Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Spotlight: The Blackwell Family Secret: THE GUARDIANS OF SINS, by Jonathan L. Ferrara

The Blackwell Family Secret:
THE GUARDIANS OF SINS
by Jonathan L. Ferrara
URBAN FANTASY, Young Adult
5.5x8.5, 224 pages
Publication date: December 5, 2014
$15.95 trade paperback, ISBN 978-1-940076-19-5
$5.95 E-book, ISBN 978-1-940076-20-1
Publisher: Dragonwell Publishing
Distribution: Ingram Book Company
www.dragonwellpublishing.com / AMAZON

Nicholas Blackwell has no idea he is supposed to fulfill a destiny. All he knows is that he draws trouble like a magnet. Orphaned at eleven when two demonic men killed his parents, he copes with the strict rules of his new home, St. Christopher’s academy, unaware that he has been the real target for the killers and that his guardian angel has saved him in the nick of time. And now, his problems are only beginning when a mysterious serpent lures him into the woods and tricks him into a demonic ritual that will unleash the Seven Deadly Sins to destroy the humankind. Nicholas has no choice but to correct his mistake--or die trying. Aided by Amy, a shy but determined girl who seems to know more about his task than she should, Nicholas's quest is to travel into the City of Demonio and defeat the Seven Guardians of Sin. To succeed, he must confront demons, monsters, and lost souls, learn the mysteries of the Chapel of Dreams, discover the true meaning of friendship and love, and face the darkest secret of all: the Blackwell Family Secret.

“The Blackwell Family Secret: the Guardians of Sin” is a debut young adult urban fantasy
adventure with a Christian theme.

About the author:

Jonathan L. Ferrara was born in San Pedro, California to an Italian fisherman and a mother
from New York. Growing up with one older brother, Jonathan had several hobbies: finding
the best hiding spots to jump out and scare his mother, discovering new fantasy book series,
and imagining outrageous, whimsical worlds full of magic. He is now happily married,
residing in California in the City of Angels. He has two wonderful children-his dog Koda and
cat Merlin. www.tips-fb.com

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Story behind 'GoldStar Magic! Family Pen-Pal Kit' by Terry Nicholetti

When I moved from Ithaca, NY to Washington DC in 1998, I was missing my three granddaughters, ages 10, 8, and 6, and wanted to stay close to them. At the same time, I was going through a rebellious phase, resisting doing daily things we all need to do, cleaning, sorting mail, paying bills, etc.  My therapist encouraged me to make friends with the “little girl” within me who was so angry about “shoulds” and find a way to work together.  She also encouraged me to look for the “why;” why should I care about this task that I don’t want to do.

One day I told her that I had paid all my bills on time that month, and she said, “Good for you! Give yourself a gold star!” What an idea! So I started a little notebook, listed my accomplishments, and gave myself a gold star each time. I wanted to share this idea with my granddaughters, so I designed a two-way postal card out of oak tag. On the top part it said, “Here’s something I did that I’m proud of.” On the bottom half, to be returned to the sender, it said “Here’s what I think of your story.” I made up a supply of these cards, and for a while, we exchanged these messages with great joy.

When I shared these cards with my friends, they said, “This is a great idea; you should turn it into a product!” I didn’t want to just write up a boring “how to” pamphlet to go with them, so I got the idea to write a children’s story about a little girl named NoraLee Johnson who hates doing chores and misses her grandparents who have moved away. She is visited by Loofi Mondel from planet Ifwee, where the motto is “If we care, it’s magic!” They travel in a space ship to Ifwee, where NoraLee meets several residents who only do things they care about. Then they give themselves gold stars, and share their accomplishments with people they love. That’s GoldStar Magic!

They also show her the “magic two-way postal cards” so she can stay close to her grandparents by writing to them about things she’s proud of. The GoldStar Magic! Family Pen-Pal Kit, ™  including NoraLee’s Adventures on Planet Ifwee, two-way postal cards, gold stars, and a link to download the Ifwee song.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Terry Nicholetti, Founder and Chief Encourager of Speak Out, Girlfriend!, is a former teaching nun and professional actor/playwright and author, with nearly 30 years experience in sales and marketing. A speaker, consultant and member of National Speakers Association, Terry helps clients, especially artist/entrepreneurs, find their voice and tell their stories. For the past five years, Terry has been studying Mindfulness Meditation, and loves to share a simple yet profound process for becoming more “mindful or “present” at difficult moments, for example, when one is nervous right before a presentation. A member of Unity Worldwide Ministries congregations for more than a decade, Terry has built her Speak Out, Girlfriend! 9 Steps to Get from Fearful to Fabulous in part on Unity principles, especially that the spirit of God/Source/Universe lives in each of us, and that we create our life's experiences through our thoughts. Inspired by missing her own grandchildren after a move, Terry created and produced the GoldStar Magic! Family Pen-Pal Kit ™, including the delightfully illustrated  NoraLee's Adventures on Planet Ifwee, to help children and their grandparents get closer together, one story at a time.



ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: GoldStar Magic! Family Pen-Pal Kit, ™  including NoraLee's Adventures on Planet Ifwee Genre: children
Author: Terry Nicholetti
Publisher: Terry Nicholetti
Purchase linkhttp://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0971648816 

The Gold Star Magic! Family Pen-Pal Kit™
Bringing children and their grandparents closer together – one story at a time!
Parents: Are you looking for ways to help your young children (ages 4-10) stay in touch with their grandparents?

Grandparents: Are your Skyping, texting, emailing, to stay in touch with your grandchildren? Do you remember how exciting it was to get something in the mail addressed to you?

The Gold Star Magic! Family Pen-Pal Kit™  offers a really unique way to use first class mail to help children get closer to their grandparents – as well as build their self-esteem – one story at a time! The kit is built around NoraLee’s Adventures on Planet Ifwee, a delightfully illustrated, 32 page book about a little girl who hates doing her chores, and misses her grandparents. When she visits Planet Ifwee, she learns how to use GoldStar Magic! to solve both these challenges. NoraLee meets residents like Robinia Clarinda Gazaundry, who helps her dad with the family laundry. From her new friends,  NoraLee learns to do something because she cares, give herself gold stars because she feels so proud, and use magic Two-way postal cards to tell her grandparents so they can be proud too.

The kit also includes:

    6 Two-Way Postal Cards™ and sealers for children & grandparents to tell their stories.
    Lots of Gold Stars.

    A link to download The Ifwee Song!“ by Terry and Jan Nigro of Vitamin L Children’s Chorus.
www.tips-fb.com

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Guest post: "Meticulosity: The Key to the Children’s Book Self-Publishing Crossover" by Debra Mares

Even for those used to writing in different genres, there are no secrets to writing a children’s book, other than what Dr. Seuss describes as, “meticulosity.”  Dr. Seuss was brilliant enough to make up words...and get away with it; he also has Random House publishing his works.  So I’m going to go out on a limb and say it not only takes “meticulosity” in the writing, but also in the distribution and marketing of the self-published children’s book.  Much of the writing (plot, acts, characters) follows the same development as other genres, however the publishing and marketing of children’s books are a bit different from adult books.  Take these 10 tips to help guide you in your crossover to children’s book genres: 
1)   Revise, revise and revise: Like any other genre, editing and revising the writing is key. This is no different in a children’s book.  It’s This Monkey’s Business is less than 700 words, but we strove to perfect every line and every rhyme, time and time again.  When I didn’t have the answer of whether something fit, I asked!  There’s a lot of components that go into writing children’s books, such as whether a child will grasp a concept or idea, whether they will understand a certain word, whether it will appeal to the adult reading to the child, whether the child will relate to a character or animal, and whether their emotional development will allow them to process the message of the book.  It’s a lot. But asking for help and collaborating with a team of people makes the process much easier.  I collaborated with a team made up of a youth, professional illustrator, graphic designer, school counselor, marriage and family therapist, parents of young children, childhood development expert, social worker, professional writer, writing coach, poet, editor and book printer to make this possible.  It took a village.
2)  Know your agent: Take the time to research what publishers and agents look for in children’s books. Some are looking for human characters, some are looking for multi-cultural characters, some are looking for parenting tip and childhood development issues to be addressed, while others are looking for pure entertainment.  Make sure you know why and who you’re writing for, before beginning a challenging endeavor. 
3)  Develop a plan early on: Develop a clear writing, publishing and printing timeline, even before you finish the writing stage, at least 90-120 days in advance of the release date.  It really does take equal effort to write a children’s book as it does to publish, distribute and market it.  Remember to give each stage an equal amount of your energy. There are many online timelines for book launches to use as templates. 
4)   Develop a concrete marketing plan and budget: Make sure you have a marketing plan, timeline and budget for your book, which includes website development, social media presence, mailing list sign-up, and a link to purchase your book.  Invest in yourself and if your means allow for it, set a self-publishing budget...then stick to it.  Your marketing plan should include dates by which you will secure multiple signing/release venues in different geographic areas you have a fan, friend or family base, dates by which you will create email lists, distribute invitations and press releases, and finalize all details for signing parties.  Make sure you’re factoring into your timeline presentations about your book and allowing at least 6 weeks for the marketing of any event.  Ask friends or family to consider hosting one event each; don’t be afraid to ask. 
5)    Consider your printer: Consider nontraditional local printers in addition to online print-on-demand sources to print your book.  Local printers can print your book immediately, especially if you build a face-to-face relationship with them so you can have books on hand.  On the contrary, print-on-demand sources have shipping costs and added rush fees.  Depending on your geographic area, children’s books typically require more public readings, story-time readings, and bookstore or library appearances, where you will want to have a flexible printing source to go to in order to have books on hand. Otherwise add an additional 60-days to your timeline to allow for order and shipping time.  Your audience will typically be children you can read to or parents and adults who will want to purchase your book to read or donate to children.  Many times, this will be a local audience, so make sure you have plenty of books on hand.  You never want to lose an opportunity to sell your book and reach a potential fan or reader.  If you need to, secure their contact information or provide them with a book order form you can easily create before the event.  The buyer/reader can fill out the form immediately with payment and contact information so that you can secure the potential reader fan. 
6) Secure online distribution sites:  As a self-publisher, you will want to ensure your children’s book is accessible around the country or world.  The easiest way to do this if your printer does not have the capacity to distribute nation or worldwide, will be to enlist the services of an online distributor.  The great thing about Amazon.com is they have a service called Advantage, which enables an independent author to sign up and send their books to an Amazon warehouse to be packaged and distributed worldwide.  Royalties and sales profits are deposited directly to the author’s bank account and annual reports for tax reporting purposes are conveniently provided at the end of the year to the author. Like other print-on-demand companies like CreateSpace, which are associated with Amazon, Advantage will allow your product page to appear on Amazon.com worldwide, so anyone can access your book for sale. 
7)  Secure personal author appearances: In marketing your children’s book, research storytime events for children, typically at libraries or bookstores to read and discuss your book with your readers and audience.  Many libraries have preset schedules of storytime, which will allow your book to be promoted. Ask to participate in those. Make sure you have books available for order or purchase and discuss with the library or bookstore whether you can sell books and whether the store will charge you a commission or sales fee for the transaction. Always have on hand invitations for your next event or books to sell.  Make sure your readers, audience or anyone you come into contact with has a way to stay in touch with you (have business card on hand or invitation for next event), knows what your next project is, and make sure to secure their contact information to add them to your mailing list. 
8)  Consider your audience: Consider how wide your audience is for your children’s book.  Originally, I believed It’s This Monkey’s Business was exclusively targeting children affected by domestic violence.  But upon further brainstorming with my development and marketing team, I realized domestic violence is such a universal issue, it was worth discussing with all children.  I wished for all kids reading the book, they would come away with empathy for a child or family going through this.  It broadened my target audience and book appeal.  It’s good to think about the scope of the audience early on. 
9)  Carefully select your illustrator: Illustrators make ideas come to life and children’s book require a good working relationship between the author and illustrator.  So carefully select who you will work with, especially if your book is a potential series as you may want to engage their services again.  It’s important to consider whether you will be hiring your illustrator as an independent services contractor and you will purchase the illustrations (which may cost you more) or whether you will have a long-term relationship with the illustrator who will potentially collect royalties on the book sales along with you, and possibly charge less up front.  Whatever agreement you reach, make sure it’s in writing and both parties are in agreement to the terms.  Although it’s a good idea to have words stand alone on a page, a good rule even in a children’s book is to make the words work even if a blind child is being read to.  That said, it’s still important to have illustrations help carry the message through.  It’s important to identify what matters to you before selecting an illustrator.  It’s This Monkey’s Business’ illustrator Taylor Christensen came recommended by my friend who works in the movie industry, designing and printing movie posters. I liked that Taylor was young, brilliant, and had a good reputation in the industry for working efficiently.  Meeting deadlines were important to me since we were on a strict timeline with a goal to publish in October, domestic violence awareness month.  Taylor was looking to expand his animations portfolio to include book illustrations, so the relationship became mutually beneficial, which was important to me. It also caught my attention that he loved to draw animals and considered making characters of them, a real treat.  He was also open-minded about working under the direction of my 16-year-old niece Olivia, who I was already collaborating on the project with.  Once he read the story, he was very enthusiastic about creating illustrations that would appeal to children and support a story with a strong message.  His enthusiasm and dedication to the project was important to my niece and I, so we knew it would be a perfect fit; and indeed, it was. 
10)       Engage your audience: One of the fun parts of developing a children’s book is that there are many stages and opportunities to engaging your reader audience as opposed to an adult novel.  I often posted on Facebook and Twitter to get audience feedback on things like illustrations, the cover, the characters and the colors.  I invited readers on the journey of publishing, from character development to sketches to rough color roughs of the illustrations, to get their input.  It engages the audience and helps get more reader feedback in the creative stage. It’s important to use this to the author’s advantage, especially with children’s books.
*************
For Independent Author Debra Mares, violence against women is not only a topic in today's news, it's a topic in her crime novels, cases she handled as a county prosecutor, and now it will be the topic in her first children's book It's This Monkey's Business.  Debra is a veteran county prosecutor in Riverside currently specializing in community prosecution, juvenile delinquency and truancy.  Her office has one of the highest conviction rates in California and is the fifteenth largest in the country. You name it - she's prosecuted it - homicides, gang murders, domestic violence, sex cases, political corruption, major fraud and parole hearings for convicted murderers. She is a two-time recipient of the County Prosecutor of the Year Award and 2012 recipient of the Community Hero Award.

Debra is the granddaughter of a Mexican migrant farm worker and factory seamstress, was born and raised in Los Angeles, was the first to graduate college in my family, and grew up dancing Ballet Folklorico and Salsa. Her own family story includes struggles with immigration, domestic violence, mental health, substance abuse and teen pregnancy, which she addresses in her novels. She followed a calling at 11 years old to be an attorney and voice for women, and appreciates international travel and culture. Her life's mission is to break the cycle of victimization and domestic violence. 

Debra is also the co-founding Executive Director of Women Wonder Writers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization implementing creative intervention and mentoring programs for at-risk youth.  In 2012, Debra self-published Volume 1 of her debut legal thriller series, The Mamacita Murders featuring Gaby Ruiz, a sex crimes prosecutor haunted by her mother's death at the hands of an abusive boyfriend. In 2013, Debra released her second crime novel, The Suburban Seduccion, featuring "The White Picket Fence" killer Lloyd Gil, who unleashes his neonatal domestic violence-related trauma on young women around his neighborhood. 

To bring to life "Cabana," Debra partnered with 16-year-old Creative Director Olivia Garcia and Los Angeles based professional illustrator Taylor Christensen

16-year-old Creative Director Olivia Garcia attends high school in Panorama City, California, is the Los Angeles youth delegate for the Anti-Defamation League's National Youth Leadership Mission in Washington D.C., an ASB member and AP student and enjoys reading, crafting and knitting.

Taylor Christensen is a Los Angeles-based illustrator holding a BFA from Otis College of Art & Design, focuses on fantastical creatures and surreal imagery, and produces artwork for illustration, character and concept design.
Her latest book is the children’s picture book, It’s This Monkey’s Business.
For More Information
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Interview with Beverly McClure, author of 'A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat'

When Beverly Stowe McClure was in eighth grade, her teacher sent her poem “Stars” to the National High School Poetry Association, and she was soon a published writer in Young America Sings, an anthology of Texas high school poetry. Today, Beverly is a cum laude graduate of Midwestern State University with a BSEd degree. For twenty-two years, she taught children to read and write. They taught her patience. She is affectionately known as the “Bug Lady” because she rescues butterflies, moths, walking sticks, and praying mantis from her cats.

Most of the time, you’ll find Beverly in front of her computer, writing the stories little voices in her head tell her. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks and snaps photos of clouds, wild flowers, birds and deer. She also enjoys visiting with her family and teaching a women’s Sunday school class at her church. Her articles have been published in leading children’s magazines. Two of her stories are in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL ANTHOLOGIES, and she has nine novels published, two of them award winning novels at Children’s Literary Classics and other competitions.

Connect with Beverly on the net:


Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat. What was your inspiration for it?

A: One summer, on a visit to our son and his wife in South Carolina, we went to Folly Beach, not far from where they lived, to watch the sun rise over the water and lighthouse. It was a beautiful sight. But what caught my attention more than the sunrise was the lighthouse sitting in the middle of the inlet. It was deactivated years ago, but was used during the Civil War. A lighthouse must have a ghost, right? My mind started chasing different scenarios as to who the ghost was and why he was a ghost. What kept him from finding rest? A blockade runner worked nicely, since the ships came into the harbor bringing supplies to the city. Other ideas popped up, too. Pirates were quite active in the area although in earlier years. But, if they were ghosts they could have been around for years. So I added a couple of pirates to the story. And what’s a good ghost story without a cat? My MG/Tween novel APirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat was born.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist.

A: Thirteen-year-old Erik Burks is a typical young teen. He plays baseball and likes to hang out with his friends. When his dad leaves home, Erik’s life changes in ways he could never imagine. First, his mom takes Erik from Texas to South Carolina where they move in with her sister. Second, he meets the weird twins that live down the street and that claim they’ve seen a ghost ship in the harbor. Third, Erik doesn’t believe that ghosts exist. Fourth, he soon discovers he might be wrong.     

Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?

A: I had fun creating Erik and the twins, typical teens, if you count a girl who can read mind dreams typical. The ghost pirates are based on real pirates, and I did a lot of research to learn about them and their ships so the historical facts would be accurate. I am a slow writer and it took probably two years to write and edit the story. No major bumps along the way. I had visited some of the places in the story, like the lighthouse, and tried to remember what they were like.

Getting the pirate language just right took some research too, but was a lot of fun. Avast, matey. I discovered fascinating information about the two pirates that ended up in the story.

Q: How do you keep your narrative exciting throughout the creation of a novel?

A: I try to put the characters in exciting circumstances. In novels for MG readers, the kids like action. They’ll stop reading if they’re bored. Forget description unless it moves the story along. I let the characters get in trouble so the reader will wonder if they’ll get out of it. At this age, friendships are important. And they need trouble. Lots of trouble. Ghosts are just right to cause trouble, along with a cat that Erik hates, and the feeling is mutual.

Q: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it?

A: Sometimes, I look at the blank screen on the computer and think, Okay, where do I start? Will anyone like this story? Can I even write it? The only way to deal with anxiety is to start typing. Yes, there will be many changes, at least for me. I usually rewrite the beginning a jillion times. If I don’t get those first words down, I’ll never have a story. So I go for it and hope I’m headed in the right direction.

Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?

A: I’m a morning person. Usually I work on my WIP from 9:00 AM to 11:30 or 12:00 noon. Then I take a lunch break and maybe check emails or look at blogs. (I’ve done some mail early in the morning before I started writing.) Around 2:00 PM I do edits if I have a manuscript that’s been sold, or else I check my blogs and post on other blogs. Evenings, I write reviews, do critiques for my critique groups (I’m in two), and whatever else needs to be done.

I’m retired from my teaching job, so I have no outside work to interfere with my writing. I’m a playmate for my cats, but other than that, my time is my own.

Q: How do you define success?

A: Success to me is writing novels that help young people enjoy reading, and if they take anything away from the story that makes their lives happier or more understandable, that’s an added bonus.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?

A: It’s hard when your family doesn’t support you, but I feel we each have the right to pursue our dreams. I’m not saying neglect your significant others. Don’t neglect yourself either. Let them know how important your writing is to you. They may surprise you and understand. If they don’t, find time when you’re alone, or make time to be alone, even if it’s only 30 minutes or an hour. Maybe while they’re at work, or anytime they go out for whatever reason. Don’t give up. Follow your dreams. You only have one life.

Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?

A: Oh, yes. A writer has to be driven; otherwise, why would we sit in a chair for hours a day, typing our hearts away, for pennies a day (at least in my case)? Perhaps we’re a little insane. And the beauty of it is we don’t care. We’re doing what we love.

Q:  Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

A: Just thank you for hosting me today. Thank all you awesome readers for your comments and thoughts. You’re the ones that keep us writing, you know. If you have a chance, stop by my blog and see what’s happening. http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com.



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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Interview with Katreina Eden, author of Bible Bands: Create Your Own Faith-Based Rubber Band Jewelry

Katreina Eden grew up in the Midwest, eventually landing in California, where she went to law school and then ran her own law firm for a number of years. She currently works as the Executive Vice President of Cedar Fort, Inc., in Springville, Utah. Katreina also owns and operates Organiwic, LLC, an all-natural candle company, with her sister. She enjoys being out in nature and spending time with family. Aside from being published in various legal journals, this is Katreina’s first trade publication.
It's  apleasure to have you on my blog, Katreina! How did you come up with the idea to write Bible Bands? The idea was actually suggested by the owner of our publishing company because the topic was a huge trend but we wanted to add a bit of a twist to what was already out on the market and we thought the Bible themes would also help inspire kids.

How was your writing process like? The hardest part about writing the book, aside from learning the art and then creating my own designs, was taking all the step-by-step images. Going into the project, I thought it would be difficult to come up with my own design ideas, but once I learned how to make the jewelry, coming up with my own designs to match scripture themes came pretty easy. I was surprised about that part. Some of the technical aspects of the designs were a little more difficult to create than others once I had a vision of what I wanted so it was a matter of trial and error until the design worked.

What do you hope children will take away from your book? Mostly I hope kids will learn that they can have fun while being spiritually uplifted as well. I want them to be able to embrace their spiritual beliefs, whatever they may be, through living life, not just when they happen to be in church.

This is your first book. Are there any more on the way? Maybe. I'd like to write more, but I'm also extremely busy. It will probably depend on if this one is successful.

You're also an attorney and vice-president of Cedar Fort, Inc. Tell us about that. Ever since I was little, I have been rather determined and let's say ambitious. I like learning. Going to law school and practicing law was just something I wanted to do at the time and I am grateful for the knowledge and training law school and the practice of law has provided me. I also enjoy helping good businesses succeed and being involved in that actual process. Cedar Fort is a great place to work and I feel we are trying to accomplish great things by inspiring the world through books.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of writing this book? I think the most rewarding aspect is seeing other's reactions to the book. I had no idea others would find it so enjoyable. Initially I took on the project because it made good business sense, but it has turned in to more than that.


Anything else you'd like to share with readers? I would just say live your dreams; nothing is impossible with God's help.
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Friday, September 19, 2014

Book Review: ‘Bible Bands: Rubber Band Jewelry’ by Katreina Eden


bible bandsBible Bands is a fun, educational how-to book for children who love making jewelry. Not only does it teaches how to make lovely designs, but it also strengthens children’s faith by combining hands-on creativity with Bible verses and stories.
Rubber band jewelry seems to be the hottest new craze, so Eden’s book comes at the right time. Though at first glance, when you look at the jewelry, it might seem complicated and difficult to make, especially for kids, the author demystifies it with simple step-by-step instructions accompanied by colorful photos. I found the language and descriptions clear and straight-forward, easy for most kids to understand, though the younger ones will need guidance from an adult, at least at first. There are over 12 designs, from the simplest to the most elaborate.
Eden incorporates faith with verses and symbols, such as a blue and white pattern to symbolize Christ’s baptism, a heart design to remind you of God’s love, and a multi-colored weave to match Joseph’s coat of many colors, among others.
Bible Bands doesn’t come with the looms or bands, but you can find these at most craft shops. This will make a lovely gift for any child, especially those who are into crafts. It is also a good book for those long summer and Christmas holidays, as it will keep children entertained for hours. Recommended!
Find out more on Amazon.
My review was previously published in Blogcritics.
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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Book Review: ‘Stolen Dreams’ by Christine Amsden (new adult fiction)


StolenDreams_med-193x300I can’t believe this is the last book in the Cassie Scot new adult paranormal mystery series! I really have enjoyed this series a lot.
If you’re new to the series, I advise you to pick up the books in order:
In this the final installment, talented author Christine Amsden brings the infamous Scot vs. Blackwood family feud to a close, but not without filling her story with enough intrigue, mystery, twists and surprises to keep you thinking about the characters for a long time.
And this is, really, the biggest draw in these stories, the characters, especially Cassie and Evan. Cassie has been such a likable protagonist throughout the series, smart and strong and opinionated, yet caring and warm-hearted. Evan –yes, arrogant, condescending and overprotective Evan — has also been the perfect hero. They were school sweethearts…until Evan’s father stole her powers from her and gave them to Evan, thus starting a conflict between them that brought them to the depths of despair, especially for Cassie.
There are many subplots in this book, but the main problem happens when Cassie’s father is killed and she and her family think that Evan’s dad is the one responsible. The primary storyline has to do with finding out if this is true or not and, if not, then who, in fact, is responsible.
There are many surprises in Stolen Dreams, and I enjoyed all of them. Fans of romance will especially enjoy the focus on Cassie and Evan’s relationship. I loved the ending. In sum, this was a wonderful series, and the author delivered a satisfying closure. I wonder what she will come up next? I’m certainly going to be on the lookout for her future books.
My review was previously published in Blogcritics Magazine. 
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