Monday 26 October 2015

Set Sail with MG author Rita Monette’s newest Nikki Landry release…

Batten down the hatches! The pirates are coming!  

The Curse at Pirate’s Cove, the second installment in the Nikki Landry Swamp Legend series, is due to be released next month, on November 17. 

It was previously scheduled for October 17, but was postponed due to unforeseen problems. 

But Nikki and her friends know exactly what the problem was…it was those pesky pirates…and the curse. Yes, they’ve been at it again. 

Here’s a description of the book and what’s going on with Nikki in book two:

“When one man’s treasure is another one’s curse.”

Nikki Landry is turning eleven years old, and is looking forward to riding her bike to school. That is until it falls apart. Papa can’t afford a new one. Is she doomed to ride the smelly old school bus from now on? 

Hearing of an old pirate ship, and a legend about long-ago pirates burying treasure on a nearby swamp island, Nikki sees a way out. But when she makes a birthday wish for the pirate’s gold, things go terribly wrong. Did her wish trigger an ancient curse?

Join Nikki and her friends as they find themselves sailing away aboard a haunted schooner with ghostly pirates into the Gulf of Mexico … and into the year eighteen fourteen. 

How will they ever find their way back home? 

Here’s an excerpt from the book: 

“How do you know it’s a pirate ship?”
“It has to be, Nikki. Listen.” He turned toward me. “I was out at Uncle Luke’s this past weekend, and he told me all about it.”
“I ain’t believing there’s no pirate ship out in those swamps.” I lifted my chin.
“Just hear me out, Tomboy.” He sounded impatient. “There’s a legend that goes along with it, see.” He leaned toward me and lowered his voice. “There might even be a curse.”
“A legend?” He had my attention. I prided myself in being a super legend buster ever since I solved the one about Ghost Dog Island last year. I even got my picture in the newspaper. “Well, tell me about it.”
“I’m trying to.” He waved his hands in the air.
We propped ourselves against a couple of large limbs and got out our lunch bags.
“Uncle Luke says he first heard about it back when he was a kid. He says a friend of his grandfather, by the name of Beco, was out trapping on Fog Island with his buddy Clamare. They came across this here hole in the ground with a half-buried wooden chest, see. It had a big old lock on it. There was a couple of coins in the dirt, so Clamare picked them up and slipped them in his pocket. Beco decided he’d go back for some tools and shovels to dig the rest of it out, and told Clamare to stay there and watch the chest. On his way out to the edge of the island, he saw this ragged old ship. Thinking it was kind of odd looking for being in the swamps and all, he got a little closer. It had a broken mast and raggedy sails.” He poked me with his elbow. “When was the last time you ever saw a fishing boat with sails?”
I shook my head. “Never.” I unwrapped a peanut butter and jam sandwich and took a bite. “What’d he do?”
“Well, he started to board it, see?” Spikes dug into his own lunch bag. “But then he heard some talking coming out of the boat. He stopped right then and there, ’cause he didn’t know who might be on that old wreck out in the middle of nowhere, and there weren’t no other boats around. This one had a big old hole in the hull, so it couldn’t have sailed there on its own. At least anytime in recent history.”
“Then what?” I licked some of the jam off my fingers.
“Then someone stuck his head up over the bow, see. He had on one of them three pointed hats that pirates always wore. Old Beco yelled a big hello, and the man took out a pistol and shot over his head. Well, Beco took off right then and there. That night, he went down to T-Noon’s bar and got drunk, and told some other fellows about it. The next day, they all went back out to the island with shovels and brought guns just in case that crazy guy in the boat was still there.”
“Was he?” I asked.
“Nope. The ship was gone, and so was Clamare.”
“What about the treasure?”
“They never could find it. Not even the hole it was in.”

About the author:

Rita Monette was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. She loves to write stories set in the beautiful, yet mysterious, bayous and swamps of her home state. 

Her middle grade series, The Nikki Landry Swamp Legends, is based on tales told by her father, who made his living in those bayous.

She currently lives with her husband, four lap dogs, and one lap cat, in the mountains of Tennessee. Besides writing and illustrating, she loves watching the many birds that inhabit the Cumberland Plateau.

Monday 19 October 2015

Blast from the Past: Grandma's French Soup...

In my middle grade/young adult time travel books I try to write in a scene where my characters sit down for a meal or share some food together. In The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, I’ve got a scene where Melody Spencer is dishing out rabbit stew in bread bowls for the kids. In Legend of the Timekeepers, two of the characters—She-Aba and Tau—are introduced to a ‘long yellow fruit’, a.k.a. bananas. Why do I do this? Simply put, so readers can relate to my characters. We all need to eat, and coming together to eat gives my characters a place to talk over their dilemmas, make plans, reassess the situation, and recharge their batteries.

So when I finally got my hands on my grandmother’s coveted French Soup recipe, I thought it fitting to share this fabulous meal. It’s so easy to put together and a bonus for those cool days or evenings. Many a tale has been told digesting this soup around the table, and my hope is that this meal will spark new conversations between you and your loved ones.

Vive la French Soup!

1 lb lean ground beef
2 small cans or 1 large can of tomato soup
1-14 oz can of green wax beans (do not drain)
1-14 oz can of yellow wax beans (do not drain)
1-14 oz can of peas (do not drain)
1 can sliced mushrooms (if desired, drained)
4 medium-large potatoes (cubed)
½ teaspoon of salt
Dash of pepper
Worcestershire sauce or Tabasco sauce to taste
Garlic powder to taste (if desired)
Crock pot

FRY the lean ground beef and drain.

ADD the canned vegetables, potatoes, tomato soup, drained ground beef, and seasonings into the crock pot.

COVER and cook on slow for approximately 8 hours.

SERVE with biscuits or rolls.

NOTE: Please feel free to experiment with this recipe. My mom adds one small can of tomato sauce to add flavor to the soup. The above recipe will serve a family of eight. Voila. Dinner is done. Now what will you do with all that time on your hands while the soup is cooking in the crock pot? How about indulging in one of my books from The Last Timekeepers series?

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Introducing YA author: Sara Stinson...

Thank you for having me on your blog today, Sharon!
My name is Sara Stinson. I have a Young Adult Fantasy I want to share with you called Night Owl.  It’s Book One from the Hally Witch Series.
It will be ready to purchase October 17th!

I’m going to give a new twist for today’s blog.  I hope you like it!

Sam Hopwoods is a reporter and a good friend of Skyla Hally’s in Night Owl.  The book is written from Skyla’s point of view.  He’s going to interview her.  In this way, you can get to know them and other characters in the remarkable world of Magic Hollow. 

Sam: Hi, Skyla. 
Skyla:  Hey, Sam.  Well, here we are again.
Sam:  Yeah.  I can remember the first time I interviewed you in Magic Hollow.
Skyla:  Me too.  You did a great job!  I know you’ll do great today.  The Pen Pusher Newspaper will be proud.
Sam:  Thanks.  I hope so.  I wouldn’t want to upset Mr. Pigsters or the Magical Council at Roddenbury Castle.
Skyla: You’ll do fine.  Let’s get started.
Sam:Wow, um, where to start?We’ve all been through so much, you, Alec, Pennie, and me.  (He says with a serious tone.)
Skyla:Yes, we have.  Everything has changed since my seventeenth birthday.  My parents murdered, me moving to live with my grandparents. 
Sam:  I’m sorry about your parents.  Maybe that’s where we can start…with the Deathstalkers, the monsters who killed your parents.
Skyla:  Okay.  They are what brought me to where I am.  The Deathstalkers have been after me since before I was born.  They’ve tortured and killed many of my father’s people and my mother’s.  There are seven of them.  They’re the seven deadly sins, and they’re after my powers.  Seems they need them to survive. 
Sam: Where did these Deathstalkers come from?
Skyla: Over 600 years ago, these creatures were created from the Black Plague.  Seven vampires, from a respected coven known as the Vardons, fed from the sick inflicted with the disease, generating this evil bunch.  A vampire named Helfrador is their leader. 
Sam: Helfrador.  I remember him. (Sam narrows his eyes.  It’s more of a goofy look.)  I stared Helfrador straight in the eyes when he was coming out of the tunnel that unforgettable night.I’m not afraid of him. 
Skyla: (Laughing) Yeah, right.  I think you need to get on with the interview and not give too much of the story away…or embarrass yourself.
Sam: (Slumping in his seat again and massaging his chest, Sam looks over his notes, his face turning red.)  So, after your parents were killed, you moved from North Carolina to Madison, New Hampshire.  Tell the readers what you found to be hidden in Madison.  (He leans in closer to Skyla.)  You know, the first time you went through a portal. 
Skyla:  (Smiles) Grandma Lil’ and Aunt Fanny were the first to take me through a portal.  A portal connects two places.  This portal will take you to Magic Hollow.It’s where witches and wizards can be themselves, where candy shops come alive, and where wizards and witcheslike you and me can go to school.  Of course, you and I know, I’m homeschooled for now.
Sam:  Skyla, you are The Hally Witch of Magic Hollow.  The magical world has waited many years for you to be born.  Can you tell the readers about this prophecy? 
Skyla: When the Deathstalkers drank blood from the sick, it gave them unbelievable strength.  They now know this strength will not last forever.  That’s why they want mine.  Taking my powers will not only give them the strength to survive, but will stop me from stopping them.  If they succeed, they will not only have power over the mortals, but the magical world too.I have much to do and much to learn before I can go face to face with the Deathstalkers.  Grandma Lil’, Saada Byrd (A witch and helper who lives behind the main house along with her husband Obi and their son Little Peg), and Aunt Fanny Cornels (Grandma’s sister and owner of Fanny’s Fun Flavors) are teaching me daily.  I have lessons to read and potions to learn.  Sometimes I think my brain’s going to implode.  Oh, and I also have help from Rigspul.
Sam: Who’s Rigspul? 
Skyla:  I guess I haven’t told you about him.  He’s a box, although, he doesn’t like to be called a box.  He’s more like a beautiful antique trunk.  (She giggles.) And he’s ticklish.
Sam:  Um, okay.
Skyla: He is.  He’s very nice when he wants to be and deadly when he needs to be. 
Sam: I think I’ll stay away from him.
Skyla:  Probably a good idea.
Sam: Let’s talk a little about this ghost you’ve been seeing. 
Skyla:  The ghost is a big part of the story.  Let’s save her for the readers.  (She pauses.)  I will say the ghost is known as Witch Hagnar.  Believe it or not, there’s a love story behind her.  By the end of the book, the readers will love her.
Sam:  Sounds romantic, and strange, since we are talking about a ghost who was a witch.(Sam scans his notes again.) I have one more thing I’d like for you to talk to our readers about. 
Skyla: Okay.  What’s that?
Sam: (He smiles) Alec Stone.
Skyla: (Now her face turns crimson.) Alec comes into my life after I move to Madison.  He’s very good-looking.  Girls go crazy over him.  (She pauses and smiles.)  He has been wonderful to me.  He lives with Chief Jo.  Other than that, you’ll have to read to see if there’s anything else between the handsome guy and me.  (Skyla winks.)
Sam: I understand.  Don’t want to tell too much. 
Skyla:  What about you, Sam?  Don’t you have a special someone? 
Sam: Haha.  Not telling.  The readers will have to read to find out about me, too.  (He playfully points at me.)  Two can play that game.
Skyla: I’m glad we met in the story, Sam.  You, Alec, Pennie, my grandparents, Obi, Saada…oh, I could go on and on.  Everyone has been so kind to me, you know?  I just hope I can hold up to my end of the bargain with this prophecy. 
Sam: You will, Skyla.  All your friends and family, we’ll be there by your side the entire way.  Together, we’ll stop the Deathstalkers. 
Here are two excerpts from Night Owl
Chapter 5 – Physical Changes
He gently took my hand and guided me across the room.  Mina walked over and stood with me.  I heard her footsteps and smelled her scent. 
I raised my hands slowly, removing both pieces from my eyes.  I opened them, but all was blurry.  A cloudy outline of a mirror hung in front of me.  I closed my eyes again. 
“Let them rest a few seconds,” Dr. Krumble said caringly. 
Not responding, but doing as he said, I waited. 
A minute ticked away and Dr. Krumble spoke.  “This time your vison should improve.  Don’t force it, Skyla.  Be calm and take your time.  Take a deep breath and slowly let it out.  That’ll get the blood circulating.” 
I did as he said.  I took a deep breath and as I exhaled calmness washed over me, allowing my body to unwind from my head down to my toes.  I remained composed even after hearing Mina gasp. 
As my vision became clearer, I understood why she was so astonished.  Like my hearing, my vision had greatly been enhanced, but startling were the physical changes of my eyes.  They were the color of a Snowy Owl like my father’s eyes mixed with the green eyes like mother’s, causing my features, to me, to look almost animalistic. 

Chapter Eighteen – Secrets in the Family
I started out calm.  I had never raised my voice to Grandpa.  Forgetting the words Little Peg had warned me about, the panic grew quickly, and finally, anger surfaced as I responded. 
“You do?  How do you know, Grandpa?  How could you possibly know what I’m feeling?  I don’t know what I’m feeling?  I’m happy here, truly, I am.  Don’t ever think I’m not, but my emotions and thoughts are becoming unmanageable and flipping on me.  Even now...I don’t mean to be so...angry.  But I feel trapped.  I felt this way in that room.  It wasn’t that we were closed in a room like a claustrophobic feeling,” I said, trying to explain my anger.  “It was something deeper.  My senses were so strong, all of them.  My emotions heightened, and my vision was stronger than ever.  I saw and felt what Hagnar felt,” I said with horror and fear showing in my eyes.  “I could see through her eyes!”   
“It’s normal, Skyla, to relive moments in your visions,” Grandpa said reassuringly. 
“Normal?  Is it normal to reverse the role and be the murderer in my vision and to enjoy being the one who’s pursuing the person?  Is it normal to want to kill the person, smelling their blood and wanting it?”  I cried, my body now severely shaking. 

I enjoy creating my characters and bringing them to life.  I am also writing a series called The Finger Bones Series.  Finger Bones is a ghost who helps three energetic kids chase and send ghosts to their next destination.  At one of the schools nearby, I had a younger student ask me if I had asked Finger Bones to have Christmas with us.  The child was concerned Finger Bones would celebrate Christmas alone.  How cute is that?

I am now retired as a Speech-Language Pathologist, but I continue substituting.  I’m married and have two grown children, two cats, and one spoiled Yorkie named Addie. 

You can also find Sara Stinson at these locations...

You can buy Sara Stinson's books on Amazon, Createspace, and Barnes & Noble

Monday 12 October 2015

Mayhem, Milestones, and Practicing Gratitude…

This has been one hell of a tough year so far. It started in February when my then-publisher decided to close their doors, leaving many authors either scrambling to find a new publisher or deciding to try the self-publishing route. I was lucky. I immediately hooked up with Mirror World Publishing whom I met at the Windsor-Essex Book Expo in November 2014, and signed two contracts with them. It was truly a serendipity experience. And I am so grateful.

Both my books were polished and re-released world-wide within six months. My first book, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis was re-launched in June, and Legend of the Timekeepers in August. I went from a stressful situation to relief, and yes, worked hard with my new publisher to get the books back on the shelves. It was a fresh start. A clean slate. And I am so grateful.

Then, I got the reminder that life’s too short, too precious to waste.  This past July, my youngest brother succumbed to cancer. He was only 49, and was diagnosed with a double-wammy of a rare muscle disease and cancer of an unknown primary about 1 ½ years ago. You can never predict something like that is going to happen. Ever. But we know it can—and does. Who knows when life can change for us or those around us? So be grateful for your health. If life’s not what you want, go out and find a new one. If life’s great, live it to the fullest and be thankful every day for all that you’ve been fortunate to do and have. Whatever stage of life you’re in find a way to enjoy it and to maximize your circumstances. I know I’m moving forward with my life. And I am so grateful.

This past August, my hubby and I celebrated our 30th Anniversary—a milestone in this day and age. We booked a cruise to the Western Caribbean in November to mark this momentous occasion and to get a little R&R. It’s a first for us who always seem to put our needs and wants on the backburner of life. So we decided that it’s our time to enjoy what we’ve worked so hard for during the last thirty years together. And I am so grateful.

As I write this post, the combine harvester is reaping the soybeans in the field behind our home. It was a tough year, even for those soybeans with the relentless spring rains, and unpredictable elements. A reminder perhaps, that each year brings different challenges, and new life experiences. I urge you to find what gives you fulfillment, happiness, and a sense of accomplishment. Appreciate the little things and laugh at yourself. Find the courage to change, to rebound, to persist, to pursue, to seek, to speak out, to trust in others, and to cut away the relationships that cause you pain or do not bear fruit. I have. And I am so grateful.

How has your year been so far? What have you been grateful for? Would love to read your comments! Thank you for investing your time in reading my blog! I am so grateful. Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians!

Monday 5 October 2015

Book Blog Tour: STORMDANCER by Joshua Pantalleresco...

The Storm is here...

About Stormdancer:

Days after the events featured in The Watcher, the Watcher is taken hostage by a dragon, leaving Kristen, Will and Nicki alone in a strange new world. With no choice but to try and rescue their friend, Kristen and the others must travel through ancient cities, forgotten burial grounds, and eventually into the heart of the great storm.

Faced with the unknown, will they be able to traverse the storms that stand before them as well as ones within their own hearts?

Book Details:

Title: Stormdancer (Sequel to The Watcher)

Author Name:  JoshuaPantalleresco

Genre(s): Poetry, Sci-Fi, Dystopian

Tags: Poetry, Epic, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, science-fiction, dragons

Length: Approx. 104 pages

E-book:  978-0-9947490-4-8
Paperback:  978-0-9947490-3-1

Release Date: October 1, 2015

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing (

Appropriate for all ages from Young Adult to Adult.

Follow the Tour to Read Exclusive Excerpts, Guest Posts, and Reviews:

Guest Post:Why Joshua Pantalleresco Writes

So before we begin, I want to thank Sharon for having me. She's secretly a unicorn, and that story will have to be told some other day, but she's a kind, sweet lady and it was a pleasure to be asked to come here and write. 

I am going to write about my books, why I wrote them, and the lessons you can learn from them.  Stormdancer is book two of the Watcher Saga. In it, the Watcher, the main character from book one is kidnapped leaving Kristin, Nicki, and Will to chase him down. The journey is improbable and fantastic and in my opinion the kind of magic a good story creates.

I want to talk about some of the themes of the story. In particular, dealing with grief and changes.  Because entering into this book, I was left in a quandry. The Watcher was the Watcher's story; about his journey to discovering who he was, and more importantly, what he wanted to be. This wasn't the Watcher's story anymore. It is the first line in book two. 

This is not my story anymore.

That was deliberate, conscious line that illustrated the problems I had starting book two. I wanted to flesh out the characters I introduced at the end of book one, yet I didn't want to lose the strong presence the Watcher had in book one.

So who were the three kids I rescued? I chose Kristin as the main character in book two. They had just gone through the loss of everything they knew. Kristin represented that tragedy. Losing a family.

It parallels my own story. Not that I lost my whole family, but my whole family situation collapsed at a very young age. My mom and dad fell apart and I remember that when I was younger it was like my fault. Why did two people I love have to do this? Why did things have to change? It messed me up. I tried to tell myself I was over this pain of not having this unit in my life. I ran away from home at one point because of the pain.

I was very fortunate. I had two teachers look after me. One of them a principal, and the other was my grade four teacher. I was her last class. We didn't make the greatest impression, but to my surprise, she was there for me when I least expected it.

That's Kristin in chapter three. She was happy in her life – it was all she knew. And that turmoil is expressed very much in all her actions for the first half of the book. She has become my favorite character to write in the saga so far. Watching her rise above her own stuff was a vicarious experience.

I had to learn at a young age that life was a struggle. A lot of kids have their childhoods end a lot sooner than maybe they should. I thought the three kids had been through hell, and it was just beginning.   Making them grow up happened to me.

The silver lining going through grief is that people come together. Family isn't just blood. It's the people you go through things with, that are there with you through thick and thin. Going back to the very beginning, it wasn't just the Watcher's story anymore. It was about the kids, and going through their own fires, and becoming closer for it.

So if you are a kid reading Sharon's blog, I hope this book teaches you to be brave. I'm not going to lie to you; life is hard. Chances are you have gone through some painful things and are probably stronger and braver than I was ever was. I'm not going to make you a promise that it'll get any easier. What I can tell you though, is that you can overcome. The big secret that most adults don't even know is that if you believe you can do it, you can. You are strong and powerful and can do anything.

But I'm also going to say that there are people who are there for you no matter what. People that believe in you. They will be there when you fall, and they will be there to help you rise. They are the people worth being with. 

Read an Excerpt:


he ran
disappearing into the night
leaving us all alone

we tried to follow him
but were unsure of the trees and trails
we went slowly

we knew something had happened
when we found his blades in the forest
blackened and alone

he had come
like a force of nature
wrecking our lives
in the name of freedom
freedom from what?

the hollow embers and ashes we found
I didn't build them
those ruins were his story
not mine
never mine

I...was happy
yeah, I was happy
is there something wrong with that?

my parents loved me
I didn't care about anything else

the dragons were bastards
but I understood the game
the moves that could be made

with one flick of a blade
he changed all that
shattered the illusion with a roar of rebellion

now my life is here
in this forest
now he had vanished into the night
leaving me abandoned

leaving everything in shambles!

Purchase Links:


Mirror World Publishing

Meet the Author:

Joshua Pantalleresco writes stuff. It's even on his business card. This is a succinct way of saying that in addition to writing poetry, he also does interviews, columns, comics, prose and anything possible with the written word. When he isn't writing, he's playing with podcasts, filming stuff, fiddling with alternative medicine, travelling, talking to people and pretending he is a rockstar. Stormdancer is his second book through Mirror World Publishing. He lives in Calgary.