Friday, November 25, 2016

#Holiday Gift Guide: Nonfiction – Writing, Cooking and More!

I’m continuing with my Holiday Gift Guide. You can see the earlier posts for Great Books for Middle Grade and Teen Readers, Picture Books for Children, and Romance, Romance, #Romance.

Today I have a few more titles for Nonfiction: Writing, Cooking and More.

You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers

When you write for children, you have the most appreciative audience in the world. But to reach that audience, you need to write fresh, dynamic stories, whether you’re writing rhymed picture books, middle grade mysteries, edgy teen novels, nonfiction, or something else.

Learn how to find ideas and develop those ideas into stories, articles, and books. Understand the basics of character development, plot, setting, and theme – and some advanced elements, along with how to use point of view, dialogue, and thoughts. Finally, learn about editing your work and getting critiques.

You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers is available for the Kindle, in paperback, or in Large Print paperback.

Advanced Plotting is designed for the intermediate and advanced writer: you’ve finished a few manuscripts, read books and articles on writing, taken some classes, attended conferences. But you still struggle with plot, or suspect that your plotting needs work. This book can help.

This really is helping me a lot. It's written beautifully and to-the-point. The essays really help you zero in on your own problems in your manuscript. The Plot Outline Exercise is a great tool!

I just read and—dissected—your well written  book: Advanced Plotting. It's now highlighted in bright orange and littered with many of those little 3M sticky labels.  GOOD JOB. There are too many just-for-beginners books out there. Yours was a delight.

See these and more at or my Amazon page.

If youire interested in history, archaeology, or quirky true stories, try Outlaws & Outcasts: The Lost Cemetery of Las Vegas, New Mexico, by Ellen S. Rippel

Outlaws and Outcasts. They lay undisturbed and forgotten for almost a century--until a backhoe driver digging for gravel made a gruesome discovery. A hastily-assembled group of students, guided by an intellectually curious professor, had only one week to document the unearthing of the large, 19th century graveyard. Who was buried in those unmarked graves? What had they done to be cast out from society? Filled with stories of early outlaws and fascinating historical insights, Outlaws and Outcasts chronicles a spellbinding and little-known saga from New Mexico. For those who love history, archaeology, or quirky stories from the Land of Enchantment, this book is an intriguing summary of what occurred in Las Vegas, New Mexico in 1972. Outlaws and Outcasts: The Lost Cemetery of Las Vegas, New Mexico recounts the accidental unearthing of graves in a gravel pit. Included in the narrative are examinations of historical burial practices and customs, and a search through the scarce literature on events specific to the existence of the cemetery.

Get it from Amazon.
Amy Houts is the author of Mealtime Magic: Delicious Dinners in Half the Time

• Save $500/year • Spend fewer hours in the kitchen • Please picky eaters • A tried-and-true method

Use the recipes and strategies in this unique cookbook to help you save time and money. Over 200 pages of recipes with clear, detailed directions will help your cooking earn rave reviews even from picky eaters. Award-winning cookbook author Amy Houts shares her time-tested, proven method of intentional planning to provide delicious, home-cooked meals and spend fewer hours in the kitchen.

Also from Amy Houts comes this Cooperative Board Game in a consumable book.

Find My Heart: A Valentine Game
On a windy February day, Valentine Heart Cards have blown out of the Mail Truck and are littering the neighborhood! Can you help the Teddy Bear Mail Carrier collect the Valentine Heart Cards and return them to the Mail Truck? Develops fine motor control and fosters cooperation. Children learn to follow rules, practice counting skills, and more. Research shows that cooperative games help to prevent bullying. Book includes game board, game pieces, rules and instructions. Just cut out pieces, tape, and go!

See all of Amy Hout’s books at her website or on Amazon.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

#Holiday Gift Guide: Romance, Romance, #Romance

For dozens of books in many genres, visit N. N. Light’s Holiday Gift Guide.

Romantic Adventures for Adults

Are you buying a gift for a romance lover? Or would you like a quick vacation in the pages of a book, to get you through the busy holiday season? Try one of these Kris Bock titles.

The Mad Monk’s Treasure – a romantic adventure

When a quiet history professor uncovers a clue to the legendary lost Victorio Peak treasure, she prepares for adventure. But she’s not the only one interested. Is the handsome pilot who rescued her a hero or the enemy? “The story has it all—action, romance, danger, intrigue….”

The Dead Man’s Treasure  – Rebecca Westin’s grandfather left her a buried treasure – if she can decipher a complex series of clues leading to it. Her half-siblings are determined to reach the treasure first. Good thing Rebecca has help, in the form of a green-eyed charmer determined to make their desert adventure sexy and fun. But a treacherous enemy will do anything to get that treasure – and revenge.

Action and romance combine in this lively Southwestern adventure, complete with riddles the reader is invited to solve. The Dead Man’s Treasure is book 2 in the New Mexico treasure hunters series. In book 3, The Skeleton Canyon Treasure, sparks fly when reader favorites Camie and Tiger help a mysterious man track down his missing uncle. (Each book features a different hero and heroine, and stands alone.)

Counterfeits  – Jenny returns to her grandparents’ art camp in a remote New Mexico town after her grandmother’s sudden death. That night, staying alone in the empty house, she wakes to the noise of intruders. What do the strangers want? As more bizarre events unfold, Jenny starts to realize the people she thought she knew are not what they seem – least of all Rob, an old friend and the camp cook, whose past may be coming back to haunt them all.

What We Found  –  When Audra stumbles on a murdered woman in the woods, more than one person isn’t happy about her bringing the crime to light. She’ll have to stand up for herself in order to stand up for the murder victim. It’s a risk, and so is reaching out to the mysterious young man who works with deadly birds of prey. But with danger all around, some risks are worth taking.

Whispers in the Dark  – Kylie Hafford craves adventure when she heads to the remote Puebloan ruins of Lost Valley, Colorado, to excavate. Romance isn’t in her plans, but she soon meets two sexy men: Danesh looks like a warrior from the Pueblo’s ancient past, and Sean is a charming, playful tourist. The summer heats up as Kylie uncovers mysteries, secrets, and terrors in the night. She’ll need all her strength and wits to survive—and to save the man she’s come to love.

Read excerpts at or visit the Kris Bock Amazon pageSign up for the Kris Bock newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more.


If you prefer an inspirational title, try Alone, a romantic suspense, by SM Ford:

Ready for adventure in the snowy Colorado mountains, Cecelia Gage is thrilled to be employed as the live-in housekeeper for her favorite bestselling author. The twenty-five-year-old doesn’t count on Mark Andrews being so prickly, nor becoming part of the small town gossip centering on the celebrity. Neither does she expect to become involved in Andrews family drama and a relationship with Simon Lindley, Mark’s oh so good-looking best friend. And certainly, Cecelia has no idea she’ll be mixed up in a murder investigation because of this job.
Will Cecelia’s faith in God get her through all the trouble that lies ahead?

Visit SM Ford’s website or find her on Amazon.


If you’d like to journey to the past, try one of the historical romance novels from Mariana Gabrielle. You can check out her writing with the free prequel novella Shipmate:

The heavy hands and sharp tongues of Bella Smithson’s family have left her almost too timid to converse with a gentleman, much less conduct a husband hunt. Unfortunately, her overbearing aunt and managing cousin are determined to help her escape her black-hearted father and brothers.

Thanks to the Prince of Wales, retiring shipping magnate Myron Clewes has an ever-growing fortune, a fresh-minted peerage, a brand-new flagship, and an impossible set of requirements for a bride. Not least, she must be willing to leave England and everything she knows, possibly for good, in less than two months’ time.

Or for something different, try La Déesse Noire: The Black Goddess:

Kali Matai, London’s most famed Indian dancer and courtesan, harbors a lifetime of secrets, as more lives than hers depend on it.

Sired by a British peer, born of a paramour to Indian royalty, she has been destined from birth to enthrall England’s most powerful noblemen—though she hadn’t counted on becoming their pawn. Finding herself under the control of ruthless men, who will not be moved by her legendary allure, she has no choice but to use her beauty toward their malicious and clandestine ends.

When those she holds most dear are placed in peril by backroom political dealings, she enlists some of the most formidable lords in England to thwart her enemies. But even with the help of the prominent gentlemen she has captivated, securing Kali’s freedom, her family, and the man she loves, will require her protectors stop at nothing to fulfill her desires.

check out her Amazon page.

If you prefer contemporary romances, check out Deanna Roy’s Forever Innocent series:

Corabelle doesn’t feel like any of the other college girls. On what should have been one of the happiest nights of her life, she and her boyfriend Gavin watched a nurse disconnect the ventilator from their seven-day-old baby. During the funeral two days later, Gavin walked out and never returned.

Since then, her life has been a spiral of disasters. The only thing that has helped is her ability to black out whenever the pain gets too hard to bear, a habit that has become an addiction.

When Gavin shows up in her astronomy class four years later, he is hell-bent on getting her back, insisting she forgive him. Corabelle knows she can’t resist the touch that fills the empty ache that has haunted her since he left. But if he learns what she has done, if he follows the trail back through her past, her secrets will destroy their love completely. And once again, she’ll lose the only person who always believed she was innocent.

A New Adult Contemporary Romance

Visit Deanna’s website or Amazon page.

Prefer a bit of paranormal in your Romance? Check out Marion Croslydon’s titles.

Oxford Whispers 

Madison LeBon is dead set against the dead. 

Her fresh start at Oxford University is a brand new beginning. She finally has a chance to turn the page on her psychic powers and cumbersome voodoo heritage. Snakes, dolls, ghosts, and spirits: Farewell…
Not quite.
When the tragic lovers in a painting—the subject of her first history class—begin to haunt her, she must accept her gift before life imitates art. The lovers warn her against their own nemesis, a Puritan from the English Civil War. Unfortunately, said nemesis is now going all homicidal on Madison.
College becomes more complicated when she falls hard for Rupert Vance, a troubled aristocrat and descendant of one of the characters in the painting. With the spirit of a murderer after her, Madison realizes that her own first love may also be doomed…

To learn about this and her other books, visit Marion’s website or Amazon page.

 You can see my earlier posts for Great Books for Middle Grade and Teen ReadersPicture Books for Children, and Nonfiction – Writing, Cooking and More!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

#Holiday Gift Guide: Picture Books for Children #KidLit

Picture Books for Young Children

If you have young readers – or pre-readers – on your shopping list, consider some of these adorable picture books from Lori Mortensen:

Cindy Moo
One night on the farm, the cows overhear a fantastic tale. “Hey Diddle Diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon!” Inspired by this classic rhyme, a plucky cow named Cindy Moo sets out to prove that cows really can leap over the moon. The other cows laugh, but that doesn’t stop Cindy Moo from trying night after night. Could a cow really jump over the moon? This delightfully silly picture book will have readers of all ages cheering for its determined heroine.

Cowpoke Clyde and Dirty Dawg
What’s Cowpoke Clyde to do with Dawg, covered in mud and not smellin’ so sweet? Pop him in the tub of course! But Dawg will have none of it, setting off a commotion that has all the critters on the ranch dashing every which way to stay out of range. It’s not till Clyde is ready to throw in the towel, that he discovers the secret to bathing Dawg. Rollicking verse with page-turn surprises makes this uproarious tall tale a rootin’ tootin’ read-aloud.

Cowpoke Clyde Rides the Range
Cowpoke Clyde learns to ride a bike in a story of perseverance and friendship, with plenty of Western flair and a big dollop of humor.

Mousequerade Ball
Counting up to ten and back again, dancing all the while, this delightful story invites readers--and dancers--to the event of the season: The Mousequerade Ball!

Chicken Lily
Chicken Lily may be a lot of things--a careful colorer, a patient puzzler, and a quiet hide-and-seeker (she never makes a peep!)--but brave is not one of them. When her teacher, Mrs. Lop, plans a school-wide poetry jam, Lily is terrified. She doesn’t want to stand in front of everyone and sound like a bird brain! With encouragement from her friends  Baabette and Pigsley, Lily decides to hatch a plan. Can she put her best claw forward and prove that even chickens aren’t chicken all the time?

Check out all her titles on Amazon.

Or here’s a fun picture book from Amy Houts:

What Do Moms Do?
In this picture book, charming illustrations by award-winning artist, Lisa Thiesing, tell the story of a newly-hatched duckling who asks her friends, “What do moms do?” Using humor in everyday situations, animals describe how mothers show their love. Perfect for bedtime or anytime a soothing story is desired. Available in paper book or as an ebook for $2.99.

See all of Amy Hout’s books at her website or on Amazon.

Do you want to share some nature nonfiction instead? Here’s another title from Lori Mortensen:

In the Trees, Honey Bees!
Peek inside this tree and see a wild colony of honey bees. It hums with life. Look at the thousands of worker bees--each one doing her job. Some are making wax. Some are feeding the hungry brood. Some are storing sweet honey. Look at all the combs, filled with honey and pollen! And there’s the queen, laying eggs. It’s all very organized, like a  smoothly running town. A honey bee colony is a remarkable place, and you will never look at bees in the same way again

Find it on Amazon.

Or try this one from Cindy Trumbore:

Prairie Dog Song, co-written with and illustrated by collage artist Susan L. Roth, has received three starred reviews and was a Junior Library Guild selection. Aimed at children in grades 1-4, it tells the history of the prairie dog and its role as a key species in the North American grasslands ecosystem. The text is a combination of a song to the tune of “The Green Grass Grew All Around,” with fact boxes giving more information about each spread. The music is at the back of the book and is available as a free download from the publisher’s website.  

Find this title at Amazon or learn more about Cindy’s books at her website.

Finally, the following is Fun for All Ages!

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Starring The Chickens

Chickens peck. Chickens peep. Chickens do not take over Halloween. Or do they? In this world upside-down story for all chicken lovers, silliness and a clucking good time leads to a surprise. (The Chickens previously starred in Chickens Do Not Take Over Halloween.)

Visit Molly’s website or her see all her books at Amazon.

Monday, November 21, 2016

#Holiday Gift Guide – Great Books for Middle Grade and Teen Readers

Fun Books for Middle Grade Readers

Oh the weather outside is… not that bad here, actually, but it’s still feeling like the holiday season is in full swing. If you have a young reader on your shopping list, consider one of these titles from Chris Eboch, appropriate for ages 8 to 15.

The Genie’s Gift is a lighthearted action novel set in the fifteenth-century Middle East, drawing on the mythology of The Arabian Nights. Shy and timid Anise determines to find the Genie Shakayak and claim the Gift of Sweet Speech. But the way is barred by a series of challenges, both ordinary and magical. How will Anise get past a vicious she-ghoul, a sorceress who turns people to stone, and mysterious sea monsters, when she can’t even speak in front of strangers? 

In The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan girl in ninth-century Guatemala rebels against the High Priest who sacrifices anyone challenging his power. 

Kirkus Reviews called The Well of Sacrifice, “[An] engrossing first novel….Eboch crafts an exciting narrative with a richly textured depiction of ancient Mayan society….The novel shines not only for a faithful recreation of an unfamiliar, ancient world, but also for the introduction of a brave, likable and determined heroine.”

Watching this unorthodox 12-year-old girl outwit a high priest, escape jail, rescue her sister and more makes for a fast-paced read. An author’s note describes the historical context for the tale. - Publishers Weekly

Jesse Owens: Young Record Breaker and Milton Hershey: Young Chocolatier are inspirational biographies in Simon & Schuster’s Childhood of Famous Americans series, written under the name M.M. Eboch. 

Jesse Owens would be especially suitable for young athletes, while Milton Hershey might appeal to kids who struggle in school, as Milton did. They are full-length books at a middle grade interest level, but written at a third-grade reading level.

See these and more at or her Amazon page.

More Books for Middle Grade Readers

The Cousins in Action Series by Sam Bond

Operation Golden Llama, by Sam Bond

Dumped at their eccentric Grandma’s, Cagney, Olivia, Aidan, Lissy and Tess are convinced they’re in for a boring summer. But when Grandma gets a series of mysterious phone calls, and a highly unlikely pet sitter arrives, the cousins find themselves jetting off to Peru, where much to their surprise they find their adventures have only just begun.

Visit Sam Bond’s website or her Amazon page.

The Sweet Spot, by Stacy Barnett Mozer

When thirteen-year-old Sam Barrette’s baseball coach tells her that her attitude’s holding her back, she wants to hit him in the head with a line drive. All stakes now rest on Sam’s performance at baseball training camp. Placed at the bottom with the weaker players, she will have to work her way up to A league, not just to show Coach that she can be the best team player possible, but to prove to herself that she can hold a bat with the All-Star boys.

Visit Stacy Barnett Mozer’s website or her Amazon page.

Fantasy Set Today

The Galaxy Games Series by Greg Fishbone:

The Challengers

Things are looking up for Tyler Sato (literally!) as he and his friends scan the night sky for a star named for him by his Tokyo cousins in honor of his eleventh birthday. Ordinary stars tend to stay in one place, but Ty’s seems to be streaking directly toward Earth at an alarming rate. Soon the whole world is talking about TY SATO, the doomsday asteroid, and life is turned upside down for Ty Sato, the boy, who would rather be playing hoops in his best friend’s driveway….

The Amorphous Assassin

Thirteen-year-old Tyler Sato has lied, cheated, and scammed his way into the Galaxy Games. Now, on the eve of the galaxy-spanning sports tournament, Tyler’s past is catching up…with a vengeance!
Earth’s team of international all-stars is at each other’s throats. A shadowy conspiracy is on the move. And a shape-shifting alien assassin has Tyler in his sights.

Can Tyler step up his game to become the leader Earth needs? Or will the world finally discover that Tyler isn’t quite the hero that everyone believes?

Visit Greg Fishbone’s website or his Amazon page.

The Magic Mayhem Series by Deanna Roy

Jinnie Wishmaker

Six-time USA Today bestselling author Deanna Roy mixes adventure and magic in her first series for middle grade readers. In Jinnie Wishmaker, an eleven-year-old girl discovers she can grant any living thing its one true wish. The trouble is, once she grants the wish, she can’t control the results.

Marcus Mender 

Marcus Mender can fix anything just by holding it. But now, he can't stop! Like King Midas and the golden touch, everything becomes new and perfect in Marcus's hands.

Before he can control his new power, the magical Vor team is sent to South America on a mission: to recover a rare magnetized lodestone before the Loki, the magic thieves, use it for their own selfish purpose.

But the lodestone's magnetic field causes a reversal between positive and negative, turning the Loki into heroes and the Vor into villains out to steal more power. Only Marcus's ability to fix the lodestone can save them, but with the switch of good and evil, Marcus will have to fight his own magic to make the right choice.

Marcus Mender is Book 2 of the Magic Mayhem series that begins with Jinnie Wishmaker. However, it can be read as a standalone book and is aimed at reluctant readers.

Visit Deanna Roy’s blog or find Jinnie and Marcus on Amazon page.

For Teens and up

For a fun romp with a lot of heart, suitable for teenagers or adults, check out Plum Crazy by Cece Barlow:

The summer of her junior year, Texas geek girl Elva Presley Hicks lands a job as a plumber’s helper in Houston, Texas. She earns $$$$, but is as lonely as heck.

It’s not like there aren’t any suitors. Elva could choose Chase, the obese pig farmer, or Wyatt, the plumber with wandering hands, but she yearns for something more and finds it with electrician, Mitch McCall.

It’s a cosmic connection. Mitch isn’t turned off by Elva’s name or fan fiction writing, and Elva doesn’t lose interest in him after he cuts off his nose.

Trials and triumphs follow Elva, including a friendship implosion, world-wide fanfic humiliation, and goat salvation.

This summer is destined to be Elva’s most memorable. Join her!

Visit Cece Barlow’s Amazon page.