Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Chimera's Apprentice Release Blitz: Giveaway for a Signed Paperback!


Book One of a trilogy

(Upper) Middle Grade fantasy adventure

 Date Published: October 15, 2020

Publisher: Rainscape Media Inc.

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Walking talking rats aren’t real, right? After Kyra, 13, is transported from Earth to another world, Antiica, she’s thrust into her father’s war with the rat people, the Raturro, and must save her kidnapped mother. Kyra sets out on a dangerous journey to rescue her and is aided by Coyne, a teen who deserted the army and Mercy, a teen rat girl who was once Kyra’s childhood friend. But it’s Kyra’s new bond with the Chimera, a magical creature that travels through stone, which changes her life completely. The Chimera’s Apprentice is the story of a girl and her monster—and a desperate search for her family.

About the Author

Roslyn Muir is new to middle grade fiction fantasy but feels she comes by it honestly—“I still feel like a ten-year-old making up elaborate adventure stories in my head.” Born in Scotland and now living in Vancouver, Canada, she often uses the similar landscapes of both countries in her stories. Roslyn has another life as an award-winning screenwriter who writes YA stories, family drama and thrillers. She was a writer on the Global/CBS one-hour drama, Ransom, created by Frank Spotnitz (Man in the High Castle). Roslyn has also written several movies that have aired on TV around the world: Washed Away, Stranger in the House, and Reluctant Witness, to name a few. Roslyn also wrote and produced the dramatic feature film, The Birdwatcher, directed by Siobhan Devine. Her half-hour YA comedy, The Tutors, is in development with the CBC.


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Saturday, October 10, 2020

Children's Book Review: "When We Stayed Home," by Tara Fass, LMFT, and Judith A. Proffer

There's no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone. How do parents explain to their children that they can't go to birthday parties or attend school because they might catch a disease? How do they convince them to wear a mask without scaring them? Fortunately, children's book authors are recognizing the need for stories that introduce children to this "new normal" in a way that they can handle. While reading When We Stayed Home, children learn that staying home more just opens up their world to new adventures. In the story, a little boy becomes a "super-helper" by making cookies for the neighbors and waving at friends walking their dog. He discovers new interests, like putting together puzzles and building forts. This book also acknowledges the not-so-good parts of staying home, like missing get-togethers with friends and getting hugs, but little readers learn in the end that while they may not have everything they want, they have everything they need. Best of all, they'll feel less alone when they realize that other kids are going through the same things they are. 

About the book:

When COVID-19 traveled the globe, we were prompted to stay home, wash our hands frequently, socially distance and wear masks to remain safe and help the helpers. For children who don’t yet grasp the concept of time and haven’t weathered enough life to understand the art of endurance, it’s been a particularly complicated and sometimes trying time. 

When We Stayed Home looks at one young boy’s pandemic journey and, through colorful illustrations and heartfelt prose, we see how he has used his trusty imagination and childlike creativity to navigate the trials of staying home day after day, becoming a super-helper in the process while missing family, friends, school and the "normal" life he once knew. From decorating adorable toilet paper-shaped sugar cookies, building forts, painting and doing puzzles to frequent screen dates and dance parties with family and friends, young children will relate to his joys and sadnesses, and how they too found connection and even serene moments of happiness while isolating. The book will comfort, entertain, and stir conversation about feelings and experiences the youngest stay-at-homers have experienced during these improbable times. 
Tara Fass
Tara Fass, LMFT

Written by Tara Fass, LMFT and Judith A. Proffer, the book was inspired by Proffer's five-year-old nephew, who continued to find big moments of mirth in home, nature, adventures and activities while at times tearfully longing for the virus to go far, far away. Licensed Family and Marriage Therapist Fass has worked with families during the pandemic to navigate its bumpy road with tools, optimism and hope. This is their second book collaboration.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate my honest review. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through this link.

Saturday, October 03, 2020

A Back-to-School Giveaway from Prestel: Three Engaging Books that Encourage Imagination and Creative Play

Prestel Publishing recently published three charming picture books that are a great way to keep kids engaged and learning whether at home or school this fall. Learn more below and then find out how you can enter for the chance to win all three books!

How to Spot an Artist
by Danielle Krysa (9/1/2020; ISBN: 9783791374406; Hardcover $16.95; Ages 5+) is a vividly illustrated, funny, and endlessly encouraging picture book “about being an artist, even when someone tells you not to be."

With over 200,000 Instagram followers, Danielle Krysa has helped a lot of people overcome the fear that they "aren't creative," and in How to Spot an Artist, Krysa wants to reach readers as kids before their inner critics arrived on the scene, using her characteristic playfulness, lively illustrations, and humor to help kids overcome negativity about their artistic endeavors -- and to help them redefine what being an artist means. Every page delivers encouragement to the kid who thinks artists all live in cities, or that art has to look like something familiar, or that painting and drawing are the only way to make art. In a world that drastically undervalues creative freedom, Krysa's whimsical paintings and collages joyfully proclaim that art is essential and that artists are everywhere. Additionally, a page at the back of the book includes ideas for art projects -- because who wants fewer art projects? Nobody!

by Britta Teckentrup (9/15/2020; ISBN: 9783791374420; Hardcover $19.95; Ages 8+) takes readers inside a busy school to follow different students through their day -- in class, during free time, at lunch, and through swimming lessons.

We come across a variety of faces and expressions that reflect the enormous range of emotions and experiences that each school day brings. There are arguments and hurt feelings, encouraging hugs and deeply felt smiles. The gentle text explores issues that we've all encountered -- bullying and loneliness as well as friendship and achievement. While the school in this book could exist anywhere, young readers will recognize themselves in this beautifully and compassionately wrought story by bestselling author Britta Teckentrup, whose warm and wonderfully detailed illustrations are a marvelous portal to feelings, facts, and fun.

This Thing Called Life
by Christian Borstlap (10/6/2020; ISBN: 9783791374437; Hardcover $17.95; Ages 5+) shows the many shapes and forms life takes all around us, from the smallest specks of life to the largest creatures.

What is life? It's constantly moving, growing, reproducing, and dying. It's happening now, all the time, and it's everywhere around us. From little helicopter seed pods that float through the air to blue whales in the ocean, the world is filled with all different types of odd and familiar kinds of life. This whimsical picture book helps young readers see the connections between all living things. Author and illustrator Christian Borstlap's furry, feathery, smooth, and spiky creatures crawl, eat, growl, fly, and interact with one another. While most of his creations are imaginary animals, they all depict real things that organisms must do to survive and thrive. Bold and quirky illustrations tug at kids' imaginations and help demonstrate complex concepts that can be hard to put into words. The book leaves lots of room for discussion and for new discoveries with each reading.


One lucky winner will receive all three books from Prestel (ARV $54.85) featured above! Enter through the Giveaway Tools form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents and ends at 11:59 PM ET on Sunday, October 18, 2020.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Knucklehead Fred and the Principal's Challenge Book Tour: Giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card and eBooks

Knucklehead Fred and the Principal's Challenge
Knucklehead Fred Series Book 2
by Arias Williams
Genre: Children's Picture Book 

Knucklehead Fred is a whimsical, rhyming story about a fun-loving, energetic boy named Fred.

After struggling with behavior problems at school, Fred is presented with a challenge by his school principal, Mr. Boronstine. He promises Fred that if he can be a model student for one week, he will be presented with a special surprise.

Will Knucklehead Fred rise to the occasion and be the best he can be? Or will he fail to control himself and miss out on a special treat?

Find out in this second installment of this whimsical children’s book about a mischievous little boy who walks to the beat of his own drum.

The Principal’s Challenge is the second in the Knucklehead Fred series, a collection of stories about the troublemaker you can’t help but love.

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Amazon * B&N

Knucklehead Fred
Knucklehead Fred Series Book 1

Knucklehead Fred is a whimsical, rhyming story about a fun-loving, energetic boy named Fred.

His parents just can’t figure out how to make him sit still and listen!

But when Fred finds himself in need of a favor, Mom and Dad use it as a perfect opportunity to teach him a thing or two about responsibility.

Add to Goodreads
Amazon * B&N

Arias Williams is a creative based in Los Angeles, CA.

He is a father of two children, a husband, and currently teaches 7th Grade in South Los Angeles.

When he isn't working on Knucklehead Fred, Arias can be found in his home studio making beats, hanging with his family, or working to educate the future of Los Angeles. 

Facebook * Instagram * Amazon * Goodreads

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$10 Amazon, eBook of both books – 1 winner each

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Release Blitz: "Summer of L.U.C.K.," a Middle-Grade Fantasy Novel by Laura Segal Stegman ~ Read an Excerpt!

Middle-Grade Contemporary Fantasy

Published Date: 9-15-20

Publisher: INtense Publications LLC

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Stuttering Darby is never perfect enough for her mother. Justin's been silent since his dad died. Naz is struggling to learn English. But after they meet at summer camp, mysterious calliope music from an abandoned warehouse grants them power to communicate without words. When they sneak inside, the dark, empty space bursts into a magical carnival. They're greeted by the ghost of Leroy Usher, who asks for their help convincing his family to restore the carnival to its former glory. In return, he promises to teach the kids how to find their voices. As Darby, Justin, and Naz are swept off on a series of midnight adventures via Mr. Usher's carnival rides, they discover they're capable of more than they ever imagined. With each challenge, their confidence in communicating -- and in themselves -- grows. Meanwhile, they scheme to persuade the Usher family to revive the carnival. But when Darby’s bunkmates trick her into starring in the camp talent show, her budding confidence falters. Can she risk being less than perfect by performing in the show and speaking up to Mr. Usher's resistant son? If not, she'll put the carnival in danger and sabotage her most important quest: to believe in herself, stutter and all. 


Chattering blackbirds and blue jays pulled her back to her surroundings. The scent of wintergreen berries, bluebells, and wild sassafras from the bushes restored her resolve to continue by herself. She walked a bit faster up a steep incline, removing her official Camp Inch Sweatshirt and tying it around her thin waist.

At the hilltop, one sign pointing left read CAMP INCH VIA WHITE FALLS HIGHWAY: 1/4 MILE EAST. Another pointed right, cautioning PRIVATE PROPERTY! Her pulse quickened. She followed it past bushes and trees.

Below her, an orange football-field-sized building, dressed up with castle-like turrets at each corner, rose several stories high. Darby smiled with glee. I found it! Massive green letters spelling out "L.U.C.K." were painted on its side, glowing brighter than ever. A surrounding fieldstone wall led eastward toward camp.

She hurried down to a spot beside the immense wall where ten golden horseshoes sat lodged in concrete. Same as when Monica and I found them! The sun glinted on a colorless glass circle embedded above the horseshoes. Last time they'd rushed too much to notice the lines inscribed on it. Now, she knelt to read what they said.

All That We Give

Comes Back to Benefit Ourselves

With no time to figure that out, she placed her feet inside two of the horseshoes, like last year. Her heart pounding, she waited anxiously for the faint rumbling she and Monica had heard -- or possibly imagined.

Will it even work without her?

The ground trembled ever so slightly beneath her.

She shivered with relief. Yes, I feel it!

Last year, their counselor came after them to end the adventure before it began. This time, the rumbling got louder. Darby ducked to avoid the small rocks and dust that fell from the stone wall looming above her head. Grating and creaking accompanied deep vibrations inside the fieldstone. A Darby-size section swung out on hinges, exposing a latch chain fastened to an old wooden door. She tried to remember to breathe. Or how to breathe. Overcoming the urge to back away, she yanked the chain, pushed the door open, and strained to see.

For a few seconds, semi-darkness that lay beyond kept her cemented in place. Finally, anticipation conquered her apprehension. I can't stop now. Electrified, Darby squared her shoulders and stepped inside.


About the Author

Laura Segal Stegman grew up with parents who valued reading, and she still finds herself spellbound by middle-grade fiction. Some of her favorites, then and now, are The Diamond in the Window, Ellen Tebbits, All of a Kind Family, Wonder, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and The Miraculous. As a writer, her non-fiction credits include collaboration on the travel book, Only in New York, and her feature stories have appeared in Los Angeles Times and Westways Magazine, among others. A long-time publicist, she has represented numerous arts organizations. Summer of L.U.C.K. is her debut novel.

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Twitter: @LauraStegman

Instagram: laura_stegman



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Monday, September 14, 2020

DVD Giveaway: SEA LEVEL and SEA LEVEL 2: MAGIC ARCH ~ 5 Winners!

Last month, I featured the trailer for the upcoming animated double feature, SEA LEVEL and the all-new SEA LEVEL 2: MAGIC ARCH. This month, I'm featuring a giveaway of this fun new title, which arrives on DVD, Digital, and On Demand from Lionsgate on September 29. These underwater adventures will be available on one disc for the suggested retail price $16.98. 

Pup, a bamboo shark, discovers egg sacs while playing around the ocean with his friends. When he sees human poachers stealing the eggs from his reef, Pup makes it his mission to save his family. As he leaves the sea and enters the beautiful, yet dangerous, world of humans, he will prove he isn’t too small to save his family. 

This thrilling, colorful comedy will take your family under the sea to a land of courage and adventure. One day, Dephi the dolphin discovers a magical archway that grants wishes to all who visit. But evil moray eels use the arch to become gigantic and menace peaceful Fish Town. Now, Delphi must summon his courage, master his “secret punch” fighting technique, and find his missing father to rescue his friends and win the love of pretty Mia. It’s time for this dolphin to get swimmin’! 


Five (5) lucky families will receive a DVD copy of SEA LEVEL and SEA LEVEL 2: MAGIC ARCH. Enter through the Giveaway Tools form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on September 28, 2020.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Celebrate the Premiere of "Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs" with a Delicious Mini Apple Pies Recipe!

Magic mirror on the wall, which apple pie recipe is the fairest of them all? Why, this one, of course! In celebration of Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs, premiering on Digital and On Demand September 18 and available to own on Blu-ray and DVD September 22, we're excited to share Snow White's magically delicious Mini Apple Pies recipe. Click on the banner below so you and your kids can eat dessert happily ever after! Be sure to scroll down to learn more about the movie and watch the trailer!

About the movie:

This outrageous fairy-tale spoof starts as Snow White steals a pair of red shoes that transform her into a princess. Meanwhile, a witch’s curse turns seven brave princes into dwarfs, forcing them to seek out the princess, hoping for a kiss to break their spell. Together, they must face Snow White’s wicked stepmother -- who will stop at nothing to get her precious shoes back -- and, along the way, learn that true beauty lies within!

Go behind the scenes of this must-own animated adventure with enchanting Blu-ray and DVD bonus features, including two “making-of” featurettes and two music videos featuring the all-new original songs! The Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs Blu-ray and DVD will be available for the price of $21.99 and $19.98, respectively.

Watch the trailer!


“The Making of Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs” Featurette
“From Storyboard to Animation: Creating Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs” Featurette
“Start of Something Right” Music Video
“Something So Beautiful” Music Video

Disclosure: This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through this link.

The Reluctant Wizard Book Tour: Giveaway for a $50 Amazon Gift Card

The Reluctant Wizard
by A.A. Warne
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy 

By day, wizards rule the world. At night, warlocks seek to destroy it. Now, one boy will challenge them both. 

Eli never wanted to be a rebel. All he wants is an end to the famine and war threatening his community. To save his mother and baby brother from marauding warlocks, Eli is forced to make a heartbreaking decision. He must travel to Terra Magicae, the mysterious land of the wizards, to study magic. In exchange, the wizards will protect his family, but this protection comes at a price: once Eli enters the Grand Wizardry Academy, he may never come home. 

Full of lush landscapes and magical marvels, Terra Magicae is more wondrous than Eli ever imagined… and more dangerous. At first, Eli’s struggles to fit in at the Academy seem ordinary. But the more he questions the wizards, the more he suspects a sinister purpose behind their bizarre rules and tests. For a dark secret lies at the heart of this mystical land, one so terrible it threatens not only the students at the Academy but the lives of everyone Eli loves. 

To save them all, Eli must step into the midst of the battle between the wizards and warlocks and defy both sides. He must become the rebel he was always meant to be.

A.A. Warne writes elaborate, strange, dark and twisted stories. In other words, speculative fiction.

Located at the bottom of the Blue Mountains in Sydney, Australia, Amanda was born an artist and grew up a painter before deciding to study pottery.

But it wasn't until she found the art of the written word that her universe expanded.
A graduate of Western Sydney University in arts, Amanda now spends her time wrestling three kids and writing full-time.

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card