Sloth the Lazy Dragon by Regan W.H. Macaulay

What a delightful and fun story you will find in Sloth the Lazy Dragon by Regan W.H. Macaulay.

Sloth had become out of shape and lazy as he guarded the pile of treasure. When one brave Dwarf named Radish decides to help him change his habits, Sloth is finally able to take flight.

Macaulay has crafted a story that encourages healthy habits without preaching. Young readers will enjoy reading how Radish helps Sloth work hard, eat right, and set goals for himself. As progress is slowly made, Sloth feels better and is so overjoyed with what he can do he rewards Radish in a special way.

Accompanying the story is artwork from talented Canadian artist Alex Zgud. This versatile artist has brought Sloth, Radish, and their world to life with stunning details that fit perfectly into the story.

Sloth the Lazy Dragon might just make it easier for you and your children to have the discussion of creating healthy habits. Kids who enjoy fables and fairy tales or stories of mythical creatures will get a kick out of this one.

I look forward to more of Macaulay’s work.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing; Large type / large print edition edition (May 14, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616337621
ISBN-13: 978-1616337629

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

New from 4RV Publishing: I’m Sick by Laura Wellington

See how Jasper’s giant imagination brings laughter and fun to catching the flu bug. You’ll be delighted and amazed … and may even want to catch the flu bug, too. Or, maybe not, but a child’s imagination can make a difference.

Age Range: 3 – 6 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 1
Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: 4RV Children’s Corner (May 10, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1940310881
ISBN-13: 978-1940310886

This is the first book in the Jasper’s Giant Imagination series. I had the privilege of working as an editor on this series. How thrilling to see it make its way into the world.

You can purchase I’m Sick by Laura Wellington from:

4RV Publishing

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

For more books from 4RV Publishing, visit their online catalog at www.4rvpublishingcatalog.com

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!

STORYSTORM 2019 Winner and The Giver Graphic Novel

 

Though I finished early this year, I am now an official STORYSTORM 2019 winner! I have 31 new ideas to turn into stories. I’m excited about several of these.

Browsing through my inbox today, I discovered that Lois Lowry’s The Giver was adapted into a graphic novel. Check out the cover!

 

The Giver is a modern classic and one of the most influential books of our time.

Now in graphic novel format, Lois Lowry’s Newbery Medal–winning classic story of a young boy discovering the dark secrets behind his seemingly ideal world is accompanied by renowned artist P. Craig Russell’s beautifully haunting illustrations. 

Placed on countless reading lists, translated into more than forty languages, and made into a feature film, The Giver is the first book in The Giver Quartet that also includes Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.

In this new graphic novel edition, readers experience the haunting story of twelve-year-old Jonas and his seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment, through the brilliant art of P. Craig Russell that truly brings The Giver to life.

Witness Jonas’s assignment as the Receiver of Memory, watch as he begins to understand the dark secrets behind his fragile community, and follow the explosion of color into his world like never before.

Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 – 9
Series: Giver Quartet (Book 1)
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (February 5, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0544157885
ISBN-13: 978-0544157880

Purchase here!

Interview and Giveaway with Christine Grabowski, Author of Dickensen Academy

Dickensen Academy is Christine’s debut YA novel. After graduating from the University of Washington, she earned her MBA at the University at Albany. She honed her technical writing skills in marketing and consulting but attributes the creative part of the process to her passion for reading.

When she isn’t reading or writing, Christine can often be found running, skiing, or hiking. She lives in Newcastle, Washington, with her supportive husband, two avid teen readers, and their energetic wheaten terriers.

Website: www.christinegrabowski.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/christinegrabowskiauthor

Twitter @christinegrabo

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

My name is Christine Grabowski. I live outside of Seattle with my family which consists of my husband, a teen and tween reader, and two wheaten terrier puppies. When I’m not reading, writing or ubering my kids around, I can often be found in the gym or hiking the trails behind my neighborhood.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

Four years ago after finishing a YA book with a very interesting premise, I decided I wanted to attempt my own book. This wasn’t the first time I had been inspired to write after finishing a novel, but I happened to be out of town and had some kid-free time to actually do something about it. And my husband said, “If anyone can write a book, it’s you, you read enough,” which motivated me to continue. When I returned, my library was having an introductory writing class in preparation for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and I learned a few basics. Once I began to write, I couldn’t stop.

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

Watching my children learn to read inspired me to want to write books that created a love of reading in a child or teen. Young adult books are some of my favorite to read because the characters are made to be relatable to the reader, and their plots are often based on a unique premise.

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

I believe a higher percentage of teen readers read with an open mind compared to adult readers and entertainment is often their number one goal. For example, in my experience tween and teen readers are more willing to suspend their disbelief if an author can create a world that comes alive and is of interest to them. Some adults (definitely not all) are always looking for reasons why a plot point can’t happen in real life and fail to just simply enjoy the story.

On the flip side, if a book doesn’t hold a teen’s interest, they will trade it for a video. Therefore, writing needs to be concise and move at a fast pace. In general, it is not the audience who wants an info dump of all your research or a sunset described poetically over the course of three pages.

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

Dickensen Academy is a young YA contemporary fantasy that bridges the gap between MG and YA. It is about a fourteen-year-old girl, Autumn, who is invited to a fine arts boarding school in the secluded mountains of the Pacific Northwest. However, she soon realizes the faculty is secretly teaching dream telepathy.

Although the premise is considered a paranormal or a fantasy, the focus of the book is as much about Autumn’s relationships with her friends and family and her struggles in school and for independence—something many teens can relate to.

What inspired you to write it?

While I was brainstorming ideas for a story, I began to go through my dreams each morning hoping I’d dream up a fantastic idea like Stephenie Meyer did with Twilight. Although I never dreamed an amazing dream, I did start to question why I remembered some dreams but forgot others. That idea led me to the premise for Dickensen Academy.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

Currently the book is only available to purchase online. The paperback is listed on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The eBook is also on iTunes, Google Play, Kobo, and The Wild Rose Press. However, the book is being added to more and more libraries every day.

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/dickensen-academy-map-success/dp/B07G71747S

Barnes & Noble  

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dickensen-academy-christine-grabowski/1129315140?ean=9781509221233

iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dickensen-academy/id1419915501?mt=11

Google Play

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Christine_Grabowski_Dickensen_Academy?id=3LpsDwAAQBAJ

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dickensen-academy

The Wild Rose Press

https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/6044-dickensen-academy.html

What is up next for you?

I set aside a Sleep Beauty fairy tale reimagining to write the sequel for Dickensen Academy. Although I wrote it as a standalone, the reviewers really want to see Autumn’s adventures continue as she moves through high school.

Do you have anything else to add?

I’ve had several parents, teachers, and librarians suggest Dickensen Academy as an ideal book for tweens and young teens because it has the appeal of a YA coming of age story, but it doesn’t have the mature content that is in some YA novels.

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

Curious to know more, check out this excerpt!

Clues to the secret existed from day one, yet they appeared to belong to separate puzzles. Most students either missed these signs or chose to ignore them. We were busy acclimating—as the faculty called it—to a new environment. Some outsiders might call what they did to us those initial weeks a form of brainwashing or fostering a cult-like mentality.

But not me.

I agreed with Principal Locke. We weren’t ready. We needed time to separate from our families and become a cohesive group. And some of us, myself included, even needed a little nudge to accept the invitation. If someone had told us the truth on Day One why they’d brought us to Dickensen Academy, we would have never believed it. We’d think they were crazy. Or worse, we’d turn around and run back home. But if we left, we would have missed out on something extraordinary. Something worth the wait.

GIVEAWAY

Christine Grabowski will be awarding $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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

New from Clavis Publishing: Brave Thumbelina by An Leysen

 

An Leysen’s breathtaking and magical retelling of the classic fairy tale of Hans Christian Andersen!

Once upon a time, there was a woman who desperately wanted a child. One day, a good witch passed her house and gave her a flower seed. The woman planted the seed and took good care of it. Before long, two little eyes curiously stared at her between the petals. Inside the flower was a tiny girl! The woman named her Thumbelina. It soon became clear that Thumbelina was a very brave little girl.

In this magical picture book, An Leysen retells the classic fairy tale of Hans Christian Andersen. For children ages 5 and up and anyone who loves enchanting fairy tales.

Age Range: 5 – 6 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
Hardcover: 56 pages
Publisher: Clavis (October 1, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9781605374215
ISBN-13: 978-1605374215
ASIN: 1605374210

Purchase from:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Indiebound.org

Interview with Brian Wilkinson, Author of Battledoors: The Golden Slate

Brian Wilkinson is a first-time author who was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario, and now lives in Toronto with his family. He has a background in journalism and a couple of degrees in the arts that have led him to his current career as a high school teacher and librarian.

Prior to all of this, Brian was a journalist who worked in various capacities for publications like the Toronto Star, the Toronto Sun, and Kidscreen Magazine. He even landed an issue of X-Men working for Marvel comics.

Combining his love of teaching and writing, Brian is releasing his first two young adult books, Battledoors: The Golden Slate, and Paramnesia, through Blue Moon Publishers in the fall of 2018.

You can find out more at his website, bewilkinson.wordpress.com.

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

I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I have a great job working in education, a wonderful and supportive wife, two kids, a dog, the whole nine yards. It’s been a long road to get here with lots of hard work, setbacks of various kinds, and all the rest, but ultimately I have done my best and now here I am.

Now that I’m lucky enough to be writing books (and getting them published!) things are even better. I had some experience as a journalist and as a freelance writer for Marvel Comics, but all of that took a backseat to my main career as a teacher. Luckily, my career dovetails with my love of writing and has given me the opportunity to tell my stories!

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I remember quite clearly being in the 11th or 12th grade, in a creative writing class, and getting an assignment that was to put together a collection of poems or short stories, or to write a novel. I’m sure the last one was a bit of a lark on the part of a teacher who didn’t expect it, but I went home and wrote a 120 page novel over the course of a day or two. It wasn’t brilliant, but it also wasn’t too hard to put together.

I say that and people roll their eyes. But honestly, it wasn’t hard for me. That’s when I realized that it wasn’t so much an easy thing to do as it was something that I had a knack for. Kids who excelled in other subjects like science baffled me… how can you just take to that stuff? That’s how it was for me and writing. Yet, I didn’t push it any further. I was content knowing that it was something I could do. I was a writer who didn’t write. Until recently, that is.

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

I write for young adults for a couple of reasons. One, they are my main audience as a professional and I interact with hundreds of them on a daily basis. They are amazing, intelligent people who are bursting with imagination and potential. Plus, they’re just fun.

As a teacher and librarian, I take in a lot of teenage culture both passively and actively. When I buy books for the school, I want to make sure that they are reading quality things. Part of that involves reading the books and YA in particular. Thanks to all of those influences and my personal enjoyment of the genre, it all naturally tends to bend in that direction. 

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

For me, it’s the instant feedback. I have groups at the school who share writing amongst each other and they just get really into things. Adults will read things, take it in and let it go, but kids breathe it. They become much more invested. Seeing kids argue about my characters and my work was just kind of surreal. They believed in my stories to a level that most others wouldn’t. It was humbling, to be honest.

Which is also where the challenge comes. You want to make sure that it rings true, especially the characters, that the book is accessible, it’s enjoyable, and that is has some staying power to hold their interest. You also want to make sure that it speaks to them about ideas and themes in a mature way that isn’t condescending.

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

My books are meant to be fun. The tone is lighthearted, but there are serious moments and beats that hopefully make them a compelling read.

My first book, Battledoors: The Golden Slate, is about a teenager named Owen dealing with the loss of his mother and a move to Toronto for a fresh start. Though he tries to be invisible, he catches the attention both of a pair of bullies and a pair of girls, one of whom he has a crush on. All five of them then stumble across a magical object, called a Battledoor, which opens a doorway to a parallel version of our world. These kids need to make either/or choices that the Battledoor presents in order to get the story they are living to come to an end and get back home. It’s sort of a modern take on the old choose-your-own-adventure stories. They go to strange places, meet interesting people, and of course, take on the villain.

My other novel is Paramnesia. This is a supernatural story about a girl named Nora who finds she has the ability to see the dead after she and her boyfriend are attacked by a creature known as the Revenant. Her boyfriend dies and she tries to get on with her life, but it’s hard when he still comes to see her.  Nora meets other people, living and dead alike, who try to help her deal with her new reality. There’s a mixture of humour and horror here that I think works really well.

What inspired you to write it?

I wrote my books shortly before the birth of my children. I was a writer who didn’t write because I didn’t have a particular need. When my children were coming, I looked around my house to see what there was that I might leave them one day. What was here that would remind them of who their dad was and how much he loved them? When I realized I was just looking at a bunch of ‘things’ I decided to write them stories. What you have now are edited and evolved from those stories; the originals of which I’ll find some way in the future to put in their hands. Really, though, these books are for them.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

The books aren’t out yet, but when they are, they’ll be available through most major book stores including Chapters/Indigo, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. Order away! 

What is up next for you?

I have a sequel already written for Battledoors called The Black Spyre. Beyond that, I have several other books planned to follow up both Battledoors and Paramnesia. Hopefully people will want to read them!

Do you have anything else to add?

I’ve never written books before, certainly not on a scale like this. My hope is that people enjoy them and find something in them to connect with!

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

Thank you!