Thanks for stopping by my Blog and I hope you have a safe and Happy Halloween!
That is all! 🙂
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’ve got Ariella Moon here today and she’s sharing her new release, “Spell Fire” with us!
New school. New friends. New reputation. High school sophomore Ainslie Avalon-Bennett works hard to hide her Crazy Girl past. But as long as her best friend’s disappearance remains unsolved, she can’t shake the depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder that once landed her in a mental ward.
Ainslie’s tenuous control over her life shatters when her warring parents ditch her at Christmas. While they take a cruise to “work things out,” Ainslie must spend the holiday in Palm Springs with her aunt and uncle, owners of a struggling Mystery School and occult store. Plunged into the world of fire fortunes, dragons, entity eaters, and an ailing spell book, Ainslie is well beyond her comfort zone. Then she meets a boy who spikes her pulse and calms her OCD. But will she lose him once he discovers her past? Or will his deadly secret, hidden in plain view, be their undoing?
My body elongated, and I swore I grew six inches. Inside the cafe, there was no line. Another miracle. I paused beneath the fern‑painted ceiling fan and scanned the wall menu. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but a weird craving fueled my search.
The dragon exerted pressure between my shoulder blades, prompting me. “A Scorpion’s Nest smoothie.”
Morningstar leaned over the high counter and gave me a once‐over. “You feeling okay?”
I licked my lips. “Absolutely.” I had never tasted an orange juice, vanilla ice cream, and peanut butter combo, but I slapped the countertop and said, “I’m fine. Hit me.”
Morningstar tilted her head to one side and studied me.
Oh — crap. Maybe I’m dragon drunk.
I wiped the drool from the corner of my mouth stood straighter. I could do this. I could act normal and in control. Behind me, the dragon blew on my hair. I clawed back the stray locks. “Strong ceiling fan.”
Morningstar glanced up. I held my gaze steady on her face and tried to remember if the fan was actually on. I couldn’t hear the whir of its motor or feel the stir of cool air. I can’t feel anything. I went for distraction and slipped a ten across the counter.
Morningstar leveled her gaze, then handed me my change. “I’ll bring the smoothie to your table.”
“Cool.” My eyes crossed. I pivoted and fell out of my right flip‐‑flop. Fortunately, the place was almost empty, and I didn’t think anyone saw me stumble. Still, my face heated as I chose a table with plenty of space behind it for the dragon and my invisible wings.
“Mind if I join you for a minute?” Morningstar asked when she brought my drink.
“Please.” I giggled, giddy with dragon energy. I was a bright, beneficent angel among earthlings. I was — as crazy as my parents feared.
Ariella Moon writes about magic, friendship, secrets, and love in her Young Adult novels, Spell Check, Spell Struck, and Spell Fire, Books 1, 2, & 3 in The Teen Wytche Saga. Ariella spent her childhood searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia. Extreme math anxiety, and taller students who mistook her for a leaning post, marred Ariella’s teen years. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. An author and shaman, she now lives a nearly normal life with her extraordinary daughter, shamelessly spoiled dog, and an enormous dragon.
Connect With Ariella Moon
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed the excerpt from Ariella’s book! I know I did and I’ve got it on my TBR Pile!
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! A fellow blogger asked me to discuss a topic that’s near and dear to everyone’s heart, and since October is National Bullying Prevention month, I thought why not? So, you guessed it the topic for this post is Bullying.
Did you know one of the underlying causes of violence in our schools and teen suicide is bullying? In fact, suicide is the third leading cause of death for teenagers between the ages of fifteen to twenty four. To me, this is heartbreaking news, especially since bullying is easily preventable.
What is bullying?
According to Wikipedia, bullying is a form of aggressive behavior manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when the behavior is habitual and involves an imbalance of power.
Bullying consists of three basic types of abuse emotional, verbal, and physical. It usually starts out as verbal abuse, and if it has not stopped in time, it escalates to physical abuse.
Who are the bullies?
Again, according to Wikipedia, research indicates that people with a strong need to control or dominate tend to be bullies. Further studies indicate that envy and resentment may be motives for bullying.
While some bullies are arrogant and narcissistic, others use bullying as a tool to conceal shame or anxiety. By demeaning others, they feel empowered by their dominance.
Who are the victims?
People who react to stressful situations by perceiving themselves as victims tend to be the best targets for bullying. These people give the response the bully is looking for, submission. However, if the target responds with a clear attitude of self-confidence that somehow demonstrates that the bully’s attempt at control is futile, then the bullying will quickly diminish or end all together.
There is another factor to bullying that is intriguing. Despite the large number of individuals who do not agree with the bully’s tactics, very few will intervene on behalf of the victim.
In 85% of bullying incidents, bystanders are involved in teasing the victim or egging on the bully. This gives the bully permission to continue behaving badly and may actually increase the behavior.
The reason the bystanders behave this way is that they want to avoid becoming a victim themselves.
Sadly, all it would take is one or two people standing up for the victim to stop the bullying behavior.
What can a victim do?
I found some excellent advice from the link below.
They stress the HA HA SO method:
H Ask for help from friends, teachers, parents, or other adults.
A Assert yourself. The best way to do this is by using I statements. For example: “I feel _____ when you _______.”
H Humor. The bully wants to upset you, so instead of getting mad use humor to diffuse the situation. Be ready with a joke.
A Avoid. Stay away from the bully as much as possible
S Self talk. If you are being bullied, think of good things about yourself even if the bully is picking on you.
O Own it. Sometimes what the bully says might be true, so you can own the comment. For example, if a bully is making fun of you because you wear glasses you can say “All the better to see you with.” You can’t deny you wear glasses, but you don’t have to be ashamed of it either.
Of course, these techniques might not work all the time, nothing is foolproof, but to learn more go to:
I hope this information was helpful to you! If you have any suggestions or tips to share, please post them in a comment. I’d love to hear from you!
Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’ve got fellow Astraea Press author Kimberly Rae here and she’s talking about her new release! Let’s give her a warm welcome!
Amazon bestselling author Kimberly Rae usually writes suspense about human trafficking. Her brand new book, Blue Ridge Setup, however, is a fun, lighthearted read set in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina. Let’s find out more!
Now let’s read about Kimberly’s new release, “Blue Ridge Setup!”
What is Blue Ridge Setup about?
At its heart, Blue Ridge Setup is a fun read about a young woman getting set up who doesn’t want to get set up. Kayla Madison moves in with her eccentric romance-novelist great aunt, who is determined she and Ryan Cummings would make great characters for her next novel, if only she can get them together! Poor Ryan has no idea what he’s getting into when he agrees to do a landscaping project for the great aunt, who intends to keep coming up with jobs for him to do until her plan works! And of course I love that it’s set in the Blue Ridge mountains, in my own town in fact!
Is the eccentric great aunt based on someone you know?
No, but I wish she was. She’s a riot—kind of what I’d imagine Anne of Green Gables would be like as a senior citizen. =)
Your main character starts having health problems and that plays a big part in your story. Why did you do that?
Most novels don’t have heroines with chronic health conditions. If there is a medical crisis in a book, it gets resolved so the main character can get back to her life as a healthy, productive individual.
As nice as that is, for many it is just not a reality. I was shocked to find out that nearly 1 out of every 2 people in our country has some type of chronic illness, and 96% of those are “invisible illnesses,” meaning the phrase I and others often hear, “But you don’t look sick!” As a person with chronic illness myself, I wanted to read a book with a character who didn’t get magically better, but who learned to live well despite and through her limitations. I wanted a book that said you don’t have to be healthy to have a happy ending.
Kayla’s disease is very rare. Did you have to do a lot of research?
None at all, well, not for her anyway. I have Addison’s disease myself. I thought about giving her something different but they say you should write what you know, so…
Did you embellish a little with the health crisis to make it more dramatic?
The opposite, actually. That crisis in the book is from memory, not imagination, including the doctor asking, “Do you give permission for this surgery?”
And me responding, “What happens if I don’t?”
“You die,” he says. Cracked me up! Oh, and her joking with Ryan about the doctor saying sometimes a Central IV goes up instead of down actually happened to me, and the doctor told me he’d fix it tomorrow. Tomorrow! That was an interesting night. =) Goodness, that makes my life sounds interesting.
So did the falling-down-the-mountain-needing-a-shot incident happen to you as well?
Thankfully, no. That’s fiction. However, I have needed my husband to give me those shots on several occasions (poor man, he hates needles), once even on an airplane, which made a passing stewardess quite nervous!
Are any other parts of the story personal to you?
Like Kayla, health problems brought me home from the mission field and took away my sense of identity and significance. And it was one of the best things God ever did for me. I hated it, but I had to learn to stop looking for my worth in what I did. Now, I get to share with others that it is God who gives us worth, and it is not based at all on our level of activity or achievement.
What do you hope readers get out of Blue Ridge Setup?
First, I hope they just enjoy the story. After that, I hope it blesses readers with the reminder that God loves them deeply. If they are in a place where it feels like He has taken away their biggest dreams, they should not despair. His dreams for them are better than anything they could dream for themselves.
Where can readers get Blue Ridge Setup?
You can find it on amazon: http://goo.gl/yLD3zQ . Right now it only has a few reviews. I’d love some more!
Find out more about Kimberly’s bestselling suspense series or her books on living joyfully with chronic illness, or contact her at www.kimberlyrae.com.
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! It’s time for the October Tween Meme! You can check out the other Emblazoners Posts by clicking this link: http://emblazoners.com/tween-the-weekends
I decided to write about something that is prevalent in our society right now, and that is Social Networking. It seems like new social networks are popping up all over the internet. What exactly is it?
Social Networking is the grouping of individuals into specific categories. For example, you could join a group if you love reading where the focus is on books. You could even join a group that enjoys a specific genre, like mysteries. There are all kinds of groups available, and people only join a particular group if they are interested in the focus of the group. But, where do you find these groups?
These groups are found on Social Networking Sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, or Tumblr. What’s exciting about Social Networking is that you could establish a relationship with someone on the other side of the world. What an awesome way to broaden your horizons.
However, there are risks involved with Social Networking too. Just as there are predators in the real world, there are predators on social media as well. These predators can lie and join these groups. Their goal is to establish a relationship with you, to build your trust so they can eventually finagle a meeting in real life. The bottom line is they have an agenda.
So what can a tween/teen do to protect herself? That is a very good question. I would recommend going to a site that is set up especially for tweens/teens. There are a couple of new Social Networking Sites that take into consideration the risks that interacting on the internet can expose young girls to. One of them is called TeenXpress, and here’s the link: http://teenxpress.com/
I’ve spoken with the creator of this site and her focus is developing a safe environment for tweens/teens, so they can interact socially. When you create an account, the system asks for your date of birth. If you’re over a certain age, you won’t be able to continue the process. After all, it’s just for tweens/teens.
I know what you’re thinking, sometimes people lie. That’s true, but there are also filters within the system that will flag the administrators if someone isn’t chatting in an appropriate manner. When the flags go up that person can be kicked out of the network. Most other networks do not have this kind of system in place. In other networks, a member has to report the bad behavior of the offender in order for any action to occur. In fact, other networks find thousands of predators in just this way and their memberships are revoked daily.
Another site that’s available is http://www.everloop.com/. On this site parents are required to supervise their children and it’s also set up to protect your child from cyber-bullying and inappropriate content.
Even on these sites, teens should use caution and trust their instincts. Don’t give out too much personal information and be careful whom you engage.
Also, don’t forget to get together with your friends from real life too! Even social networking can’t take the place of real interaction with your peers.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Leave a comment; I’d love to read your thoughts. If you need a break from Social Media, check out the Emblazoner’s Books! They’re great tween reads! Here’s the link: http://emblazoners.com/our-books/
Thanks again for stopping by!
Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’d like talk about a little something on the personal side. This weekend I took my boys shopping for their Halloween costumes. This is always an adventure!
My oldest found his immediately and they had his size, so he was satisfied very quickly. However, my youngest is a tiny little guy, and we always have trouble finding something that will fit.
This shopping trip was no exception. You see he wanted a “creepy” costume just like his brother’s. Unfortunately, they didn’t have his size. He didn’t panic, yet. He scrutinized the costumes that would fit him, but didn’t like any of them.
By this time, I was anticipating a battle, or a crying fit in the store, so my anxiety level had turned up a notch. He went back to the costume that he liked, but wasn’t his size and started whimpering.
“I want this one.”
I reined in my frustration and said, “Well. That one’s too big.” I pulled it off the rack and inspected the hem. “Maybe, Grandma can hem it so it fits you better.”
Why don’t we go to a different store and see what they have.”
“NO.” He shook his head stubbornly.
“Well, little man. I’m out of options. You need to decide what you want to do.”
By this time, I expected a meltdown. I prepared myself for the dreaded tantrum and envisioned a scenario where I’d have to drag him out of the store, kicking and screaming. Instead, what happened was he again inspected the costumes that were his size and chose one.
Of course, it was the most expensive one on the rack. Groan. Nevertheless, I bought it because that was the one he wanted.
We made it out of the store but on the ride home, he started to cry, claiming he didn’t get the costume he wanted. My heart went out to him; it’s so disappointing when we don’t get exactly what we want.
So, I said to him. “I know, honey. But you didn’t like any of the alternatives that I came up with either.”
It was as if a light bulb went off. He stopped his crying and sniffed. Then when we got home, he enjoyed his costume just as much as his older brother did.
This is one of those “life lesson” moments that we as parents get every once in a while. It’s about making choices and I feel that all kids need to learn this.
Sometimes we don’t get to have the choice we want for whatever reason. So, we have to make the best choice from the options that are available to us and live with it.
My son learned that lesson this weekend and it made me realize that I have to remember that too. I’ve got to make the best decisions I can with the options that are available to me. And not get caught up in the negativity of not having the perfect option. This just makes sense. I say my son learned this lesson this weekend, but I relearned it as well. What a bonus! Two life lessons for the price of one! 😉
Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today! I appreciate your time and if you have any life lessons that you’ve learned from your kids, or vice versa, please share them! I’d love to read about them. 🙂
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’m extremely busy today, working diligently on my Coming of Age Novel. The words are flowing and I don’t want to stifle that creative flow. So for my post today, I thought I’d share with you an excerpt from the third Super Spies Novel, “The Super Spies and the Pied Piper.” I hope you enjoy it, I know I enjoyed writing it. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read it.
“What do you mean you lost them?” Sarah Cole fidgeted as she waited for Agent Gray to answer. I can’t believe it! He lost the only clue to our parents’ location. What is wrong with this picture?
Agitated, Sarah shifted in her seat and chewed on her lip. She was uncomfortable in the folding chair and rearranged her petite frame so she wouldn’t feel the cold metal against her bare legs. Shivering, she glanced around the all‑too‑familiar room. The gray cement block walls no longer gave her that creepy, closed-‐‑in feeling she’d used to get when she first came to the interrogation rooms. She remembered the first time she’d been in that tiny space. It had been the day she’d discovered the Cat Lady’s dead body. Sarah shuddered at the memory and then smiled when she remembered forming the Super Spies and bringing the Cat Lady Killer to justice.
Glancing around the room again, she realized she’d been in this room quite a bit these last few weeks, not only during the Cat Lady investigation, but the High School Bomber investigation as well. Shivering again, Sarah rubbed her arms but she really wasn’t cold. Her mind filled with the image of the bomber the Super Spies had helped apprehend just a week earlier.
Wow! Was it just last week?
She tugged at a lock of her honey colored hair, then brushed it away with an impatient hand. She sighed and glanced at her younger sister. Lacey sat beside her with her legs crossed, jiggling her foot at such a rapid rate it seemed like her whole body was electrified. She caught Sarah’s eye, and for a moment her eyes glittered like emeralds before she shifted her gaze to Aunt June, who had placed her hand on Lacey’s leg in what appeared to be an attempt to quiet her. Sarah shifted in her chair and sighed again. Are we ever going to find Mom and Dad?
A commotion out in the hall drew everyone’s attention. Sarah leaned forward and craned her neck to see what was happening.
“Chief, we’ve got an OD!” An officer yelled.
“What?” Chief Johnson yelled as he rushed by. “An OD on what? Give me the details.”
“The parents found their son unconscious in his room this morning, and an empty bottle of prescription medication on his bedside table.”
“What was it?” Chief Johnson asked.
“Who makes it?”
“Ah… Piper Drugs.”
“Call Poison Control with the name and manufacturer and ask them what to do about an overdose. Instruct the parents to get their son to the hospital pronto,” Chief Johnson ordered.
“They’ve brought him here.”
“What?” Chief Johnson exclaimed.
The sound of policemen rushing through the hall pulled Sarah and her sister out of their seats. They hurried to the door, unable to stifle their curiosity. Peering down the corridor, Sarah caught a glimpse of a young man sagging between two officers as they desperately tried to keep him on his feet. One officer gently slapped his face while the other officers held him up. The young man blinked and then gagged, puking on the officer in front of him. The rancid stench of fresh vomit filled the air.While plugging her nose, Sarah ducked back inside the interrogation room, followed by her sister. Sarah closed the door, hoping it would keep the smell from penetrating the room.
“Did you hear that, Lace? Piper Drugs! That’s the company Dad works for,” Sarah whispered in her sister’s ear before proceeding back to her seat.
Lacey opened her mouth to speak, but closed it when Agent Gray cleared his throat and motioned for them to sit down. He continued his conversation as if they hadn’t been interrupted. We were on our way to the location of the ping… but before we got there it disappeared.”
“So, what does that mean? Did you find our parents or what?” Sarah blurted out as she sat down. She stared into Agent Gray’s icy blue eyes, trying to read his mind.
Buylinks are below. This is a great series for your tween/teen. 🙂
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’m back today and I’m talking about something that is near and dear to all our hearts. I’m talking about violence in our schools. We’ve been back to school for about a month now and we’ve gotten back into the school year routine.
I have to confess I got the idea for this topic from this website. http://www.securitydegreehub.com/securing-schools/
It’s a great site to visit to learn about the history of violence in our schools, but it also shows the steps school and government administrations are taking to crack down on this violence.
However, it leaves me the question, what is the underlying cause of all this violence? Of course, I started doing some research and according to this site. http://www.crf-usa.org/school-violence/causes-of-school-violence.html
Violent incidents in our schools have increased from seventy one percent to eighty-one percent over a five-year period. (1999-2004). This study was conducted in 2006.
This article also went further and stated some of the underlying causes of this violence.
Family Environment Even though society expects the family to model and reinforce positive behaviors, it makes it extremely difficult to do so. For example, both parents usually have to work, making it difficult for parents to spend quality time with their children. In addition, there are more single parent households now than ever before and more teen mothers. These two factors alone contribute to the fact that children are not getting their emotional needs met, which causes frustration and anxiety. And this can lead to violence.
Community Environment Studies show that most youth violence occurs between the hours of 3 PM and 7 PM. This is the time when many teens are unsupervised, especially if both parents work. If a community doesn’t offer any after school programs, this can lead to boredom, frustration, and violence as well.
Another interesting tidbit is school size also reflects violence. There are more incidences of violence in larger schools than in smaller ones. Again, for more information on this, click this link: http://www.crf-usa.org/school-violence/causes-of-school-violence.html
Cyber Abuse This occurs when bullies use electronic media to taunt, insult, or threaten their peers. With all the cyber bullying that occurs the result is more violence in our schools.
Access to Weapons Studies have shown that 35% of all homes with teens under the age of eighteen have a firearm and many teens can acquire a weapon illegally very easily.
So there you have it. Some of the underlying causes of School Violence. Now that we know the causes, is there anything we can do about it?
What I see as a solution is parental involvement. The more involved a parent is with their teens the more likely they’ll discuss things that are bothering them. The parent can help them deal with the frustration and anxiety that they may be feeling. However, what can a single parent do when they’re strapped for time and cash? Especially when many single parents are responsible for more than one child. I would recommend reaching out to the Big Brother Big Sister organization. They are always willing to help a family in need. Here’s their link: http://www.bbbs.org/site/c.9iILI3NGKhK6F/b.5962335/k.BE16/Home.htm
If a community doesn’t have an after school program and the teen isn’t interested in sports, maybe he or she could get an after school job or volunteer in some way. To check out volunteer opportunities in your area, click on this link. http://volunteennation.org/
As far as the access to weapons, the governmental agencies are trying to crack down on the illegal purchase of firearms and they are making strides in this area. Click this link to learn more: http://www.securitydegreehub.com/securing-schools/
Thanks for reading my post today! If you have any ideas on how to end violence in our schools, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!
****I’d like to thank the following websites for providing some of the information in this post.
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’m back today sharing with you a program that I’m involved with. It’s called “Raising Spirits with Reading” and it’s a Fundraising Campaign for the Children at DeVos Children’s Hospital. Below is a letter that explains everything.
Raising Spirits with Reading Fundraising Campaign
October 1o, 2013
Dear Fellow Community Member-
There is no better way to brighten a child’s day than by engaging them in a book! Help us bring smiles to their faces and take them on a magical adventure by donating to our cause!
The money raised will be used to purchase age appropriate books for every child at Helen Devos Children’s Hospital. If we surpass our funding needs we will be purchasing additional books to donate to the children’s hospital for future patients.
Any amount donated is greatly appreciated! T-shirts for all volunteers will be made and worn the day of the event.
Please submit company logos and/or the name you would like placed on the T-shirt to the following:
Traveler’s Trunk Publishing
c/o Amanda Litz
15071 Hanna Ave NE
Cedar Springs, MI 49319
All donations must be received no later than Saturday, October 19th to ensure books are received on time. Donations of cash or check can be mailed to the address above. Credit card donations and further information can be obtained on the following web page:
Thank you in advance for your support in helping to bring smiles and stories to hospitalized children!
Traveler’s Trunk Publishing
There’s also a fund raising event on Wednesday October 16th at Buffalo Wild Wings located at 3050 Alpine Ave. in Walker, Mi. Please come down for a snack or dinner. 20% of the proceeds collected using a special voucher which you can get from me (I’ll e-mail it to you) will go to this cause.
Thanks so much for your consideration!
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m taking a break from talking about teen issues and discussing something a little more personal today. I’m in such an energized mood because I’m working on my Coming of Age novel and I’m really enjoying it. I love my main character! I’m sure every writer has a manuscript that she’s just so in tune with that she can’t put it down.
I’m worried about myself when I get it completed. Will I feel a sense of loss? I hope not. To avoid that feeling, the idea for the sequel’s already brewing in my little brain. 🙂
My beta readers are enjoying this story too. That’s always a good sign when they’re asking for more chapters. As I write, I wonder if I should go the agent route or small press route.
If I choose the agent path, it will take longer and there’s no guarantee they’ll sell the manuscript. If I go the small press route the manuscript will be published faster, but I will be responsible for most of the marketing of the book. Which isn’t a problem for me, but having a major publisher help with the marketing is always a plus.
As I feverishly work on my story, this question bounces around in my brain. One day I’m leaning one way and the other day the next. Sigh. Then of course, there’s self-publishing.
I considered this option for a long time, and I haven’t ruled it out. However, I feel that I need a large following to make this option successful and since I’m writing for an older age group than my previous novels. I don’t feel that I have enough of a following to choose self-publishing yet.
What I like about self-publishing is that I get to see where most of my sales are coming from. That type of information is invaluable when you’re trying to market your books. That’s one of the major advantages of this choice.
You also get to see how you’re doing on a daily basis. I’m one that likes to check my numbers so I can tweak my marketing plan as I go. That’s hard to do when you have to wait three months for your results. 🙂
I would love some input from fellow authors out there. Have any of you gone the self-publishing route and built a following that way, or is there a stigma still attached to self-publishing?
Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. If you could share your opinion, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂