Category Archives: books

SERIES SPOTLIGHT: The Cryptid Chronicles by Brina Courtney

 
CRYPTID CHRONICLES BOOK #1 IS FREE!
AND there are new covers for the series!
You think seeing ghosts is weird? Tell me something I don’t know. 
My childhood best friend Jeremy, happens to be a ghost. 
My life is a puzzle, and the biggest piece missing has been my dad. Since his disappearance when I was six it’s been tough, but Jeremy has been by my side through it all. 
But now Jeremy has gone missing too and I feel like I’m never going to get all the answers I’ve been looking for. 
Fate intervenes when Hugh, a real live college beefcake, starts taking an interest in me. He divulges that he also shares my little “gift” of seeing the dead I know I’m finally getting closer to finding all the pieces. 
However, the more the puzzle is completed, the more questions I have. 
Senior year is hard enough as it is, but clearly I like a challenge.
Get Reveal for FREE here on Amazon: http://bit.ly/RevealFree
Get Reveal for FREE here on Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/RevealFreeBN
Get Reveal for FREE here on Smashwords: http://bit.ly/RevealSW

 

You can find these two (with their beautiful new covers) on Brina’s Amazon author page: http://bit.ly/BrinaAmazon
AND AS A BONUS!
Here is an excerpt from Brina’s upcoming release, the Camryn Cross series, releasing October 27…
“You have to run. You have to go now Camryn!”
My blood pumped through my body like it was on fire. I didn’t want to leave but something was telling me to go. Something besides my frantic mother.
“I don’t understand! What’s going on?”
My father looked at me sternly. “The world is falling apart. You have to go, to be safe.”
I shook my head. “You have to come with me,” I pleaded. I was only seventeen, I didn’t want to go alone.
The looked at each other, their eyes sparkling with the liquid from their tears. My mother nodded. “Take Kiley,” my father said.
“Kiley? But shouldn’t she be with her family?”
“She won’t have a family soon. Now go pack a bag for camp. I’ll call her family.”
“It’s the right thing to do,” my mother agreed solemnly.
“But you have to tell me why! Why do you want me to go to camp? I haven’t been there in years!”
My mother grabbed me and pulled me into a warm hug. “It’s the only place you’ll be safe. You’ll be with your own kind.”
I pulled away from her, “My own kind? What the hell does that mean?”
My mother looked away. I looked to my father for comfort. “Dad, what is she talking about?”
He sighed. “She’s talking about other babies that were born like you. People who are special. You, Camryn, you are so special.”
Special. My own kind. My heart raced. Who was I?

COVER REVEAL: The Soul Thief by Majanka Verstraete

the soul thief - front cover

The Soul Thief by Majanka Verstraete

Expected Release: November 11, 2014

Publisher: Booktrope

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal

When Riley is injured in a car crash and sees a girl stealing a boy’s soul, she’s convinced she’s hallucinating. But when she sees the same girl at the hospital later, she knows she wasn’t dreaming. That’s when Riley learns her secret heritage and who she really is: a halfling Angel of Death.

Riley must come to terms with her new reality and supernatural abilities, but before she can do this, girls her age start dying in mysterious circumstances. It’s up to Riley to figure out why, what the innocent victims have in common, and what she can do to stop them.

Add to Goodreads

The Soul Thief - full cover

 

majanka

 

About the Author Majanka Verstraete begged her Mom to teach her how to read while she was still in kindergarten. By the time she finished fifth grade, she had read through the entire children’s section of her hometown library. She wrote her first story when she was seven years old, and hasn’t stopped writing since. With an imagination that never sleeps, and hundreds of possible book characters screaming for her attention, writing is more than a passion for her. She writes about all things supernatural for children of all ages. She’s tried to write contemporary novels before, but something paranormal always manages to crawl in. Majanka is currently studying for her Master of Laws degree, and hopes one day to be able to combine her passions for law and writing. When she’s not writing, reading or studying, she likes watching “The Vampire Diaries” and “Game of Thrones,” spending time with her friends, or playing “World of Warcraft.” http://majankaverstraete.com

SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Phobic by Cortney Pearson

Phobic

by Cortney Pearson

The Forbidden Doors Series, Book One

YA Horror

Book Description

Fifteen-year-old Piper Crenshaw knows her house is strange. It’s never needed repairs since it was built in the 1800s, and the lights flicker in response to things she says. As if those things aren’t creepy enough, it’s also the place where her mother committed murder.

To prove she’s not afraid of where she lives, Piper opens a forbidden door, which hides a staircase that leads to the ceiling. That’s when the flashbacks of the original residents from 1875 start, including a love affair between two young servants. Each vision pulls Piper deeper into not only their story, but also her house. Piper confides in her best friend, Todd, whom she’s gradually falling for, but even he doesn’t believe her. At least, not until her house gets axed during a prank, and the act injures Piper instead, cutting a gash the size of Texas into her stomach.

Piper realizes her house isn’t haunted—it’s alive. To sever her link to it, she must unravel the clues in the flashbacks and uncover the truth about her mother’s crime, before she becomes part of her house for good.

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Cortney Pearson on Music in Phobic

I’ve played the clarinet for 18 years, and I’ve always wanted to write a character with the same trait because it’s been such a huge part of my life for so long.
Piper plays the clarinet in PHOBIC and music for her provides an escape from the horrible life she’s had. Her mom’s in prison for murder, her dad pretty much ignored her after that (except for the times when he gave all these crazypants rules about places she wasn’t allowed to go IN HER OWN HOUSE), and then he died. Not to mention she’s hoping to win a scholarship that will provide a way to get her out of her creepy house for a while.

But it’s not just Piper. Who here doesn’t love music? *checks for any raised hands*
I don’t know about you, but not only do I love to play music I’ve constantly got music playing. While I work, while I clean, while I write, while I drive.

And this is something I’ve thought about, what my personal theme song would be. It’s so hard to choose just one! I know on the day I announced I’d be publishing PHOBIC it was this song:
BEST DAY OF MY LIFE—Glee Cast

But music definitely needs to fit our moods, our current situations.
What about you? If you had to choose, what would your personal theme song be?

About the Author

Cortney Pearson is a book nerd who studied literature at BYU-Idaho, a music nerd who plays clarinet in her local community orchestra, and a writing nerd who creates stories for young adults. She lives with her husband and three sons in a small Idaho farm town.

Author links:

Purchase:

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Blitz-wide giveaway
Open INTL – Ends September 16th
–$15 Amazon gift card

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SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Daughter of Isis by Kelsey Ketch

Title: Daughter of Isis

Author: Kelsey Ketch

Series:  Descendants of Isis #1

Release Date: October 26nd, 2013

Genre: Upper Young Adult Fantasy

“Her mouth parted slightly, waiting for Seth to breathe life into her own body, just like in the story. She wanted him to awaken her senses.”

Their worlds collide in California’s high desert.

The last thing Natara “Natti” Stone wants to do is to start anew at Setemple High School. She wished she had never left London. Yet the brutal murder of her maternal grandmother has made her life very complicated. The only clue related to her murder is an ancient, encrypted necklace Natti discovered after her grandmother’s death. And if trying to adjust to American life is not enough, Natti is being stalked by a mysterious, charming high school senior, Seth O’Keefe, who is annoyingly persistent in his attempts at seduction.

Seth O’Keefe is secretly a member of the Sons of Set, an order that worships the Egyptian god of chaos. Seth’s blessing from Set, his “charm,” never failed, except with one person: Natti Stone. Her ability to elude him infatuates and infuriates him, and he becomes obsessed with the chase. But the closer he gets to her, the more his emotions take a dangerous turn, and he risks breaking one of the most valued covenants of his order. The punishment for which is a fate worse than death.

The adventure this unlikely couple becomes engulfed in could cost them their lives and their souls.

*Note: Content for Upper YA*

 

***Praise for Daughter of Isis***

Daughter of Isis is an addicting and enthralling read brimming with Egyptian mythology. Readers will be pulled into the story after simply reading a page!” —Emily, Reader Rising

I always enjoy a good book about Mythology and Daughter of Isis brings a thrilling modern day spin to one of the tales. Kelsey Ketch wove the story perfectly and sucked me right into her magnificent world.” —Naomi, Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

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•Excerpt•
 
“Natti,
you need to relax,” Seth finally said.
She
froze in her place and looked at him. “Relax! Are you mental? My best friend was
drugged!”
Seth
stood up from the long, ratty sofa, peeled apart her hands, and took them into
his. “You don’t know that for sure.” He brushed his thumbs over her skin in
soft, smooth strokes. “Just let the doctors worry about it.”
The calm,
soft tingle of his touch seeped through her skin, coursing lightly over her
nerves and releasing their tension. Her mind and body began to calm down,
making her realize how badly every muscle had been physically shaking. Slowly,
layer upon layer of fear and stress simply vanished until she felt nothing at
all. She looked up at Seth’s eyes, drawn to their warmth and comfort.
“Okay .
. .” Natti spoke, almost breathless. “How do you do that?”
“Do
what?” Seth’s voice was seductive as he leaned his forehead against hers. His
scent of spice cologne, myrrh, and sandalwood consumed her senses, and his eyes
captured her soul.
“This,”
she pressed. “The sensations of your touch. I’ve been feeling it all night and
even before. Ever since we met. And don’t try to lie. I know you’re doing it,
but how?”
Seth
smirked at her question, his eyes turning their focus to her hands. “It’s
nothing.”
Natti
couldn’t help smile as more of the tingling sensation slipped over her skin.
“Oh, it’s something. What is it?”
His
beautiful full lips tempted her with a smile. “You wouldn’t believe me if I
told you.”
“Try
me.”
Silence
fell between them while he seemed to think it over, meanwhile massaging her
hands with his thumbs and fingers. The pressure, the release, each movement
slowly pulling her thoughts and focus onto his hands. “Touch is a magical
thing, Natti,” he explained. “It can comfort.” He raised one hand and stroked
her cheek, soft and gentle. “It can entice.” His thumb moved along her jaw and
applied pressure as it traveled down her neck, causing her to shiver with
delight. “And it can hurt. Whatever the intentions, it brings two people
together. It makes a certain . . . connection.”
Though
there was no heaviness of a lie, she chuckled at his response. “You’re right. I
don’t believe you. Touch is just a sense. A tool the human body uses.”
“Yes,
and it’s a powerful tool when used the right way.” His honey voice teasing her,
tempting her. “Now come sit with me and relax. Wanda will be all right.”

 

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•About the Author•

During her high school years, Kelsey Ketch could always be found tucked away in a little corner of the hall or classroom, writing her fantasy worlds and creating illustrations and maps. Today is no different, except now she’s writing in the break room at her office building or at the tables of the Barnes and Noble Café in Cary, North Carolina. She is also an avid reader, a part-time book blogger at Ketch’s Book Nook, and lives with her two orange tabbies and awesome and humorous flat-mate.

For more information, please visit her site at kelseyketch.com.

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•Giveaway•

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Highlight hosted by Good Choice Reading Blog Tours

SPOTLIGHT: The Partner Track by Helen Wan

The Partner Track

by Helen Wan

Women’s/Law Fiction

To be released as paperback September 9, 2014

Book Description

Ingrid Yung’s life is full of firsts. A first-generation Chinese American, the first lawyer in her family, she’s about to collect the holy grail of “firsts” and become the first minority woman to make partner at the venerable old law firm Parsons Valentine & Hunt.

Ingrid has perfected the art of “passing” and seamlessly blends into the old-boy corporate culture. She gamely banters in the corporate cafeteria, plays in the firm softball league, and earnestly racks up her billable hours. But when an offensive incident at the summer outing threatens the firm’s reputation, Ingrid’s outsider status is suddenly thrown into sharp relief. Scrambling to do damage control, Parsons Valentine announces a new Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, commanding Ingrid to spearhead the effort. Only she’s about to close an enormous transaction that was to be her final step in securing partnership.

For the first time, Ingrid must question her place in the firm. Pitted against her colleagues, including her golden-boy boyfriend, Ingrid begins to wonder whether the prestige of partnership is worth breaching her ethics. But can she risk throwing away the American dream that is finally within her reach?

About the Author

HELEN WAN was Associate General Counsel at the Time Inc. division of Time Warner Inc. Before that, she practiced corporate law and media law at law firms in New York. Born in California and raised near Washington, D.C., Wan is a graduate of Amherst College and the University of Virginia School of Law. Her essays and reviews of fiction have been published in The Washington Post and elsewhere. She lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, with her husband and son.

Website: http://www.helenwan.com/about-me/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorHelenWan

Twitter: https://twitter.com/helenwan1



COVER REVEAL: After Day One by Benjamin Seims

after day one web

 

After Day One by Benjamin Levi Seims

Publisher: Booktrope

Expected Publication: December 9, 2014

Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Action & Adventure

2083, John Howe a genetic, and cybernetic, enhanced cyber operations solider who came home After Day One only to find the country he fought for broken, and his wife and son murdered. By 2096 he rebuilt his home and was trying to live a comfortable life on the outskirts of the Free Territories, the Pacific North West.

That was before Sierra and Quinn. The twin thirteen year old orphans he was saddled with the minute he saved them from a fat, greasy, gypsy couple holding them. Now he’s a man who is just trying to get rid of them before they all end up dead.

As fate would have it, a super soldier and two kids with abilities that could save the country, and maybe earth, are going to be hard to separate.

The world is fragmented and looking for a hero. Some heroes come in rough packaging.

 

 

Ben SeimsAbout the Author

I live in Wenatchee, WA with my wife and our three teenage boys. I work full time as a Cardiac Nurse and I am currently an Officer in the Washington Army National Guard. After Day One is my first full length Novel and is the first book in a planned trilogy.

BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Minty by Christina Banach

 Minty

by Christina Banagh

YA Thriller

Book Description

Fourteen-year-old twins Minty and Jess are inseparable. Maybe they bicker now and then, even crave a bit of space once in a while. But they have a connection. Unbreakable. Steadfast. Nothing can tear them apart. Until a family trip to the coast puts their bond in jeopardy. As Minty tries to rescue her dog from drowning she ends up fighting for her life. Will Minty survive? If she doesn’t, how will Jess cope without her? Only the stormy sea has the answer.

4fleur

 

MY THOUGHTS: 4.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

Minty by Christina Banach

It’s absolutely impossible to review this book without giving up a very important spoiler that somehow didn’t make it into this book’s synopsis. Minty and Jess are teenaged twins living in Scotland. When one day the girls make a fateful trip to the rocky shore, Minty loses her life and Jess in short order loses her sanity. Minty’s spirit continues to hang around her family’s home, but it’s so hard to watch the living when you are seeing them break down. As twins, Minty and Jess shared a special bond…but will it be unbreakable even in death?

The book started off quickly but around the middle things got repetitive and the plot suffered a bit. Minty and Jess are twins, but so different from each other. Even though those differences exist, Jess experiences Minty’s loss like no one else because of the connection they shared. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see Jess go through all of the stages of grief, but it was also fulfilling to read because the author made it all feel so real.

Minty meets another ghost, trapped spirit, or whatever you want to call it shortly after he death. His name is Jack, and while Minty finds him irritating, he is also the only company she has and she needs his help. I mostly found him annoying myself. He and Minty don’t really have a romantic relationship, but he is extremely standoffish at times and often makes fun of Minty. She gave him a lot more leeway than I would have.

While I think the book was too long and several scenes could have been cut out, overall Minty was a great read and very emotional. I like that it didn’t fall prey to most YA stereotypes, and that the main focus was on family instead of a romance. The end was great and left me in tears. I’d recommend the book to anyone who has a firm sibling bond, or readers who’d like to experience one.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Christina Banach is a former head teacher who lives in Scotland, UK, with her husband and their two rescue dogs. She loves walking; delicious food and wine; evenings at the theatre; exploring new places; surfing the Net; listening to music; and anything that makes her laugh. Plus she has a bit of a thing about shoes and handbags. She loves reading, and is especially keen on young adult and children’s fiction (all those years buying for school libraries!).

She is currently working on her next novel.

WEBSITE TWITTER | GOODREADS | FACEBOOK

PURCHASE:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY

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SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Diary of a Real Payne: Oh Baby by Annie Tipton

Diary of a Real Payne Oh Baby by Annie Tipton

Title: Oh Baby! (Diary of a Real Payne, Book 3) | Author: Annie Tipton | Publication Date: September 1, 2014 | Publisher: Barbour Books | Pages: 195 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 12

Summary: In this final fabulous release in the Diary of a Real Payne series you’ll find yourself ROTFL with EJ’s hilarious adventures with a new little Payne. The Payne family has just adopted a roly-poly package of pudge with bright eyes and a sparkling smile. In true sisterly fashion, EJ can’t wait to teach baby Faith how to be amazing at everything (just like her big sis!). But when EJ learns that she’s losing her role as flower girl to the adorable newcomer in an upcoming wedding, it’s almost more than she can handle. In classic EJ form, she dreams up even more fantastic adventures for herself—promising colossal fun as you become part of her daydreams in Oh Baby!

 

Purchase

Amazon | CBD | The Book Depository | Barbour Books | Barnes & Noble

 

You can purchase the first two books in the series through Amazon by clicking the book covers below.

Diary of a Real Payne Book 1 True Story by Annie TiptonChurch Camp Chaos Diary of a Real Payne by Annie Tipton

 

 

The Buzz About Books 1 & 2

Book 1: “I am 7 years old, and I loved this book because of EJ’s imagination and how it focused on the real meaning of Christmas. The book made me laugh, and I especially liked the part when EJ used the shopping cart to pretend to be a race car driver. She thought her mom’s scarf was a yellow flag, and she stopped just before she crashed into the display of glue bottles. I liked EJ’s character, and I read the book in about 5 days. When we had “Dress Like Your Favorite Book Character Day” at school, I dressed up like EJ Payne. I can’t wait for the second book in this series!” ~ Emily E., Amazon

Book 1: “My 9-year-old foster daughter loved the book! She related well to EJ and her spunky personality and humorous outlook on life and what it hands you. Great lessons for her to learn, as well as entertaining. She read it in a matter of days and even chose reading it over playing Nintendo, which is a huge endorsement! I also enjoyed it and found it a fun and comforting read for this 40-something adult. Great job. We’re really looking forward to Book 2 of EJ’s adventures at camp! Thanks, Annie!” ~ Lfierbaugh, Amazon

Book 2: “Church Camp Chaos is a delightfully funny look into the highly imaginative workings of a tween girl, EJ Payne. The book cleverly uses a combination of diary entries, narration, and hilarious passages peeking into EJ’s daydreams. The story is originally clever and, at times, very poignant. I thoroughly enjoyed this fantastic book and I highly recommend this series to young girls in particular between the ages of 8 and 12 who also love Clementine, Judy Moody, and Ramona Quimby.” ~ Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews

Book 2: “Curly, my 8-year-old bookworm, loved this book. The day it arrived in the mail I let her look through it. By that evening she brought the book to me to thank me and tell me she was finished. She read the entire book in one day and I don’t think she ever put it down! She enjoyed EJ’s adventures and the fun times she had at church camp. She told me the book was “funny.” I appreciated the way the book treated family relationships and showed a loving family who works together and endures different situations together. EJ and her brother don’t always get along but their parents encourage them to be kind and EJ grows to appreciate her brother and even his slightly obnoxious attempts at humor. I enjoyed the life lessons that EJ learned about trust, faith, and friendship and am glad that I can find books for my daughter to read that are humorous and fun while still promoting good values.” ~ 5 Star Review, Lextin Academy, Amazon

 

About the Author

Annie Tipton AuthorAward-winning author Annie Tipton made up her first story at the ripe old age of two when she asked her mom to write it down for her. (Hey, she was just two—she didn’t know how to make letters yet!) Since then she has read and written many words as a student, newspaper reporter, author, and editor. A native of Wooster, Ohio, Tipton received a bachelor’s degree in Communications at Milligan College in Northeast Tennessee. She currently resides in New Philadelphia, Ohio.

Facebook Fan Page | Goodreads

 

* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash prize (winner’s choice)

Contest Ends: September 30, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. The winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If a winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by Barbour Books and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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BOOK TOUR REVIEW & INTERVIEW: I Ate a Cicada Today by Jeff Crossan

I Ate a Cicada Today

by Jeff Crossan

Children’s Fiction

Book Description

Based on a song of outrageous rhymes, I Ate a Cicada Today is a humorous children’s picture book illustrated in ink and watercolor with an accompanying CD.  Each two-page spread features a verse about a different animal or insect including such fanciful scenarios as “I peppered a leopard today” and “I hid a giant squid today.”  The CD is a guitar/vocal performance of the song by author/illustrator Jeff Crossan, who interjects each verse with a short spoken aside to provide added comic punch to the zany lyrics.

4fleur

MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

This is a super, super cute book written in verse like a song.  In fact, the version on sale has a CD with it, but I didn’t get to hear this part yet.  The author mixes funny lines about doing weird actions with animals with little tidbits of information about said animal, in a way that kids will remember.

I really liked the illustrations.  They were beautifully done and made the verses really come to life.  My 5 year old thought some of the pictures were really funny without even knowing what the lines were about!

The book is a bit long for bedtime reading, and there are some words you will have to explain the meaning of to your children.  But it seems each set of verses can be a tiny tale all their own.  This is a wildly inventive children’s offering that I think kids and parents will love reading.

sshinterview

Tell us a little about yourself.
Maybe I can answer your first request by telling you about a few firsts relating to my writing background. I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware and the first creative writing effort I recall was done on the back porch of my home there when I was about seven or eight years old. I wrote lyrics to the tune of Stephen Foster’s song “Beautiful Dreamer.” It was titled “Happy That Day.”
The first news article I wrote as a professional reporter was about a newly installed No Left Turn sign on a busy street in Newark, Delaware and how people who’d been making that turn for years were unpleasantly surprised when they were pulled over and ticketed by the local police. The lead was, “Some habits aren’t hard to break. Some habits are. Michael Piovoso has a law-breaking habit.”
The first song I was fortunate enough to have recorded was “You’re Gonna Ruin My Bad Reputation,” a number one record for country singer Ronnie McDowell. I’d love to become that fortunate again.
The first children’s song I wrote was “I Ate a Cicada Today,” which has now turned into my first children’s picture book.

What made you want to become a writer?
I think great writing made me want to become a writer. When I was five years old I heard “Zip-a-Dee-Do-Dah” in the Disney movie “Song of the South,” an Academy Award-winning song, and I wanted to write a song like that. In first grade I read Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Suess and it made me want to write and illustrate a children’s book. And today, when I hear a great song or read a great book, I still think to myself, “Why haven’t you written something like that, you slacker?” So I sit right down and write a note to myself to remind me to do that.

Who or what gives you inspiration?
As I just mentioned, sometimes it’s hearing or reading something that inspires me. Other times a cicada slams into my face in a parking lot and launches me into a rhyming frenzy.

Tell us about I Ate a Cicada Today.
The story of how the book evolved over many years is told in detail on its website. But I haven’t spoken much about the song itself, which also changed quite a bit over time. Originally, each verse was only four lines long, three of which were identical. The first verse, for instance, was “I ate a cicada today/I ate a cicada today/It flew in my mouth and it didn’t fly out/I ate a cicada today.” I soon realized that was too repetitive and allowed for a minimal amount of color or information. So I changed the second line to each verse. For the cicada it became, “I know that sounds crazy to say.” Eventually, I realized I wanted to put even more story into the verses so I stopped singing after each third line and added the spoken asides, which opened things up to all sorts of possibilities. Finally, I thought it would add variety to the song if I changed the tempos or time signatures on the verses to reflect the stories being told. The turtle verse, for example, is in waltz time and the hotwired Rottweiler is rock ‘n roll.

What’s the hardest part of being a writer?
Convincing a bank to lend you money. And deadlines. Even the word sounds ominous. When I was a reporter I hated writing under deadline pressure. I’m too much of a perfectionist to be satisfied with a first draft and that was often all I had time to write. Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson said he wrote best under a deadline and likened himself to the rabbit that choses to wait by the side of the road until the headlights are upon him before dashing madly in front of the oncoming car. That’s not me.

What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?
I don’t need much. A pencil and a pad of paper will do. If I’m writing a song I’ll also need a guitar and a tape recorder. I prefer writing with a pencil to get started rather than a computer. It’s just more comfortable for me. And any posture is possible. I also like to have a large window with a view and plenty of natural light.

What are some of your favorite books?
It’s difficult to choose but if I use the number of times I’ve read a book to gauge where it stands among my favorites I’d have to say, To Kill a Mockingbird, Huckleberry Finn and The Grapes of Wrath. I’ve read each multiple times. When it comes to children’s books I really enjoy Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends. Of the recent books I’ve read I like Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half, a unique combination comic book and memoir of sorts, which made me laugh out loud.
Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Most of the characters in I Ate a Cicada Today are animals and although I may have a passing acquaintance with some of them from occasional visits to the zoo I can’t claim to know them well. The little blond-haired boy who appears several times in the book was based on my son, Jon, who I not only know, but love. The little girl is my daughter Sara, who I know and love equally as much as Jon.
What, if anything, are you working on right now?
I have an idea for another children’s picture book based on one of the other children’s songs I’ve written. I haven’t begun working on the illustrations yet but I’ve been giving some thought as to how to best format them. Right now I’m busy doing all the things I need to do to support I Ate a Cicada Today.
Why do you love writing?
I love words and language, description and stories, rhythm and rhyme and everything that writing is. Aside from all that, I also enjoy the solitude that goes hand in hand with writing. I’m an only child and I entertained myself with solitary, creative pursuits a lot when I was a boy. That inclination has stayed with me.

About the Author

Jeff Crossan is an award-winning, Emmy-nominated songwriter. His hit songs include the number one country tune, “You’re Gonna Ruin My Bad Reputation,” which received a BMI Million Air Award. A graduate of the University of Richmond with a degree in journalism, he is a former newspaper reporter/photographer, music journalist and syndicated radio writer. For several years his cartoons appeared in the Presbyterian Voice. He lives in Franklin, Tennessee with his wife, Linda. They have a daughter and a son who have helped them assemble a fine assortment of mammals, reptiles, fish and insects.

I Ate A Cicada Today is his first children’s book.

Author Links below:

REVIEW: Mary Hades by Sarah Dalton

Mary Hades

by Sarah Dalton

YA Paranormal

Book Description

Not many seventeen year old girls have a best friend who’s a ghost, but then Mary Hades isn’t your average teenager.

Scarred physically and mentally from a fire, her parents decide a holiday to an idyllic village in North Yorkshire will help her recover. Nestled in the middle of five moors, Mary expects to have a boring week stuck in a caravan with her parents. Little does she know, evil lurks in the campsite…

Seth Lockwood—a local fairground worker with a dark secret—might be the key to uncovering the murky history that has blighted Nettleby. But Mary is drawn to him in a way that has her questioning her judgement.

Helped by her dead best friend and a quirky gay Goth couple, Mary must stop the unusual deaths occurring in Nettleby. But can she prevent her heart from being broken?

2fleur

MY THOUGHTS: 2 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

 

Mary Hades by Sarah Dalton

As it was not told to me before I started this book, I’m telling you as a fellow professional reader: I STRONGLY encourage you to read the prequel novella before starting Mary Hades. This is the first book I’ve read that had a prequel novella, where the events that happened in that prequel were mentioned at all. In fact, the events are mentioned so much that while reading you kind of feel like you missed out on a lot. It’s almost more like starting a second book in a series rather than a first.

Anyway, I did come to understand what was going on, though maybe not as fully as I’d have liked to. Mary Hades (yes, her real name, poor thing) is a high school girl who was committed for psychosis, because she happens to be able to see ghosts. Mary left her mental facility prematurely because of some incident that happened with a doctor trying to kill her there (one of those prequel events!), so I’m assuming she never really got the help she should have. She is, as far as her parents know, controlling things with medication. But Mary doesn’t tell them things are not under control at all. As a matter of fact, she talks to her dead friend Haley almost constantly.

In spite of all this, Mary’s parents think it will be a good idea for the family to take a vacation. Before they even get checked in, a death occurs, and Mary learns it’s probably connected to the ghost of a little girl named Amy who was violently murdered in the area. With the help of a local, Seth, she sets out to learn the truth about Amy and maybe set her free from her earthly torment.

Mary’s parents are not at all the beacon of good decisions in this book. Their daughter, who not too long ago WAS IN A MENTAL INSTITUTION, is allowed to roam about freely. And when they learn she’s dating a guy she just met, they encourage her to go out with him. This all really bothered me a lot, but as is done too often in YA, the parents need to be out of the picture so the main character can do whatever she is doing uninterrupted.

Seth and Mary’s relationship moves way too fast and though they have a couple of intense moments that may have made them feel closer than they really were, the chemistry was not at all there for me and I thought most of their interactions felt forced.

The idea of someone who can see dead people and possibly help them be laid to rest is very intriguing to me, but the potential of this was not fully realized by Mary Hades. As a matter of fact, there was a moment towards the end involving one of the spectres Mary sees that was completely out of left field, unexplained, and just left me wondering what the heck had just happened.

The end of this book was actually the best part, but I don’t think I will be continuing on this series. I couldn’t connect with the characters at all, and it’s sad when the ones you like the most are the ghosts.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Sarah grew up in the middle of nowhere in the countryside of Derbyshire and as a result has an over-active imagination. She has been an avid reader for most of her life, taking inspiration from the stories she read as a child, and the novels she devoured as an adult.

Sarah mainly writes speculative fiction for a Young Adult audience and has had pieces of short fiction published in the Medulla Literary Review, PANK magazine, Apex Magazine and the British Fantasy Society publication Dark Horizons. Her short story ‘Vampires Wear Chanel’ is featured in the Wyvern Publication Fangtales.

She is the author of the popular YA dystopia series ‘Blemished’ and the gothic novella ‘My Daylight Monsters’. She is currently working on a YA Fantasy series titled ‘White Hart’.

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