Tuesday, September 29, 2020

An Ever-Changing Sunrise Part 1 and a Linky


Last Friday morning I captured the most beautiful sunrise. I shared the photos that I took with my phone on Instagram, but I also took photos with my Canon PowerShot that I'm sharing here on the blog. The best part of the sunrise lasted for about half-an-hour. This particular one was an ever-changing sunrise, so much so, that I'm going to share the pics in two parts. No filters were added. These are straight from the camera.







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my latest post
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Blue Skies and Blue Flowers



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My Latest Book Posts:


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My latest Sock Sunday is a new release! I began this book today and I am past halfway. Met by Midnight by Janeen Ippolito is an unexpected Cinderella retelling with a dystopian feel. The pacing is good and the story unpredictable. The characters are refreshingly unique. There are people called Menders who take other people's sickness, pain, and injuries upon themselves and heal them. Menders have no voice and no choice. They are being exploited by the Royal Family and nobility. Renna is an 18-year-old Mender who passively resists her bonds. Jaric is a 19-year-old prince and the only royal unable to receive healing by a Mender. Because of his curse, he lives with bonds too. Renna and Jaric have never met, but for the past 2 years they have sought each other out through nightime dreams. What happens when they find each other? What secrets have the Royal Family been keeping? This novel is a standalone. #weekend #weekendreads #socksunday #books #ebooks #newrelease #bookreview #BookReviewer #booklover #bibliophile #bookstagrammers #Bookstagram #bookaddict #dystopian #fantasy #Cinderella #retelling #romance #fiction #igreaders #indiebook @janeen_ippolito @uncommonuniversespress

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Come link up your Wordless Wednesday
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Join me on this fun and easy blog hop!

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Friday, September 25, 2020

Ashen and Met By Midnight Blog Tour


2 Unique Cinderella Retellings!

Ashen
by H.L. Burke

Book Description:

Stealer of warmth, bringer of death. What if Cinderella had a secret that kept her locked away?

Unable to make her own body heat, foundling Lizbete survives in the tavern kitchen, drawing warmth from the fires, the sun—and sometimes, other living beings. Her days are spent cooking alongside the tavern owner and avoiding the suspicious gazes of the villagers in her small northern town. While she quietly longs for the handsome Brynar, she knows she has no chance with the mayor’s son, even if he invites her to the First Frost festival.

When sudden earthquakes strike Brumehome, blame falls upon Lizbete, and not even her friendship with Brynar can protect her. She finds shelter in the dangerous caverns of nearby Ash Mountain. There she discovers mysterious people with her same ability to draw heat—and a fiery doom in the mountain that slowly awakens with every quake.

Now the festival Lizbete thought to avoid is her only chance to warn the villagers. Yet even with Brynar at her side, can the strange girl dubbed the Ash Lizard hope to save the town that fears her?

A rugged YA Cinderella retelling set in a fantasy world with light steampunk elements.

Purchase on Amazon


Want to See More H.L. Burke Books?
Check Out My Other Reviews:

Reformed: Supervillain Rehabilitation Project
Daughter of Sun, Bride of Ice
2 Short Stories by H.L. Burke
Heart of the Curiosity
Green Princess Trilogy - Book 1
Green Princess Trilogy - Book 2
Green Princess Trilogy - Book 3
To Court a Queen
Spice Bringer
Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon
A Tale in Two Parts
Dragon's Curse - Book 1
Dragon's Debt - Book 2
Dragon's Rival - Book 3
Dragon's Bride - Book 4
Beggar Magic

About the Author:
H.L. Burke

Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.


Met By Midnight
by Janeen Ippolito

Book Description:

An outcast prince. A captive healer. A single night that changes their destinies.

She lives a nightmare.

As a Mender, Renna is held captive to an endless cycle of receiving and recovering from the physical ailments of others—a cycle that led her mother to an early grave. When her father becomes deathly ill, Renna is desperate to save her only remaining family. Even if it means allying with criminals and taking an illegal mission into the royal palace on the night of their greatest ball.

He’s haunted by dreams.

Unable to be Mended, Prince Jaric’s existence is a curse to his family’s façade of health and security. Marrying him off at the ball and sending him to a distant dukedom is the royal solution—but Jaric has his own plans. For years he’s dreamed of a young woman, a strong-hearted Mender he would give everything for. When she arrives the night of his betrothal, he’s determined to discover her true identity. 

Met by midnight, their fates are entwined.

While escape seems the only answer, powerful forces conspire to keep Renna and Jaric within their cages. Forces that undermine the foundations of the kingdom itself—and threaten any hope of a future together.

This YA romance features Cinderella in an original fantasy world with a dystopian twist.

Purchase on Amazon


Want to See More Janeen Ippolito Books?
Check Out My Other Reviews:

My Alien Engagement
If Wishes Were Curses
Wish You Weren't Here

About the Author:
Janeen Ippolito

Janeen Ippolito believes in Jesus, true love, and the power of your unique words. She's a bestselling author of speculative fiction, writing resources, and poetry. She's also an editor, author coach, marketing strategist, and the president of Uncommon Universes Press. When she's not immersed in the geektastic world of words, she's helping her husband with his youth swordfighting ministry, exploring a slew of random hobbies, and posting up cute animal videos on social media. This extroverted writer loves to connect! You can follow her on the links below:

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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Another Dramatic Sunrise and a Linky


Here is another sunrise that I photographed from my balcony earlier this year. I also have a more recent sunrise that I posted on Instagram, which I have included below. Enjoy the pics!






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Here's a peek at
my latest post
on 1camera1mom:

Cat's Tail and More!



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My Latest Book Reviews:





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I normally only do one Sock Sunday feature a week but this book is so good, I just have to share! Sting Magic by Sarah K.L. Wilson is a page-turner of a story and releases on September 21! What would you do if you became the property of the empire because of your magic and everyone you love is at risk of death based on your conduct? That's what happens to Aella, a girl taken from the Far Reach where the people are tough, living free and proud. Not only does she need to learn how to be obedient, but she also has to learn how to control her aberrant magic. It's supposed to manifest as a bird but hers is an angry swarm of bees! Will she bend or break and what about her loved ones? How can she possibly keep them safe? I have an advance review copy. Here's a quote from the book: The truth is the only power there is. It's the only way to ever be free. #weekend #weekendreads #socksunday #whatimreading #books #ebooks #newrelease #bookreview #BookReviewer #booklover #bibliophile #fiction #bookstagrammers #Bookstagram #bookaddict #fantasy #romance #igreaders #nofilter #nofilterneeded @sarahklwilson

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Here's another Sock Sunday feature that is too good not to share! Against Dark Tides by Clare Sager, which releases September 23, is the second book in her exciting Beneath Black Sails series. This book has it all! There are pirates, Fae-touched magic users, adventure, danger, treasure, and romance! It has plenty of action scenes and vivid descriptions. I thought Vice had it tough in Book 1, but now I'm beginning to wonder if things can get even worse! I started this book yesterday and I'm past the halfway mark. I have an advance review copy. This is my honest and voluntary review. #weekend #weekendreads #socksunday #whatimreading #books #ebooks #newrelease #bookreview #BookReviewer #booklover #bibliophile #bookstagrammers #Bookstagram #bookaddict #fantasy #romance #fiction #igreaders #nofilter #nofilterneeded @claresager

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Come link up your Wordless Wednesday
(with or without words) or any picture post
at this Picture Perfect Party Linky.
Join me on this fun and easy blog hop!

I would love for you to follow me on
and
Follow on Bloglovin

Here are the easy rules:
  • Follow me on one or more links above or via email.
  • Link-up any family-friendly post with a picture and follow as many new blogs as you like.
  • If possible, copy the button code below and add it to your linked post or blog's side-bar.
  • And, I'd love it if you could share about this hop on social media.
The Button Code:

Amanda’s Books and More

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Pippin Pals are Hero Helpers! Author Interview

Pippin Pals are Hero Helpers! Author Interview


Author Interview:
Donna Marie 


Meet the wonderful lady behind
Pippin Pals are Hero Helpers!

1. When do you find time to read and what do you usually like to read?
You know, that’s the most frustrating thing about my life now, more than ever. I very rarely allow time to read fiction during the day unless it’s my Barnes & Noble stint to catch up on picture books and that’s when I’ll sit in the café and read at least a couple dozen. My days are too full doing so many other things, so I’d typically read MG or YA novels in bed, but that’s become more uncomfortable and I don’t get very far. I would love when a book was SO good, it kept me up all night ‘cause I couldn’t put it down! I have thousands of books, so many I’ve yet to read and wonder if I ever will. Not likely *sigh* I’m constantly reading on line, but it’s all nonfiction-based, whether it’s news, health, research, information, social media.
 
2. How do you prefer to write your books - with a pen/pencil, typing, or dictation?
This is a question that I think only writers find appealing—I know I like to know too :D I thoroughly enjoy reading about writers’ and illustrators’ processes. For me, I am very fussy about the feel of the pen I use when I write. I want it to be smooth on the paper and comfortable to hold, so it can’t be bulky and I prefer a texture where I grip, rather than the plastic or metal. I never use a pencil to write (unless I’m doing math—like bills!), but I have a favorite mechanical pencil for sketching.

 
3. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? What other authors are you friends with, and how have they inspired you?
I combined these two questions because they are connected. I hate to think of the $thousands I’ve spent over the years on my writing life, but I can’t say any was actually wasted. Because I could never afford them, I never attended our SCBWI conferences. Unusual circumstances got me involved, and then heavily involved, with our New Jersey Chapter. Through that I’ve met SO many people and have so many dear, cherished KidLit friends it would take a full blog post to name them all, none of whom I would’ve met otherwise. I’ll name just few your readers might be familiar with, IF they know children’s book authors: Ame Dyckman, Beth Ferry, Josh Funk, Annie Silvestro, Darlene Beck Jacobson, Robin Newman, Holly McGhee…OK, I’ll stop there. And there’s a lot of benefit to attending conferences. To me, if you can do it—do it! And be SURE to volunteer! You get to meet more people and experience it in a much better way.

4. What was the first book that you wrote and did you publish it?
I’ll choose the first book I wrote with serious intent (anything before that doesn't count 😀) because, ironically, it ultimately morphed into these books. I wrote it back in about 1993 when I first started concentrating on pursuing publication. It was called The Rainy Day. It had 6 diverse characters and was about a sunny day turning to rain and the mother encouraging them to think of unplugged things to do inside on a rainy day. Over the years those characters have morphed into other projects, but in the picture book realm ultimately became what you see in my “Pippin Pals” books. When the pandemic began and I wanted to contribute to the “stay at home” effort, instead of a blog post of “things to do” at home, that book ended up being rewritten and what you see here is what resulted. A very long, roundabout, unexpected journey!


5. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? What are common traps for aspiring writers?
These two questions go together too, for me. The first trap would be the ignorance and naivety that comes with being a newbie about the realities of the publishing industry—how difficult it is for virtually everyone to get published. My journey has been decades long, and though I came close to being traditionally published, the stars (acquisitions) didn’t align. I never wanted to self-publish, but here I am. The project warranted it! And I would tell myself—and any young writer—that writing talent may come naturally, but what you think is “good” writing is typically “first draft” quality. On my “Writer Side Up!” blog About page I put:

“To write well takes education and practice.

To write exceptionally well is an art—through revision.

It is in the revision that the work becomes a work of art.”


In other words: learn the craft, learn about the industry, know what the realities are. If writing is truly a passion, you will write no matter what your journey—published or not.

6. What would you like readers to know about your latest book or book project?
Once I realized I had the power to execute these books digitally to make diverse and inclusive versions, there was no stopping me! They were written with a great sense of purpose, and I had the news on the majority of the time during these many months, while working. I was feeling the pandemic in the same stressful way as the rest of the world, but the longer it took to accomplish all this work, the more pressure I felt because I wanted them and the downloads on the site to be of use to people when they were most relevant. Other countries are doing much better than we are in the U.S. (I won’t get into THAT nightmare), but it’s not “over” anywhere, so my hope still holds true—that these books, charts and info can help.


7. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
I love the idea of “Easter Eggs” in picture books, though it’s not always on my mind while I’m creating. Sometimes it springs up later in the illustration process. In “Hero Helpers” I highlight healthcare and essential workers, and one of the fun things about that while illustrating was having specific people in mind for a handful of them. I was thinking of my daughter-in-law for the teacher; an ER nurse I saw on TV a lot; my ex’s police uniform is in there, having done the arm patch relatively detailed though it is small; New York Governor Cuomo with his state’s lapel medallion, also more detailed than necessary, considering it’s only a dot on the page; specific news reporters; a Sikh army officer I read about; and even a postal worker I know.

8. Does your family support your career as a writer? Do you use your own name or a pseudonym?
My family and close friends have been supportive of my writing and illustrating children’s book aspirations since I first mentioned it before my son was even born (he’s now 35!). It wasn’t until 1992, when I became officially disabled and could no longer work steadily, that I was encouraged by a friend to start writing again, my having written a poem at that time that she thought was wonderful. (Trust me, when I look back at a lot of my writing, man, do they need rewrites!) The people in my life have watched me create book after book, strive for years to get an agent and get published traditionally, and felt for me through all the ups and downs. It’s a very difficult pursuit and ALL the “stars have to align” for it to happen. Timing tends to be everything, at least in my experience. If I hadn’t written the book, then come up with a way to make this story in 6 (soon 8) diverse versions with choices of gender, skin and hair color, and had thought I could publish ebooks on Amazon for free (you can, but I chose to buy my own ISBNs), I wouldn’t have self-published. But here I am! And lucky me, I get featured on your blog :D 
 
Check out my book review of
Pippin Pals are Hero Helpers!


You can follow :Donna on Twitter and Facebook, and her Writer Side UP! and Creativity “Cookbook” blogs, and Pippin Pals at https://pippinherohelpers.com/, Twitter and Facebook.

COMING SOON: 2 more inclusive versions of Pippin Pals are Hero Helpers! by family type.
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