Thursday, May 30, 2013


Witch Fall Cover Reveal

I'm so excited to reveal my latest cover to all of you! I really struggled with the scene to use for the cover, and I'm so glad I went with this one-and thanks to all of your input on the many decisions to be made for this book. I adore the turquoise, reds, and golds. Look at the play of light on the surface of the water. The stone dragons are perfect, as is the palace they guard. Laura Save really outdid herself--and she's such a sweet person! I love working with her.

Witch Fall is the last book in the Witch Song series (though there is a short story in the works). Though it is a prequel, I recommend you read it last. It's due out this October. I'm in the midst of a massive rewrite, and I'm working hard to meet that deadline, if only my children would cooperate. *sigh*

Here's the back cover:

All things fall.

Even Witches.

Supreme in their dominion over seasons, storms and sea, the Witches have forgotten the unmatched destructiveness of mankind—and among the weapons men seek are the magical songs of the Witches.

Lilette is one of the few who sees the signs of decadence and decay within the Witches. An outsider amidst her own kind, can she delay her people's annihilation long enough for them to survive the war that is coming?

Here's the links:
Find Amber here:

For the first twelve years of my life, I lived in a two bedroom ranch house at the base of a mountain. Besides my parents, my family consisted of three brothers--the oldest of which enjoyed beating me up. Ironically, the younger two were terrible wimps. I rode horses, moved sprinkler pipe, and mucked out barns (when they could catch me). We didn't have a lot of money, and the part of the ranch we lived on was eventually repossessed by the bank. Subsequently, we had to move to town (I know. I should have written Westerns).
I graduated from Utah State University with a bachelors degree (English and physical education), a husband, and a two-year old. I was a member of the collegiate honor society and graduated cum laude (which basically means I'm an overachiever).
My second son had severe colic, often crying for 16 hours a day. By the time he was four months old, I was in a very dark place. I discovered that I could prop him up between my arms and type for brief periods of time. Creating stories quickly became a cathartic addiction I couldn't function without.
It took seven manuscripts and five very long years before my debut novel, Witch Song, came out.
I currently live in Northern Utah with my husband and three children. 

New Release Winter Queen by AMBER ARGLE

Amber Argyle talks about her new book, Winter Queen

Winter Queen has gone up for sale early!  I appreciate those of you who've left/will leave reviews!

1. Where did you come up with the setting for Winter Queen?

Amber: I wanted something with abrupt mountains and alpine meadows. A rocky, cold environment that made surviving a challenge, but which also provided protection from any marauding forces. Basically, a landscape that made characters as tough as it was.

I also wanted a place where winter was a dark and deadly presence, signaling the end of warmth and light. All this so my character would hate winter and see it as a sort of evil. When she's presented with the opportunity to save her people from a war they cannot win, she must turn to this dark force to save them.

I even searched out old maps and Pinterest for such places and found Triglav National Park in Slovenia (there are lots of hints of this throughout the novel, but they are buried pretty deeply). Check out my Winter Queen Pinterest board to see some of the images that inspired me.

2. Is it true parts of the book were inspired by the movie The Last of the Mohicans?

Amber: Yes. I watched the movie as a young teenager and found myself much more fascinated with Alice's story as opposed to Cora's. Alice was portrayed as the weaker of the two sisters, but in reality, she was simply untried--very young, and very innocent.

The moment when she stood at the edge of the cliff, looking down the long drop below, still haunts me. She had a choice to marry and bear children for her captor, or end her life.

She chose to die, and I wanted to shout at that there was another choice. She could be strong, endure until she had a chance to change her life. To live.

But she didn't. She dropped, silently and suddenly. And I wondered how differently that story would have been if Alice had chosen to live.

That's the story I wanted to explore in Winter Queen. A girl faced with a similar choice: death or marriage to the murderer of those she loves. But . . . . well, I don't want to spoil it for you. But it's pretty intense.

3. You also explore themes of what it means to be a man and a woman in the book. Can you tell us a little about that?

Amber: I'm not sure when I realized that boys would, for the most part, outgrow rules like "stranger danger", "the buddy system", etc. While I never would.

That to be a woman meant I was and always would be vulnerable. How much worse then for a woman raised in a time when all that stood between her and those who meant her harm were her kith and kin.

So what would happen if her kith and kin were presented with a choice to save her--the daughter and girl they loved--or themselves? It's a choice that is replayed over and over again throughout the world's history.

In ancient times, men were fighters and protectors. So what does it do to them when they fail? When they aren't strong enough to defend what's theirs, despite everything they could do. I explore this as well with my hero, Rone.

4. This sounds like a pretty intense book, with some difficult themes. What age to you recommend reads it?

Amber: If you're okay with the violence level in Hunger Games and the steaminess in Twilight, you'll be fine with Winter Queen.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Kathryn the Grape's Piece of Love, Affirmation Series Book #3, written by Kathryn Cloward, illustrated by Christine Winscott

Kathryn the Grape's
Piece of Love

Written by Kathryn Cloward
Illustrated by Christine Winscott
Story created by Kathryn Cloward
ISBN 978-0-9829277-2-4
Kandon Publishing
32 page hardcover picture book
Ages 4-8
Affirmation Series Book #3

Where to purchase:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble

This story empowers children with personal accountability and responsibility.

- Mom's Choice Awards SILVER medal winner for excellence in family-friendly media.

Through Kathryn the Grape's Piece of Love, children learn about:

• Contributing their piece to creating peace.

• How their thoughts, words, and actions have a ripple effect.

• Being loving, kind, and accepting of themselves and others.

• Removing worried thoughts to be in the flow.

Story Description

Did you know you are LOVE? Join Kathryn the Grape and her classmates as they connect their puzzle pieces together. Maggie helps Kathryn the Grape get into the flow of her creativity to share about rippling loving kindness. Everyone has a piece to contribute. What is yours? When children read this peace building story, they will learn that we all have a piece to share to creating peace, and that everyone is love! 

~The characters in this story are based on real people
~$1 from the sale of this book will be donated to Kids for Peace.

Author Kathryn Cloward

Kathryn is purposeful about rippling messages of loving kindness, compassion, and acceptance into the world. Bringing her childhood nicknameKathryn the Grape, to life has been the most fulfilling projects in her life thus far, and is the manifestation of living out her true purpose. An award winning author and songwriter, Kathryn is passionate about creating and writing engaging stories and lyrics with the intention of helping children develop authentic self-love. She is the founder and president of Natural Kidz, Inc. and Kandon Unlimited, Inc., which is home of Kandon Publishing and Kathryn the Grape Company. Kathryn has been recognized for her entrepreneurial endeavors by being honored as one a San Diego Magazine's Woman Who Moves the City (2012), the featured Mompreneur on the cover of San Diego Family Magazine (May 2011), honored as an Inspirational Woman by the Speak for Success Women Changing the World Awards (2010), and was selected as one of San Diego Metropolitan’s top 40 Under 40 (2010). Kathryn lives in her native San Diego with her family where she enjoys going for long walks, kickboxing, and spending time in daily meditation.

Illustrator Christine Winscott 

Christine is the award winning illustrator of the Kathryn the Grape series and is a partner with Kathryn in Kandon Unlimited, Inc. It has been through her creativity and detailed work that she has helped Kathryn the Grape become a loved character with children and parents. Christine is an artist with a diverse background whose enthusiasm for creating has led her to explore various media over the years. From paint to pencil and computer graphics to photography, she has been a commercial artist for over 26 years. Christine is most passionate about her family, friends, and the ongoing pursuit of art that makes people giggle. Bringing Kathryn the Grape to life has fulfilled her lifelong dream of illustrating a children’s book. She also designs the Kathryn the Grape marketing material. Christine lives in the Chicago-area with her husband, three children, and two dogs.

My Thoughts

Kathryn has an adventurous imagination.  From pretending to be the star of a circus act to being a pirate on the high seas.  Yet when she is given a class assignment asking, "What is something helpful you do for our planet and others?", her mind goes blank and she begins to worry she will not be able to do the assignment.  What could be the problem?  She has a great imagination surely she can think of something.

Her friend Maggie the magical butterfly gave her some very good advice. Now she was able to clear her head and solve the puzzle.  

The author teaches how worry and fear can cause us to doubt ourselves.  She explains how we can let go of our worries and fears, which gives us confidence and to do amazing things. 

The illustrations are lively and bold which is pleasing to young readers and will hold their attention.

I love the lesson of the puzzle and helping the planet and others!  It is strange how when put under pressure to do an assignment we tend to panic and doubt our ability to tackle the task.  I hope many children will read this book and realize they are not alone and can overcome.

I highly recommend this book.

I rated this book a 5 out of 5.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the Author/Bostick Communications for review.  I was in no way compensated for this review.  This review is my honest opinion.
click on image!

Thursday, May 23, 2013


About Book

Daylight Moonlight is a visually engaging book that provides a unique way for children to learn about different habitats and the animals that can be found in them both during the day and at night. Patterson has painted 22 scenes total, in the forest, desert, underwater, seashore, wetlands, grasslands, mountains, public parks, and even in your own backyard. Each habitat is depicted in daylight and nighttime hours to compare the different wildlife. Children and adults alike will enjoy Patterson's work, which is both endearingly simple and impressively detailed. Each nuanced illustration was completed to perfection and proves the artist's equal passion for both art and wildlife. This book is a fun way to get children excited about nature. 

Publisher:   Schiffer Publishing
Published:  March 28, 2013
ISBN:         9780764342820
Pages:       32
Binding:     Hardcover
Picture book
ages 0-6 

Where to buy:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble


About Author/Illustrator

Growing up in New Hampshire, Matt has always had a love for nature and art.  As far back as he can remember he has enjoyed drawing and painting wildlife. He pursued a degree in illustration and graduated from the Art Institute of Boston. Today his interest remain the same as they were when he was younger. He continues to paint and draw wildlife, working as a professional illustrator. Taking inspiration from nature, Matt's work allows him to share his interests with others. Since graduating in 2006, Matt has completed work in a variety of areas ranging from scientific to product illustration. Matt's main focus is and will always be wildlife art.

To see samples of my work please visit my website at

My Thoughts

Daylight/Moonlight is an informative look at wildlife and their habitats not just in the daytime but also at night.  You will get a look at some of the wildlife and their habits in the desert, forest, seashore, wetlands, grasslands, mountains, public parks and right in your backyard.  

This is a fun way for children ages 0-6 to read about nature.  The illustrations speak for themselves and writings tell the full story.  The artwork is very life like and pleasing to the eye.  I liked that in the back of the book the author has numbered and named the plants and the creatures of each individual page. 

I highly recommend this book to teachers, librarians, parents and caregivers for children ages 0-6.

I rated this book 5 out of 5.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book from Schiffer Publishing for review.  I was in no way compensated for this review.  This review is my honest opinion. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

World of Ink Tours Presents: The Adventures of Lai-Lai & Chub-Chub: Lai-Lai meets Chub-Chub by Dr. Aaron Chokan

The Adventures of Lai-Lai and Chub-Chub: Lai-Lai Meets Chub-Chub
Dr. Aaron Chokan
ISBN-10: 1612441505
ISBN: 9781612441504 
Genre: Picture Book
Halo Publishing, Int.

Where to purchase:  Amazon
About Book

The book Lai-Lai Meets Chub-Chub is a book about a young preschool girl (mirrored after my daughter Calais) who struggles to find the "perfect" name for her new puppy. She spends her day outside learning how nature can truly give her ideas for a name. She also asks for listener participation by asking the reading audience for some help. She finally comes up with the name Chub-Chub and is delighted.

About Author

Dr. Chokan has been a successful, practicing foot and ankle specialist for 10 years.  Currently, he is owner and founder of Ohio Foot and Ankle Center with 4 locations in Northeast Ohio.  He lives in Hudson, Ohio with his loving wife and 5 children: Hunter, Reece, Finlay, Calais and Lucia and their dog Paisley.  Dr. Chokan is an avid golfer and tennis player.

Follow Dr. Aaron Chokan at

My Thoughts

Lai-Lai is getting a new puppy and her mother has given Lai-Lai the privilege of choosing a name for the puppy.  With pure delight she rushes outside trying to think of a name when she comes across several of natures creatures and even feeling a breeze and thinking maybe Breeze would be a good name.  She even asks the readers of the story to help her pick a name.  You will need to read the story so you can find out how she chose the perfect name.

I found this story to be a very cute and one we have all probably experience at one time or another in our lives.  A name for a new pet is very important one that most will recall that you know immediately when you hear or think of the perfect name.  The author made it fun for not just the character in the book but interacts with the reader which is a big plus.  The illustrations told the story with bright colors and art.  

I highly recommend this book.

I rated this book a 5 out of 5.
Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book from WOI/Author for review.  I was in no way compensated for this review.  This review is my honest opinion.

Follow WOI Virtual Tour

Monday, May 20, 2013

Interview with L.R.W. Lee author of Andy Smithson Blast of the Dragon’s Fury ~ WOI May 2013 Tour

Andy Smithson
Blast of the Dragon’s Fury

Ten-year-old Andy Smithson lands with a thud on a cold, hard floor. He hears the sounds of breaking glass, things falling and something fizzing. It’s pitch dark. Strange smells erupt around him. So begin Andy’s adventures in the Land of Oomaldee.

From the After Life, dead King Hercalon IV is tired of waiting. Put nicely, his daughter, Imogenia, is being difficult. She cast a curse on her brother, Kaysan, for murdering her. After 500 years, she’s still ticked at him and is refusing to lift it. The King thrusts Andy, through no fault of his own, into this “sticky” situation to resolve the impasse.

Family issues? That’s not the half of it. Andy has a few issues of his own to deal with, like that tiny problem of him single-handedly flooding the castle, nearly destroying it. But wait, there’s more… After barely surviving quicksand, giants, capture and vicious vulture attacks, Andy fails to retrieve a red dragon scale, an ingredient critical in breaking the curse. Now, he faces the biggest challenge of his life, defeating the evil King Abaddon, monarch of Oomaldee’s northern neighbor. Will he survive a battle with this ferocious, seven-headed-fire-breathing dragon? Will the curse ever be broken? Will he ever return to his normal life?

Publication Date:
April 2013

List Price: $11.99

ISBN: 978-1482312645

Specs: Paperback, 245 pp.

Wholesale Orders:
Ingram, Baker & Taylor

Retail Orders:

Praise for L. R. W. Lee
Her humor is visible and the book has many clever touches in this multi-layered story. L. R. W. Lee is a strong and determined writer with a well-thought-through plot and vivid characters and situations.”
— Barbara Bamberger Scott, Editor
A Woman’s Write

About the Author
Since the age of eight, L. R. W. Lee wanted to write a book that not only entertained, but also impacted people, changing lives. She began her creative journey by placing 3rd in a writing contest in middle school, and winning an essay contest in high school. After a career in public and corporate accounting, she became a mom and accomplished business owner. After 12 years of growing her business, she successfully sold it in early 2012. Now L. R. W. Lee has turned her creative energy and talent to writing her debut novel, Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury (Book One).



Twitter: @lrwlee

Joining us today is L. R. W. Lee, author of Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury (Book One). This is a children’s book geared toward ages 9-10.

Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?I was born in Upstate New York. My family didn’t have a lot of money so my older brother and I were encouraged to use our imaginations to entertain ourselves. And use them we did – climbing trees and creating tree forts, using a quilt for a matchbox car city, making puppets and putting on shows, and much more.

I went to college and got a degree in Accounting. However, most folks frown on “creative accounting”, so I put my imagination on hold. My business interests eventually led me to founded and grow a successful company which, with my partner, I sold in January 2012, leaving me time to imagine and write for the first time.

I live in scenic Austin, TX with my husband, my daughter who is a Longhorn at UT Austin and my son who is in high school. The Sound of Music is my favorite musical. I hate scary movies. But, I love piano and strings music, sunsets in Hawaii and a good cup of decaf, French press coffee (yes, decaf!). I also love Ansel Adams prints, as well as all manner of kinetic art.

When did you first get published?This is my first published work.

Do you feel you were bit by the writing bug?I don’t know that writing was a sudden urge. I remember as far back as 8 years old wanting to write a book. At the time though, I felt that I did not have anything meaningful to say, but hoped I would one day.

Why did you decide to write for children?I’m a kid at heart. I love the innocence of childhood and the trust that kids give to willingly accept a world I have invented and just go with it.

Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience vs. a teen or adult reader?I don’t know. I approach writing for middle grade with respect, knowing this age is very flexible and willing to absorb what I invent. I think this grade can be talked down to when this age kid can get some very advanced subjects if you lay it out in a logical manner for them. When I write, I assume my readers can get what I’m saying.
What is your favorite part of writing for young people?My favorite part is inventing worlds out of nothing more than words. To me, words are magic! Everyone’s reality is just words. To be allowed to construct a world or people or a scene out of nothing but words and have readers trust me with that, is a privilege. The greatest challenge to writing to this group is communicating the messages I am passionate about in a way that readers can get for themselves without preaching. At times, this is a big struggle for me. I know what significant change happened for me, personally, that fuels my passion for writing – I just want to tell people about it! However, in the context of a book, I can’t. This adds a lot of challenge for me. The character of the inneru came out of this conflict, so much good can result!

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?Ten-year-old Andy Smithson is magically brought to the Land of Oomaldee while he is doing dishes one night. Unbeknowst to him, he is there to break a 500 year old curse. Andy learns that his quest is the Dragon’s Lair to find an ingredient critical to breaking the curse - the scale from an elusive red dragon, the fiercest of all dragon species. Andy nearly destroys the castle amidst adventures battling fire-breathing dragons, fighting vicious vulture attacks, escaping people-eating giants and more. I had a lot of fun interjecting humor throughout the book in the form of fart jokes that appeal to middle graders, but also more advanced word play for adult readers. One example, when Andy is faced with crossing a raging river, he speaks of overcoming the “current” problem. I love doing word plays like this. You’ll find these throughout the book, particularly in the prologue.
There are many teachable moments sprinkled throughout the book. I’d say overcoming frustration, fear and impatience are important messages in this book as well as commitment and dedication to a cause because of those you love.
I am passionate about helping others embody new ways of approaching these and similar situations. As a result, I have included on my website discussion questions for parents to work through with their kids.

What inspired you to write it?I founded and grew a business for 12 years beginning in 2000 and successfully sold it in January 2012. In 2005, I chose to bring on a partner/mentor to continue to grow it. He taught me not only business narratives, but also shared his personal philosophies. He is Korean and therefore has many philosophies that you might call Eastern-based that are refreshingly different from Western-based philosophies I was raised with. Many of these, including overcoming frustration, impatience and fear among others, significantly changed how I think and act. It is these life principles that I seek to share through my books. I hope to help others better enjoy their journey through life. I am passionate about helping others embody new ways of approaching these and similar situations. As a result, I have included on my website discussion questions for parents to work through with their kids.

Where can readers purchase a copy?Both the eBook as well as the paperback are available at or you can get the paperback and other gear, like T-shirts, at my website at While you’re there, be sure to check out the Read, Review, Refer reward program where you can get a free copy of the next book.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?My website is at and my Facebook author page is at

What is up next for you?I’ve started the second book in the series, Andy Smithson: Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning that I hope to have out winter 2013.

Do you have anything else to add?Just that authors love to hear what you think of their work. It’s a vulnerable business inventing something and then putting it out there for the world to critique. Please tell me what you think by posting a review at, even if you don’t buy the book there.

Thank you for spending time with us today, L. R. W. Lee. We wish you much success.

Thursday, May 16, 2013



A Junior Library Guild Selection

In Catawissa, the dead don't always stay where you put them...

17-year-old Verity Boone expects a warm homecoming when she returns to Catawissa, Pennsylvania in 1867, pledged to marry a young man she's never met. Instead, she finds a father she barely knows and a future husband with whom she apparently has nothing in common. And a truly horrifying surprise awaits her: the graves of her mother and aunt are enclosed in iron cages outside the local cemetery. Nobody in town will explain why, but Verity hears rumors of buried treasure and witchcraft. Perhaps the cages were built to keep grave robbers out . . . or to keep the women in. Determined to understand, Verity finds  herself in a life-and-death struggle with people she thought she could trust.

Inspired by a pair of real caged graves in present-day Catawissa, this historical YA novel weaves mystery, romance, and action into a suspenseful drama with human greed and passion at its core.

  • ISBN-13: 9780547868530
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/14/2013
  • Pages: 336
  • Young Adult/Middle Grade

Where to buy:  Amazon, Barnes&Noble 

Interview with Dianne K. Salerni

Caged Graves and the Origin of a Story

I first saw the photograph in a random article on the internet: a lonely cemetery with worn and tilted tombstones – and one grave with an iron cage around it.

I couldn’t get the photo out of my mind, so my husband used the clues in the article and Google Earth to identify the graveyard as the Old Mt. Zion Cemetery outside Catawissa, Pennsylvania. It wasn’t that far from home, so we decided to take a drive to see it in person. I wasn’t even sure the grave would really be there, but we received a shock when we pulled the car up beside the abandoned graveyard and saw two caged graves! Two?!

The graves belonged to Asenath Thomas and Sarah Ann Boone. They were clearly related in some way, since Sarah was a Thomas by birth and Asenath was a Thomas by marriage. Both women died in 1852, within a few days of one another.

Why would anyone erect iron cages around their graves? The original article I read claimed Sarah Ann’s family believed she’d been bitten by a vampire – or maybe a werewolf. But legends of vampires and werewolves weren’t popular in the U.S. in the 1850’s, and besides, the writer of the article hadn’t even been to the cemetery or he would’ve mentioned the other grave.

I found a more respectable article written by the local historian who suggested the cages were erected to keep out grave robbers. In the mid-19th century, fresh corpses were in demand by medical schools. This was a logical (although still creepy) explanation for the cages -- but why build something permanent when the danger of grave robbing would pass within a few weeks? And why were only these two graves protected? What made these women potential targets – who they were, or what they died from?

By now, I knew I had a novel-worthy premise. I started digging around in the history of that region and discovered a little known battle of the Revolutionary War had taken place nearby – about 75 years prior. When the Americans lost, captured Continental soldiers were brutally massacred by British and Indian forces. Then the countryside was razed by the victors, driving settlers to flee into a vast marsh. Most of them died of exposure in what would eventually become known as the Shades of Death swamp, but a few stragglers made it out and took refuge in Catawissa -- the town with the mysterious cemetery.

Tying these elements together became the heart of my story and a three-pronged mystery. How did Sarah Ann and Asenath die? Why were their graves caged? And how are they connected to events in the Shades of Death 75 years earlier?

My novel The Caged Graves is fictional, of course. The real story behind these graves remains a mystery.

About Author

Author Dianne K. Salerni of WE HEAR THE DEAD (Sourcebooks 2010), THE CAGED GRAVES (Clarion 2013), and THE EIGHTH DAY (a forthcoming series from HarperCollins). She is represented by Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger, Inc.

My Thoughts

Verity Boone at age two years, was taken from her father, shortly after her mothers  unforeseen death, in order to have the chance to have a normal life while being raised with her cousins in her Aunt's home.  Now Verity is 17 years old and has promised to marry a respectable young man from her home town of Catawissa, Pennsylvania.  When she arrives at her father's home nothing is familiar to her. She did not receive a very warm welcome from anyone including her father. Something was not right, maybe she was being ill treated because people were jealous that she was to marry the most sought after bachelor in Catawissa.  But then as time goes by it is apparent it was more of the fact she was her mother's daughter. Stories of witchcraft was whisper behind her back.  There are many secrets leading up to her mother's death and even at this time in her life when she should be enjoying the preparations for her wedding she is forced to face a life and death situation with no one to turn to for help. 

If this had been a movie, which I think it should be, you would be sitting on the edge of your seat and would not dare to go to the restroom or to get popcorn. Yep, it is that good.  I did not want to put the book down I took it everywhere with me. Yes even to the restroom.  

The author has done a bang up job on this book. You will find high anxiety, greed, action, mystery, romance and redemption all through this book. What a creative imagination this author has put to work in her writing.  I hope to be reading more of her books soon.

I highly recommend this book.

I rated this book a 5 out of 5.

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Netgalley for review. I was in no way compensated for this review.  This review is my honest opinion.

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