Darlene Foster – an update

Darlene Foster first visited Reading Recommendations in Oct. 2014. She’s back now to tell us of the most recent addition to her Amanda series.

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Amanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music
by Darlene Foster
Genre: Middle Grade fiction and travel, geography, culture

Amanda is on an elegant riverboat with her bestie, Leah, cruising down the beautiful Danube, passing medieval castles, luscious green valleys and charming villages. She is entrusted with a valuable violin by a young, homeless musician during a stop in Nuremberg, Germany. Not long after, a mischievous young boy attempts to take the instrument from her.

Amanda and Leah see some amazing sights as they explore Melk Abbey, the musical city of Vienna and the historical city of Budapest. Along the way, they meet a mysterious monk, a Santa Claus look-alike, a kind violinist and the same nasty boy. While exploring the scary catacombs of St. Stephens Cathedral or wandering the cobblestone streets of Regensburg, can she keep the precious violin safe for the poor prodigy? Follow Amanda down the Danube as she enjoys the enchanting sounds of music everywhere she goes, but wonders who she can trust.

Amanda on the Danube is the 5th book in Darlene Foster’s series for Middle Grades.

You may be interested in reading a blog post Darlene wrote about promoting her book, Schools, Libraries and Bookshops – A Few of My Favourite Places.

Darlene was also a guest on Krysten Lindsay Hager‘s blog writing this post, ​How Writing This Book Kept Me Sane.

For more information and where to purchase all five books in the series, please visit Darlene’s blog.

Lockard Young – update on a new print edition

Lockie Young has long been a friend and supporter of Reading Recommendations, was one of the first authors to be promoted here, in Dec. 2013, has come back with several updates, and is a member of the Reading Recommendations Revisited group of special authors who give back to me and their fellow authors more than they receive in promotion. I consider Lockie to be an integral part of my “writing family” – a number of authors I’ve met and worked with over the years, now a community, that came together for the mutual benefit of all. I think I speak for the other authors in this group, and for readers as well, when I say that Lockie’s friendship, collaboration and support is, and always has been, valued and appreciated by everyone –
Thanks, Lockie!

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Ryan’s Legend, The Early Adventures
by L.F. Young
Published by Morning Rain Publishing
Genre: Middle Grade

Ryan’s Legend offers the premise of a young boy finding an wondrous secret – yet it’s far more than that. As much as it’s a whimsical tale of a boy and a secret he must keep, it’s also an important education about the world around us, and how we treat each other and those that share the world with us.” – Danny Brown
“Though written for 7-10 year olds, this heart-warming tale about a young boy who befriends a mythical dragon will delight readers of all ages.” – Kate Bell

My name is Ryan, and this is the story of how I discovered a legend, and the biggest secret of my entire life! Just after Christmas, I saw these weird tracks in the snow, so I just had to check them out. You won’t believe what I found!

Deep underground, in a hidden cavern, I met the best friend a guy could have. The coolest thing of all was we used real magic to talk. He told me all about his life, and why I had to keep his secret.

I know keeping secrets from my family is wrong, but this is different. I just can’t have my parents or my annoying older brother figuring out what’s hidden in the old chicken coop. If anyone finds out about this legend, he might disappear from the world forever.

Ryan’s Legend is now also available in a paperback edition as well as eBook!
Amazon CA, US, UK
KOBO
Indigo/Chapters

Marty Chan – an update on a new novel

Marty Chan was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in May, 2015, and is back now to tell us about a new novel in a new series from a new publisher,      Clockwise Press!

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Keepers of the Vault: Fire and Glass
by Marty Chan
Published by Clockwise Press
Genre: hi-lo fantasy series for reluctant readers ages 12+

A fourth floor that is only pretending to be a storage space, stairs that lead to an abyss and a Goth djinn stalker who likes to play with fire . . .

As if life wasn’t hard enough for Kristina Mah being the new kid in school. The adventures of the Keepers of the Vault are just beginning.

Keepers of the Vault is a hi-lo fantasy series for reluctant readers ages 12+ and uses a dyslexia-friendly font.

Marty Chan is a popular presenter and author for young people, as well as a playwright and radio personality. His previous novel series include the Marty Chan Mysteries and the Ehrich Weiss Chronicles for young adult readers.

For more information about Marty Chan, see the Clockwise Press blog post, Introducing Marty Chan: Author Q&A.

Marty’s book may be purchased from:
Clockwise Press
Amazon
Chapters/Indigo

Janice Spina – update on a new book

Janice Spina was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in May 2014 with an update in Dec. 2014. She’s back now to tell us about the second book in a new series for children that she’s published.

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Davey and Derek: Junior Detective Series, Book 2
The Case of the Mysterious Black Cat

by Janice Spina
Genre: Children’s, Middle-Grade Novel

Davey and Derek Donato are twins but not identical. They each have their own distinct talents and are junior detectives by their own design. They live in the quiet town of Lindon, New Hampshire where nothing much happens, which is the reason why the boys look for adventures. They gleaned the idea to be detectives from a book their parents bought them for their tenth birthday on July 15th.

Davey with black hair and green eyes is the older twin by three minutes and teases his brother all the time about being the baby brother. He is an intellectual and is very patient and observant. Davey has an incredible skill where anything he reads he can commit to memory. This is extremely helpful when he has to help Derek who hasn’t done the required reading for school ahead of time. Davey also likes to take things apart in order to find out how they work.

Derek with light brown hair and green eyes, on the other hand, is a thinker and somewhat of a dreamer. He thinks things through and likes to be in control and see things running smoothly. He excels in writing, math and problem solving. He does have an aptitude for getting into all kinds of trouble all by himself. Trouble, unfortunately, seems to follow him but luckily for him Davey always backs him up.

The boys also have a friend, Mickey Catonni, aka Cat, with wiry red hair, who helped the boys in their first case of the missing cell phone. Mickey is a cool kind of kid who knows how to communicate by signing. He has a fun personality, great sense of humor and gets along well with others. Mickey has a little sister, Jenny, who is hearing impaired. Knowing sign language helps Mickey to talk with Jenny.

Where to purchase Janice’s books:

Davey & Derek Junior Detectives: Book 1
CreateSpace eStore
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Book 2
Create Space eStore
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Lockard Young – Reading Recommendation Revisited

Lockard Young was one of the “early adapters” of promoting himself and his work on Reading Recommendations, and since Dec. 9, 2013, Lockie has been featured twice on the blog, here and here when he published his own books, and here as part of an anthology in which a story of mine was also included. Lockie has become a great friend over these past 18 months since we “met” online. He’s been a terrific support of both my writing and the site as well as of his fellow authors. Here’s Lockie to tell us a bit more about himself!

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RL_ereader Since my last appearance on Reading Recommendations I have finished the sequel to my first book, Ryan’s Legend. This newest called The Legend Returns, picks up a couple months after the first story ends, and continues with the main character, Ryan, struggling with trying to keep his discovery of a real dragon a secret from everyone, including his friends and his parents.

LegendReturns_ereader The Legend Returns came out this year in the beginning of 2015.

However I was also very fortunate to be picked as a guest Author for Tim Baker’s anthology, Path of a Bullet, which was released in 2014 and has one of Susan Toy’s short stories in it, too. I’ve been asked to submit again for another anthology by Mr. Baker, to be released later in 2015. Path Of A Bullet final

I am enjoying taking some free online courses in Fiction Writing and Poetry and have started a Blog and website where I showcase some of my work. I am currently working on a continuation, but not a sequel, to the The Legend series which is currently just two books. The working title is The Legend Never Dies. This story takes place when the main character is not 10 or 12 but nearly finished university. The story opens with the brothers dealing with family death, so this is not for middle grade readers. I’m aiming for a maturity in the writing, in both style and substance, as the main character also matures. The second book was tested for a grade 4 or 5 level, so a progression from the first. I’m hoping if this book is published, it will also be viewed as a progression in both character development and of course story line. I also want the reader to check out my style of writing now, and in a different genre, perhaps YA paranormal will be the moniker of the next book. I am also compiling a humorous collection of short stories dealing with my life as a service plumber, and yes folks, I have really rescued teeth from the family throne. I’m not saying anything else, but hey! Soap and water or four thousand bucks?

I also have another project I am working on which is tough to write and revisit. I want to tell my story in a memoir, how I smoked for 34 years and thought because I had perfect … well, fairly good, lungs and a strong heart, I would be safe from the big diseases and all the other goodies associated with smoking cigarettes. I want to tell the story of a once busy tradesman, now an amputee traveling a very different road, who didn’t know he could lose his leg because he smoked all his life. I think it’s important, and I think I need to tell it.

I am at the stage of my rehabilitation as an amputee that I have been fitted with an artificial leg, and am finally mobile, and working on losing all the weight I gained while I was not mobile at all. I am still not able to drive a car unless it is fitted with hand controls, but as my range of motion in my good leg returns this should improve and I’ll be back to driving myself around. I have acted as a volunteer coach for Ability New Brunswick in this area for anyone who is going through similar circumstances as mine, just to reassure them there really is life after illness but it is not won easily, and they need to fight all the way. I was asked last week to talk to another person, so this meeting is being set as I type this. My medical circumstances over the past couple years has been food for my writing and has inspired several personal essays about my ordeal.

Unfortunately the marketing of my books has been solely through social media. I say unfortunately because there is so much more that can be done. Of course, money and time are two very big obstacles to overcome when promoting. I am still recovering from a near-fatal blockage in my right leg, and I plan on getting out more in my hometown and do some promoting when I can. I think it’s important as an author to try and get over the shyness of self promoting your work. That is a challenge for me because I was never a type to toot my own horn, but there are so many of us out there, we need to get over that shyness and interact more with our reading public. My target audience is young first-time readers in middle grade. They don’t buy a lot of books, but Mom does, so my real target audience is the mothers (and dads, but still mostly mothers) of these boys and girls. That’s who I need to talk to in libraries and schools if I can get into the schools. Not as easy as you might think, but if that is part of your strategy for promoting your book, I suggest getting an RCMP background check, as you will need one anyway. If the book you authored is a cook book, I’d try to get a table at your local supermarket or farmers’ markets on weekends. My advice in a nutshell: get yourself set up on all the social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads. To showcase your book or perhaps short stories or poems you’ve written, you might want to start a Website or a Blog.

Lockie’s Reading Recommendations: I mentioned Tim Baker earlier, and his main character, Ike, is someone the reader can like and respect even though Ike does bend the rules a bit. Tim’s books can be found at his website (and on Reading Recommendations). The second author I discovered recently was Seumas Gallacher. His books also center on his main character Jack Calder, an ex SAS British professional, a ‘00’ if you will. His book links and excellent Blog can be seen here (and also on Reading Recommendations). The third author I have read lately that I want to read more of is actually you, Susan. I know that might sound like sucking up, but I’ve read That Last Summer and Island in the Clouds, and I loved both. I saw your growth in Island as a writer, and I can’t wait for your next book. Both are listed here. (And Susan is the brains and promoter behind Reading Recommendations.)

Aw, shucks! Thanks for that shout-out, Lockie!

Sharon Jennings

I was a sales rep for Second Story Press when Sharon Jennings wrote the first book for their new Gutsy Girl series. I enjoyed reading and selling that book, and I particularly loved that Second Story was publishing a series of books featuring gutsy girls! When I noticed the publisher’s announcement about this new book, I just had to ask Sharon to participate in Reading Recommendations.

SharonJennings_colour photo_mediumSharon Jennings

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Connecting Dots is a mid-grade novel in the Gutsy Girl Series.

Quick description: This sequel to the multi-award nominated Home Free gives us the story of Cassandra Jovanovich, a 12-year-old who has been passed relative-to-relative under the impression that she is an orphan. A first time ever friendship saves her.

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Brief biography:
After obtaining a MA in English, I was a textbook editor for several years before starting my writing career. With over 70 books published, I teach, edit, and travel the world giving workshops and author visits.

Links to buy Sharon’s book:
Second Story Press
Amazon
Chapters/Indigo
KOBO

Sharon’s promo links:
Website
Facebook Fan Page

What are you working on now?
I always have several manuscripts on the go. I’m finishing my 11th reluctant reader novel called Tornado. I’ve submitted another Gutsy Girl manuscript.

Sharon’s reading recommendation:
Teresa Toten’s The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

Lockard Young – an update on a new book

Lockie Young was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in Dec. 2013, and is back now to tell us about his new novel, which follows on from the first.

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The Legend Returns picks up, in the time line of the story, a couple months after the first book ends, as the clock above the school’s chalkboard signals the start of summer vacation. Ryan, the main character, hosts his friend Cory for a weekend sleepover while at the same time struggling with the secret he continues to keep from everyone, including his parents. He discovered a very real live Legend in the first book. Ryan teaches Cory about life as he knows it by the seashore, and Cory, who is a city boy, learns a lot of lessons about nature he never knew before. Things turn interesting when a giant sea serpent shows up in the harbor . . . or is it a sea serpent?

“Everyone thought he was some kind of imaginary friend, but he was a lot more than that! In fact, he wasn’t imaginary at all, even though he was the stuff of legends.”

School is finally out for the summer, and Ryan is looking forward to long sunny days on the beach with his best friend Cory, and his old friend, Willie. What Ryan hadn’t anticipated was how difficult keeping Willie’s secret would be. Torn between doing what’s best for his old friend, and being honest with this friend and family, Ryan has to think fast. The world isn’t ready to know about Willie, but it might already be too late.

From Lockie: “I would like to dedicate this book to my two sons and my wife, who let me use their names, and who put up with my lack of company on many occasions while writing it. The Legend Returns is the culmination of a twenty year journey to publish. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Ryan, Jason, and Trish.”

Where you may purchase The Legend Returns:
Publisher with all the other links here as well:
Morning Rain Publishing
Amazon Canada
Amazon USA
Amazon UK
Kobo
Google Books

Andy Mulberry

Bulldog Andy Mulberry

What is your latest release and what genre is it? My latest release is The Demonic Incident in Chinatown the second book in my Skycastle Series for middle grade-aged kids.

Quick description: Fast-paced, action-packed and funny, The Demonic Incident in Chinatown is the second in a series of middle grade books for fearless, adventure loving kids.

Skycastle 2 cover

Brief biography:
Andy Mulberry loves to write books filled with strange adventures, odd characters and mysterious circumstances. She lives in Southern California with her scowling teenager, a chubby blue cat-beast, an imaginary dog and one leaky roof.

Links to buy Andy’s book:
Amazon – eBook, paperback, audio

Andy’s promo links:
My blog – Something smells fishy here…
Twitter

What are you working on now?
The third book in my Skycastle Series, titled The Demonic Kraken Debacle in Hollywood.

Andy’s reading recommendation:
I enjoyed reading The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare, it reads a bit like Harry Potter, which is totally fine by me.

Darlene Foster

profile photoDarlene Foster

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone, for Middle grade readers

Quick description: Amanda is delighted to show Leah around Alberta during her visit from England. They take in the Calgary Stampede, go on a cattle drive, visit Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, spend time with the dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum and explore the crazy Hoodoos. When Amanda finds a stone with a unique mark on it, she doesn’t think it’s important until everyone seems to want it – including a very ornery cowboy. Is this stone worth ruining Leah’s holiday and placing them both in danger?

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Brief biography:
Brought up on a ranch in southern Alberta, Darlene Foster dreamed of writing, travelling the world and meeting interesting people. It’s no surprise that she’s now an award-winning author of the exciting Amanda Travels series featuring spunky 12 year-old Amanda Ross who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca in Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot. She was encouraged by her parents to follow her dreams, and believes everyone is capable of making their dreams come true.

Links to buy Darlene’s book:
Available in both eBook and print formats:
Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask
Amanda in Spain – The Girl in The Painting
Amanda in England – The Missing Novel
Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone

Darlene’s promo links:
Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook

What are you working on now?
I am currently working on Amanda on the Danube. Amanda takes a river cruise and visits Germany, Austria and Hungary. Along the way she meets more intriguing characters and learns a lot about European history. It is in the very beginning stages so I can’t say much about this adventure yet.
May, 2017: Amanda in New Mexico-Ghosts in the Wind is with the publisher right now and will be released in the fall of 2017. Amanda is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico where she shares a room with Cleo, an anxious classmate who insists she sees ghosts. Although Amanda is determined to prove there is no such thing, she can’t seem to shake the feeling that something or someone is watching her. Visits to a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps The Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.
I have just started working on book seven in the series, Amanda in Holland-Missing in Action (the working title).

Darlene’s reading recommendation:
I am currently reading The Giver by Lois Lowry and highly recommend it before seeing the movie. It is so well written, thought provoking and has stood the test of time.
In addition: I recently read From Ant to Eagle by Alex Lyttle which was excellent. An emotional roller coaster that will make you laugh and cry, sometimes on the same page. My review – A poignant story about love, loss, family and friendships that will tug at your heartstrings long after you close the book.

Jennifer Bogart

Bogart_118Jennifer Bogart

What is your latest release and what genre is it? My latest release is Liminal Lights – it’s a fantasy novel written for upper middle grade readers.

Quick description: What if faerie magic is real? Nadia discovers an ancient truth hidden by Liminals, coveted by Shadow Monsters, and protected by humans.

Somewhere, between faerie legends and story books, lies the truth to magic. It grows in children, matures and is eventually captured by Liminal beings. These small, faerie-like creatures harvest and manipulate it, crafting it into the talents and skills inherent in humans. The rest, they keep for themselves in an effort to sustain their own life forces.

The human race is evolving, forcing Bean, Pritt, and Tissa to find new ways of harvesting human magic to save their own kind. Nadia’s power, found in her talent as an artist, is the last hope for these Liminal beings who find themselves caught between light and shadow. Liminals aren’t the only ones after her magic, so are the creatures who lurk under the bed, hide in the darkness and go bump in the night.

This is the first book of a trilogy.

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Brief biography:

Jennifer Bogart believes there’s a spark of magic in every person, regardless of age or background. Her upper Middle Grade novels are written with bright and imaginative youth in mind. Her goal is to provide fun and appropriate content combined with challenging language and concepts for readers drifting in those precocious middle years. When she’s not writing or editing, you can find Jennifer drinking coffee and reading a good book. Her other publications include: Remember Newvember, Reflections, Money, Masks & Madness, and Under the Stars.

Links to buy Jennifer’s book:
Morning Rain Publishing

Jennifer’s promo links:
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
Google+

What are you working on now?
I’m working on the edits for Shadow Shifts, the second book in the Liminals Trilogy, as well as another women’s fiction novel that is loosely linked to Money, Masks & Madness.

Jennifer’s reading recommendation:
This is a difficult question to answer. In addition to writing, I’m also an editor and have a great love and respect for all books – even those that don’t make it to publication. Rather than play favourites with current books, I’m going to dig into my past. I love anything written by Michael Ondaatje – my favourite is In the Skin of a Lion – there’s something about the poetry of his prose that sinks into me, gets under my skin, and makes me want to be a better writer.