Monthly Archives: February 2014

A Sprite Update

Since I shared A-Read’s current reading list a few weeks ago, today I’ll update you on my 7-year-old, Sprite.

This has really been his year of reading. He finally got to try some of the books he saw his big brother reading and that he’d been coveting for years.

In the past few months he has read the first 4 (of 5) of the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan, and 3 of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney. He currently can’t quite get his nose out of the 2nd Harry Potter book. He’s especially in a rush to finish it since he learned I won’t allow him to watch the movie until he finishes.

Capture-the-Flag cvr

Author Kate Messner visited his school recently and he got an autographed copy of Capture the Flag. He’s very excited to start reading it.

He’s in a wonderful stage of discovery. His reading habits aren’t as set as his brother’s, but he’s actually pickier. If he loves a book, he’ll read it constantly, but if he isn’t very interested, he won’t touch it.

What are some of your favorite books for an ambitious early middle grade reader?



Filed under Reading, The rest of my life

THE SHADOW PRINCE cover reveal

Today, I’m pleased to bring you the cover reveal for a new prequel novella by the fun-loving Stacey O’Neale.

Novella Blurb:

This prequel novella will be FREE and available on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble on March 25, 2014!

Every sacrifice has consequences. The Shadow Prince

Sixteen-year-old Rowan has spent most of his life living among the mortals—learning to control the element of fire, impatiently awaiting the day his vengeful mother, Queen Prisma, will abdicate her throne. When he finally returns to Avalon for his coronation, his mother insists he must first prove his loyalty to the court by completing a secret mission:

Kill Kalin, the half-human, half-elemental daughter of the air court king.

Willing to do anything to remove his mother from power, he agrees to sacrifice the halfling. He returns to the mortal world with his best friend, Marcus, determined to kill the princess. But as he devises a plan, he starts to question whether or not he’s capable of completing such a heinous task. And what price he will pay if he refuses?

Add to Goodreads

Author Blurb:
Stacey ONeale

Stacey O’Neale started her career in publishing as a blogger turned publicist for two successful small publishers. She loves to write stories with swoony paranormal heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing.

When she’s not writing, she loves blogging and fangirling about books on twitter. Occasionally, she leaves her computer to go outside.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest


Filed under writing

Gold Fever by Suzanne Lilly

Today I’m happy to host my friend and critique partner, author Suzanne Lilly. Her book, Gold Rush Girl, just released last week. Below is her story of how Gold Rush Girl came to be, and below that will be links to buy her book and find out more information. Gold Rush Girl by Suzanne Lilly

Gold Fever through the Generations

My great-grandfather didn’t come to California during the 1849 gold rush. He arrived about thirty years after the boom of the rush had passed. However, some gold could still be found in California, and the Klondike gold rush hadn’t yet begun.

His wife, my great-grandmother had died, leaving him with an infant he didn’t feel equipped to raise. He left his infant son with his mother, my great-great-grandmother Chloe. Then, when my grandfather John was just fifteen years old, he headed out west to find his father.

Find him he did. John traveled west by foot and by wagon. When he located his father in a mining camp, the first thing they did, so the story goes, is buy John some new boots, as his were completely worn out from the journey.

The legacy and lure of gold continued to flow in the veins of the men in my family. My father used to take me out to the Arizona desert in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains, where it was rumored a multi-million dollar cache of gold was hidden. Using a divining rod and a pickaxe, we would follow the arroyos and dry creek beds searching for color. A few times, we happened upon some tiny nuggets and gold dust.

Everywhere we went my father carried his gold pan, pickaxe, and divining rod in the trunk of the car. It was an enjoyable hobby for him, and a way for me to spend time with my father.

Once I had children of my own, the gold panning fell by the wayside. I never thought much about gold for many years. Then we moved to California and I began teaching fourth graders about the state history, and the dramatic changes that occurred after the discovery of gold in 1848. I took my class on a field trip to Coloma, the site of the Sutter Sawmill, where James Marshall discovered a gold nugget in the mill’s tailrace one icy January morning.

There isn’t much left of the tailrace, and only a few of the original buildings are still standing. Nevertheless, the atmosphere of the area and the depth of the history took over my heart. I fell in love with Coloma and the gold rush.

I remember standing at the gold panning station with about twenty children, a grizzly bearded docent decked out in a top hat with a feather, and thinking, “I have to write a novel about this place.”

That’s how my story of Lucinda Martin York, the Gold Rush Girl, began. That very day, watching the children exclaiming over the garnets and sparkles of gold dust they found, I knew her story had to be told.

I don’t know if gold fever is genetic or not, but it seems to run in my family. However, instead of hiking the hills and gold panning, I now write about the stories I imagine grew out of that gold. I hope you enjoy reading Gold Rush Girl as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Vicki was an inspiration during the process. We exchanged chapters on a regular basis, and her critiquing advice was invaluable. Thanks, Vicki!

Gold Rush Girl, Book One of the California Argonauts is available in print or digital format through Amazon and Smashwords. You may also buy it at Barnes and Noble,  and soon through iTunes, Diesel, and Baker and Taylor. Use coupon code HB49A to get a 50% discount at Smashwords, good until February 14, 2014.

Learn more about Suzanne Lilly at these sites:

Suzanne Lilly’s author website
Suzanne Lilly on Facebook
Amazon Author Page
Follow @SuzanneLilly on Twitter

Sign up for her newsletter to learn about new releases, bonus material, and special offers. One subscriber is chosen to win a $25 gift card with each newsletter.


Filed under writing

An A-Read Update

It has been quite a long while since I updated you on my kids’ reading habits. The beginning of a new year seems like the appropriate time. So, today we’ll start with A-Read.

In school, his 5th grade class just finished Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan. His teacher loaned me the book so I could read it, too. A-Read did an excellent job on his final report, I’m told. He enjoyed it, and I was happy for him to have a bit of a break from his usual fantasy books.

Actually, this has been a year of variety for him. In addition to the historical Esperanza, he has been reading plenty of Rick Riordan (of course): he’s up to date on the Heroes of Olympus series and read the first 2 Kane Chronicles. But also some non-fiction by Steve Sheinkin: Bomb and Lincoln’s Grave Robbers so far, but we just bought his most recent, The Port Chicago 50, and he has been planning to read The Notorious Benedict Arnold).

His school planned book-reading events in January, including a parent-child discussion of Wonder by wonder cvrRJ Palacio. When I brought the book home, A-Read was really excited. His class had started reading it in 4th grade, but didn’t finish, and he’d enjoyed it. We both read it a couple of weeks ago, and both got a lot out of it. (He’s disappointed that our dog won’t sleep in his bed, like Auggie’s dog, Daisy.) And A-Read did a great job in the discussion. He made some good points and made me a very proud mama.

Now he’s back to the LOTR trilogy, reading the 2nd one, The Two Towers.

He has already exceeded the reading requirement for his grade level at school.

Have you stepped out of your reading comfort zone in the past few months?



Filed under Reading, The rest of my life