Excerpt from Andy McBean and the War of the Worlds

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, read the rules at A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along!

Back to fiction this week. I picked up an interesting looking middle-grade book, Andy McBean and the War of the Worlds by Dale Kutzera. It is, you guessed it, a retelling of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds.

Andy wanted to say that the Pine Mountain Army Base didn’t have an airfield, but another glowing object roared overhead, shaking the street under their feet. Every puddle rippled. The Garcia’s mailbox flew open, releasing a cascade of bills and magazines. The noise and lights receded to the west, casting a green haze over the ridge of the valley, then vanished completely. Suddenly all was still and quiet save for the steady drip of rain.

Dale Kutzera, Andy McBean and the War of the Worlds

wowtwit-1Andy McBean is struggling to survive middle school in the soggy hills of the Pacific Northwest. He’s messy, fearful of bullies, and spent much of the last year in the hospital battling leukemia.

Then one night a meteor storm devastates the county, cutting off power and communications. One giant meteor crashes into his neighborhood, skidding up the street to stop right on Andy’s front lawn. The glowing boulder draws the attention of neighbors, the media, the army, and even the new girl from Andy’s art class. He is thrilled at the notoriety, but everything changes when the meteor opens and a towering machine steps out.

Separated from his family, Andy must fend for himself and rescue his friends. Join the adventure as Andy meets an alien, learns what they want on planet earth, and devises a bold plan to stop them.

Canada’s Third World Nation Infographic

It’s really amazing how blind we can be to what is going on around us. I had some awareness of the living conditions of our Aboriginal People as far back as 1988/89, pre-internet, when I wrote a short story about them on my XT computer. In the intervening time, almost three decades, I kind of assumed that things had changed. The media tends to portray aboriginals as whining over historical treatment which cannot be changed, or turning down million or billion dollar petrochemical deals. Very little is said about current conditions, and then it is buried by news of natural disasters or elections.

But during my research for Questing for a Dream, I was continually shocked by the statistics and stories I was reading. I had heard of international organizations such as the United Nations citing Canada for human rights violations for the third world conditions faced by our native peoples, but knowing the standard of living in the rest of Canada, I believed they were exaggerating.

Here are some of the shocking statistics that I recorded during my research. Please pin, tweet, post and share the infographic. We need to promote awareness of these conditions. Our generation needs to insist that they be addressed, rather than leaving it another thirty years.

infographic dream-Recovered

References:
According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, at least 4,000 Aboriginal children died in the overcrowded residential schools.
Canada’s last residential school, Gordon Residential School in Punnichy, SK, closed its doors in 1996.
(http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/residential-schools/)

In Nunavut 27% of all deaths since 1999 have been suicides. This is one of the highest suicide rates in the world, and it continues to rise, especially among youth. – See more at: http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/visions/aboriginal-people-vol5/aboriginal-mental-health-the-statistical-reality#sthash.NLpsk1ro.vZYNewad.dpuf (Aboriginal Mental Health: The statistical reality, Saman Khan Reprinted from “Aboriginal People” issue of Visions Journal, 2008, 5 (1), pp. 6-7)

In Manitoba, Aboriginal children made up nearly 80% of children living in out-of-home care (Pathways to the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children in care Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal http://cwrp.ca/node/424)

Half of First Nations children live in poverty, with rates reaching as high as 64 per cent of children in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
A rising number of Native teenagers are in custody: in 1997, just 12 per cent of young offenders in custody were Aboriginal. Today, it’s one in three.
The number of children taken from their homes by child welfare authorities now exceeds the number taken at the height of the residential-school era
Aboriginal children are 10 times more likely to be placed in foster care than the Canadian average and make up half of the roughly 60,000 kids in care.
More than half of Canada’s Aboriginal population hasn’t finished high school and just six per cent have a university degree.
A third of the population is on social assistance, rising to more than 80 per cent in some communities.
(Why fixing First Nations education remains so far out of reach, Aboriginal youth face a fate that should horrify Canadians and there’s an obvious fix, Tamsin McMahon)

Four in ten Indigenous Canadian children live in poverty, which the report found was twice the national rate. The study cites a deficit in basic social services as the reason for the increase in poverty.
“Indigenous children trail the rest of Canada’s children on practically every measure of well-being: family income, educational attainment, poor water quality, infant mortality, health, suicide, crowding and homelessness,” the report explained.
(Federal government fails aboriginal children : The Canadian National Newspaper)

There are boil water advisories on more than 100 reserves, with about 35 communities incrisisover lack of access to clean drinking water.
(Living conditions for First Nations ‘unacceptable': Fontaine)

Lack of plumbing and electricity, poor insulation, toxic mold, substandard construction, lack of major repairs and overcrowding continue to devastate a large proportion of reserves and severely impact the quality of life of residents (Monette et al. 2009, Statistics Canada 2008, Adelson 2005)

Aboriginal women and girls represented approximately 10% of all female homicides in Canada. However, Aboriginal women make up only 3% of the female population. (Fact Sheet Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls, Native Women’s Association of Canada)

Stand Alone published in Spanish (Por Mí Misma)

My first foreign-language translation is now out! Thanks to translator María Florencia Lavorato, you can now read Stand Alone in Spanish!

Por Mí Misma is being rolled out to all of the top online stores. Click the cover to get buy links.

kindle spanish cover

No puedes escaparte de quién eres en realidad.

¿Está loca, Justine?

Todos parecen pensarlo…

Su madre. Los chicos en la escuela, y los maestros y administradores también. Incluso la policía, que la recoge de sus paseos nocturnos. Quizás ellos más que nadie.

Su terapeuta alega que tiene ‘problemas’, pero todo es lo mismo. Él piensa que sus vívidas y recurrentes pesadillas, y su comportamiento atroz de algún modo apuntan a algún trauma de su pasado; pero Emma, su madre, no puede explicarlo.

Justine solía contar con Christian, su mejor amigo y compañero de skate. Él era el único que la aceptaba tal cual era. Quizás porque en esos momentos, sobre su skate, Justine se sentía libre para ser ella misma. Pero ahora Christian se ha ido…Justine parece pensar que las cosas no podrían ponerse peor.

Aún cuando su vida gira más y más fuera de control, Justine no puede renunciar a sí misma -alguien completamente diferente a la amorosa hija que Emma espera que sea- a encajar y ser feliz.  Está segura de que Emma tiene la llave de su identidad. Pero si es así, no está hablando.

—Este libro es una maravillosa historia repleta de giros y vueltas…te mantendrá pasando las páginas hasta altas horas de la madrugada. Un final impactante. Una historia genial.

—A medida que PD Workman te sumerge dentro de la cabeza de Justine, comienzas a pensar ué es lo que hace que ella actúe de la manera en que lo hace. Buena suerte al tratar de dejar el libro hasta encontrar la razón…

Excerpt from Parents Who Kill Their Children

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, read the rules at A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along!

My teasers are usually fiction books, but I just started a non-fiction read, so you get a change today. I am reading Parents Who Kill Their Children, by R.J. Parker. Guess what it’s about?

Shortly after her husband left the house, Andrea wandered into the bathroom where she filled the tub with water about three inches from the top rim. Mary, then six months old, sat on the bathroom floor.

R.J. Parker, Parents Who Kill Their Children

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What could drive parents to go against their fundamental protective instincts and murder their own children?
This collection of “Filicidal Killers” provides a gripping overview of how things can go horribly wrong in once-loving families. Parents Who Killed their Children depicts ten of the most notorious and horrific cases of homicidal parental units out of control. People like–Andrea Yates, Diane Downs, Susan Smith, and Jeffrey MacDonald–who received a great deal of media attention. The author explores the reasons; from addiction to postpartum psychosis, insanity to altruism, revenge and jealousy.

Each story is detailed with background information on the parents, the murder scenes, trials, sentencing and aftermath.

Build your bookshelf! More books!

Fill your shelves—or your Kindle—with books! A number of these are freebies, but always check the price when you navigate to it to be sure.

Here are books that grabbed my attention the last couple of weeks. These are not generally books that I have already read, though a few of them might be. They are books that I have seen and added to my TBR list, looked up on Amazon, loved the cover of, etc. Just a quick run-through of what caught my eye, so you can have a look too.

Click on a cover to jump to it on Amazon.

Added to my TBR List

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Liked the Cover
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Excerpt from The Book Stops Here

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, read the rules at A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along!

I recently started The Book Stops Here by Kate Carlisle. A mystery about a bookbinder/bibliophile. What reader doesn’t like to read about another book lover? I’m not very far in yet, but enjoying it so far!

The star of the show crossed the wide stage and headed straight for Angie and me, his face drained of color and his jaw taut. He looked as if he might have just witnessed his own death.

Kate Carlisle, The Book Stops Here

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You never know what treasures can be found in someone’s attic. Unfortunately for bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright, some of them are worth killing for.… Brooklyn Wainwright is thrilled to be appearing on the San Francisco edition of the hit TV show This Old Attic as a rare-book expert and appraiser. Her first subject is a very valuable first-edition copy of the classic children’s story The Secret Garden, which is owned by a flower vendor named Vera.

Once she hears what her book is worth, Vera is eager to have Brooklyn recondition it for resale. But after the episode airs, a furious man viciously accosts Brooklyn, claiming that Vera found the first edition at his garage sale, and he wants it back—or else. Brooklyn is relieved that she’s put The Secret Garden in a safe place, but Randolph Rayburn, the handsome host of This Old Attic, is terrified by the man’s threats. He confides in Brooklyn that he fears he is being stalked. He doesn’t know who might have targeted him, or why.

In the days that follow, several violent incidents occur on the set, and Brooklyn is almost killed, leaving both her and her security expert boyfriend, Derek, shaken. Is someone after Brooklyn and the book? Or has Randolph’s stalker become more desperate? And then Brooklyn visits Vera’s flower shop…and discovers her dead. Is the murderer one of the two obvious suspects, or is something more sinister—even bizarre—going on? Brooklyn had better find the clever killer soon or more than her chance at prime time may be canceled…permanently.

Camp NaNo Win!

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Today is April 30. Personal taxes are due if you’re Canadian, and it is the final day to write and validate your word count for April Camp NaNoWriMo! My goal for this Camp Nano was 100,000 words, or however long it took to get to the end of my story, whichever came first. I validated today at 102,915 words. I am through the first round of edits and into the second. Questing for a Dream is on my production schedule to be released around December or January.

I really enjoyed having a private (virtual) cabin this year for Camp Nano, which was filled with online friends from various other forums around the net. We had lots of good discussion and encouragement.

Next Camp Nano isn’t until July, so I have two full months to work on editing, polishing, and publishing my other books.

Speaking of which, I will be making another announcement in another day or two… stay tuned!

Excerpt from Empath by Becca J. Campbell

Last week was busy around here! I released June & Justin (previously excerpted here), and also announced that one of my other books has been nominated for an award: Tattooed Teardrops has been nominated for the In the Margins Best Books for Teens award!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, read the rules at A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along!

I picked up Empath by Becca J. Campbell after reading someone else’s Teaser Tuesday last week. (There are a lot of Empath books, so make sure you get the right one.)  I figured by the cover, and in particular the beautiful font, that it might include a fairyland, and took a look. The description made it clear that it was not a fairytale, but intrigued me nonetheless. It is set in the “real world,” but involves a number of kids with varying paranormal “disabilities”.

He’d opened up to her, let his guard down for a split-second, only to take it all back after the fact. Why? What was he hiding?

Becca J. Campbell, Empath

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Supernatural empathy isn’t a gift, it’s a curse. Anywhere she goes, Jade’s emotions are replaced by those of the people around her.

Jade grew up in a suburb of Colorado Springs, protected from other people by her parents. Now she faces college—and the world—with nothing to shield her from unwanted feelings.

When Cam, a classmate with a major crush on her, unintentionally hijacks her emotions, Jade struggles to keep from being carried away in feelings of attraction. When Ethan, a psychopath with a thirst for fear, fixates on her, the emotional impact could be lethal.

Caught in a deadly trap, Jade must untangle the emotions and find a way to use her empathic curse to overcome this killer or be overcome by him.

Tattooed Teardrops Nominated for “In the Margins” Best Books for Teens Award

It’s all there in the title. In February, Ruby, Between the Cracks won the Top Ten Best Books for Teens In the Margins award, and now Tattooed Teardrops has been nominated as well! Can I saw how much I love the folks over there at Library Services for Youth in Custody? Between you and me, they may have asked for review copies of another book as well…

Is Tattooed Teardrops as good as Ruby, Between the Cracks? In my opinion, it’s even better. And over at Wattpad, Ruby has been garnering comments such as:

“One of the best books I’ve ever read.”

“I wish I could forget the book Ruby and read it all over again. It was so good and made me cry.”

“It kept me awake whole night because I wanted to know the end. This is one of those books where you feel the emotions of the characters, think about them when not reading and want to complete the book in one go. Truly captivating!”

“Best book I have ever read!! I didn’t even wanna sleep at night, because I wanted to just keep reading!!”

“This was amazing honestly. It was so twisted and intriguing and it felt like it was real and was never going to end. It kept me guessing the whole way through.”

So get a head start on the next “best book” and read Tattooed Teardrops!

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“I don’t plan on getting in any trouble.”

Tamara had thought that when she got out of juvie, things would be easier. But before long, it seems like her life is spiraling into chaos.

If she can’t prove to her probation officer that she is innocent of the allegations against her, she’s going back to prison, and Tamara just can’t let that happen.

—For me, a sign of a good book is that it is a quick read, holds my interest front to back and I like the characters. This book met the mark on all three of those characteristics.

—A slimy villain, an eager-to-please side-kick and a heroine who simply wants to move on from her past make for an intriguing tale, indeed! A realistic and beautiful story filled with suspense, heart-breaking friendship and loyalty that will keep you reading until the very end.

Release of June & Justin!

June & Justin, the eagerly-awaited sequel to the award winning Ruby, Between the Cracks, is now available for purchase! It was on my production schedule for earlier in the year, but I need to remember how long it takes my beta readers and editors to review such a long book. (I have already updated my production schedule for book 3, Michelle, to take that into account…)

Currently, you can find it on Amazon (paperback and Kindle), and I will be distributing to the other major vendors soon.

For those of you who are Wattpad followers (where Ruby is just a shade under 100,000 reads today!), I have decided to serialize June & Justin on Wattpad. One chapter per week. Though of course, I’ll release two chapters this week, because you’ve already read the first as a sneak-peek in Ruby.

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Justin had made a mistake. A big, life-changing mistake.

He already failed June once. He wasn’t there when she needed him, and because of him, their lives will never be the same. June is everything to Justin, and he must be everything to her. He must protect June at all costs. Justin is prepared spend the rest of his life keeping her from getting hurt again.

But it seems they are always falling behind, barely keeping one step ahead of the nightmares.

There is always one more hazard, just around the corner.

—A heartbreaking and intense story of the journey of two children to find themselves and happiness.

—Is it possible to rise above your circumstances when you already have two strikes against you?  That is the question facing June and Justin, children thrust into circumstances that would defeat many adults.  Can they ever hope to live happy, normal lives?