Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Sneak Peek: Guinevere Book II and the Kid Lit Blog Hop 55.

This week's post is a celebration of sorts. Last month I finished the first draft—read that as a very rough first draft—of Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend—Cedwyn's Story. A lot of work still needs to be done before the manuscript makes its way to the first of many editor visits. Bear this in mind as you read the first pages of this story. If you have read Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend, then you may be a bit surprised at this reading. So, here goes nothing. I hope you enjoy.

Chapter 1 - State of Affairs

A strong north wind rushed down the valley, scattering leaves already yellowed and blown down earlier by another north wind. Already the smell of winter filled the air, crisp and sharp with the promise of early snow instead of the mild fall usually seen.

It also carried another winter on its breath. A light dusting of ash lay upon the castle parapets and floated down on the roofs turning them a grayish-white. These days ashes covered every level surface and every nook, inside and outside. On days like today when the wind raced through, people tried to breathe shallow to avoid inhaling the acrid smoke carried from the winter up north.

Throughout the spring and summer, conflict ripped through the northern country bringing death to many and sending the ashes of whole villages, burnt to the ground instead of surrendering, south into the lands loyal to the one king. In response, legions of men rode north, knights of those shires pledged to and supporting one land, one king. The land being Britain; the king being Arthur Pendragon.

A slender young woman, chin resting on her hands, gazed north, almost oblivious to the gusts whipping the brown hair escaping from the cowl of her dark green cloak. Days seemed to have passed since the sun last smiled on her land. Then a nasty gale raised up and whipped the hood off her head, revealing underneath the innocent but lined face of a young princess, just past fifteen years. A princess who should have been a queen.

A sigh escaped her blood-spotted lips, cracked and sore from a week of standing on this parapet while the wind destroyed the summer in her land. She waited each day for movement through the trees that would signal the coming home of the knights from the north. No sign of her father or King Arthur.

Months overdue was her marriage. Another change because of the fighting, the refusal of the northern clans to give up their freedom for a different freedom under Arthur. Two months ago, her father had left with a contingent of knights to bolster Arthur’s troops. Two months and no word, just ashes and smoke.

And now,

Welcome to the 55th Kid Lit Blog Hop where we continue to develop a dynamic and engaged community of children's books bloggers, authors, publishers, and publicists.

On this Hop, Carpinello's Writing Pages interviews
fellow MuseItUp YA author Susan Royal.

You are always more than welcome to join us by popping in a post and hopping around to meet some of your fellow Kid Lit bloggers and authors! This week, we are excited to be including a Goodreads Linky Party to be held in conjunction with the Kid Lit Blog Hop. These linky parties are designed to give you the opportunity to connect with and grow your network of fellow kid lit bloggers, authors, and parents through your various social media platforms. We are pleased to welcome as co-host this week Tiffiny from the blog Spark and Pook. Welcome and bienvenue to Tiffiny.  


Mother Daughter Book Reviews

Julie Grasso, Author/ Blogger

Cheryl Carpinello, Author / Blogger

Stacking Books


Pragmatic Mom

Music, Teaching and Parenting

Reading Authors

The Logonauts

A Book Long Enough


Happy Hopping everyone and enjoy the Hop!

Kid Lit Blog Hop

Kid Lit Blog Hop & Linky Party Rules *Please Read*

1. LINKY PARTY: Add the link to your Goodreads profile page in the Goodreads Linky Party list below. Be sure to visit at least the two links directly before yours as well as your hosts' Goodreads pages. Be sure to friend or follow some folks with similar interests and like any reviews that catches your eye.
2. KID LIT BLOG HOP: Link up any Kid Lit related post in the Kid Lit Blog Hop. This can be a link to a children’s book review, a discussion about children’s literature/literacy, or a post on a recently-read children’s book or one that you love from your childhood.
* Don't link directly to your blog, it must be a specific post.*
* For Authors, we prefer you to link to your blog if you have one. Please link unique posts each time ~ no repeats please. *
* Make sure you include an image relevant to the POST (e.g., book cover), not your blog button or photo of yourself.*
* Feel free to link more than one post.*
3. KID LIT BLOG HOP: Please visit AT LEAST the TWO LINKS from the Kid Lit Blog Hop directly ahead of your own and leave them some love in the form of a comment. We are trying to build a community of bloggers, readers, parents, authors, and others who are as passionate about children’s literature as we are so please CONNECT and follow any or all of the blogs that interest you! 4. If you like, grab the button above and put it somewhere on your blog, preferably the post you're linking up. If you'd prefer, you can just add a text link back to this Hop so that others can find it and check out all these great book links! 5. It would really help us get the word out about the Kid Lit Blog Hop if you would be so kind as to tweet, share, and spread the word about the Hop!
Interested in co-hosting the Kid Lit Blog Hop/Linky Party? If you've joined us before, you are welcome to join us again! Please email renee @ motherdaughterbookreviews (dot) com and put Co-Hosting Blog Hop in the subject line.
Happy Hopping!


(Please do not link a blog post here - see below for the Kid Lit Blog Hop)


Meet MG/YA Author Sara Stinson

Carpinello's Writing Pages welcomes retired teacher/author Sara Stinson and her series, The Finger Bones.

First, a bit about Sara:

Hello! Hope everyone is doing well. My name is Sara Stinson, and I am a middle-grade to Young Adult author. I started writing when I retired in 2009. I taught school for twenty-five years and continue to substitute for nearby schools. I am married to Donnie Stinson. We have two grown children, one precious Yorkie, Addie, and two cats, Lexie and Amy.

Why did you pick to write for middle-grade to Young Adult?

I chose the Middle-Grade and Young Adult because I have worked with this age group for over twenty-five years. One day I may try an adult book. For now, I enjoy children books. I can let my imagination run wild. I love creating different worlds and characters. Adventure books are exciting! I enjoy watching the children’s eyes brighten as they sink their minds into a great story.

What type of books do you like to read?
I was talking to an author about this today. I am an eclectic reader. If the book is good, I’m going to read it! Since I write for the middle-grade and Young Adult, I read many books in this area.  Don’t limit yourself.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

I love to read. My family kids me all the time. When I read, I write notes. It’s a habit. My brain is always churning. I love spending time with my family, and my husband and I enjoy fishing!

Tell us about The Finger Bones Series books and how the story came to be.

In my hometown, an elder man named Charlie Porter use to walk to town every day. The trip was over six miles round trip. He was an African American who was born a slave. He died a free man. It was rumored he was between 113 to 122 years old when he died. I wanted him to be one of my ideas for a character. 

I went to the library and started flipping through books.  I came across the word Boney Fingers. I decided to flip the name to Finger Bones. A 122-year-old ghost named Finger Bones became a character in my book. I added three adventurous kids and the stories came to life!

So far, Finger Bones and Wendy and Finger Bones and the Ghost Dog have been published.

Here's a peek at Finger Bones and Wendy:

When ten-year-old Wendy Dee Winkelmann needs to do some serious thinking she likes to chew bubblegum. While sitting on a bench in town reading, she becomes friends with an old man the townspeople call, Finger Bones. Some locals consider him odd and spread rumors about the ghastly man who lives up a dirt road in an old ramshackle cabin. Yet Wendy knows different. She soon discovers that this old man, who walks to town with a burlap bag tied to a stick, has a special job. He sends ghosts to their next destination, and the stick and burlap bag he carries are magical.

Now Wendy chases the lingering spirits, and her two best friends, Claire and Henry, are determined to help her. Soon she finds herself caught up in a devious plan of a dark sinister power, and if it means hurting someone, or worse, it will do whatever is necessary to succeed. It’s all up to Wendy to save Bridgeville before the evil power takes over the town.

When The Bridgeville Clipper announces Finger Bones is dead at 122-years of age, Wendy is not upset. He will be back. Finger Bones and Wendy have unfinished business in this small town.

Have you written any other books?  If so, tell us a bit about them.
Yes. I have just published Book One of The Hally Witch of Magic Hollow Series. The name is Forever Changed. A teenage girl named Skyla Hally discovers she has magical powers on the night of her seventeenth birthday. This fantasy has fun creatures and lots of action throughout the book.  

What’s next for your writing?  Are you working on a new story?
Yes. I’m researching and planning for the next Finger Bones book. I’m also writing ideas and an outline for Book Two of The Hally Witch books. I also have several ideas written down for books.  Authors are weird like this!

What advice do you have for authors?

My advice is to write every day. Practice may not make perfect, but it will improve your writing skills. When the draft is complete, edit, edit, and edit. When you think you are finished, read it again.  Also, leave the book alone for a few days, or weeks. It helps to take a break and return to it later.

Anything else you want readers to know?
I do hope you will join The Finger Bones family on my site! Join the family and read the books. I guarantee the books will bring the kid out in you! It’s for third grade and up.  

Forever Changed is more for seventh grade and up. It’s a fantasy, adventure, and paranormal romance. Please read and enjoy this adventurous magical book. Learn what Cruggles are. Meet the Jiffles and discover what the Box of Rigspul’s purpose is. Like on the cover, read about The Hally Book of Shadows. You may think it’s alive!

Where can readers find you and your books?


Sara Stinson website

My books:

Amazon (Finger Bones and Wendy)
Amazon (Finger Bones and the Ghost Dog)
Amazon (Forever Changed)
Barnes and Nobles

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Stellarcadia Book Blast

Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to be hosting a Book Blast for the third and final book in the "Adventures of Caramel Cardamom" middle grade science fiction trilogy by Julie Anne Grasso: "Stellarcadia".


Stellarcadia by Julie Anne Grasso

About the Book

Title: Stellarcadia (Adventures of Caramel Cardamom, Book 3) | Author: Julie Anne Grasso | Publication Date: December 24, 2014 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 128 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 12 Book Description: Caramel Cinnamon is one lucky elf. She can hardly believe she’s invited to attend the first Intergalactic Youth Summit, on-board the Stellarcadia. Her friends can’t wait to go “hyper,” but even the thought of it chills Caramel to the bone. However, nothing could compare to the icy reception she receives upon her arrival. Keen to get to the bottom of it, Caramel stumbles on a dangerous conspiracy, but no one will believe her. In the exciting conclusion to The Adventures of Caramel Cardamom Trilogy, Caramel will have to do more than outwit her enemies, she will have to convince her friends to take her seriously. For ages 8-12.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


The Early Buzz

"The book is also a perfect mix of magic, science, and technology. Don’t be surprised if readers get to use their imaginations and learn something. Julie Anne Grasso has proven herself to be an original and versatile author..." ~ 5 Stars, Ilana W., Amazon
"Couldn't put it down." ~ Jemima P., Goodreads

About the Author: Julie Anne Grasso

Julie Anne Grasso

With a background in paediatric nursing, Julie Anne Grasso spent many years literally wrapping children in cotton wool. Every day she witnessed great courage and resilience from the tiny people she cared for, which inspired her to write stories to encourage and entertain them. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband Danny and their little girl, Giselle.

Website | Blog | Facebook

Twitter | Goodreads 



* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice) Contest ends: March 25, 11:59 pm, 2015 Open: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Julie Anne Grasso and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com. a Rafflecopter giveaway

MDBR Book Promotion Services

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Meet YA Author Melanie Hooyenga

Carpinello's Writing Pages welcomes YA author Melanie Hooyenga. Melanie writes The Flicker Effect Series.

First, a bit about Melanie:

I first started writing as a teenager and find I still relate best to that age group. My young-adult novel, Flicker, debuted in November 2012, and the sequel, Fracture, released in June 2014. I’ve lived in Washington DC, Chicago, and Mexico, but have finally settled down in my home state of Michigan with my husband Jeremy. When not at my day job as a graphic designer, you can find me attempting to wrangle my Miniature Schnauzer Owen and playing every sport imaginable with Jeremy.

Why did you pick to write books for YA?

My first two novels were adult contemporary fiction, but they both had teenage protagonists. After a beta reader kindly suggested perhaps I try writing YA, I got the idea for Flicker (the first book in my trilogy) and thought I’d give it a try. It’s the most natural voice I’ve ever written, and I’m so glad I tried something that seemed outside my comfort zone.

It’s been a long time since I was a teenager, but I still love the idea of first loves, new adventures, and discovering who you are.

What types of books do you like to read?

Lately it seems all I read is YA, but I’m hoping to branch out a bit this year. I just finished Stephanie Perkins’ series Isla and The Happily Ever After, and I’m considering rereading Insurgent before it comes out in March. I have far too many books on my TBR pile, but I tend to read contemporary YA romance, as well as the occasional dystopian. Next on my list is Kevin Craig’s Burn Baby, Burn Baby and Donna Tartt’s Goldfinch.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

Oh wow, what DON’T I like to do? My husband and I are very active so the only time I’m just sitting on the couch is if I’m reading or watching TV (we only watch a handful of shows). This winter we’re playing dodgeball and skiing, then softball starts in April, and golf shortly after that. I’m also hoping to squeeze in beach volleyball since we live two minutes from Lake Michigan. We enjoy cooking and entertaining friends, and I enjoy the occasional DIY crafty projects (Next up: chevroning the desk in my writing room and a magnetic chalkboard).

Tell us about Flicker and how the story came to be.

Flicker is the first book in The Flicker Effect trilogy. I first got the idea when driving to see my grandmother. You know how sometimes the sunlight flickers through the trees in a way that makes a strobe-light effect? Well, it really messes with my head to the point that I have to shield my eyes so I can concentrate on the road. That snowy December day, the light was particularly bad, and I wondered what if there was a girl who, when she experienced this, time-traveled back to yesterday. And Biz was born.

Flicker tells the story of 17-year old Biz who’s just like every other teenager except for one minor detail: she uses sunlight to travel back to yesterday. She uses her ability the way any teenager would—by retaking tests, fixing fights with her boyfriend, and reliving the making up. But when little girls in her town start disappearing, she realizes she can help more than just herself.

Here's a peek at Flicker:

Biz is a perfectly normal teenager except for one minor detail: she uses sunlight to jump back to yesterday. She takes advantage of flickering by retaking Trig tests, fixing fights with her boyfriend (or reliving the making up), and repeating pretty much anything that could be done better. Trouble is, flickering makes her head explode from the inside. Or feel like it anyway.

No one knows about her freakish ability, and she’s content to keep it that way. Guys don't stick around because she refuses to let them in, but all that changes when Cameron, her best friend, starts looking oh-so-yummy. Suddenly she's noticing his biceps, his smile, and the cute way his eyes crinkle when he—gah! This is her friend!

But the butterflies come to a screeching halt when little girls start disappearing, then take a nosedive when the police link the kidnappings to Cameron's sister, who vanished years earlier. As the police grasp for clues, Biz photographs a strange man lurking in the shadows and realizes that her flickering can help more than just herself.

Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.

Fracture, book two in the trilogy, picks up a month after Flicker ends and brings a whole mess of problems for Biz: Her newly shaved head brings out the bullies; her boyfriend Cameron is getting a little too chummy with a girl from the kidnap support group; and Cameron’s formerly kidnapped sister is having some serious adjustment issues. When her dad’s health takes a turn for the worse, she turns to her neurosurgeon who operated on her. If she tells him the truth, he could figure out why she and her dad flicker and save her before her entire world—and her own health—crumbles. But can Biz trust him with her secret?

Faded—which I just finished—is the final book of the series. Biz didn’t think life could get worse after she tried—and failed—to stop a horrific event, but when she accidentally flickers into a car on her eighteenth birthday after doing shots of vodka—she’s forced to face the consequences of her actions in a way she never imagined. When an anonymous email threatens to reveal her secret, Biz must decide if flickering is all it’s cracked up to be, or if she needs to stop flickering. Forever.

I’ve written two other novels, one of which I might rewrite for a YA audience, but neither is leaving my computer in their current state. I call those practice novels.

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

I’ve already outlined my next book, a YA romance inspired by the movie Grease, of all things. There’s a lot of snow and skiing (we were buried under three feet of snow all last winter and I watched A LOT of the Olympics), and probably lots of kissing. I’m excited to write something completely new. I love Biz and Cam and Amelia in The Flicker Effect, but I’ve been hanging out with them since 2010, so I’m eager to start something new.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Keep at it. Writing a novel is not easy, and it’s not fast. You’ll go through days and weeks where the words flow and writing is the best feeling in the world, then you’ll get stuck or start to doubt yourself, or (like I sometimes do) read a book that is so stupendously fantastic you wonder why you ever thought you could do this. But no one else can tell your story the way YOU can tell it.

Also, don’t hide in a bubble. Get online. Meet fellow writers. When you publish, whether with a traditional publishing house or via self-publishing, a lot of the marketing will fall on your shoulders and if the only people you know are your family and the kids you graduated with, no one will hear about your book.

Anything else you want readers to know?

I love to hear from readers! I’m on Facebook and Twitter the most, but I do have a blog where I try to remember to post more than once a month.

Where can readers find you and your books?

I’m all over the internet!


Amazon Flicker
Amazon Fracture
B&N Flicker
B&N Fracture (print only)

Or if you happen to be in west Michigan, the Bookman in Grand Haven has both books as well.