Thanks, DANIEL, for all of the opportunities you've given me to connect to kids around the world. We've had some great times!
My sweet little MG book turns 3 today! Grab your copy at www.bit.ly/DANIELS3!
Thanks, DANIEL, for all of the opportunities you've given me to connect to kids around the world. We've had some great times!
I COAST INTO THE PARKING lot, praying no one’s around to notice the crumbling metal and the wheeze of the geriatric engine. If I keep my foot off the gas, the deafening ahem-ahem-ahem of my phantom exhaust system’s less likely to turn heads.
This car’s a classic, I say. Nothing to be ashamed of. Classic cars are totally in right now.
I rattle past the valet booth because I’m not a valet guy. No one’s allowed to see the greasy fast food wrappers and sticky half-empty drink cups lttering the floorboards. I find my final resting place at a prime spot right in front of the restaurant.
The sign out front reads, “Heavenly.” I’ve never been here before, but it sounds fancy, if you ask me. I’m a lot of things, but fancy isn’t one of them. Still, I tried to look the part, dressing up in my finest. The buttons strain around my stomach and there’s a hole in the lining of my pocket that lets my keys fall with a clink to the pavement.
So what? This outfit is vintage. Vintage is totally in. I still look good.
In the fading sunlight, the huge establishment glimmers like it’s been gold-plated and encrusted with diamonds.
Maybe this was a bad idea. I gulp and tug at my choking collar with one finger. No way can I afford this place.
Despite the drag of my feet, some unseen force pulls me forward to a small glass door set in the center of the building.
Huh. I scratch my head. This place should have a wide entryway lined with pillars and marble or something, not a plain door. What kind of place is this?
Before I can even think about turning back to my rustbuck--I mean, classic car--a man in a pure white tuxedo swings the door outward.
“It’s about time you got here.” The man smiles, and I can’t explain it, but I smile, too. I’m happy. He’s happy. We’re all happy. That’s weird.
Spices from faraway lands fill my senses as I step inside, and my stomach growls. “Sorry,” I say. “I skipped lunch.”
The man in the white suit--his eyes are so deep and kind, I feel like I’ve known him my entire life--just chuckles and leads me down an impossibly narrow hallway. I’m no architect, but whoever designed this place doesn’t seem to be, either.
“I’m the owner of this restaurant,” my guide explains. “I have many names, but...”
We’ve arrived in a much larger room--I’m guessing this is the lobby. Intricately hand-woven rugs stretch across the floors and paintings line each wall. I skim across each one, my mouth hanging open. “That painting over there . . . Is that a Michelangelo?”
“I have an eye for precious things,” the man answers.
Another man dressed in white waits behind a hostess stand at the far end of this extravagant room. He tips his head in reverence when we approach.
“This is my son.” The man in the suit wraps an arm around the host, a man who could be his clone. “I’m so proud of him.”
“So wonderful to have you join us,” the son says. He’s just being polite, I know, but his words fill me with a strange sense of peace like I’ve never had before. What is this place?
“Oh! We have another guest!” the owner says, and disappears into the narrow hallway.
I’m suddenly aware of my surroundings and very aware of my wimpy bank account, so instead of following him to a table, I ask for a menu and sink down onto a nearby bench. I haven’t decided if I’ll use the menu to pick out my dinner or fan myself because of sticker shock. Either way, I’m prepared.
A moment later, the owner returns with a man and woman. The woman struts in, not ashamed of her glossy red miniskirt and fishnet stockings sprinkled with runs. The man’s suit is rumpled, and he tries to scrub her lipstick from his mouth. I catch the glint of a wedding ring on his finger as he does.
I know I don’t belong here, but these two definitely don’t belong here.
In the Middle by S. J Henderson
Young Adult Paranormal Novel
Girl moves to new town.
Girl meets Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome.
Cue Happily Ever After.
That’s how the story goes, right?
Except this is Lucy. The same Lucy whose stellar driving skills single-handedly wiped out both of her parents, leaving her with nothing but the suitcase in her hand and the screws in her skull. Not to mention that Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome—AKA Oliver—is just as annoyingly bossy as he is hot. According to Oliver, Lucy’s not safe in her new hometown, but he refuses to say why. He just gives her some lame warning about not going out after dark, like that’ll stop her.
When several townspeople vanish, the lethargic community springs to life, fearful of the danger lurking among them. The problem is that Lucy’s the last person to have seen any of the missing. Doesn’t exactly qualify her for the Neighbor of the Year Award.
Lucy’s already given up on Happily Ever After, but now she has two choices left: find out what’s happening in her new home, or become the next victim.
“Do you trust me?” he asks. He’s closer to me.
“Do I have a choice?”
“Not really. We’ve got to get you back to the mansion before . . .” His voice trails off. I want to slug him in the arm for being spooky again, but I’d have to find his arm first.
He swoops in without warning, whisking me from my feet. Again, I cry out. He sucks in a sharp breath that catches between his teeth. “Lucy, I’m not kidding—stop making noise.”
My blood simmers beneath my skin. “Warn me next time you’re planning on picking me up, then.”
“Sorry,” he fires back, his mouth too close to my ear.
I want nothing more than for the strength in my legs to return so I can get away from him and his nerve, but Oliver is in control now and holds me pressed unnecessarily tightly to his body. Turning my head from him is my only means of escape. I’d shown him, all right.
With a little more energy than necessary, he heaves me up into the blackness. My bottom connects to something soft yet solid—Jasper’s back—and pain spikes down my spine. I gasp as my body starts to curl in on itself.
“Okay,” Oliver says. “Slide your right leg over to the other side. I’ll keep you steady.”
My mouth flops open and I wonder if he can see the ever-growing whites of my eyes. Or maybe he’s picked up on the stampede going on between the valves of my heart, because he softens. “Lucy, I’m not going to let you fall. Trust me.”
“The only people I’ve ever trusted are dead,” I shoot down to him as I claw around for something, anything, to keep me from falling on my face.
Oliver snorts, which sends me over the edge.
“What? You think that’s funny?” I challenge him, no longer concerned about keeping quiet. His hand clamps on my leg in piercing reproof. I’ll have bruises there tomorrow, for sure. Through locked teeth, I order, “Let. Go.”
“Please stop,” he says. “I’m trying to keep you sa—”
A rumble beyond us, where the orchard fades into the rest of the forest, interrupts his plea. Even though I sit astride stoic Jasper, I can feel the ground vibrating beneath us.
“What in the—?” I cry, whipping my head in the direction of the growing commotion.
“Slide back,” Oliver commands. I know better than to take offense at his bossy tone. I’d made a big mistake, one he’d been trying to protect me from. The fear of horses leaves my body, only to be replaced by the fear of the unknown. Ignoring the bite of pain in my hip, I throw my leg over Jasper’s withers and shove myself backward, using my palms for leverage. A second later, Oliver sweeps himself upward and in front of me on his horse’s back.
“Hold on,” he yells over the thunder moving our direction.
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About S. J. Henderson
S. J. Henderson is the founder of theKid Authors Project, as well as a published author of the DANIEL THE DRAW-ER series. Now that she's published IN THE MIDDLE, she'll start working on the next big thing.
S. J. lives on a farm with her husband, four boys, two dogs, and cat. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her riding one of her family’s three horses. She loves to sing and is slowly learning to play the ukulele.
Available for FREE from 9/30/16 to 10/04/16
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A modern day Nancy Drew
Twelve-year-old Samantha Wolf, and her best friend Ally, are excited to spend part of their summer break in the mountains of Montana. But unbeknownst to them, Hollow Inn is bathed in mystery and legend. After arriving, they soon discover that things are not going well for Sam's Aunt and Uncle, who own the Inn. There's vandalism, ghostly sightings, and rumors of lost treasures. Determined to help, Sam and Ally embark on a challenging journey to discover the truth.
Book #2 - The Secret of Camp Whispering Pines
Book #3 - The Beach House Mystery
Book #4 - The Heiress of Covington Ranch
Book #5 - The Haunting of Eagle Creek Middle School
Book #6 - A Mysterious Christmas on Orcas Island
Available now for pre-order!
Tara Ellis, an Amazon best selling author, lives in a small, rural town in Washington State set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She enjoys the quiet lifestyle with her two kids and several dogs. Tara was a firefighter/EMT, and worked in the medical field for many years, before committing herself to writing young adult and middle grade novels full-time.
Connect with her on FB: Facebook
Follow her on Twitter: @taraellisauthor
Find her in Goodreads: Goodreads
Take a look at all of her books on Amazon: Amazon
Things are never what they seem... in a foggy Louisiana swamp
Title: The Secret in Mossy Swamp
Series: Nikki Landry Swamp Legends, Book 3
Author Name: Rita Monette
Genre(s): Juvenile/Middle Grade, Adventure, Mystery
Length: Approx. 204 pages
ISBN Paperback: 978-1987976168
Release Date: Septemer 17, 2016
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing
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About The Secret in Mossy Swamp
Living in a tiny houseboat, Nikki is stuck with sharing a room with her little brother, Jesse, who does what little brothers do best…torture their sisters. Fed up, she decides to build a place of her own…a tree house where no boys are allowed. Meanwhile, something strange is happening on Bayou Platte. Things and people are coming up missing…and little stick dolls covered in moss, known locally as “signs” from the legendary Rougarou, are showing up in their place.
Is the Rougarou really to blame? Can Nikki get to the bottom of the mystery before things get worse? Find out in this third instalment of the Nikki Landry Swamp Legends Series!
“Rouwrrrrrr!” Something tackled my legs and pushed me down on the bed. “Yahahaha…”
I swung my arms in the dark, but it was on top of me, its wet mouth snarling in my ear. Was it…?
“What’s going on in here?” Papa rushed through the door holding a lantern. The room lit up with the pale glow of kerosene light.
“Hah, I got you good.” Jesse stood up over me.
“Papa, Jesse tried to scare me.” My voice trembled.
“I did scare you.” Jesse jumped around on my bed. “Hahahaha.”
“Did not! I knew it was you.” I threw my legs over the side of the bed. “Papa, you’ve got to get him out of my room. I can’t have anything. He’s always in my stuff.” I jerked my finger at him. “And now he’s on my bed. I can’t even sleep!”
“It’s not that bad, is it, Tadpole?” Papa usually called me Tadpole unless he was being serious, then it was Nikki, or Nicole Elizabeth Landry if I was in big trouble.
My face felt hot and my eyes watered. “This has been my room since I was born—eleven years and four months to be exact.” I took in a long shaky breath. My brother was almost six, and Papa had moved him in with me last summer, promising to put the houseboat on land and build a room on for him.
“As long as our house is on the water, there ain’t no place to build another room,” Papa said.
“Well, park us on land,” I whined. “You promised.”
“I haven’t decided if I want to stay here permanent.” He scratched the stubble on his chin. “The crabs are biting real good here, but that could change any time. I have to stay mobile.”
“But you got the job as game warden so we didn’t have to move. You ain’t leaving that job, are you?”
Papa was in the habit of moving our houseboat to a new place a couple times a year, until I talked to the sheriff about that game warden job in the paper. Papa had been raised in the swamps and bayous all his life and he was smart enough to pass the tests to get that job, even though he said it didn’t pay as much as being a swamper when the times were right. I think he just liked being his own boss and being able to move when he wanted to.
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In case you missed it, I've relaunched DANIEL THE DRAW-ER and DANIEL THE CAMP-ER with awesome new covers painted by the amazing Raw Spoon.
Through 11:59PM tonight (August 31), you can pay Amazon a little visit and download DANIEL THE DRAW-ER for free. DANIEL THE CAMP-ER is only .99!
This is the perfect series for kids ages 8-12, teachers, librarians, grandparents, or those of us who refuse to grow up. No potty humor, just a magic pencil that brings young Daniel's wacky drawings to life... and lots of lessons about friendship.
If you already have your copy, please share with friends who might not know about Daniel and his goofy pals. I really appreciate it!
I'd rather be spending my time out with this girl than just about anything else. Especially when the sun is shining and it's not an arctic tundra up in here.
But, seriously, isn't she cute?
She will literally kill me dead for posting this picture, but oh well. My mama is my biggest fan. No surprise there, right guys?
She pushes me a lot to release my Young Adult trilogy, which she loves (except for the last book, which I love and she wants me to completely rewrite). Thanks, Mom, for standing behind me as a writer, even though people keep saying it's not "a real job." ;-)
.... Yes, it is.
Love you, Mom!
This image belongs to Grumbles87 over on DeviantArt. Isn't it amazing? Go buy a print!
Naturally, the quote is a J. K. Rowling original. :-)
Whenever I feel discouraged about someone not "getting" who I am as a person, I remind myselfthat they are not me. I am not them. It's okay to be different. Don't stop doing what you love or being who you are because someone doesn't understand it.
Believe in your magic, even if others don't. They just can't experience it for themselves.
I skipped yesterday's post because I was so busy yesterday, and then I looked at it. They wanted me to show you guys where I read, and, well, no one wants to see a picture of my unmade bed. So, let's carry on, shall we?
Today is Motivation Monday, and I couldn't share the meme I really wanted to because it had a bad word and this is a kid-friendly place, friends. The good news is, this one has worked for me in the past. Hope you like it. If not, shhh. :-D
The random things that cross my mind go here...