Freya, Fynn, and the Fantastic Flute tells a creative story that gets kids dancing and exercising. How did the idea for this book come about?
As a dance teacher, I know the value of movement and expression. My daughter and I teamed up to try to keep cooped-up kids moving and active at home. The Dance-It-Out! collection—Freya, Fynn, and the Fantastic Flute is one of 10 books—are mostly expanded versions of stories I told in my dance classes. These were always the kids’ favorite part of the class, and I wanted to share the experience with a broader audience. This story is a collaboration with one of the instructors at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Marjorie Thompson, who was separately creating a story ballet, and we thought we’d team up.
What were some driving ideals behind the books development?
The story was created to be danced on stage, so it was an easy transition to create a children’s book with movement from the ideas. We infused even more movement into the Dance-It-Out version by adding the zombie ballet class and having the cats in dance-like poses. It’s full of movement themes and offers many opportunities for creating steps and shapes.
What is the collaboration process like between the authors to bring this book to live?
Marjorie, the original author, had a story draft. We whittled and edited that version together to create a book for her slightly older audience, then I infused that story with simpler movements and actions to make it accessible for younger kids.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
We hope to have 2 more Dance-It-Outs out this year including one about a spirited squirrel superhero. Some of the previous series favorites include Joey Finds His Jump! and Princess Naomi Helps a Unicorn. We’re also working on audio books for the series and have 3 up on Amazon.
The Freya/Fynn sequel is in motion, and we have the same illustrator booked to start working on it in the new year.
Posted in Interviews
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My Aunt The Vampire, by Paul Bird, is the sequel to One Mad Rooster and is a lively collection of short stories that follow the hilarious and heartwarming events of one boy’s life. Within this humors collection for young teens, you’ll find him convinced his aunt is a vampire, battling haunted fireworks, and trying to outwit his English teacher.
Paul Bird does a great job of getting inside a teenager’s mind. It allowed me to connect with the protagonist because he felt authentic. It is that awkward age between childhood and adulthood where you can believe one thing, even when logic is rearing its head and telling you that your belief is wrong.
At the beginning of each chapter there is a picture that is associated with tit. They are cute pictures without being too childish and really brings life to these stories. Author Paul Bird also starts each chapter with a paragraph or two in the middle of the action and then goes back in time a little to help explain what’s going on. This can be a little disorientating at first but he does handle it well and everything within the story connects with that particular story.
While this is a collection of stories, all of the stories do have the unifying thread of having the same protagonist. It is a little difficult to keep track of when the events happen in the protagonist’s life, as I was not sure when these things were happening. But otherwise these were entertaining stories that felt grounded but still imaginative.
My Aunt The Vampire by Paul Bird is a well written collection of fun stories that will appeal to anyone looking for a lighthearted read with organically humorous situations.
Pages: 155 | ASIN: B07MY2B8PX
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Itchy Witchy Magic takes young readers on a Halloween themed rhyming adventure filled with beautifully illustrated pages, a cute little witch, and fun rhymes on every other page. Readers go on a bewitching adventure where we join a friendly witch to brew a potion, make some bat-spit soup and take off on a flying broom to play a trick on an owl that ends in disaster.
What I loved most about this charming children’s story is the pages that are filled with items of all sorts. Children will love looking through each page trying to find different things. It’s sort of a mini reward for every rhyming page that is read, a colorful page filled with interesting things comes next. The story is simple and cute. The rhyming words help new readers develop reading comprehension skills as words are repeated and small words are used throughout the story.
This is an enchanting picture book as well as an enjoyable activity book. Several pages of activities come at the end of the book with puzzles, coloring pages, and seek-and-find activities that are sure to keep kids busy well after the story is over, and keep kids coming back to find items they may have missed. All the items filling the pages also makes this book suitable for toddlers. As parents read the story, they can ask their child to find different items on the page, helping with item identification and name recognition.
Itchy Witchy Magic is a fun and colorful children’s picture book that is sure to delight young readers and is a fantastic addition to any parent or teachers reading list.
Pages: 43 | ASIN: B093PMPDGM
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Harlot is mostly driven by curiosity and a desire to find interesting things. Like those blue flowers she loves so much. Harlot’s Encounters in the Land of Ick and Eck is a dark children’s story. Harlot walks through this mythical world and often finds ‘friends’ to walk the distance with her. Typical of all children, she makes friends quickly. Often voices her thoughts. She does not seem to understand the concept of fear even when she is encased in a dome with rising temperatures. It is interesting to look at life from such a perspective.
This is definitely a dark fantasy children’s story, but not too dark though. It would make for an interesting and wonderful Halloween pick. Micah Genest does a great job of painting vivid pictures. Even with actual painted pictures within the book. The book provides more than enough material for the reader with an active imagination to set the mental scenes. Very colorful and delightfully sinewy characters. Each with a quirk of their own. Perhaps the biggest take for an adult in all this is the way all the characters just move together despite being vastly different.
Harlot is typical of any kid, really. She’s innocent and looks at the world into which she is cast with pure interest and curiosity. Never judging anything and anyone. She is very trusting with almost blind optimism. Most children who read this book will understand her desire to follow voices and strange creatures. This book reads a lot like a dream. With vivid pictures and whimsical occurrences.
Oh my, the songs and chants. Imagine how fun it would be to try this out at a Halloween sleep over. They are so interesting and fun to follow. They almost take the gloom out of this decidedly morbid tale. This could very well be my most liked parts of the book.
For a children’s book, the vocabulary is quite advanced and may prove challenging for children. However, this could be a good thing as it could be an exercise in building vocabulary. It could help develop an interest in learning and seeking out new words. It is doubtful that most children will read into the illustrations by John Bauer. See them as more than just pictures. You never know though, this could be another fun exercise for these malleable young minds.
This book may be aimed at children but adults will enjoy it too. It reads like a children’s book but the plot and writing itself are excellent. This book reminds me of the children’s book, In A Dark, Dark Room: and Other Scary Stories. Fascinating, morbid, curious, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Pages: 208 | ASIN: B07MXPYLJ7
Tags: adventure, alibris, art, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, childrens book, creature, dark fantasy, ebook, fairy tale, fantsy, fiction, goodreads, halloween, Harlot's Encounters, horror, illustration, ilovebooks, indiebooks, john bauer, kindle, kobo, literature, micah genest, myth, mythical, nook, novel, occult, picture book, publishing, read, reader, reading, shelfari, smashwords, story, The Land of Ick and Eck, writer, writer community, writing
The Dead Wake Anthology is a collection of horrifically good stories centered around the idea of zombification. Did you write these stories with the intention of building an anthology or did you write them separately over time?
I wrote with intention of building a short story collection of different ways zombies can cause havoc.
My favorite story from the collection is No More Coochy Coochy Coo! Do you have a favorite story from the collection?
I rather liked Gunslinger and have had a lot of readers wanting it to be made into a novel so I’m doing just 🙂
I really enjoyed the character development in your stories. Each character seemed unique and multilayered. What were some themes you wanted to capture in your characters?
I wanted all of my characters to be as real as someone sitting next to you, so no actual themes as such for them, more along the lines of ‘realism’ given they were short stories, that needed to be focused on a lot more.
Are you currently working on volume 2 or are you working on a different story?
Yes, I’ve written and published a volume 2 and it is up for pre-order, released date ‘Halloween’ this one is without zombies. It is my first short story collection of pure horror without a single zombie. I’m sure you’d love it. The title is Death O Death Horror Collection Vol 2 the one I had you review has had a slight name change, it is now titled: The Dead Wake Horror Collection Vol 1. A link to the second volume: https://amzn.to/2SAI7ra.
The Dead Wake Anthology by Ellie Douglas is a collection of thrilling short stories. The anthology investigates the idea of zombification threw a number of avenues, exploring what the impacts of an outbreak would be in a variety of scenarios. The anthology sits well within the horror and thriller genres and makes for an exciting though horrifying read. Ellie Douglas often investigates how the transition from living to dead, to living-dead would progress in the various instances of infection meaning that each story is unique in the ways in which this topic is explored.
Posted in Interviews
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The Tribulations of August Barton by Jennifer LeBlanc is the story of a young man beginning his first year of college in Fargo, North Dakota. He is not looking forward to it, as he hates new experiences and new people due to his anxiety. With the help of his grandmother, Gertie, he comes out of his shell and learns how to deal with his panic attacks. He meets a girl he feels a real connection with, but several things pull them apart, and he faces the possibility that she might never want to be anything more than his friend. Then, a disastrous encounter at a Halloween party forces a wedge between them that Augie believes can never be overcome. Can Grandma Gertie step in and help him with this situation, too? Or will his college experience turn out every bit as bad as Augie had feared?
I enjoyed the author’s writing style. I loved the first few lines of the book. The story flowed well, and the characters were engaging. I liked the friendship between Augie and his roommate, Issac. I expected there to be friction between the two because of their different personalities. In many young adult stories, it seems that the cool roommate wants nothing to do with the nerdy hero, and I was happy to see the author made Augie and Issac friends instead. It was a welcome change from the norm.
Several of the scenes with Augie’s grandmother, Gertie, are very funny, though she seems to be a bad influence on him at the start. Later on, she helps him deal with and overcome a number of different issues, but her irreverent attitude never changes. She was one of my favorite characters in this story. I love that the picture on the cover of the book is taken straight from a scene in the story, with Augie driving a red toy car up and down the street outside of a funeral home.
I liked the song Augie wrote for his girlfriend, Rose. It was a very sweet scene, though it felt like the pair declared their love very quickly, since they were not together until near the end of the story. The short length of the book may have contributed to the rushed feel of their relationship. They went from exchanging the occasional text to celebrating their one month anniversary in a very short section of the book.
There were no chapters in this book, which was unusual even for a novella. Instead, the author divided the book into sections based on the months in the story’s timeline.
This book has a happy ending, but Augie’s story continues in the next book in the series, The Revelations of August Barton. I’m looking forward to reading Book Two to revisit all the characters from the first book and find out what happens next for Augie, Rose, and Grandma Gertie.
Pages: 176 | ASIN: B01M7TF1N1
Tags: alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, college, coming of age, ebook, fargo, goodreads, halloween, ilovebooks, indiebooks, jennifer leblanc, kindle, kobo, literature, love story, new adult, nook, North Dakota, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, romance, shelfari, smashwords, story, teen fantasy, teen fiction, The Tribulations of August Barton, writer, writer community, writing, YA, young adult
B.C.R. Fegan’s Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 takes young readers on a journey through the magical Hotel of Hoo where Mr. Nicholas Noo gives his first-ever guests constant reminders to avoid, at all costs, door number 32. Behind each door leading up to 32, guests are treated to many surprises, some creepy and some quite humorous. Entertaining rhymes help light the way through the castle-like establishment as both the readers and the guests of the hotel meet and greet a bevy of characters who have taken up residence behind the first 31 doors. What lies behind Door 32? I’ll never tell!
I really love Fegan’s books for young readers. Lenny Wen, illustrator, creates some of the most vivid and striking images you will find in children’s literature. Wen gives his characters amazingly expressive eyes whether they are screaming in terror at ghosts cooking roasts, doing a double-take at a paintbrush-wielding elf, sneaking peeks at tea-drinking monsters, or (my favorite) marveling at miniature giants.
This particular tale takes on a Halloween feel and serves as a fabulous book to read aloud during October or as part of a monster-themed unit for elementary grades. As a third grade teacher, I can see using this book with my students to study rhyme, compare and contrast the findings behind each door, or as an inspiring writing prompt. The possibilities are as endless as the number of creatures housed behind each of the doors in the Hotel of Hoo.
Fegan does an excellent job of periodically reminding the reader that Door 32 is somewhat of an enigma and, possibly, the most feared of all doors in the Hotel of Hoo. Suspense builds throughout the book as the second-person narrative draws young readers into the different rooms, page by page, and treats them to a fantastic assortment of zombies, ghosts, wizards, and many more creatures of lore.
Fegan and Wen are, book by book, mastering the kiddie lit genre. With each successive book, their plots and accompanying illustrations take on more depth and even more vibrant characters. From the very first pages, this one has the feel of a classic in-the-making.
Pages: 36 | ASIN: B078VSML8V
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The grisly murder of a diplomat’s son in Central Park draw NYPD Detective Gerald Meeker and FBI Special Agent Andee Trakes into a twisted and confusing investigation. Within hours, the evidence indicates the man was executed in the manner saved for werewolves. Andee Trakes is assigned to liaison with a history professor, who is an expert on folklore and legends.
Professor Alwyn Lloyd, handsome, articulate and successful, not only agrees the method of death was indeed an execution, he claims to be a werewolf. Andee is torn between the desire to date the man and the suspicion to arrest him.
From the initial killing in the park, a bloody spree is ignited that soon has Andee and Lloyd forced to work together to protect themselves and family members.
Shadow of the Moon explores the world of werewolves and paints a picture of what is good about them, as well as bad. The story explains what is beautiful as well as ugly about the wolf.
The story is fast paced and full of interesting characters and several twists and turns to keep both the fantasy as well as the suspense and romance enthusiasts entertained.
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