Monday, September 26, 2016

Last Call for Free Signed Hardcopy of The Namesake & Motley Education Cover Reveal

I need a BIG favor. If you haven't already added Double Negative on your TBR Goodreads list, I'd really appreciate it if you would now. I'm #47 on the LISTOPIA. THANK YOU 3X!

This is the last week to opt in for a chance to win a signed hardcopy of The Namesake by my September Featured Follower, Steve Parlato. If you like good writing, interesting characters and a story that probes the human heart, you'll love owning this book. Sign up on my Email Connect and ask for your copy. Once the winner is pulled out of that lovely hat, Steve will see that your signed copy is on the way. Good luck.
The next Email Connect will come out at the end of this month (fingers crossed), announcing my October Featured Follower, How I Mine Goodreads for Reviews, and some interesting links I've discovered this past month. 

And now here's a new book by my friend, S.A. Larsen. This is your chance to congratulate her on her new book! And enter her giveaway.

Title: Motley Education (Book One: The URD Saga)
Author: S.A. Larsen
Release Date: October 10, 2016

Forget having a lively after school social life, Ebony Charmed is fighting to keep the entire Afterlife alive.

Ebony’s less-than-average spirit tracking abilities are ruining more than sixth grade at Motley Junior High: School for the Psychically & Celestially gifted. Her parents argue so much her dad moved out. And, even though he’s scared of his own shadow and insists on bringing his slimy, legless lizard everywhere they go, Ebony wouldn’t survive without her best friend, Fleishman.

When Ebony’s Deadly Creatures & Relics’ project goes missing, she learns her missing project is one of the keys to saving the spirit world. Now Ebony and Fleishman must battle beasts from Norse Mythology to retrieve her project before spirits are lost, the Well of Urd dries up, and Ebony loses all hope of reuniting her family. But someone lies in wait, and he has other plans...including creating a new world of spirits without them in it.

Motley Education has been aligned with Core Standards for grades 4-7. A guide will be available on the author’s website to download for FREE after the book’s release date.

About S.A. Larsen

S.A. LARSEN is the author of Motley Education, the first book in a middle grade fantasy-adventure series. Her work has appeared in numerous local publications and young adult anthologies Gears of Brass and Under A Brass Moon by Curiosity Quills Press. Look for her debut young adult novel, Marked Beauty, set for release in 2017. Find her in the land of lobsters, snowy winters, and the occasional Eh’ya with her husband of over twenty years, four children, a playful pooch, and two kittens.

You can visit her online at

Follow her on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram and connect with her on her Website & Blog.

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Five lucky winners will each receive a signed bookmark and assorted swag! Contest runs from 09/15/16 to 09/23/16. Winners will be chosen my

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct link to giveaway

Quote of the Week: "Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you're willing to practice, you can do." Bob Ross, Painter and TV Host

Monday, September 19, 2016

What Happens When Characters From Two Different Books Meet?

Have you ever wondered what would happen if a character from one book met a character from another? Well, wonder no more because today you're going find out. My Sam from Sign of the Green Dragon is asking Joshua from Joshua and the Arrow Realm some questions. The Character Book Club was a brilliant idea from two top middle grade storytellers Jess and Stephanie. 

So take it away Sam and Joshua!

Sam:  Hey, Joshua, I just finished reading your last adventure, and wow! You had some rough times. What was the scariest part for you this time?

Joshua:  Definitely when I was all alone and thought my friends had abandoned me. It’s scary enough in the Arrow Realm with all kinds of freaky beasts ready to jump you, but at least with a friend you can fight them off together! 

Sam:  I’ve been wondering about the Lightning Road. That’s pretty scary by itself. What happens to a kid if he falls off that thing?

Joshua:  I am pretty sure they float in the Great Beyond forever! I almost fell off the edge of Nostos once into the Great Beyond and saw bones floating by. Yikes, I didn’t want that to be me – or my good friend, Charlie! He took a big chance by jumping on the Lightning Road with me when that girl, Ash, grabbed me back to Nostos and the Arrow Realm. The road is narrow and only a few people can fit on it at once. Charlie totally risked his life to go with me. Like I said, he’s a good friend.

Sam:  I was trying to tell Joey and Roger about the Wilds, but they didn’t believe me. Maybe if you told them what it’s like and who lives there, they’ll listen. 

Joshua:  The Wild Lands are scary and cool all at once. Scary, because Queen Artemis starves the animals there to hunt us kids! Charlie and I almost got munched on by cretan and agrius beasts and we were sooo lucky to meet up with Ash, who saved us! She’s the leader of the Wild Childs who live there in treehouses way up in the tree tops to stay safe. The houses all connect with bridges right under the stars. I mean, who doesn’t want to live in a treehouse, right? The Wild Childs hunt, haul water up, and even have a veggie garden up there (I know, vegetables, right? But when you live without grownups around you kinda have to be one yourself). 

Sam:  Oh, and tell them about “scram and cram.” What’s that mean? Joey’s real interested in how to use that when he gets back to school.

Joshua:  Hey, that’s a good idea, Joey! I learned from the Wild Childs that “scram and cram” is one of their rules that means run and be quiet. I bet you can totally use this in school. LOL! The Wild Childs have a rule sign when you enter their main tree house with this rule on it and other rules like “Keep on the Runabout” and “One for the Many”. They all watch out for each other which is pretty cool. They are like a family, because they left all of their own families behind when they were stolen from Earth. 

Sam:  I liked Ash. I thought she was really cool living in the Wilds and on her own. Do you think you’ll get to hang out with her again?

Joshua:  Yeah, at first, I thought Ash was kinda weird because she dresses in animal skins but she turned out to be a pretty good friend who hid me away when I had nowhere else to go. I really hope we can hang out again – just not while we’re on the run for our lives! I sort of miss living in the treehouses with lots of kids around.

Sam:  In your first adventure, Leandro was kind of like a dad to you (have to say that kind of made jealous), but he sure wasn’t this time. How did that make you feel? 

Joshua:  Well, you’re really lucky to have an uncle who cares about you. I only have my grandfather, Bo Chez, who isn’t around much right now. I wished for a while Leandro was my dad, but not on this adventure! At first I was mad that he wasn’t there for me, but then just sad about it. I kept wishing he would be the guy I used to know.

Sam:  The best thing was when you turned yourself into a cadmean beast. Tell us what that was like. I got kind of itchy reading that part, but I’d give it a try. Do you think I could do something like that?

Joshua:  Turning into the cadmean beast with flame-throwing breath was pretty scary! When I saw myself in the mirror I freaked out. It does take a special technique to do it, as I learned, and you can only do it on the world of Nostos so not sure you could do it Sam. BUT I could try and teach you! Although turning yourself into a bird might be way better. We could fly all over and check things out from above. Next time I go to Nostos you could come along, but I’m warning you – things get crazy there and you never know who, or what, will be after you!

Sam:  I had to look up Oracle. It’s a pretty powerful thing. Do you think the Oracle can give back the powers to the gods and stop Zeus from plundering Earth?

Joshua:  Honestly, I don’t know. The Oracle was always a myth and now that I know it’s true, I’m not sure what all its powers include … and I’m afraid to find out, even if it means making Earth a better place.

Sam:  Hekate came back to life once. Man, is she wicked. Do you think that will happen again? And if it does, what then?

Joshua:  If she does, I am ready to toast her all over again – for good! I’ll get Zeus’s lightning bolt and blast her into the Great Beyond. Nothing in this world of Nostos surprises me, so maybe she could come back to life but let’s hope not. She was so mean to me and all of my friends and family!

Sam:  I asked about this Zeus guy, and Uncle Jasper told me he’s the most powerful god of all. Do you have a plan for keeping out of his way, or are you going to go straight at him?

Joshua:  Phew, keeping out of his way in this adventure was a good thing! I need to talk to my friends on Nostos first to see how to deal with him. Everyone is pretty scared of Zeus but there has to be a way to take him down if we work together – or change his mind about plundering Earth. If he could find other resources for Nostos and stop stealing us kids, that would be a great ending!

Hey! This was fun. We need to get together again. Be sure to let me know if you’re heading back to Nostos. 

Thanks for hanging out, Sam. This was super fun! I bet we’d have a most amazing time together on an adventure but let’s stick to our own world for now.  

Donna Galanti is the author of paranormal suspense Element Trilogy (Imajin Books) and the fantasy adventure Joshua and The Lightning Road series (Month9Books). Donna is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs with other middle grade authors at Project Middle Grade Mayhem. She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives in Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse that has lots of nooks and crannies, but sadly no ghosts. Visit her at and

Connect with Donna:

Baby Moo has a dream. He wants to travel the world and sing on the stage of the Sydney Opera House! While he loves his home at Sunrise Sanctuary, it hasn’t been the same since a piglet named Nathan showed up and stole all the attention away from Moo. Jealous of the new baby, Moo decides now is the time to make his escape and pursue his dream.
But the world outside the sanctuary gates is not quite the fun and exciting place Moo imagined, and he quickly finds himself in big trouble. Moo's friends Missy the dog and Ruthie the cat rush to help him, and land in some trouble of their own.
Lost and frightened, Moo and his friends must rely on each other to find their way back home. Will they ever see Sunrise again? 

Release date: September 8, 2016 from Native Ink Press

Julie Flanders will donate $1 to Sunrise Sanctuary, home to Baby Moo and numerous other rescued animals, for each copy sold in September. 

Baby Moo's Great Escape by @JulesFlanders is here! $1 will be donated to @sunrise_ohio for each copy sold in Sept. 

Julie Flanders, Writer

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Writer's Ups and Downs and Inspiration

 Signed Copy of The Namesake for the first U. S. 
Email Connect Follower who raises a hand!

Steve Parlato is my Featured Follower for September and he has a new book on the brink of publication. Here he talks about it and about some of his experiences as a writer. 

Take it away, Steve!

I’ve finished my second book. While this hardly makes me Patterson prolific, I’m sort of impressed. I mean, it took ELEVEN YEARS for my debut, The Namesake, to go from initial scribblings in a college notebook to finished hardcover. By comparison, Book Two, The Precious Dreadful, was crafted with lightning speed: roughly two years start to finish—Start being a literal whisper in my head, sharing details of story at 5:00 AM on July 8, 2013. Finish = a solid revision submitted to my agent at last August’s end.

My newfound speed mostly results from expectations. I labored over my debut in blissful anonymity. No one outside family and friends was eager for me to complete a book. Sure, they cheered me on, but there was no reading public to consider. At least, no reading public keen on a follow-up from Publishers Weekly’s “name to watch.”

Steve and other authors. 
Networking, appearing, signing books. All part of the author's life.

C. Lee Review 

I won’t pretend obscurity was idyllic. There were major disappointments en route to The Namesake’s release: false starts, agent misfires, rejections. And The Precious Dreadful has yet to hit bookshelves—plus I’m suddenly agentless—but with this novel, I’m a known quantity. While that caused sophomore trepidation, it also inspires me. 

If The Namesake was a thrilling leap into the unknown, with The Precious Dreadful, I have a better sense of where I’ll land. Writing TPD has been more purposeful, and I feel uncharacteristically confident. But I promise you, no less thrilled.

Getting to know my new protagonist, a young woman named Teddi Alder, has been a joy. The teen daughter of a trainwreck single mom, Teddi struggles to define herself one hot summer. Her decision to join SUMMERTEENS, a library writing group, leads to unexpected consequences— romantic and dramatic—as she works to solve two mysteries: the whereabouts of a long-lost childhood friend, and the appearance of a ghost-girl who emerges from the park pool late one night. As Teddi juggles mysterious events, and two guys with potential, The Precious Dreadful balances romance and humor with elements of horror and deeply felt emotion. 

Though the book isn’t technically a follow-up to The Namesake, Teddi’s story takes place in the same town as Evan’s, and there are sly references fans of my first novel will recognize. I’m excited to get The Precious Dreadful out there; thanks for the chance to share my news!

Be among the first to read an excerpt from Steve's new book. Click HERE!

Quote of the Week: "Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it." Muhammad Ali

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

What's IWSG Anyway? And Egg Salad Moments

The awesome co-hosts for the September 7 posting of the IWSG will be C. Lee McKenzie,(Wow! This is me! Jumping up and down at my computer.) Rachel Pattison, Elizabeth Seckman, Stephanie Faris, Lori L MacLaughlin, and Elsie Amata!

Check out the details of the annual IWSG Anthology Contest Today! 

For me IWSG is a place to hold hands with other authors who are waiting to hear some news about their books: 

  • Will the agent of my dreams like what I've sent?
  • Is the publisher going to send a contract sometime this century?
  • Is my Indie book edited and formatted properly or did I screw up again?
  • Will anyone buy my book while I'm still alive?
  • Will anyone read my book?
  • Where are those reviews?

If any of these questions have every bugged you as a writer, SIGN UP HERE and let's hold hands. Excuse the bones. I've lost a bit of weight during my book launch this summer.

September 7 Question: How do you find the time to write in your busy day? 

When I think of something--no matter where I am--I write it down, and when I can get to my computer, I put those ideas into whatever I'm working on. That's why my manuscripts scare me senseless. There are random notes between scenes. There are images I think I can use to help me describe something or capture the mood of a place or the look of a person. There's egg salad splats because I ate lunch during an epiphany. 

Yesterday during yoga, I had this brilliant thought while I was standing on my hands. Attribute it on blood flow to the brain. So as soon as my hands were free, I wrote that thought down. Last night it became a scene that will go someplace in my book. I'm counting on another handstand to tell me where. 

What's your answer to the September 7th question? I'll be coming around to read what you have to say. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

My September Featured Follower is... And Don't Miss #InkRipples

. . . Steve Parlato, author of The Namesake. I first met Steve in the UncommonYa group and came to appreciate his hard work and generous nature. He always chimed in during discussions, tweeted and re-tweeted author news, and posted regularly on the blog. Then I read his book and was drawn into his story by some seriously good writing and a story that touched my heart. I reviewed it just recently. This an example of a young adult story that can be devoured by a more mature reader and truly appreciated by them. My Review.

BLURB: The Namesake ~ (Adapted from Merit’s dustjacket copy)
For his teenage son, Evan Sr.’s decision to end his life is a deep betrayal. Evan was named for his father, and looks eerily like him, but the suicide proves the father he thought he knew was just a myth. A locked trunk may hold answers, and, thanks to his grandmother, the key is literally in Evan’s hand. Will his quest for answers help Evan find peace, or will he merely follow his father’s path to despair?  
In a voice that resonates with the authenticity of grief, Steven Parlato tells a different coming-of-age story, about a boy thrust into adulthood too soon, through the corridor of shame, disbelief, and finally…compassion. 

Evan Galloway, in his third year at Saint Sebastian’s Catholic High School, is told to “write what you know” for his college-application essays. But it’s what he doesn’t know that is haunting him.
“It’s funny how perfectly life splits into before and after,” Evan says. Before his father killed himself, home life was pretty normal—Now there’s a hole in that life that can’t be filled or explained. Evan takes on a quest…and the story becomes compelling, as answers to questions slowly surface…His digging… “let[s] the dragon out of the cave,” though, as troubling information unfolds about his father... Parlato’s debut novel, many years in the making, is a painstaking dissection of a father’s past and its reverberations in his son’s life.

A memorable, disturbing story, carefully wrought. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Steven Parlato, novelist, poet, and illustrator, is Associate Professor of English at Naugatuck Valley Community College, where he serves as advisor to the student newspaper, The Tamarack. Parlato’s played roles ranging from the Scarecrow to Macbeth; his poetry appears in Freshwater, MARGIE, Borderlands, Pirene’s Fountain, and Peregrine. Steven’s YA manuscript won a 2011 CT Shoreline Arts Alliance Tassy Walden Award. Upon The Namesake’s 2013 release, Kirkus called Parlato’s novel “a memorable, disturbing story, carefully wrought.”  

Lee, I’m so honored to be September’s Featured Follower. It’s been a summer of deep personal loss—my dad passed in July after a long cancer battle—and I’ve been in a bit of a creative slump. But the chance to share with your readers is inspiring. And it couldn’t come at a better time: I’m excited to share the news that Brilliance Audio’s new CD version of The Namesake audiobook releases September 6. It’s available for pre-order now on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

And stay tuned because Steve has more news about his next book. I'll be posting all about it next week! The Precious Dreadful! is the title. Can't wait to find out more.

#InkRipples is a monthly meme created by Kai Strand, Mary Waibel, and Katie L. Carroll. They post on the first Monday of every month with a new topic. They're all authors, but you don’t have to be to participate.

The idea of #InkRipples is to toss a word, idea, image, whatever into the inkwell and see what kind of ripples it makes. They provide the topics and will be blogging about them on the first Monday of the month. You can spread your own ripples by blogging about the topic any day of the month that fits your schedule, just be sure to include links back to Katie, Kai, and Mary.

My favorite banned book is Catch 22. I still have a torn and marked up paperback of my first copy, and I wouldn't part with it. Every time I run into situations that seem to have no solutions or are totally insane, I hear Heller's words in my head. 

So here are 3 Quotes for the Week from Joseph Heller's Catch-22:

“Insanity is contagious.”

"[They] agreed that it was neither possible nor necessary to educate people who never questioned anything.”

“Why are they going to 'disappear him?'"
"I don't know."
"It doesn't make sense. It isn't even good grammar.”