SACRED by Elana K. Arnold


Geoff Herbach


Sandy King Carpenter


Colleen Houck


Jennifer Morrison


Chandler Baker


Marshall Ryan Maresca


Sheryl Scarborough


Leslye Walton


Tessa Gratton


Friday, September 30, 2016

Guest Post with Charlotte Bennardo

Photo Content from Charlotte Bennardo

Until Hollywood calls, Charlotte lives in NJ with her husband, three children, two needy cats and sometimes a deranged squirrel. Evolution Revolution: Simple Machines is her first solo novel. She is also the co-author of Blonde Ops (St. Martin’s/Dunne) and the Sirenz series (Sirenz, Sirenz Back In Fashion, Flux), and one of 13 authors in the anthology, Beware the Little White Rabbit (Leap). She’s written for magazines and newspapers, and has given presentations and workshops at NJ SCBWI conferences. Currently she’s working on sci fi, historical, fantasy, and time travel novels and loves to hear from fans.

When I was ten, for Christmas I received a bundle of books. One was a collection of scary stories (which weren’t really scary), and a Little Women type novel and a few others which I can’t recall. Of them all, one left such an impact on me that it is the only I kept; Beautiful Joe, by (Margaret) Marshall Saunders. What shocked my whole way of thinking was that the story was written from the perspective of a dog.

Writers can do that?? I was astounded. I’d read stories with girls, boys, grown-ups, fairies, giants, etc. telling their tale, but a dog?

In the first sentences, Beautiful Joe confesses, “My name is Beautiful Joe, and I am a brown dog, of medium size. I am not beautiful, and I am not a thoroughbred. I am only a cur.” Of course at ten, I had to find out why he’s called beautiful when says he isn’t. Joe speaks of his early life with a cruel milkman named Jenkins (the book was written in 1893 when fresh milk was delivered every day to people’s homes). Jenkins was vicious and abusive, which lead to the death of Joe’s mother and siblings, and later abuse of Joe which was gruesome—but I couldn’t stop reading because I had to know how Joe’s story ended. The first person animal point of view took me on that journey with him. I saw through a dog’s eyes, felt with his heart, and learned when he did.

“Oh, how I hated (Jenkins) him!”

“It seemed very strange to have the boys pat me and call me “good dog.” No one had ever said such a thing to me before today.”

“I thought about my mother and wished she were here to lick my sore ears and soothe my pain.”

Many picture books are written from an animal’s point of view- this was the first that I’d seen it in a novel. And although we get Joe’s feelings and observations, he doesn’t don human clothing or aspects common to many of today’s books; he barks, he growls, he plays. Even with emotions and knowledge of human things, he remains a dog.

That was the style I wanted for my Evolution Revolution series. I didn’t want a squirrel conversing with a human, that would make the story, in my mind, a glorified picture book. I needed Jack the squirrel to remain a squirrel, and Fox to be a fox. Jack has to learn language, and he does it by watching and listening to humans. The only concession I made was that the different species could talk to each other. It would have been impossible to tell the story of Jack’s intellectual growth and how the animals learned and worked together without it. In Beautiful Joe, Saunders doesn’t even have dogs communicating with dogs. The species are silent to each other with the exception of natural growls, howls, and meows.

Another difference is that Joe comprehends emotions, words, things like freckles, and abstracts like human bewilderment, whereas Jack and the animals in my novel have to learn everything by observation. Again, this made the book much harder to write, but, I believe, kept it purer.

The binding is splitting and the pages are yellowing, but even above my collector’s leather edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, this will always be my most treasured book; it opened my eyes, my imagination, and ultimately, my story.

In a quiet wood, a common gray squirrel is going to start a war. It begins when a boy befriends and names him Jack, then teaches him words-and how to use simple machines like the wheel. Jack shares what he's learned with Sister but she's more interested in a meadow squirrel. When construction machines invade the wood, Jack wants to save his tree and nest. He wants stop them. He asks Owl, the old Mother of the forest, to call a Gathering. The animals panic when he tells them he wants to fight the machines to save the wood. He shows the animals how to roll stones and makes a plan. Fox and Rat are suspicious, and do not want to help--until Jack reminds Fox that his den is closest to the machines. Almost all the animals, Fox, Beaver, Rat, Bird, Buck, and even Sister, agree to Jack's plan. Together they work to destroy the machines, but don't finish. They try again--and while they are successful, the humans become very interested in Jack. The animals may win the battle, but not win the war.

You can purchase Evolution Revolution: Simple Machines at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CHARLOTTE BENNARDO for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Evolution Revolution: Simple Machines Charlotte Bennardo,

Thursday, September 29, 2016

{Nerd Blast} Hockey Karma by Howard Shapiro

Series: The Forever Friends Series (Book 3)
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Animal Media Group LLC (November 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0986148938
ISBN-13: 978-0986148934

The highly anticipated sequel to the award winning “The Hockey Saint” taking place ten years after “Saint” ends. The legendary Jeremiah “Jake” Jacobson, now thirty two, has been the world’s best hockey player over his fourteen year career because of his out of this world talent level and his smart play. But he can’t stay on top forever, and when he starts making mistakes on the ice, his career and family life start to crumble.

At the same time, Tom Leonard, his agent and best friend, is completely overwhelmed by a project that he and Jake were supposed to be working on together. A project that could have a huge impact on people throughout their city in need of a helping hand. As Jake sinks deeper into a funk over his lost status due to his deteriorating play and the emergence of teammate and rookie phenom Barclay Pedersen, Tom realizes he’s on his own. At the same time he rediscovers someone from his past who he never thought he’d see again. In that burgeoning relationship, Tom discovers the importance of taking chances and starts to believe in himself.

Can Jake break out of his downward spiral and Tom finally find the courage to step out of Jake’s shadow?

You can purchase Hockey Karma at the following Retailer:

Book Nerd Spotlight

I live in Pittsburgh, PA with my wife and two sons. I am the Controller for the Pittsburgh-based Visual Effects firm, Animal Inc., and I have written four children’s books and "The Stereotypical Freaks" will be my debut Graphic Novel.

My 2008 book, "Hockey Player for Life", has been the #1 downloaded children’s hockey e-book on Amazon’s Kindle chart since its arrival as an e-book in November of 2011.

My "Hockey Days" book was the only book featured in the December 2007 Sporting News Annual Gift Guide as a Best Buy Gift for Children. Through a corporate
sponsorship program I set up (and maintain), since the 2010-11 season, both of my children’s hockey books have been given to NHL teams (over 2,500 copies to date) for use in their community and educational initiatives.

Since 2006 my annual charity raffle, which he matches dollar for dollar donated, has raised funds for several hockey-related charities including the Mario Lemieux Foundation, Hockey Fights Cancer and the Keith and Lisa Primeau Scholarship Fund.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Guest Post with Ella Griffin

Photo Content from Ella Griffin

Ella Griffin always wanted to be a writer, but before she got around to it she was a waitress, a movie extra, a pickle-factory worker, a travel writer, and an award-winning advertising copywriter. Her debut novel, Postcards from the Heart, was published in 2011. The Flower Arrangement is her third novel.



I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t in love with words. I collected strange and wonderful ones the way other little girls collected Barbie and Sindy Dolls. I can still remember the thrill of ‘minaret’ and ‘flabbergasted’ and ‘luminescence.’

In my teens, I collected more complicated things. The quivering tension of a family row, the frigid chill between two school friends who liked the same boy. I eavesdropped at bus stops and wrote scraps of dialogue and ideas for stories in the margins of my schoolbooks. I would have died if anyone read them. Those scribbled notes felt more secret to me than any diary.

I was the youngest of six, you see. The smallest voice in a loud, unruly, articulate, academic and very critical family. Like so many creative kids, I was way too shy to step out of the shadows into the light.

I wish now that I had started writing in my twenties but I was thirty-three before I had the confidence to search out a writing group. I sneaked off to my Tuesday lunchtime class as furtively as if I was having an affair

We laughed a lot in that class and we cried too. Hauling words in quickly, without looking too closely, can bring up unexpected lumps of hurt. But, slowly, we learned to trust one another and then we learned to trust ourselves.

I started writing travel pieces and had them published. I began some short stories and then, a novel. In a way, going to that that first class was like having an affair It was in the company of my those kindred spirits, I fell in love with words all over again.

Drawing together a delightful cast of characters, Ella Griffin brings her warmth, wit and wisdom to this captivating tale of the connections that bring us all together.

Every bouquet tells a story. And every story begins at Blossom & Grow, a tiny flower shop in the heart of Dublin…

Among the buckets of fragrant blooms, beneath the flickering candles and lanterns, Lara works her magic, translating feelings into flower arrangements that change hearts and lives.

She is no stranger to the power of flowers herself. They gave her hope when she was a child who lost a mother, and, again when she was a mother who lost a child.

But old wounds take time to heal, and life has more heartbreak in store. What will it take for the woman who can unlock everybody else’s emotions to open up her own heart?


“A compelling and human cast of characters, full of humor, heart, heartbreak, and the language of flowers make this perfect for fans of Marian Keyes.” —Booklist

“All human life is in The Flower Arrangement and is portrayed with great tenderness by Ella Griffin, who offers an astonishing insight into people…The writing is exquisite and I cared deeply about the characters.” —Marian Keyes, Good Housekeeping (UK)

“Ella Griffin’s beautiful writing enables you to feel like you are quite literally stepping into the fragrant surroundings of Blossom & Grow.” —
“One of the most charming books I have ever read.” —

“A pleasure to read—assured, witty, and highly likeable.” —Irish Mail on Sunday

“This beautifully written story explores the joys and sorrows of Lara, who opens a flower shop in the heart of Dublin following the death of her baby son.” —Candis Magazine (UK)

“This is a book to inspire. Inspire you to think positive thoughts, never judge people by appearances and learn to forgive.” —BleachHouse Library

You can purchase The Flower Arrangement at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you ELLA GRIFFIN for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Flower Arrangementby Ella Griffin.

{Nerd Blast} The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 

(November 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1481472674
ISBN-13: 978-1481472678


"Exploring what it is to question society’s definition of what you are and who you should be...the first-person narration makes the story immediate, and the political plotline could yield some thought-provoking discussion." Booklist 

"Philosophical, twisty, and addictive." Kirkus Reviews 

"Kincaid has crafted incredible characters who readers can relate to and care for...these protagonists and the complex setting will thrill the YA audience. VERDICT Fans of Marissa Meyer’s “The Lunar Chronicles” will enjoy Kincaid’s latest. This story of friendship, love, loss, suspense, and galactic beings will grab the attention of sci-fi fans and general readers alike." School Library Journal 

Red Queen meets The Hunger Games in this epic novel about what happens when the galaxy’s most deadly weapon masquerades as a senator’s daughter and a hostage of the galactic court.

A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for.

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.


SIDONIA had made a dangerous mistake.

She was carving a statue out of a great stone slab. There was something mesmerizing about the swiping and flashing of her laser blade, bright against the dark window overlooking the starscape. She never aimed the blade where I expected, but somehow she always produced an image in the stone that my own imagination could never have conjured. Today it was a star gone supernova, a scene from Helionic history depicted vividly in rock.

Yet one swipe of her blade had extracted too large a chunk from the base of the sculpture. I saw it at once and jumped to my feet, alarm prickling through me. The structure was no longer stable. At any moment, that entire statue was going to come crashing down.

Donia knelt to study the visual effect she’d created. Oblivious to the danger.

I approached quietly. I didn’t want to warn her—it might startle her into jerking or jumping, and cutting herself with the laser. Better to rectify the situation myself. My steps drew me across the room. Just as I reached her, the first creak sounded, fragments of dust raining down from above her as the statue tilted forward.
I seized Donia and whipped her out of the way. A great crashing exploded in our ears, dust choking the stale air of the art chamber.

I wrested the laser blade from Donia’s hand and switched it off.

She pulled free, rubbing at her eyes. “Oh no! I didn’t see that coming.” Dismay slackened her face as she looked over the wreckage. “I’ve ruined it, haven’t I?”

“Forget the statue,” I said. “Are you hurt?”

She glumly waved off my question. “I can’t believe I did that. It was going so well. . . .” With one slippered foot, she kicked at a chunk of broken stone, then sighed and glanced at me. “Did I say thanks? I didn’t. Thanks, Nemesis.”

Her thanks did not interest me. It was her safety that mattered. I was her Diabolic. Only people craved praise.

Diabolics weren’t people.

We looked like people, to be sure. We had the DNA of people, but we were something else: creatures fashioned to be utterly ruthless and totally loyal to a single individual. We would gladly kill for that person, and only for them. That’s why the elite imperial families eagerly snatched us up to serve as lifelong bodyguards for themselves and their children, and to be the bane of their enemies.

You can purchase The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid at the following Retailers:

Book Nerd Spotlight
Photo Content from S.J. Kincaid

S.J. Kincaid was born in Alabama, grew up in California, and attended high school in New Hampshire, but it was while living beside a haunted graveyard in Scotland that she realized that she wanted to be a writer. Her debut, Insignia, came out in July of 2012. The second book in the series, Vortex was released in July of 2013. The final book in the trilogy, Catalyst, came out October 28, 2014. Her standalone novel The Diabolic will be released in fall 2016.


Marieke Nijkamp Author Interview

Photo Content from Marieke Nijkamp

Marieke Nijkamp 
was born and raised in the Netherlands. A lifelong student of stories, language, and ideas, she is more or less proficient in about a dozen languages and holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies. She is a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, geek. Her #1 New York Times bestselling debut novel, This Is Where It Ends, follows four teens during the fifty-four minutes of a school shooting. It’s published by Sourcebooks Fire.

Marieke is the founder of DiversifYA and a founding member and advisor of We Need Diverse Books. Find her on Twitter.

Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
Reading my favorite book and realizing I wanted to play in story worlds too. It was as simple as that. I started out with scenes, bits of fanfic, hints of my own storyworlds. And it grew from there. I haven’t look back since.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Because stories give us meaning. I believe stories are one of the best ways to understand what it means to be human.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Butt in chair and keep on writing.

In your book; This Is Where It Ends, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
THIS IS WHERE IS ENDS takes place during the fifty-four minutes of a high school shooting, and follows four teens who all have their own reasons to fear the boy with the gun.

For those who are unfamiliar with Claire, how would you introduce her?
Claire is an track athlete, a JROTC cadet, a sister, a senior at Opportunity High School, and above all, a girl trying to find her place in the world when everyone around her has expectations and she doesn’t know yet where she fits in.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m currently editing a short story for Jessica Spotswood’s anthology THE RADICAL ELEMENT and I’m also writing a short story for Shaun David Hutchinson’s anthology FERAL YOUTH. I love short fiction and while these two stories couldn’t be more different, it’s great fun to get to play with them.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would introduce Matt, Claire’s younger brother, to Luke Skywalker. Although not technically a book character, I feel like there have been enough novelizations that this counts. Plus, Matt would be *so* excited.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Autumn?
I learned a lot about ballet. I’ve been to ballet, I have seen famous solos and pas de deux. But I started out not realizing the Dying Swan solo isn’t actually part of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. My perspective is that of an observer; Autumn’s that of a dancer. So I learned a lot about ballet. J

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
Isn’t answering this kind of giving the game away? ;)

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
I helped out in a bakery for a few months during college. Those were some very early days, but on the upside I was constantly surrounded by the fresh bread and cakes. It smelled delicious and it was a great experience!

When was the last time you cried?
Watching a sad movie. I’m a bit of a sap J

What is your greatest adventure?
Travel. I love, love, love to travel. I love meeting people. I love exploring new places. I love discovering new cities. I love hearing different languages spoken around me. And while I get quite anxious too, the experiences are so worth it.

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won't open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

You can purchase This Is Where It Ends at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you MARIEKE NIJKAMP for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp.