Out of the blue, my 10-year-old came home full of questions about my book, the characters, the sequel. And he drew me this:
I've got a happy heart.
Don't you just LOVE reading stories that go bump in the night? I do! One of the authors I credit for my foray back into voracious reading is Dean Koontz, who definitely has a flair for the twisted and macabre side of life. Even when I was younger, I remember sneak-reading Christopher Pike books (my parents were strict about what I read--Mr. Pike was too edgy for them) and then being afraid to shut off the lights.
If you're anything like me, you'll want to check out today's featured book, WHEN THE CIRCUS CAME TO TOWN. This creepy book is geared for young adult and upper middle grade readers. You may never want to visit the circus again, but don't say I didn't warn you... Muahahaha!
When the Circus Came To Town
The Bosci Expo is coming to town. Tony Brazil and his best friend Paul, can hardly wait. But what they don't know is that this circus is bringing with it a cursed little being. The old ventriloquist, Pomroy Prettygut, once again has to clean up after the dummy's handiwork. He has had it with the little wooden man's appetites for human strength, but is resigned to the fact he must live with the creature until the curse is satisfied.
A boy turns up missing along with Hank Budd, the town bully. Paul is worried for his sister because she too, has not returned home from the circus.
Tony and Paul try to investigate the disappearances which lead them into near disaster. Have they all met with the same fate? What is going on with the peculiar Bosci Expo?
Is there a killer in the circus or is he on the loose?
Tony lay on his back and stared at the ceiling. He breathed hard through his nose. Okay, I've got to get to sleep. Relax! Scenes like a video of the circus replayed through his mind making sleep almost an impossibility. Plus this darn wind.
What was that? He was sure he'd heard a noise which sounded a lot like a thump. Definitely not the wind! It was a very small noise, but chilled him nonetheless.
He looked towards his window lit by the moonlight. He saw a tree's branches in the distance blowing crazily back and forth.
Suddenly, his eyes froze at the corner of the window sill. What was that? Movement…a hand? A small hand? Scratching at his window!
Tony couldn't scream…he could only watch and wonder in frozen horror if he was indeed fully awake. Five stubby fingers were scraping on the glass pane, creating a sound he'd never forget. Trying to get in!
Oh no! Now he could see the dark top of a head…the eyes! The huge, frightful, staring, black-ringed clown eyes!
"AHHHHH!" Tony screamed loud and long as he shot up in bed, staring right into the garishly painted face of a doll man!
Within seconds it seemed, his parents came flying into the room, flipping on the light. "What is it? What is it?" his mother asked breathlessly, checking him over thoroughly for any signs of trouble. His dad stood in the doorway with his black hair in disarray, slowly rubbing his eyes. "What's wrong, son?"
"I saw something…thought I saw something…I know I saw something−" he rambled, gulping hard, feeling like a tiny baby once again.
"You were dreaming, honey," his mother cooed, smoothing his hair back repeatedly with her firm hand. His father peeked out the window into the backyard.
"I don't see anything, son." He turned giving Tony a lop-sided grin. "No ghosts in the closet," he chuckled at his little stab at humour.
"But, I thought I saw something…a face!" He looked up at his mom with a heartfelt look, trying to make her believe him. "I wasn't dreaming.…"
"Well, let's get back down under the covers and try to go to sleep. You've just had too much circus today, that's all! Probably ate a lot of junk, too." She kissed his forehead, smoothing back his hair one more time for good measure.
Tony shivered uncontrollably as he continued to glance at the empty window. Something had been there. He knew it! He closed his eyes and willed good thoughts to fill his mind.
"I'm okay Mom. But can you stay until I fall asleep?" He wanted to believe his mother, that he was only having a bad dream.
"Yes, of course I will," she turned to her husband, "Honey I'll be there shortly. Why don't you go on back to bed." His dad nodded in agreement and bid Tony good night, and staggered a little sleepily as he went back down the hall to their bedroom.
Tony stared at his mother wanting to believe she was right. His peepers didn't want to close. As she sat there by his side and sang a little lullaby from when he was a baby, he soon fell asleep.
Waldo Cornpepper had slid all the way down the trellis when the kid let out the ear-splitting scream. He'd landed unceremoniously on his wooden rear end with quite a hard jolt. However, he had seen what he wanted to see; and felt the hunger churning.
This kid would belong to him soon enough and would make his wretched life a little easier. At least for a while. His joints would once again move like a well-oiled machine; with Tony's vibrancy flowing through him.
The kid's scared pale face was burned into Waldo's mind forever. Only a matter of time when I meet up with that one, he reflected with delight.
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Meet Deborah McClatchey
Deborah was born and raised in southern California. Eventually she moved to No. California to begin her young adult life; then over the years moved to Nevada, Utah, Texas, and back to California. Quite a trip to end up back where she started!
She loves to write stories about teens and horror.
Raising a couple of young tortoises and writing take up most of her day. Maybe one of these days she'll get around to writing about the 'traveling torts'.
Her son and his growing family live on the east coast... they visit as often as they can what with being 3,000 miles apart, but Skype is an incredible link to family.
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This Book Blast is brought to you courtesy of Adventure Quest Books. Answer the hero’s call to adventure and enjoy more tales, legends and myths from the ancient and medieval worlds for MG and YA readers.
About the Books
The Search for the Stone of Excalibur by Fiona IngramTitle: The Search for the Stone of Excalibur (The Chronicles of the Stone, Book 2) | Author: Fiona Ingram | Publication Date: October 6, 2014 | Publisher: The Educational Publisher / Biblio Publishing | Pages: 399 | Recommended Ages: 10+ Summary: Continuing the adventure that began in Egypt a few months prior in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair are hot on the trail of the second Stone of Power, one of seven ancient stones lost centuries ago. This stone might be embedded in the hilt of a newly discovered sword that archaeologists believe belonged to King Arthur: Excalibur. However, their long-standing enemy, Dr. Khalid, is following them as they travel to Scotland to investigate an old castle. Little do they know there is another deadly force, the Eaters of Poison, who have their own mission to complete. Can Justin and Adam find the second Stone of Power and survive? And why did Aunt Isabel send a girl with them? And how annoying for them that their tag-along companion, Kim, seems to have such good ideas when they are stumped.
Max's Arabian Adventure by Wendy Leighton-PorterTitle: Max's Arabian Adventure | Author: Wendy Leighton-Porter | Publication Date: July 16, 2014 | Publisher: Mauve Square Publishing | Pages: 82 | Recommended Ages: 7+ Summary: In this spin-off adventure from the Shadows From The Past series, Max the talking Tonkinese cat goes on a solo mission without his usual time-travelling companions. Snatched from the house where he lives with eleven-year-old twins Joe and Jemima Lancelot, Max is dragged back into the past by an evil magician who has lined him up to perform a special task. Torn away from all he holds dear, the despondent cat fears he may never be able to return to the present and his beloved owner, Jemima. What will become of him? Will he make it back or will he be condemned to remain forever in a distant time and place, far from home?
Sons of the Sphinx by Cheryl Carpinello
About the Authors
Wendy Leighton-PorterI spent 20 years as a teacher of French, Latin and Classical studies, but now write books for children instead of teaching them. I take young readers on a magical mystery tour through the past and hope that my love of history, myth and legend will rub off on them. Website: www.wendy-leighton-porter.com
Cheryl CarpinelloI’m a retired high school English teacher. My hope is to reach reluctant readers with my Arthurian Tales and soon a series of stories from ancient lands and legends that will take readers on adventurous quests throughout history. Website: http://www.beyondtodayeducator.com
* $100 Book Blast Giveaway *Prize: One winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card or $100 PayPal cash prize, winner's choice Contest closes: December 9, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open to: 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. A 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 the 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 Fiona Ingram, Cheryl Carpinello, and Wendy Leighton-Porter 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. a Rafflecopter giveaway
First off, an apology to my readers. I've been slacking lately on book features, not to mention blogging in general. Life, y'know? It happens to the best of us, especially writers juggling many manuscripts who don't want to write any more words than absolutely necessary. But I'm making a vow to do better this month.
Kicking off November, we have Michael Thal's GOODBYE TCHAIKOVSKY. In GOODBYE TCHAIKOVSKY, readers are presented with a topic not often tackled in Young Adult fiction, hearing loss. But I'm going to step aside and let the book do the talking. Without further ado...
A violin virtuoso is plunged into a deaf world, necessitating him to adapt to a new culture and language in order to survive.
David Rothman is an overnight success. He performs Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with rave reviews attracting the attention of the Queen of England. His future is laid out for him like a well-lit freeway. Then, on his twelfth birthday, David suffers from an irreparable hearing loss, plunging him into a silent world.
How will David communicate with his friends? What about school? Where does his future lie? The novel shows how an adolescent boy copes with deafness.
I’ll never forget the day after my twelfth birthday. I awoke to a profound silence.
This didn’t make much sense because I lived in an apartment building nestled between an office building and a supermarket. There was always noise.
I threw back the sheets and pushed away the white drapes. A garbage truck was parked in the middle of the street and a woman stood outside the office building smoking a cigarette. I shrugged my shoulders and picked up my violin. The California Youth Symphony had another concert slated for September, and I needed to be prepared.
I plucked the ‘A’ string. It shook with a puff of resin. The violin vibrated, but there wasn’t any sound.
Damn, the soundboard’s broken.
“Ma!” I screamed.
Nothing. I couldn’t hear my voice. I just kept thinking, “How could I lose my voice?”
She didn’t have far to run. She opened my bedroom door; the aroma of coffee and eggs filled my nostrils. She padded into my room; put her arms akimbo, and talked. Her mouth moved but nothing came out.
“Ma, I can’t hear my voice, my fiddle, or you. Nothing. What’s happening to me?” I held my head and shook it.
Her lips formed the words, “Oh my God.”
About Michael Thal
Michael Thal is the author of four published novels--Goodbye Tchaikovsky, The Abduction of Joshua Bloom, and The Koolura Series--The Legend of Koolura and Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback. He is also a columnist for the Los Angeles Examiner writing articles about parenting and education.
Moving from the frigid Northeast to comfy Southern California in 1973, Michael taught elementary and middle school for 28 years until a freak virus left him deafened at the age of 50. He reinvented himself as a writer composing over 80 published articles in print magazines as well as novels for middle grade and high school aged students.
You can learn more about Michael Thal on his website at www.michaelthal.com. His books can be purchased on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble in print and as e-books.
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The holidays are upon us, so I thought to myself, "Self, it's the season of cheer and generosity and all of that good stuff. Let's do good stuff for others." I personally thought that was a great idea, sooooo...
From now until December 1, 2014, I'm running a giveaway on Goodreads. Two lucky winners will walk away with an autographed copy of my Middle Grade novel, DANIEL THE DRAW-ER. Perfect for stocking stuffers, teacher gifts, or, for the Grinch in all of us, to hog all for yourself!
Please enter, and please pass it along to those who might be interested. Thanks a bunch!
Yesterday I lost someone very special to me, my horse, Fansi. My family has owned her from the very beginning. I slept in the back of a van parked in the aisle of my barn waiting for her mother to give birth to her, and even then I almost missed her being born. Horses are sneaky little things. :-)
Fansi and I had 22 years together, and yesterday afternoon she crossed the Rainbow Bridge. She's now kicking her heels up with all of her friends who have gone before--Moe, Mariah, Jake, Pepper, Sugar, and her mom.
Obviously, I'm sad. I knew for a couple of days prior to her passing that it was likely, so I planned in advance to do something happy for others.
On October 15 and 16, I'm offering my children's/Middle Grade book, DANIEL THE DRAW-ER, for free Kindle download. No strings attached, just wanted to do something nice and for people to be happy. (And, yes, I meant to post this yesterday, but I wasn't feeling up to writing this blog post. Sorry about being a day late!)
Click here or on the picture below to go directly to Amazon to download your copy before the promotion ends tonight. Don't forget to smile. :-)
Ahhh, I just love when I get to pull classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory quotes out of mid-air... and they actually kind of fit. Except that Roald Dahl's Violet Beauregarde
is a singularly unpleasant character, which is not so with Audrey Kane's Violet.
Okay, so maybe my Willy Wonka example didn't work at all, but you should still check out magical Violet, THE PURPLE GIRL. Keep reading...
The Purple Girl
Caution! Violet is a purple-skinned girl whose purple spreads to everything she touches. She lives behind garden walls. Is she magical? Is she the devil’s child—or simply cursed? When the lonely thirteen-year-old embarks on a dangerous journey to find the one boy that dared to befriend her, she travels at night…in the dark…to keep people from seeing her purple skin. But no one is more surprised than Violet when she unlocks her mysterious gift.
The Purple Girl is an adventure story about a young girl’s triumphant journey to be herself. While written for children, this thought-provoking adventure—and its surprising twists—will delight readers of all ages. Violet’s story is shaped to empower young girls and help them embrace their identities.
Frustrated, I blew out the candle and slipped the book back into its velvet cover.
“Violet, is that you?” my mother called from her bed.
I gave a little gasp. With the text in my hands and my heart pounding, I stood rooted to the spot. There was a second of silence, and then I heard the creak of her bed and the easy rhythm of her snores.
Barely breathing, I replaced the text on the shelf and then crept my way through the doorway toward the kitchen. There wasn’t much time. Dawn was ready to break. The gypsy girl would be waiting.
When I reached the side door, I hesitated. Can I do this? The garden is a pretty but also a lonely place to be caged in.
With unsteady hands, I eased open the door and slipped out.
About Audrey Kane
As a writer, and also a designer of tapestries with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Georgia, it is only natural for Audrey to weave visual stories. When she is not designing tapestries, she is busy conjuring up characters that find themselves in extraordinary situations. Between carpools and design work, she is plotting, scheming, writing, and revising. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, their three children, and her unruly dog, Rascals. Audrey's favorite time to write is in the early morning while her family sleeps. With Rascals sprawled out snoring beside her, it only takes one oversized cup of coffee to get her mind moving.
Audrey is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. She loves traveling, museums, and blackberry-apple pie. Actually, she loves all kinds of pie. And she especially loves her family. They have put up with Violet and Waxy for a long time. You can visit her at: http://www.audreykane.com
The amazing illustrations are by Tory and Norman Taber.
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Sorry I've been so horrible about blogging lately. I'm participating in an anthology project, and one of our big deadlines was yesterday. Like any true writer, I waited until the last few days before the deadline to get crackin' on my work. The good news? I, indeed, made the deadline. The bad news? I've lost feeling in half of my hands. Haha.
Oh, and my goal deadline to finish Daniel 2 is tomorrow. If I'm being honest, the goal deadline to finish that sucker was back in July, but that's waaay before it morphed into this unrecognizable thing. Now that it's ballooning into this tome of WAR AND PEACE proportions, well, let's just say I've had to adjust that deadline a few times.
All of that to say, I've been concentrating my finger energies elsewhere. However, numb, useless hands or no, my blog silence must be broken. What better way to do that than sharing some fan art from kids who have read DANIEL THE DRAW-ER?
Awesome, right? This picture's artist is a kid after my own heart. YAY HORSES!
By the way, your fan art could wind up on my blog, too! All you need to do is contact me for my e-mail address, then send me a scanned image of your art. I also love getting real, live mail (the old-timey kind in envelopes with stamps and everything!).
So let's hear it... Who's your favorite DANIEL character and why?
I can't believe I haven't posted anything for an entire week! Wow, I have no idea where all that time went. Actually, I do, but it would make a very boring blog post. I'll save you all of that to say, I'm here now, and I've invited my friend Rita Monette to give us the low-down on her Middle Grade book, THE LEGEND OF GHOST DOG ISLAND.
Side note: Maybe you've noticed (I have!) that a lot of my writer friends write about dogs. Talking dogs, dogs who live with witches, ghost dogs, you name it. Before you ask, no, that's not a prerequisite to being my friend and/or featuring a book on my blog. Apparently that just means that dogs are so interesting that they are in a lot of books. If my dogs were featured in a book, though, it probably wouldn't be that interesting. And it would probably have a title like WOOFWOOFWOOF: ENTER THE POSTMAN or WHY CAN'T I HAVE MORE TREATS?: ONE DOG'S STRUGGLE TO KEEP HER GIRLISH FIGURE.
However, Rita Monette's THE LEGEND OF GHOST DOG ISLAND is anything but boring. Keep reading to learn more about this howling great mystery.
Behind Every Legend Lies the Truth
Moving is nothing new for ten-year-old Nikki Landry. Her fisherman father relocates their raggedy old houseboat several times a year in search of better crabbing spots. However, their latest move has brought her to a mysterious bayou where she feels something is watching her from a nearby island.
Nikki learns of a local legend about something sinister inhabiting those swamps, stealing the souls of dogs…which would explain the strange howling sounds. Papa reassures her there’s nothing on the island but gators and snakes. He would know. He’s spent his whole life trapping and fishing those bayous and swamps. But Nikki and her new friends uncover strange happenings from years ago that may have started the old legend, and town folks aren’t talking. Then her beloved beagle goes missing.
Join Nikki as she seeks to discover the real truth behind the legend of Ghost Dog Island…before it’s too late.
Mama closed the door behind her. She knew once Papa got going on one of his tales, there was no stopping him.
The last traces of daylight seemed to disappear in a hurry, as if Papa had ordered it away. The glass globe of the kerosene lamp clinked. He touched a match to the wick and adjusted the flame until it filled the room with pale light and gray shadows. He motioned me to sit next to him on the worn sofa.
I hurried to his side, not knowing what spooky legend he was going to tell this time. But as scared as I’d get, I always enjoyed hearing ’em.
“Mais, there’s a legend told around these parts.” That was how they always started out. He leaned down so the light from the lamp made eerie shadows across his face.
I rolled my eyes, determined not to get spooked this time.
“Folks say there’s something living out yonder,” he went on. “Legend has it the monster lures dogs to the island using evil spells. Then at the peak of the full moon, they’re turned into hollow spirits with glowing eyes.” Papa put on his eeriest sneer. “That there’s Ghost Dog Island.”
“Ghost dogs?” I pulled my knees up against my chest and wrapped my arms around ’em tight. My mind conjured up images of a huge monster with drippy fangs and dogs with bright yellow eyes. I thought about the feeling I had of something watching us. Was there really a creature out there? Did it have its eye on my best buddy? I shuddered.
IEEEOWWWOOOO-oooooooo! The howling sound echoed again across the bayou.
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About Rita Monette
Rita Monette was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. After retiring from her job as an administrative assistant for the State of Michigan, Rita began doing what she always wanted to do…write, draw, and paint. Five long years later, Musa Publishing offered her a contract for her debut middle grade novel, The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, and now the sequel, The Curse at Pirate’s Cove, which also include her artwork. Her stories are set in the beautiful, yet mysterious, bayous and swamps of her home state. Rita now lives with her husband, four lap dogs, and one lap cat, in the mountains of Tennessee.
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We had such a blast with Krysten Lindsay Hager's Middle School Time Warp (and her gorgeous orange-ish Sun-In hair) the other day, that we decided to keep it going. Today I'm on Krysten's blog, sharing some of my best and worst school memories... and some pretty horrendous photos. Stop by her blog and cringe along with me!
Then share with us in the comments (here, or on Krysten's blog) some of your funniest and humiliating stories!
The random things that cross my mind go here...
All Rights Reserved, S. J. Henderson 2014