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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine

Can one person make a difference in this world? Can one kid? If you are twelve-year-old Red Porter, you can. It may take you a while to understand that in 1970’s Virginia all it takes is one person to make a stand. Soon others will stand with you and change can be enacted.

From grieving his father’s death, to defending the girl that just might be capturing his heart, to finding himself in a compromising situation that almost gets his best friend killed, Red learns that being a man and making a man’s decisions are hard, harder than he ever thought. And for that, he counts on the guidance of his father’s voice saying, “I hear ya, son.”

So many times Red listens for his father’s voice, but he soon realizes he has to find his own path to becoming a man. To do that he must stand up to his mother, protect his little brother, lament the loss of his best friend, and find something most important to an old woman, whose African American family had their property stolen over one hundred years ago. The trouble is. Red has no idea the thief was closer to him than he could ever imagine.




Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine portrays the racial conflicts of the seventies in this wonderfully written historical fiction novel for middle grade readers. Poignant, positive, and passionate, Red Porter will capture your heart. As a former teacher, I highly recommend this book. It can be used as a discussion starter or supplemental reading for a social studies unit.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Two Lies and A Truth with LAMAR GILES

I’d like to welcome Lamar Giles to The Storyteller’s Blog.

I met Lamar last month at the Highlights Foundation Summer Camp, where he was my mentor for my new YA thriller.  I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. He is a two-time Edgar nominee for Fake ID – 2015 and Endangered – 2016.

That being said, Lamar—

1. Do you see yourself in any of your characters?

Somewhat. No character I write is a complete version of me, or a complete version of any real person. But, some of their feelings and the actions those feelings fuel given certain fictional situations are, I think, universal. That’s probably what I do with my characters more than anything, write in pieces of me that I feel are pieces of everyone.  

2. What are you trying to say in the book about young people?

I’m trying to throw a spotlight on bullying and hypocrisy. I doubt bullies ever feel like they’re doing anything wrong. In some ways, they probably think they’re doing something helpful and necessary. Like, “You need me to punch you so you can learn to be tough and take a joke. I’m helping you learn your place.”  When some kid embarrasses another, or hurts another, only the most self aware among them sit back and say, “this is wrong.” I wanted to take the reader along for a ride with a likeable bully in Panda.

3. How long ago did you get the idea for Endangered?

Sometime in 2011 or 2012, maybe. It was after FAKE ID was completely finished and I was anxious to get started on a new project.

4. When did you start the first draft and how long, from that point, until the book was completed?

See my previous answer for when. In terms of drafting, it probably took a year and a few drafts to finish. It’s all a little fuzzy now.
        
5. When and where do you write?

I have a home office, so I write most of my work there. Every so often I’ll take a field trip to a coffee shop or bookstore. That’s usually on Friday, to break the monotony.

6. How did you find the inspiration for ENDANGERED?

The news. Around the time of ENDANGERED’s conception there were several stories of cyberbulling going too far. Those stories were the seeds.


7. Without giving too much away, can you tell the readers how deceit or lies play a part in ENDANGERED?

But that would be giving everything away. They’ll just have to read. ;) (add devil horns to that emoji, please…haha)

That being said, could you give us three brief personal experiences that you incorporated into ENDANGERED? But one caveat…..two must be lies….. and one must be a truth!

The readers will guess which one is the lie and all of the correct guesses will go into a drawing for a signed copy of ENDANGERED.


1          A world renowned wildlife photographer consulted on the book.

2          I explored an unfinished skyscraper with a real Urban Explorer as part of my research.

3          All of the Virginia locations in the book are fictionalized to allow me greater flexibility in plotting.


One last note.

8. Could you tell us a bit about your new release, OVERTUNED and when it will be released?

Overturned will be release on 03/28/17. Here’s a description!

Nikki Tate is infamous, even by Las Vegas standards. Her dad is sitting on death row, convicted of killing his best friend in a gambling dispute turned ugly. And for five years, he’s maintained his innocence. But Nikki wants no part of that. She’s been working on Operation Escape Vegas: playing in illegal card games so she can save up enough money to get out come graduation day.

Then her dad’s murder conviction is overturned. The new evidence seems to come out of nowhere and Nikki’s life becomes a mess when he’s released from prison. Because the dad who comes home is not the dad she remembers. And he’s desperately obsessed with finding out who framed him—and why.

As her dad digs into the seedy underbelly of Vegas, the past threatens everything and Nikki is drawn into his deadly hunt for the truth. But in the city of sin, some sinners will do anything to keep their secrets, and Nikki soon finds herself playing for the biggest gamble ever—her life.


Thanks so much for stopping by, Lamar. We appreciate you sharing your writing experiences with us.


Leave your comment below. Try to decipher which statement above is the truth for a chance to win a signed copy of ENDANGERED.

ENDANGERED - http://a.co/0unOAhn

There are no pre-order links for OVERTURNED yet. Thanks.


Lamar Giles - Author of ENDANGERED - A 2016 Edgar Award Finalist for Best Young Adult Novel | In Stores NOW
www.lamargiles.com
Follow @LRGiles on Twitter
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Praise for ENDANGERED:

"...a dynamic, dangerously suspenseful, contemporary adventure...” School Library Journal

“...suspenseful and often wise.” Kirkus Reviews

“FIVE STARS!!!! I honestly loved this book so much.” Just a Broke Bookworm Reviews

A Junior Library Guild Spring 2015 Selection

B&N Teen Blog Spring 2015 Hotly Anticipated Pick

Faithful Cover Reveal and Giveaway - Michelle Hauck

FAITHFUL COVER REVEAL 

Today, Michelle Hauck and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover for FAITHFUL, book two in the Birth of Saints series which releases November 15, 2016! 

Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win a SIGNED copy of book 1 GRUDGING!

On to the reveal! 

Title: FAITHFUL (Birth of Saints #2)
Author: Michelle Hauck
Pub. Date: November 15, 2016
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse
Formats: eBook
ISBN: 9780062447173
Find it: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Goodreads

Following Grudging--and with a mix of Terry Goodkind and Bernard Cornwall--religion, witchcraft, and chivalry war in Faithful, the exciting next chapter in Michelle Hauck's Birth of Saints series!

A world of Fear and death…and those trying to save it.

Colina Hermosa has burned to the ground. The Northern invaders continue their assault on the ciudades-estados. Terror has taken hold, and those that should be allies betray each other in hopes of their own survival. As the realities of this devastating and unprovoked war settles in, what can they do to fight back?

On a mission of hope, an unlikely group sets out to find a teacher for Claire, and a new weapon to use against the Northerners and their swelling army.

What they find instead is an old woman.

But she’s not a random crone—she’s Claire’s grandmother. She’s also a Woman of the Song, and her music is both strong and horrible. And while Claire has already seen the power of her own Song, she is scared of her inability to control it, having seen how her magic has brought evil to the world, killing without reason or remorse. To preserve a life of honor and light, Ramiro and Claire will need to convince the old woman to teach them a way so that the power of the Song can be used for good. Otherwise, they’ll just be destroyers themselves, no better than the Northerners and their false god, Dal. With the annihilation their enemy has planned, though, they may not have a choice.

A tale of fear and tragedy, hope and redemption, Faithful is the harrowing second entry in the Birth of Saints trilogy.

Exclusive Excerpt!

Not for the first time, Claire reconsidered her decision to stay when Ramiro had asked her. She’d lingered out of curiosity—and truthfully because it felt good to be needed—but they didn’t need her now with the Northern army defeated. She could return to the swamp and away from so many people. Despite her hopes of friends and community, she felt awkward here. Reason said she’d get used to their ways, but being around so many folk made her want to hide. Everything pressed down. The walls of the tent shrunk, pinning her in, and smothering her. It became hard to breathe.

She reached for a fresh strip of cloth, only to have her hand shake. She snatched the material and began to roll it, trying to shut out everything else, including her own doubts.

Before she could find a semblance of peace, though, someone shouted. Ladies screamed. Claire looked over her shoulder at the noise. A brown-bearded man in a poncho and a floppy hat ran in her direction. “My family is dead, because of the evacuations. Because of you.”

Claire gasped. He seemed to be talking to Beatriz, then his gaze found Claire.

“Witch!” His outstretched hand suddenly held a long butcher knife. “Witch! Stay away from us! Murderer! Abomination! Die!”

Fronilde dropped to the ground, but Claire couldn’t move. Surprise robbed her brain of a Song to stop him. Even the words of the Hornet Tune, which she knew as well as her name, deserted her. The man closed as everyone scrambled out of his way. Then Beatriz sprang from her chair to stand over Claire, holding up her hand. The tall, black-lace mantilla atop her head waved like a flag. “Stop.”

Something about the authority in the First Wife’s voice—or maybe her simple resistance instead of cringing or scrambling away—brought the man up short, making him pause for a moment. Just the moment the bodyguard needed to crush the lunatic to the floor and overpower him, wrestling free the knife. More guards came running from outside.

Breath rushed back in Claire’s lungs. Beatriz sniffed and touched a spot on her chest over her heart and then her forehead and stomach areas. “Imbecile. He didn’t know who he was dealing with.”




About Michelle: 
Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Two papillons help balance out the teenage drama. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.

She is a co-host of the yearly contests Query Kombat and Nightmare on Query Street, and Sun versus Snow.

Her epic fantasy, Kindar's Cure, is published by Divertir Publishing. Her short story, Frost and Fog, is published by The Elephant's Bookshelf Press in their anthology, Summer's Double Edge. She's repped by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.


Website | Twitter | Facebook page | Tumblr | Goodreads


Giveaway Details:
2 winners will receive a signed of GRUDGING, US Only.




Thursday, August 18, 2016

Review of RAT by Jan Cheripko

RAT by Jan Cheripko

Are you a basketball fan? If not, you will be after you read RAT. If you are, you’ll be calling plays right alongside Coach and Jeremy Chandler, aka RAT, a nicknaname given to him by Simpson, the team bully. This nickname is two-fold— One, fifteen-year-old Jeremy loves basketball and spends most of his time in the gym, thus the “Gym Rat” connotation. And two, because Jeremy witnesses a coach molesting a cheerleader and testified to what he saw, the basketball players call him “Rat.” 

Of course all bullies have a hidden reason in their backgrounds that makes them act mean to others, and by the time you reach the end of the book you will discover what makes Simpson tick, or explode, as the case may be. And your understanding of Jeremy grows exponentially, just as he does, as he learns that you can have friends and be true to yourself, while telling the truth.

Cheripko, the master of metaphors, entwines the stories of a cast of high school characters with the realistic life stories of adults with their own shortcomings. Family relationships between parents and their angst-ridden teen children are portrayed realistically.


The reader believes this is a book has boy appeal, especially for the reluctant reader. Jan Cheripko belongs to the KIDLIT, INK marketing group for published authors of Children’s Literature.