Life On Base: Quantico Cave by Tom and Nancy Wise Book Blast & Giveaway!

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For Stephen, his life on base is much the same as most other children’s. The difference is in the details. Look both ways before crossing a tank path and be sure to check if the spent bullet casings you find in the long-abandoned trenches are actually empty. Sports stop at the sound of the evening trumpet call as he and his friends stand at attention while the flag is retired. Quantico Cave is a story of friendship and competition, and when Stephen meets up with a friend he once knew at a previous home station, the contest hits a whole new level that places everyone at risk.

EXCERPT:

Stephen had noticed Jimmy was a lot happier these days. “Keep an eye on the target,” he told him as he followed at a brisk pace down the heavily wooded hill. “Hear from yer dad yet?” He avoided Jimmy’s eyes, not wanting to see the hurt that might come with the answer.

“No,” Jimmy said and offered nothing more.

His head down, Stephen muttered, “It’s only been a few weeks,” knowing Jimmy would change the subject again.

Things tended to get quiet at home when Jimmy’s dad shipped out with the fleet. The deployment meant less stress for Jimmy since his relationship with his father was normally pretty contentious. When a parent was mobilized, the rules were laxer, so little things changed. Kids would let their hair grow longer, stay up a bit later. For Jimmy, not having Dad around meant more free time on weekends—and less fighting.

“Miss him?” Stephen asked quietly with a glance behind to see the shadow trailing along the ridge to their left.

Jimmy ducked beneath an arch of tangled brush where deer had pushed through, keeping his eye on their target to maintain their line of travel toward the checkpoint. “Drop it.”

“Okay.” Stephen crouched in behind. “This is north—” he added, touching the damp, mossy side of a tree.

“We should stash some of the spears we made in here.”

We need to make up some time. “What we should do is go about fifty yards, then down the slope.” Stephen pushed Jimmy forward as they emerged from the brush. “C’mon,” he said, tired of the distractions.

The boys trotted the next fifty yards, or “klicks” as they liked to call them, then turned down a steep slope to make up time. “Shoot.” Jimmy let out a yelp as his feet skidded on the loose dirt and leaves.

Looking over his shoulder as he bounced down the hill, Stephen allowed himself to slide until his feet grabbed the dirt and then hopped again to keep his momentum. “Turn sideways. Watch.” He dug into the slope with each hop, doing as his dad had showed him. He heard Jimmy yelp again. I hope he sees this. I’m doing it the way you showed me, Dad. The next hop was cut short as Jimmy slipped, kicked his feet up as he landed hard on his butt, and slammed into Stephen’s leg. Both boys smashed into the soft earth and tumbled down the hill.

Stephen slid, his back to Jimmy’s chest, for another five feet before he got his sneakers planted to stop their descent. “Shit, Jimmy,” he said over his friend’s moans. Oh, my gosh. We need to move. Calm. Stay calm. Stephen glanced up the hill to see if they were being watched.

“Oh, man.” Jimmy groaned, trying to get his feet under him, but sending them another three feet down the slope.

“Put your feet sideways.” Stephen inched his way forward to give Jimmy some room.

Jimmy rose sideways to the hill, stood, shook the dirt out of his shirt. Cautiously, he hopped his way down the remaining incline ahead of Stephen, his feet breaking loose on each hop as he got the rhythm. When they reached the base, Jimmy dropped to his butt and crossed his arms over his knees in a huff. He stared straight ahead, not saying a word, as if searching for something.

Purchase at http://www.amazon.com/Life-Base-Tom-Nancy-Wise-ebook/dp/B018N4HK7K

Tom and Nancy Wise are award-winning authors. Their first novel, The Borealis Genome, is the grand- prize winner of the Chanticleer Book Reviews Dante Rossetti 2013 Award for YA Novels and Award Lab Lit Category. Thomas grew up in a military family moving from base to base as the child of a Marine, living the life of an officer’s brat in times of war while Nancy was raised the youngest child of a WWII veteran. When not working together on their novels, Tom teaches at University and authors articles on project management topics and nonfiction books published by Gower Publishing in the UK.

https://www.facebook.com/Tom-Nancy-Wise-678608352235570/

http://www.authorthomaspwise.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bxsiPspN0g

https://twitter.com/BorealisGenome

Tom and Nancy Wise will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

 

Enter to win a $20 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Star of the Team by Beverly Stowe McClure

teamA girl.

A dream.

An accident.

A dream shattered.

Eleven-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?

PURCHASE AT:

Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/k5y1mky

 

Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/18r6ox4bev

Most of the time, you’ll find Beverly in front of her computer, writing the stories little voices whisper in her ear. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks and snaps pictures of clouds, wild flowers, birds and deer. To some of her friends, she is affectionately known as the “Bug Lady” because she rescues butterflies, moths, walking sticks, and praying mantis from her cats.

For twenty-two years Beverly taught children in grades two through five how to read and write. They taught her patience. Now, she teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church. To relax she plays the piano. Her cats don’t appreciate good music and run and hide when she tickles the ivories. 

http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com

http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com

From the Family Bookshelf – July

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We’re still on vacation right now, but that means we’ve had a chance to get some reading done. Both girls signed up for the library’s summer reading program. The Lil’ Diva has already surpassed her goal. The Lil’ Princess is making her way to her goal.

Since our arrival, the Lil’ Diva has read Love? Maybe by Heather Hepler, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, and Draw the Dark by Ilsa J. Bick. The Lil’ Princess brought Half Upon a Time by James Riley with her from home, but she’s been tied up reading the recently released Dork Diaries 7: Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star by Rachel Renee Russell. We bought it this week at Downtown Books in Manteo.

Dad has actually gotten some reading in too. He’s still slowly reading Under the Dome: A Novel by Stephen King. He’s also reading The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman.

As for me, I’ve been trying to catch up on my massive TBR pile. Before we left, I had read Four Corners or A Book That Will Tickle Your Intellectual Nipple by Cary Smith and Breath of Spring by Charlotte Hubbard. Since we got here, I’ve managed to read A Nation Under Judgment by Richard Capriola and Corrie ten Boom by Kaylena Radcliff, part of the Torchlighters Series. I’m in the middle of Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey by Valerie Estelle Frankel.

That’s it for this issue of From the Family Bookshelf. Hope you’re enjoying your week.

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

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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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Nate Rocks the School by Karen Pokras Toz and Giveaway

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Nate Rockledge and gang are back in the third volume of the Nate Rocks series, Nate Rocks the School by Karen Pokras Toz. Now in fifth grade, Nathan, Tommy, and Sam are glad to take advantage of being older. Mom finally concedes to having Nate’s birthday party outside of the house for once. There’s baseball at recess and a cool Halloween dance to help the class raise necessary funds for the annual fifth grade trip to New York City. But when the trip to NYC is  at risk of being canceled, Nate steps up to help with the fundraising committee. With paper and pencil in hand, Nate Rockledge becomes Nate Rocks, saving the town from evil robots and helping recover stolen paintings and cars.

I’ve enjoyed this series since the beginning. In this latest book in the Nate Rocks series, Toz lets loose her imagination and sense of humor once again to come up with a great middle grade adventure story boys will love. Familiar and new characters blend together in this zany story filled with Nate’s mom’s horrible cooking, whiny complaints from know-it-all Lisa Crane, annoying older sister jabs from Abby, Dad’s poor storytelling, and the adventures of one creative boy stuck in the middle of it all. A neat surprise ending winds down this story that moves along at a good clip.

This series keeps getting better and better. I can’t wait to see what Nate is up to next.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Paperback: 138 pages
Publisher: Grand Daisy Press (February 20, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0984860878
ISBN-13: 978-0984860876

A Word from Lisa Crane

Hey everyone – it’s me, Lisa Crane. For those of you who have been following this tour, I need to set the record straight. You know what they say – there are two sides to every story. In fact, the only thing in the book, Nate Rocks the School, that’s actually accurate about me is the part where I tell everyone how Nathan got his black eye last summer. Even Abby said it was true, so it must be, right?

Anyway, Nathan makes it sound like he’s doing all the work to try to raise the money we need for our school trip to New York. Well that’s just not true. In fact, if anything, he’s making even more work for us. Yup, that’s right. For example, it was his idea to have two school events, not one.  He’s the one who made us do things on such short notice, and he also did a lousy job trying to get donations. Then to make things even worse, Nathan’s mom insists on making all the food that we’ll sell at the snack table. (Between you and me, everyone in the school knows to stay away from Mrs. Rockledge’s baked goods – even my mom knows that, and she’s Mrs. Rockledge’s best friend!) We’ll barely make any money from snack sales, and that’s usually a big seller!

If you ask me, my ideas for fundraising are so much better. If only Nathan and that best friend of his, Tommy, would listen to me. We’d be done already. When will those boys learn? Anyway – I guess if you want to see how it all turns out, you’ll have to read the book. Just remember what I told you!

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Karen Pokras Toz lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and three children. Karen’s middle grade childrens’ novels: Millicent Marie Is Not My Name and the Nate Rocks series, have won several awards including First Place for Children’s Chapter Books and the Grand Prize Overall in the 2012 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, as well as placing first for a Global E-Book Award for Pre-Teen Literature. Karen is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). Her first adult contemporary novel, invisible, will be released this summer. For more information, please visit www.karentoz.com.

Links

Website: www.karentoz.com
Blog: http://kptoz.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/karenptoz
Twitter: www.twitter.com/karentoz
Amazon: http://bit.ly/NRTSamazon
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/NRSchoolBN
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5009570.Karen_Pokras_Toz

I received an e-copy of this book from the author through GWR Publicity. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection giveaway:

A Nate Rocks Swag Pack. 

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Rules for the TC&TBC giveaway

1) Visit Karen’s website at www.karentoz.com and leave a comment at this post telling me something you learned while there. Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.

2) Winners must be 18 years of age or older and reside in the United States.

3) Prize will be shipped directly to the winner by the author or her representative.

Grand Prize: One reader will win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and Nate Rocks Swag Pack.

Grand Prize Rafflecopter visit below link:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

blog tour

Interview with Glen Strathy, Author of Dancing on the Inside

 Glen C. Strathy started writing stories when he was 11 years old and too shy to have a life.  He eventually found a life when he started acting in community theatre and met other writers, actors, dancers, and artists.  He discovered that the best thing about performing arts (and other arts too) is that they give people more freedom to be who they want to be.  After spending time as an actor, teacher, and freelance writer, he returned to his first love, fiction and wrote Dancing on the Inside, a novel for ages 9-12.

Glen earned an M.A. in English from the University of Western Ontario, and graduated from the Artist in Community Education program at Queen’s University, Kingston. He co-authored two non-fiction books, one of which (The Coming Economic Collapse, Warner Business Books, 2006) became a New York Times Bestselling Business Book.  He belongs to the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). His website www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com provides advice to budding authors.

Glen lives with his wife, fellow writer Kaitlin Rainey, and their daughter in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

You can visit his website at www.glen-c-strathy.com.  Visit him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/glencstrathy and Facebook at www.facebook.com/Glen.C.Strathy.author.

Joining us today is Glen C. Strathy, author of Dancing on the Inside. This is a children’s book geared toward ages 9-12.

Welcome to The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection, Glen. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

I grew up in London, Ontario, Canada, though I live in Kingston now. I’ve always had a passion for stories and the performing arts. But it’s only within the last decade or so that I started making a living as a writer.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

When I was in grade 4 I started writing science fiction stories in school. Science fiction was just about all I read at that time. By age 11, I had taught myself to type on my father’s old manual typewriter and was spending a lot of evenings writing.

I got distracted from writing as a teenager when I discovered I liked acting. I did a lot of community theatre as well as professional, non-union shows, and that took up much of my spare time. So for a long time my writing consisted mainly of bad poetry, theatre reviews, and academic papers for school.

Around the turn of the century, I started doing commercial writing for money, and that led to my co-authoring a couple of business books, one of which became a New York Times Bestseller.

Why did you decide to write stories for children?

I never really gave up my ambition to write fiction. It was just on hold for a long time. Then I had the idea for Dancing on the Inside and I felt I just had to write it. I didn’t set out to write children’s books. That’s just what this particular book happened to be.

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

It’s hard to write fiction for any audience. Every genre has its challenges. Even picture books, which everyone thinks are easy because they’re short, are hard to write because they must be so concise while still telling a satisfying story.

What is your favorite part of writing for young people?

You have to be passionate about whatever you are writing, otherwise it’s just thankless work. There are still parts of Dancing on the Inside that I can’t read without being emotionally affected – even though I wrote the book and have gone over the words many, many times.

But what’s even better is finding out that other people were moved by your words. Hearing a positive comment by a reader or finding out that you inspired someone is the best possible reward.

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

Dancing on the Inside tells the story of a very special girl named Jenny Spark. She’s smart, creative, and has a passion for ballet. Unfortunately, she also is incredibly shy. More than shy, actually. She suffers from social anxiety so bad that she can’t take a ballet class without suffering a panic attack.

But Jenny refuses to give up on her dream. So she has to find other ways to stay a part of the dance school. Eventually, it’s discovered that she has an amazing gift for creating dance, and she goes on to choreograph an original ballet.

What inspired you to write it?

The idea came from an experience my own daughter had when she was just four years old. She wanted to take dance lessons, but she preferred to sit and watch the others rather than participate in class herself. The struggle between wanting something but being held back by something inside you struck me as an interesting premise. So in creating Jenny Spark I exaggerated this tension. I made Jenny not just fond of dance but a dance genius. I made her anxiety much worse. And I made her older so that she could do some amazing things a four-year-old couldn’t.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

Dancing on the Inside is available through:

Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Dancing-Inside-Glen-C-Strathy/dp/1462018718/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1311191483&sr=8-2

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dancing-on-the-inside-glen-c-strathy/1104199669?ean=9781462018703&itm=1&usri=dancing%2bon%2bthe%2binside

Chapters-Indigo http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Dancing-On-The-Inside-Glen-C-Strathy/9781462018710-item.html?ikwid=dancing+on+the+inside&ikwsec=Home

… and other online retailers.

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

You can find out more about the book at www.glen-c-strathy.com.

If you’re a budding writer, I also have a website that offers writing tips called www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com.

What is up next for you?

I have several ideas I’m working on for other middle-grade novels (including a sequel to Dancing on the Inside), as well as some non-fiction books.

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