#BookBlitz “Michael Butler Blitz”

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Super Tech Kids

Children’s Fiction, Short Stories, Middle Grade

Published: May 5, 2021

Supporting Your Children’s Talents: Encourage Your Kids to Take Ownership of Their Creativity & Spread the Message Easily – 14 Inspiring Blizzy Code Stories Your Child Is Going to Love.

Children display natural abilities at a very young age. Whether they’re playing basketball, reading books, or coloring – you can notice their talent through their daily activities. However, recognizing their gifts alone is not enough.

Contrary to popular belief, this is actually the best time to be alive. Technology is the future, and the future is now. With it, it brought unlimited possibilities and a chance for kids to reach their full potential. Thanks to technology, kids can now take ownership of their creativity and easily pass the message of what they’re doing.

Blizzy Code is a perfect example of why we need technology and with this book, you and your kids will discover why!

Throughout its contents, you’ll get introduced to Blizzy Code and the amazing things it can do for you. Filled with exciting stories that your kids are going to love, this book will inspire them to reach their goals!

Thanks to these Blizzy Code stories, your children will realize the importance of inventions and how to turn them into something big by delivering the message properly. All this with the help of a single platform – Blizzy Code!

If you feel like you have gifted children, support their talent by spreading the word. Instead of breaking the bank to have someone else do it, you can deliver the message yourself! Blizzy Code introduces a brand-new approach of reaching the right audience and connections to promote your kid, your business or even merely for just garnering information.

Upon deciding to read this book, you’ll make the first step toward supporting your kids’ creativity. And, you surely wouldn’t mind catching some quality time together while reading these amazing stories and scoring some extra parent points!

  Amazon

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Blizzy Codes

Fiction

Published: May 13, 2021

Blizzy Codes? What Is This New Technology the World Is Buzzing about?

In today’s world, information sharing is something that we just learned we are not good at… we are not good at getting the right information to the right people…

One man had a dream – a dream to share the information and messages with the people who need it most, and that dream became a reality. He made the Blizzy Code – a secondary communication system with the ability to provide life-saving information without interruption…

Blizzy codes – perhaps one of the best parts of Jordan’s life so far. Everyone could tell how proud he was of this technology as it was eventually going to affect people’s lives for the better.

That’s all Jordan ever wanted to do, though; to touch lives and help the people around him. This is why he designed this technology to get anyone everything they could ever think of without having to sweat for it. Yes, that was it!

Although the people saw this new technology as something spectacular, truthfully, no one understood its philosophy yet. Today was the day Jordan was going to teach the world about the essence of Blizzy codes, flaunting this new technology to the whole of New York, to the world…

With Blizzy Codes, the creator of real-life messaging technology of the same name, Michael Butler gives an in-depth explanation of what the technology does and the philosophy behind his life’s work through an intricately designed fiction story.

The characters may be fictional, but the events are not. So get ready to follow Jordan as he tries to bring his technology to life and find out what is this new technology the world is buzzing about!

Amazon

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POLICE

Fiction, Crime Fiction, Urban Fiction, Political Fiction

Published: October 1, 2021

From the prolific, up-and-coming author, Michael Butler, comes “Black Redemption” — a story of circumstance, fate, choice, and redemption. Author showcased at the 2021 Juneteenth celebration, “Black Redemption” celebrates the resilience of the African American and Jewish spirit. Yet, despite the odds stacked against them, protagonists
Trey, Maxwell, and Isaac lived, learned, and redeemed themselves despite unfortunate circumstances, despite adverse fates, despite poor choices.

Trey and Isaac are best friends with contrasting upbringings. Isaac’s family builds on religiousness, peace, understanding, unity, anti-racism, and imparting the proper virtues and moral standards to their children. On the other hand, Trey’s family is separated by disputes, negligence, and disunity. Yet, instead of feeling disheartened, Trey is overwhelmed with hope — a hope that things can and will get better so long as there is
personal accountability. This is our world. Let’s make it a better place, and we have the power to make a change by doing the next right thing.
Problems become even more apparent to Trey when he reunites with his brother Maxwell under extraordinary circumstances years after leaving his tumultuous
home. Yet, by taking control of their fortunes, can these young men overcome
African American Racism and Antisemitism in the United States and prove that
they could rise above Gun Violence and change the status quo despite the
odds? *** “Black Redemption” by Michael Butler is a compelling
suspense drama that serves as a commentary on the saga of our nation as it
battles racism and Gun Violence against the African American and Jewish
population. And that, through compassion, tolerance, and the proper gun
interventions, all violence against all people can be reduced. “Black
Redemption” took Ten years and countless hours of dedication to write,
backed by remarkable research and development, and presented to New York
City as a new initiative in an immersive virtual reality format. Today, it
has seen sweeping reviews from readers and featured in the Caribbean Chamber
of Commerce and many other Publications.

Black Redemption: An African American Political Thought and Action Novel on
Black and Jewish Suffering and African American Racism, Antisemitism and Gun
Violence Intervention in the United States.

Amazon

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About the Author

Michael Butler is an author, inventor, and technology expert born and raised in Brooklyn.

In today’s world, where information and communication are everything, Michael recognized a giant flaw in the communication system – it fails
to deliver the correct information to the right people at the right time.

Driven by his passion for technology and helping other people, Michael designed a revolutionary rapid messaging system – Blizzy Code, a secondary communication system with the ability to provide life-saving information without interruption.

His books are an ingenious mixture of intricately designed fiction stories and real-life technology and philosophy behind Blizzy Code.

Through his books, Michael aims to bring the concept of the Blizzy Code to the masses, especially to the younger population – to explain what this new technology does and how it can be utilized. I also trademarked Followers are the new Currency™

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#BookBlitz “The Buccaneers of St. Frederick Island” by Linda Maria Frank

 

Young Reader, Children’s Book, Middle Grade, Mystery, Adventure

Publisher: Annie Tillery Mysteries

What can possibly happen when a crime happens under the very noses of a group of very savvy eighth graders at St. BeSillius’ Catholic School on St. Frederick’s Island? When the money they raised to buy toys for children in homeless shelters in near-by NYC is stolen, the Buccaneers, as they call themselves are outraged. Despite warnings from Father Felix and Sr. Jo, Sprocket, the leader of the Buccaneers, and her determined buddies set out to follow the clues, run down the thief, and get those toys for the homeless kids.

When their clubhouse is burned down, and a threatening letter is sent to the local newspaper, The Foghorn, owned and operated by Sprocket’s mother, the Buccaneers are even more determined to unravel the plot against them. A mysterious island once owned by the pirate, Jon Buccleigh and a labyrinthine cave serve as the setting for this skullduggery. A Native American healer, her community, and a group of the beach people conspire with the Buccaneers to get that money back.

You will be laughing at some of the Buccaneers’ antics and gasping at what those brave eighth-graders face to solve the mystery. The story is rich with colorful and engaging characters as well as the flavor of post-war America in 1947. An altogether fun and satisfying read.

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

ON THE MOVE

How do those turtles do it? Pull their heads into their bodies? Here comes Sr. JoAnn. My head stubbornly remained on top of my neck.

If you think it’s easy writing a note to the kid in the seat next to you when the rattling of Sr. JoAnn’s rosary is announcing her slow walk down my aisle at this moment, you’ve never been to Catholic school. The room is silent. You can hear pen nibs scratching across the pages of our black and white composition books, leaving a trail of ink blots.

Pen nibs, you say. Ink blots? You won’t believe this about the ink and the inkwell. Will you? We all learned to master a form of writing called the Palmer method. This is just another aspect of toughening the backbone here at St. BeSillius’s. As I look at my permanently stained right middle finger, I wonder if I will be done in by something lurking in the ink and become St. Sprocket, patron saint of calligraphy.

The smell of chalk and old tempera paints barely covers the tinge of pine-scented urine coming from the old radiators. My mom went to this school and tells the story of kids leaning their wet behinds against the radiators to let their underwear dry if they had an accident. Going to the bathroom in those days was a privilege reserved for the Pope. Thank God things have changed, and St. BeSillius has hired a nurse, and given her an office where this kind of thing could be taken care of.

A floorboard squeaks. I hear the faint clink of keys as if Sr. has reached into the stygian depths of her pocket for something. I slide my ruler over the words I’ve just written and peer cautiously from the side of my vision trying to locate Sr. JoAnn. My stomach bunches. She is reading Eddie O’Malley’s entire page. Eddie’s not one of us, so there is nothing out of the ordinary to see in his notebook.

My page is full of writing, but not what I think I want Sister to see. So far, I’ve jotted a list: LOOK FOR CLUES, including the narvex, the sacristy, the side entrance, the choir loft, and the bushes around the church. I’ve signed it, Sprocket.

Sprocket? Is that a Christian name? Of course not, silly reader. We all have code names to protect the guilty. We are the Buccaneers of St. BeSillius School, a secret society dedicated to solving the mysteries and misdeeds of our little parish school and the island where it’s located.

Uh-oh. Here she comes. If I rip the page out and crumple it, she’ll just grab it. And, I’ll have to explain why there’s nothing on the page, in longhand mind you, about the characteristics that would have made George Washington a good Catholic, if only he had known better.

George was an Anglican having once been a colonial loyal to the King of England, also a George. But that’s another story.

Eddie, not the sharpest pencil in the box, is getting the Spanish Inquisition treatment about his lack of inspiration on the topic. I wonder if the nuns get a special course in interrogation techniques.

Eddie, I love him dearly, is buying me time. Could I quietly turn the page and jot a quick sentence or two? I pick up the notebook and turn the page, knocking a pen full of ink onto the floor along with the ink well. As you can imagine, this was not a silent maneuver. Sr. JoAnn, Eddie and the whole class look at me. I feel my face burn. I get up to clean the mess and knock the composition book on the floor with my note showing plainly on top. Sister reaches for it. I’M DEAD!

The fire drill siren shrieks. Sister turns to move the class to the fire exit, and I kick the composition book under the desk. It obliges me, closing with a snap.

“I’ll clean this later, Sister.” I smile.

“And I will be checking your essay.” She smiles back.

“Yes, Sister,” I say, noting that the proverbial glove his been tossed onto the floor like they did in those ancient duels. I file past her.

**********************************************************

Are you wondering why a bunch of Catholic school kids are searching for clues in what looks like a church and the yard around it?

Let me digress for a bit and fill you in on some details about why we are listing clues and what all this skullduggery (Great word, isn’t it?) is about.

Well, before I fill you in on what happened when we found those clues, let me explain who we are. We call ourselves The Secret Crime-Stoppers of Sts. Christopher and Michael, but I wanted a shorter title like Buccaneers of St. BeSillius. I thought calling on both St. Christopher and St. Michael was pushing the envelope of sponsorship. And who even knows who St. BeSillius is? So, just think of us as the Buccaneers.

For the past year, our class has been raising money for a class trip to visit seven churches on the mainland and distribute toys to the children’s day care centers in those parishes. We did bake sales, car washes, leaf-raking, snow shoveling. We cleaned attics for old ladies, cut lawns and pulled weeds. Some ill-informed parents even let us do fence-painting. Don’t worry! Those shrubs will come back in a year or two.

A whole year of those earnings went into the fund. We kept it in the vestry. That’s the room behind the altar in the church where the priest keeps his vestments. Get it? Vestry, vestments? The box with the money disappeared the day Father Felix was supposed to open a bank account for us. We never got the money back, never found out who did it, and we’re pi….. Whoops! Sorry. I’m just angry. Not mad. Sister Priscilla said that mad means crazy. Well, she hasn’t been paying attention to her students.

Anyway, even though the sisters and priests said we should offer it up to God. I’m not sure what that means, the money or the cursing we did. And, we should learn a lesson. Next time lock it up! And where were we supposed to lock it up? It was in the vestry! With Father Felix, the parish priest!

This didn’t go down too well with some of us, and one night last summer at our club house which is just a shack on the beach, we decided to form our own little PI group, that’s Private Investigator. We voted on and accepted our official title, Buccaneers of St.Besillius. Look. You can’t beat our creativity in naming the group. We even researched St. BS. She’s the patron saint of mimes.

As we gathered around the fire, we wrote up a charter including the following:

· Each member is sworn to secrecy, under pain of . . .what? Oh, I don’t know.

· All clues are to be shared by everyone.

· All communications would be done using our code names. Mine is Sprocket.

· Our meeting place would be the old fishing shack on the beach.

We made a list of our code names.

Lily code name Sprocket, all around smarty, leader, that’s me.

Ryan: code name Bletch, general genius.

Frank: code name Wingnut, mechanical genius, and a bit dippy.

Leon: code name Snap Shackle, math genius, can put two and two together.

Amalie: code name Ratchet, electronic surveillance, or just plain snoop, meaning she can use a camera.

And so, the story begins.

About the Author

Linda Maria Frank, retired from a career teaching science, including forensic science, resides on Long Island and is currently writing the Annie Tillery Mysteries, as well as The Buccaneers of St. Frederick Island. She also produces The Writer’s Dream, her local access TV show, seen on YouTube. Frank is active in LI Authors Group, LI Sisters in Crime, LI Children’s Writers and Illustrators, and Mystery Writers of America.

Linda does lectures on Topics on Forensic Science at libraries, universities, clubs and other venues. She is currently writing the next Buccaneers book.

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#BookBlitz “Walnut Street: Phantom Rider (A Botanic Hill Detectives Mystery)” by Sherrill Joseph

WalnutStreet copy

Happy publication day to Sherrill Joseph! Today marks the release of Walnut Street: Phantom Rider, the next Botanic Hill Detective Mysteries novel! Read on for more info and the chance to win a fantastic giveaway!

WalnutStreeteBookCover

Walnut Street: Phantom Rider (A Botanic Hill Detectives Mystery)

Publication Date: November 9th, 2021

Genre: MG Mystery/ Middle Grade (For fans of Nancy Drew type mysteries)

Objects of value have been disappearing from the Mayfield family’s rural California horse ranch. The Botanic Hill Detectives—Moki Kalani, Rani Kumar, and twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt—are hired to come for a week to investigate.

Legend has it somewhere on the Mayfields’ forty-acre property is a long-lost gold mine. It was supposedly staked by thirteen-year-old Ben Mayfield’s five-time great-grandfather, “Papa” Mayfield, in 1875.

Adding to the excitement, a nervous Ben reveals a frightening secret to the detectives. At the ranch, he alone has seen a threatening black-clad figure on horseback whom he calls the Phantom Rider. Who is this mysterious person? Is he responsible for the thefts? Where is the lost gold mine? And what’s going on in the nearby, snake-infested ghost town of Rainbow Flats? The four intrepid detectives aim to find out.

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Purchase Paperback Here and eBook Here!

About the Author

Author Photo

Sherrill Joseph will be forever inspired by her beautiful students in the San Diego public schools where she taught for thirty-five years before retiring and becoming a published author.

The author has peopled and themed her mysteries with characters after her own responsible, role-model students, of various abilities, disabilities, races, cultures, and interests. She strongly believes that children need to find themselves and others unlike themselves in books if all are to become accepting, anti-racist world citizens.

Her gift of lexical-gustatory synesthesia enables her to bring richer imagination to her writing.

Sherrill is the recipient of two Gold Awards from Mom’s Choice Book Awards, two Gold Awards from Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, three awards from Story Monsters Approved, and numerous other children’s book awards. She is a member of SCBWI, the Authors Guild, and Blackbird Writers. Watch for many more adventures with the Botanic Hill Detectives!

Sherrill Joseph | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Win a signed, personalized paperback copy of Walnut Street: Phantom Rider, some matching book swag (bookmark & sticker), and a $10 Amazon gift card (US ONLY). Giveaway will close on November 12th!

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#BookBlitz “Bats, Bandits & Buggies: Ruby and Maude Adventure Book 4” by Nancy Oswald

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Ruby and Maude Adventure, Book Four

Middle Grade Historical Fiction

 

Published: October 2021

Publisher: Burro Books

IN COLORADO SPRINGS, the summer of 1898, thirteen year-old, Ruby is bored, bored, bored. What starts out as a plan to train her donkey, Maude, to pull a buggy, ends up in a prickly business deal with her friend Roy, who has run away from Cripple Creek to escape his misery of working in the mines.

Roy lives with his peculiar Aunt Agnes, the caretaker of a mansion where things go bump in the night. Ruby suspects his aunt is involved with two bandits who dress in black and appear and disappear without a trace.

After eavesdropping on a mysterious couple, Ruby is terrified Roy may be the bandits’ next target. Her suspicions come true when the gun-brandishing bandits capture her and Roy.

Will the two escape? Is there a connection between the bandits, Aunt Agnes, and the mansion? What other surprises await Ruby and Roy in their seemingly sleepy little town? Find out in Bats, Bandits, & Buggies

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Other Books in the Ruby and Maude Adventure Series:

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Rescue in Poverty Gulch

Ruby and Maude Adventure, Book One

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Trouble on the Tracks

Ruby and Maude Adventure, Book Two

Kindle Unlimited

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Trouble Returns

Ruby and Maude Adventure, Book Three

Amazon

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About the Author

Nancy Oswald loves the west and writing about it. She’s a native Coloradan with a focus on Colorado-set historical fiction for young readers. She has also published non-fiction articles, a biography, and a humorous baseball, sibling rivalry story. Oswald’s books have won the Willa Literary Award, Spur Award, Evvy Award, CAL Award, Will Rogers Medallion, and numerous finalist recognitions. She enjoys reading and research, gardening and helping on the family ranch where she lives with her husband, cows, dogs, cats, chickens, and one nearly human donkey who makes mischief at home and on the pages of the Ruby and Maude Adventures.

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Purchase Link

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#Excerpt “Gobbledy, A Novel” by Lis Anna-Langston

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Holiday/Middle Grade

Date Published: 10-24-2020

Publisher: Spark Press

 

photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

 

Ever since eleven-year-old Dexter Duckworth and his brother, Dougal, lost their mom, everything has been different. But “different” takes on a whole new meaning when, one day just before Christmas (or Kissmas, as they call it), Dexter finds a golden rock in the forest that hatches into an adorable alien.

Gobbledy is smarter than he seems and is lost on planet Earth. Before long, Gobbledy takes Dexter, Dougal, and their best friend Fi on an adventure of friendship, family, and loss―one that requires them all to stay out of trouble, protect Gobbledy from a shadowy group called the Planetary Society, and prepare for their school’s Winter Extravaganza
Play, where Dexter has to be a dreaded Gingerbread Man.

 Gobbledy is a fun-filled holiday story that adds up to two brothers, three friends, unlimited jars of peanut butter, a ketchup factory, and one little alien far, far from home.

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 2021 Independent Press Awards Winner in Holiday

2021 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards Silver Medal Winner

2021 Book Excellence Awards Finalist in Holiday

2020 New York City Big Book Awards Winner in Holiday

2020 Wishing Shelf Book Awards Gold Medal Winner

2021 15th Annual National Indie Excellence® Awards Finalist

Praise for Gobbledy

“Hugely entertaining as well as emotionally moving.”

―Kirkus Reviews

 “This charming alien-in-the-attic story boasts engaging characters,
witty storytelling, and a furry little beast that will eat anything, all
wrapped up in a warm holiday package.”

―Booklife

 “A delightfully entertaining novel by an author with a genuine flair
for originality and the kind of narrative storytelling style that will fully
engage the imaginative attention of appreciative young readers ages 8-11,
Gobbledy by Lis Anna-Langston . . . will prove to be an immediate and
enduringly popular addition to elementary school, middle school, and
community library collections.”

―Midwest Book Review

 “In Gobbledy, Lis Anna-Langston offers her readers a sparkling novel
of discovery, adventure, and the abiding consolation of friendship . . .
Eleven-year-old protagonist Dexter’s progress from bumbling
troublemaker to triumphant (but still bumbling) hero is sweet, utterly
convincing, and thoroughly engaging. This novel’s generous heart won
me over from the get-go.”

John Gregory Brown, acclaimed author of A Thousand Miles from
Nowhere

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EXCERPT

“What do you think these things are?” she asks.

A loud wail comes from the new jar full of dirt.

Slowly, I lift the jar off the work table and unscrew the lid.

Fi and I look down at the strange bug. The little thing wails. It’s not much bigger than the two crickets standing on the sidelines, staring.

Fi looks at me with a wild look in her eyes. “Does your dad know?”

I shake my head. “Absolutely not. No. Dad will just make me take him back to the forest.”

I pull the lid off. The strange little bug opens his mouth really big.

“Okay, okay,” I whisper. “I’ll feed you, but you have to be quiet.”

He closes his mouth and blinks. For a second, I think he might actually understand what I’m saying.

There’s a bag of potato chips on the counter in the kitchen. I drop chips into the jar one by one, avoiding the crickets.

Chomp. Chomp. Chomp.

“Where’s the rock?” Fi asks.

Chomp. Chomp. Chomp.

The back door opens. Startled, Fi jerks upright abruptly, smacking her head on the slanted ceiling. I try to grab her hand as it flies past my face.  Her arms flap wildly as she falls in a woozy, slow motion out into the hall.

“Fi?” I say loudly.

            Ka-thunk.  

Fi?”  I drop to the floor next to her and check her pulse, like I’ve seen people do in movies.  “Can you hear me?”

She undoubtedly cannot.  She does not move or answer.

The jar wobbles on the wooden table.

“Excuse me,” I quickly step over her limp body and grab the jar.  I tighten my grip as it jerks around in my arms.  Hurky-jerky, it shifts against my shirt.  I hold tight and screw the lid back on.

“Dexter?”

            Huh? “What are you doing home, Dougal?” I yell.

“I live here.”

“I know that, but you’re early.”

“Not really. School is out. Dad asked Fran to pick me up because you got in trouble again, and he couldn’t leave work twice.”

“Umm…”

Fran walks into the hall and says, “Oh my gosh, what happened?”

I look left, then right.  Up, then down.  Over, then under.  My eyes settle on my backpack next to my work table. I shove the jar inside quick, listening to the hurky-jerky sound of glass tapping against my notebooks.  I cover the jar with my jacket and step quickly into the hall.

Fran pulls her hand to her mouth.  “What happened to Fi?”

Fi is on the floor where I left her.

“She was, ummm, we were doing our science projects and then she fainted.”

“I thought you had to turn those in today?”

“We did, but mine got loose and she was …”

I stare at her limp, oddly twisted body.

“Do you want me to perform CPR until the emergency workers arrive?” Dougal asks.

Fran rolls Fiona over on her back.  “They’ll be no emergency workers. I got this,” she says quietly, tapping Fi’s cheeks. “Fiona?”

Fi’s eyes pop open. “Wha?”

“You passed out, girl.  Are you okay?”

Huh?

Fran helps Fi to her feet.  She sways, woozy, reaching for the wall.

Their cat, Sir Shreds-A-Lot, scratches and howls at the back door.

“Don’t let that cat in,” Dougal says.  “He’s been sneaking up to the attic and eating the villagers in Mom’s village.”

“What’s the last thing you remember?” I ask Fi.

She rubs her forehead.  “Let me get an ice pack. I’ll answer that in a minute.”

***

From my bedroom window I watch Fran walk Fi across the driveway.  Cool, gray light fans out across the dark outline of branches, highlighting the occasional dry leaf still hanging on.  Bats screech on their way down to the boulevard.  On the other side of the glass, silvery light glints off an abandoned spider web. As soon as they turn the corner, I go for the jar.

Dougal stands in the doorway, giving me the silent-but-deadly stare.  “What are you doing?”

It takes a second to manufacture a convincing lie.  “Looking at a spider web.”

Dougal studies me, his brow pinched tight.  He’s two years younger than me, but matures in dog years.  He clears his throat and announces, “We’ve got a family meeting tonight.”

I step away from the window.

            Clunk clunk clunk.

Starting with the closet, Dougal’s eyes trail around the room, stopping on my backpack.  “What’s that noise?”

I’m about to say I don’t hear anything when —

            Clunk clunk clunk.

He points.  “It’s in your backpack.”

“It’s a pack of Mexican Jumping Beans I bought today.”

Dougal tilts his head sideways like he always does when he doesn’t believe me.  “Can I see them?”

“I thought you wanted to talk about the meeting,” I blurt out.

He patiently lays his hand on the dresser and taps with his index finger. “Mexican Jumping Beans first.”

            Clank clank clunk.

My eyes jerk to the backpack.

            Clank clank clunk.

The sound is louder, more insistent.

            Clunk clunk clunk.

I walk over to my closet and pretend to look for something.  Anything.

Dougal clears his throat.

I ignore him.

More throat clearing.

I have a pretty good idea how stubborn he can be.  More than that, I’m worried he’ll tell Dad.  I can’t afford any more trouble. Whatever is in that jar could send me into Code Red.

“What?” I hiss, glancing back over my shoulder.

He points.  “You’re stalling.  I’m giving you one chance to tell me what you’re hiding.”

“Or what?”

“Or I’m calling the Humane Society and telling them you’re endangering the lives of Mexican Jumping Beans by keeping them trapped in a backpack.”

“They’re not trapped.”

“Prove it.”

I huff.  “Why won’t you drop the beans?”

“Because I know you.  Anything worth hiding is worth seeing.”

Okay.  He’s got me there.

            Clunk clunk clunk.

Dougal looks back at me.  “If you haven’t unzipped that backpack in ten seconds then I’m doing it.  One.  Two…”

“Okay.  Okay.” I stomp over.

He stops counting and stares at me instead.

            I can do this.  I place my hand on the zipper and jerk it to the side.  The jar is exactly where I left it.  Air holes poked in the top look like prehistoric code.  Lamplight glimmers off the metal.

            Clunk clunk clunk.

Dougal reaches down, but I snatch it up quick.

I pause, listening. “Close the door and lock it,” I whisper.My normally uncooperative little brother runs over, closes the door without a sound, and flips the lock.  My eyes squeeze shut for a second.  I carefully set the jar on the floor.  It wobbles.  Dougal walks over and kneels down.  I sit down on the floor and unscrew the lid. Sucking in a huge breath, I lean over and look inside.  Two glowing eyes stare back at me.  Dougal gasps and falls backwards on his heels.  The glowing eyes are attached to a small, furry body that’s grown to the size of a silver dollar.  A strange little bug.  The little furry thing opens his mouth and shrieks.  I put the lid back on.  A low wail emerges from the jar.

“What is that thing?” Dougal whispers.

I shrug.  “I don’t know exactly, but he’s getting bigger. I picked up a rock in the forest. I think he must have been stuck to it and I didn’t notice.”

“That’s definitely not a bug,” he says, matter-of-factly.  “I spent all last summer studying insects, and that’s not one of them.”

“It has to be a bug,” I insist.

The thing wails again.

I look down into the jar, suddenly realizing its empty. “He ATE my crickets! My last two crickets.”
Dougal crinkles his nose, “Eww.”

Everything inside the jar is gone, including the dirt. The bug opens his mouth wide and yowls.

“I think it’s hungry,” Dougal observes.

“It ate my grade.”

~~~

About the Author

Lis Anna-Langston was raised alongside the winding current of the Mississippi River on a steady diet of dog-eared books. She attended a
creative and performing arts school from middle school until graduation and went on to study literature at Webster University. She is a Parents’
Choice Gold and a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award Winner. She draws badly and sings loudly, and loves ketchup, starry skies, and stories with happy endings aliens.

You can find her in the wilds of South Carolina plucking stories out of thin air. Find more fab facts at http://www.lisannalangston.com.

 

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#BookBlitz “Dog Park” by Kathryn Kazoleas

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How cute is this book! Read on for more info about Dog Park by Kathryn Kazoleas!

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Dog Park

Publication Date: May 30th, 2021

Genre: Middle Grade/ Chapter Book

Gibson the labradoodle is about to begin her first day of training to become a dog park ambassador, something she has been dreaming about her entire life. Dog park ambassadors hold a very high honour within the dog park community and have many important roles to make sure the dog park is a fun and safe place to be. She has so many great ideas and cannot wait to get started.

While Gibson is training alongside lead ambassador and trainer, Meistro the bulldog, things don’t go as planned. Gibson meets challenge after challenge and isn’t allowed to introduce any of her new ideas. Being a dog park ambassador isn’t what she thought it would be so she starts to question whether the role is really for her.

At the end of her very first training shift, and just as she’s about to give up and tell Meistro she isn’t cut out to be a dog park ambassador after all, there’s an emergency at the river. One of the dog park’s new puppies, Clover, has swam too far out and cannot get back to shore. Gibson’s best friend and greatest supporter Stretch the dachshund, convinces her she has to go help. Gibson springs into action, with Stretch at her side and encouraging her the entire time. Gibson saves the day…almost!

Having been swept downstream and far away from the dog park, Gibson is forced to lead the trio back to safety. There’s only one way back and it’s through a dark forest with strange sounds and smells. The sun is starting to go down and everybody is tired and scared. But, Gibson knows she has to get her friends back home, despite what, or who, gets in her way.

Excerpt

Tyler didn’t know it, but today was an important day and one that she had been looking forward to for a very long time. Each week, the regular pack at the dog park delegated a dog park ambassador. It was a job that held a very high honour within the dog park community. Dog park ambassadors were to make sure all the dogs at the park got along, and that all the humans felt welcomed so they would bring their dogs back. As ambassadors, they were to intervene in any disagreements between dogs, explain the rules to the new dogs and puppies, and were to greet the humans to welcome them to the park.

Gibson had been asking to get involved for months now, but the committee always told her they didn’t need any more ambassadors. But finally, her persistence paid off and they agreed to let her start training. Today was her first day.

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About the Author

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Kathryn is from Alberta, Canada where she lives with her dog Koa and her cat Keeva. In her free time, she can be found playing ball with Koa, enjoying the outdoors, reading or writing.

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#Excerpt “Relatively Normal Secrets” by C.W. Allen

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Middle-Grade Mystery Adventure

Release Day: September 7, 2021

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Tuesday and Zed Furst are perfectly normal children with perfectly strange parents. Their father won’t discuss his job, their mother never leaves the house without her guard dog, and the topic of the family tree is off limits.

When a last minute “business trip” gets the adults out of the way, Zed and Tuesday decide to get to the bottom of things once and for all. Too bad some thugs with shape-shifting weapons have other ideas. Their escape leaves them trapped in the modern-meets-medieval Falinnheim, where everyone insists their father is a disgraced fugitive. They hope whoever is leaving them coded clues may have some answers, but they’re not sure they’re going to like what they learn.

If they ever want to see their parents again, they’ll need the help of a smuggler with a broken compass, their unusually talented dog, some extremely organized bandits, and a selection of suspiciously misquoted nursery rhymes.

Zed and Tuesday may not have all the answers, but one thing is certain—when it comes to normal, everything is relative.

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EXCERPT

“It will only be for a couple of days. You and Tuesday are going to stay next door with Mrs. Alvarez until we get back. You’ll be at school most of the time anyway—you’ll hardly notice we’re gone.”

Zed doubted that. For one thing, unless Nyx was also invited along on this trip (unlikely), the dog was bound to spend the next two days pacing and whining incessantly. Nyx was rarely more than a few steps away from his mother, and any time they had to be separated for even a few minutes the dog fretted as if Mrs. Furst had been kidnapped by pirates or something. Two whole days might cause her a complete meltdown, which would be hard to ignore. It wasn’t so much that Zed minded his parents leaving—after all, Mrs. Alvarez was a sweet old lady who had been their neighbor his entire life, and had been delighted to watch them for shorter periods of time on many occasions. She’d probably spend the whole time insisting they eat third helpings of empanadas and hot chocolate. And his mother was right, they would be at school most of the time anyway. It was just…something didn’t seem right.

If Zed had expected his sister to share his misgivings, he was wrong. When Tuesday stepped off the middle school bus twenty minutes later and Zed informed her they’d be spending the next two days with Mrs. Alvarez, she acted like Christmas had come early. “Yes!” she gushed, punching the air in celebration. “Empanada time!”

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About the Author

C.W. Allen is a Nebraskan by birth, a Texan by experience, a Hoosier by marriage, and a Utahn by geography. She knew she wanted to be a writer the moment she read The Westing Game at age twelve, but took a few detours along the way as a veterinary nurse, an appliance repair secretary, and a homeschool parent.

She recently settled in the high desert of rural Utah with her husband, their three children, and a noisy flock of orphaned ideas. Someday she will create literary homes for all of them. (The ideas, not her family.)

Relatively Normal Secrets (Cinnabar Moth Publishing, Fall 2021) is her debut novel. She writes fantasy novels for tweens, picture books for children, and short stories and poems for former children. Her work will appear in numerous anthologies in 2021. She is also a frequent guest presenter at writing conferences and club meetings, which helps her procrastinate knuckling down to any actual writing

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#CoverReveal “Relatively Normal Secrets” by C.W. Allen

Middle-Grade Mystery Adventure

Release Day: September 7, 2021

Tuesday and Zed Furst are perfectly normal children with perfectly strange parents. Their father won’t discuss his job, their mother never leaves the house without her guard dog, and the topic of the family tree is off limits.

When a last minute “business trip” gets the adults out of the way, Zed and Tuesday decide to get to the bottom of things once and for all. Too bad some thugs with shape-shifting weapons have other ideas. Their escape leaves them trapped in the modern-meets-medieval Falinnheim, where everyone insists their father is a disgraced fugitive. They hope whoever is leaving them coded clues may have some answers, but they’re not sure they’re going to like what they learn.

If they ever want to see their parents again, they’ll need the help of a smuggler with a broken compass, their unusually talented dog, some extremely organized bandits, and a selection of suspiciously misquoted nursery rhymes.

Zed and Tuesday may not have all the answers, but one thing is certain—when it comes to normal, everything is relative.


About the Author

C.W. Allen is a Nebraskan by birth, a Texan by experience, a Hoosier by marriage, and a Utahn by geography. She knew she wanted to be a writer the moment she read The Westing Game at age twelve, but took a few detours along the way as a veterinary nurse, an appliance repair secretary, and a homeschool parent.

She recently settled in the high desert of rural Utah with her husband, their three children, and a noisy flock of orphaned ideas. Someday she will create literary homes for all of them. (The ideas, not her family.)

Relatively Normal Secrets (Cinnabar Moth Publishing, Fall 2021) is her debut novel. She writes fantasy novels for tweens, picture books for children, and short stories and poems for former children. Her work will appear in numerous anthologies in 2021. She is also a frequent guest presenter at writing conferences and club meetings, which helps her procrastinate knuckling down to any actual writing

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#Excerpt “The Problem at Wisteria Gardens” by Pamela McCord

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A Pekin Dewlap Mystery

Middle Grade Mystery

Date Published: 3/9/21

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

The ghost haunting Wisteria Gardens Antiques appears to be a charming and loving mother who can’t stand the thought of being separated from her son.

But appearances can be deceiving.

The Ghosties are moved by her expression of devotion, until they discover the truth. Her attachment to the real world has nothing to do with love.

As the teen ghost hunters struggle with the case, Althea’s determination to stay threatens their very lives. Will Pekin, Scout, and Amber convince the ghost to move on before it’s too late?

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Excerpt from The Problem at Wisteria Gardens

“Uh-oh,” Amber said.

“I know,” Pekin said. “I think she’s up to something.”

“Let’s split up and see if we can find her,” Scout said, and the three of them headed for different areas of the shop.

Before they separated, Pekin handed each of them a crystal for whatever protection the stones could provide against the ghost of Althea Cooley.

Despite the chill, nothing seemed out of place, and no ghostly voice addressed them. None of the kids felt reassured by this, however, knowing Althea was toying with them.

After his search of the shop turned up no sign of the ghost, Scout said loudly, “You might as well come out, Althea. Matt’s gone and he’s not coming back. You have to deal with us now.”

Oh, I’m sooo scared, the ghost responded.

Ignoring the voice, Pekin continued her sweep of the shop, sticking her head in the supply room. When she turned back toward the interior, she heard an odd swishing sound, and from around a corner marched half-a-dozen dolls with painted porcelain faces and frilly party dresses, each about two feet tall.

Her hand flew to her mouth in alarm, and she called out for her friends. In an instant, Scout was at her side with Amber close behind. They all stared in wide-eyed shock at the approaching doll army, and Althea’s laughter boomed around them.

The dolls formed themselves into a semicircle around the kids, cutting off any escape route. Scout motioned Pekin and Amber into the supply room and turned back to face the scary toys. Glancing over his shoulder at the girls with an encouraging smile, looking braver than he felt, he squared his shoulders and planted his feet, ready to meet the silent troop. For a moment, it appeared they were in a standoff until the dolls’ eyes started blinking and their jaws clacked open and closed exposing teeth that were pointed and menacing, definitely not innocent doll teeth. And they were going num num num num. Pekin shrieked and clutched Amber’s arm as the dolls moved toward them, still going num num num num.

“What are they?” Amber whined, covering her ears and huddling against Pekin.

His back to Pekin and Amber, Scout spread his arms out to protect them. One of the dolls rushed forward, an odd, tinny battle cry emanating from it. Both girls screamed as the doll surged toward Scout and flew into the air in front of him, its arms reaching for his face. Scout raised his hands instinctively and batted it away. The doll fell in a heap on the floor in a cloud of taffeta and ribbons. He was speechless for a moment, and suddenly he laughed. “Really, Althea? Dolls?”

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About the Author

Pam got a late start in writing, but has made up for it with several published novels and at least one more on the way. A serendipitous conversation with a writer friend launched her literary career, and the fact that she might never have had that particular conversation is enough to make her believe that fate played a hand in sending her down her best path. She’s lived in Southern California most of her life and is thankful to have a loving family and supportive friends. Spending time at home during the COVID pandemic has advanced both Pam’s writing and her relationship with her My Cat From Hell TV star, Allie, who manages to exude just enough affection to make her scary feral ways tolerable.

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