Thursday, 23 October 2014

Reading Quest for Young Readers

Writing Fantasy


For me as a children's author, fantasy is the only way to go. Imagine a world where anything is possible! Cool right! And it's a world that you get to create yourself. It's like playing at being God. It can be a place of magic, or somewhere dark and dangerous. You set the rules and watch your characters play out their lives in a realm of your choosing. You can be nice to them and make all their dreams come true, or be totally horrid and shatter their hopes and see them crumble. What could be better than that? Fantasy can come in many forms, from a futuristic planet setting to an ancient past and anything in between. It's very exciting! I love writing fantasy where anything is possible.

I have two fantasy titles that are published, part of a high fantasy three book series that is set in the modern day and in a fantasy realm. I hope to have the third book published soon when it has been through the stages of proofreading and then I am delving into the realms of sci-fi fantasy with my newest novel, Unknown Reality, hopefully next year. Let me tell you a bit about the first two books in my Truth Teller series.

Truth Teller

Book One:


How could a modern day girl like Charlotte ever envisage that magic really exists? Even with her own vivid imagination, the place for other realms belonged in a child’s fairy tale. Or so she thought, until she stumbled across a hidden curio shop and an even stranger shopkeeper. He gives her a gift that resembles an antique snow dome, but this is not an ordinary globe. The world Charlotte has always known disappears as she’s spirited away into a mystical land.

This is the beginning of a lifelong friendship that changes Charlotte’s life forever. Discovered by a young elf alone in the forest, she embarks on a journey in search of a group of travelling Entertainers. She encounters heart-stopping dangers and real life monsters, but a far greater threat shadows her every move. Even the strength and skill of her new found companions cannot protect her against a ruthless druid assassin. 

But in this realm, Charlotte is not the vulnerable little girl she thought she was.

The Wrath of Siren

Book Two:



Elderfield accepts a Gateway into another realm in a desperate bid to protect the human child, Charlotte, from the Dark Druid. His good intentions go horribly wrong, threatening the destruction of all his people and condemning the Truth Teller to a life she can never escape.



jointhereadingquestsmall
The ULTIMATE READING QUEST STARTS HERE! Click on this button to join the Ultimate Reading Quest. Find authors who write the kind of books you like! Integrating the art of story with technology and curriculum to enhance learning for the 21st century. questteaching@gmail.com

Meet the author and get extras at : www.questteaching.com/wordpress/ Novel available at the following links : https://www.amazon.com/author/sharonskretting Face book : http://on.fb.me/1d60x8e Twitter: @QuestTeaching https://twitter.com/QuestTeaching


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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Book Review: Adventure on Nemesis Mountain, by Annie McMahon

Annie McMahon’s Blog Tour and Free Giveaway– October 15-31


It is a real honour to be part of Annie McMahon's blog tour for the release of her debut children's novel, Adventure on Nemesis Mountain. For your chance of winning some free copies of this book including signed paperback copies by the author, please enter via the Rafflecopter at the end of this post.

I thought the best way so show off a debut novel is to do a book review. I give you, Adventure on Nemesis Mountain, by Annie McMahon!

Book Review



General Information

Publisher: Annie McMahon
Year of publication: 2014
Number of chapters: 10
Number of pages: 65

Plot summary: (blurb)


Emilio would rather eat a slimy worm than miss the fifth grade field trip. Nemesis Mountain must be full of rare leaf specimens and bugs for his collection. Besides, he needs a break from the playground and Hans’s nonstop teasing. His excitement is squashed when he gets lost in the woods with his worst enemy.

Alone in the forest, the two boys battle to survive the harsh wilderness, facing challenges that will change their lives forever.

Positive points


This children's story has a lot of positive points. What I liked about it is it's an easy read book, perfect for the age group it is targeting. The characters are believable and young readers will be able to relate to them easily. The story tackles the dark matter of bullying but not in a way that makes the story dark like so many middle grade novels that are on the market these days. The issues are blended well with an adventure storyline that leaves a positive outlook and a lesson learned for both parties. What I call a proper children's story.

It is a very well written story with perfect grammar. I challenge anyone to find a mistake in the very well presented book. This is something that is not always renowned in the indie publishing market. But I also know that English is the second language of this impressive author. Annie McMahon grew up speaking only French up until her late teenage years. To me, this makes this even more special. It is great to see there are skilful indie authors out there who have gone through the process of learning the craft of creative writing.

Negative Points


There is not a great deal to say that is negative about this book. Maybe it could have been a bit longer, but it never felt rushed to me at any point. I guess that to make the story any longer you would have to use pointless fillers which wouldn't have really have added anything to the story. I would have liked to have seen maybe a few scenes of the aftermath of the adventure, but the story did end at what I considered a good point.

What makes this book unique


This is a hard one. There are a lot of books out there covering this subject matter. A lot of the classic Disney stories use this format to create some of our much loved films, but if it is a format that works this well, then there is no reason to change it in my humble opinion. Unique doesn't always make the best stories!

Overall Impression


This is a great children's story. It has all the things that children can relate to in any day-and-age. There were many excerpts in the book that reminded me of how I used to think and feel about things at a similar age. There is adventure and morals that should be taught to all children. It has everything a children's book should have.

My Rating:  


Meet the author



Annie McMahon is originally from Canada but now lives in New Jersey. She has a degree in computer programming, but her life took an unexpected turn and she ended up writing stories and articles instead of computer programs. Now she uses every spare minute to write children’s novels and to help other writers succeed.

Her three children have been the inspiration behind many of her short stories, over forty in total. Her flash fiction story, Paradoxical Neighbor, has been published by Nelson Education in a book for 10th graders, Nelson Literacy 10.

Annie has a certificate in copyediting, moderates a critique group for children's writers, and is the editor at UK Children's Publishing.

Links


Twitter: @anniemcmahon20
Blog: anniemcmahon.net
Goodreads: Annie McMahon
Author page on Amazon:  Annie’s author page
Novel on Amazon: Adventure on Nemesis Mountain

Proofreading Sevices


Annie is currently offering middle grade authors a courtesy price for proofreading. Please see her website for full details on this unbeatable offer. CLICK HERE


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Sunday, 17 August 2014

Author Spotlight: Oathtaker by Patricia Reding

This week it is my greatest pleasure to introduce a fantastic author and book reviewer, Patricia Reding. I first met Patricia when I submitted my children's fantasy novel, Truth Teller, to the outstanding Readers' Favorite website for a review. Patricia is a reviewer for their site and gave me wonderful five star review which I display proudly on my blog. Now I would like to show off to the world Patricia's debut novel, Oathtaker.



Blurb:

An Oath Sworn. A Struggle Engaged. A Sacrifice Required.

When Mara, a trained Oathtaker, is drawn by the scent of the Select to battle underworld beasts summoned by the powers of evil to destroy the guardians of life, she swears a life oath for the protection of her charge.

Armed with a unique weapon and her attendant magic, and with the assistance of her Oathtaker cohorts, two ancients and a spymaster, Mara seeks safety for her charge from one who would end Oosa’s rightful line of rule and from assassins who endeavor to bring ruin to the land.

As Mara puzzles to decipher ancient prophecy concerning her charge, as she is haunted with memories of her own past failings, she discovers the price her oath will exact.

To renounce her word would be treasonous; to fail, ruinous; to persevere, tortuous. Abiding by an oath requires sacrifice.

Oathtaker Reviews:

Reding has created a wonderful tale of love, devotion and desperation in Oathtaker . . . With tremendous depth and creativity, Oathtaker becomes real and the emotions and trials of the characters are felt stronger and deeper as the story proceeds . . . A story of courage worthy of the designation of a classic.

–Melinda Hills for Readers’ Favorite

This is a wonderful adventure filled with believable characters, plenty of twists and an enthralling storyline. This is a fantastic book for a new author and I would read more in this series. Highly recommended to fans of fantasy fiction.

–E.B. Brown, a Goodreads author

From the very beginning I was pulled into this story. The author writes with clarity and creativity. She successfully created characters with such great depth that the issues of commitment, honor and integrity were skillfully woven throughout the story. I loved the fantasy world I found myself immersed in, and the thrilling ride that the characters took me on. This was a great read! I will definitely look for more books from this author.

–Lori Stevic-Rust, a Goodreads author



Everything you need to know about the Author:


Patricia Reding leads a double life. By day, she practices law. By night, she reads, reviews a wide variety of works, and writes fantasy. She lives on an island on the Mississippi with her husband and daughters (her son having already flown the nest), Coconut (a Westie) and Flynn Rider (an English Cream Golden Retriever), from whence she seeks to create a world in which she can be in two places at once. She took up Oathtaker as a challenge and discovered along the way, the joy of storytelling.

Currently, Patricia is working on Select, the first sequel to Oathtaker.

Patricia Reding is a 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest finalist. For more information from Readers’ Favorite, see  https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/12363

Find out more about Patricia on her website at http://www.oathtaker.com You also will find there, Patricia’s blog, reviews of other works, interviews of other authors, and more.

Fan and follow Patricia on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6983212.Patricia_Reding 

Follow her on BookLikes at http://patriciareding.booklikes.com
 
Also, please also take a moment to “like” Patricia on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/PatriciaRedingAuthor and to “like” her author page on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Reding/e/B00BQUN18G/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1 
 
Patricia is a member of the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network at http://fsfnet.com

Giveaways running through August 31:



One print copy and two e-copies through BookLikes at: http://booklikes.com/giveaways





Monday, 26 May 2014

Where do you want to be? -- by Children's Author Kurt Chambers

I'm at that point as an author where I have to decide where I want to be. I'm a children's author, which means unless I get a contract from a major publishing house, I would struggle to reach the masses of my target audience. This isn't one of those, I'm a hard-done-by starving author tales, just a fact of life. Any authors writing for adults can network directly with their target audience, children's authors simply don't have that outlet on such a grand scale.

So, the obvious answer is to find a top publisher or agent. This is difficult, but not impossible by any means. If you're willing to learn and work hard for many years. Put your heart and soul into something you really believe in and be willing lose a huge chunk of your life to this project. If you really want it enough and chose to never give up, no matter who you are, you can do it. Easy, right? No! It's a very long way from easy, but it is doable. Do I sound confident? Well, I can, because I speak from personal experience. Over many years I have stumbled through the amazing world of the writing community. I have met the most amazing people I ever met in my life who helped me through to the point I am at now. But the question still remains, where do I want to be?

Like all new authors I had big dreams! I had written the best book in the world that was going to take the world by storm. Reality hits hard and fast, slashing at your hopes, destroying your dreams. And that's just your first encounter with a critic forum! You swallow your pride, pick yourself up and start to learn. Wow! So much stuff all at once. It feels impossible to apply so many rules without destroying my masterpiece. But you learn and grow to the point where something clicks in your head that tells you it is time. You are ready. You have crafted your skills, learned the protocols. You enter the submission process brimming with confidence. That was when I became, The Rejectionator! A pet name from my darling youngest daughter.

What I wanted when I set out on this life changing journey is something very different from what I want now. I published book one and book two of my children's fantasy novel, Truth Teller and The Wrath of Siren. It is something I doubted would ever happen on many occasions, but I didn't give up. I love my story and lucky for me, so did my readers. Truth Teller has won an award for its stunning cover art thanks to Dawne Dominique, author and cover artist. I have copies of my books in all five major libraries in the United Kingdom including the British Library. It is also in libraries in other parts of the world including, New Jersey, New Zealand and Australia not to mention the countless school libraries. I don't sell a massive amount of copies, but those I do sell, the readers love to read.

This is a massive achievement for someone like me. I still have a third book to edit and publish in the Truth Teller series, Favian's Law, but my shining glory is my newest novel, Unknown Reality. I had a near miss from a top UK publishing agent who sent me a personalised email explaining how much of my story she loved. Yeah, it was a rejection, but it told me that with enough perseverance I could get this novel published mainstream. But do I really want to?

Like most writers and authors I live between two parallel worlds. My writing life and my real life. I have a day job and a life that takes up most of my free time. If I bagged myself an agent, would I really be able to work to deadlines and give them the dedication they would need from me? I don't think I have that in me. Real life is too demanding. I will look forward to publishing my new novel myself and show some fresh writing to my book collection.


Where do I want to be? I would seriously love a film deal and enough royalties so I could retire and live a life of luxury, obviously. But, you know, I think I'm pretty happy with where I am now. Thank you to all my friends that made this dream of mine possible. I hope, whoever you are, that you are able to get to where you want to be. When you feel despair, try to remember all the wonderful things that brought you to where you are now.


Sunday, 20 April 2014

New Release - The Wrath of Siren: Book two of the Truth Teller Series

It is finally here! It's official. For all you Truth Teller fans out there, you can get your hands on a copy of the next book in the series, The Wrath of Siren. How exciting is that?


It is my absolute pleasure to announce the release of my second book. It took longer than I thought, but I hope it was worth the wait. I wanted it to be as perfect as possible (if there is such a thing) so it was in the editing process for quite some time. But now, all the hard work is over and I can reward all those long suffering Truth Teller fans with the next instalment of my children's fantasy story. So, the moment you have all been waiting for! Here it is in all its glory. Click on image for a full size view.





The Wrath of Siren

Elderfield accepts a Gateway into another realm in a desperate bid to protect the human child, Charlotte, from the Dark Druid. His good intentions go horribly wrong, threatening the destruction of all his people and condemning the Truth Teller to a life she can never escape. 

Now Available...

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Smashwords


Promotion giveaway!


For those of you who still haven't discovered my story, Truth Teller, book one, I would like to offer readers out there a free ebook copy of this awesome fantasy tale.


Truth Teller

How could a modern day girl like Charlotte ever envisage that magic really exists? Even with her own vivid imagination, the place for other realms belonged in a child’s fairy tale. Or so she thought, until she stumbled across a hidden curio shop and an even stranger shopkeeper. He gives her a gift that resembles an antique snow dome, but this is not an ordinary globe. The world Charlotte has always known disappears as she’s spirited away into a mystical land.

This is the beginning of a lifelong friendship that changes Charlotte’s life forever. Discovered by a young elf alone in the forest, she embarks on a journey in search of a group of travelling Entertainers. She encounters heart-stopping dangers and real life monsters, but a far greater threat shadows her every move. Even the strength and skill of her new found companions cannot protect her against a ruthless druid assassin.

But in this realm, Charlotte is not the vulnerable little girl she thought she was.

For your free download please visit:

Smashwords - and enter the following coupon code.

Promotional price: $0.00
Coupon Code: EA44J
Expires: June 20, 2014

Truth Teller is also available in paperback

Amazon US

Amazon UK


Happy reading! 





Friday, 14 March 2014

Choose Your Own Story - Tony the Phony



Today’s post is part of a Choose Your Own Adventure Story written and hosted by T. Isenhoff and M. Isenhoff on their Storyboys blog. T. is in 3rd grade, and M. is in 6th grade. This story was their winter homeschool project. Travel over to their blog to start at the beginning. Have fun!

Tony the Phony and the Cursed Mansion



Tony met Ed’s eyes and nodded toward the door. Ed took his meaning. He held up his hands. “My lips are sealed.” Then both boys blasted their lights in Meatloaf’s eyes.

Meatloaf shrieked and let go of Ed.
The two boys raced for the door. “Locked!” Tony yelled.
“I’m gunna kill you fools!” screamed Meatloaf, blindly waving his arms about.

“This way!” Ed called. Ed led Tony down a long hallway filled with doors. “Start trying knobs!”

“This one’s locked!” Tony said.

“Same here!” said Ed.

They tried six doors with the same results. By then, Meatloaf had recovered some vision. He lumbered up the hallway screaming curses at them.

“One of these better open or we’re dead,” Ed muttered.

“Here!” Tony shouted. He flung open the door and they burst through it just ahead of the clutching hands of Meatloaf. They slammed the door shut and leaned against it. “That was close!” Tony whispered.

But Ed was squinting, looking around the room. “Um, where are we?” he asked.

The sun was shining brightly through clean windows. The room was beautifully decorated, with no dust, spider webs, or sheets. A teapot steamed on a side table with a plate of fresh cookies beside it. “What’s going on?” Tony asked.

They left the door and glanced out the window. “There is a horse and buggy out there,” Ed said in surprise. “And the place is so clean, like someone actually lives here.”

They peeked into another room. It was a bright, clean library with shelves and shelves of books. A man stood near the window reading from a leather-bound volume. He was dressed in funny clothes.

“Excuse me,” Tony said. “Who are you?”

The man looked up and laughed. “I’m Silas Walker, of course. And you must be the new settlers. Welcome to Centerville. I believe Mrs. Trumble has our tea ready in the next room.”

Tony and Ed frowned at each other as he led them back to the first room.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Mr. Walker said. “There are only two teacups. Mrs. Trumble,” he called and left the room.

“Let’s get out of here!” Ed said, and both boys rushed for the door they entered through. But when they opened it, all that met their eyes was the back wall of a dark coat closet.

The End





Friday, 3 January 2014

The Pitfalls of Self-Publishing -- Kurt Chambers

So you wrote a whole book? That is so awesome! I know exactly what it's like when you put your heart and soul into writing a whole novel. No one but another writer can fully understand just how much you put into your creations. But you did it! You probably spent the same amount of time bringing your story to the best it can be ready to publish. This is a massive achievement for anyone, and a very exciting time for an author. You are about to release your baby to the world!

You have two options: try to get published the traditional way by submitting to a publisher or agent, or self-publish. If you choose the traditional route, please be aware that there are a lot of sharks out there ready to take your money. Before you get too excited with the offer of a contract, always check out an agent or publisher at the Preditors & Editors website. Here is a story of how I nearly got caught out in an old blog post, Getting Published.

For those of you who are going to self-publish, it is important for you to know when your book is ready to release. There are a lot of books out there that are simply not up to a publishing standard. It's so easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of publishing a book. You can't rely on a read-through by your mum or a few good friends. If your book is not ready, you will get bad reviews. This WILL affect your sales! There are plenty of groups and forums out there that will help you learn the 'rules' of writing which will make you a much stronger writer. If you are serious about becoming an author, you need to learn your trade just like any other trade. This would be my biggest recommendation. Learn to write creatively and become a great writer.

Here is a list of some of the best places to try out ... BestSocial Networking Sites For Writers

When you are ready and you have your manuscript as good as it can be, you still need to have it proofread by a professional proofreader. This doesn't have to be expensive, but you should use someone that has been recommended. I use this service myself, PenPals Editing.

Now you have the perfect manuscript, you will need an eye-catching cover to go with it. It's important to have a professional-looking cover. It's your first contact with a potential reader and you want your book to look irresistible. Again, ask for advice from your newly acquainted writer friends and shop around for a good deal. Dawne Dominique is my cover artist. I love her artwork so much.

Formatting is the next on your list. In order to publish your book, it will need formatting ready to upload to Amazon and other sites such as Smashwords. You might be able to do this yourself if you are a wiz with a computer, or you can pay a charge to the many people out there offering this service. If you want to have a go yourself, search Google for an article on how to do this. Anastasia Creatives does all my formatting and web design. 

Now comes the hard part. As a first time author, you will dream of fame and fortune in the likes of Harry Potter. I'm going to burst your bubble. This is not going to happen. Selling books is not easy. There are many thousands of other self-published authors out there doing the same as you, and unless you are a marketing wizard, you are going to hit that most difficult time when you struggle to sell or even give away your book. The reason I am saying this is not to discourage you, far from it, but this is something you need to be aware of.

Years ago, when self-publishing wasn't an option, a lot of writers gave up after receiving a pile of rejection letters. These days, we are starting to see the same thing with self-published authors giving up after publishing a few books with disappointing sales. That is why I wanted to point this out. If you are expecting miracles, you will be disappointed, but this really isn't a reason for you to give up. You have to keep on writing, and keep on publishing! Becoming a success isn't going to happen overnight. It's something you have to work hard at and keep on plugging away until it DOES happen. It will probably take years. But the one thing you must never do is give up. You're a writer, it's what you do.

Keep writing and never stop dreaming, no matter how hard it seems. You have a story to tell. Yes! It's so hard sometimes, I know! But it's impossible if you don't try. Believe in yourself.



Shameless plug

Truth Teller by Kurt Chambers is free to all readers


How can ten-year-old Charlotte ever envisage that magic really exists? The place for other realms belongs in a child’s fairy tale. Or so she thinks, until she discovers the strange shopkeeper and begins an adventure that changes her life forever.
Discovered alone in a far away forest, Charlotte embarks on a journey encountering heart-stopping dangers and real life monsters, but a far greater threat shadows her every move. Even the strength and skill of her new companions cannot protect her against a ruthless druid assassin.
But in this realm, Charlotte is not the vulnerable little girl she thought she was.

Download a free copy in any format for any device:


Smashwords:

Amazon:

Barnes & Noble: