Excerpt from Lisa Lowry’s The Giver

December 1 is the first day of Advent! You could be reading the first day of the Dickens Advent Reader right now. Read both A Christmas Carol and The Life of Our Lord with your family before Christmas!

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

I’m reading a couple of YA dystopian fiction books right now. I’m quite impressed so far with The Giver by Lois Lowry. It has been on my TBR list for a while!

‘I liked the feeling of love,’ [Jonas] confessed. He glanced nervously at the speaker on the wall, reassuring himself that no one was listening. ‘I wish we still had that,’ he whispered. ‘Of course,’ he added quickly, ‘I do understand that it wouldn’t work very well. And that it’s much better to be organized the way we are now. I can see that it was a dangerous way to live.’

Lois Lowry, The Giver

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The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lois Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.

Excerpt from A Christmas Carol





I just validated my NaNoWriMo win! The first draft of Chloe, Between the Cracks #4 clocked in at 114,699 words. 20 days of writing (since three days were Sundays and I don’t write on Sunday.) At least 5,000 words per day.

Did you miss my announcement last week? Stuff is happening around here!

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

Tis the season… for A Christmas Carol and special family readings as we count down the days to Christmas! Who hasn’t read some version of A Christmas Carol, or at least watched one of the movie versions? This advent reader will have you reading it in twenty-four readings from December 1 to Christmas Eve. How about this teaser from the December 3 reading:

“A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December!” said Scrooge, buttoning his great-coat to the chin. “But I suppose you must have the whole day. Be here all the earlier next morning.”

The clerk promised that he would; and Scrooge walked out with a growl.

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

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Dickens’ widely beloved A Christmas Carol and his little-known The Life of Our Lord are brought together in this reader, specially formatted into 24 readings suitable for reading during December.
Experience two of the greatest Christmas stories of all time with your family

This Workman Family Classics Edition Contains:
• Background/Introduction
• Biography
• Footnotes
• a scriptural passage and discussion question after
each day’s reading
• Extension activities


Reading the Classics

6414900129_02da947a40_bI have recently embarked upon a new venture!

Apparently writing a 125,000 novel during November for NaNoWriMo was not enough to keep me busy. I also moved forward on a new plan to publish classic novels with hand-crafted, value-added content just for you.

I am currently working on two streams, Workman Classic Schoolbooks and Workman Family Classics. You can find out about their selection and features here or by clicking “Buy Classics” on the menu bar.

What have I worked on so far?

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00024]Dave Dashaway the Young Aviator is the first book in the Dave Dashaway series, a little-known series put out by the same publishing house as the Hardy Boys, Bobbsey Twins, Rover Boys, and many more highly successful children’s books. The other four books in the series will be coming! My Workman Classic Schoolbooks edition includes vocabularly exercises, comprehension questions, discussion questions suitable for a book club, class, or family, extension activities, and more. Workman Classic Schoolbooks are a great resource for homeschooling families, and Dave Dashaway is an adventure of particular interest to busy boys.

advent reader kindleI have also published A Christmas Carol and The Life of Our Lord, two books by Charles Dickens, as Advent readers just in time for the Christmas holiday. Each is divided into twenty-four bite-sized readings so that you can start reading them with your famiy on December 1 and finish on Christmas Eve. Each day’s reading includes a scripture and an open-ended discussion question to get talking with your kids, spouse, or book club. Extension activites are included in the back.

While you can get both of these Advent readers separately, you can save money and get both of them in the Dickens Advent Reader. (Available in Kindle or paperback.) Order now, and you will have it in time to start reading these timeless Christmas classics with your family on December 1.


Excerpt from Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card

Nanowrimo is coming along well. Halfway through, and I am up over 80,000 words.

I hope to have a special announcement for you next week. Oh, I know, I’m such a tease…

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

I have been reading another Orson Scott Card book (I’m not sure how many that is this year… six, maybe?) This one, rather than being set in a sci fi or fantasy world is set in early American times, a world steeped in religion and witchery.

Good boys, doing their work just right, Vigor shouting directions while Alvin could only watch, helpless at the back of the wagon, looking now at Faith who was trying not to have the baby, now at the Hatrack River that was trying to push them all down to hell.

Orson Card, Seventh Son: The Tales of Alvin Maker, Volume I

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From the author of Ender’s Game, an unforgettable story about young Alvin Maker: the seventh son of a seventh son. Born into an alternative frontier America where life is hard and folk magic is real, Alvin is gifted with the power. He must learn to use his gift wisely. But dark forces are arrayed against Alvin, and only a young girl with second sight can protect him.

Excerpt from The Bedlam Detective

Am I still working on my Nanowrimo novel? You bet! 48,212 words in. While the official goal of Nano is 50,000 words, my goal is 125,000 words, so I’m not as close as you may think.

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

I have just finished The Bedlam Detective by Stephen Gallagher. A fascinating psychological thriller revolving around madness. Right up my alley.

“Two children are missing,” the cook said.

Sebastian abruptly laid down his pen.

“Tell me more,” he said.

“Oh, it’s probably something and nothing,” she said.

Stephen Gallagher, The Bedlam Detective

bedlam twitterFrom a basement office in London’s notorious Bethlehem Hospital, Sebastian Becker investigates wealthy eccentrics whose dubious mental health may render them unable to manage their own affairs. His interview with rich landowner Sir Owain Lancaster, whose sanity has been in question since a disastrous scientific adventure in the Amazon killed his family and colleagues, coincides with the disappearance of two young local girls. When the children are found slain, Lancaster claims that the same dark forces that devastated his family have followed him home. It is not the first time that children have come to harm in his rural countryside town, though few are willing to speak of incidents from the past. Becker must determine whether this mad nobleman is insane and a murderer, or if some even more sinister agency is at work.

Struggling on his small salary, and with unexpected help from a son who needs special care, Becker and his wife make sacrifices so Becker can stay on the case after an innocent man is convicted of the crime. The answers he seeks may be found with the assistance of the local investigator and a young suffragette who fled Arnmouth, but couldn’t flee the horrors she encountered there.

From dank asylums to the lush and treacherous Amazon, through the makeshift studios of the early film industry and a traveling fair of freaks and illusions, Sebastian Becker’s search for answers brings him face to face with madmen and monsters, both imagined and real. Confronting immense danger in his hunt for the truth, he will explore murder, tragedy, and the tempestuous depths of his own mind.

Excerpt from Sycamore Row by John Grisham

Nanowrimo is on! I am 9,009 words in and motoring away.

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

If you love a good courtroom thriller, John Grisham is your man. I am currently reading Sycamore Row: A Novel (Jake Brigance Book 2). I have not read the first Jake Brigance novel, I don’t think, but Sycamore Row works as a stand alone novel. I am well into it, and enjoying John Grisham’s signature style.

His most glorious moment had come and gone. The acquittal of Carl Lee Hailey was three years ago, and Jake sometimes feared he was now beyond his pinnacle. As always, though, he brushed those doubts aside and reminded himself that he was only thirty-five. He was a gladiator with many great courtroom victories before him.

John Grisham, Sycamore Row

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Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County’s most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises many more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row?

Reading List: Young Adult Fiction About Abuse


I can hardly wait for Nanowrimo to start! And be sure to check out my promos for translations that are on sale over Halloween/Day of the Dead.

It has been a while since I posted a reading list! Abuse is one of the topics that I write a lot about. Looking over my list and some other young adult novels, I think I am going to break it down into three separate lists.

  • Physical Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Mental/Psychological Abuse

I will start today with physical abuse. There are lot of memoirs about physical abuse, but there are not a lot of popular young adult books that revolve primarily around physical abuse.

My books that include main characters who are (primarily) physically abused:


“You’re a good kid, Henry.”

Everyone knew that he was a good guy; geeky, responsible, hard-working.  Henry has had a lot to deal with in the past.  Now, as he should be focusing on his schooling and preparing himself for the future, he is hindered by abuse, the challenge of raising his baby brother while dealing with his mother’s deep depressions, and the return of a ghost from the past Henry has tried his best to forget.

But it seems that Henry can’t avoid the nastiness of life.  As hard as he tries, it’s one more disaster after another as his life spirals out of control.

Can Henry escape the darkness, or is he doomed to be consumed by it?

steven mock-up-1

Don’t Forget Steven

He never told what went on behind closed doors. But this time, he can’t remember.

Things never have been easy for Steven. He accepts that, and just makes the best of things. He might not have parents or a happy home. Or enough to eat most days. But at least he has a couple of loyal friends who stand by him and help out when they can. At least he has school, someplace he can go to escape the abuse.

But just when he thought things couldn’t get much worse, they did.

Steven is accused of murder. But that isn’t the worst part. The really bad part is not even knowing if he did it.

tattooed mockup-1Tattooed Teardrops

“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.

lion-mock-1Lion Within

(Note this one is not a young adult book and is pretty graphic.)

Leo is a troubled young man, constantly on the brink of disaster. In the midst of his own emotional turmoil, Leo meets Elizabeth, single mom of a newborn, with a lot on her plate and a past that she won’t acknowledge.

Leo has always been driven to rescue others, and Elizabeth becomes the newest project to help him forget his own troubles.

Can Leo reach Elizabeth, and at the same time, come to terms with his own past? Or is he messing around with something beyond his ability to manage?


The other books that I have picked out are:

holesHoles, by Louis Sachar

My son loves the movie version of Holes.

“If you take a bad boy and make him dig a hole every day in the hot sun, it will turn him into a good boy.” Such is the reigning philosophy at Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention facility where there is no lake, and there are no happy campers. In place of what used to be “the largest lake in Texas” is now a dry, flat, sunburned wasteland, pocked with countless identical holes dug by boys improving their character. Stanley Yelnats, of palindromic name and ill-fated pedigree, has landed at Camp Green Lake because it seemed a better option than jail. No matter that his conviction was all a case of mistaken identity, the Yelnats family has become accustomed to a long history of bad luck, thanks to their “no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather!”

thiefThe Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

I have featured The Book Thief once before on Teaser Tuesday.

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

hungerThe Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

A different kind of physical abuse, but Hunger Games is so popular, I thought I would include it.

In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.


Excerpt from Green eyes in Las Vegas

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

Not my first excerpt from a cozy mystery with a cupcake on the cover! I am currently reading Green eyes in Las Vegas by A.R. Winters. It is the second book in the Tiffany Black Mystery series. I have not read the first, but I am enjoying the sassy, humorous tone.

I was walking down the street, minding my own business, when the man fell out of the sky.

A.R. Winters, Green eyes in Las Vegas

green eyes twit

Tiffany flits between her two new cases: investigating the missing Van Gogh, and the murder of a Hollywood starlet with a secret life. When her investigation takes an intriguing turn and a man with mesmerizing green eyes comes into her life, Tiffany starts to wonder if this man might be the missing link between both crimes…

When her octogenarian friend Glenn starts dating a very inappropriate woman, and Nanna starts calling a twenty-something-year-old her “boyfriend”, Tiffany wonders if being attracted to a potential criminal might not be so crazy after all.

As she follows the investigation from movie sets to museums, danger strikes a little too close to home when Tiffany discovers that not only was the dead girl being stalked, someone with a deadly motive appears to be watching her too…

Promos! Free books for all!

Over the next couple of weeks, in conjunction with Halloween and the Day of the Dead, I have gone crazy with Kindle promos!

I have already posted about the Halloween Book Blast, a multiauthor event that I am participating in on October 24. Multiauthor event means there are 30 or so authors offering free books! Don’t miss it! Follow the link for author interviews. I have two books participating in the book blast. Questing for a Dream and Pursued by the Past.

Questing for a DreamQuesting for a Dream is free October 21-25.

Pursued by the Past is free October 24-28. 3D


But wait, that’s not all!

We wouldn’t want to leave out foreign language translations, would we?
kindle cover ruby spanish
El Mal Camino de Ruby
  is free October 30-Nov 6

Por Conta Própria is free Oct 28-Nov kindle cover

Excerpt from The Finisher by David Baldacci

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

Don’t forget to put this huge Halloween promotion on your calendar. Fill your Kindle with  free books!

This one has been a fun read so far: The Finisher by David Baldacci is sort of a Harry Potter meets Katniss Everdeen, with a great sarcastic sense of humor thrown in. The recommended reading ages for this book are all over the places. We can find age 10-14, grade 9, grade 6-9,  grade 7-10, grade 5-9, and ‘middle grade’ all in different places on the Amazon page. I would absolutely recommend it for younger readers. More of a Harry Potter vibe than Divergent, even though the cover gives the impression it is for older kids. That’s not to say that older readers won’t enjoy it!

Being fourteen and female was frowned on here in Wormwood, the village where we both lived. It’s never been clear to me why. But I liked being young. And I liked being female.

David Baldacci, The Finisher

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Vega Jane was always told no one could leave the town of Wormwood. She was told there was nothing outside but a forest filled with danger and death. And she always believed it — until the night she saw Quentin Herms run away.

Vega knows Quentin didn’t just leave — he was chased. And he left behind a trail of clues that point to a dark conspiracy at the heart of Wormwood. To follow the clues will attract the attention of influential people willing to kill to keep their secrets. If Vega wants to stay safe, she just needs to keep her head down and her mouth shut. There’s only one problem — Vega Jane never walks away from a fight.