Monday, July 15, 2019

Hardcover Book Sale

Just a quick note to let you know that Amazon is offering some amazing discounted prices on a few of my hardcover titles. I have no control over this, so grab them while you can! Here's some links:

Bianca: The Brave Frail and Delicate Princess $5.25 (regularly $24.99)

Why Kimba Saved The World for $5.03 (regularly $23.99)

Max's Wild Night for $4.75 (regularly $22.99)

Not quite as amazing but still great deals . . .

Miss Fatty Cat's Revenge $8.29 (regularly $24.99)

Slinky Steps Out $8.49 (regularly $24.99)   

Grab them. Share this!! Enjoy.


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Blog Tour & Review: Heart of the Curiosity



The secret lies with the Heart.

Born with a magical knack for manipulating emotions, Leodora's only dream is to ensure her talented little sister dances on the biggest, brightest stage in the Republic: The Curiosity, a grand old theater of tradition and innovation. After escaping a cruel carnival, Leo secures her sister a place in the Curiosity’s chorus line, and herself a job as a professional audience member, swaying the crowd's mood with her magic. The girls have a home for the first time in their lives.

Then a tragic accident darkens the theater. A greedy businessman begins blackmailing Leo, and financial woes threaten to close the show forever. The Curiosity's sole hope lies in a mythical power source hidden beneath the maze-like passages and trapdoors of the theater—the Heart. And Leo’s only friend Paxton, nephew of the theater's stagemistress, is the key to finding it.

While Leo and Paxton hunt for the Heart, the blackmailer’s threats loom larger. Mysterious figures, cryptic clues, and deadly traps hinder the search at every turn. If the friends cannot recover the Heart in time, Leo and her sister will be cast out of the only home they’ve ever known, and the final curtain will fall on The Curiosity.

Enter a world reminiscent of The Greatest Showman, with a puzzle worthy of Sherlock Holmes and National Treasure, in this new Steampunk Fantasy from H. L. Burke.

Join in the launch party today on Facebook!! 


Heart of the CuriosityHeart of the Curiosity by H.L. Burke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another delightful story from H.L. Burke! I loved the idea of everyone in that world having a "knack" and being able to do something magical and unique to each of them. If only! I would definitely take Muse's knack. I have dreams like that. This book is "steampunk" instead of fantasy, like many of Burke's other novels, and she does a wonderful job of weaving fun inventiony stuff into Leo's world. You will wish you could take in just one show at The Curiosity. A wonderful summer read for the YA audience, but I enjoyed it as well (and am definitely not YA!). Great lessons on what friendship and family really mean.


View all my reviews



Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

Interview with H. L. Burke


How did you get started writing?
I dictated a short story to my mom when I was five or six. I only remember that it was about rabbits and included the bit of dialogue, “Why is it always snowing at your house?” “Because I'm a snow rabbit.”

Brilliant, huh?

But I have always wanted to write or been writing. I used to write short stories based on the imagined adventures of myself and my friends. I also inserted us into Star Wars fanfic so we could hang out with our heroes. Ah, good times.

Other than a few small contests, I didn't really pursue it all that seriously, though. In my late teens I sent out some queries. Looking back, I know that the stuff I was writing then wasn't that good. Then marriage and kids happened, and while I still wrote, I focused more on blogging for several years.

The turn around point for me was NaNoWriMo 2012. I had a 4-year-old and a 10-month-old, but dangit, I was going to write a novel that year … so I did. Finding that I still had the time to create, when I'd been telling myself I didn't because of the kids, flipped a switch and I just kept going.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your books?
A sense of fun, a few laughs, and an urge to explore.

What inspired your story world?

I started out just interested in the idea of professional audience members, which led me to the idea of writing a story about show business folk, and I like contained settings, so I chose a theater. Once I knew I was going to write a story about a theater I also knew that I wanted it to be a treasure hunt and have Steampunk elements … it kind of just wrote itself from there.

Why snails?

When we moved from Florida to southern California a few years back, we became very familiar with the local snails. They’d crawl up the side of our house. They’d be in our driveway. I thought they were kind of cool (living in military housing and not taking care of our own landscaping, I didn’t have an opinion on them as garden pests or anything), but my daughter, who was five or six at the time, adored them. She started trying to keep them as pets with somewhat limited success. There were some good times (feeding them lettuce until their little bodies turned green) and some rough times (dead snails, very tragic … she once had one “run away” which must’ve been a momentous task for a snail, but she was always worried it would get eaten by birds now that she couldn’t look after it). She used to call herself the “Snail Master” and even though we had to leave them behind (because of yet another move, this one from California to Oregon) she still talks about her snail army.

What inspired the theater?
I’m not sure if there was any one inspiration. It’s kind of a mishmash of every theater I’ve been in or seen on a movie or TV. The tunnels beneath the theater with their death traps and puzzles definitely owe something to The Phantom of the Opera (the book. I’ve never actually seen the movie/play all the way through, though I know the music because it’s everywhere and from doing a school band version of some of it in high school … I’m not really a musicals person).

If you could have one of the knacks from your world, what would it be?

Creepy crawly charming. I could tell the spiders to keep their distance … or eat the mosquitoes. Or both.

Favorite writing fuel?

Pre-3pm, coffee, 3pm to 5pm tea, 5pm onward, red wine.



Social Media Links:

Facebook Page | Facebook Reader Group | Twitter | Instagram | Website


More Stops on the Blog Tour

Monday, June 24 – Cathrine Bonham, World Building Feature on Magical Knacks

Wednesday, June 26 – Nicki Chapelway, Character Interview https://nickichapelwayauthor.blogspot.com/

Thursday, June 27 – RELEASE DAY, Deborah O’Carroll, Book Spotlight, Book Review https://thepagedreamer.wordpress.com/

Friday, June 28 – Christina Morley, Book Review, Behind the Scenes on Book Theme http://abooksandmore.blogspot.com/

Saturday, June 29 – Gretchen Engel, Author Interview, Book Review, Behind the Scenes on Book Theme (author’s choice)

Sunday, June 30 – Savannah Jezowski, Book Spotlight, World Building Feature https://dragonpenpress.com/

Monday, July 1 – Patricia Mather Parker, Character Interview, Behind the Scenes on Book Theme; patriciamatherparker.com

Katy Huth Jones, Book Spotlight, Book Review katyhuthjones.blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 2 – Leya, Author Interview, Book Spotlight, Excerpt www.angeleya.com

Wednesday, July 3 – Jennette Mbewe, World Building Feature http://www.jlmbewe.com/blog/

Friday, July 5 – Deborah Dunson, Book Spotlight Https://www.tumblr.com/blog/readingontheedge

Saturday, July 6 – Brian Wilkerson, Author Interview, Book Spotlight http://trickstereric.blogspot.com/

Sunday, July 7 – Mark Hansen, Book Spotlight TheHerosTale.com

Monday, July 8 – Tabitha Caplinger, Behind the Scenes on Book Theme Tabithacaplinger.com





Friday, June 21, 2019

Book Review: Educated

EducatedEducated by Tara Westover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well that was highly depressing! If I wrote this story as fiction, no one would believe human beings could act so horribly--mentally ill or not. One things that was missing for me in her journey was her own freedom from the religious conservatism she was brought up with. I mean, it sounds like she was having sex (and out of marriage), so how did she get to that point when boys made her cringe at their touch?

This book is not for the tender of heart, even more so because these violently aggressive crazy people are still alive and out in the world. Trigger warnings abound for anyone who has suffered domestic abuse. That Tara accomplished what she did in life is beyond remarkable and an important lesson for anyone in a position to help others--financially or through education. You may be the only shot they get.


View all my reviews

Friday, June 14, 2019

Book Review: Over the Moon by Natalie Lloyd

Over the MoonOver the Moon by Natalie Lloyd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again, Natalie Lloyd does not disappoint. This story is poignant and delightful and sad and full of hope. It reminds me of the Shel Silverstein poem about the mustn'ts. Listen to all the mustn'ts, but remember that anything can be. Stop listening to the nay-sayers, Mallie would say, who tell you what can't be done and what's impossible, how you need to stay in your place and live the life you've been given. Fight for the light and for joy and freedom. And if you can do it on a magical horse, all the better! Highly recommend this for readers of all ages.


View all my reviews

Monday, June 10, 2019

New Release: A Rough Draft


All Kayla Cash has ever dreamed is to be a writer. Her quiet little house, nestled in the Rockies of Wyoming, is the perfect inspiration for her novels. That is, until a new neighbor moves in and turns her serene piece of property into a construction zone. Her tranquility is further rocked when she finds the one making all the racket is none other than the one that broke her heart, Sawyer Evans. To Sawyer, Kayla is the one that got away and he can’t shake the feeling that moving next door to her is his chance to, not only make amends, but to win her heart again. He could only hope living next to Kayla in a place called Heart Mountain was more than just a coincidence. Kayla must decide how to write the ending to her own story. Will she risk letting Sawyer into her heart again, or will he forever remain a rough draft?

Join the Facebook party on June 11th for this new romance novel!!

A Rough DraftA Rough Draft by Jennifer McMurrain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A delightful story full of second chances with an exciting conclusion. An extra star for the ongoing conversations about strawberry tarts. And it's about an author, so that gets it an extra star too. A perfect choice for readers who love a good romance.


View all my reviews



About the Author:

Having a great deal of wanderlust, Author Jennifer McMurrain traveled the countryside working odd jobs before giving into her muse and becoming a full-time writer. She's been everything from a “Potty Princess” in the wilds of Yellowstone National Park to a Bear Researcher in the mountains of New Mexico. She has won numerous awards for her short stories and novels, including hitting #1 on the Amazon Best Seller list, in the paid market, with her debut novel, Quail Crossings, and being a 3rd place finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards for her paranormal romance novel, Winter Song. She has eight full length novels, eight book collaboration, and numerous novellas and short stories published. She lives in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, with her family. You can find more information at www.jennifermcmurrain.com.


Thursday, May 2, 2019

Mystery of the Painted Book, Pen & Quin: International Agents of Intrigue

As a part of Children's Book Week, I'm excited to announce the release of The Mystery of the Painted Book, a Pen & Quin: International Agents of Intrigue story.


When twelve-year-old twins Penelope and Quintus Grey Reyes are sent to Mexico to spend the summer with their grandparents, Pen creates a website advertising their services as international agents of intrigue. A mysterious client hires them. The assignment? To locate the Codex Cardona - a rare 15thcentury painted book.

The twins discover Abuelito, their grandfather, once searched for the same book, but he gave up the search when a friend disappeared. The book is rumored to be cursed, but Pen knows curses don't exist. Quin isn't so sure, and when Abuelito is attacked at the museum where he works, both twins are certain it has something to do with the missing codex.
While Pen and Quin track down the mysterious book, greasy art professor Flores follows their every move, but someone else is watching them too - someone who doesn't want the Codex Cardona to be found. The twins must draw on their combined skills of art and technology to uncover the mystery of the painted book.


I met the author for the first time several years ago when we ran our guesthouse in Eureka Springs and she came to stay with a group of friends. We run in the same NW Arkansas author circles, so we've bumped into each other several times since then, including recent video interviews with More Than A Review we both recorded. I'm thrilled that she accomplished her goal to have a book published!

You can find out more about this book and her tour schedule by tapping here.






CONGRATULATIONS, KS MITCHELL!!!




Monday, April 29, 2019

Children's Book Week Ebook Sale




Happy Children's Book Week! Just a quick note to let you know that all of my children's ebooks are on sale for 99 cents each through the end of the week. We started by celebrating Kimba and Hiro's 12th birthdays, but I decided to let the sale run through this celebration as well. You can even find Why Kimba Saved The World for free at Smashwords and other sites (but not Amazon so far).

Here's the links, for your convenience. Enjoy and feel free to share the kidlit love!

Why Kimba Saved The World
Vacation Hiro
Miss Fatty Cat's Revenge
Slinky Steps Out
Max's Wild Night
Dottie's Daring Day
Bianca: The Brave Frail and Delicate Princess

And for those of you who like hard copies, Amazon has several of my hardcovers for ridiculously low prices. The last I checked, Why Kimba Saved The World was less than the paperback version! I have no control over these prices, but you can get to them through the same links.

Happy Children's Book Week!!




Friday, April 26, 2019

This Cursed Flame Release Blog Tour


 Click to purchase on Amazon


Sometimes we put ourselves in the bottle...
Six years ago, Janan was transformed into a genie by an evil djinn, ripping her away from her home, her life, and her humanity. She has been on the run from him ever since. Worlds away, high school honors student Laurelin just wants to get into the chemistry program of her dreams.
When Laurelin discovers a crystal bottle that sucks her into the djinn realm, the girls find themselves working together to escape Janan's creator and get Laurelin back home. But war is brewing in the djinn realm--a rebellion led by the same evil djinn they've been trying to escape. And he is determined to rule both the djinn and the human realms. As his creation, Janan is the one person standing in his way.
But to stop him, Janan must learn to overcome the fears he instilled in her and embrace her own dark magic while Laurelin must accept that some things are more important than an A+. Now, they will have to trust each other, and themselves, to stop the encroaching evil. Otherwise, both the human and djinn realms will fall to the tide of death and dark magic this war will unleash.
About the Author

Selina is a biologist-by-day, writer-by-night native of Pennsylvania. She lives with her husband, dog, and two cats and spends her time writing, reading, creating art, and dreaming about fictional worlds. Besides writing and sciencing, Selina also runs an author support business, Paper Cranes, LLC, that provides editing, consulting, and mapmaking services to authors, writers, and students. She has written two fairy-tale retelling short stories that were both finalists in Rooglewood Press short story contests and an exclusive fantasy short story, Queen of Mist and Fog, available through her newsletter. This Cursed Flame is her first novel.

Selina can be found online on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, her blog, and through her email newsletter.
Book Links



All other retailers: https://books2read.com/u/4AJvgo

Facebook Party Link (with giveaway): https://www.facebook.com/events/265769490997758/

Be sure to visit other stops on this blog tour for reviews and other book release fun!

Selina J. Eckert https://sjeckert.wordpress.com/
Selina J. Eckert https://sjeckert.wordpress.com/
H. L. Burke https://www.hlburkeauthor.com/
Michaela Bush https://tangledupinwriting.com
Selina J. Eckert https://sjeckert.wordpress.com/
Selina J. Eckert https://sjeckert.wordpress.com/
Michaela Bush https://tangledupinwriting.com
Kelly Jane http://www.kellynjane.com/researchandrambles/
Savannah Jezowski http://dragonpenpress.com
Kandi Wyatt http://kandijwyatt.com
Selina J. Eckert https://sjeckert.wordpress.com/









Saturday, April 13, 2019

Where the Crawdads Sing Review

Where the Crawdads SingWhere the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was fabulous. Beautifully written. Had me totally wrapped up. Make sure you set aside time for the last 100 pages in one go because you won't be putting it down. The hype and fuss around this book are deserved.


View all my reviews

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Hardcovers Are Here!!

After many months of formatting and preparations, I'm thrilled to say that all of my middle grade books are now available in hardcover. Perfect for classrooms and libraries!


As readers, you can purchase the hardcover versions just like you would the paperback at Amazon or through my website if you want signed copies.

Schools and libraries go through a different process. If you would like to share my books with your local library or elementary school, just shoot me a quick email and I can send you the form they want to see with all the ISBN information available from the Ingram catalog.

Serving schools and libraries is the main reason I devoted so much time and energy into creating the hardcover versions my books. I'm a big fan of libraries and visit mine most weeks. Having my children's books available at libraries where anyone can pick up a copy for free is my goal for 2020. Readers recommending books to their own librarians is always a HUGE help. Share the love with your community!

What also spawned out of this reformatting/hardcover version process was Second Editions of all of my Cats in the Mirror books. For the most part, you wouldn't notice much difference in the text unless you were really comparing. It's mostly minor adjustments. But all of the books now have the "words you may not know" section at the back. (Bianca is separate from this series and does not have vocabulary in the back.)

Second Editions of all of the Cats in the Mirror books should be available at Amazon by the end of April. The last two are still processing. By the time Kimba's Christmas comes out in July, the whole series in paperback will be up and running with a fresh face, a couple of new covers, and cat stories for everyone! (Note: ebook second editions will be rolling out during the fall)

That's all for now. Kimba's Christmas is going through final formatting and proofreading and will be out in the world shortly. In case you haven't seen it, here's the cover. Yay, Kimba!








Thursday, March 28, 2019

Hound of Darkness Blog Tour & Book Release





Do you love cats? Do you enjoy frolicking fantasy, sweet romance, good versus evil, and stories with a good redemption angle? If so, you’re sure to fall in love with The Witching Hour, a fantasy with fairy tale themes and lots of giggles. And CATS! Don't overlook the importance of cats.


Part One: As shadows encroach on the city of Lite, one cat stands between humanity and the hounds of darkness. Romeo takes it upon himself to find a suitor for his human Isabel in order to save the city and sets his sights on the unlikeliest of candidates. Can true love really save the day?

Part Two: When Isabel disappears in the middle of the night, matters take a turn for the worst. Romeo finds himself trekking through the dangerous wildlands to rescue the young queen with a clownish wizard, a sassy she-cat, a pretty healer, and a mysterious solider. However, their only hope may be the very thing Romeo fears most. Can Romeo and his friends save the day before the shadows consume them?

The Witching Hour is a frolicking fantasy adventure with fairy tale themes and clean romance. Perfect for fans of Diana Wynne Jones and Lloyd Alexander.

Rated: PG for thematic elements and mild battle sequences



You can enter to win a FREE paperback of THE COMPLETE STORY, Parts One AND Two in one cute paperback. To enter, simply enter the rafflecopter giveaway. Winner will be chosen March 30th. This giveaway is US ONLY. Enter the Giveaway!

To get your own ebook copies without delay, click HERE for a free copy of Part One and HERE for a copy of Part Two for only 99 cents. 




Here's my lovely review from Goodread. Absolutely 5 stars!

The Witching Hour: Hound of Darkness (The Witching Hour Series Book 2)The Witching Hour: Hound of Darkness by Savannah Jezowski
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Decided to read this as part of the blog tour for the book release because, you know, magical cats. (So disclaimer, I guess, that I received this copy for free with no review guarantees, blah blah blah.)

Thoroughly enjoyed it. Light vs dark, good vs evil, all the good stuff you'd want and sassy cats to go with it.

If you haven't read Part 1, there is a link to get it for free at Amazon at the beginning of the book--it's really a short story, not a full book.

A great read for kids and the YA audience, though fun for adults as well. Recommend!

View all my reviews

Author Bio –
Savannah Jezowski lives in Amish country with her Knight in Shining Armor and a wee warrior princess. She is the founder of Dragonpen Designs and Dragonpen Press, which offers author services such as cover design, developmental edits, and interior formatting. Her debut novella “Wither” is featured in Five Enchanted Roses, an anthology of Beauty and the Beast, and is a prequel to The Neverway Chronicles, a Christian fantasy series filled with tragic heroes and the living dead. She is also the author of When Ravens Fall, a Norse Beauty and the Beast retelling. She is featured in several Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies, including Mythical Doorways, Tales of Ever After, and Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales. When she isn’t writing, Savannah likes to read books, watch BBC miniseries, and play with cover design. She also enjoys having tea with her imaginary friends.


Be sure to check out all the stops in The Witching Hour Blog Tour. I'm near the end of the tour, but there have already been some great posts. There are fun character interviews, guest posts, book reviews, and more!
March 19 – http://cobonham.com
                   www.angeleya.com
March 25 – https://dragonpenpress.com/ RELEASE DAY



Monday, March 11, 2019

Dragons & Unicorns & Book Deals!


Today I'm excited to share the release of a new book by my friend Kandi Wyatt and a fantastic sale on this series!

 To purchase this 99 cent deal!!

Book 1 in this series, An Unexpected Adventure, is only 99 cents for a few days. I was so happy for Kandi when I got the BookBub notice about this sale today. It's so HARD to be featured in one of their ads! Go, Kandi! You should pick up a copy today and join in the celebration. Just click on the ad above to go to Amazon and grab it.

What all of this partying is about is the release of Book 2 in this series, An Unexpected Escapade, which is also on 99 cents for a limited time. Here's a bit about it.
 Click to pick up this great deal too!

Protect friendship, family or a creature that's not supposed to exist? Ana and Daisy have been friends since third grade, but a rift in the space-time continuum in their little town may change that. When a unicorn waltzes into the pasture with Daisy’s appaloosas, a poacher, who will stop at nothing to gain the unicorn horn and its healing tears, shows up. Daisy is focused on saving the unicorn while Ana’s parents face sudden life-threatening health issues. When Ana learns about the healing tears, she’s forced to choose between friendship and her family’s health. Can the girls find the grace to compromise and save Ana’s parents and the unicorn?

How can you resist dragons and unicorns and all for only 99 cents each! 


Here's a brief interview with Will, the main character, in case you still need convincing.

What is your name? Please describe yourself for my readers.            I’m Will Long, a freshman at Myrtle Beach High School. There’s nothing really special about me. I’m about normal height with blonde hair. 
What is your favorite occupation?            If I could do anything I wanted to, I’d be at Carl’s Crab Shack every single day. I love fishing and hunting; so it’s a dream come true that he trusts me with his boats and his business.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?            Most people would think it would be a person here on earth, but not me. The one who’s most important to me is Jesus. He’s helped me through so many ups and downs. My family hasn’t had the most money, but we’ve learned that Jesus can provide just what we need. I’m trying to tell that to Carl’s daughter, Ana. She’s going through a pretty tough spot right now. I really hope everything turns out alright.

What is your favorite journey?            The best thing for me is being out on the ocean. I’d love to make the trip back to the island where Steria is. It was awesome to have all my friends together and Mr. Behr all on a boat that I was driving. They looked to me to get them where they needed to go, and it was perfect.

When and where were you the happiest?            Ah, that’s easy! It was really some of the most miserable of times and the best of times. In April my friend Chace talked me into hunting for thundereggs on the beach. What? Oh, those are Oregon State rock. You crack them open, polish them, and they’re beautiful. Anyway, we went looking for them on the beach and instead discovered an egg. I didn’t want to believe it at first, but deep down I knew it was true. To my shame, I betrayed my friends and Steria to a government agent, but later I made it up by helping get Steria to safety. From June through August those were the best months ever! We were such great friends and had the hours to be together when I wasn’t at The Crab Shack. Man, those were great days!

I hope y'all take advantage of these two fun books at such a great price -- and congratulate Kandi on the release of a new book baby into the world. Yay!! 


Here's a bit more about Kandi Wyatt and where you can find her and her books. 

 Bio:
Even as a young girl, Kandi J Wyatt, had a knack for words. She loved to read them, even if it was on a shampoo bottle! By high school Kandi had learned to put words together on paper to create stories for those she loved. Nowadays, she writes for her kids, whether that's her own five or the hundreds of students she's been lucky to teach. When Kandi's not spinning words to create stories, she's using them to teach students about Spanish, life, and leadership.

Where to find her:

Other Books by Kandi J Wyatt:
           

Dragon's Revenge: https://www.books2read.com/u/b5qvGb  


Dragon’s Posterity: https://www.books2read.com/u/4DA8og


An Unexpected Adventure: https://www.books2read.com/u/3yDLX6

Journey from Skioria: https://www.books2read.com/u/4AwJee


The One Who Sees Me:  https://www.books2read.com/u/mdrRlb

Monday, March 4, 2019

Hey, Kiddo

Hey, KiddoHey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Not for the younger reader. There is swearing and mature content, but it is important to the story of his life he is sharing so it is in context. Really wonderful overall. I can see why it is winning everything.


View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Farewell, Max

Our beloved dog Max crossed the rainbow bridge on Monday, February 18th. He was surrounded by love and lots of tears, and it has taken me a week to be able to share the news with you. When I do school visits, students often ask me if Max is still alive. I will have to change my answer now. We are grateful for the almost 13 years he spent with us.

On one of his first days in our home.

Skinny young Max joined us in 2006 when we lived in Houston. I had promised the girls a dog if the yard in our new house there had a fence (which it did), so I decided to surprise them one day. I found a local no-kill shelter and visited to see who they had available. I looked through all the puppies and younger dogs, but nothing felt quite right. Then a back door burst open and Max raced through in all his wiggling glory. He had been outside for a potty break. "Oh, there he is," I said. And that was that.

The girls were very excited, and Scott was happy that I had gotten a boy dog (his only requirement). They all quickly agreed that they liked my dog. And my dog he most certainly was. He was a year old when we adopted him. Though he'd been in some foster homes, he had zero training or discipline. Even walking on a leash was a challenge. He would collapse at corners and kick and nip he if wanted to go a different direction than me for some unknown doggie reason. The border collie half of him liked to nip our heels as we went down the stairs. But after a few sessions with a dog trainer, we figured him out and he figured us out and we all got along fine.

One of the solutions to some of his instinct to chew and gut stuffed animals was that he had to be with me at all times when he wasn't in his kennel or outside. Fortunately, my job mostly kept me at home. He became my shadow, and one of the oddest things now about having him gone is walking around the house alone. I was never allowed to do that. He supervised me, even if I just went to the kitchen or bathroom for a minute. In his last days, when it clearly caused him pain to get up and down, he hated letting me out of his sight. I would try to get him to "stay" or "wait" to no avail.

Dear Max, always underfoot.
One of my favorite Max stories that has yet to make it into a book was his anointing of the Christmas cards. He was well potty trained when we rescued him and had only a single accident in his first days with us. But a few months later, probably late December, he had a little slip up--or maybe it was totally intentional. I had strung some ribbon around a doorway and attached all of our Christmas cards from that year to it, to display them through the holiday. As we were packing things up, I pulled down the ribbon, with all of the cards still attached, and set in on the floor next to me. Max's immediate reaction was to lift his leg on the whole pile. I'm sure I yelled, but I remember finding it funny more than upsetting. What in the world made him do that? I'll never know. Dogs are as weird as cats.

Max's largest life adventure did make it into a book, and there are many true stories about other times in his life tucked in there as well. Max did spend a night alone in the Ozark Mountains after taking off one evening when we lived on our mountaintop in Arkansas.

 Purchase on Amazon

I love that Max will live on for generations to come as The Big Black Beast from my Cats in the Mirror books and as the hero of his own adventure story. Maybe someday I will write another book about just him.

I'll leave you with a sweet video of Max's dinner dance. Dinner was always his favorite time of the day. I love to think of him leaping around and running wild and free now, wherever he is.

Good dog, Max.




Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise Book Review

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote SunriseThe Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a beautifully written book, and I loved the idea of inclusiveness and overcoming grief that it presented. The "one of each" that came with the passengers they gain hit me as a bit forced, but there's probably no way to win on that these days.

Through most of the story, I was sure I'd give it 5 stars, but then it started to hit me that this poor child had been on a bus with a man who was clearly not mentally stable for FIVE YEARS. I admit, I'm reading this as an adult, but what social worker in her right mind would have let them go back to that over and over? And it's not like "Captain Fantastic," where he was at least educating his kids. Coyote had been on the bus since she was EIGHT? She could read, but there was never any mention of any other education. Zero technology. Besides the obvious things like bathing and going to the doctor or dentist, my first question to children as a teacher would be to discuss the issues this poor girl is going to have trying to start middle school. What? She would be ridiculously far behind. And that's not even getting started on social skills. She has been deprived of friends for FIVE YEARS! Maybe if had been only a year or so it wouldn't have upset me so much, but the whole thing just started to feel so neglectful that I couldn't get past it. How did her grandmother allow it? Too far for me.

That's my two cents on that. But there was a cat, so that always gets you bonus points in my reviews.


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Thursday, January 24, 2019

"Becoming" Review

BecomingBecoming by Michelle Obama
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well written and everything you might want to know, sometimes too much, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. My only gripe would be her insistence on saying "me and Barack" or "me and X" instead of using correct grammar as she does in every other aspect of the book. Not sure the reasoning for that, but it grated on me. Most readers won't notice, I suppose.


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Monday, January 21, 2019

Cat Takeover Giveaway


Things get boring in the winter, so I'm participating in a silly Author Cat Takeover at the Fellowship of Fantasy Facebook page. We'd love to have you join us. Today, for instance, you can vote for Kimba as the Best Author Cat. I have no idea what this really means, but I hope Kimba wins the first round at least.

During this event, my book Why Kimba Saved The World is free at a few sites:

As part of the fun and games, the Facebook page is hosting a Rafflecopter Giveaway. Here's the details.
At Smashwords
At Kobo
At Barnes & Noble
and Amazon has it for 99 cents

GIVEAWAY!
Prize 1: $26 to Amazon.com
Prize 2: Paperback of Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales a Fellowship of Fantasy story anthology (US shipping only)
Prize 3: Paperback of The Edge of Nothing by Crystal Crawford (US shipping only)
Prize 4: Ebook of Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon by H. L. Burke
Prize 5: Paperback of Psygens and Space Cats: A Mew Threat by Aaron Demott (US Shipping Only)

Giveaway starts 1/20 and goes until 1/29.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


You can go to Rafflecopter by clicking here. 

It's also a chance to meet some other amazing authors. Here's a list of who is participating, though I think you will visit them all if you do the Rafflecopter clicking challenge.

Giveaway hosted by:
https://www.facebook.com/events/393833991425596/
https://www.facebook.com/angiegrigaliunaszewriter
https://www.facebook.com/authorpamhalter
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAaronDemott/
Http://facebook.com/ccrawfordwriting
https://www.facebook.com/sharonlhughson/
https://www.facebook.com/NPCAuthor/
https://www.facebook.com/hlburkewriter/
https://www.facebook.com/authorkarindehavin/
https://www.facebook.com/jasoncjoyner
https://www.facebook.com/MegDendlerAuthor
https://www.facebook.com/selinajeckert
https://www.facebook.com/diannejwilsonauthor
https://facebook.com/leadoueauthor/
https://www.facebook.com/KaraJaynesAuthor/
https://www.facebook.com/jl.hathaway.12

Enjoy! And stop by the Fellowship of Fantasy event to vote for Kimba!