Category Archives: Uncategorized

Our Choose-Your-Own Story Hit Kindle

Tony the PhonyYou probably remember back in March when I published my kids’ homeschool writing project, a choose-your-own story, on a whole bunch of blogs. We decided to go one step farther and publish it as an interactive Kindle book. You can see it received a cover update. It’s now available on Amazon for just 99 cents. So far, it’s been a hit. And one former homeschool student now working on her PhD even hailed it as “a really neat example piece of a curriculum tool, in addition to a fun little adventure story, that could be very helpful to other homeschool parents with kids who like to write”.

If you are a teacher or a homeschooler looking for a unique writing project, I wrote up a post about how we did it. Check it out over at the Quest Teaching blog. It was a time investment, but so worth it.

A Free Song! Award-winning Fiction Free Today

Song of the Mountain is free today on the
Kindle Books and Tips website.

Yes, I know it’s always free, but I paid to get the word out on a large site. If you’ve got a second, please make use of the share buttons at the bottom of this post. Thanks! :)

Nominated for the 2013 Cybils Award.
Semi-Finalist in the 2013 Kindle Daily Book Review Book Awards.

Song new

Mud and mire shall birth a tree,
A sprout shall grow of ancient seed.
The five unite to break the one,
The curse of man shall be undone.
But brothers rise ere dragon’s bane.
The last shall smite the first again.

Orphaned at a young age, Song Wei has grown up listening to his grandfather recite legends of the distant past. But it is his own history he seeks to uncover to guide him toward the future, particularly the events surrounding his parents’ deaths. That is a secret closely guarded by his grandfather. Then Song discovers an heirloom that links him to an ancient prophecy. His destiny lies within the old tales he has scorned. Song must follow the path that killed his father.

Paperback links…

So I couldn’t stay away from my computer for a week. But I have read a whole bunch of books so far. Just finished the last Divergent book. Ooooo…got a review coming tomorrow. And yesterday I saw dolphins! Today, however, I have some new paperback links for you.

Acting on the advice of a children’s librarian, I’m slowly changing my paperbacks over to a more school-friendly size (from 6×9 to 5.25×8). Song of the Mountain and Fire on the Mountain are now available, both in the new size. The links are at the top of my sidebar.

:)

I have links!

Final Fire from the Mountain coverBookworm Blather will be vacant for the next week or two as I break from all writing endeavors and go in search of some sunshine. I still have a good size snow drift in my front yard and a smaller one out back, but surely somewhere it must be spring! 

Before I go, I have some links for you. Fire on the Mountain is now live for Kindle, Nook, and Kobo. Paperbacks are coming soon. I actually finished them, but my proofs won’t arrive before I leave. So…I’ll tend them when I return. In the meantime, I’ve filled up my Kindle and plan to do some massive amounts of reading.

Have a great spring break week!!

The Stone of Valhalla Blog Tour

My friend and fellow Emblazoner, Mikey Brooks, released a new book the same time I released Fire on the Mountain. I’m happy to host his tour today! Take it away, Mikey…

Welcome to The
Stone of Valhalla
Blog Tour!

A middle-grade fantasy-adventure by Mikey Brooks.
Don’t
forget to check out the
GIVEAWAY at the bottom this post
for a
chance to
WIN a $25 Amazon
Gift card
and other great prizes!
Synopsis:
Aaron was chosen to save their world, but it might come at the cost of
losing his own.
Breaking
into an old lady’s basement was supposed to reward 13-year-old Aaron with new
friends. Instead he finds an enchanted amulet that transports him to another
world—one at war with magic. Before he knows it, he is accused of witchcraft
and invited to a bonfire—where he’s the main attraction. If that’s not bad
enough, a goblin army shows up and toasts the town…literally. The good news:
Aaron escapes being charbroiled. The bad news: the goblins are after him. They
want his amulet and will stop at nothing to get it. Battling to find his way
home, Aaron teams up with a not-so-magical-wizard and learns it’s his fate to
destroy the amulet and save this new world. But is he willing to sacrifice his
own?
Check out what these talented authors
are saying about it:
The Stone of Valhalla is one of those
books that only comes along once in a great while. Brooks doesn’t just create a
world, he puts you inside of it, allowing you to experience the wonder in a way
that only he can. His characters are likable and fun. His twists leave you
asking ‘Why?’ Treat yourself to an exciting adventure through a beautiful new
land. Make new friends and be a part of the magic. This is a book that you will
not be able to put down!”
—J.R. Simmons,
author of Ragesong: Awakening.
 “The
Stone of Valhalla
drew me in from the get-go. Aaron’s journey is
reminiscent of Dorothy’s trek in The
Wizard of Oz
. Magic, sword fights, danger, and more danger, sprinkled with
humor and unexpected twists. This is one of the ‘best’ fantasy adventures I’ve
ever experienced!”
—BBH
McChiller, author of The Monster Moon
Series
.
The Stone of Valhalla is a riveting
mystery revealing true friendship, loyalty and sacrifice. Brooks engages the
curiosity of middle graders and older sleuths alike, until the very end.
Fantastic!”
—L.R.W. Lee,
author of The Andy Smithson series.
 
Excerpt From: Chapter Two: The Penalty of Witchcraft
Aaron thought he’d been transported
to some kind of
renaissancefair. People milled about in the street, all dressed like
they belonged on the set of some medieval movie. Most of their faces were stained
with dirt, and they wore soiled clothing. Large, wooden buildings, held
together by plaster, loomed overhead and all around him. Some had signs
announcing specific trades and goods. The sweet smell of bread came from one
shop, clearly a bakery. A rotund man stood out front, arguing with an old man
who had a silvery- white beard and a long, purple cloak. He was telling the
baker that the rolls he had purchased tasted ‘day-old’ and he required a
reimbursement.
Several passersby gave Aaron odd glances. One little girl
with a group of women dressed like nuns pointed at him and giggled. He thought
he heard her call him a buffoon, but she was quickly shushed by one of the
women and pulled into a shop.
This is so unreal.
Aaron couldn’t figure out what had happened.
How did I get
here? Who are these people?
Aaron waited for someone to jump out and yell, “Surprise,
you’re on camera!”
It never happened.
The seconds drew on like hours, and Aaron stood unmoving
like a statue in the middle of the dirt road. The sweet smell from the bakery
was drowned by the stench of a sweaty mule pulling a cart packed full with what
had to be manure. The wind blew and the wafting smell of poo filled Aaron’s nose.
He coughed and tried to cover the reek with his shirt.
“Witchcraft! Witchcraft, I say!”
Aaron turned around to see a middle-aged woman with only
three teeth shouting hysterically. She pointed directly at him. He looked over
his shoulder to ensure no green-skinned, broom-commandeering, warty-faced lady
in black stood beside him. There wasn’t anyone there. The noise on the street
stopped dead except for the woman. She grabbed a small wooden crate from a cart
filled with fresh flowers and stood on it. “Fetch the constable! Don’t let him
get away, or he’ll set a curse on our town.”
Five large men formed a group behind the woman and advanced
toward Aaron. He didn’t know what to do.
Where to Find The Stone of Valhalla:
Exclusive price for the eBook
release is just $2.99! (List Price: $4.99)
And only $9.99 for the paperback!(List Price: $12.99)
On April 12th
2014 the price will return to the List Price
Another special offer:

During The Stone of Valhalla Blog
Tour

Mikey’s other great middle-grade eBooks will also be set to the low
price of just $0.99!
The Dream Keeper:
Kindle | Nook | Kobo
The Dreamstone:
Kindle | Nook | Kobo
You’re Invited to PARTY!!
The
online launch party will take place on Thursday, April 10th at 4pm
(MST). The party will run for 2 hours and you’re invited to drop by anytime.
The longer you stay the more chances you have of winning prizes! We have slew
of eBooks to giveaway, as well as a Stone of Valhalla necklace AND a $25 Amazon gift card! It is hosted by
LovingtheBookLaunchParty on Facebook. Just follow this link to join the event: http://goo.gl/Q2Fd3r.
What’s that? Another Party!
That’s
right! If you’re local to Utah you don’t want to miss this kickin’ party. We
are having a launch party to celebrate the release of this awesome new book. Of
course there will be plenty of giveaways there too, but what’s even better are
the guest authors! Just check out these fabulous names: J. Scott Savage, Chad
Morris, Lisa Mangum, Jenni James, Ali Cross, and many more. The Launch Party
is: Friday, April 11th from 6-9pm at The Viridian Center in West
Jordan
, Utah. Follow this link for a map: http://goo.gl/dqVc0u
About Mikey Brooks:

Mikey
is a small child masquerading as an adult. On occasion you’ll catch him dancing
the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown
up. He is the author/illustrator of several books including the best-selling ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures
and Bean’s Dragons as well as the
middle-grade fantasy-adventure series The Dream Keeper Chronicles. His art
can be seen in many forms from picture books to full room murals. He loves to
daydream with his three daughters and explore the worlds that only the
imagination of children can create. Mikey has a BS degree in English from Utah
State University and works fulltime as a freelance illustrator, cover designer,
and author. As a member of the Emblazoners,
he is one of many authors devoted to ‘writing stories on the hearts of
children’. He is also one of the hosts of the Authors’ Think Tank
Podcast
. You can find more about him and his books at: http://www.insidemikeysworld.com/.

The Giveaways!
Enter the giveaway below to be entered to win one of the following
prizes:
$25 Amazon Gift Card
The Stone of Valhalla
Necklace
Autographed Paperback of The
Stone of Valhalla
Autographed 11×17 Poster

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What’s Happening?

It’s time for one of those infrequent What is Michelle doing now? posts. Aside from going absolutely crazy due to yet another week of below freezing temperatures that are not melting away the crusty layer of snow in my yard, I’m somewhat bonkers with a new release and a Spring Break vacation days apart. And I’m supposed to homeschool too? Gulp! Good thing all the early track meets have been cancelled because no one wants to snow plow the area tracks.

Final Fire from the Mountain coverIn a nutshell, my kids might not have shorts to wear in Alabama come April, but Fire on the Mountain should be up on Amazon within the week. I’m down to that final read-through. My boys and I are making it a week-long read aloud. I’ll get my Kobo, Nook, and Smashwords formatting done between homeschool subjects, make final-final revisions on Saturday and actually have the book up a day or two early! I’m planning to hit all those publish buttons on Saturday or Sunday. I’ll let you know when links go live.

For those of you who will be wanting the paperback (Pat), it’s going to be a few more weeks in coming. Sorry! :( I have decided to redo my books in a school-friendly 5.25 x 8 inch size. First Candle Star, then Song of the Mountain, then Fire on the Mountain, then others. And I won’t be working on it during vacation. So look for an early May date on Fire paperbacks. Again, I’ll let you know as soon as it happens.

All of this is pushing back the last book of my Mountain Trilogy, Tears of the Mountain. I’ve got a great outline, a few thousand words written, and big ideas in my head. I was hoping to get the rough draft done by summer and publish in the fall. Late fall is looking more likely, but you never know. Good thing my boss isn’t too strict on deadlines. :)

After the Mountain series is done, what’s next? Good question. I have two more books to write for Taylor Davis, but I just might sneak book one of a new series in first. Due to reader demand, I’m outlining a new plotline that follows Emily Preston (The Candle Star) home to South Carolina. I’d like to follow her through the Civil War. The Ella Wood series would debut at the earliest in winter 2015.

Of course, all my long range plans are subject to change at a whim. I have about 15 stories in my head that all fight to be next in line. But those are my thoughts as of March 24, 2014. Next time I post, I’ll have links for you!

Our Homeschool Project–A Story Where You Choose the Plot!

Cursed Mansion

Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure stories we all loved as kids? This winter my two boys, we call them M-Man and T-Man online, have been hard at work writing a story in which readers can make their own crucial choices. It was about a 6-week project, and for a pair of elementary-aged low readers, it was quite a challenge. However, though they struggle with reading, they excel at understanding how stories work. In the home of this kid-lit enthusiast/author, what choice do they have? They’ve been bombarded with stories all their lives!

This time I gave them the reins. They spent a full week fleshing out their characters and their setting and a second week outlining their plot strands. Yes, strands. There isn’t just a single plotline. The reader gets to make choices, so my boys had to supply them. I let them do all the work. I just kept asking them the right questions. (And I overruled excessive bodily functions–there were quite a few of those!)

We spent the next four weeks writing the text. I actually ghost wrote this for them so they could have a much more professional product at the end of all their efforts, but both boys were planted on either side of me the entire time, working out details and making decisions. Then they got to design the cover image. Finally, I arranged with 14 blogging friends to host the different sections of their story. (Each choice will take you to a new blog.) The final product is pretty darn cool if I say so myself!

Have I piqued your interest? If you want a one-of-a-kind reading experience, head on over to my kids’ Storyboys blog where they’ve posted the first section of their masterpiece. From there, the rest of the story is up to you!

If you enjoy their work, please give them a shout out or leave a comment on their blog. It would absolutely make their day. I guarentee they’ll be planted in front of their stats page all day long. :)

Character Book Club–With Tomato and Pea

Shhhh…

Taylor Davis here. Yep, Taylor of Flame of Findul fame. Since today is Character Book Club over at The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow and Mrs. Isenhoff is busy homeschooling, I thought it was a perfect time to hijack her blog and sneak in an interview with wonder Smidges, Tomato and Pea. You may have seen their interview with me last month. The Smidges are temporarily camping out here on Ear-th—I mean Earth. You can read about their space journey from Oarg and their dramatic arrival on our planet in The Adventures of Tomato and Pea, by Erik Weibel. These guys are little, but they rock! 

tomato and pea (1)

Taylor: Okay, so fellas, Tomato made his crime-fighting debut against some unpleasant fellows called Wardoes. What exactly is a Wardoe?

Tomato: A Wardoe is a gigantic 10-inch alien known for being unnaturally cruel. They are terrible! Wardoes kind of look like a cross between a yellow squash and moldy sour cream. They had pretty much conquered Oarg until a certain rookie OLÉ agent figured out how to stop them… but that’s another story…

Taylor: Tomato, where did you learn to drive a spaceship? And is there any chance I can take it for a spin when you get it up and running again?

Tomato: Well, I passed with an A++ in flight school back on Oarg. I can fly all 30 different ships in the Hombergur-vith-cheez Fleet. Some of them are pretty complicated to fly, but it sure is fun!

I don’t believe you can fly in our ships. Your foot is around the size of one of us, so there may be an issue fitting you into the command chair.

Pea: Well, we have been working on the shrink ray. We could use it on Taylor.

Tomato: Pea, there are still a few glitches we should work out before we try it on Taylor.

Pea: I think the only reason why the statue exploded was because the molecular structure of its components were too rigid. Taylor looks squishy. We could –

Tomato: You are not going to try to shrink Taylor! How is he going to save the EAR-TH in his next book if he’s exploded?

Taylor: Er, I retract the question. Pea, can you tell me something about the training that’s required to become an O.L.E (Oarg Law Enforcement) agent?

Pea: First you have to know how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. *hee hee* Just kidding – the requirements are brutal, but it’s worth it. To become an O.L.E. agent first you have to be recruited by the recruiter squad. They have to notice you. There is no applying for the job. Once you get recruited, you have two years of training. The first year you have to learn tactical skills, survival training, citizenship, physical training, history, analytical thinking and how to play mahjong (I never understood why you have to learn how to play mahjong, other than that the Chief really likes it…). The second year you are a “rookie” and you get training in the area that you are going to specialize in. I am an electronics whiz, Tomato specializes in awesomeness and butt-kicking.

Taylor: Wow! Sounds like you were very prepared for your positions. Sure would have been nice if a certain guardian angel had made better preparations for another rookie crime fighter–but I digress. Tomato, it was your arch-nemesis, Wintergreen, who stranded you here on my planet. Has he been behaving himself recently? And does he practice his evil laugh?

Tomato: I am sad to report that he has recently gone missing along with his thugs Pye, Spike, and Lefty. I am pretty sure they are up to no good and much of our next adventure will be trying to rein them back in.

GAH! Wintergreen had been practicing his evil laugh every night. It kept me awake half of the night. I’m kind of glad he left.

Pea: Me too.

Taylor: Okay, be honest. Have either of you ever been tempted to duct tape Poppy Lobster’s mouth shut?

Tomato: YES! Do you have some?

Pea: YES! Industrial strength?

Taylor: I think I have some around here somewhere. Just a second… Hey! Elena, what are you doing here?

Elena: I thought I’d see what you were up to. Mrs. Isenhoff is going to be angry when she finds out you’re still hanging out with Tomato and Pea.

Taylor: We’re not “hanging out.” This is an official interview that you’re interrupting. And she won’t find out if you don’t tell her, will she?

Elena: Oh, are these little guys are so cute! And polite. Taylor, you could really take a lesson from them.

Tomato: I like how she avoided the “And she won’t find out if you don’t tell her, will she?” Very crafty girl… She’d make a good O.L.E. agent.

Taylor: *Sigh* Pea, do you happen to have anything in your backpack that repels interfering teammates?

Pea: Sorry, Taylor. If I did, I would have used it all already. …On Poppy. Besides, Elena called me cute!

Taylor: One last question. If you had a Greek god for a parent, which one would you prefer?

Pea: That’s easy-peasy, get it PEAsy? *snicker*  Hephaestus. We would both be good with gadgets.

Tomato: Apollo. I like music. Especially those ‘Oldies’. Like Sammy Davis Jr. – “If we could talk to the animals, think of all the fun we’d have…”

Pea: Oh no. You’ve got him started! Well, see you, Taylor!

Tomato: “Hit the road, Jack! And don’t you come back no more, no more, no more, no more! Hit the road, Jack…”

Pea: Someone get the duct tape!

Taylor: Er, while Elena and I try to get the Smidges back under control, you may want to check out their adventure. Just click on the cover image below for the inside scoop. And click here for Mrs. Isenhoff’s review. Thanks for tuning in! And remember…mum’s the word!

tomato and pea