Category Archives: Young Adult

Invisible by Jeanne Bannon

As a special part of Jeanne’s tour, Invisible is available for $0.99 at Amazon.com and Smashwords from December 5th to 16th!

Invisible Banner

Join Jeanne Bannon, author of the YA novel Invisible as she virtually tours the blogosphere in December 2011 on her first tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About Jeanne Bannon

Jeanne (small pic)Jeanne Bannon has worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years. She began her career as a freelance journalist, then worked as an in-house editor for LexisNexis Canada. Jeanne currently works as a freelance editor and writer.

Jeanne’s had several short stories published and won first place in the Writes of Caledon Short Story Contest. Her novels, The Barely Boy and Dark Angel were finalists in the 2010 and 2011 Strongest Start Contests. Another of her short stories “Thom’s Journey” is part of an Anthology entitled A Visitor to Sandahl and is available at Amazon.com.

Invisible, Jeanne’s debut novel, is about a teenage girl who isn’t happy with herself and wishes she could disappear. And one day she does. Invisible is available on Amazon, Smashwords, and the Solstice Publishing website.

When not reading or writing, Jeanne enjoy being with her daughters, Nina and Sara and her husband, David. She’s also the proud mother of two fur babies, a sweet Miniature Schnauzer named Emily and Spencer, a rambunctious tabby, who can be a very bad boy.

To learn more about Jeanne, visit her at her website www.jeannebannon.com

You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter

About Invisible

InvisibleLola’s not pretty. Lola’s not popular. Lola wishes she could disappear … and then one day she does just that…

For seventeen-year-old Lola Savullo, life is a struggle. Born to funky parents who are more in than she could ever be, Lola’s dream of becoming a writer makes her an outsider even in her own home. Bullied and despised, Lola still has the support of her best pal Charlie and Grandma Rose.

Not only is she freakishly tall, Lola’s a big girl and when forced to wear a bathing suit at her summer job as a camp counselor, Lola’s only escape from deep embarrassment seems to be to literally vanish. Soon after, she discovers the roots of her new “ability”.

Slowly, with Charlie’s help, Lola learns to control the new super power. The possibilities are endless. Yet power can be abused, too…

Then, when tragedy strikes, Lola must summon her inner strength, both at home and at school. She has to stand up for herself, despite the temptations and possibilities of her newfound super power.

A coming-of-age story that will warm the heart.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter Three

I always leave Grandma Rose’s apartment with a smile on my face and an ache in my heart. I wish my mother were like her. How lucky for my mom to have such a wonderful, almost normal, mother. I’m stuck with a parent in an ever-present state of adolescence, whose life’s mission is to desperately hang onto what’s left of her looks. My mom, with her rat’s nest of hair stacked high on her head, dyed cherry red with chunky blonde highlights and dark brown lowlights, and extensions thrown in for good measure. A woman can’t ever have too much hair, she’s forever saying. Giving me her version of what passes as parental advice. I prefer Gran’s words of wisdom – “extensions make a woman look trampy” and “dye your hair only when the white comes in.” It seems more dignified, because I think a woman can have too much hair.

Dad’s just as bad, with his funky jeans, Ed Hardy T-shirts, pointy-toed boots, pierced ears, tattoos and a soul patch. He’s going to be fifty next year, for God’s sake. The thought makes me cringe. I live with dim-witted middle-aged teenagers.

Gran tells me all the time it’s not what’s on the outside that’s important and I know she’s right. I suppose I’m a bit of a hypocrite, since I’m always complaining about my weight or my height, or the fact I don’t have a boyfriend. But I’m supposed to be obsessed with fitting in and with my looks; after all, I’m the teenager.

It’s only a ten-minute walk home from Gran’s. I tilt my face toward the sun, soaking in the warmth of the spring day as I make my way along familiar streets. When I approach the park on the corners of Whiteside Avenue and Moorehouse Drive, I stop dead. Sudden dread causes the beat of blood to fill my ears.

There are three boys and a girl – Nino Campese, Tyler Campbell, his girlfriend Julia and Jon Kingsbury. They’re seniors like me and even though we’ve known each other since kindergarten, once adolescence hit and separated the weak from the strong, the cool from the nerd, I became prey. I was hunted by those better looking, and with more attitude, simply for their entertainment.

I plunge my hands into the pockets of my jean jacket and hang my head. Taking large quick steps, I tread quietly. They’re talking and laughing and the foul scent of cigarette smoke wafts past me in the breeze. From the corner of my eye, I spot Julia and Tyler sharing a butt as they cling together under the large plastic orange slide. Nino’s holding court and Tyler’s laughing at something Nino has said and Jon, well Jon just stands there, looking bored.

Why is he with them? My heart sinks. I thought Jon was different.

Tyler’s eyes flicker my way; immediately I pick up my pace.

“Hey!” someone yells.

I don’t answer.

“Where do you think you’re goin’, ya fat cow?” Nino hollers, as he jogs up beside me followed by Julia and Tyler.

“Home,” I say, not stopping.

Nino jumps into my path. “Where’s your girlfriend, Savullo?” He sneers and spits a snotty gob at my feet.

“Lesbo freak,” Julia chimes in and flicks a butt at my face.

It bounces off my chin with a burning sting. I glare down at her with her hawkish nose and eyes that are too close together. “Get out of my way,” I growl through gritted teeth and try to step around them, but Tyler grabs my elbow, his fingers bite into my flesh and a small groan escapes me.

“We’re not done talkin’ yet, hippo,” he snarls.

I yank free. Tears sting my eyes and the heat of anger and embarrassment reddens my face.

“Leave me alone!” I scream and push. Tyler’s tall, but skinny and I manage to knock him on his ass. But as soon as I take a step, Nino and Julia are on me.

“Leave her alone,” Jon calls. He hung back from the action and is still standing by the orange slide.

I slam a shoulder into Julia’s face and hear a crunch as my bulk meets her nose. Blood spurts and the purple blur of manicured nails flash past, as she whips a hand to her face.

She gazes up at me in surprise. “You broke my nose, you bitch!” Then she looks at Tyler with eyes that say “you better do something about this.”

My heart beats so hard, the swishing of blood in my ears is a roar. They’re swearing, yelling and threatening me, but panic has taken over as adrenaline pushes into my veins, and I make out nothing coherent.

I turn and try to run back the way I’d come. But another hand is on me, biting the flesh of my upper arm through the fabric of my jacket. Then a fist smashes into the back of my head. “You’re nothin’ but a fat dyke.”

My knees smack the gritty concrete as my legs buckle, and deep heaving sobs erupt from me. Why do they hate me?

“Where the hell did she go?” Nino asks, his voice laced with astonishment.

“Holy shit!” Julia and Tyler exclaim at the same time. “What the…?”

Slowly, I pivot and look at them. They’re turning in circles, searching for me.

Jon is with them now. “She’s gone,” he whispers in wide-eyed disbelief.

“What? How?” Nino asks.

I creep away on elastic legs.

What Reviewers Are Saying

This is a great book for teens. The voice and style are perfect for the target audience. As an adult, I enjoyed the story of an overweight girl who learns to love herself, and I was touched by how she came to grips with a totally understandable need for revenge. The story moves along at a good pace, the secondary characters are interesting and believable. The touches of humour were a lot of fun. I think teens with self esteem or body image issues would find this book comforting. Highly recommended.

~Author Sheila Dalton

Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!

In celebration of Jeanne Bannon’s new release, she will be appearing at  Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16.  More than 50 books, gifts and cash awards will be given away including an one paperback and one e- copy of Invisible!  Visit the official party page here!

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Invisible Tour Schedule

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Monday, December 5th
Spotlight at The Plot

Tuesday, December 6th
Character Interview at The Plot

Wednesday, December 7th
Review at Reviews From the Heart

Thursday, December 8th
Guest Post at InkyBlots

Friday, December 9th
Review at In-Interest
Review at Live to Read

Monday, December 12th
Review at WV Stitcher

Tuesday, December 13th
Interview at Pump Up Your Book

Wednesday, December 14th
Review at Review From Here

Thursday, December 15th
Review at Jasmyn’s Reviews

Friday, December 16th
Review at Mad Moose Mama

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Under a Fairy Moon by T.M. Wallace

Under a Fairy Moon

Join T.M. Wallace, author of the YA fantasy novel, Under a Fairy Moon (Brownridge Publishing), as she virtually tours the blogosphere August 1 – September 30 2011 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About T.M. Wallace

T.M. WallaceT. M. Wallace lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and four children. At eight years old, she won a short story contest and was published in a local newspaper. She wrote her first book at ten years old called “The Adventures of Pinkstar,” about a stuffed rabbit who magically comes to life. T. M. Wallace received her Master’s degree in English Literature from Carleton University and a degree in Education from the University of Ottawa. In 2010 her latest book, Under A Fairy Moon, was a quarter-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel awards. Under A Fairy Moon will be published by Brownridge Publishing in June, 2011.

You can visit her website at www.tmwallace.com.

 

Under a Fairy MoonAbout Under a Fairy Moon

If you have been longing for an adventure and your family moves next-door to a beautiful garden full of lush plants and ancient stone, wouldn’t you sneak over to have a look at it – even if it was owned by the neighborhood witch?

Fourteen-year old Addy Marten doesn’t need to think twice: It is only a matter of time before she sets out to explore the garden’s winding paths and especially, the ring of mysterious stone statues that she has glimpsed through her bedroom window. Instead of the enticing hideaway she has imagined, however, she finds herself trapped in another world where she is challenged a game of Fairy Chess – played by real fairy creatures. She must use all her courage and wits to win the game and free herself from these malevolent creatures and their twisted fairy-tale world.

Book Excerpt

The Garden glared at her, green-eyed, from its dark places. Improbable shadows appeared, angular and barbed, in the rocky areas where plants never grew. Even as she dared creep out from behind the living screen of ferns and bramble bushes, Addy knew she wasn’t safe. A part of her still wanted to bolt as fast as she could in the other direction. Instead she stood transfixed, listening to the buzzing of the dragonflies and the steady gushing of the creek over smooth stones.
Addy had never dared to venture this far into the garden before. She found it strangely intoxicating. If she listened closely enough, the sounds of the birds and the creek were underscored by the true voice of the Garden: a deep-water stillness that numbed her fear and lulled her into submission. Draped in the thick foliage, she inched closer to her objective: several rows of stone statues nearly swallowed by ivy and moss. Then, a twig snapped and Addy whirled around suddenly, her skirt flaring out from around her scraped and dirty knees.
For a moment she crouched stone-still in the speckled shadows, her heart pounding, desperately willing herself to become nothing but rock and tree and cold bare earth. Then, only when she had convinced herself that Mrs. Tavish wasn’t lurking nearby, ready to pounce, Addy released her strained muscles and thanked Heaven that she hadn’t been turned into a toad or made into a minced pie – or whatever it was that witches did to fourteen-year old girls who dared trespass in their garden.
Addy relaxed a little, allowing the garden to work its magic. She had only to breathe its heady aromas of jasmine, mint and thyme to be carried away to a different world altogether. The garden might belong to her neighbour, Mrs. Tavish, but it was Addy’s own secret place, a hidden passageway into the fantastic kingdoms she had often read and dreamed about.
Here, she was free to be her own person, without her parents watching and wondering why she wasn’t out trying to make friends, or obsessed about stupid things like hair and make-up and clothes. Here she no longer cared that she was, yet again, the new girl in town. She could forget about that school where she had been Addy-the-Gifted, feeling lonely and awkward. In this magical place, she was whatever she wanted to be. In a beautiful place like this she could be wherever and whatever she imagined.
Today she was Nebetia the Enlightened, Egyptian princess, entering the Hall of Kings after a long absence. Rows of cypress trees became green-cloaked sentries ready to escort her through flower-bed courtyards. Stone statues and topiary, her willing subjects, awaited her wise command. Today she had walked straight-backed through arched trellises dripping in wild grapes and Virginia Creepers to claim her right to the throne.
Yet the long shadows made Addy uneasy, reminding her that this ethereal kingdom was not hers alone. For one thing: the garden was wild – untamed and untameable. The tangled and creeping masses on the fringes loomed up and over the neat little hedgerows like a storm threatening to upturn a village. These dark, secret places lured her with their promise of hidden mysteries, then surprised and wounded her with the prick of stinging nettle claws and barberry teeth.
There was also the problem of Mrs. Tavish, who was a witch. Addy didn’t really believe she was a witch, but she had recently heard a girl call her that: she had been talking to her brother, passing by the garden on the street-side and close enough for Addy to overhear.
“That’s where the witch lives,” said the girl to her pudgy little brother. He had his face full of ice-cream, but he still marked carefully the place where she pointed with his large round eyes.
“You be careful when you walk by here, Justin,” the girl had warned, pulling him away by the collar. “That place is scary. I bet she eats little boys like you for breakfast.”
Addy remembered people talking about another strange old lady in Port Perry where she had lived when she was ten. She had a house full of cats and grew herbs, and some of the kids thought she might be a witch. Was Mrs. Tavish a witch? Addy had often seen her tramping ungracefully around her kingdom of azaleas and primroses in her cotton flowered dresses and oversized black boots. However, Addy didn’t think she looked so much scary as ridiculous. She wondered if a witch would wear a wide-brimmed sun-hat trailing ribbons and lace.
She remembered her mother talking about Mrs. Tavish. She had seemed a little nervous about her, and Addy wasn’t sure she was telling everything she knew about their strange new neighbour.
“I was in town this morning, and the postmaster mentioned we should be very careful not to upset our new neighbour,” her mom had said to her dad a few days after they had moved in to the new house. “She’s a bit eccentric, apparently, and there’s some scandal there, though he didn’t go into details. Something about a lost child – maybe her own. Anyway, she likes to be left alone, so we’ll have to be careful not to bother her.”
Addy had wanted to ask her more about Mrs. Tavish, but she was too comfortable in her place behind the heavy living-room drapes, feeling the cold smoothness of the tiled floor and imagining she was exploring the dark patches in the forest she saw through the sliding glass door. Her father was partly responsible for her day-dreaming. He was playing the piano softly in the background and the music was carrying her thoughts away as it always did, to uncharted lands.
“Hmm … ,” said her father, his practised hands never missing a note, “I like that in a neighbour. People in these country towns can be a bit nosy.”
Just then there had been a knock at the door by the man from the telephone company and there was no more talk about neighbours that day. But Addy’s curiosity about her neighbour’s garden grew steadily stronger and she spent the last of her precious summer days staring longingly out her bedroom window, dreaming about exploring its tangled majesty. Or, if she was outside, she would hang around the edge of their property that bordered Mrs. Tavish’s yard, gathering up her courage to enter the Garden.
Now, having finally stepped inside the Garden’s vast perimeter, Addy brushed these thoughts aside with impatience. She couldn’t let anything distract her from fulfilling her quest. The time had come for Princess Nebetia to lay claim to her kingdom. She walked, poised and alert, past the winding creek, past columns of cedar and willow and through grasping green tunnels of underbrush until she entered the courtyard of statues.
Having made it this far, Addy stretched her arms out wide to the sky, claiming the space as her own. She trembled inside with the thrill of her secret triumph. Then her gaze fell upon her prize: rows of statues half-buried by moss and vines. Greek gods and various mythical creatures stared sternly down at her, their great hulking forms filling much of the sky. The granite statues were of two different colours; some were ash-grey, so dark as to be almost black, others were a brilliant white, sparkling in the sunlight. She noted the giant arms with green-draped sleeves, hands reaching, and fear poked at Addy with long adrenaline fingers.
She stood still for the longest time, aware of the staccato rhythms of her own breath and heartbeat. Then she noticed the white centaur at her elbow, set apart from the others in the shadow of an old oak. She could have sworn he had not been there a moment before. He was made of stone, but Addy thought his eyes looked as soft and real as her own … and they were pleading with her.
She reached out timidly, running her hand over the carved stone. The stone was unyielding and lifeless and reassured her that the horse-man was not real. Her gaze avoided the dark eyes and focused on the fine lines of the horse-hide cut into stone.
“Where did you come from?” she asked softly.
“Enitua-a-a-a” sighed a voice like the wind and the rustling leaves.
“Enitua, Enitua, Enitua-a-a!” echoed the voice as subtle as the shadows.
Addy stared at the centaur, her throat constricting with fear. That disembodied voice … it was impossible, she knew it was, and yet … she could have sworn that the voice was coming from the stone centaur. In fact, as she stared at it, it was seeming more and more real. Did she see those dark eyes move to focus on her? A moment ago, she could have sworn its arms had rested down at its side. Why was one arm now outstretched toward her?
All rational thought left her mind and it was replaced by a paralyzing fear. The world seemed to implode around her. Her fear took on the form of the branches and tangled vines, sprouting grasping hands that pressed in on her head and lungs. Addy collapsed face-down in the soft grass, taking shallow little breaths. As the world slowly returned to normal, Addy tried to tell herself she was simply the victim of an overactive imagination.
“It’s okay: it was only the wind,” she said to herself, hugging her knees and rocking back and forth. That was how she had always calmed herself since she was very little. She would rock back and forth through the long stormy nights, too proud to call out to Mom or Dad and admit she was frightened of anything so silly as a thunderstorm.
It calmed her now, too, but she was still frightened. The voice from the shadows was real, whatever she might tell herself. It was real, and she couldn’t explain it. She had to escape.
The Garden had suddenly become a hostile place, windless and stifling. Addy scrambled to her feet and ran as fast as she could in the direction of her home. When she reached the back door she was relieved, but not nearly as relieved as she should have been. She took a deep steadying breath.
“Get a hold of yourself, Addy,” she said through gritted teeth. The ground began to spin underneath her and she stumbled a bit as she mounted the first step to the screened door.
“Addy? Everything okay?” asked her mother coming up from behind her, gardening tools in hand.
Addy teetered then grabbed for the door handle. “Oh, hi, Mom,” she said, breathless. “You startled me.”
Her mother laughed. “I can tell. You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
Addy couldn’t answer. Her mother had no idea how close that came to the truth.
“I just finished planting the rosebushes back by the tool-shed. Wanna see?”
Addy shook her head slowly. Ordinarily she would have loved to help with the garden, carefully arranging the interesting new annuals her mother had a knack for finding. “I’d really like to Mom, but I think I need to lie down. I – I’ve got a headache.”
Her mother looked concerned. “Again? You’ve been getting a lot of headaches lately. I hope this move hasn’t been too stressful on you, Addy.”
“No, Mom. I’m fine.”
“Really?”
“Really.”
Her mother gave her a hard look, as though she sensed something was wrong. She came up and put her arms around her daughter, giving her a playful squeeze. Addy smelled the scent of lavender that she always associated with her mother.
“I know it’s hard to adjust to a new place, honey, but I think you’ll find that it suits you. Just give it a chance, okay?”
Addy took a breath and smiled weakly. “Okay,” she said, hoping her smile was convincing. Sometimes she felt like her mother could open her mind, dissect her thoughts and lay them out under a microscope. She desperately hoped this was not one of those times.
Addy held the screened door as tightly as she would a life preserver in a stormy ocean. She wanted to be alone, to deal with this in her own way. She knew very well it wasn’t the new place that was tugging at her insides and making her feel sicker by the minute. It was the wild places in Mrs. Tavish’s garden.
When Addy woke up the next day, the word “Enitua” was still sliding around in her brain in time with her father’s rendition of the Midnight Sonata. Had she imagined the voice from the shadows? Now that she was some hours away from it, she was not so sure. Yet, that word – how could she have made it up? Where did it come from? She had certainly never heard it before.
Slipping out of bed, she pressed her nose up against the window pane. Mrs. Tavish was there again, talking to her flowers. It was too far away to see her in much detail, but Addy saw the blazing red pattern of her dress and a bright blue bonnet waving this way and that as she attended to her flower-beds. The sky was threatening rain, and Addy shivered involuntarily. She should not like to visit the Garden in a thunderstorm, that was for sure.
Suddenly Mrs. Tavish did a very strange thing: she stopped talking to her flowers for a moment, straightened up and waved in Addy’s direction. Addy ducked down behind her curtains. Surely Mrs. Tavish couldn’t see her, could she? After a minute she leaned forward every so slightly toward the window to take another peek. She saw with relief that Mrs. Tavish had not been waving to her at all – she was talking to someone – a red-haired boy with moonish glasses and a yellow raincoat.
Addy was once again consumed with curiosity. Mrs. Tavish didn’t like people, yet here she was talking to someone. Quite amiably, too, by the looks of it. She seemed to be showing the boy different plants and he was nodding his head agreeably. Addy stared at them for two whole minutes before they moved off into a shrouded area of the garden.
Addy did not stop to think twice: after she got dressed, she raced downstairs and pulled on her coat and boots and flew out the door. There was a strange boy in her Garden, her own fairy kingdom: what was he doing here, anyway? This foreigner in the hall of kings stoked the anger of the Egyptian princess: a frightening prospect for all involved. Princess Nebetia was prepared to march fearlessly to the heart of the Garden, the very last place Addy wanted to be this early in the morning under threatening skies.
There was a bicycle parked on the edge of Mrs. Tavish’s property that Addy had to assume belonged to the strange boy. She strode past it, wrapping her coat around her like a cape and brandishing a hastily chosen walking-stick. She forgot she was supposed to be afraid of voices from the shadows, or witches in flower-print dresses.
Nebetia’s royal blood raged, and she walked boldly through wooden trellis archways batting away the hanging vines with their little red grapes. She half-tripped over several dozen miscellaneous roots and rocks, but it did not faze her in the least. She was taking a stand: she would not be bullied into submission. She would confront the red-haired interloper and banish him from her kingdom.
Her bravado was short-lived, however, because in the next moment all her thoughts were drowned out by a terrifying sound: a shrill, inhuman scream.

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Under a Fairy Moon Book Publicity Tour Schedule

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books kkMonday, August 1

Read the first chapter at Literarily Speaking

“The Garden glared at her, green-eyed, from its dark places. Improbable shadows appeared, angular and barbed, in the rocky areas where plants never grew. Even as she dared creep out from behind the living screen of ferns and bramble bushes, Addy knew she wasn’t safe. A part of her still wanted to bolt as fast as she could in the other direction. Instead she stood transfixed, listening to the buzzing of the dragonflies and the steady gushing of the creek over smooth stones….”

 

Tuesday, August 2

Book reviewed at Lisa’s Bookworm

“I enjoyed reading this book. It is well written and has vivid imagery. T.M. Wallace was able to capture fairies as the trickster and not always benevolent beings that I like.”

Wednesday, August 3

Interviewed at Examiner

“I did some research on fairy tales around the world (there is a surprising variety of them!) and on the game of chess: I’m just a novice, but my husband plays very well. I also had to research the many kinds of plants that grow in Mrs. Tavish’s garden so that I could describe them in detail. I’m not a very good gardener myself, but maybe someday I’ll be able to grow a beautiful garden like Mrs. Tavish’s, who knows?”

Thursday, August 4

Guest blogging at Mad Moose Mama

“I deal with dragons a lot in my writing. Why is the image of the dragon so captivating? There’s a certain mystique about the beast that defies explanation. There are legends about dragons in every culture, so it would seem their appeal is universal. In the bible, of course, the dragon signifies evil. There is even a saint, St. George, who is supposed to have fought and killed a dragon. Was this a metaphoric slaying? A confrontation and victory over evil? Who can be certain?”

Friday, August 5

Guest blogging at Dear Teen Me

“I admire your courage. I still feel the power of your pure faith. When you had your tonsils out — at sixteen — you hemorrhaged and it looked very bad. “Am I going to die?” you asked the nurse in a small voice. Yet, you were prepared for that, in a way that I could not be today. Your trust, even though you were afraid, was complete and born of innocence. How I wish I had that again … !”

 

Tuesday, August 9

Book reviewed at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

“This was a delightful story that I think will appeal to older middle grade readers and up.  T.M. Wallace has created a story chock full of characters that kids can relate to.  They are well written and quite believable in their actions and dialogue.”

Thursday, August 11

Book reviewed at YzhaBella’s Bookshelf

“Over all, I truly enjoyed this adventure as T.M. Wallace presents a magic filled tale with very thorough descriptions of both characters and settings.”

Friday, August 12

Book reviewed at A Word’s Worth

“Not only is the cover beautiful, but the story is engrossing and unpredictable.”

Monday, August 15

Interviewed at Blogcritics

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Ghandi – These words are a challenge to the writer in me. A writer often writes the world the way he/she sees it. I would like to write it not as it is, but as it can be: full of beauty and goodness and innocence, even in the face of great evil.”

Tuesday, August 16

Book reviewed at Bluerose’s Heart

“This was just a fun story! It really reminded me of the Goosebumps series from when I was a kid.”

Wednesday, August 17

Book reviewed at Taking Time for Mommy

This is a great middle grade book. It definitely has a Harry Potter / Secret garden feel to it. Perfect for your junior high or young high schooler. Under a Fairy Moon is very beautifully written with characters your children will be drawn to.”

Friday, August 19

Guest participant at Literarily Speaking August Book Panel

Monday, August 22

Book reviewed at Book Twirps

Wednesday, August 24

Book reviewed at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Thursday, August 25

Book reviewed at Cafe of Dreams

Friday, August 26

Chat with T.M. at Pump Up Your Book Live! Chat Party/Book Giveaway!

Monday, September 5

Book spotlighted at The Plot

Tuesday, September 6

Guest blogging at The Plot

Wednesday, September 7

Guest blogging at The Book Bin

Thursday, September 8

Interviewed at Review From Here

Friday, September 9

Book reviewed at Eccentric Eclectic Woman

Monday, September 12

Interviewed at Beyond the Books

Tuesday, September 13

Book reviewed at Cafe of Dreams

Wednesday, September 14

Guest blogging at Mad Moose Mama

Thursday, September 15

Book reviewed at Mad Moose Mama

Friday, September 16

Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking

Monday, September 19

Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book

Tuesday, September 20

Book reviewed at Reviews From the Heart

Wednesday, September 21

Interviewed at As the Pages Turn

Thursday, September 22

Interviewed at The Writer’s Life

Monday, September 26

Book reviewed at Ellis Reviews & Life

Tuesday, September 27

Guest blogging at The Book Faery Reviews

Wednesday, September 28

Book reviewed at The Book Faery Reviews

Thursday, September 29

Guest participant at Literarily Speaking’s September Book Panel

Friday, September 30

Chat with T.M. at Pump Up Your Book Live! September Chat / Book  Giveaway Party!  (link coming soon)

The Weaver by Kai Strand

The Weaver

Join Kai Strand, author of the middle grade fantasy bookThe Weaver(Guardian Angel Publishing, December 2010), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in May on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

Kai Strand

About Kai Strand

Kai Strand is a children’s author of middle grade and young adult novels. She was born and raised in the mid-west, where she inherited a wholesome outlook on life. She lived in California long enough to become a (very lucky) wife and the mother of four amazing kids. They now live in Central Oregon where the most common sound in her household is laughter. The second most common is, “Do your dishes!”

Obviously, Kai likes to write. The Weaver is Kai’s debut book. She reads a lot as well and calls it research. Kai loves to garden, and is trying out a greenhouse for the first time this year. She loves to sing. You might find her singing in Latin while browsing at Target. Most of the time she isn’t aware she’s singing aloud. She and her family love to hike and geocache. Kai walks 45 miles a month for exercise.

You can visit Kai online at www.kaistrand.com or at her blog, Strands of Thought, www.kaistrand.blogspot.com.

About The Weaver

In a town of word weavers, Mary suffers through her third year of Novice Word Weaving. Mary thinks her troubles are over when she meets a gnome-elf who grants her a wish.  But instead of weaving a better story, she’s weaving strange yarn charms to accompany her still pathetic tales.Weaver

Read the excerpt!

Chapter 1

A Mother’s Shadow

Given ample sun and water, a flower grows strong and blooms full But grown in shade it is spindly, weak, and off color

Tucked in a lush valley between two snow-capped mountains was the village of The Tales. Those who lived in the village were known as Weavers. Each person in The Tales could tell stories about anything at anytime, and they often did. Prose, poetry, limericks or yarns; they told stories of all types and styles.

On a balmy spring morning, Mary Wordsmith and her mother, Abigail, made their weekly visit to the produce market.

Thumping an acorn squash, Abigail said, “At last, here’s one that isn’t going soft.” She handed the squash to Mary who absently dropped it in the basket on her arm.

Read the Reviews!

“Ms. Strand has woven a beautiful tale of her own that young readers will want to read over and over. The vivid descriptions of the town and the people allow readers to “see” the quaint village and to be there, with Mary and her family. THE WEAVER would make a perfect addition to grades 3 – 5 classrooms. After reading the book, the students could then weave their own tales and illustrate them as well. What a fun way to develop students’ creative writing skills. I wish I’d had this book when I was teaching 3rd and 5th grades. And the cover art by K. C. Snider is just perfect for the little village of The Tale.”

–Beverly Stowe McClure, author of YA historical, Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines

“…middle grade readers should be very pleased…”

–All Consuming Books

“Children’s author, Kai Strand expertly weaves together the art of storytelling and holding one’s audience captive into a spellbinding adventure of finding one’s place in the world.”

–Write What Inspires You

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The Weaver Virtual Book Tour Schedule

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Monday, May 9th

Interviewed at The Children’s and Teen’s Book Connection

Guest blogging at Authors and Appetizers

Tuesday, May 10th

Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book!books

Wednesday, May 11th

Book reviewed at One Day At A Time

Thursday, May 12th

Guest blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Book spotlighted at The Plot

Friday, May 13th

Character interviewed at The Plot

Monday, May 16th

Book reviewed at 4 the Love of Books

Guest blogging at Margaret Rose Writes

Tuesday, May 17th

Interviewed at The Hot Author Report

Wednesday, May 18th

Book reviewed at Si, se puede! Yes we can and YA Books Central

Thursday, May 19th

Interviewed at Melange of Cultures’s Blog

Book reviewed at Ellis

Book reviewed at Stories a la Mode

Book reviewed at Janet Ann Collins: On Words

Friday, May 20th

Interviewed at Blogcritics

Guest blogging at The Brain Fart Explosion

Poison in the Blood: The Memoirs of Lucrezia Borgia by M. G. Scarsbrook

1497, Renaissance Rome

As the teenage daughter of Pope Alexander VI, Lucrezia Borgia is a young noblewoman immersed in all the glamor of the Vatican Palace. Yet after a brutal killing shocks the city, Lucrezia learns that a dark truth lies beneath the surface of the Papal Court: in their ruthless quest for power, her father and brother are willing to poison their enemies.

Her family are murderers.

After discovering that her new husband is next to die, Lucrezia struggles to help him escape from Rome before the assassins strike. Against a barrage of political intrigues, papal spies, and diabolical tricks, Lucrezia uses all her wits to defy her family and save her husband from assassination.

But as tragedy looms ever closer, and her plans gradually fail, she finds herself confronting an enemy far more sinister than she ever imagined…

FIND THE PAPERBACK

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About M. G. Scarsbrook

MATTHEW GRAHAM SCARSBROOK is a prize-winning screenwriter and novelist.

He was born in Vancouver, Canada in 1981, but has lived and studied in three countries: Great Britain, Canada, and the United States. In particular, he has intimate knowledge of English history and culture: his family are all British and he has lived the majority of his life in England. This cultural experience is an important influence on his work.

Matthew has a BA in Philosophy from The University of British Columbia, and an MA in Screenwriting from CSU Northridge. As a student, his scripts were twice selected for performance at the cinema department’s annual showcase — an unprecedented achievement in the department’s history.

He recently adapted THE MARLOWE CONSPIRACY into a script and won the nationwide Writers On The Storm Screenwriting Contest, placing first out of 1000 entries. This script has also ranked within the top 30 at the Nicholl Fellowships, the most prestigious screenwriting contest in the world.

Matthew now lives in Southern California and is currently at work on a new detective series.

Toto’s Tale by K.D. Hays and Meg Weidman

About K.D. Hays and Meg Weidman

K.D. HaysK.D. Hays and Meg Weidman are a mother-daughter team who aspire to be professional roller coaster riders and who can tell you exactly what not to put in your pockets when you ride El Toro at Six Flags. Meg is studying art in a middle school magnet program. For fun, she jumps on a precision jump rope team and reads anything not associated with school work. K.D. Hays, who writes historical fiction under the name Kate Dolan, has been writing professionally since 1992. She holds a law degree from the University of Richmond and consequently hopes that her children will pursue studies in more prestigious fields such as plumbing or waste management. They live in a suburb of Baltimore where the weather is ideally suited for the four major seasons: riding roller coasters in the spring and fall, waterslides in the summer and snow tubes in the winter. Although Meg resents the fact that her mother has dragged her to every historical site within a 200-mile radius, she will consent to dress in colonial garb and participate in living history demonstrations if she is allowed to be a laundry thief.

Their latest collaboration is a wonderful book titled Toto’s Tale.

You can visit their website at www.totostale.com.

About Toto’s Tale

Toto's TaleToto the terrier and his pet girl Dorothy have their world turned upside down by a cyclone that rips their house from ground and spins it into the land of Oz. In this strange place, cats grow way bigger than they should and they speak the same language as Dorothy. So now Dorothy spends her time talking to a giant cat, a walking scarecrow, and a hollow man made of metal.

The five of them follow a brick road to see the Great Lizard who is supposed to give them something. Although Toto is hoping for a pork chop, he will settle for a trip back to Kansas. But when they reach the Great Lizard (who turns out to be a big human head), instead of helping them, he sends them out to kill a witch.

Toto enables them to survive attacks by killer bees and mad wolves, but the annoying monkeys with wings prove too much even for him, and the monkeys are able to carry him and Dorothy to the witch’s castle.

Once there, he realizes the witch is after the shoes that Dorothy picked up when they first landed in Oz. He also realizes that the witch can be destroyed with water. It becomes a race to see if the witch can trick Dorothy into giving up the shoes before Toto figures out how to melt her.

But even if he destroys the witch, they still have to figure out how to get home…

Read the Excerpt!

I’d smelled fear on the humans all morning, and the stink was really getting on my nerves. I mean, we all knew a windstorm was coming, and it was going to be rough; but the humans didn’t have anything to worry about. They’d just go down into The Hole and wait till it was all over.
It was the chickens who should have been worried. Their house was so flimsy it was likely to take off and fly away in the next windstorm. But chickens are too stupid to think about these things, so they weren’t worried yet. Meanwhile, Auntem gave off enough worry scent to cover every living thing in the entire state of Kansas, and as I said, the smell was pretty annoying.
So, yeah, I knew I wasn’t supposed to chase the chickens, but I couldn’t help myself. When those lamebrained layers started bragging about which one of them could fly fastest, I decided to let them prove it. I took off after Eggy, baring my teeth like I was going to rip all the feathers out of her tail. It felt really good to run. It also felt good to get some revenge on the chickens. Ever since yesterday, when the nasty old neighbor tried to stab me with a pitchfork just for digging a little hole in her garden, everyone here had teased me for running home with my tail between my legs. They would have done the same thing—it was a big sharp pitchfork, and the neighbor is as mean as a wet cat. The chickens, in particular, had acted like I was the only one who had ever shown fear in the history of forever. Now I decided I’d put a little fear in the chickens so they could demonstrate why their name means being a coward.
“Squahhhhh!” Eggy yelled as she ran across the farmyard with me right on her tail. “That giant rodent is going to eat me!” Her big fat feathered body bounced ridiculously from side to side as she dashed around on long spindly legs.
“I thought you could fly,” I barked. “And you know I’m not a rodent.” I chased her into a corner between the water trough and the barn.
“I can’t fly in this wind, you fool,” she squawked.
“Excuses, excuses.” I got ready to pounce on her, but she turned fast and hopped out of the way. Then she ran straight for the henhouse.
“Oh, no, you don’t,” I muttered as I shot after her. She would have to pay for that rodent remark.
The other animals always make rude comments about my size, but I think they’re just jealous because I get to sleep in the house with the people. I’m small, yeah, but I’m a lot bigger than a rat. And I have a much nicer tail.
“He’s coming this—squaaah!—way,” one of the other chickens shrieked.
They had been pecking in the yard, trying to eat up all the loose bits of corn before they were blown away by the storm coming across the plains. Now, instead of eating, they scrambled frantically to get away from me, squawking and flapping and looking about as ruffled as they could possibly get. I loved it. I ran in circles, snapping occasionally to keep them moving. Then I saw one obnoxious old hen who had pecked at Dorothy’s ankle last week. I really did want to bite her. So, I opened my mouth extra-wide and headed straight for her big fat chicken butt.
“Toto!”
I had to stop when I heard that voice. It was Dorothy, my pet girl.
“Stop something chickens, Toto,” she said.
With her flat face and small mouth, she can’t really talk properly, but I still love her. Auntem and Unclehenry, the other people, are always making her work when what she really wants to do is roam the fields with me, chasing grasshoppers and digging for shiny beetles. She needs me to protect her from work. If you do too much work, you end up dull and sad like Auntem, or pinched and mean like the mean neighbor with the pitchfork.
I want to protect my girl and keep her just the way she is. I love everything about my Dorothy, from the smell of her shoes to her sloppy habit of throwing things everywhere. She throws a stick or ball, and I have to go pick it up for her. Then, instead of putting it away, she just throws it someplace else, and I have to pick it up again. It makes no sense at all, and sometimes I get tired of cleaning up after her. Still, I love her, and I’ll do anything she asks.
When I know what she’s asking, that is. I have to pay attention really hard to understand human speech, and usually, I don’t bother. Right now, though, even if she didn’t use many real words, I could pretty much tell what she wanted me to do just from the tone of her voice and the way
she looked at me, as if she wanted to tie me up like a shock of wheat and throw me into the barn loft. She was annoyed, and I could smell a little anger on her, too. But underneath it all, there seemed to be more fear than anything else. Fear of the storm, probably.
With one last look at the fat old hen, I turned and trotted over to Dorothy. I wagged my tail and hoped she would pet me for a minute and that I could help her forget her fears about the increasing wind and the dark clouds growing like mountains in the sky. Maybe she would also forget I’d been trying to scare the chickens and that I’d chewed on one of her shoes this morning before breakfast. She would forget it all, and we’d just…
It didn’t happen.
She looked at me for a bit, like maybe she was going to pet me, but when she bent down, it was just so she could tuck a loose flap of leather back into her shoe. That piece of leather is always coming loose and tripping her, so she really should let me chew it off for her, but whenever I try, someone always stops me.
“Dorothy!” Auntem barked as she stepped out of the back door of the house, “Something up something chickens.”
She can’t talk any better than Dorothy. They practice a lot—it seems like they’re always barking about something—but their language is so different it’s difficult to translate into real words.
Anyway, I guess Auntem had just told Dorothy to round up the hens, because that’s what she did. She ran around waving her arms, herding them all into the henhouse. I could have helped, but somehow I didn’t think she wanted me to run around after them again.
So, instead, I trotted over to the barn to watch Unclehenry bring the cows and the horses inside. He was having a hard time holding the door open because the wind blew it closed. He kept turning to look over his shoulder, as if there were a monster behind him. But it was just dark clouds and grass bent low under the weight of the coming storm. The wind moaned almost like a voice as it gusted along the eaves of the barn.
That sound made me shiver, and I had to admit I couldn’t wait until it was time to go into The Hole. The Hole is, well, a hole—dug out under the
house—and since the house is very small, The Hole is even smaller. It’s not much bigger than the ones I dig out in the yard to bury my pork chop bones. But it’s deep and smells of worms and roots, a rich aroma that reminds me of underwear. It’s a damp, comforting place much more interesting than the hard dry ground above. So, I never mind the wind and storms, because I know they mean a visit to The Hole.
With a loud thud, Unclehenry slammed the barn door shut and started toward the house with a lantern and pail of water. Maybe it was time already! I hurried to get Dorothy so we could go down into The Hole together.
I couldn’t find her. The henhouse was closed up tight and sounded and smelled full of hens. I could tell Dorothy wasn’t in there. She couldn’t have gone into the barn, or I would have seen her. So, she must be in the people house. I pushed through the hole in the screen door, ran inside and headed straight for the door in the kitchen floor, expecting to see she was on her way down into The Hole.
She wasn’t.

Here’s what critics are saying about Toto’s Tale!

“This tale is also filled with rich descriptions of Oz from a doggie’s point of view. The wicked witch shoes smell like burnt dandruff and frog water. Interesting combos. But above all this story shows a faithful, brave dog companion who helps save the day.”

– YA Books Central

Sky Girl and the Superheroic Legacy by Joe Sergi

Joe Sergi is an author that lives outside of Washington, DC with his wife, Yee, and daughter, Elizabeth. He has published short prose stories and articles in the horror, science fiction, and super hero genres.

Joe has also written for comics in the romance, horror, science fiction, and super hero genres. Sky Girl and the Superheroic Legacy is his first novel. In 2008, Joe was selected as a semi-finalist in the Who Wants to Create a Superheroine contest sponsored by the Shadowline Imprint of Image Comics. When not writing, Joe works for an unnamed government agency.

Joe’s publications can be found at www.joesergi.net. For more about Sky Girl and the Superheroic Legacy, visit the book’s website at www.skygirlnovel.com.

About Sky Girl and the Superheroic Legacy

Sky GirlDeDe Christopher is an average high school sophomore with dreams of winning the National Gymnastic Tournament and dating the school quarterback. But her world changes when DeDe begins to develop fantastic abilities that are strangely similar to those of a fictional comic book superhero named SkyBoy.

With the help of her best friend, Jason, a self-proclaimed comic geek, DeDe begins a quest to discover her true destiny as she confronts the all-too-real enemies and allies of SkyBoy. She must deal with capes, apes, and aliens to find a way to live up to a legacy that no one can remember and become Sky Girl.

Read the Reviews!

“Joe Sergi is a fantastic writer who knows the world of comics inside and out. With Sky Girl, he’s brought his talent and passion together to create an amazing tale.”
–Fred Kim, Writer

“Joe has crafted a story of self-discovery that everyone should read – young, old or somewhere in the middle. ‘Sky Girl’ has the potential to become a ‘Harry Potter’ of the super-hero scene.”
–Mike Imboden, Creator and Writer of Digital Webbing’s Fist of Justice. http://www.fistofjustice.com/foj/

“Joe Sergi’s Sky Girlis a thrill-a-minute read that is sure to please both male and female readers alike. His characters virtually spring to life from the pages and feel much like a comic book in novel form.”
–Steve Younis, Superman Homepage, http://www.supermanhomepage.com/news.php

“Skygirl is full of witty humor and dialogue. It is for books, what the “The Incredibles” is for hero cartoons.”
– Erin Ashwell, Middle Grade Fiction Writer

“It was quite refreshing to see that Sky Girl not only presented a fun story, but also had a strong female lead character. My students could learn a lot from DeDe Christopher; she is smart, funny, and not afraid to act responsibly.”
–Erin Woods, Teacher

“Sky Girl is the perfect read for the young and young at heart. Joe Sergi has created a wonderfully fantastic world. By page two, you’ll be hooked. Sky Girl is on par with Neil Gaiman’s Interworld. I dare you not to fall in love with this book.”
–Brian Carr, Resolution Comics, http://resolutioncomics.com/

“Teenage life, super-heroics, action, suspense, intrigue. And evil gorillas! Sky Girl truly has it all.”
–Nick Ahlhelm, Writer/Editor, http://www.metahumanpress.com/, http://www.evolutioncomics.com/

Secrets: You Tell Me Yours and I’ll Tell You Mine…maybe! by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

About Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, nationally know Positive Psychologist, is the creator of The Enchanted Self,® a systematic way of helping to bring more joy, meaning, and purpose into our lives.

Dr. Holstein has been a school psychologist for more than 25 years. She has taught elementary school children and was an assistant professor in education in at Boston University.

She has been in private practice as a psychologist with her husband, Dr. Russell M. Holstein, in Long Branch, New Jersey, for over 25 years.

Contact Dr. Holstein on the web at http://www.enchantedself.com/ and http://www.thetruthforgirls.com/.

***

About Secrets

Following on the heels of the best-selling book The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything), SECRETS: You Tell Me Yours and I’ll Tell You Mine…maybe! is the continuing diary of a girl moving into her teen-age years. The Girl has plenty to fill her journal. The pages reveal a new school, a new baby in the family, new friends, a new guy and a new set of issues to face. Enter the secret world of an almost-teen as she learns which secrets to share and which to keep to herself.

Read an Excerpt!

I can’t believe it. Today we moved and I feel like I am in a dream. I just keep walking around our new house and wondering when we will go home. It feels so different and strange. The floors are all bare wood. Everything is on one floor. It is called a ranch house, I don’t know why. My mother said our rugs would look terrible here so she let the people who bought our house keep them. I think she was right. They are a dark maroon and the walls are a light cream in this house. I don’t think that would look good.

I went to the bathroom three times since we got here and every time I used a different bathroom. I can’t believe it. Three different toilets in the same house! Only my friend Susan, my rich friend, has more than two bathrooms. And now we do. I keep measuring the living room. Would you believe it is 27 feet by 15 feet? I used my own feet and added a few inches each time I took a step.

When I look out of the windows I expect to see the shrubs to my left and the Hudson house and I don’t. Instead I see a big open field that will probably have houses on it by next year. That’s what my father said. And when I look out to the right I expect to see our clothesline and the Dixson’s driveway. Instead I see rose bushes and a wooden bench under a tree that the last owners said we could have.

We had to eat supper off of paper plates and use wooden throw-away forks, knives and spoons because our boxes are still packed. My aunt made us a big picnic hamper of food and that’s what we ate for supper.

My brother already started to play with a kid next door who is about a year older than he is. He is so lucky. I have no one yet and that’s the truth!

Read the Reviews!

“In ‘The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)’ we met a young girl who is confident and ready to move forward. Now in ‘Secrets – You Tell Me Yours and I’ll Tell You Mine…maybe!’, the uncertainty of adolescence threatens to steal her Truth. Follow this charming young girl on the cusp of womanhood as she shares her secrets and explores her ever-changing world.”Cheryl C. Malandrinos, The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

The Elf of Luxembourg by Tom Weston

The thing about El Dorado is . . . No, forget that. The thing about younger sisters is . . . What’s an older sister to do? It’s not all fun fairs and ice-cream. Well, it is – but that’s beside the point.

When one is in Luxembourg, there is a certain standard to maintain, and vacationing with Elves and Vampires is just so old school. But can Alex convince her younger sister, Jackie, of that? No, of course not, so she may as well get used to it. But deep beneath the ancient city of Luxembourg there lies a secret.

The Vampires believe it is protected by the Elf. The Elf believes it is protected by a prophecy concerning Alex and Jackie. And the sisters? They believe shoes in Luxembourg are too expensive.

Why are the Vampires going toe-to-toe with an Elf for the pleasure of the sisters’ company? Why does the Elf think Alex and Jackie can sing? And just who let Sir Walter Raleigh and the Conquistadors into this story? To answer these questions will take all of the sisters’ cunning, bravery and imagination, as well as some souvenir shopping. Because this is the Elf of Luxembourg and this is an Alex and Jackie Adventure.

About Tom Weston

Originally from England, Tom now resides in Boston, Massachusetts. Before turning his hand to fiction, Tom had a successful career as the CEO of a consulting company, conference speaker and writer of industry articles and business books.

His novel, First Night, set in Boston during the New Year’s Eve festival, introduced the unlikely heroines, Alex and Jackie, and the ghost of a 17th century Puritan named Sarah Pemberton. First Night won an Honorable Mention in the Middle-Grade/Young Adult category, in the Writers Digest 17th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards.

The sequel to First Night, called The Elf of Luxembourg, was published in January, 2010. As with First Night, The Elf of Luxembourg is also a supernatural mystery, with a blend of humor and history that has become Tom’s trademark. Tom is currently working on Book 3 of the Alex and Jackie Adventures, and is researching the background material for the story, which will be set in Ireland.

Tom has also written the screenplay, Fission, based on the true story of scientist, Lisa Meitner, and the race for the atomic bomb, and which was named a finalist at the London Independent Film Festival.

You can visit his website at: http://www.tom-weston.com

Read an Excerpt

Cuchaquichá entered the dream state. The smoke from the fire, the endorphins released by his brain to combat the blood loss and the hayo leaf cocktail, brewed to numb the pain and reveal the unseen, combined to help transport him to another level of consciousness.

The column of smoke leveled off and floated, as a cloud, half way between the floor and the ceiling of his little hut. Out of the cloud rose the Vision Serpent, a green, two headed giant snake. Out of its mouths trickled red blood. Its tail coiled around the burning parchment. If Cuchaquichá had performed the ceremony correctly, the Vision Serpent would open its mouths: a god would emerge from one, an ancestor from the other.

Cuchaquichá felt sick and near to passing out. The Vision Snake swayed towards him, baring its fangs. Then the image of a man appeared.

“Grandfather,” said Cuchaquichá. The Muisca called all male ancestors Grandfather, all females, Grandmother.

“Hello Cuchaquichá,” said the man. “Good to see you. I am honored with your presence.”

Cuchaquichá noticed the man’s beard and mode of dress, alien to the Muisca. “You are not a Grandfather,” he said.

“No, Cuchaquichá, I am not,” said the man.

“Are you a god? Are you Chibchachum or Xué?”

“No, Cuchaquichá, I am not,” said the man.

“Then who are you?” asked Cuchaquichá. He squinted to get a better look through the smoke and saw the paleness of the man’s flesh. “Oh wait, now I see you. You are Bochica, the traveler.”

The legend of Bochica the Savior told of a mysterious stranger with white skin, who arrived from the east, when the Muisca still lived as children, and taught them many things: metal work and writing, and law and morality on which they now fashioned their society.

But the Muisca forgot the lessons which Bochica had taught and fell into barbarism; until the gods punished them with a great flood. Bochica, hearing the pleas of the Muisca, returned to defeat the gods and channeled the flood into a waterfall, the Tequendama Falls. With the crisis averted, Bochica announced his departure, but also his return at the time of their greatest need; and he stepped into a rainbow and disappeared.

“Cuchaquichá, I do not have much time,” said the man.

“No, Grandfather,” said Cuchaquichá. He now used the title out of respect for such a hero.

“Tomorrow is the Ceremony of the Zipa.”

“Yes, Grandfather.”

“You are to accompany the Zipa on the lake and make offerings.”

“Yes, Grandfather.”

“I need you to deliver a message for me.”

“Yes, Grandfather . . . To who, Grandfather?” “To the gods.”

“But Grandfather, I have no offering worthy of carrying such a message. Our family has been scattered by the Spanish, as seeds in the wind. They have taken much and left little. My poor offerings would dishonor your message.”

The man opened his hand, palm up. “Here, Cuchaquichá, take this. It is both message and offering.”

He handed Cuchaquichá a small gold coin. Cuchaquichá turned it over in his hand and examined it. Etched on one side, Cuchaquichá saw an image which he interpreted as a raft on a lake, under a blazing sun. Under the raft swam a fish, or a snake, or perhaps Bachué, the Mother Goddess: Cuchaquichá could not tell for sure, for Bachué appeared in many forms.

On the converse of the coin appeared the moon and stars, and a snake, and what seemed to be the letter ‘A’.

“I know all the symbols of our tribe, Grandfather, but I do not recognize or understand these. This was not crafted from the hand of a Muiscan goldsmith. But it reminds me of the ceremony of the Zipa. Is that the Zipa riding on the back of a fish?”

“Do not worry. The meaning will be clear to those for whom the message is intended.”

“Yes, Grandfather.”

“Your family is indeed scattered, Cuchaquichá. But if the message is delivered perhaps some of the seed may still find fertile ground.”

“Have you come to destroy the Spanish, Grandfather?”

“No, Cuchaquichá, something much more elemental. But if you wish it, the Spanish will indeed be destroyed. Is that what you want? Be careful what you wish for.”

“No, Grandfather, I do not wish for that.”

“When my message has been delivered I shall return with a reward for you.”

“I am honored, Grandfather.”

The Vision Serpent closed its mouths, swallowing the man. The fire died, and the smoke and the Serpent both dissipated. Cuchaquichá sighed and passed into the unconscious darkness.

Spotlight on Diary of a Mad Gen Y er by Marcus Dino

Diary of a Mad Gen Y erPerhaps more of a prequel than a sequel to Marcus Dino’s electrifying Hollywood novel, Fifi Anything Goes in the Doubles Os (Iuniverse 2003, Airleaf 2005) Diary of a Mad Gen Yer focuses on the hilarious adventures of 21st century actress/heroine Fifi Larouche; her silly poems, her silly stories, her silly blogs, during her days working as a waitress while pursuing her dreams of Hollywood fame.

‘Gen Yer’ also introduces colorful new characters such as Alocki, the alien from the planet Zatoris and ‘the smartest person Fifi ever met,’ Flifi, Fifi’s’ ‘fairy alter ego’ from the ‘Alternate Earth’ who gives people advice but has a little stinger on her tail and stings people who do wrong (they feel itchy) and throws pixie dust on people who do right, and dick, an evolutionary scientist who enjoys arguing religion with Fifi and is a ‘proud atheist.’

Of course many of the major characters in Fifi such as Biff, Fifi’s bohemian actor/software engineer boyfriend and Charles, Fifi’s domineering college professor father who thinks Fifi is ‘wasting her time in ‘ala land ‘and needs to come back to her hometown of Des Moines Iowa to work as a banker, are back in ‘Gen Yer.’

While Fifi tended at times to focus on Fifi’s serious side, ‘Gen Yer’ almost exclusively focuses on Fifi’s comical adventures and her ‘silly thoughts’ and will keep readers laughing from beginning to end.

About the Author

Marcus Dino has had an interesting professional career, first as an Aerospace engineer, next as a passionate math teacher teaching in urban Los Angeles which he currently still does, and finally, as a part time literary fiction author. It is Mr Dino’s being a die hard movie buff that led him to writing Diary of a Mad Gen Yer in addition to his first novel, Fifi, Anything goes in the Double Os, first published in 2003.

Mr Dino is a graduate of Chapman University and he also has Masters Degrees in both Education and Electrical Engineering. Diary of a Mad Gen Yer and Fifi can be found at www.smashwords.com and www.summertimproductions.net. Mr Dino’s personal website which includes numerous blogs, short stories, and poems involving his central character Fifi Larouche, which helped inspire him to write his anthology, Diary, can be found at www.authorsden.com/marcusdino.

First Night by Tom Weston

First NightAlexandra O’Rourke, aged 16, is not a happy camper. It’s New Year’s Eve. She should be partying in San Diego with her friends, but instead she is stuck in Boston, with just her younger sister, Jackie, for company. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she is being haunted by Sarah, the ghost of a seventeenth century Puritan. Oh, and there is the small matter of the charge of witchcraft to be sorted out.

Armed only with big shiny buttons and a helping of Boston Cream Pie, the sisters set out to restore the Natural Order. Can Alex solve the mystery of the Devil’s Book? Can Jackie help Sarah beat the sorcery rap? And can they do it before the fireworks display at midnight? Because this is First Night – and this is an Alex and Jackie Adventure.

About the Author

Originally from England, Tom now hangs his hat in Boston, Massachusetts; with occasional spells in such faraway places as London and Luxembourg. Tom has a degree in Computer Science, and he claims to speak three languages: English, American, and Visual Basic. Before turning his hand to fiction, Tom had a successful career as the CEO of a systems consulting company, conference speaker, and writer of industry articles and business books.

As well as the novel, First Night, Tom has also written the screenplay, Fission, based on the true story of scientist, Lise Meitner, and the race for the atomic bomb. While Fission has yet to find a home in Hollywood, it garnered enough critical acclaim, including being named as a finalist at the London Independent Film Festival, that Tom was encouraged to keep on writing, resulting in his latest work which is, of course, First Night.

You can learn more about Tom and First Night by going to his website: http://www.tom-weston.com/