Monday, February 8, 2016

Dragon of the Month Club by Iain Reading- author guest post

Welcome to Middle Grade Monday!
Today I have a guest post from Middle Grade author, Iain Reading. His book, The Dragon of the Month Club is gathering great reviews. I have not yet reviewed it myself, but look forward to it in the future. Below is his quest post to fellow authors and readers. I am including all the book details after the post and info about a contest.

Hear The Blues And Feel Them Too 


I once was in a band and one night a bunch of musicians were out at a farmhouse just kind of jamming and playing around.  We played through the songs we knew and then started just experimenting and (as often happens) we got to playing the blues.  And I remember that one of the guitar players (let's call him Doug) was really struggling with this, which seemed rather odd because the reason most jam sessions end up playing the blues is because the blues are predictable – structurally speaking, anyway.  (Notice that I didn't say they were "easy to play".)

As we were packing up later that night the harmonica player commented to me about how Doug had been struggling.  Clearly I wasn't the only one who'd noticed and we put our heads together to try and figure out why this otherwise talented player had such a problem playing the blues.  And we decided that it was because he'd never really HEARD the blues much in his life and wasn't that familiar with it.  Or maybe because he'd never FELT the blues either, but that's another story.

Years later, as a writer of books, I look back on that and wonder if there's a lesson in there somewhere.  One of the topics I've heard discussed many times by fantasy writers or science-fiction writers is whether or not to read books within their own genre.  The argument on one side goes something like this: if you read books in your own genre, then elements of those books start to seep into your own and you're never sure which ideas are yours and which belong to someone else.

For a long time I thought that this was a pretty solid argument. But as I look back to long ago and Doug's awkward fumbling through what have to be the simplest and most predictable chord structures in music, I now start to wonder about the wisdom of this writing argument.

Note-to-self:

Dear Iain,

If you're gonna write fantasy or science-fiction, then take time to get a feel for the genre first.  Read the great books.  Hear the blues and feel them too.

And... PS – You owe me ten dollars and a doughnut.

Yours sincerely,
Iain


The Dragon Of The Month Club, by Iain Reading, was published in February 2015 and is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Genres: Middle Grade / Fantasy / Adventure

Synopsis:

The Dragon Of The Month Club is the exciting first installment in a new book series that tells the story of Ayana Fall and Tyler Travers, two best friends who stumble across an extraordinarily magical book and soon find themselves enrolled as members of a very special and exclusive club - The Dragon of the Month Club.

On the thirteenth of every month a new dragon conjuring spell is revealed and the two friends attempt to summon the latest Dragon of the Month. The varieties are almost endless: Air Dragons, Paper Dragons, Fog Dragons, Waterfall Dragons, Rock Dragons, Tree Dragons - not to mention special bonus dragons for all the major holidays, including a particularly prickly Holly Dragon for Christmas.

But one day when a conjuring spell somehow goes wrong Ayana and Tyler find themselves unexpectedly drawn into a fantastical world of adventure based on the various books scattered all across Tyler's messy bedroom. Travelling from one book-inspired world to the next with nothing to rely on but their wits and a cast of strange and exotic dragons at their disposal they must try to somehow find their way home again.

Drawing inspiration from some of literature's most memorable stories - from 19th century German folktales to the streets of Sherlock Holmes's London - the adventures of Ayana and Tyler bring these classic stories to life in delightfully strange and unexpected ways. Filled with fascinating detail and non-stop action these books will spark the imaginations of readers of all ages to inspire a life-long love of reading and seeking out books that are just a little bit off the beaten track.

Praise for The Dragon of the Month Club:

“No other book bonds together so many stories in such a fashion that is actually readable and enjoyable at the same time. With the title being The Dragon of the Month Club, many might think this is a book strictly about magic and dragons, yet you will find that what’s inside this book will leave you awe struck.” – Red City Reviews

“Iain Reading has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I started reading his Kitty Hawk books and now I’m introduced to a fantastical world. This is the type of book I would have spent hours in my room, wishing I could slip into the pages and have an adventure.” – Sandra Stiles

“The Dragon of the Month Club is a very enjoyable read. I'm a grown adult and I enjoyed it. It reminded me of a Harry Potter meets Goosebumps (the part where the books come alive) meets Sherlock Holmes. I found the book to be engaging and kept me wanting to read on. This is a wonderful series for any young reader.” - sgebhard

Contest:

There is an ongoing contest for readers to win a one-of-a-kind hardcover version of The Dragon of the Month Club with their artwork as the cover.

“Draw a picture! Write a story! Take a photograph! Bake some cookies! Mold a dragon out of clay! Knit one out of yarn! Make one out of LEGO! Whatever you want! Just let your imagination run wild because anything goes – the more creative the better! Send your dragon in and then on the 13th day of every month one entry will be chosen at random and featured on the official Dragon Of The Month Club website. Each month’s lucky winner will also receive a free one-of-a-kind personalized hard-cover edition of The Dragon Of The Month Club book featuring their winning artwork (or other creative content) on the cover or inside the book itself,” says Iain.

To learn more, go to http://www.dragonofthemonthclub.com/ 

About the Author:

Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.

Iain writes middle grade and young adult books. His published works include the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. To learn more, go to http://www.amazon.com/Iain-Reading/e/B00B0NGI6Q/


Connect with Iain on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.




Thursday, February 4, 2016

Writing Grant- Non-Fiction

Heads up Non-Fiction writers- The Whiting Foundation is offering up $35,000 to 3 non-fiction writers.

Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant
Ends on 5/1/2016


"The Whiting Foundation recognizes that works of deeply researched and imaginatively composed nonfiction come into being at great cost to writers in time and resources. The Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant of $35,000 will be awarded to as many as three writers in the process of completing a book-length work of nonfiction for a general, not an academic, readership. Its purpose is to give grantees the additional means to do exacting research, to free up the time to bring the writing to the highest possible standard, and to encourage original and ambitious projects. "

For more information and entry- https://whiting.submittable.com/submit/52007

Monday, February 1, 2016

Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast by Josh Funk

Today I have a delightful picture book to tell you about, Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast by Josh Funk, illustrated by Brendan Kearney. This review has been months in the making! A little bit of background. I first saw the cover of this book on Twitter and was instantly intrigued by the title and artwork.

I contacted the author to request a copy and the publisher sent it out. This was many months ago. What happened next shows the value of this book :) My young son saw it and hugged it to his chest, before I could read it. I told him he could look at it, but that I had to get it back. So, what does he do, he loves the books, flips through all the pages, and then hides it from mommy so that it can be his! UGH. But, cleaning his room the other day I finally found it, so now the details...

The Story-
Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast are leftovers living in the refrigerator. Word gets to them that there is only one drop of maple syrup left. Once friends, they now are competitors, each wanting that last drop. They both race through different paths inside the refrigerator, one encountering a bean avalanche and the other a jam pothole. They make it to the syrup only to find out that someone beat them to it! (I had a great giggle here) and return to their shelf, beat-up and sticky, but once again friends.

My Thoughts-
When reviewing a picture book you have to take the author and illustrator's work together as a whole. This book is a great example. As I read the book to my son, he did not understand a lot of the words, things like tofu, brie, and rappelling. Luckily, the pictures made up for the foreign (to him) words and concepts. I was able to show him just what was being mentioned or done by using the fun pictures.

Pancake and French Toast have a delightful romp through many types of foods and problems. My son loved each page, picking out details, food he recognized and problems that were coming. At the end of the book is a fold out of the entire refrigerator and he excitedly showed me each route that was taken by both foods to reach the syrup.

The plot captured his attention and he continually asked me who would win. I told him I didn't know because both foods looked so beat up I didn't think anyone would want to eat them with any amount of syrup, lol. He kept telling me that one of them HAD to win. So imagine both of our surprises when a new character wins the day! We both laughed, but it solved the problem of which friend would win without any resentments.

And really, that's what the book is about, friendship. As Pancake and French Toast realize how silly they were to race to the syrup, they realize sharing is an important part of any friendship, as a pad of butter unfortunately then finds out.

Loved it. I'm giving this one 4.5 stars.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Cover Reveal and Giveaway - The Fall of Lord Drayson by Rachael Anderson

Coming soon from USA Today Bestselling Author Rachael Anderson

The Fall of Lord Drayson

Who is he really? A high and mighty Lord, or a lowly servant? When Colin Cavendish, the new earl of Drayson, informs Lucy Beresford that she and her mother have two months to vacate the house they've called home for the past two years, Lucy is fit to be tied.They have no money, no relations they can turn to for help, and nowhere to go. How dare the earl break the promise his father had made to the Beresfords without so much as a twinge of conscience? Mere hours later, Lucy discovers the earl unconscious and injured in the middle of the road. Grudgingly, she takes him into her home to tend to his wounds, but when he awakens with no recollection of who he is, Lucy seizes the opportunity to teach a much-needed lesson in humility. Pushing her own twinge of conscience aside, she informs the earl of Drayson that he is nothing more than a mere servant. Her servant, in fact. And thus begins the charming tale of a pompous lord and an impetuous young woman, caught together in a web so tangled that it begs the question: Will they ever get out?

  The Fall of Lord Drayson
Coming late-summer 2016
add to goodreads Rachael
Author Rachael Anderson A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.


Cover Reveal Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Code or Paypal Cash Ends 2/17/16 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW

. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Query Match Opportunity


Another good one from Twitter. I found a huge contest coming up just for writers! It is sponsored by Brenda Drake. Here are the details:

The amazing and extremely kind literary agent, Jessica Sinsheimer, and creator of #MSWL and Manuscript Wish List® is teaming up with me this Valentine’s Day (actually February 11, 1-4 EST) to bring you…#PitMatch!
You know how both #MSWL and #PitMad move so quickly, it’s hard to see all of the tweets? Don’t you wish you could be everywhere at once–and/or that you could have some help?
Now you can!
Get your Twitter Pitches ready and post them between 1PM and 4PM EST on February 11th to #PitMatch. Only post once per manuscript. All categories and genres are welcome!
Three teams of literary cupids–an author team, an agent team, and an editor team–will be working to find the connections between authors, agents, and editors who accept direct submissions. Who’s the best at literary matchmaking? WE SHALL SEE!
Each match–request–they create will be worth one point–and posted on the @PitMatch scoreboard. Follow along on #PitMatch, #PitMatchArrow, and #PitMatchPoint for success stories.
Whichever team has the most requests gets prizes and bragging rights!
Team members will be announced between now and the event, February 11, 2016. In the meantime, follow @PitMatch for updates! 

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Blue Woods by Nicole Maggi

Welcome to YA Friday! Today I am reviewing a new YA paranormal, The Blue Woods, by Nicole Maggi. It is book three in the Twin Willows Trilogy.

The Story-
Alessia is a Benandante, a human who takes on an animal spirit and fights for goodness and balance. Her enemy, the Malandanti, have invaded her town and have captured the sacred site that her people protect. Now their is a battle erupting that involves sacred sites all over the world and the fate of humanity is at stake.

Making things worse its that Alessia's boyfriend, Jonah, was tricked into becoming a Maladanti, and now she must fight him to remain true to her clan. Her search to find away to switch him to a Benadante have paid off, put the price is too high and can not be paid.

My Thoughts-
I have enjoyed this trilogy. It is fresh and full of angst. Alessia and Jonah's relationship is a drawing factor, and as they try to help each other while hiding the truth from their clans, the tension rises.

Another interesting factor involves meeting Benandante from around the world. It was nice to see outside the circle that is Twin Willows and see exactly how the rest of the world is protected and learn about other sacred sites and their powers.

My favorite character in this book is actually Bree, Jonah's sister. She has slowly been emerging as a mage, but in this last book she hits her full power and we really get a good look inside the girl that started off as a stuck up shrew. Her change is beautiful and some of the choices she is faced with in this book really show her new character traits.

I loved the ending and thought the author wrapped things up well. This trio is worth the read- 5 stars!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Query no-no's from Agent Julie Weber

I love to scan twitter for advice from agents and editors. This week I found some really good advice from Julie Weber, a lit agent and freelance editor @jawlitagent . What not to do when you query her? Great advice in general. Though she does say, "This is a game I do NOT want to win by the way. So, please please please... do your best when querying! Thank you!"

Here's her cool infographic:
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