Litpick, a site for student book reviews, recently reviewed Freedom for Me by Stacie Haas! A portion of the five-star review is below.
The characters were wonderfully developed, and the story itself is written with exceptional realism, making it seem as if the tale could be happening right alongside you as you read. Thomas, who is the main character, is Chinese. At first, I was confused on how he ended up in America with his new family, but the author explained it eventually as it being something of the likeness of an unofficial adoption.
This story is based on one of the very few Chinese Yankees who served during the Civil War. There is obvious racism throughout the story, but none of it is overly harsh, and most of it is thoroughly explained and makes sense with the story.
This book took a well-known historical event and spun it into an epic tale told from the perspective of a Chinese boy. The author did a wonderful job enlightening me as well as teaching me more about the types of people who fought in the Civil War.
For the full review, click HERE
Or visit litpick.com/review/freedom-me-chinese-yankee-review-moseso
Recently, Joanna Volavka, author of Threadwalkers, was interviewed by Joel Van Valin for Time Travel Nexus.
Miranda, the heroine of Threadwalkers, likes books, cats, and Amelia Earhart. How similar is she to the sixteen-year-old Joanna Volavka
Joanna VolavkaMiranda and teenage me share a few things, particularly the love of books and cats, but we are also quite different. I was a total band geek in high school and also in a bunch of clubs and, while not a “popular” kid, was very outgoing, whereas Miranda pretty much just hangs with her closest friends and is a little more on the introverted side. Of course there will always be a little of me in each of my characters, though! Adult Joanna, for instance, is fascinated by Amelia Earhart and various other unexplained bits of history.
What made you want to write a time travel novel?
This story didn’t begin its life as a time travel tale—it actually began as a ghost story and grew into time travel as I asked myself what kind of scientific explanation could be given to ghost sightings. Seeing different points in time clicked for me, so naturally the next question was if you can see another point in time, is it possible to visit that other point? Hello, time travel!
You currently live in Chicago, but most of Threadwalkers takes place in North Carolina. Is there any particular reason you set the novel in the southeast?
Looks like I need to update my bio in a few places—I relocated to southern California in December, and am basking in the mild winter weather! But I set the story in North Carolina because that is where I went to high school and it’s still home in a way. I wanted to delve into a setting I knew, and while the town of Henley is thoroughly fictional, it has elements from many places I’ve lived or visited, including in North Carolina, Illinois, and Michigan.
For the complete interview, click HERE or visit
Stacie Haas, author of Freedom for Me: A Chinese Yankee, has earned rave reviews from Reader's Favorite Reviews!
Reviewer Jack Magnus writes:
Freedom for Me: A Chinese Yankee is a meticulously researched and beautifully presented military fiction novel which recreates the life and experiences of a Chinese Yankee volunteer during the Civil War. Her battle scenes are stark and moving, and the prejudicial attitudes Beck is subjected to ring true, sadly enough, even in today’s world.
Reading Freedom for Me was a fascinating and illuminating experience for me as each skirmish became real and the bravery of those who endured is revealed. I was especially interested in seeing how Thomas interacted with the soldiers he was attached to, particularly Henry, whose initial viciousness and physical attacks were alarming. The young men, all from very different walks of life, formed a team that was memorable. What was perhaps most moving of all was Beck’s conviction that freeing the slaves was worth sacrificing his own life for; that his own freedom was intricately tied up in the civil rights of others.
To read all three reviews, click HERE
Or visit: readersfavorite.com/book-review/freedom-for-me
Librarian Brian McCann, author of the forthcoming Music Theory is set to speak tomorrow at the 2018 Lib Tech Conference in St. Paul Minnesota.
According to the LibTech website, "the conference provides an opportunity for library professionals to come together to discuss the changing technologies that are affecting how users interact with libraries and to see how libraries are using technology to create new and better ways to manage their resources."
They further explain, "It provides a venue where participants can learn skills or knowledge that they can take back and adapt for use within their own library through a mix of sessions including keynote presentations, traditional lecture-style concurrent sessions, panel discussions, and hands-on workshops. Sessions are offered on a wide range of topics and at varying skill levels. Anyone interested in the changing technologies that are affecting libraries should plan to attend."
Library staff and technologists from as many as 150 institutions are expected this year’s conference. Brian's session is entitled "Polish Your Web Portal."
Brian writes, "Is your web presence… meh? Created more than 5 years ago? Can’t afford a designer? Time to do it yourself! Come learn the basics of user experience design to streamline your website for a great new look and functionality. See how you can use your new site to drum up more business and promotion for your library."
Brian McCann is a corporate librarian at an engineering firm with more than 10,000 employees around the world and 4 library staff. He more than tripled web traffic with a successful rebuild of his library’s site. He will share his top 20 user experience tips as well as what he learned about promoting the library through this behind-the-scenes informational service.
For information on the LibTech Conference & Brian's presentation, click HERE
In a recent blog entry, Heather Wyatt, author of the upcoming My Life Without Ranch described her publishing process and how a "Revise and Resubmit" email inspired her writing process.
I was in Nashville with Ian as we were wrapping up our holiday visit with his family. We were set to drive to Chattanooga that morning after church. Of course, I woke up early and was going through my morning routine with my phone. I always start by checking my email. When you're a writer, rejection is just part of the gig. I have gotten countless rejections over the years. Over the summer, I submitted a draft of My Life Without Ranch (the book) to 50/50 press. The response I got was so heartfelt, but it was, in fact a rejection. After the rejection, I found myself inspired. I dove in to re-write the manuscript for a third time (at least). Once I finished, I sent it to 50/50 press again. I thought it was a long shot. I knew she appreciated my voice but truth be told, I was worried I would annoy her and I was so used to rejection I honestly didn't put much stock in it. Having said that, I knew this was the best draft I had turned out.
So, back to Christmas Eve. I'm going through my emails, mostly junk, and see her email address pop up. My immediate thought was, "Really?! Who sends a rejection on Christmas Eve?!" I didn't even open it right away. I went through and deleted all the Christmas Eve ad emails and then finally got back to the email from 50/50 press. The first word I read was "Congratulations." I threw the phone down in shock.
To read the entire entry, click HERE
Or visit: http://www.mylifewithoutranch.com/2018/02/when-work-you-put-in-is-realized.html
The Willamette Writers' Group featured a recent presentation by Kim Kasch, author of Irma the Inventor and the Vampire Spiders. An excerpt of their article is below:
February may be the month of love, but it may also be the month to cut ties with your character – permanently. Kim Kasch will join the Young Willamette Writers to discuss the why’s, do’s and don’ts, and how-to’s of bringing about the demise of a character, maybe even one you’ve come to care about.
Kim said this about saying goodbye to those well-loved people you’ve created:
“Goodbye,” is the hardest word in the English language, at least it is when you love someone. We hate losing a family member or friend and—yes—even our favorite characters in our books leave an empty void when they are lost forever.
For avid readers, it can be depressing to reach the end of a story, and it is way worse to actually close the cover and walk away. But, when our leading ladies and good-guy protagonists breathe their last breath, it can truly feel like losing a loved one.
Read the full article HERE
Kim Kasch, author of Irma the Inventor and the Vampire Spiders, The Cats of Cullaby Creek, Demons Ink, and Morgaine LeFay and the Vikings recently held a presentation about killing off characters.
In this blog entry, Kim shares more details and writing tips about when it's right to murder your beloved character.
An excerpt from Kim's blog is below:
There Are Good Reasons to Kill…Off Characters.
1) Remember the Alamo or at least the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. There would have been no story or plot without killing off a lot of wonderful main characters in this trilogy.
2) No Guilt Over the Bad Guy No one cares if we kill off the bad guys but remember good guys die too and for our stories to ring true to our readers we have to have authenticity and sometimes our loved ones have to die.
3) The Disney Delusion. We can’t always have a prince (or princess) ride to the rescue. Not every story has to have a happy ending.
To read all 5 reasons and get a free writing prompt from Kim, click HERE
Matthew Franks, author of the upcoming middle grade novel Orion Medallion, talks to The Quillery about his first book, The Monster Underneath.
TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?
Matthew: I started writing short stories in the third grade. Initially, I wrote to pass the time between lessons, but inevitably it became my passion. In those days, I wrote in three genres - action adventure, horror, and absurd. In the action adventure stories, a superhero went around beating up bad guys.
In the horror stories, a Jason Voorhees type character went around murdering people. As for the absurd stories, well, it may be best to just give an example. In one of them, a kid's ear pops off his head and takes on a life of its own. It cleans itself up, puts on a tux, and gets a job like a person. I still have some of those stories and love looking back at them every now and then.
TQ: Are you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?
Matthew: Definitely a hybrid. It really depends on the story too. For The Monster Underneath, I knew where I was headed, but the subject matter allowed for a more stream-of-consciousness approach. In other works, especially fantasy and science fiction, I find it important to not only plot, but also ensure that the world, or worlds, of the story are well-developed ahead of time. If the setting is complete, I find it much easier to plot and navigate within it.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Matthew: Finding time. I'm sure that's what a lot of writers say, but it's true. There's always a lot going on in the real world and finding that perfect balance isn't easy.
The Monster Underneath was published by Samhain publishing in 2016.
To read the full interview and find out more about Matthew's work, click HERE
Or visit: http://qwillery.blogspot.com/2016/04/interview-with-matthew-franks-author-of.html
What book changed your life?
Jamie Blake, author of The Last Ghost writes:
When I was a teacher, I once taught a lesson on the purpose of writing--we write to inform, to entertain, to persuade, or to explain. However, what was not included in that lesson, was that sometimes we read, it changes our lives more than we could expect.
As Stephen King wrote, "books are a uniquely portable magic."
Here, I'm going to talk about a book that changed my life--in fairly unexpected ways.
First, The View From Saturday by E. L. Konisburg
If I remember correctly, I first read The View from Saturday in the fourth grade. The book tells the story of four students who aren't friends coming together as a team to compete in an Academic bowl competition.
The only female member of the team, Nadia, has curly red hair and saves baby turtles, so I identified with her immediately. My biggest regret was that there was no academic bowl team for me to join at school.
To read the entire post, click HERE
Or visit: jamiecblake.com/blog/bookchangedlife
DeClark said she has always loved mystery novels and the city of Detroit, where she was born and raised.
“I wanted to create a fun, easy-to-read mystery novel set in Detroit,” she said. “My main character is a female homicide detective, and I chose that role because I wanted to do a series, and I wanted her to be in a profession.”
DeClark said she loves to watch crime documentaries like A & E’s “The First 48,” and TLC’s “Forensic Files,” as well as fictional shows, like USA’s “Monk” and CBS’s “CSI,” and she drew her inspiration from the shows.
“Every once in a while they will feature an episode in Detroit, and that really got me excited because they would have actual homicide detectives in Detroit solving a crime,” she said. “So I used what I saw from there, and what I didn’t know I made up.”
DeClark said her overactive imagination also helps.“I just slowly started putting it together,” she said. “It took me a couple years.”
[...] “I think of writing as a craft,” she said. “The more you practice it, the better you get at it. And I just do it a little bit at a time, and slowly piece it all together, and it became a novel.”
Read the full interview HERE
Lynda Dickinson of Books Direct Online reviews
The Christmas Letter by Steven H. Berman.
"Beginning Christmas 1945 and ending Christmas 1981, The Christmas Letter consists of a series of Christmas letters written by Mary to her best friend Midge, who has just moved to Los Angeles with her husband. We visit Mary's family every year and get an update on births, deaths, and marriages. Over the course of the years, her letters describe her family life, as well as the movies, music, events, and politics of the times."
"It was hard to put this book down. I kept telling myself, "Just one more letter ..." When you close the book, you'll feel like you're saying good-bye to old friends. A must-read"
For the full review, click HERE
Authors '18, a group dedicated to Adult and New Adult authors debuting their first novels in 2018, recently interviewed first-time author Melissa Bennett, whose book debuted in January.
What can you tell us about yourself?
I grew up in Waco, Texas, but I now live in the suburbs of Kansas City with my husband of 30 years. We are (finally) empty nesters. Two of our four children are on their own, and two are in college. So my only babies are my two Miniature Schnauzers, Chrissy and Cassie.
How did you get into writing?
I’ve always loved writing. Even when I was young. As an adult, I journaled, mostly prayer typer journals. Like Aibileen in “The Help”, I talk to God by writing things down. I’ve shared a few things with close friends who encouraged me to pursue it. That’s how the book started.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to cook. I’m a cookbook collector, but I rarely follow a recipe. And if I can find anything creative to do, I will.
Read the full interview HERE
OR visit: https://www.authors18.com/author-interview-melissa-bennett/
The Southeast Examiner:
Kasch has written a fresh new S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering or math) novel featuring a young female scientist and says, “I wrote Irma the Inventor because I love science and new technology and wanted to share my enthusiasm with young girls in a fun, entertaining way."
Click HERE for the full article
Clara Reid from LADbible discusses author Jon Negroni's book Pixar Theory and gives her thoughts on what happened to Andy's mom in Toy Story.
"Negroni suggests that Andy's mum is Emily, Jessie's original owner.Boom, there it is. Until now, Andy's mum has come across as a bit vanilla in the films. She's nice, sweet, and a bit placid all round. Considering the narrative of Toy Story 3 ended with Andy buggering off to uni, it's just about perfect timing for his mum's past to be dug up in the story."
Read the full story HERE
A brief article describing MC Hall's book Smothered from the Lockport Journal
Cassidy-Hall’s first adult novel, “Smothered” is the first book in a new trilogy, loosely inspired by the JonBenet Ramsey case. Told in an epistolary format using a variety of documents including internet message boards, police interrogations, court transcripts, and emails, it’s the fictional story of Kitty Holbrooke, a child star who was murdered 15 years earlier, and a current online tabloid’s attempt to resolve the cold case with input from readers.
The book includes a discussion guide for book club.
Click HERE for the full article
A review of Undercover Chefs from Reader's Favorite
"Fry’s three preteens are marvelous characters, and the recipes they seem to concoct out of thin air are prodigious indeed. I also enjoy culinary adventures and plan on trying a few of the recipes for which Fry includes links. Undercover Chefs is a grand, feel-good story, one that would make a profound, fun and inspiring movie."
Read the full review HERE
Daniel Ford discusses Sid Sanford Lives! on the Writers' Bone Podcast.
Or Visit: http://www.writersbone.com/friday-morning-coffee-home/2017/4/13/friday-morning-coffee-the-birth-of-daniel-fords-sid-sanford-lives
Karen's Two Sentence Book Club Reviews Annemarie DeClark's First Case Scenario.
“Move over Stephanie Plum!”
"Impatient for the second book"
Read the full review HERE
From the book blog Books are Love on Tumblr
"This book blew me away. It was written in an unusual way but it totally worked. The book was not written where we have the characters views and you feel an attraction coming from anyone. No here the story was one that was like a untelling and narration of events. A online tabloid got the scoop of the century and slowly revealed case files of a very famous murder that had happened fifteen years prior."
"A fantastic book and mystery with slow reveals, lots of secrets unfolded, twists and turns galore and betrayals that will blow you away."
Read the full review HERE
Or visit: https://hello-booklover.tumblr.com/post/170645358425/my-thoughts-on-smothered-by-mc-hall
From the Blog Birdie's Bibliotheca
"The mishmash of ideas from most time travel movies is well-melded into a fascinating story that had me wishing I was taking notes on when and where the MC was. The mixing caused the story to appear in a whole new way…and the lack of teen angst beyond the freak-out of losing your BFF of 12 years was certainly appreciated."
"I really hope this book becomes a series."
Read the full review HERE or visit
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
All 50/50 Press Aaron Davis Annemarie DeClark Article Baggage Claim Blog Blog Post Book Launch Brian McCann Christmas Letter Coming Soon Conference Cover Reveal Daniel Ford Debut Author Detroit Dreamfield Erin Fry Ethan Bryan First Case Scenario Freedom For Me Heather Wyatt Hidden Thorns Interview Irma The Inventor Jamie Blake Joanna Volavka Kim Kasch Last Ghost Latium Library Matthew Franks MC Hall Melissa Bennett MG Music Theory My Life Without Ranch New Books News Orion Medallion Podcast Presentation Publishing Query Tips Review Samantha Martin Smothered Speech Stacie Haas Steven Berman Sutherland Threadwalkers Undercover Chefs Updates Video Writing Tips YA