is stuck in South Carolina with his mother and Aunt Molly after he finds a black lace bra in the glove compartment of his dad’s car. Whoops! Kept away from all his friends and the sport he loved to play in Texas, Erik is willing to do whatever it takes to get back home.

When Starry and Stormy Knight, a set of weird twins that live down the block, try to convince Erik that people have seen a light radiating from the deactivated lighthouse and a ghostly pirate ship prowling the harbor, he wants nothing to do with it. But when he witnesses these occurrences, he can’t deny the proof before him. That’s when he hatches a plan to help the ghosts rest in peace in exchange for a personalized haunting that will send his mother rushing back home to Texas so Erick can get his life back.

Beverly and I are in the same critique group, so I had the pleasure of watching this story unfold before it was published. Talented in the areas of contemporary and historical fiction, I am always amazed by how diverse her ideas are while staying true to her fan base. A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat should be another big winner for her. Why? Because in a nutshell, no matter what Beverly is writing, she knows what relates well to her readers.

In this story, Erik has been uprooted. Not only is he away from all his friends and baseball, he’s pretty ticked his dad hasn’t tried to contact him since the move. Those emotions work their way into the unfolding stories of Major Stede Bonnet, Blackbeard, and the ghost residing in the deactivated Morris Island Lighthouse. Not only that, Erik’s mom is trying to get him to befriend a couple of odd twins, when all he wants is to be reunited with his friends in Texas.

This paranormal middle grade/tween novel has a lot to offer. A great read any time of the year, it will definitely get you in the mood for Halloween.

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

File Size: 410 KB
Print Length: 265 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing (January 9, 2013)
ISBN 978-1-77127-219-3
Available in numerous digital formats. Visit the publisher’s website for more information.

 

I received a free digital copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

 

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First Chapter Review: A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat by Beverly Stowe McClure

TC&TBC

Today starts the virtual book tour for Beverly Stowe McClure’s A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat. My first chapter review of this middle grade/tween paranormal is part of that tour. The author had sent me a copy of this book when it was first released.  It’s high time I read it.

pirate-blockade-runner-cat-200x300BLURB: Thirteen-year-old Erik Burks’ life is falling apart. When he discovers a lace bra in the glove compartment of his dad’s car, his mom leaves his father and drags Erik from being king of the hill in Texas to the bottom of the pits in South Carolina. No Dad, no baseball, no friends, just Starry Knight (a girl who reads minds) and her equally weird brother, Stormy, the twins that live down the block.

Just when Erik thinks life can’t get any worse, while hanging out at the beach one evening, he and the twins notice lights radiating from the lighthouse. The only problem is the lighthouse was deactivated years ago. Stranger still, a ship materializes in the moonlit harbor. Curious, the twins and a reluctant Erik investigate and discover the ghost of a blockade runner, a phantom cat, and a pirate who prowls Charleston Harbor, all searching for rest.

A former nonbeliever in the existence of ghosts, Erik cannot deny the proof before him. And he has a revelation: The ghosts may be the answer to his desire to return home. Erik soon makes a deal with the ghosts. He’ll help them find what they’re looking for so their spirits can rest in peace. In return, the ghosts will scare Erik’s mother so she’ll be on the next flight back to Texas. Star thinks his plan stinks, but Erik wants his life back, even at the cost of his mother’s sanity.

COVER: This publisher has a lot of great covers, but I have to admit this is one of my favorites. The color, the fonts, the images, they all work together nicely. Kudos to the cover artist.

FIRST CHAPTER: Erik is feeling sorry for himself. His mom has uprooted him and moved to South Carolina where he’s got no Dad, no baseball, and no friends. There are those two freaky twins, Stormy and Starry Knight, but Erik is not having a grand time. He’s kind of tired of hearing about the light coming from the lighthouse–which is not likely since the lighthouse was deactivated years ago. Then when what looks like a ship appears, he’s had enough.

KEEP READING: I had the privilege of seeing this story in the pre-published stage, so I have to admit I knew I would keep going. What McClure has always done well is capture the emotions of her characters. Here’s this thirteen-year-old boy with a great life and great friends in Texas, maybe even a girl to admire, and suddenly he’s pulled from all that and brought to South Carolina where all he has is a set of freaky twins to hang out with. His mom keeps telling him he’s going to love it, but Erik isn’t convinced. Change can be hard for children, especially a move away from friends, and McClure captures that so well with Erik.

The ending of this chapter hints at what is to come, even if Erik isn’t ready to buy into anything yet. This makes for a smooth transition into the next chapter, as Erik walks home and contemplates what Stormy and Starry are telling him about the lights and the ship. I’m definitely eager to continue. I don’t know what additional edits have been performed since I first read this book, but everything I’ve read from this author has been fantastic.Beverly Stowe McClure photojpg

Pages  240

ISBN  978-1-77127-219-3

I received a free copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Beverly Stowe McClure, a former teacher, is now enjoying a second career: writing. She never planned to be a writer, but in the classroom she and her students did such fun activities in art and science that she decided to write about some of them. Luckily, a few magazines liked what she sent them, and her articles have appeared in Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Ladybug, Focus on the Family Clubhouse, Jr., and others. Nine of her stories have been published as books, the latest one a MG/Tween eBook: A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat. She also has two stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies.

Beverly enjoys discovering her ancestors in her genealogy research. She plays the piano. (Thank you, Mom, for making encouraging me to practice.) She takes long walks where she snaps pictures of wildlife and clouds, and of course she reads, usually two books at a time. She teaches a women’s Sunday school class. Watching baseball (Go Rangers) is another of her favorite activities. Retirement is fun.

You can learn more about Beverly Stowe McClure at http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com or follow her blog at http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com.

 

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Top 10 Picture Books of 2011

This took longer than expected. As I mentioned in my last post, selections this year were hard. In addition, I discovered I needed to segregate picture books for little kids (babies, toddlers, preschoolers) from those for school-age children. While some books could overlap between the two age groups, there was no way for me to compile a fair list if I lumped them all into one group. For books where I couldn’t find an age listing, I put them where I felt they fit best. I’ll start off with my Top 10 for the youngest category and then list the Top 10 in the older category.

Top 10 Picture Books for Preschoolers and under

  • Ricky’s Christmas Tree by Guido van Genechten
  • A Cat’s Alphabet Book by Sally O. Lee
  • My Daddy by Guido van Genechten
  • Going to the Beach with Lily and Milo and Going to the Zoo with Lily and Milo by Pauline Oud (I reviewed these together, so I am counting them as one.)
  • One Little Blueberry by Tammi Salzano
  • Oops! by Leo Timmers
  • 1-2-3- Count with Me and A is for Apple by Georgie Burkett (Again, I reviewed these together and count them as one.)
  • Ricky is Brave by Guido van Genechten
  • Thankyouplease by Pierre Winters and Barbara Ortelli
  • Ian’s New Potty by Pauline Oud

There are repeat names on this list, but I felt these authors and publishers truly knew how to create books attractive to this market.

Top 10 Books of 2011 for Ages 3 and up

  • A Dog is A Dog by Stephen Shaskan
  • My Mom Has X-Ray Vision by Angela McAllister
  • Will & Kate: A Love Story by Ink Robin
  • Sea Monster’s First Day by Kate Messner
  • The Butt Book by Artie Bennett
  • Not Fat Because I Wanna Be by LaNiyah Bailey
  • The Dancing Clock by Steve Metzger
  • Humbug, A Christmas Carol by Lee Baker
  • My Name is Not Alexander by Jennifer Fosberry
  • Fifo “50 States” by Hayley Rose

Honorable Mentions

  • A Christmas Secret by Candace Hall
  • Frederico, The Mouse Violinist by Mayra Calvani
  • The Ice Cream King by Steve Metzger
  • Marta’s Gargantuan Wings by J. Aday Kennedy
  • Every-Day Dress-Up by Selina Alko
  • Freckleface Strawberry Best Friends Forever by Julianne Moore
  • Limelight Larry by Leigh Hodgkinson
  • Don’t Worry Douglas! by David Melling
  • Cinderfella and the Furry Godmother by Dixie Phillips
  • Tumbleweed Christmas by Beverly Stowe McClure
  • Secret Service Saint by Janet Ann Collins
  • Seven Miles to Freedom by Janet Halfmann 

Tumbleweed Christmas by Beverly Stowe McClure

Be ready to say, “Awwwww…” while you’re reading this touching story of one girl’s search for a Christmas miracle.

Jackie’s father is sick and they have no money for a Christmas tree, but she wants to do something special to surprise her parents and sisters. She knows her mother has told her that Christmas is the season of miracles, so what better time to go in search of one? She meets up with her best friend Daniel who is having troubles of his own. Together they go off to find their miracles and hopefully have a nice Christmas.

I’ve read several books by Beverly Stowe McClure in the past, but those have been geared toward tweens and teens. In recent months, she has begun writing books for younger children. Frankie’s Perfect Home was published in June by Guardian Angel Publishing. Tumbleweed Christmas is an early reader, which was released in August by 4RV Publishing. I’ve read several of their titles and never found a bad one in the bunch. Would McClure’s latest book reflect the quality I’ve come to expect from this publisher? You bet it does!

Tumbleweed Christmas is a heartwarming story of one girl’s desire to do something special for her family. Everyone else has pretty Christmas trees in their windows. What can she do to get a Christmas tree for her home? This book provides young readers with a perfect example of thinking of others. While Jackie would like to see a Christmas tree in her home, it’s because she wishes to bring her family joy during a difficult time. What’s equally nice is that though she is dealing with her own dilemma, she still makes time to help Daniel with his problem.

The lovely artwork provided by Bridget McKenna truly brings this story to life. From the freckles on Jackie’s face to the cherry printed apron her mother wears while dishing up cookies and more, the illustrations in this book will delight your child. They are the perfect complement to the story.

I can’t think of a sweeter tale of the season than Tumbleweed Christmas.

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher:4RV Publishing LLC
  • ISBN-10:0983274045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983274049
  • SRP:  $13.99

Buy directly from 4RV Publishing!

Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!

In celebration of Beverly Stowe McClure’s Tumbleweed Christmas, she will be appearing at  Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16.  More than 50 books, gifts and cash awards will be given away including an angel tree ornament from Beverly!  Visit the official party page here!

Leaving comments on Beverly’s tour stops means more prizes! The person who leaves the most comments at Beverly’s tour stops will win a $10 gift certificate to Amazon.com. The second place winner will take home an angel tree ornament. See Beverly’s schedule below to see where she’ll be stopping during the month of December. Deadline for comments is 11:59 PM Eastern on December 16th.

I received a FREE copy of this book directly from the author in exchange for my honest opinions. The author paid me to promote this book with a virtual book tour through Pump Up Your Book, but that fee did not include a review. I have received no monetary compensation of any kind to provide my opinions.

 

This book completes my 1 out 4 books I’ve agreed to read for The Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge. This is an added book. To see my original list, please visit this post: http://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/the-christmas-spirit-reading-challenge-2011/

Frankie’s Perfect Home by Beverly Stowe McClure

Frankie Armadillo’s house is too crowded. He’s sick and tired of pushing, swatting, and coughing his brothers’ body parts out of his way as he tries to sleep. So Frankie goes in search of the perfect home, not realizing that the perfect home is much closer than he thinks.

I’m familiar with the young adult books of Beverly Stowe McClure. I’ve read several of them–some contemporary, others historical. This is her first children’s picture book. When she asked me to review it, I hopped at the chance.

McClure’s ability to create characters I care about is what has always drawn me to her work. Could she accomplish that with a children’s book?

Yes!

In Frankie’s Perfect Home young readers are treated to a delightful story that tackles the issue of the grass looking much greener on the other side of the hill. Frankie doesn’t like his home, so he leaves in search of something better–the perfect place to lay his head. Going from place to place, he finds there are problems with each potential new home: too muddy, too smelly, or too scary. In the end, he finds the perfect place, but it’s too lonesome and quiet. That is, until his mother and brothers move on in.

This is a great book for any time of day, but I think it would be really fun at bedtime. The colorful artwork provided by Alexander Morris has rounded edges, which is a smart match to complement the rounded text used throughout. Morris does a fine job of capturing the essence of the story with his illustrations.

Frankie’s Perfect Home is another fantastic title from Beverly Stowe McClure. I hope we’ll see her writing more books for this market soon.

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher:Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
  • ISBN-10:1616331623
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616331627
  • SRP:  $9.95

Historical versus Contemporary YA Novels by Beverly Stowe McClure (Contest)

Our special guest is Beverly Stowe McClure, author of the young adult novels, Rebel in Blue Jeans and Just Breeze. McClure’s latest release, Caves Cannons, and Crinolines, is a departure from her contemporary stories. Today she will discuss the differencs in writing an historical novel versus a modern-day story, and why she plans to keep writing both.

Historical Versus Contemporary Novels–The Similiarities and the Differences by Beverly Stowe McClure

History was never my favorite subject. Writing an historical novel had never entered my mind. Then one summer my husband and I drove to South Carolina to visit our son and daughter-in-law. On the way we stopped at Vicksburg, Mississippi, and toured the national park there. We visited the museum, located in the old courthouse that dates back to the Civil War. I talked to the curator of the museum and also to a little old lady whose grandparents had survived the siege of Vicksburg. I read journals kept by the women who faced the horrors of war in their daily lives. And I knew I had to write their stories.

In some ways writing historical fiction is the same as writing contemporary fiction. No matter the time element, a story needs characters, a plot and theme, and a setting. To make my story set in the 1860s authentic, however, I needed to research the times. What did they eat? How did they dress? What were their interests: books, music, sports? How did they talk? Travel? To answer these questions, I bought books and journals and copies of old newspapers and read them and marked them and put myself in 1863 Vicksburg with its dirt streets, hillsides, and families terrified by daily cannon and rifle fire that destroyed their homes and in many cases their lives. I scoured the Internet where I found more journals, some written by children. Many university Web sites have great collections of Civil War information, including letters from soldiers to their families back home. From reading the way they wrote, their choice of words, and how many of the words differ in meaning today from the 1860s, I learned the flavor of their language. It’s very easy to let a modern term, such as a cell phone, slip in, so I had to check for the dates many items were invented. These letters also gave me the idea to have Lizzie write to her brothers who were away.

Research for my historical novel took several months, but it was worth every minute. When I knew what daily life was like for the people, not just the soldiers fighting the war, I could put myself in Lizzie’s place, or Nat’s. I could see the destruction of my home through their eyes, which added depth to the scenes.

My contemporary stories sometimes require research, as well. Small details make the difference, especially if the reader has some knowledge of the area of your setting. Readers will catch those little mistakes and then question the rest of the book, if the agent or editor doesn’t see them first. For instance, in Listen to the Ghost, set in Charleston, SC, I had to research the streets of the city to visualize a map of where they lived, where the library was located, and the park. I have been to Fort Sumter, where part of the story takes place and had pictures and other info to help me with that scene.

As for writing historical as opposed to contemporary, I enjoy both and hope to continue writing a variety of novels. My second historical fiction novel is under contract. It will be a couple years before it’s out, but the story is loosely based on my mother’s story as an Orphan Train Rider. I’ve discovered how much I love history. After all, our ancestors and the men and women who lived before us made us who we are today. What better reason to tell their stories?

Beverly Stowe McClure is the author of novels for teens including Just Breeze, Listen to the Ghost, Secrets I Have Kept, Rebel in Blue Jeans, and her latest Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines. A native Texan she lives in the country with her husband, cat, and a variety of wild critters.