DEADLY COOL by Gemma Halliday


Marit Wesisenberg

SELECT FEW Official Blog Tour

Sean Penn


D.J. MacHale

ORACLE OF DOOM by D.J. MacHale Nerd Blast

Ashley Eckstein


Peternelle van Arsdale


D.J. MacHale

JBN Podcast

Liana Garder


Dave Robison

ARCHIVOS Official Nerd Blast

Kerri Maher


Lisa Edelstein


Gregory King and Jonathan Greasley


Syrie James and Ryan M. James

EMBOLDEN Official Nerd Blast

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Into Your Arms by Chelsea M. Cameron

Book Nerd Spotlight

Get fired up for Into Your Arms, the first book in the sexy new Squad Stories series from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Chelsea M. Cameron!

Freya has secrets she doesn’t intend to share. Not with her new friends on the cheerleading squad at Maine State University, and certainly not with sexy lumberjack-look-alike Rhett. Just because sparks flew between them at a bar one night doesn’t mean he gets to know why she transferred to MSU. When Freya dares Rhett to come to cheerleading practice, she never expects to see the dark-haired lumberjack again.

Except Rhett is the last person to turn down a dare, especially when it comes from a pixie-sized blonde. When Rhett wows the squad and becomes Freya’s stunt partner, his hands come far too close for comfort. But as Freya and Rhett’s hot post-practice sessions bring them closer, she risks her secrets being revealed. Can Freya chance exposing who she really is to the guy who wasn’t supposed to win her heart?


I’m done with the salad long before Rhett finishes everything else, so I just kind of keep tossing it and watch him. He moves with the same fluidity that he does during cheer. For a big guy, he’s graceful, and he’s an excellent dancer. I hate how sexy it is.

Rhett starts whistling to himself. He does that a lot, and it’s not annoying, surprisingly. I keep trying to find flaws, but I can’t seem to. There must be something. I just have to work harder to find it.

That means that I’ll probably have to keep coming over here. Oh, well. At least the food is good?

Two hours later I’m on Rhett’s couch again, my hands on my stomach and regrets in my heart.

“I should have waited to have that cupcake, but it just looked so good,” I groan, resting my head back against the cushion. I kind of want to stretch out and take a nap.

“I’m glad you liked my food and I’m sorry you’re having regrets.” He tips his head to the side and gives me a tiny smile. It still does things to me. Everything he does affects me. I wish I could find a way to make it stop.

Rhett and I hold eye contact for just a little too long. I inhale slowly and the air in the room changes. Shifts to something else. And even though my stomach is sloshy and full, I can’t ignore the magnetic pull toward Rhett. My body leans toward his without even realizing.

Somehow, I’m able to slam on the brakes and pull back. I blink a few times and take another breath. Shit. That was close. Rhett clears his throat, and his face is just a little red under his beard.

He lets out a slow breath and chuckles under his breath.

“What?” I ask, afraid to know the answer.

“Nothing,” he says, his voice a little rough. He turns to look at me again, but I don’t meet his eyes. I can’t let that happen.

“I should probably get home,” I say, even though it’s only eight. I need to get out of Rhett’s apartment, which is filled with his things and his scent and him. It’s too much to handle right now. It’s scrambling my brain.

“Sure,” he says in a distant voice. He pushes himself off the couch and holds out his hands to help me up. If I wasn’t so full, I would ignore him, but I am, so I take his hands. They feel new and familiar all at once. His hands dwarf mine, but he holds me gently. He’s still holding my hands and he needs to stop holding my hands and I need to go home.

Right now.

But then I look up at him and I just . . . I kiss him. I pop up on my toes and reach for his mouth and I kiss him. Just like that. His mouth is lush and soft. He’s surprised at first and then he sinks into it, and I brush his bottom lip with my tongue and then I realize that I’m kissing Rhett and I should definitely not be kissing Rhett.

I drop his hands as if they’re burning me and scoot around him, heading for the door.

“So, I’ll see you tomorrow? Thanks for the food, I really have to go, bye,” I say in a rush and basically bolt. He calls after me, but I don’t listen.

I’m shaking when I get to my car and have to sit and breathe for a second before I can actually drive away. Part of me expects him to follow me after such a hasty exit, but he doesn’t.

So I take another shaky breath before I turn on my car and drive back to my lonely apartment.

You can purchase Into Your Arms at the following Retailers:

Author Spotlight
Photo Content from Chelsea M. Cameron

Chelsea M. Cameron is a New York Times/USA Today Best Selling author from Maine, whose books include Deeper We Fall. She's a red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world's worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car, tweeting (this one time, she was tweeted by Neil Gaiman) and playing fetch with her cat, Sassenach. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is


Monday, May 29, 2017

Jenna Black Author Interview

Photo Content from Jenna Black

Jenna Black is your typical writer. Which means she's an "experience junkie." She got her BA in physical anthropology and French from Duke University.

Once upon a time, she dreamed she would be the next Jane Goodall, camping in the bush making fabulous discoveries about primate behavior. Then, during her senior year at Duke, she did some actual research in the field and made this shocking discovery: primates spend something like 80% of their time doing such exciting things as sleeping and eating.

Concluding that this discovery was her life's work in the field of primatology, she then moved on to such varied pastimes as grooming dogs and writing technical documentation. Among her other experiences . . .

Ballroom dancing.
Traveling all seven continents. Yes, even Antarctica.
Becoming a Life Master in Bridge.
Singing in a barbershop chorus.

Read the true story of Jenna's first trip out of the country by herself at the age of 16: 
Jenna's Zaire Adventure. And remember, insanity is a good thing for a writer.

She's also a proud member of the 
Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, and would love for her readers to support her fellow authors!

Series: Nightstruck (Book 2)
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen (May 30, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765380064
ISBN-13: 978-0765380067

Praise for NIGHT MAGIC

“Suspenseful and savage―Jenna Black does horror right!” ―Kimberly Derting, author of the Body Finder series

"Effectively blending grisly horror, teenage dilemmas, and a touch of romance, Black has built a genuinely scary city where the night literally has teeth.” ―Publishers Weekly

What was your first introduction to YA literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write?
I’m a huge fan of anything Rachel Caine, so when she started writing the Morganville Vampire series, I just had to read it. I loved Rachel’s book so much I had to reader more—I was hooked!

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
From when I was four to when I was seven, I lived in Tahiti with my mom. I came back to the US a little French-speaking island girl and had all kinds of “fun” adjusting to life in the US.

When did you write your first book?
I wrote my first book when I was ten. It was an “autobiography” about my life in Tahiti.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
I went to an all-girls’ high school, and after having left a toxic middle school environment, I learned at my new school that girls could be good at whatever they damn well wanted to be. (I never realized I was getting “girls aren’t good at math and science” vibes from my old school.)

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Creative. Introverted. Empathetic.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

An active imagination, a love of reading, and the courage to risk failure.

Did you learn anything from writing NIGHT MAGIC and what was it?

It was hardly a new lesson, but apparently one that needs to be relearned every once in a while: sometimes you really need someone else’s perspective to help you see your book clearly. I had a specific ending in mind when I started writing the book, and I slavishly wrote to that ending, even though it wasn’t really working. I couldn’t see the flaws in my ending until my agent and my editor read it and pointed them out to me. It’s amazing how easy it is even for a multi-published author to fall prey to tunnel vision.

What was your inspiration for the series?
I wanted to write in a world that physically changes between night and day and where there’s a clear separation between those who reside in each of those worlds.

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know the most over the course of writing NIGHTSTRUCK?
I’d say Becket, but that’s too easy an answer. So I guess it would have to be Piper, who turned out to be a lot more complicated and nuanced than I originally thought she’d be. She is a very self-centered person, but she’s not actually a bad person. (At least not until she was Nightstruck.)

For those who are unfamiliar with Becket, how would you introduce her?
Becket is a hyper-responsible teenager who’s always felt she was the lesser of her parents’ children. She feels like an underachiever because both her parents and her sister are very driven and career-oriented, and she is not. She’s kind and caring to a fault, but she also carries around a lot of anger because she doesn’t feel valued.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I would have to choose two: Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. When I was a frustrated wannabe writer, I attended an intensive workshop they put on, and it was life-changing for me. They totally changed my perception of what it meant to be a profession writer, and they helped me take more ownership of my career. They also inspired me to explore other genres and take more risks.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Risks are terrifying, and there are a lot of them that aren’t worth taking. However, learning to identify which risks are worth it will enrich your life more than you can know.

Who was your first boyfriend?
Let’s just say that my first boyfriend inspired some of the less savory, more manipulative characters you’ve seen in my books and leave it at that. (I’m looking at you, Piper.)

Tell me about your first kiss.

I swear this is a true story. I was sixteen years old and on a research trip to Zaire, traveling solo for the first time in my life. The volunteers for the trip all got together for the first time in Kinshasa Zaire, and I met a teenage boy who was also traveling by himself into the field. I was jetlagged beyond belief and had little experience with boys, so I didn’t quite realize he was flirting with me during dinner, but when he walked me back to my cabin, he kissed me. It was sudden and unexpected, and I barely knew him, so it didn’t really go over all that well.

Last Halloween Costume you wore and when?
It was so long ago I couldn’t tell you. I’m not much of a Halloween person.

First Concert?
Again, so long ago I can’t remember. (Apparently, it didn’t make a huge impression on me.)

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
Well, I was a teenager in the previous century—in the 80’s. I don’t know if there’s ever a good time to be a teenager, but I don’t suppose the 80’s were too bad.

Where can readers find you?
Twitter: @JennaBlack
FB: JennaBlackBooks (profile); JennaBlackAuthor (Page); JennaBlackZen (a page devoted to my art)
Instagram: JennaBlackBooks (although I started on Instagram meaning to post about books, most of my posts are about my art, since that lends itself to the Instagram format better)

  • Paris. Love the history, the art, and the food.
  • Antarctica. The most beautiful and unspoiled (though desolate) place in the world.
  • Anywhere in Italy. More history, art, and amazing food.
  • Kenya. The wildlife and the scenery is amazing.
  • Tierra Del Fuego (on the tip of South America). The glaciers and unspoiled beauty is absolutely spectacular.
  • The Amazon jungle. You might have noticed I’m a sucker for wildlife and wilderness, and the jungle gorgeous and exciting.
  • Machu Picchu. Breathtaking views and ancient ruins. What’s not to love?
  • Bermuda. Quaint and lovely with beautiful beaches.
  • Grand Canyon. No photograph can ever truly capture the splendor of the Grand Canyon.
  • Iguassu Falls. Not only do you have lush jungle surroundings, but the falls themselves are simply awe-inspiring.

Jenna Black returns to the quarantined city of Philadelphia, where an unsuspecting seventeen-year-old has unknowingly unleashed a dark power that transforms the city into a monstrous hellscape in Night Magic.

Philadelphia is locked in the grip of an evil magic that transforms its streets into a nightmare landscape the minute the sun sets each night. While most of the city hunkers down and hopes to survive the long winter nights, Becket Walker is roaming the darkened streets having the time of her life.

Once, the guilt of having inadvertently let the night magic into the city―and of having killed her onetime best friend―had threatened to destroy her. But now she’s been Nightstruck, and all her grief and guilt and terror have been swept away―along with her conscience. So what if she’s lost her friends, her family, and her home? And so what if her hot new boyfriend is super-controlling and downright malevolent?

Mesmerized by the power and freedom of not having to care about anyone but herself, Becket is sinking ever deeper into the night magic’s grasp. But those who love her refuse to give up on her―even if she’s given up on them. If they can’t find a way to help Becket break the night magic’s hold, the entire city might soon find itself shrouded in perpetual night. But the last thing Becket wants is to be “rescued” from her brand new life, and she will fight tooth and claw to stay exactly where she is.

You can purchase Night Magic at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you JENNA BLACK AND TOR for making this giveaway possible.
10 Winners will receive a Copy of NIGHT MAGIC by Jenna Black.
MAY 29th Monday JeanBookNerd INTERVIEW
MAY 29th Monda
Movies, Shows, & Books EXCERPT
MAY 30th Tu
esday Insane About Books REVIEW & FAVORITE THINGS
MAY 30th Tues
day Reading for the Stars and Moon REVIEW & FAVORITE BOOKS
MAY 31st Wednes
day Bookish Things & More REVIEW & EXCERPT 
JUNE 1st Thursday Bibliobibuli YA INTERVIEW 
JUNE 1st Thursday CBY Book Club EXCERPT

JUNE 2nd Friday Crossroad Reviews REVIEW 
JUNE 2nd Friday Whatever You Can Still Betray EXCERPT 
JUNE 3rd Saturday Sabrina's Paranormal Palace REVIEW & FAVORITE THINGS 
JUNE 4th Sunday Books, Dreams, Life RANDOM THINGS 
JUNE 4th Sunday TTC Books and More EXCERPT 
JUNE 5th Monday Here's to Happy Endings REVIEW 
JUNE 6th Tuesday Wishful Endings TENS LIST 
JUNE 7th Wednesday A Dream Within a Dream REVIEW & EXCERPT

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

John David Anderson Author Interview

Photo Content from John David Anderson

John David Anderson is the author of SidekickedMinionStandard Hero Behavior,The DungeoneersMs. Bixby's Last Day and Insert Coin to Continue. He lives with his patient wife and brilliant twins in Indianapolis, Indiana, right next to a State park and a Walmart. He does not wear ties but will wear sandals in the snow. He enjoys hiking, reading, chocolate, spending time with his family, playing the piano, chocolate, putting off the dishes, watching movies, and chocolate. Those aren't his real teeth. Seriously. The middle four on top? Lost 'em in a car accident. It's all right, though, the plastic ones look nice and he can still eat corn on the cob.

There are lots of ways to contact him. Telepathy, for example. Carrier pigeon. Alien distress beacon. Sky writing. Failing those, you can always e-mail him here. Be sure to tell him how his book has revolutionized your life, or, barring that, how you used it to smash a bug or something.


Age Range: 8 - 12 years
Grade Level: 3 - 7
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Walden Pond Press (May 2, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 006233820X
ISBN-13: 978-0062338204

Praise for POSTED

Kids, and the rest of the world, need more books like this one 
Kirkus Reviews

★ “Written with understated humor and fine-tuned perception, Frost’s first-person narrative offers a riveting story as well as an uncomfortably realistic picture of middle school social dynamics.” 
Booklist (starred review)

★ “Anderson dives into the world of middle school with a clear sense of how it works and what it needs. Kids, and the rest of the world, need more books like this one.” 
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

★ “Anderson captures the tumultuous joys and pains of middle school with honesty, creating characters with whom readers will find common ground and insight. Words have lingering and persistent power, Anderson makes clear, but so does standing up for others and making one’s voice heard.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Acute observations about social media and school life and a smart, engaging narrator make this a journey well worth taking. Readers might even want some Post-it notes to mark the good parts.” The Horn Book

What was your first introduction to literature?
I’ve always loved books, starting with Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak, and shooting through Roald Dahl and Douglas Adams to Nabakov and Michael Chabon. I remember reading Where the Red Fern Grows at school and then coming home to Stephen King (and the nightmares that followed; I had only myself to blame). I do know that the first really highfalutin “literary” author I fell in love with was Kurt Vonnegut Jr. To this day I still worship him as a minor deity (see picture below).

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
Every author I’ve ever read has had some impact. The bad ones (of which there are a couple), made me feel better about my own fledgling abilities (terrible but true). The good ones (of which there are way too many to count) always gave me something to aspire to and taught me everything I know about craft. And the really great ones…oh man…they showed me just how powerful words and stories can be, reminding me that I am forever an apprentice in a trade that takes a lifetime to master.

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Child at heart

Did you learn anything from writing POSTED and what was it?
I learned more writing this book than any other I’ve written so far. I’ll just share one lesson. Rewriting this book taught me the power of small moments. A lot of the revision process was a scaling back, an attempt to tease out the tension in the everyday exchanges that add up to form character and conflict. Honestly, not a lot happens in the book, but so much happens in the book. I also learned that after the sixth pass through a novel, I feel like taking a battleax to my laptop.

For those who are unfamiliar with Frost, how would you introduce him?
A poet in hiding. An observer. A kid with a voice who lacks the confidence to use it. A good friend—most of the time. Insecure. Confused. Inquisitive. Compassionate. In short—me at that age.

What part of Deedee and Rose did you enjoy writing the most?
I’m a geek. Deedee’s a geek. We bond on some molecular, D&D-loving level. I can’t tell you the number of ten-sided dice I have in my house. Rose, on the other hand, is the hero of the story. I admire her confidence, but I think I enjoyed her sense of humor the most. She’s cool in all the ways I wish I was cool.

If you could introduce Wolf and Bench to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would introduce Wolf to Willy Wonka. The kid’s kind of having a hard go of it (like Charlie), and I think a trip through the old chocolate factory would cheer him up. Bench needs to meet someone who understands the value of friendships, someone who can give him some perspective on what matters most in a relationship. Maybe Raymie Nightingale could help with that.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
That’s hard. I’m not sure I have a mentor in the Obi-Wan-Kenobi sense, but I definitely have influences: Lloyd Alexander, Twain, Douglas Adams, A.A. Milne. And a bunch of authors that I learn something from every time I read them, such as Kate DiCamillo, Gary Schmidt, Dave Eggers, and hundreds more. Pretty much every book I read teaches me something.

How many books have you written?
A bunch. Twenty? Twenty five? Obviously they weren’t all worth publishing, but they were absolutely all worth writing, if only for the experience and lessons learned.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?

As a reader, be willing to branch out and try new things. Don’t get stuck on one series or author or genre. There’s a lot to discover, and you are allowed to fall in love over and over again. As a writer, learn to read two ways: read for story and read for craft. Learn to appreciate a beautiful turn of phrase just as much as a twist of plot.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?
To my wife. Love letters should not be sent electronically.

Where did you go on your first airplane ride?
Probably Florida. That’s where we always went over the summer to escape from landlocked Indiana. I still sometimes question if man was really meant to fly; such a remarkable and unnerving achievement.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
The 1950s. Sure there was the whole simmering Cold War, but have you seen Grease? Those kids knew how to spend their summer days. And summer nights.

What is your greatest adventure?
Parenthood, hands down. You never know what a day is going to bring, but at the end of each one I can point to at least one moment with my kids that’s worth remembering.

Where can readers find you?
In my pajamas at my desk surrounded by Star Wars Lego models, empty cans of Diet Coke, and a never-ending supply of chocolate. Also at these places:

Twitter: @anderson_author
Facebook: @JohnDavidAndersonAuthor


Photo from John David Anderson

A great friend knows your favorite flavor of ice-cream.
A great friend knows how to keep a secret.
A great friend splits the last breadstick and gives you the bigger half.
A great friend lets you have first pick of what course to drive in Mario Kart.
A great friend protects you from the wolves.
A great friend makes getting up and going to school every day not entirely terrible.
A great friend knows exactly when he can give you a hard time without hurting your feelings.
A great friend will insist that you borrow his favorite book.
A great friend will risk her life riding down a giant hill at breakneck speeds for you.
A great friend always accepts your apologies, so long as you really mean them.

From John David Anderson, author of the acclaimed Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, comes a humorous, poignant, and original contemporary story about bullying, broken friendships, and the failures of communication between kids.

In middle school, words aren’t just words. They can be weapons. They can be gifts. The right words can win you friends or make you enemies. They can come back to haunt you. Sometimes they can change things forever.

When cell phones are banned at Branton Middle School, Frost and his friends Deedee, Wolf, and Bench come up with a new way to communicate: leaving sticky notes for each other all around the school. It catches on, and soon all the kids in school are leaving notes—though for every kind and friendly one, there is a cutting and cruel one as well.

In the middle of this, a new girl named Rose arrives at school and sits at Frost’s lunch table. Rose is not like anyone else at Branton Middle School, and it’s clear that the close circle of friends Frost has made for himself won’t easily hold another. As the sticky-note war escalates, and the pressure to choose sides mounts, Frost soon realizes that after this year, nothing will ever be the same.

You can purchase Posted at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you JOHN DAVID ANDERSON for making this giveaway possible.
7 Winners will receive a Copy of POSTED by John David Anderson.
MAY 15th MONDAY Bookish Lifestyle REVIEW & INTERVIEW 
MAY 15th MONDAY A Dream Within a Dream EXCERPT
MAY 17th WEDNESDAY Here's to Happy Endings REVIEW 
MAY 19th FRIDAY Crossroad Reviews REVIEW 

MAY 19th FRIDAY Books, Dreams, Life RANDOM THINGS 
MAY 20th SATURDAY Sabrina's Paranormal Palace REVIEW & FAVORITE BOOKS 
MAY 21st SUNDAY Twirling Book Princess EXCERPT 
MAY 24th WEDNESDAY Reading for the Stars and Moon REVIEW & MUSIC PLAYLIST

Monday, May 22, 2017

Kathleen Baldwin Author Interview

Photo Content from Kathleen Baldwin

Award-winning author Kathleen Baldwin loves adventure in books and in real life. She taught rock climbing in the Rockies, survival camped in the desert, was stalked by a mountain lion, lost an argument with a rattlesnake, enjoyed way too many classes in college, fell in love at least a dozen times, and married her very own hero. They’ve raised four free-spirited adventurous children.
Find more about Kathleen on her WebsiteNewsletterTwitterFacebook

Awarded 2016 Spirit of Texas, A School for Unusual Girls , is her first historical romance for Young Adults. It is a Junior Library Guild selection. Publisher’s Lunch listed it in their 2015 Young Adult BookBuzz. Kansas State NEA Reading Circle gave it a starred review in their 2016 “Best of the Best” for High Schools. Scholastic licensed it for book fairs, and New York Times Book Review called it “enticing from the first sentence.”

Kathleen is also an avid reader and adores the wit and humor of Oscar Wilde, P.G. Wodehouse, and Jane Austen. Her eclectic reading interests range from Frank Herbert to Meg Cabot, and on to the delightfully imaginative tales of Diana Wynne Jones.

Series: Stranje House (Book 3)
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen (May 23, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765376040
ISBN-13: 978-0765376046

Praise for THE STRANJE Series

"A Completely Original―and totally engrossing―world, full of smart girls, handsome boys, and sinister mysteries...Sign me up." ―Meg Cabot, New York Times Best Selling Author of The Princess Diaries

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I can’t think in words. Not at all. To compound matters, I’m dyslexic.
As a small child, long before I learned to speak, an entire inner language formed. My thoughts consist of vibrantly colored emotional clouds and images—it’s difficult to explain. It may sound disorganized, but the opposite is true. These swirling images make sense of the world for me. However, it means everything I write or speak is a translation from this deeply seated inner language.

By second grade, I realized that I didn’t think along acceptable norms, and I learned to hide my inner world. In college, two psychology professors invited me into a creativity study, where they hooked students up to an EEG. I learned it was okay to be different and that lots of people have abnormal thought patterns. I made peace with my intrinsic language. Despite this progress, I craved being out in nature, rock climbing, skiing, survival camping, anything away from civilization. Because out in the wild my inner language doesn’t seem peculiar at all.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
In sixth grade, I filled a whole notebook (that’s kind of a book) with a romantic novella about an orphaned fifteen year-old French immigrant sent to live in colonial America. No snickering when I tell you the title, In a Field of Daisies. Okay, you can stop rolling your eyes. Yes, I blush to think how mushy it was. There you have it—my first book was a teen historical romance. No surprise to learn that’s where I finally landed.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
Hard to choose. I loved school. Maybe the greatest thing was my sixth grade librarian introducing me to Dickens. No, it was Ms. Merrick, in seventh grade, making us recite poetry. Wordsworth, Browning, T.S. Elliot, I still love thee. Oh, wait! My science teacher, Mr. Lenhardt, taught us a great memorization trick for long lists of things such as the Mohs Hardness scale. I still use his trick today. Okay, Mr. Lenhardt wins the prize!

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Loving, ageless, wildling

Did you learn anything from writing REFUGE FOR MASTERMINDS and what was it?
Yes, I did. Lady Jane tries to take care of everyone around her. She's a caretaker and, consequently, a little bossy. I was eager to see how she would arc from bossy to not bossy, from caretaker to trusting those around her to take care of themselves. I was especially eager because those traits are ones would like to change in myself. Lady Jane surprised me, AND I learned some great things about those traits I battle. Firstly, they're not all bad. As with most gifts, they're two-edged swords. It astonished me that Lady Jane learned how to put them in perspective, when I have had such a difficult time with them.

What was your inspiration for the series?
Two years ago, while signing copies of A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS at a Teen book festival, two girls came and stood at my table giggling. One pointed to her friend and said, "She is Lady Jane."

Confused I asked, "Do you mean her name is Jane?"

"No. She IS Lady Jane. She's so much like her, they could be twins." The accused young lady nodded, affirming her friend's assessment.

I leaned closer and said, “But Lady Jane is wonderfully smart and extremely capable, but she’s also, well, kind of bossy.”

They laughed again and she nodded. “Yep. That’s me.”

She isn’t the only young lady to confide that sentiment. I’ve heard it since at other signings and gotten several emails from readers saying the same thing. Apparently, Lady Jane’s traits are highly relatable. Who knew?

As far as direct inspiration, two of my children are great strategists, masterminds. My son has been involved in politics from an early age and my daughter is able to juggle multiple projects at her architectural firm and does an amazing job. Both were great resource as I wrote Lady Jane's story.

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know the most over the course of writing STRANJE HOUSE?

I can’t pick. It would be like trying to choose which of my children I like most. Impossible. I love them all, but differently. It is an honor and a joy to wake up in the morning, hurry to my computer, and hang out with the unusual women of Stranje House.

What part of Jane did you enjoy writing the most?
The banter between Jane and Alexander was priceless. He had fun teasing her, so naturally I enjoyed it, too.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’d like to see what would happen if Izzy from Cut from the Same Cloth and Lady Jane were thrown into a locked room. They’re both so opinionated and self-assured that I think, at first, they’d clash big time. There would be some serious fireworks. If they were stuck in that room long enough and learned to understand each other, I believe they’d end as best friends.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
You are changing the world around you, creating endless ripples with every action. It’s so important that I put this advice on a stamp I use at book signings.

Photo Courtesy from Kathleen Baldwin

Who was your first boyfriend?
Kit Carson, Dr. Dreamy of second grade. By the way, that’s his real name Kit Carson, not Dr. Dreamy. He’s named after a famous frontiersman, and in the mountains of northern Arizona that was about as cool a name as you could get. Sigh. Kit was as rugged and strong as his namesake, or at least I that’s how I saw it in second grade.

Tell me about your first kiss.
Oh Jean! LOL. What a startling question. I’m astonished I can still remember this, because it happened in second grade. I mentioned that terrible crush on Kit Carson, right? Well, it was winter, four feet of snow covered the playground. They let us out for recess. I remember him chasing me, seems like I may have thrown a snowball, someone did. Anyway he chased me, a giggled and laughed until he caught me by to backstop, thrown me down in the snow and planted one right

Where is the best place in the world you’ve been?
Moab Utah, on the Colorado River.

Photo Courtesy from Kathleen Baldwin

What is your favorite room in your home and outside environment?
My office, messy though it is. It is my inner sanctum.

Photo Courtesy from Kathleen Baldwin

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
The crazy one I lived through—the late 60’s and early 70’s—a generation of upheaval and change. I loved it! Relished our lunchtime debates, heated cafeteria arguments about women’s rights, war, and dress codes; the sit-ins, the protests, the questioning of everything.

What is your greatest adventure?
How about I tell you about one of my adventures that went terribly awry—great and embarrassing.

During my survival camping years, I took off on my bike during a summer draught intending to cross the high deserts in southern Utah and Northern Arizona. I didn’t bring a canteen because, hey, I was always able to find water in the desert. Cocky, right? Yep, big mistake.

In case you haven’t been there, this is what a lot of that country looks like:

Photo Courtesy from Kathleen Baldwin

I had
a small backpack with no money in it, a change of shirt, a blanket that I used as a light bedroll, a pocketknife, matches, and an apple—for a 300 mile trip.

Epic fail.

First off, there’d been a serious draught.

Serious, as in crispy crunchy grasses, water holes dried up, underground moisture gone. My second night out, a mountain lion butchered a sheep not more than thirty yards from where I slept curled up under an outcropping. Both of us too thirsty and exhausted to care that I was invading her territory. Plants weren’t as green and pretty as they look in this photo. Wild onions were scarce, a few thin stalks of bitter asparagus still clung to the sides of washes, cactus provided some moisture and nutrition, but it wasn’t enough to sustain the energy it took for a cycling in the hot sun.

Finally, on the third day out, I found a muddy trickle of water. So had other thirsty creatures; cattle, ground squirrels, and javelina. There was even a big ole Mohave rattlesnake sunning herself on the bank, waiting for her next mouse meal to crawl past. Now, I knew better than to mess with a Mohave. Their venom is necrotizing, which means it’ll turn your blood into death soup.

Thing is, I was too thirsty and wiped-out to cross the ravine. So, I threw rocks at her. “Move.” I growled, my throat dryer than a two day old biscuit.

That ornery snake lifted her head and sized me up. I’ll never forget those beady eyes focusing in on me, her tongue flicking in and out, tasting the air, gauging which of us would have to yield to the other. Determined to win this argument, I threw another pebble. She whipped into a dangerous S curve, stretched her neck higher, and shook her rattle.

Beaten. I stepped back. I could almost hear her smug chuckle as she laid her head back down. “You’re no match for me, girly, not in your condition.”

She was right. I was done in. At the rate I was going, I’d be coyote food by the next day.

I climbed back up to the road, went further upstream and stumbled across the gully. There I knelt down and joined the rest of the humbler creatures of the desert, sipping slow dark water from that puny trickle.

Sadly, I had only covered 122 miles of the 300 miles I needed to cross the desert. Too far to turn back, and too far to complete the rest of the trip. I spent the night near that brown ribbon of water. In the cool of the morning before sunrise, I hit the road again, but took a detour. I headed to Annabella, a tiny town at the base of the mountains where luckily one of my friends happened to be visiting his family for summer. (This was back before cell phones, so it really was a godsend.) He loaded my bicycle into his car and drove me back to college, scolding me the whole way.

He could’ve saved his breath—the rattlesnake had said it all.


Here are the top 10 things you need to know while at Stranje House.

1. There are secret passages throughout the house and you can easily get lost in them. So you might not want to go in one without a guide.

2. Stranje House is a girl’s school so it may surprise you to learn that there are quite a few gentlemen visiting Stranje House. The fact that many of these visitors are diplomatic attachés for the foreign affairs office may or may not be a clue.

3. Oh, and that skeleton in the sea cave beneath the house is NOT a former student. Ignore the pink ballgown, and don’t let Lady Jane scare you with one of her ghost stories about it.

4. Also, you may not want to stroll outside the house at night because two big black ferocious creatures—half dog, half wolf—guard the grounds. Once they get to know you, it’ll be safe for you to sneak outside like the rest of us do.

5. Don’t be alarmed if Tess wakes up screaming it’s probably another of her prophetic nightmares. Usually, she just gets up and goes outside to run off her terrors.

6. On the other hand, maybe you ought to be alarmed. Most of the time her dreams come true. If only the meanings were clearer. Maybe you can help us interpret her dream.

7. Pay close attention in to Miss Stranje’s lessons on code-breaking, methods for properly hiding weapons, poison antidotes, and how to get free when tied to a chair. It might save your life someday.

8. Skipping Madame Cho’s lessons on defensive arts isn’t a good idea. She can be brutal with that bamboo cane of hers, but in our occupation, close combat skills come in handy.

9. Careful what you say. There are also listening holes in most of the rooms at Stranje House so you never know if your conversation is private or not.

10. Lady Daneska is our sworn enemy. She hates us. She was once a student here, but turned on us. Now she and Ghost are ruthless spies, leading Napoleon’s secret order of the Iron Crown

11. Watch out. There is a traitor at Stranje House. Someone in the house is sneaking information to Lady Daneska and Ghost

Lady Jane Moore has a secret. A secret that must be kept buried. For if anyone discovered the truth, her life at Stranje House would crumble. And with Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of England underway, everyone at Stranje House is already in danger. Mortal danger.

Jane knows it. She may not be like Tess, who has the advantage of prophetic dreams. Nor is she like Sera, who notices every detail no matter how miniscule and draws conclusions based on the smallest thread of evidence. She doesn’t possess Maya’s ability to soothe the tempers around her with a few well-spoken words. Neither is she a brilliant scientist like Georgie. According to Miss Stranje, Lady Jane Moore is a mastermind.


Jane doesn’t consider herself a mastermind. Quite the contrary, she believes herself to be an ordinary young lady. It’s just that she has a rather excessive bent toward the practical. She tends to grasp the facts of a situation quickly, and by so doing, she’s able to devise and implement a sensible course of action. But that’s all there is to it. Well, there is the fact that she also organizes the players in her plans with quiet efficiency. So much so, that occasionally Lady Jane’s friends tease her for being a bit managing.

Do they expect her to sit back and do nothing when trouble is brewing? Not likely. Not when the people she cares about are at risk. Call it being a mastermind if you must, it is a trait that comes in rather handy in a world full of spies, sabotage, and double-dealing. Especially now that Lady Jane and Sera have rooted out the truth: There is a traitor at Stranje House.

Someone is sneaking information to Lady Daneska and Ghost, Napoleon’s spies. Jane is determined to find out who it is before the bonds of friendship at Stranje House are ripped apart by suspicions. Her desperate hunt for the traitor ensnares Robert Fulton’s nephew, Alexander Sinclair, a brash American inventor, in an ambush that puts his life in danger. Sinclair may well be the most maddening man in all of Christendom, a wicked-tongued rascal with boorish manners, but for some reason, Lady Jane cannot bear the thought of the golden-haired genius being harmed.

Is Jane enough of a mastermind to save Alexander, her friends at Stranje House, and possibly England itself?

You can purchase Refuge for Masterminds at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KATHLEEN BALDWIN for making this giveaway possible.
3 Winners will receive a Signed Set Copy of Stranje House Series by Kathleen Baldwin..
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