Thursday, October 31, 2013

October 31 ~ The Best is Yet to Come

Ha! I made it to the end of the 31 Day Blog Challenge again! And I actually blogged 32 times because I had one day early this month that I ended up blogging twice in one day, due to some commitments I’d made. Whew!
I bet my Facebook friends and family are saying “Thank goodness! Maybe she’ll shut up for a while!” Maybe they already muted me. :(   As of today, however, my fan page on Facebook has 98 likes, many of which were from this last month. I’m sure the 31 Day Blogging didn’t hurt that effort. It is nice to be liked, I’m not gonna lie. Thanks to all you “Like Button clickers” out there.
Yes, the good news is, I AM going to go quiet for a while. 1) Because daily blogging is very hard to sustain, and B) tomorrow is the start of NaNoReWriMo time for me.  But don’t think you’ve heard the last of me! There are a few things on the horizon in the coming months.
I will continue to feature visiting authors from UncommonYA and Month9Books on my blog, so you’ll see some of those.  I have some book signings coming up in November, so you’ll be hearing about those.
The third book in the Storyteller series is about to be published. The cover and the book trailer in development as I type, so there will be some fun with that soon.  Maybe I’ll do a little giveaway to kick off the book on publication day, so stay tuned for that. I don’t have a release date set yet, but I’ll let you know when it gets close. 

If any of my blogger buddies out there would like to help promote the book on your blog, drop me a line. I’m always willing to trade guest blogs, etc. I know you’re probably all going to be wrapped up in NaNoWriMo this coming month too, but let me know if you want to help. I’ve been so blessed by the kindness of “strangers” in the last few months while promoting Hush Puppy. Of course, none of them are strangers any more. J
So I won’t be completely MIA from the blog. Congratulations to all my 31 Day Blog Challenge buddies. It’s fun, but it’s a ton of work. It’s nice to be able to say “I did that!” and I’m probably not doing it again anytime soon. Hahaha!! J  See you soon ~ keep in touch ~ peace~

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October 30~ Welcome #UncommonYA author Eileen Schuh

Happy Birthday to Eileen Schuh's FATAL ERROR!
One year ago, FATAL ERROR hit the stands during a very sad time for me. Just months prior, our two family matriarchs, my mother and mother-in-law, passed away within weeks of each other. It had been a summer of funerals and flowers and family visits. Tears and fears as I faced the stark realization that my husband I were now the ‘older’ generation, keepers of the family traditions and lore.

Amidst the grief, to keep my mind busy, to dull my pain, to escape reality, I closeted myself when I could over that sad summer and worked fervently with editors, cover-designers, formatters and the publisher to bring the book FATAL ERROR out of the potential world and into the real one.

FATAL ERROR was my distraction, my achievement, my immortality in a way. When I lamented to Cheryl Tardif, publisher at Imajin Books, that I wasn’t able to do all I wished for my book launch she mentioned not to worry, that FATAL ERROR was now out there forever. I could market it for as many years as I wished, whenever I wished. It was mine, it was a legacy to my children and grandchildren. It was there for the world to enjoy—forever. So, I invite you to join me in giving FATAL ERROR the ‘launch’ it deserves in celebration of its very first birthday!

Find Eileen Schuh online!



Follow me on Twitter

'Like' my author page

My author presentations to young people top the list of the things I’m most proud of when it comes to my writing career. All my books are on the shelves of Canada’s northern young offenders facilities and in the outreach libraries of the St. Paul Alternate Education Centre.

FATAL ERROR, I tell my young audiences, is an entertaining, dramatic story that can help us develop a positive, well-rounded sense of justice that goes beyond our formal legal system of law-makers, law enforcement and the court house, although those concepts, too, are part of the story.

What the reviewers say about FATAL ERROR:

 “Wise, haunting, deeply moving…unforgettable!”

 “Courage and insight make for a compelling read”

"I recommend the book to other parents. I think it will speak to them."

 “For any young person facing struggles...this is a must-read series”

“...excellent pacing. It's a worthy sequel to the explosive ‘THE TRAZ’

 “The very best in today's motorcycle gang stories just got a little better.”

"...brilliantly entwining the characters and their lives through dialogue"

"...douses the reader headfirst in a psychological drama..."

I explain how our sense of justice affects our personal lives. As we enter adulthood, our understanding of blame, guilt and forgiveness expands considerably from our basic black and white childhood concepts of right and wrong, good and evil.  As we mature we loose our self-centred childish outlook on life and being to notice, comprehend, and empathize with the experiences and feelings of others. This helps us develop our mature sense of what is fair and empowers us to take responsibility for our own lives.

FATAL ERROR is Book 2 in the BackTracker series. However, it reads well on its own as I wrote it before I wrote THE TRAZ (originally intending THE TRAZ to be a prequel to the series). FATAL ERROR is sold as a Young Adult crime novel. Action/Adventure. A psychological thriller that also appeals to adults.

In The Traz, Katrina made some poor decisions that landed her in a lot of trouble. The book ended with her being rescued from a biker gang during an undercover police operation. In FATAL ERROR, Katrina (along with the cops and the bikers) face the emotional, social, and legal  consequences of their actions during their time with the gang.

Aside from all the lessons and underlying themes, FATAL ERROR is an exciting read.

FATAL ERROR is available as an eBook and in paperback from all fine online book sellers. If it is not on the shelves of your local library or bookstore, you can ask to have it ordered in. And, if you want an autographed copy—just contact me through any of my social networking sites.

Purchase links:

All Amazon sites


iTunes library (for all your Apple products)

Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 29 ~ #Gratitude Day

As a way of saying thanks to the lovely bloggers that supported the Hush Puppy blog tour, I wanted to feature each one for a moment and let you know what they’re up to. Each one is a writer in her own right. You might want to check out their work if you enjoy young adult and new adult fiction~
Stephanie Wardrop has just released “Pride and Prep School”, a delightful play on Jane Austen with a modern, young adult touch. There’s four novellas in this quirky series now. Be sure to check them out on Amazon.
Marissa Ames is about to release her newest novel “Minstrel”. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon now and looks very intriguing. I love anything with a historical feel to it. Having met the lovely Marissa in a Facebook group known as “The Dark Fairy Queen and her Brilliant Minions”, I have a feeling there will be a bit of the fantastical to it as well. Just a hunch.
Morgan Shamy is super-blogger. She has so many followers because everyone loves her so much. I also happen to know she has some mad writing skills and will be shopping around her latest manuscript soon, if she isn’t already. Look out world! This wildcat’s gonna knock your socks off.
CJ Burright is a lover of all things romance. She has a new novel coming out in January from Swoon Romance that you might want to put on your ‘To be read’ list. Plus, she’s a sweetie pie.
Kenya Wright writes on the spicy side. I mean like habanero hot stuff. She’s not afraid to boldly go anywhere! And she’s kick-in-the-pants sassy. Be sure to pay her blog a visit for a little walk on the wild side.
Rachel Schieffelbein’s latest work “Run for the Roses” is out next month! She’s an accomplished horsewoman herself, so I’m sure her novella will be awesome. If you love horses, this one’s for you.
Kara Leigh Miller’s newest romance out is “Love and Other Games”, but she’s written a whole range of books from sweet to smexy. Check her out!
Laura James is currently working very hard (with Marissa Ames) to compile a group of fifty-something, Christmas-themed, flash fiction stories from dozens of authors, collectively and affectionately known as the Merry Minions. It should be available soon for free download. I, myself, made a contribution to the anthology.  I can’t imagine the amount of work these two ladies have put in on this anthology already. They’re truly an inspiration.
So thank you again, ladies! I appreciate your support so very much and I wish you every success in your future endeavors. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28 ~ Finding Inspiration

OK, I admit it. I’m dragging in the inspiration department here lately. Working hard on revisions means I’m not creating much new stuff, although I did just finish some flash fiction for Halloween and Christmas. The pressure of the 31 Day Blog Challenge pushing me to come up with new content every day got me thinking about my “inspiration” process. Where do I find my ideas?

So, as I thought about it, I realized most of my ideas, but not all of them, start with a theme. The flash stories were inspired first by those holidays, but secondly by the feeling or the message that I wanted to convey.  I had a general idea what genre I wanted to write in, i.e. gothic, steampunk, but after that, I think my ideas come from a conglomeration of things I’ve been thinking about, heard or read. Things that are stewing about in my subconscious. Going on trips to places I haven’t been, or places I haven’t been in a long time inspire me as well. Seeing an intriguing person can inspire me too.

Because I can’t travel all the places I’d love to go, I’ve found myself creating boards on Pinterest that inspire me.  I can’t say that any one photograph on Pinterest has led me to create a story, but the photos there have certainly helped me flesh out the worlds I’ve created in my head. The same with music. I can’t write with music playing because it distracts me, but the feeling music invokes can definitely be inspiring.  I even created playlists for my books; you can take a listen here.

So what inspires you? I’d like to know…

Sunday, October 27, 2013

October 27 ~ NaNoReWriMo #SampleSunday

It's Sunday again peeps. End of another week and I feel like I'm struggling to find 31 day blog challenge topics, but the end is in sight! Just a few more days to go.  Since today is Sunday, I thought it was time for a little Sample Sunday again.  Here's the opening of the work in progress I intend to revise through the month of November for my own personal National Novel Rewriting Month.  The working title is "The Color of Water" and yes, I know that title is taken!  Enjoy~

   It’s funny what you notice when you’re dying. It’s not your breath or your heartbeat, or the ripple of your mind slowly coming undone. It’s what you love. For me, it’s the color of the water. First, it’s green like bottle glass. Then it’s deep, dark blue-black, like a midnight sky.
   The water seeps into my ears blocking everything else out. It creeps into my clothes, through the strands of my hair. It invades my nose, my mouth, and slides into my lungs, into my stomach. It envelopes me, claims me as its own. I’m going with it.
   And then something jerks me back. In the murky water, I can barely see what it is through my salt-blinded eyes. It’s Dad. He’s got me. He’s tugging on my vest, trying to unhitch the tether and I wonder why. Something breaks free and he pulls me up with him. The vest I’m wearing pops me up to the surface like a cork.
   On the surface, my lungs vomit out searing salt water, even as more angry waves bash us against the hull of the sloop. She’s completely upside down. Dad’s pushing my limp arms up on the hull, trying to make me grab a hold of something, anything to keep my head above water.
   I never dreamt when we left the shore this is where we’d be just a few hours later. I thought our biggest worry was the fight Dad had with Karla before we left. I don’t think she meant half the things she said to him, but I could tell by the way he stood at the helm of our sloop, his blue-gray eyes as stormy as the horizon, he was still stewing on it as we left the marina behind.
   “If you go out there, Adam, don’t bother coming back,” she had said.
   “She’ll get over it. She always does,” I said. I pulled my windbreaker on. The cold spray of the ocean was freezing my arms, raising goose bumps on my skin.
   “I don’t know, Sam. Seemed pretty serious to me.”
   “But we have to train. She has to know how important this race is. If we win, the money…”
   “I think she’s reached the limit, Little Fish.”
   Dad still called me Little Fish, even though I was sixteen, and it still made me smile. He gave me the name years ago and it looked like it would be mine forever.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

October 26 ~ More on Themes

One thing I’ve really enjoyed about writing the Storyteller series is that it’s several stories within a story. I have a tendency to make my main characters into readers, so they’re always lugging around a book or reading something in a book, and, in Lily’s case, always learning crucial information from books.
Storyteller starts off in our world, but very soon, the reader is propelled into the epic fantasy of the True World, complete with pixies, trolls, dragons, and a whole host of other critters. I had to create an entire world, complete with its own mythology, which was probably the most fun for me as a writer. Not only did I get to write Lily’s story, I got to write the mythological tales of Galamar, a foolish, lovesick elf.
I grew up reading Greek and Norse mythology, so it was sheer delight to create my own.  Even better than that, it became integral to the story. I think it makes the series so much richer by adding even more themes. Galamar takes on three impossible tasks in order to win the object of his affection, with dire consequences for the rest of True World. The fall out is what Lily is faced with while trying to save her mom. I think the exploration of “we all make mistakes” and the importance of forgiveness make the Storyteller series unique and hopefully, satisfying for the reader.

As Lord Erik wrote~ Forgiveness is the greatest gift anyone can ever bestow, and the hardest.
If you haven’t yet read the Storyteller books, you can find them here. You’ve still got time to read the first two before the last one comes out! Enjoy~

Friday, October 25, 2013

October 25 ~ A Healthier Me

A year ago in September, I went home for lunch and stepped on the scale. I said, “All right. That’s enough. Something’s got to change.” And I signed up for Weight Watchers online. At first, I just tracked my food and I started to lose some weight. Not huge amounts, but enough to be encouraging. After a few weeks though, the weight loss slowed down. In October, I added exercise to my routine and that has made all the difference in the world. By February, I was down to my goal weight. Not some ridiculous two digit weight, but a weight that was healthy for me given my age and height.
Today, it occurred to me that I’ve been exercising regularly for about a year now. I’m still at my goal weight. It fluctuates a pound or two, here and there, but that’s normal. I’m stronger and slimmer than I’ve probably ever been my whole adult life and it only took six months. I wish everyone could do this. I mean, anyone CAN do this, but there’s a whole host of reasons why people don’t. It all comes down to you. If you say to yourself, “Self, I’m ready to change myself and my habits and I’m not going to give up until I get it” then you can. And it doesn’t have to happen all at once. I made my changes slowly, a little bit at a time.
When I first started tracking my food, it was so hard to stop myself from eating too much. I was snacking WAY too much. I love chocolate. I always had some in my desk. My portions were outta whack. The first few weeks were definitely the hardest because I was learning just how many “points” my usual meals were costing me and I hadn’t yet learned healthier alternatives. I was hungry a lot then. But as I was able to acclimate myself to smaller meals and healthier snacks, I found that smaller portions were enough for me. The stomach is a very elastic thing; the more you stuff in it, the more it stretches and the more food it takes to fill it. If you stop stretching it so much, it shrinks back down after a while.
The wonderful thing about Weight Watchers is you can eat any food you want. I could eat chocolate and cookies, and I still do. The key is portion size – it has to be small. The minute you tell me I can’t have something, that’s the only thing I want. You do have to exercise a lot of restraint with those things to keep the portion small, but you can still have it.
I was lucky when I started WW I had already given up soda a few years ago. My stomach can hardly tolerate it now; the carbonation kills me. If there was just one thing you could do to improve your health, if nothing else – don’t drink soda. It has a lot of calories and no health value whatsoever. The phosphoric acid is bad for your teeth and probably your bones as well. And you can save a boat load of money by not buying it. That’s my two cents on that. HATE SODA!
Anyway, that’s all there is to it. Lots of little changes that add up over time. Less food. More activity. So easy.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

October 24 ~ The Storyteller Trilogy

All this month, I’ve been hammering away on the final book in the Storyteller Trilogy, trying to polish it to a shine. It’s not quite where I want it to be, but it’s getting close. The whole project has been a true labor of love. As a self-published project, there hasn’t been a huge response to the story that I’m aware of, I think mainly because it’s hard to find middle grade readers online. They’re out there, but e-publishing has it challenges that way. Still, the readers that have managed to find it seem to enjoy it and that’s all I really wanted anyway.
The trilogy centers on Lily Lightfoot, a teenaged girl who discovers she has the unique ability to make things happen by telling a story. It’s a gift that sometimes gets her into trouble, but one that ultimately leads her to discover her true nature. She’s a fairy, hidden in our world from evil forces that would destroy her if they could find her.  But rather than shy away from danger, Lily grabs on with both hands and jumps in, determined to save her mother who’s been captured. She doesn’t let anyone tell her no.
I started off this series wanting to create a really strong female character. She’s got her foibles, but at the end of the day, there’s no one you’d want standing by your side more than Lily Lightfoot. She’s fiercely loyal and honest. She not completely immune to self-doubt, but she learns to overcome it. Truly, that’s theme of this series, finding the strength that lies inside you.
Remember the last time you went through something truly awful in your life? It seemed like you would never get through it, but somehow you did, didn’t you? It’s because you’re always stronger than you know. We all are. I want readers to remember that, especially my younger readers. Sometimes things can seem so insurmountable, but you can get through it and you will get through it.
As King Thomas said ~ You may not seek your destiny, but it will always find you.
If you haven’t yet read the Storyteller books, you can find them here. You’ve still got time to read the first two before the last one comes out! Enjoy~

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October 23 ~ My 13 Stories 'til Halloween Entry

Pike wiped the blood from his hands and started for home. He ignored the pinch of his boots, which were a might too small. It did little to help his somber mood. The trees hung heavy with rain, their dead leaves littering the cobblestone pavement, blown there by a cold, gusty wind. The flames in the streetlamps had long since been extinguished by the storm. Pike found his way by habit, having been down this winding lane many times. He walked along an overgrown hedge, taking care not to brush against it, although he couldn’t have been any wetter.
Pike thought his eyes saw things scurry into the shrubs, creatures that had no business being there. He cast about on both sides, trying desperately to see through the darkness. He saw sinister shapes and form and dissolve into the black, never becoming clear enough to seem real. He paused, unsure if he should go any further. He strained to make out the sounds of animals, something alive other than himself. The rain drowned out any other noise, but the feeling of not being quite alone remained.
Pike took a deep breath and trudged forward, attracted to the warm glow of a tiny window in the inn just ahead. Once there, he pounded his fist on the door several times. The door was locked.
“Who’s there?” came a soft voice.
“It’s Pike. For the love of God, open up!”
After the click of several bolts, the door swung open. A pudgy, round woman hid behind the door, peering out into the night with huge eyes.
“Come in, Mr. Pike. Quickly.”
Pike did so, peeling off his soaked overcoat and warming himself by the crackling fire in the hearth. He nodded to the only other customer, a man he knew as Mr. Dunforth. Dunforth was a spindly, impossibly thin person with a sharpness about him that Pike never cared for.
“What a wretched night,” the barmaid fretted while she did up all the locks again.
“Closing early, aren’t you?”
“Haven’t you heard?” asked the thin man at the bar.
“Heard what?”
“They say there’s a werewolf about,” said the barmaid in a hushed whisper.
“A werewolf? Here?”
Pike took his usual spot at the far end of the bar and was served a frothy ale without even asking for it. He took a long swig on the pint and wiped his upper lip on his sleeve.
“I haven’t seen anything like that since I was in India,” he said.
“You’ve traveled to India?” asked the barmaid, hopeful for a change in subject.
“Aye, in Her Majesty’s Service. Four long years.”
“What was it like?”
“Bloody hot. Even wetter than here. The jungles had more creatures of the night than you could shake a stick at.”
“Vampires and the like?”
“Some natural, some not. All terrible.” Pike took another long drink of ale.
“Mr. Wiggins lost half a flock of sheep to something last night. Tore them to shreds. Could only be wolves,” said the barmaid.
“Or werewolves,” said the thin man.
“There are worse things than werewolves,” said Pike with a laugh. “I’ve seen things that would curl your hair, Dunforth. All ten of them!” The bony man scowled and smoothed back his thinning hair with one hand.
“Such as?” He dared Pike with a smirk.
“I’ve seen snakes as big around as your pointy head. Swallow you whole, they would. And tigers. Oh, the tigers are the worst. Sly, cunning creatures. Deadly smart. Sneak up on you and kill you just for looking sideways at them.”
“Just a dumb animal,” muttered Dunforth, sipping his own ale. “You can kill any animal with a gun.”
“Not the Sakra. I saw one once. That’s not a tale many live to tell.”
The plump woman leaned in close to hear Pike’s gravelly voice.
“A Sakra?”
“No beast is more feared in all of India. Its half tiger, half man.”
“And you saw one?” Dunforth scoffed.
“I did indeed. How do you think I got this?” Pike removed his hat for the first time and pulled back his loose gray hair to show a set of parallel scars that ran from his ear to his throat. The barmaid gasped.
“I was on the night patrol in a village much like this one. Something had been terrorizing the locals, carrying off their chickens, slaughter their beloved cows. The sergeant told me to keep any eye out for marauding dogs, but it was much worse than that.”
Even Dunforth couldn’t keep from watching Pike reliving the tale, his piercing green eyes taking on an almost fiery glow in the dim light.
“It was hot there, even at night, and the sweat was pouring off me when I heard a woman’s scream, way off down the street. I ran as quick as I could and when I got there, I saw something that’s haunted me for the rest of me days.”
“What was it?” asked the barmaid. Completely engrossed, she absentmindedly wiped down the bar with a rag, not realizing that she had done it twice already.
“A tiger that stood like a man, dragging the bloody corpse of a young woman with one hand.”
“Don’t you mean paw?” corrected Dunforth.
“Maybe he had her in his jaws? At any rate, he climbed down from a balcony nimble as a cat, but when he jumped to the street, he landed on two legs like a man. He saw me, my rifle aimed right straight at his black heart, and screamed like a wild animal. His fangs and claws were dripping with blood, so fresh was its kill.” Pike violently grasped the air, as if to show how the Sakra’s claws reached for him.
“Did you shoot it?
“I tried, but the rifle jammed. The beast attacked me before I could run.” Dunforth snorted.
“If it was so deadly, why aren’t you dead now?”
“I would be if the Sakra hadn’t had something else in mind for me.”
“Oh, now they think? What utter rot!” Dunforth laughed, but it sounded more like a man trying to tame his own fear.
“I said they were cunning, didn’t I?” Pike finished his ale with one last gulp.
“Yes, indeed you did.” Dunforth stood up and slapped a coin on the bar. “I believe I have better things to do than sit here and listen to this nonsense. May I have a room, please?”
“Certainly,” said the barmaid.
“Don’t want to brave the dark, Mr. Dunforth?” teased Pike.
“It’s too far in this storm. I’ll catch me death on a night like this.”
“Perhaps the Sakra has other plans for you as well?”
“What? There’s no such thing,” Dunforth sputtered, clearly annoyed.
“Of course there is.” Pike smiled, revealing a row of sharp ivory teeth belonging more to an animal than a man. The barmaid, who had been retrieving a room key from a drawer, looked up to see the form of Pike grow into that of a snarling orange beast, all fangs and claws and roar. Her gurgling scream was the last thing Dunforth ever heard.


If you enjoy scary flash fiction, be sure the visit the 13 Stories 'till Halloween blog for more!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October 22~ Twitter as a Marketing Tool for Writers

Twitter is one of my favorite pass times, a.k.a. my favorite internet time suck. Some people don’t get it. I didn’t at first myself. I was following celebrities and news channels and it was BORING advertising. I left my account idle for probably a year before I came back to it, determined to try again. It wasn’t until I started making actual friends on Twitter that I enjoyed it. And no, celebrities don’t want to be your friend or follow you.
I saw a lot of people advertising their books on Twitter and I still do. I even do it myself, but I’m willing to bet I actually get very few book sales as a result. I still think Twitter is valuable to writers though and here’s why. The benefit is more indirect and maybe not as easily teased out.
I’ve met friends and writers on Twitter that have supported me when no one else would. I live in a rural area with no writer’s groups or potential critique partners close by, so tapping into the writer’s community on Twitter has been invaluable. Some folks I’ve met directly on Twitter, but others I’ve met elsewhere and found later on Twitter. I’ve met writers, agents, and editors there.
I’ve met small press publishers directly on Twitter, or indirectly through Twitter, that I never would have met in person. Some of those small presses ended up publishing my work. Hush Puppy was requested by an editor at Featherweight Press after I took part in an online pitch event organized by some romance writers I saw advertised on Twitter. I had been submitting the book the traditional way (query) to agents without any luck, but the pitch event gave me the chance to have an online dialog with the editor and really discuss the project in more detail.  This year, I took part in another online pitch event directly on Twitter, and was able to make a deal on another manuscript to be published by Month9Books in 2015. So basically, I owe Twitter a lot.
With regards to marketing the book, it’s been a little more difficult to see a direct benefit from Twitter, i.e. actual sales. I’ve been able to connect with some really great bloggers via Twitter, some of whom have provided very kind reviews for which I’m eternally grateful. It’s too early to tell, but those reviews may turn out to be what sells books.  I think more than anything, books sell by word of mouth and that’s a slow process without a giant marketing machine behind you, but with every good review, the ball gets rolling a little more and more. We’ll see how it goes. 
For now, I’d say the real benefit of Twitter to me is having a supportive community/network of like-minded individuals who cheer you on, celebrate your successes, and pick you up when you’re down. I’d recommend it to any writer. What do you think of Twitter? What have your experiences been? I’d like to know.

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21 ~ Book Review of Crossing by Andrew Xia Fukuda

Today, I'm posting my original review of Crossing by Andrew Xia Fukuda.  It's a little brief, so I'll add some commentary at the end.  It's a thriller, so I felt like I couldn't really reveal anything in the review.  Here's what I originally wrote right after finishing the book:

There are only a few things I can say about this book without ruining it, but here are the few things I will say.

1) OMFG!!! And that means a lot, coming from me because I rarely swear. You totally got me, Mr. Fukuda. Hats off to you!

2) A murder mystery with a laser beam focus on race and racism. If you read it, be prepared to have your heart ripped out at the end.

3) READ IT!!

That's it.

Ok, I realize that's not much to go on, so let me tell you a little more.  I think it's clear Mr. Fukuda wrote this book in response to the Virginia Tech shooting. If you recall, the shooter was an Asian-American man, and severely disturbed. Fukuda's book illuminates for the reader how such a thing may have happened with a murder mystery plot centered on an Asian immigrant high school student.  He makes you care deeply for the character and then something terrible happens. It is not a happy book, but it's an honest look at the ugly side of racism and mental illness in America. I think if you are interested in multicultural fiction, this book shouldn't be missed.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

October 20 ~ Another Milestone Reached

Well, Saturday behind us, I can now say I've had a real book signing in a real bookstore.  (My first signing was a bust because the store didn't receive the copies in time.)  Here's the pic to prove it...

That's my Hannah, who wandered the store, perusing manga books to buy, pestering strangers to check out my book, and bugging me for Starbuck's frappachinos. She's great support.  And then there's my super fan!

Obviously, she's a dear friend of mine, pictured here with four of the five copies she bought as gifts. She makes my day every time I see her.
Probably my favorite person of the day was the six year old girl that stopped by, not to look at the book, but to ask where the bathroom was. What a cutie!  I gave her bookmark. And then there was the lady who asked me all about writing children's books and getting published, but didn't buy a book. Oops! That's ok. The book isn't for everyone. I'll just say my favorite authors are the ones who support other authors. Have a lovely Sunday~ I hope you have time to pick up a book. :)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

October 19 ~ Only 13 days left!

Today marks 13 days 'til Halloween and 13 days left in the 31 day blog challenge. This month is zooming by and NaNoWriMo approaches quickly!

For those of you who may not know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, in which a number of deluded people try to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. I, myself, have never been able to complete the task, but I always make it a point to try to write as much as possible every day during NaNoWriMo. I think its an admirable goal. If a person had no job or children or any other personal obligations, they could probably pull it off.

I've never formally signed up for NaNoWriMo either, but every day in November, I wake up and I think "It's NaNoWriMo!" In 2011, I started the month with a good outline in hand. A year and a half later, I finished that book and sold it to Month9Books! That's how long I can take to get things done.

This year, because I have no outline prepared, I intend to do a NaNo-Re-WriMo. I have a draft novel that's been sitting around, waiting for revisions for a very long time. It just kept getting pushed down the to-do list because I had to edit Hush Puppy and various other projects. Now, this November, I've resolved to finally get 'er done! And if I pull it off, I will be satisfied with my NaNo effort for this year. Needless to say, I won't be blogging too much in November.

Got a couple of book signings going on - one today and another one in Boise on Nov. 9 at Rediscovered Books.  I'm working on a few other stores, so we'll see what we get. Wish me luck today!

Now, without further adieu, click HERE to read the first story on the 13 Stories 'til Halloween web page.  I have no idea when my story will be posted, as the order is a secret, so check back often until Halloween!

Friday, October 18, 2013

TGIF October 18 ~

Whew!  I have been all over the internet this week!  There's been so much going on, I haven't had enough blog time to tell you about all of it.

If you missed it, I was over at Debbie's website for Teen Read Week. There's a giveaway drawing for a free e-copy of each of my books, so you might want to enter, but you better hurry. I think the rafflecopter ends today.

I was also over at Mindy's web page doing another author interview.  If you aren't already sick of hearing about me or my book (I know, right?) you might want to check that out.

Tomorrow is going to be an exciting day for me. It's my first real book signing in Twin Falls, Idaho, at the Barnes and Noble.  Never really done one before, so I'll let you know how it goes. I'm signing copies of Hush Puppy, but secretly I'll be promoting the Storyteller series too. The third book is nearly edited and ready for formatting. I'll let you know when it's published, hopefully by Thanksgiving. (I'm handing out bookmarks with my URL.)

Also on Saturday is the start of the 13 Stories til Halloween event. Me and a dozen other writers wrote spooky stories to celebrate All Hallow's Eve. Starting Saturday, they'll publish one each day until Halloween.  Don't worry. I'll post you a link so you can check it out.

On Sunday, I think I'll sleep all day. Take care peeps~

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Christmas in October ~ Fantasy Short Story Treat for You

This is my entry for the Merry Minion Christmas Anthology - a 1,000 word short fantasy story. I'm sorry it's so short, but those were the rules. It could have easily been longer. In fact, I had serious doubts I would get in under 1,000 words!  I hope you enjoy it~

Title: Spell Spinner Christmas

Author: Lisa T. Cresswell

Ebook: yes

Lindy slipped on the icy pavement and crashed headlong into the cobblestones. The boys surrounded her, still panting from the chase. They waited for Ticker to catch up, unsure what to do with her. Lindy really didn’t want to wait around for him. She tried to ignore the stars clouding her vision and the overwhelming pain in her temple. Struggling to stand, Lindy saw the world whirling around her; the wharf, the dirty alley, and the curious collection of ugly street urchins. Ugliest of all, Ticker stepped up and grabbed her by the coat.

“Where’s my money, thief?” he shouted, loud enough to hurt Lindy’s ears.

“I never took your stupid money!”

Ticker rifled through the pockets of Lindy’s jacket.

“Ha! That’s a laugh. You’ve been a thief since the day you were born. What’s this?” he said, pulling a long golden chain out of Lindy’s blouse. A large pendant dangled on the end of the necklace.

“No!” she cried, as he yanked the chain hard enough to break it. He threw the bauble on the pavement and smashed it beneath the heel of his boot.

“Maybe you’ll think before you steal from me again, wench,” spat Ticker.

A fiery rocket screamed by Ticker’s head and exploded with a loud pop behind them. Fireworks. Lindy had seen them once at the fair. High above them, another fuse was lit. Lindy gazed up at the Chinese airjunk moored at the dock. Someone on the junk, a black-haired Asian boy about Lindy’s age, released another rocket. It zipped through the pack of boys, scattering them like rats.

“What are you doing, you crazy Chinaman?” demanded Ticker.

The boy on the junk leaned over the railing, waving another lit rocket.

“I’m blind as a bat so you’d better shove off!”

“He’s bleeding bonkers!” yelled Ticker as he dodged another explosion and ran off after his friends.

The boy on the junk cocked his head, listening to the sound of their fading footfalls. He grabbed a rope and swung down to the wharf where Lindy was picking up the pieces of the crushed pendant.

“Ruined…it’s all ruined,” she muttered, searching the cracks in the cobbles for all the bits.

“What’s ruined?”

“Me mum’s spell spinner. She needs it. I dunno where I’m gonna find a new one.”

“Maybe I can fix it?”

“But, you said you were blind?”

 The boy laughed.

 “I’m blind, not completely useless. Let me have it.”

 He stripped off his fingerless gloves and held out his hands, waiting. His almond-shaped eyes stared off into nothing.

 “It’s pretty bad,” she said, looking at the crushed metal bits in her hand.

 “You’re in luck. I specialize in ‘pretty bad’. C’mon.”

 Lindy poured the remnants into his outstretched hands. He felt each piece carefully, assessing the damage.

 “It’s supposed to go together like this,” said Lindy, showing him how the pieces fit in his hand.

 “That part is certainly broken, but I have something we can use instead. Come aboard and I’ll fix it.”

 “Um,” Lindy hesitated. “We haven’t properly met. I’m Lindy Wainswright from Piccadilly.”

 “Chang Peko from the South China Sea. Call me Peko.”

 “Nobody comes from the sea, except fish and mermaids,” teased Lindy.

 “Don’t tell my uncle that. We’re traders. We’ve traveled all over. Are you coming?” Peko climbed the rope ladder onto the junk, the spinner parts clutched tight in his fist.

 “I’m not sure if I should.”

 “Are you really a thief?”

 “I prefer the term ‘wealth liberator’,” said Lindy as she cleaned the mud off her leggings and straightened her jacket. Peko smiled.

 “Well, come back tomorrow and I’ll have it ready for you.”

 “All right,” said Lindy, already feeling a little remorseful she hadn’t climbed aboard. “See you tomorrow…Peko?”


 “Thanks for helping me out, with Ticker and all.”

 “It was my pleasure,” said Peko with a bow.

Lindy hurried home as tiny flakes of snow started to fall. Tomorrow was Christmas. She hoped her mother wouldn’t notice the missing spinner.

The next day Lindy returned to the wharf to see Peko helping several other men loading cargo on the junk. She snuck up behind him and waited until he was alone. She thought she had fooled him, but he spoke first.

“Hello, Lindy. I’ve got your spinner fixed.”

 “How did you know it was me?”

“Your footsteps are hesitant, like a bird about to flee,” he said. “Oh, Merry Christmas.”

Peko had rethreaded the spinner on its chain and now wore it around his neck. He lifted it over his head and handed it to her. She looked it over.

 “It’s perfect,” murmured Lindy in wonder.

 “What’s it for?”

“It makes magic. Want to see?” she said before she caught herself.

 “Yes,” he said, looking toward her without focusing on her face.

 “I brought you something to say ‘thank you’.”

 “What is it?”

 “I nicked it from the Professor,” she said, digging a small box out of her rucksack.

“Lindy, you really shouldn’t ...”

 “I know Peko, but I wanted you to see London just once. I’ll take them back when you’re done.”

 “What are they?” he asked, as she opened the box.

 “Spectacles. Put them on.”

 Lindy handed him a contraption consisting of several lenses on what appeared to be a pair of eye-sized telescopes.

 “Spectacles don’t work for me.”

 “Shh, just do as I say.” Lindy twisted the spinner and let it fly into the air over Peko’s head where it hovered, showering him with a golden light.

 “When you help others, your dreams will always come true,” she whispered to Peko. The lenses on the spectacles began moving and rearranging themselves, trying one combination, then another. Suddenly, Peko caught his breath in shock.

 “I can see! I see you!” he gasped.

 Tears leaked from Peko’s eyes behind the spectacles, down his cheeks.

 “C’mon, Peko. Let’s go see London,” said Lindy, taking his hand with a smile. “Merry Christmas.”

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

#TeenReadWeek with #UncommonYA Author Eric Devine

High School Seniors' YouTube stunts result in pressure cooker payoffs: DARE ME by Eric Devine

Opening paragraph of Dare Me:
There is no doubt that one of us will die. I’m not hoping for it, just considering the probability: three of us, ten stunts, each “death defying.” At least that’s the plan: spend senior year completing one dare a month. Why? So we’re legends by the end.


When Ben Candido and his friends, Ricky and John, decide to post a YouTube video of themselves surfing on top of a car, they finally feel like the somebodies they are meant to be instead of the social nobodies that they are. Overnight, the video becomes the talk of the school, and the boys are sure that their self-appointed senior year of dares will live in infamy. Every dare brings an increased risk of bodily harm, but Ben cannot deny the thrill and sense of swagger that come with it. The stakes become even more complex when a mysterious donor bankrolls their dares in exchange for a cut in the online revenue the videos generate. But at what point do the risk and the reward come at too high of a price? What does it take to stay true to one’s self in the face of relentless pressure?

Editorial Reviews: 
From Booklist This follow-up to Tap Out (2012) should further establish Devine as a go-to author for gritty stories about guys fighting on the fringe. It begins as “the best senior prank ever”: 10 months of dangerous dares uploaded to YouTube and performed anonymously by 17-year-old Ben and his buddies John and Ricky. But after their first stunt—car surfing—goes viral, a mysterious businessman offers them a contract to increase the danger of each dare in return for $1 per page view. Right away a stunt goes bad, but leader Ricky won’t let the other two back out. If they do, they will have to return the cash, which each of them desperately needs. Add in a side story about a girl Ben likes who is suffering physical abuse and you have a boa constrictor of a plot that squeezes the protagonist to wild, desperate ends. Certain arguments and discussions do get repeated (someone should read that contract!), but that takes little away from Devine’s wonderfully inarticulate characters and subtle insight into our culture of quick but damaging fame. Grades 9-12.

--Daniel Kraus


"Though sometimes the emotional intensity is discomforting, it has sweet parts that keep the reader smiling."

Publishers Weekly

"In a culture where online audiences are always ready for the must-see link of the moment and corporations are eager to capitalize on user-generated content, Devine’s story takes on a chilling reality...An adrenaline-inducing read about teens getting in over their heads as they try to make something of themselves."

Kirkus Reviews

“Devine’s examination of the teenage boy’s need for adrenaline is admirably complex . . . Astute and riveting.”


Purchase Dare Me:


Barnes and Noble



Find out more about Eric Devine:




Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 15 ~ Teen Blog Hop Week

"Teleportation in the rain" - Why I write for Teenagers

By Tim Flanagan
Writing for teenagers is refreshing!

It provides me, as a writer, with a lot more freedom to write ideas and possibilities than I could ever get away with in an adult book. Teenagers are much more likely to accept things that an adult’s methodical and scientific brain would be closed off to. With children there is no ‘that’s not possible,’ or ‘he wouldn’t do that,’ or ‘because of the erratic nature of ions it would not be physically possible for teleportation to occur when it rains.’

 As a teen I read loads of books. I read whatever I could get my hands on. I particularly loved to read comics – they were pure imagination and fantasy. It was an exciting moment for me when I would visit the local Virgin Megastore and buy a DC Comic. I always went for the ones in plastic covers, so that I could keep them in perfect condition. Other things I read – Sherlock Holmes, Action Man and the odd Dragonlance book.

 But, despite reading loads, my English teacher had a problem with me.

 When I was about 14 years old my English teacher said that I could never compose complete sentences, so being a stubborn person, I set out to prove him wrong. I remember sitting in my bedroom spending ages writing the greatest piece of descriptive work I possibly could about a tree. Yes, you read it right - a tree. The thesaurus had never been used so much! But the important thing was that I went back over the 500 word piece of writing and edited it several times, joining the short sentences together to improve it. I realized that I couldn’t write as fast as my brain worked, so editing and rewriting were vital if I wanted to improve the structure and flow of my work.

The next piece I wrote was a fantasy story that ended up being a lot longer than was required (don’t they always!). After I had handed in the masterpiece I had called ‘The Citadel’ (together with an artistically drawn front cover) the English teacher stopped me in the corridor as I was going for my lunch break and asked if I had really written it. He then gave me the highest mark possible for it and from then on we seemed to have a reasonable appreciation of each other.

It was quite some time later when I went back to fantasy novels. After university I wrote a couple of medical textbooks, but let’s be honest, they’re pretty boring. For my own pleasure I had continued to write many different things including an Agatha Christie-style whodunit, as well as a rather depressing story that was supposed to be a love story, but many of them still sit unfinished in a folder. One of the reasons I think I got bored with them was because they were restricting in many ways for me as the writer.

Things changed for me one morning in the bathroom two years ago when my son James and I came up with the idea for The Moon Stealers. He was only 9 years old at the time. We were getting ready to go out and he asked me to tell him a story. I plucked the name The Moon Stealers out of thin air and by the time we had finished getting ready we had the whole idea for the story mapped out.

James wanted to draw some pictures based on the story, so I started writing some bits down, but I soon realized it was going to be much longer than a few pages. Throughout the entire process of writing the books, he still goes through every chapter I write with a pencil, looking for errors or making suggestions. He loves the fact that he gets to read them before anyone else in the whole world. It’s even given him some additional ‘street cred’ at school!

 They always say that a writer should write what they know, but I don’t totally agree with that. You should write what you enjoy. Writing for teenagers takes me back to my childhood. It awakens the excitement I used to get from the comics I read or the tingles I felt when I heard the first chord of the Star Wars theme tune. To a child anything is possible. And, as a writer, that’s exciting.

 Writing is inspiring. Children are refreshing. Freedom to write what you want is liberating.

 Sentences are sometimes short.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Tim’s Links




Join Email list


5 sets of all 3 Kindle ebooks in The Moon Stealer series.

The series starts when a meteorite containing an alien bacteria lands on earth. This bacteria evolves into something that is deadly to the human race and very quickly puts our future survival into question. The overall story is one of survival and the human spirit, and is taken from two different points of view - adults who look for a scientific solution to the problem and children who take a more magic view. The story includes elements of ancient myths and legends that are rooted deep in the English history and culture, including King Arthur, Witches and Faeries.

The fourth and final book in the series is due for release at the end of 2013.

TheMoon Stealers and the Quest for the Silver Bough (Book 1)
 TheMoon Stealers and the Queen of the Underworld (Book 2)
 TheMoon Stealers and the Everlasting Night (Book 3)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


At some point in Tim’s childhood, he was abducted by aliens and sent on a voyage of knowledge and discovery across the universe. As an adult, persistent memories of new worlds, dragons and other creatures desperately tried to break out, so he began writing. He has successfully infiltrated the humans and hides behind the fa├žade known as a family. He learns from his children, but is regularly told to stop acting like a child by his wife. Naturally shy and unsociable by nature, he prefers to be around old books, bonsai and art. He likes to catch up with old acquaintances on Tatooine, Westeros and Middle Earth. Tim's galactic mission is to translate his brain activity into a language that inspires and entertains you, transports you to different worlds and grants you an audience with the characters you have dreamt about, but never dared to remember. All of this in an attempt to redeem himself with his childhood alien abductors and travel the stars once more.

Current projects he is working on:

The Curious Disappearance of Professor Brown (humorous detective story + illustrations) - release 15 November 2013

Book 4 in the Moon Stealers series - release December 2013

Then for 2014:

YA Futuristic London Underground story + illustrations
YA London Dragon book set in 1600's
(Possible) 2nd detective story + illustrations
Marketing for Authors - resource directory
Omnibus edition of all 4 Moon Stealer books, plus extra info, maps and appendices
2nd Edition of a Medical Textbook (Update from one I wrote in 2007)

Phew! - think that’s everything! 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Missy Ames Blog Stop # 8 on the Hush Puppy Tour

Missy wrote Hush Puppy the most wonderful review on Goodreads and Amazon.  We've never actually met outside the Lair of the Dark Fairy Queen on Facebook, so I'm fairly certain hers is an unbiased review. 

Either way, it really made my day to hear a parent say they would let their child read my book.  That's what it's all about, right?

Hop on over to Missy's blog and check out her review. There's lots of fun things over there, so enjoy~

Sunday, October 13, 2013

October 13~ Inspiring Teens Blog Hop to Celebrate Teen Read Week

Tomorrow is the start of the week-long Inspiring Teens Blog Hop, organized by Greta Burroughs and Vickie Johnstone. They're bringing you 6 days of books and giveaways! I'll be participating by hosting a young adult author here Wednesday and being hosted on Debbie's blog on Tuesday.

Main page for the hop -

The blog hop coincides with Teen Read Week 2013, which aims to get teenagers reading! We hope to bring you a fun week in which you can meet writers and win their books, and enter a competition to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

- Check the schedule below for dates and author appearances plus giveaways.

- There are 35 authors of middle-grade and YA books and 27 bloggers taking part, so that's 35 fantastic giveaways! Most of the bloggers are also writers. 

- There is a writing contest on Wendy's blog on the Tuesday with a prize to win.

- You can win a $10 Amazon gift card - there will be two winners - on the main hop site:

Good luck with winning prizes and we hope you have fun!


Monday, October 14

Blogger – Kate Bainbridge -
Author - Vickie Johnstone

Blogger - Sharon Ledwith -
Author - Jennifer Loiske

Blogger - Armen Pogharian -
Author - Ey Wade

Blogger – Candice Conway Simpson -
Author - Sharon Rose Mayes

Blogger - Cedar Sanderson -
Author - Kim Mutch Emerson

Blogger – Maria Savva –
Author – Ed Drury

Tuesday, October 15 

Blogger - Kate Bainbridge -
Author - Greta Burroughs

Blogger - Jennifer Loiske -
Author - Cedar Sanderson

Blogger – Lisa Cresswell -
Author - Tim Flanagan

Blogger - Debra J Jameson Smith -
Author - Sharon Ledwith

Blogger - David Lowbridge -
Author - Amanda Haulk Taylor

Writing Contest at 
7.45-8.45pm CST / 12.30am GMT
Blogger - Wendy Strain -
Starring author Greta Burroughs
This is a five-minute fiction contest open to everyone. Please join in. The task is to write a short story using a prompt provided by Greta. A prize will be awarded to the winner. It's a lot of fun and an exciting way to show off your skills at writing.

Wednesday, October 16 

Blogger - Kate Bainbridge -
Author - Debbie Manber Kupfer

Blogger – Maria Savva -
Author - Linda Deane

Blogger – Debbie Manber Kupfer -
Author - Lisa Cresswell

Blogger - Ey Wade -
Author - Armen Pogharian

Blogger – David Lowbridge -
Author - Dianne Gardner

Blogger - Robert DeBurgh -
Author - Christine Hughes

Thursday, October 17 

Blogger - Kate Bainbridge -
Author - Hugo Jackson

Blogger - Vickie Johnstone -
Author  - Paul Plunkett

Blogger - Kim Mutch Emerson -
Author - Donna Dillon

Blogger - Karen Pokraz Toz -
Author - JR Simmons

Blogger - David Lowbridge -
Author - Saoirse O'Mara

Blogger - Brenda Perlin -
Author - Charlotte Blackwell

Friday, October 18

Blogger - Kate Bainbridge -
Author - Tianna Scott

Blogger – Tim Flanagan -
Author - Catherine Stovall

Blogger – Sharon Rose Mayes –
Author - Wendy Siefken

Blogger – Cassie McCown -
Author - Alan Tucker

Blogger – David Lowbridge -
Author - Michael Chulsky

 Blogger – Wendy Siefken -
Author - Juli Caldwell

Saturday, October 19 

Blogger – Robbie Cox -
Author - Debra J. Smith

Blogger – Jonathan Gould -
Author – Sibel Hodge

Blogger - Greta Burroughs -
Author - Chris Baker

Blogger – Cassy Wood & 
Alex Harrington
Author - Vicki Kinnaird 

Thanks to all authors and bloggers, and all of you for reading... :) 
We hope to see you on the hop!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

October 12 ~ Rites of Fall

I've been quite today, I know. I'm trying to kick a nasty sinus cold that's stolen my voice.  I did finally get the last of my flower bulbs planted. With any luck, my flower beds will look like this next spring.

Just add a few weeds and quack grass, and you'll just about have it right. We grow industrial strength weeds in Idaho.

I did manage to finish a rough draft of my steampunk Christmas story.  It's marinating in the back of my hard drive right now. I have until October 28 to get it posted, so I'm letting it sit for a bit before I finalize it.  I'm semi-satisfied with it.  The 1,000 word limit required me to cut quite a bit of dialog and description that I liked, so I wasn't too pleased about that, but oh well.  Like many of my flash stories, it could actually be the premise for a longer story in the future.

My daughter went with a friend's family to the Haunted Mansions of Albion tonight. She was getting all worked up by watching shows on television about the country's worst haunted house attractions. Oh man.  I hope she's up for it. It looks pretty awful. Glad I'm not going!  Take care~

Friday, October 11, 2013

My Meet the Characters Blogfest Entry

Corrine is my entry for the "Feistiest Girl" character on the Meet the Characters Blogfest today.  Hop on over there and VOTE for her!

You'll be my best friend forever :)