Bilge Rat – Pirate Adventurer – Remarkable Rascal by Kevin Charles Smith

Bilge Rat – Pirate Adventurer is a three part series drawn from the imagination and investigation of Kevin Charles Smith in this remarkable debut. Described as “Mutiny on the Bounty meets Pirates of the Caribbean with an Oliver Twist”, this first volume is written with incredible detail and historical accuracy. William Eden and brother Toby are two helpless orphans in early 1700 London. Taken in by an aged clerical uncle, the boys are assigned specific maintenance duties in the cavernous Saint Agnes of Agony Basilica. By day, their duty is to clean, wax and maintain the aged facility for their uncle whose failing eyesight prevents his presence or assistance. Each day the lads are also provided a lesson de jour by their learned and caring relative who bestows upon them quite a solid education. One day, while William is practicing his language lessons, he utilizes the natural echo-like chamber of the empty basilica to ensure his translations are precisely correct. In the process, he discovers that he has a natural talent that enables him to duplicate all manner of sounds and voices. From that point on, he decides to keep his fabulous talent secret and changes his name to Echo thereby hiding this special talent in plain sight. By night, the boy s assignment is to venture down into the creepy bowels of the church to eradicate the pesky rodent population. Charged with a daily bounty of 25 tails or be penalized their one daily meal, Echo devises a variety of methods to reach their rattail goal . In the end, Echo duplicates rat speech (at least rat squeaks and squeals) and like the fabled Pied Piper leads the odious cellar dwelling creatures to their doom. Due to this ability to easily capture their prey, the boys have time on their hands and begin exploration of London at night. Their travels take them to Slugger s Emporium, a gaming and drinking establishment for the wicked and depraved. These nightly excursions also take them to the London docks where they routinely trespass on various docked ships for fun and excitement. On one such vessel they are discovered by a kind hearted cook named Handy, who befriends them and regales them with exciting stories from his many voyages. At the same time, the brothers are tormented by a vicious bully named Scarf Rockingham. By a series of unique ruses, Echo implicates Scarf in a number of dastardly deeds which leads to the villain s punishment thereby establishing an undying hatred for the brothers. Scarf eventually abducts Toby and savagely murders their aged uncle implicating Echo for this horrific crime. Echo is forced to flee his homeland and joins Handy for a voyage to the New World. Beginning as a cook s assistant, Echo learns the vital art of navigation and survival aboard ship. Haunted and persecuted by the vessel s bullying first mate, Echo must devise all manner of tricks and gambits to simply remain alive. Along the way, he saves both the ship and three aged traveling sisters from a band of bloodthirsty pirates earning the respect and gratitude of all.

Series: Bilge Rat, Pirate Adventurer (Book 1)
Paperback: 286 pages
Publisher: Journey Publications, LLC; Book One edition (January 3, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0979817188
ISBN-13: 978-0979817182

Purchase here!

The Adventures of Archibald and Jockabeb Series by Art Collins

 

Inside the Book:

 
 

Title:
 In the Forest
Author: Art Collins
Release Date: October 1, 2015
Publisher: A&J Publishing
Genre: YA Fiction
Format: Ebook

When two young brothers, Archibald and Jockabeb, find and old leather map hidden in the forest just beyond their backyard, they can’t help but sneak out one night to follow its path. So begins the first of the boys’ amazing adventures. After a terrifying encounter with supernatural creatures, the boys meet a young Indian brave, Haktu, who shares with them the tragic story of how he was separated from his tribe and placed under an evil spell. The saga leads the two boys into Haktu’s secret world behind the forest mist, the power of the blue feather, and teaches them the importance of friendship and loyalty in the face of untold evil.

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpgB&N 

 

Inside the Book:

 Title: In the Mountains
Author: Art Collins
Release Date: October 1, 2015
Publisher: A&J Publishing
Genre: YA Fiction
Format: Ebook

 

In the first book, the two brothers meet Haktu, the young Indian brave who was trapped inside the body of an underwater dragon, and then find his lost pony, Uno, deep within a mysterious forest. After the boys narrowly escape several vicious attacks from evil wolf-crows, they receive a magic blue feather from Haktu as he bids them his final farewell. Book Two begins with Archibald and Jockabeb flying to a secluded summer camp perched high in a rugged mountain range far from home. The fact that they are the only two campers to show up at Camp Bear Claw that summer is just the first of many surprises — incredible surprises that test the protective power of their magic blue feather in completely unexpected ways. On their way to a final face-to-face showdown with a deadly creature that possesses supernatural strength, the young boys meet several unforgettable characters who end up changing their lives forever. If you liked In the Forest, hold onto your hat as you read its sequel!
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpgB&N 

 

Inside the Book:

 Title: In the Amazon
Author: Art Collins
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Publisher: A&J Publishing
Genre: YA Fiction
Format: Ebook

 

In the first two books, Archibald and Jockabeb make a number of wonderful friends while battling unearthly foes that possess supernatural powers. In a dark forest close to home, they escape almost certain death with the aid of a young Indian brave, Haktu, and his pony, Uno. Later, in a distant mountain range, they come to know the kindness of Gran, Ben, Tommy Two Feathers, and their four-legged companions, Champ and Ghost Rider. Stalked relentlessly by the blood-thirsty wolf-crows in the forest, and then by the cunning devil cat in the mountains, the two brothers manage to barely escape with their lives. However, when they accept their uncle’s invitation to visit him in Brazil, little do they know that their most terrifying adventure is about to unfold — an amazing adventure that will again test the magical power of Haktu’s blue feather. So, as you prepare to read In the Amazon, get ready for an unforgettable journey into the dark recesses that lie between the crevices of reality and fantasy!
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpgB&N 

 

Inside the Book:

 Title: In the Desert
Author: Art Collins
Release Date: April 2015
Publisher: A&J Publishing
Genre: YA Fiction
Format: Ebook

In the first two books, Archibald and Jockabeb make a number of wonderful friends while battling unearthly foes that possess supernatural powers. In a dark forest close to home, they escape almost certain death with the aid of a young Indian brave, Haktu, and his pony, Uno. Later, in a distant mountain range, they come to know the kindness of Gran, Ben, Tommy Two Feathers, and their four-legged companions, Champ and Ghost Rider. Stalked relentlessly by the blood-thirsty wolf-crows in the forest, and then by the cunning devil cat in the mountains, the two brothers manage to barely escape with their lives. However, when they accept their uncle’s invitation to visit him in Brazil, little do they know that their most terrifying adventure is about to unfold — an amazing adventure that will again test the magical power of Haktu’s blue feather. So, as you prepare to read In the Amazon, get ready for an unforgettable journey into the dark recesses that lie between the crevices of reality and fantasy!

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png 

 

Inside the Book:

 Title: In the Caribbean
Author: Art Collins
Release Date: April 2015
Publisher: A&J Publishing
Genre: YA Fiction
Format: Ebook

 

The fifth book in The Adventures of Archibald and Jockabeb series picks up right where the fourth book left off. With many questions about what really happened in the Sonoran Desert still unanswered, Archibald and Jockabeb’s family head to the island of Jamaica for spring vacation. What begins as an idyllic stay at a secluded beachfront inn soon takes a turn for the worse when the boys and the inn’s proprietor, Salty, charter a fishing boat for the day. The captain of the boat is none other than Tommy Nat, Mr. Natonto’s estranged son. The violent storm that follows turns out to be only the first of many unexpected events that quickly propel the two brothers toward an unexpected showdown on another Caribbean island. The elusive Tommy Nat, a mysterious island doctor, a giant Haitian named Maurice, and unseen zombies all combine to set the stage for another classic clash between the forces of good and evil. While the final confrontation that unfolds inside a deserted cafe ultimately provides answers to the remaining mysteries of Lizard Flats, it also places the boys in untold danger. The book contains a number of interesting facts about the Caribbean, its culture and religion, and a bit of the occult. As in past books, the reader observes firsthand how Archibald and Jockabeb grow as brothers and young teens, all the while learning the true meaning of friendship.”
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png 

 

Inside the Book:




Title: In the Big City
Author: Art Collins
Release Date: April 2015
Publisher: A&J Publishing
Genre: YA Fiction
Format: Ebook

 

The sixth book in The Adventures of Archibald and Jockabeb series finds the two brothers and their younger sister travelling to New York City to spend a long weekend with their aunt. After finishing a wonderful dinner at Sardi’s the first night, the boys become separated from Tess and Aunt Claire in nearby Times Square. Events quickly take a menacing turn when a mysterious person from the past suddenly appears with two henchmen in tow. Frantically trying to escape, Archibald has no idea what he’ll find when he leads Jockabeb down the stairs into a nearby subway station-and what the boys do find launches one their strangest and most electrifying adventures to date. A beautiful young girl named Willow, a one-armed man called Meatloaf, and a dangerous gang leader who goes by the name of Shabazz are just a few of the characters who the boys meet in the abandoned subway tunnels far below the streets of Manhattan. As Archibald and Jockabeb try to make their way safely back to Aunt Claire, they only move closer to a final confrontation with their pursuers, both human and non-human alike. The reader will learn interesting facts about America’s largest city while once again watching the teenage brothers’ personalities evolve. As in all the previous books, the forces of good and evil are pitted against one another-this time, above and below the streets of “The Big Apple!”
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png

Meet the Author:

When Art Collins retired as a highly successful chairman and CEO of a Fortune 500 company, he didn’t write the book on leadership that many had expected. Instead, he decided that penning adventure stories that could be enjoyed by young and old would be far more interesting, not to mention much more fun. Borrowing two characters, Archibald and Jockabeb, from tales told by his father many years before, and drawing upon his own rich imagination, Art introduces the two young brothers to an incredible cast of characters—some human, some otherworldly—in locations that range from the mysterious forest behind the boys’ house to the lush and exotic Amazon. The nine book series reflects his love of the mountains and ocean, as well as his extensive travels that have taken him to every continent except Antarctica. Art currently divides his time between Chicago and the Vail Valley in Colorado. 

facebook (2)

Interview with Annette Oppenlander, Author of Escape from the Past

AuthorPhoto_EscapeFromThePastTheKidAnnette Oppenlander writes historical fiction for young adults and anyone who loves stories set in the past. When she isn’t in front of her computer, she loves indulging her dog, Mocha, and traveling around the U.S. and Europe to discover amazing histories.

“Nearly every place holds some kind of secret, something that makes history come alive. When we scrutinize people and places closely, history is no longer a number, it turns into a story.”

Website/blog: http://www.annetteoppenlander.com
Thank you for joining us today, Annette. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

I grew up in Solingen, Germany, a city known for its cutlery and sharp kitchen knives. After completing a business degree at the University of Cologne I moved to the U.S. for a one-year work assignment. Instead, I met my future husband at a Super Bowl party and got married a year later. That was in 1987. I’ve been living in different parts of the U.S. ever since.

I’ve been married for 28 years and have fraternal twins (24) and a son (27). My roommate is an old mutt, Mocha, a pooch we adopted from the Humane Society 11 years ago.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

Becoming a writer/author was a process that took several years. In the beginning–the late 90s–I wrote children’s stories for early readers. I didn’t know anything about writing for children, the market nor the submission process, so this went nowhere. In 2002 I interviewed my parents about their lives during WW2 in Germany which led to a number of short stories. I didn’t really imagine writing a novel, let alone several, I merely wanted to preserve the memories for my family.

But I became aware how much I enjoy the writing process. How I felt while I did it. I worked for a PR agency and did lots of business related writing. I’d go home at night and write some more, spent my weekends writing fiction. I grew more and more invested, took classes, read books on craft, attended conferences and joined a critique group. In 2009 I attended a short story class at Indiana University and that’s when the light bulb turned on fully. I’ve known ever since that writing is my passion and I must do it even if publication is light years away. I finished the first manuscript in 2010. The first book was published in 2015.

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

Maybe I never quite grew up. I have vivid memories of my teenage years and I raised three kids through the rough and tumble teen years. It’s an age so full of wonder and turmoil, but also of tough times. I think it’s one of the most interesting periods in a human’s life.

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

I love the quirkiness, the surprise moves my characters make. Sometimes, Max, my main character just throws me for a loop. He’s unpredictable and rash, but he also has a good heart and means to do well. It just doesn’t always work out that way. At the same time I love taking my readers on an exciting journey. I want them to ‘feel’ the action, be there with the characters, bring history alive.

The challenge is getting into the heads of the teen characters and understanding that their approach to things is quite different from adult logic.

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

In “The Kid,” book two in the “Escape from the Past” trilogy, time-traveling gamer, Max, intends to return to his friends in medieval Germany, but mistakenly lands in the Wild West of 1881 New Mexico.

Struggling to get his bearings and coming to terms with Dr. Stuler’s evil computer game misleading him, Max runs into Billy the Kid. To his amazement Billy isn’t at all the ruthless killer history made him out to be. Trouble brews when a dying Warm Springs Apache gives Max a huge gold nugget to help his sister, Ela, escape from Fort Sumner. Shopping for supplies Max attracts the attention of ruthless bandits. Before Max can ask the Kid’s help, he and Ela are forced to embark on a journey to find his imaginary goldmine. This is book 2 in the Escape from the Past trilogy.EscapeFromThePastTheKid

What inspired you to write it?

Growing up in Germany, I’ve always been fascinated with the Wild West. I remember watching westerns with my father and reading books about pioneers, American Indians and the gold rush. After I moved to the U.S. I continued reading historical fiction set in the eighteen and nineteen hundreds.

I chose Billy the Kid because I see him as a tragic character who encountered a string of bad luck and was basically set up to fail. He isn’t much older than Max and can easily see how any young man could’ve had Billy’s fate. The second important character is Chief Nana, A Warm Springs Apache warrior, who in the summer of 1881 rode a 3,000 mile vengeance war against the U.S. Army. He was never caught nor were his fifteen or so warriors. The amazing thing about him was his age. He was around eighty years old then and had a bad leg.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

“Escape from the Past: The Kid” is available at any bookstore and online. Here are a few links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Escape-Past-Kid-book-2/dp/178535213X/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/escape-from-the-past-annette-oppenlander/1122768791

IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781785352133

What is up next for you?

I just finished the third book in the trilogy, “Escape from the Past: At Witches’ End” which takes Max back to the Middle Ages. The manuscript is currently in editing at the publisher. My current writing project is a story about two teens growing up during WW2 in Germany. It’s a love story based on my family, but it is ultimately a story of forgiveness.

Do you have anything else to add?

I always love hearing from readers and invite you to leave a comment or note here on the blog or on my website, Goodreads or Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/annetteoppenlanderauthor/

Thank you very much for having me!

 

Annette Oppenlander will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

 

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

EscapeFromThePastTheKid_Banner copy

Interview with Ingrid Koivukangas, Author of Hunters of the Dream (International Giveaway)

 

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_HuntersOfTheDreamIngrid Koivukangas, BFA, MFA, is an award winning environmental artist, writer, designer, Reiki Master and educator.

As an artist Ingrid works intuitively at sites creating new works in response to sites and their energies and histories both natural and human. Her work encompasses many media including site specific ephemeral, large scale public works, writing, video, photography, sound, web, sculpture, painting, drawing and printmaking.

Ingrid’s artworks have been exhibited in Canada, the USA, Europe and Asia. She’s been featured as an artist in residence on CBC-TV; has had numerous gallery exhibitions; has many site specific ephemeral works left in situ and large scale permanent public art projects.

Ingrid’s artworks have been included in many publications and books including: Art in Action: Nature, Creativity and Our Collective Future, published by the Natural World Museum and the United Nations Environmental Programme and Art + Science Now: How scientific research and technological innovation are becoming key to 21st-century aesthetics by Stephen Wilson, Professor of Conceptual and Information Arts at San Francisco State University. One of her favourite publications to be included in is Scholastic Book’s Now See This! Art That Influences.

Ingrid has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, with Distinction, from the University of British Columbia Okanagan and a Master of Fine Arts, Environmental Sculpture, from the University of Calgary. You can view her work at: http://www.ingridkoivukangas.com

Ingrid lives on Salt Spring Island with her husband Robin, two dogs, Lucy and Scout, and a fierce cat named Hunter.

***

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13548228.Ingrid_Koivukangas
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IKoivukangas
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HuntersTheDream
Website: www.IngridKoivukangas.com

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

I wear, and have worn, many creative hats. I sometimes joke around and say that I’m a creative ad agency for the Earth, Nature and Spirit. As a designer I worked intuitively, taking people’s ideas and products, and turning them into tangible marketing pieces that delivered messages in a way that spoke to other people’s hearts and imaginations. As an environmental artist I work intuitively with dreams, Spirit and site energies to create work that connects the viewer to a specific natural site. In this magical space I walk between worlds – entering a world of wonder where I communicate with the Earth, the Spirit world, and the Animal, Insect and Plant worlds. As a writer I continue working with deep intuition, wonder and awe. Hunters of the Dream weaves together the way that I work as a designer and artist, with the magic of writing – calling forth characters and stories to reconnect readers to their innate memories of ancient mysteries and our deep connections to all beings, both seen and unseen.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I was bitten by the reading bug first. From the time I was a young child, I loved books–there was nothing I wanted to do more than read. I devoured books. I drove my sister, Anne (we shared a room) crazy because I stayed up, under my covers with a flashlight, reading until the sun came up. Stories allowed me to enter a world of magic and imagination. The more I read, the more I wanted to create and write stories that would allow others to also enter a world of their imagination. I wrote my first story at seven, novella at 12 and that was it, I was hooked.

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

I remember the impact reading books had on me when I was a young reader. With the kind of work I do as an artist I wanted to share the magic that I encounter when I’m working at sites and with Nature, through storytelling blended with fiction. I also wanted to write about, and begin a dialogue formed in the imagination, around the challenges we are facing in the world today, especially for youth. MediaKit_BookCover_HuntersOfTheDream

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

I love that young adult readers are still open to new ideas and magic. They are still forming their views of the world around them. It’s an exciting and pivotal time. I think the biggest challenge is writing for a group that can range in age from as young as ten up to eighteen–or older. What one understands of the world at ten is not one understands at eighteen+. So, the challenge was how to write a story that didn’t leave behind the younger YA readers or become boring for older readers.

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

Hunters of the Dream, is about a young woman, Aurora, who thinks she’s just a normal teenager about to have another boring summer. Then, for her seventeenth birthday, Nana Brin gives her a long-silent Oracle that has been passed down through their family for generations. The mysterious Oracle soon awakens in response to the creeping Darkness that is escaping and destroying all worlds. Aurora must quickly find the courage to come to terms with her calling as the Huntress of the Dream.

As she is initiated into a world of deep magic, energy healing, and alternate universes she finds her fellow hunters and allies. They include, Ash and Wolf, who have been sent to protect her; Beaumont Sebring, a seasoned time traveler; Vaadin, an ancient Shaman with amnesia; Ronan Havelock, the shapeshifting Selkie who doesn’t understand that he is no longer human; Eirwen, the mischievous Nature Fairy; and Nana Brin, Aurora’s grandmother, who isn’t exactly who she appears to be.

What inspired you to write it?

I wanted to share some of the experiences I’ve had, and messages I’ve received, while working with Spirit and Nature, through storytelling.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

It’s available on Amazon (KDP Select until March 8), Kobo (ebooks as of March 9/16) and Chapters/Indigo. It is also available from all bookstores and retailers who order through the Ingrams Catalogue. NOTE: Hunters of the Dream will be available at Amazon from February 22 to March 20 for only $0.99.

What is up next for you?

I’m currently working on Book Two: Darkness Approaching, the second book in the Hunters of the Dream Trilogy.

I’m also creating a membership site for readers who would like to continue their journey into the world of . Membership is free to Hunters of the Dream readers, and grants them access to complimentary art and writing projects. Paid modules will also be available for a nominal fee. The paid modules will be especially appealing to youth, parents and home schoolers who are interested in developing a deeper understanding of our sacred connections to the natural and Spirit world through a variety of teachings and videos.  http://bit.ly/EnterAWorldofWonder

Do you have anything else to add?

Thank you for hosting me.

I’d like to invite your readers to signup for a free online Eco Heart Oracle reading: bit.ly/FreeEcoHeartOracleReading The Eco Heart Oracle, guides the characters of Hunters of the Dream through the story. Although the 48-card Oracle is central to the book, a user of the Oracle does not need to be a reader of the book to access the Oracle for messages from the natural world.

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

Ingrid Koivukangas will be awarding an Eco Heart Oracle Deck valued at $28 US, (the Eco Heart Oracle is an integral part of the Hunters of the Dream trilogy) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour (International Giveaway).

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

VBT_HuntersOfTheDream_Banner copy

New Release: Super Bad by Kai Strand

2cfcd-superbadcover-finala

Super Bad (Super Villain Academy Book 3)

The world is in chaos. Violence and thievery reign. And with the supers still balanced, it’s only getting worse. Without good versus evil, the supers care less and less. In order to restore purpose, the world needs its super heroes and its super villains, but the one who balanced them in the first place is missing.

Sandra’s concern over finding her brother Jeff, isn’t her only problem. Her pathetic excuse for super powers has left her needing a new ankle. And though she’s still very much committed to her boyfriend, Source, she’s growing unreasonably attracted to Set, the boy who double-crossed Jeff by stealing his girlfriend.

When Sandra is taken and held as bait by some kids who want to unbalance the super world, it becomes the inciting event that changes things for supers everywhere and forces them to answer the question, “Hero or villain?”

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Whiskey Creek Press

Kai Strand writes fiction for kids and teens. Her debut novel, The Weaver, was an a061e-kai2bstrandEPIC eBook Finalist. King of Bad soared to the publisher’s #1 spot its second month. She is a (very lucky) wife and the mother of four kids. The most common sound in her household is laughter. The second most common is, “Do your dishes!” Kai and her family hike, geocache and canoe in Central Oregon, where they call home.

Kai organized the free, themed, multi-author, short story blog, Lightning Quick Reads. She is available for personal appearances, workshops, and classroom or school visits. Feel free to contact her directly to discuss availability and request references.

Visit Kai online at www.kaistrand.com