Hope by Grier Cooper (Giveaway)

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Indigo is living the life she’s always imagined at the famed New York School of Ballet. Or is she? Although she hopes she’ll be chosen for the company, her ballet teachers aren’t talking and their silence is confusing.

When Indigo is singled out for a coveted solo she feels her dreams are finally within reach, until she finds out she’s dancing with Felipe Gonzalez, the school’s smolderingly hot rising star. In the days that follow, Indigo questions everything she thought was true and finds herself making surprising choices.

After a fateful piece of paper reveals the truth, Indigo must ask herself the hardest question of all: can she take control of her own future to create the life she wants?

Excerpt:

Someone grabs my elbow firmly and I turn to find the new guy leading me to get a spot in line. I scowl at him and then at my elbow. “Um…hi? That’s my elbow.”

“You do not wish to dance?” he says, eyes wide. His accent is silvery, melodic. Also hot.

“Um, no–I mean yes–I mean, you’re grabbing my elbow a little too tightly.”

He drops it like he’s been scalded, holding up both palms in defense. A stray lock of brown hair curls along his temple. “My apologies. Sometimes I forget myself.”

I look at him as I try to appraise whether or not he’s making fun of me, but his face is unreadable. Also I can’t look at it for long or I might get hypnotized. “Riiight,” I say.

We wait in silence, watching the other dancers ahead of us. When we reach the front of the line I see our two reflections–dark and light–in the mirrors that run along the entire front wall of the studio and decide they are complementary. At least it’s nice to have a tall partner for a change; my opportunity to dance with someone my size is limited because I dwarf several of the other boys in the room.

I start to move and feel his hands firmly on my hips. His breath warms the back of my neck and I feel myself flush. Normally I’d take a glimpse in the mirror to make sure my alignment is perfect, but I don’t dare. For reasons I don’t want to admit to myself, I feel nervous and jittery. We face each other and he offers his hand as I come into arabesque. He starts the slow promenade and I chance a quick glimpse at his face. He smiles and I catch my breath. I switch my gaze over to his shoulder and notice that my palm is slick with sweat. I’m so embarrassed I feel heat in the tips of my ears. I pray my face isn’t bright red.

He slides a hand around my waist for the dip and I close my eyes. “Relax,” he says into my ear. “I’ve got you.”

Guest post: You Never Forget Your First Love by Grier Cooper

New York City has long been associated with glamour and all of the perks that come with a big city lifestyle; it’s also one of the most major hubs in the world for the arts, which means anyone who’s serious about a dance career knows they need to be there. I came to New York City when I was fourteen, leaving my home, my family and my friends behind after I received an invitation to become a full-time student at the School of American Ballet. I’d already spent the past two summers commuting into the city everyday to attend the Summer Intensive at the School of American Ballet, but it was thrilling to take the next step with my ballet career and move to New York. For the next four years, I lived and breathed ballet in the Big City, with all of its perks and challenges.

I had a lot to figure out at first, like how the city was laid out (did Madison come after Park Avenue, or was it the other way around?) and which bus went where. I had to find a way to squeeze school into my busy ballet schedule (I spent a lot of time running back and forth multiple times per day across the half-mile between school and ballet) and finding a place to live that was both convenient and affordable was even more challenging (think lots and lots of roommates). But eventually I fine-tuned all the details and my life existed in a one-mile radius on the Upper West Side, with Lincoln Center and the School of American Ballet at the heart of it all.

Those years in New York were an incredible time of growth for me, both as a dancer and as a human being, a pivotal period that shaped so much of who I am today. There were fun discoveries, like finding the best breakfast spots (especially the delicious super-sized muffins at the deli two blocks from my apartment), trying coffee for the first time (hated it), and exploring the city with friends during rare free moments. Mostly, there was a lot of work, both in ballet class and the rest of my waking hours (school, Pilates strengthening classes, homework, sewing pointe shoes…). Most of all, it was a glorious inspiration to walk past Lincoln Center most days and dream about dancing with New York City Ballet some day. Occasionally I got to attend performances of New York City Ballet when I worked at the gala events. Those evenings, everything in life felt magical. Wealthy patrons shimmered in exquisite gowns, the top dancers of New York City glittered like the stars they were, and the Lincoln Center fountain sprayed liquid diamonds all night long.

When I started writing the Indigo Ballet Series, I knew these were things I wanted to share with readers. Even though it’s been many years since I experienced that part of my life, most of it lives on in my memory in crystal-clear detail. There were a few things I needed to clarify, however, so while I was in New York City a few years ago I took the time to revisit the Upper West Side and see the places where I spent my teens. I walked the halls of the School of American Ballet (now in a completely different building than it was in my day), photographed my old apartment buildings and other landmarks I remembered and walked around Lincoln Center. The area is a little glitzier than it used to be, but a lot of it remains the same.

They say you never forget your first love. I suppose that’s why New York lives on in my heart.

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00LPUJWSK

Barnes and Noble: www.barnesandnoble.com/c/grier-cooper

Grier began ballet lessons at age five and left home at fourteen to study at the School of American Ballet in New York. She has performed on three out of sevenHope Author IndigoDreams continents with companies such as San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, totaling more than thirty years of experience as a dancer, teacher and performer.

She writes and blogs about dance in the San Francisco Bay Area and has interviewed and photographed a diverse collection dancers and performers including Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman, Glen Allen Sims and Jessica Sutta. She is the author of the Indigo Dreams ballet fiction series for young adults and The Daily Book of Photography.

website: http://www.griercooper.com

 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/griercooper

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/griercooper

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/grier-cooper/1a/63/357/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/griercooper/

Grier Cooper will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn host.

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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.

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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).

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Interview with Author Joseph Bruchac, Author of Brothers of the Buffalo (Giveaway)

buffalo authorJoseph Bruchac is an internationally acclaimed Native American storyteller and writer who has authored more than 70 books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for adults and children. His writings have appeared in more than 500 publications, including National Geographic, Parabola, and Smithsonian. He is the author of the novels Dawn Land and Long River and is the coauthor of the Keepers of the Earth series. He lives in Greenfield Center, New York.

Visit the author online at http://josephbruchac.com/ or https://twitter.com/JosephBruchac

Your new YA novel, Brothers of the Buffalo, is a historical fiction tale of the Red River War. What captivated you about this particular moment in American history?

Although the so-called “Indian Wars” would not conclude until two decades later when the last of the Chiricahua Apaches surrendered, the Red River War marks the beginning of the end insofar as armed resistance to the United States government goes. It was the last major coalition of different tribes put together to resist militarily–like King Phillip, Pontiac and Tecumseh did in previous centuries. The fact that it was largely done to attempt to save the American bison (and the way of life of the Plains nations) from being destroyed makes it even more memorable. Another part of this story, which has long fascinated me, is that on the United States side a very large role was played by the 10th Cavalry, made up entirely of African American soldiers (with the exception of their white officers), some of them former slaves and veterans of the American Civil War. However, what I think drew me the most to this war is that it led, quite directly, to the creation of the American Indian Boarding Schools that would deeply impact the lives of virtually all Native American communities, an impact still being felt to this day. Lieutenant Richard Henry Pratt, an officer of the 10th and the man placed in charge of the Native American POWs sent to Florida after the Red River War would experiment with “civilizing” those men and go on to found the Carlisle Indian School which had the stated objective of “killing the Indian and saving the man,” nothing less than cultural genocide.

Brothers of the Buffalo is written about two drastically different young men, Wolf and Wash. What inspired you to write from both perspectives and did you find it challenging? Did you have a favorite character?

I chose to approach the story from those different perspectives because I felt that the complexity of this story deserved more than one POV. One of the oldest sayings in a number of Native American communities is that we have two ears on either side of our head so that we can hear more than one side of every story. I believed that a reader would understand the story better by having more than one voice to hear and that it would provide more depth to the history being told. What you see often depends on where you stand. I was given a great deal of help in writing this story from any number of directions–people in the Cheyenne community, for example, such as my friend for more than 4 decades Lance Henson. I also was fortunate enough to have been part of the American Civil Rights movement in the 60s, to have lived in Ghana, West Africa as a teacher for three years, to have had the privilege of teaching African American and African literature and to count more people than I can easily count in Africa and the African diaspora as close, dear friends. All that experience did not make it easy to inhabit such different characters, but it did make it easier. I’d also been researching and writing about parts of this story or events before and after that tie into it–such as the Civil War and the Carlisle Indian school–for decades before I began to work on this manuscript.

Insofar as a favorite character goes, I guess I feel so strongly about both my main narrators that it is impossible to say that one of them was my favorite. But beyond those two young men, I think the person I found most interesting and most fascinating in this story–is Richard Henry Pratt–even though I disagree DEEPLY with the conclusions he drew about how to deal with the “Indian Problem.”

Brothers of the Buffalo is infused with both first-person letters from Wash and songs and proverbs from Native American culture. Could you tell us what you hope readers will take away from both?buffalo

My idea in including the songs and proverbs was to offer greater depth and more insight into both characters and the cultures to which they belong. In Wash’s case it is both African and African American. When I lived in West Africa I was often told that every human being is not just part of a family he or she IS their family. And I have also often been told by Native American elders that community, oral tradition, and family make us who we are. The use of letters is a great way to both tell a story and provide insight into the persons writing those letters, both in what they say and what they do not say as it is projected against the larger canvas of the overall story. In addition, I think those stories from the backgrounds of both my main characters are great stories, worth reading on their own, proof of the sophistication and intellectual complexity of cultures (African, Native, African American) that were usually portrayed as innocent, uncultured, uncivilized and ignorant in the 19th century when this story takes place–and, sadly, still sometimes pictured that way in the 20th and even 21st centuries.

What motivates you to write for young adults?

I began as a poet, writing for adults, with my first book in 1971. I still write and publish poetry, but when my two sons were born in the 70s I began to write down the stories I told them, largely traditional tales that were lessons stories–enjoyable to hear, but filled with meaning. I was delighted, not just by the way my books were received, but by the effect I saw them having on young people. I then began writing for middle grade and YA readers and had a similar experience. I believe that some of the best writing being done today is being done for young adult readers. You honestly do not have to hold anything back when writing for them. They are sophisticated enough to understand and appreciate complexity, but also very much in need of good literature. (At this point I could break into a long tribute to reading and what it does for us, young and old, but I shall restrain myself.) I still write for all audiences, from the very young to the adult reader. But, more and more, I am finding the deepest satisfaction in creating books for YA audiences.

What are you hoping readers will take away from Brothers of the Buffalo as a whole?

One of my hopes is that they will better understand a period of history that is often neglected and see that history through very different eyes–the eyes of a young Cheyenne fighting for his family and culture, the eyes of a young African American soldier who is just as deeply committed to family and freedom as is his Native counterpart. In the end (an end of the story that is not at all fantastic but reflective of documented history) the two of them physically arrive at the same place–seeing each other not as enemies, but as equally human. I hope my readers may arrive at a similar place, perhaps with a broader perspective on some of the issues faced by my two heroes–issues of race, class, Native American and human rights still being played out today.

For more information, visit the book’s page at Fulcrum Publishing website.

Purchase the book at  Indie BoundAmazonBarnes and NobleBooks-A-Million.

 

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Interview with John Calicchia, Author of Mirror World

John Calicchia

John Calicchia writes stories of fantasy, action and adventure. In the fall of 2015 his book Mirror World was released! It’s a story of two powerful young sisters and their epic battle against evil. But, this book has something in it most do not: hidden secrets. It’s a teen and young adult fiction book with a self-help book hidden inside. You see… after publishing in psychology books and journals for decades Dr. C. felt his writing was not helping the young people he loves to work with. So, he took famous psychology studies and put it in the characters and plots in Mirror World to help with real life issues. As you become part of the story you can learn about psychology or you can just enjoy the tale!

John Calicchia Ph.D. is a professor of psychology who also works with children and young adults as a licensed psychologist. He lives near Boston with his lovely wife and two amazing daughters. You can usually find him in the pool swimming with his two big dogs.

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Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Rhode Island, the Ocean State.

When did you begin writing?

I wrote my first story in sixth grade, and the class loved it and laughed so hard, I was asked to be the first one to read my stories for the rest of the year – motivation for an aspiring writer?

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

Usually mornings are best, but when I am in the flow it can go on all day long. The rest of the time I’m writing this story in my head endlessly.

What is this book about?

What would you do if you saw the future apocalypse of the world in a mirror? Would you try to save the world and those you love, or die trying?
Welcome to my life, this is the vision of the future I’ve been cursed to see.
– Cailyssa Larkin

Cailyssa hates mirrors because someone evil is staring back at her from the other side.  One day, she gazes into a mirror and sees a dark future that only she can change. With the future of her own world hanging in the balance, Cailyssa bravely enters the portal to the Mirror World. Here, the Dark Lord controls all the mirrors and bends reflections so all creatures see evil within themselves. With her sister Terry, her mysterious best friend Daemon, and a host of weird and wonderful creatures, Cailyssa embarks on an epic quest to overcome the evil forces trying to destroy her world. She can only defeat the Dark Lord by finding her true self and discovering the family secret that has led her to Mirror World.

What inspired you to write it?

I was always disappointed in science fiction and fantasy books because of a lack of strong female lead characters. Before Katniss Everdean and Tris Prior, few books or movies ever featured a strong female in the lead role.  I love the fact that my book is told from the first-person perspective and has two exceptionally strong female lead characters, who of course also have their vulnerabilities. I also have two wonderful daughters that are exceptionally inspiring as I watch them continue on their way to developing into strong, young, and capable women.Mirror World

Who is your favorite character from the book?

It depends on what day you ask me, but for today it’s Terry. She’s Cailyssa’s sister and a ton of crazy fun, with wings like an angel and 12 inch razor-sharp blades that come out of her knuckles she takes on any evil foe! But like all superheroes,  she has hidden weaknesses.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Both.  I was able to dictate the whole book using Dragon Naturally Speaking so the first draft went remarkably quickly.  The revision process and the multiple levels of editing took a long time!

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Use as many beta readers as possible, and get ARC’s out earlier.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Follow me and you can also get a free copy of the users guide to help you understand the psychology behind the book by joining my website www.johncalicchia.com

twitter: @jacalicchia

youtube: https://youtu.be/8ezO9nWm9UY

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Time will tell.  I’m hoping it’s the current book tour!

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Write what you love and you will love what you write ( and some other people will too)

What is up next for you?

The Users Guide for Mirror World is almost finished.  It has the secrets to where the psychology  studies are hidden in the book. You can get more information at my website or my blog.

There will be two more books in the Mirror World series. The next book Angelus starts literally in Hell with a dark angel being tortured for failing to destroy Cailyssa Larkin. Cailyssa has returned from Mirror World and is trying to finish her senior year in high school, when she discovers the war of the Angels she became involved in has followed her home. The Angels in this book are not what you think of in pictures or the Bible.  Angels have been living among us and walking the earth for thousands of years – you probably even know a couple – hopefully they’re not the evil ones.

Here’s a biblical quote that starts off the book:

His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And Lucifer stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.

After the Mirror World Series I have plans for a psychological thriller PSYOPS which is a dystopian world in which the government and the military control dreams through neuroscience and psychology.

I better get writing!!!!!

Is there anything you would like to add?

I hope my book is a somewhat unique stamp. First of all I hope it’s a fun and exciting story that entertains you. But I know as a  professor that the psychology studies hidden in the plot are very helpful for people’s lives. So I really hope it’s a wonderful tale, that has a free self-help book hidden in the narrative. Please get a copy of the users guide at my website after you read it and you’ll know what I’m talking about. In the meantime, read the book and keep guessing about the psychology behind it!

Warm Regards,

John

For More Information

  • Mirror World is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

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Wrapping Up Harry Potter

Well, I did it. I finished the Harry Potter series last month. It was tough to see it end because I had spent the past several months listening to the books in my car hp1as I drove back and forth from appointments. Music just isn’t cutting it for me anymore.

I purposefully held off on reviewing each book as I read it because there isn’t much new that can be said. Even if there was, almost everyone has heard of or read this wildly popular series, so it seemed superfluous. What I will do, however, is share my thoughts on what I liked about each book and if there is anything that niggled at me.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone sets the stage for all that will follow. We meet many of the important characters who will remain throughout the series or will perish in the war against Lord Voldemort. By making Harry a sympathetic character from the start, J.K. Rowling gave readers someone to care about. He lost his parents; he’s being mistreated by his relatives; once he gets to Hogwarts where he is wildly famous and his life should improve, he struggles with his lack of magical knowledge and is despised by Draco Malfoy and seen as a younger version of his arrogant father by Professor Snape.

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In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets a diary is discovered that ends up being part of the plot through to the final book of the series and is crucial in Lord Voldemort’s defeat. This indicates Rowling may have done serious pre-plotting before putting pen to paper. As the story unfolds, Ginny Weasley becomes more of a sympathetic character than Harry because she is fooled by Tom Riddle (Voldemort) and possessed, putting Harry and the others at risk. We also see a very important plot point begin to develop: the hatred of Voldemort and his followers for half-bloods and Muggles.

When it comes to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we meet another new character. As the story comes closer to the end, wehp3 hope that Harry will have just a tiny bit of happiness and not have to endure another summer with his Muggle relatives who mistreat him. There is a definite theme of salvation running through the third book: the possible saving of Harry from the Dursleys, the saving of Sirius Black from the Dementor’s kiss, the saving of BuckBeak who has been sentenced to death, and in some ways Hermoine being saved from overworking herself in an effort to be the best at everything. This book also reveals who truly betrayed James and Lily Potter, leading to their deaths.

hp4Some of these books don’t actually begin with Harry. Book four, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, is one of them. It’s a nice change of pace and indicates how Rowling worked to keep the series fresh and engaging for readers. We haven’t said much about Quidditch yet, but that is the game Harry has a natural talent for (discovered in Book 1), so this helps to balance that his magic might not be up to par with that of other students. Rowling uses the Quidditch World Cup to introduce another important character: Cedric Diggory. Cedric will end up competing in the Triwizard  Tournament, which hasn’t been held for over 200 years. This brings students and staff from other schools to Hogwarts. This is the book were Lord Voldemort is resurrected by Harry’s blood and what truly begins the war in earnest because the current Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge does not believe Harry and Professor Dumbledore (Hogwarts Headmaster) that Voldemort has returned. Parents, students, and the wizarding community must choose who and what to believe.

How many people loved Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix but despised it at the same time? I know it brought out that reaction in me. So much hp5injustice takes place in this novel at the hands of Dolores Umbridge and the Ministry of Magic that at times it was hard not to scream or throw something against the wall. And for anyone who thought that Harry and Sirius would end up finding a nice cottage to live out their days once this whole war was over, they were dealt a crushing blow thanks to Bellatrix Lestrange. This is also the book where Dumbledore explains the prophecy to Harry that has brought him to Hogwarts and will eventually lead to his final showdown with Lord Voldemort.

In certain books, we learn more about other characters than Harry. That is true in books six and seven, where the history of Dumbledore and Tom Riddle a.k.a. Lord Voldemort unfolds. Book 6 is also one that doesn’t begin with Harry. Instead, the reader sees Professor Snape hp6in a meeting with Narcissa Malfoy, where he takes an unbreakable vow to protect and assist Draco in the mission Lord Voldemort has entrusted to him. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince also finds Harry given a mission of his own that will unfold in the final book. It is in this book that we learn how important the diary Ginny Weasley found in the third book is to Voldemort and his plan for immortality.

Then in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows best friends Harry, Hermoine, and Ron risk everything to bring down Voldemort. In order to do that, they set out on their own, learn more about Dumbledore’s past, infiltrate the Ministry of Magic, are captured and held prisoner at Malfoy Manor, secretly enter Hogwarts, and witness tragedy strike Snape who had been installed by Voldemort as the Headmaster at Hogwarts. It isn’t until Snape shares his memories with Harry that he truly understands what fulfilling his destiny means.

What I enjoyed most about these books is how they blended everyday things like relationship issues, coping with tragedy, love, family and friendship while harryexploring a magical world. These books also tackled controversial topics like prejudice. I loved how with each book Rowling upped the ante, so you had intense moments throughout each book, but the series as a whole slowly built up the dramatic face off between Harry and Voldemort.

I don’t believe I am alone, however, in being a bit let down by the epilogue. I am okay with vagueness, but I felt too much time had passed. There is also the matter of Draco and Harry. While I don’t believe they would ever be friends, I wanted to see a little bit more about how their relationship evolved after the Dark Lord’s defeat.

Have you read the Harry Potter series? What were some of your favorite parts? Is there anything you didn’t care for?

 

Take My Advice by Tristi Pinkston

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What if the answers to life aren’t always black and white?

Jill Reed thinks she knows it all, and as the advice columnist for her high school newspaper, she gets to share her wisdom on a weekly basis. She handles questions about everything from dating to choosing the right nail polish, and with the exception of a few bullies, everyone respects her opinion.

But when life throws her some curves she can’t handle, she realizes she knows a whole less than she thought she did, and she’ll need to ask others for their advice so she can make it through.

File Size: 485 KB
Print Length: 129 pages
Publisher: Trifecta Books (November 24, 2015)
Publication Date: November 24, 2015
ISBN-10: 0996624627
ISBN-13: 978-0996624626

Purchase at:

Amazon (Kindle)

Amazon (Paperback)

Barnes and Noble

Tristi Pinkston is the author of over forty-five books in various genres and under multiple pen names. She’s the owner of Trifecta Books, has worked as a freelance editor for over ten years, and presents at writing conferences up and down the Wasatch Front. Her novel Secret Sisters was awarded with a Silver Quill by the League of Utah Writers. When she’s not editing or writing (well, let’s face it—she’s always editing or writing), Tristi enjoys watching good movies and taking really long naps. She lives with her patient husband, four highly intelligent children, and one cute little dog in the Rocky Mountains. You can learn more about her at www.tristipinkston.com.

Happy Birthday Lucy Maud Montgomery

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Today we celebrate the birthday of one of my favorite authors, Lucy Maud Montgomery. On November 30, 1874, Montgomery was born in Clifton, Prince Edward Island to Hugh John Montgomery and Clara Woolner Macneill. After her mother’s death, when Lucy was only 21 months old, Montgomery’s father left her in the care of her maternal grandparents in Cavendish. He moved away and eventually remarried.

It is said living as an only child with elderly caregivers helped Montgomery to develop her imagination and fondness for nature, books, and writing. Though her first publication came in the fall of 1891, she completed school and earned her teaching license in 1893 – 1894. After a brief teaching career, the sudden death of the grandfather who had raised her caused Montgomery to return home to care for her grandmother. She would remain there for most of the next thirteen years where she continued to write and earn a comfortable income.Anne

She wrote her most famous novel, Anne of Green Gables, in 1905, but tucked it away after numerous rejections. In 1907, she sent it out again and it was picked up by the Page Company of Boston, Massachusetts and published in 1908. Montgomery married after her grandmother’s death and bore three sons, one of whom was stillborn. As a minister’s wife living in Leaskdale, Ontario, she was busy assisting her husband, but she still made time to write. Montgomery never lived on Prince Edward Island again, but she was buried in the Cavendish cemetery not far from her old home.

For my eleventh birthday, I received the first three books in the Anne of Green Gables series as a present from my oldest sister. I would not become enamored with Anne’s story, however, until the release of the Anne of Green Gables Canadian mini-series in 1985 starring Megan Follows, Richard Farnsworth, and Colleen Dewhurst. Follows would reprise her role as Anne Shirley in two sequels: Anne of Avonlea (now titled Anne of Green Gable The Sequel) and Anne of Green Gables The Continuing Story. 

I have since gone on to read all eight of Montomgery’s Anne novels, The Story Girl and The Golden Road–which inspired the Canadian-based Road to Avonlea television series, and Chronicles of Avonlea and Further Chronicles of Avonlea.

Lucy Maud Montgomery’s work continues to inspire my own writing. It is her feisty, imaginative, red-headed orphan who reminds me a bit of myself–not unlike the other feisty character/historical figure I adore–Laura Ingalls Wilder. Here’s to a talented author whose most famous character continues to gain new fans year after year. May she live in our hearts forever.

 

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