Monday, July 20, 2015

Maisy and the Money Marauder by Elizabeth Woodrum - Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Elizabeth will award a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter a $10 Amazon/BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. NOTE: Maisy and the Money Marauder is the second book of the Maisy Files series. The first book is available from Amazon for only $0.99.

MediaKit_BookCover_MaisyMarauderMaisy is back! Lunch money has been stolen at West Valley Elementary, and everyone's favorite fourth-grade detective in on the case. With a cherry lollipop in hand, her fedora, and her trusty notebook, Maisy steps into her black and white mystery world to search for clues. Join Maisy on her quest to unmask a thief in Maisy and the Money Marauder.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Shadows danced across Maisy’s face in the dim light. Dramatic music filled her bedroom, and she reached for the popcorn bowl without moving her eyes from her little TV screen. It was a tense moment in one of her favorite old mystery movies. The villain was about to be caught. Maisy knew that the detective would soon march out from a shadowy corner and catch the bad guy. He would be wearing a long trench coat and a fedora hat. He’d sound so impressive when he demanded that the villain, a sneaky looking robber named Vinny, turn himself in, that Vinny would have no choice but to give up. But, Maisy was still on edge while she watched the scene unfold.

She was curled up with her favorite pup, Reesie, snuggled under the blanket beside her. As soon as Maisy had turned off the lights and started the movie, the little dog had nudged the pillows with her nose to show that she wanted under the covers. Maisy had complied with her request and tossed the pillows to the floor, so that she could scurry under the fluffy, purple comforter. Now, Maisy reached over and patted the lump that was the tiny dog.

The movie wasn’t very scary. After all, it was old and in black and white. Movies like that were not scary at all compared to some movies made today. But, still, Maisy loved the stories and detectives in the old movies so much that she couldn’t help but be drawn into them every time she watched one. She felt a little better having her dog there with her.

Suddenly, the moment she had been anticipating was on the screen. The detective smoothly arrived on the scene and, after a little scuffle, took control. Vinny gave in and put his hands up to show he would go quietly. Maisy relaxed and munched the last bits of her popcorn. As she sighed in relief, a little nose popped out from under the purple covers. It was soon followed by the sweet face of a little black and brown terrier-mix. One of her ears was flopped over, and she stretched her mouth wide in a huge yawn. Apparently, Maisy had disturbed Reesie’s slumber. The pup crawled around and finally settled herself on Maisy’s lap. She plopped her head down with a sigh and fell back asleep. She didn’t even notice as Maisy shook her head and laughed.

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_MaisyMarauderAbout the Author:Elizabeth Woodrum has been a teacher for thirteen years. She came to love writing when she was in elementary school, but more recently began writing material for use in her classroom. From that writing, grew the desire to write books for the general population of children and adults alike. The Maisy Files, a children's series, is the first series that she has published.

As a reader, Elizabeth prefers the fantasy genre, but she enjoys realistic fiction as well. Some of her favorite authors include JK Rowling, Rick Riordan, Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins, and Nicholas Sparks.

Originally from Indiana, Elizabeth currently lives in Ohio with her two pets: a cat named Butterscotch and a dog named Reese Cup.

Amazon Author Page:

Buy the book at Amazon.

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Q&A and Giveaway with A.J. Cosmo

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. A. J. Cosmo will be awarding a $75 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

1. Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

Katherine Applegate said that if a subject matter is too difficult for adults, write it for children. I think that Juvenile fiction presents a challenge in that you must write an engaging story without resorting to adult crutches such as erotic scenes, violence, or profanity. In other words, your scenes must be interesting because there is something interesting going on. Kids also get to have a bigger dose of truth in their fiction. It's odd, but adults are normally fed sanitized or overly dramatic narratives. Things are either saccharin sweet or falling apart at the seems. In the oddest sense, the most unrealistic genre is actually the closest to reality.

3. What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

My all time favorite kids book is "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie." I have no idea why, but it spoke to me. It still does. People will take what they can from you and you have to learn to be both giving and guarded.

4. What’s your favorite sweet treat?

Marshmallows. I'm not able to eat much due to some bizarre food intolerances I have, but I do get to have marshmallows and I adore them.

6. What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

Dear me,

You literally would not recognize yourself. You write for a living, you are half the size you are now, and a lot of things that you're scared would go wrong, will go wrong. You're not where you thought you’d be, but that's okay, because you’re in some place better. Don’t be so afraid of everything. Stop planning so much. Everything is going to be alright.

7. What candy do you give out at Halloween?

I live in Los Angeles so we never get any trick or treaters (parents take kids to Disneyland or malls.) However, if we did have trick or treaters we would be that awesome house that handed out full-sized candy bars. Getting those was like winning the lottery on Halloween.

8. Coal or candy in your Christmas stocking? Why?

I'm at that horrible adult point where no one knows what to get each other so Christmas devolves into half-guesses, practicality presents, and gift cards. My mom put up stockings last year but the only one of us who got anything was the cat. My favorite present was a bag full of fresh socks and a workout outfit because I really needed both. Sigh. Growing old is weird.

9. What superpower would you love to have? Why?

Telekinesis because I am extremely lazy and wish that I could grab coffee refills with my mind while having the keys on the computer press themselves. I always have so much more energy in my thoughts than I do in my body. ;)

10. What book is on your nightstand currently?

I rescued a copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends from a bargain bin and am re-reading it for the first time since I was ten.

11. Hunger Games or Twilight? Why?

Both? I don’t know. They both get a lot of hate from my generation but honestly you don’t become that popular without having something to offer. Hunger Games is one of the most well thought out world building in all of literature while Edward is the most lovingly described character in all of fiction. Writers listen up, pay attention to what does well, even if you think it's awful, everything has something to teach us.

13. Favorite TV show from your childhood?

Tiny Toon Adventures. The Spielberg trio (Tiny Toons, Freakazoid, and Animaniacs) are still some of the best cartoons ever produced for television. Rocko's Modern Life was another insane favorite that really should not have been aired. Same goes for Ren and Stimpy. Good gosh, did children's cartoons loose their edge or what? Spongebob still skirts the line, but I find a lot of modern cartoons grating, as they just seem terrified of short attention spans.

14. Sum up your book for Twitter: 140 characters or less.

All the kid's phones read "$500 Gamestop gift card to the kid that Brings me Aiden- Jacob" I'm Aiden, btw.

15. Favorite hot beverage. Why?

Coffee. Is there another answer? Tea maybe, but I'm assuming by the number of Starbucks in the world that I'm not alone in this. I like a regular sized drip or press coffee with a splash of soy milk. I'll drink it black if need be. I love the taste but lets not kid ourselves here, I'm after the caffeine.

16. Ideal summer vacation.

Taking one, lol. I would love to visit the Great Barrier Reef and all of New Zealand. I'd also like to go back to Disneyworld before I have children of my own. Camping would be nice, especially up in Northern California. I don't know!

20. Favorite pizza toppings.

I love supreme gluten free pizzas with vegan cheese. The individual favorite topping is sun-dried tomato, but that's a misnomer because I would refuse to eat them alone.

21. Create an ice cream flavor. What’s it called?

Toasted marshmallows. I can’t have ice cream, but I can have marshmallows, so everyone can eat ice cream based off of my favorite treat.

22. You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

I'd open up a foundation where if you write them and ask it will send you $20. Anyone is eligible, they just need to contact and explain why they need the money. Why do this? Because most people simply don’t ask for what they want and even fewer have the gumption to go after things. Anyone alive is currently within your reach. I think it would be neat to teach 500,000 people that.

23. Playlist for your current book.

For some reason I've been writing a lot of children's books while listening to electronic dance music. I really hope that doesn't alter the writing too much. LOL

What a way to start summer… I should have never stood up to that bully Jacob. It was just a water balloon thrown to save my friend’s behind during recess. Now we’re on a bus heading home and everyone gets the same text: “$500 gift card and full immunity to the kid that brings me Aiden- Jacob.” I’m Aiden by the way, and the entire fourth grade is staring at me. Hopefully, with my friend’s help, we can get off at the next stop, three miles from my house, and make it home before the entire neighborhood finds us.

Soaked is the first middle-grade novel by author/illustrator A.J. Cosmo. Filled with humor and suspense, this surprising page turner is a tale of friendship, courage, and standing up for what’s right. For 3rd-5th grade readers.

Enjoy an excerpt:

I'm a coward.

That was the first thing that crossed my mind when the water balloon splattered on Jacob's face. Jacob, the boy who never needed a hall pass. Jacob, the kid who never ate his own lunch. Jacob, the one you cleared the bathroom for.

Cowards don't do this, I thought. Cowards run. Let everyone who has ears to hear know that I, Aiden Jones, am a coward.

Jacob let go of Ben's collar and let his victim join my side. Our classmates fell into a sick silence. No one knew what to do because no one had ever challenged Jacob before.

What about me though? What did Jacob have in store for me? Would he drag me into the bathroom and give me a swirly? Would he hold me under the water fountain? Would he stuff my pockets with water balloons and make me do jumping jacks?

Jacob just stared.

The summer sun pulled the water from his shirt, just as it soaked up the moisture from the plants and our skin. Since the drought began in the mid-west, our cozy little school had turned into a solar oven. The worst part was that the principal could have cranked up the air conditioning and given us all relief, but she didn't, not even on the last day of school. That's just the kind of lady she was.

"Jacob--I didn't mean to--I mean," I said.

"You almost got my phone wet," he growled.

About the Author:
A.J. Cosmo is the author and illustrator of over forty children’s books including the best-selling “The Monster That Ate My Socks”. He lives and works in Los Angeles, loves reading and video games, and is hard at work finishing the Monsters A to Z series. “Soaked” is A.J.’s first middle-grade novel.

Soaked Purchase page:

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Funny Fruit by Grant and Gary Reed - Interview and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Grant and Gary Reed will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Grant joins us for an interview today. Welcome, Grant. Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens his/her locker – what will we see inside?

I’m sure his training equipment would be in there, sword armor etc. I also think there would be 3 red training balls (Fonn and Yarl will be looking for these), some puppy treats for Leadbelly, some scrawled notes from Azilda, and probably some books on astronomy -compliments of Professor Lacie.

There might be a list of chores to complete at the inn, but this will be old and it’s probably slipped down a crack at the bottom (Who cares anyway?)

If there’s a small remote device with blinking lights on it, this is okay, as long as all of the lights are green!

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

I have always liked raspberry pie. I’m not sure why, but when I was a kid, my grandmothers were always baking. I think people baked more back then. I remember going places and all of the older ladies always had baked goods in their house. As far as Raspberry being my favorite, I don’t know why…I just always preferred it to blueberry or strawberry.

What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

Enjoy life while you’re young and free. Do stupid things and have fun. Life won’t always be so care free. Don’t take people for granted, they may be gone in the blink of an eye. Always treat people with respect, even if it’s not the cool thing to do. Oh and FOR GOD”S SAKES, DO NOT FIRE YOUR AGENT after three weeks because you are impatient. The next twenty years will be a loooooooong struggle if you do.

What candy do you give out at Halloween?

We give out small bags of chips and small chocolate bars. I have had my share of battles over the Halloween candy. The less we have in the house the better, as I always seem to put on a few pounds around that time of year!

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

Time Travel would be awesome. I’d love to be able to go back in time and see some of the famous people and events. Can you imagine riding on the Titanic or meeting Jimmy Hendrix? The possibilities would be limitless.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

This is embarrassing, but I pulled out an old copy of Dragonlance Chronicles that I haven’t read in 20 years. It’s not as good as I remembered, but brings back a lot of memories.

Hunger Games or Twilight? Why?

Hunger games. Forty year old dudes are not the target audience for either of those books. There was a little more action and a better story in my opinion in the Hunger Games. I found Twilight to be sappy. (I’ve only watched the movies for both of these…)

Create an ice cream flavor. What’s it called?

Bud light. I’d elaborate, but I don’t think it’s necessary.

You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

My mom’s house would be paid for and my entire extended family would be going on a cruise somewhere. I’d divvy up the remaining funds between my wife’s family and my own, making sure that some people were slighted and they knew it. Boy that would be fun!! That might start a gossip session that would last years!!

Favorite class in high school. Why?

I always liked art class. I guess it was the opportunity to express myself creatively in many different ways that appealed to me. It was always fun. Not like gym class where you might like football, but hate hockey.

After ninety years of warring, exploring, and saving the realm, brothers Yarl and Fonn, must take up the title of Master again. If they don’t, someone else will surely steal all the fame, glory, and fertile women. How will they ever train new apprentices, save the kingdom, and still find time to fit in that extra order of chicken wings? Make no mistake, the old Masters have a lot to pass on and only a short timeframe to do it.

Will young Garrett flourish as an apprentice Sworvei? Can his partner Azilda master the ‘Nesting Nightingale’? And who in hell invited the ogres?

Join this rag-tag group of ‘Protectors of the Realm’ to see if they can pull off the biggest upset of the Continental Games, by saving young King Renli from the clutches of the evil First General.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“His name is James Lacie. Once he was one of the top alchemists in Cassadia. He was highly sought after for his many time-saving inventions and numerous elixirs. At any given time his shop carried wart remover, air fresheners, love potions, and something closer to that which you seek.”

Miss Mia turned back to her mirror and dabbed at her rosy cheeks again, humming to herself. Milo reached to his belt and produced a small leather bag. Opening the pouch he emptied it into the palm of his left hand. A pair of opal earrings spilled forth. “Closer to that which I seek, you say?” he inquired.

“Yes, a chemical fruit that when eaten would unknowingly render the eater susceptible to suggestion. A great party favourite a few years back. The unsuspecting victim would eat the fruit and was then told to cluck like a chicken or act like a coconut. Its effects would sometimes last the duration of a good party.”

“Yes, the gag would be much funnier if the victim was unsuspecting,” mused Milo. “Tell me, where can I find this James Lacie’s shop?”

“He no longer has one,” replied Mia. “It had something to do with a potion mix up. The king’s cousin ended up falling in love with a sheep, as I recall. The royal family was not impressed, and you know how the Chronicle can be when it gets its hands on what it deems to be a front page story. Ruined the man’s career, or so I’m told. Anyway Mr. Lacie has been on the lam ever since.”

About the Authors:Grant Reed has a background in business management, computer programming, and computer networking. He would much rather be out fishing though, so he spends his time writing and exploring the lakes in his back yard of Canada. He lives in Lively Ontario, Canada with his wife Robin, and their two children Aidan and Megan.

Gary Reed, his wife Kerry and their two children, Hannah and Kailey also live in Lively Ontario, Canada. And yes, he spends his time exploring the countryside too. Photography, fishing, and playing with his girls are amongst his interests.

Facebook :
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Friday, June 19, 2015

Practical Advice from an Evolved Soul by Marcus Dino - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Marcus will be awarding $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Welcome to Books in the Hall!

Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

I could write serious adult fiction say, a book called 'Love on a Madrid afternoon.' I would type the first line.. 'He met her on a rainy night and could not forget that maroon hat....' and that would be it. Tons of writer's block. Or I could write , “My name is Fifi, starving Gen Y actress who may be a bit leafy but most certainly would not consider myself the least bit beefy, “ and it would take off. Stuff flows into my head when I write Young Adult fiction. Some of us perhaps never grow up? This also happens being a school teacher around a bunch of kids the last two decades. Finally as a writer you have to build on your strengths, especially strong characterization that you get 'comfortable' with. Look how well Sylvester Stallone built the 'Rocky character' when he wrote the 'Rocky' screenplays . It's the same way with me with 'Fifi,' who happens to be a YA character similar to the heroines from 'The Wizard of Oz,' 'Twilight,' and 'The Hunger Games.'

Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens his/her locker – what will we see inside?

Fifi opened her locker and was heartened to see the picture of Joy Jones, her favorite actress, giving her encouragement. 'In ten years I will be just as rich and famous as her, after I make it in Hollywood,' she sneered to herself. Then she looked more closely inside her locker.....and gave out a chilling scream. “EEEEEEEK WHO PUT THAT SPIDER INSIDE MY LOCKER. I FEEL LIKE KICKING YOU ALL IN THE BUTT.”

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

Nothing like vanilla ice cream, fudge topping, and walnuts. A close second is carrot cake. Unfortunately I need to watch the calories so these delightful treats I eat just once in a while.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

Actually the first career I wanted to be when I grew up was author. I loved reading Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov and wanted to be the next great Sci Fi writer . I wanted to the next great Sci Fi novel about life in a Martian colony. Believe it or not this novel is still in my mind and maybe one day I will write it.

Coal or candy in your Christmas stocking? Why?

Hard to say. Let's see they both have good and bad qualities. Coal can be quite messy but lowers my heating bills., actually not really since I live in a home without a fireplace. Candy is the perfect energy food if you don't mind getting cavities and consuming a lot of calories.

Favorite TV show from your childhood?

The original 'Star Trek.' 'Where no one has gone before.' Captain Kirk and his crew goes to the outer reaches of the galaxy and finds strange new worlds. It was watching TV shows like 'Star Trek' that piqued my imagination and helped me in writing 'Fifi's' trilogy of 'Fifi.' 'Diary of a Mad Gen Yer.' and 'Practical Advice from an Evolved Soul.'

Ideal summer vacation?

Any summer day where I can throw away an alarm clock which means not having to get up early to go to work or not having to get up early to 'look' for work.

You’re stranded on a desert island—which character from your book do you want with you? Why?

Fifi Larouche of course. “MARCUS THERE'S A PLANE FLYING OVER AHEAD. YOU NEED TO YELL AT HIM WITH ME MARCUS. GOTH, AU YOU'RE BOTH MY SPIRIT GUIDES. GET INTO THAT PILOT'S HEAD AND TELL HIM WE'RE DOWN HERE. What in heaven's name are we eating tonight Marcus? That disgusting looking crab lying on the beach....I never had a taste for seafood. Most certainly you're going to help get the firewood , right Marcus?”

"Fulfill your destiny Fifi, as you wander through the Wilderness," Goth her spirit guide tells her....

Marcus Dino's latest book 'Practical Advice from an Evolved Soul', an anthology like it's smash hit predecessor, 'Diary of a Mad Gen Yer.' has 21st century actress/heroine Cheryl 'Fifi' Larouche coming back outrageous as ever introducing new 'Silly Stories,' 'Silly Poems,' and 'Silly Blogs', plus an added new twist using the world of Twitter, Fifi's 'Silly Tweets.'

'Practical Advice from an Evolved Soul' is third in a series of 'Fifi's stories following Marcus Dino's top ten Amazon Bestseller 'Diary of a Mad Gen Yer' in addition to his original Hollywood novel 'Fifi.'

Many of the major characters from Mr. Dino's two earlier book are back in 'Evolved Soul' including Fifi's boyfriend Biff, her obstinate father Charles, and her two alien friends from the planet Zatoris, Alocki and Helos. In addition there are some very interesting new characters in 'Evolved Soul' including a long dead Englishman who said he knew great literary figures such as Dickens and Keats called 'The 200 Year Old Great Writer,' and two entities who say they are 'Fifi's Spirit Guides' Goth and Au.

Both Goth and Au write very inspirational blogs that convey a strong message in the 'Blogs' section of 'Evolved Soul.'

'Practical Advice from an Evolved Soul' is both humorous and inspirational and like it's two predecessors will entertain the reader from beginning to end.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Excerpt from 'A Midsummer Night's Silliness'


This is a night when strange demons and vampires arrive to doth try to steal the soul of the innocent…Tonight oh Neptune after the party we shall call the Royal Apothecary who will doth conduct a potient out of bat wings and garlic and the tongues of TV talk show hosts and politicians and other vile and smelly things…And whoever I praytell drinks of this potient will scare off all evil souls and who ever drinks of this potient will be strong as anyone who drinketh such foul and smelly stuff would have to be strong…and crazy…Now.. Come my good king and my subjects let us now go to the party at the palace to intake in wine and merriment….

(Image of Ghost from Hamlet appears)


What noblest of misfortunes that hath cursed my son Hamlet partakes thou fair Queen? I praytell that I shalt make amends for my son to be of assistance to thee…My son Hamlet at times hath not believed in me…I praytell thou noblest of Queens believe in me as I was once King Denmark…


I hath no misfortune oh Ghost of the King of Denmark…I praytell that thou may get into the minds of casting directors of good theater and good movies and good TV shows of which there are so few in 2012 and convince them of my acting abilities…Now Ghost of the King of Denmark a place where they doth are well known for changing men into women and women into men I doth praytell thou join us at the palace for an evening of wine, song, and merriment….

Marcus Dino has always wanted to be a fiction writer as long as he can remember. Living in Southern California plus his being a die hard movie buff has led him to write stories dealing with the struggles and conquests of heroic up and coming Hollywood actress Cheryl 'Fifi' Larouche.

Practical Advice from an Evolved Soul is an anthology and inspirational book and is Mr. Dino's third 'Fifi' series book. His first book, Hollywood novel Fifi was first published in 2003. His second book in ebook format, Diary of a Mad Gen Yer, an anthology and Amazon best seller in it's category, was published in 2009.

Mr. Dino has a Masters degrees in Education and Engineering and is a graduate of Chapman University. He has a distinguished career as an electronics engineer working for several Aerospace companies and also as a mathematics teacher in Los Angeles area schools. He currently resides in Santa Maria, California.


'Evolved Soul' can also be purchased on major on line bookstores such as

and Smashwords:

The printed version of 'Evolved Soul' has just been published and is currently being placed into numerous bookstores.

Facebook and Twitter (over 7500 followers) username:Fifilarouche

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Virtual Book Tour: Aegis Incursion by S.S. Segran

SBB_TourBanner_AegisIncursion copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. S.S. Segran will award a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter a $25 Amazon/BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_AegisIncursion*** #1 AMAZON HOT NEW RELEASE (YA/Teen)*** WORLDS COLLIDE . HEROES ARISE ***

Great as a Standalone or as an Explosive Sequel to #1 Amazon Kindle Bestseller, AEGIS RISING.

On a bright July morning in 1948, a B-29 Superfortress flying a top-secret research mission over Nevada crashes into the calm waters of Lake Mead and sinks, remaining lost for half a century.

It has been nearly a year since five friends - Jag, Kody, Mariah, Tegan and Aari - mysteriously reappeared in a small town in Yukon several weeks after their small plane went down in Northern Canada. All were found in good health but with no recollection of what happened to them after the crash.

A baffling contagion is spreading across the bread-basket of North America destroying vital crops. As this dark shadow marches across the globe, widespread famine and riots bring desperate nations to the brink of war.

These seemingly unrelated events set the stage for a battle between the forces of darkness and those destined to become the 'bearers of light'. From ravaged fields in the Great Plains to clandestine installations around the world, the Aegis League must race against time to save humanity.


“Unique and compelling! With non-stop action, adventure and intrigue, Aegis Incursion will appeal to fans of Maze Runner, Percy Jackson and Hunger Games.” ~Michael Beas - Bestselling Author of 'Strump: A World of Shadows' ~

“S.S.Segran brings us a worthy sequel to her best-selling debut novel, Aegis Rising. Relentless action and gravity defying twists and turns hold the reader in a tight grip till the last page.” ~ Honore Gbedze ”" The SAGE Foundation ~

"RECOMMENDED! A good sequel stands alone as a strong work without the accomplishments of its predecessors, but a great sequel inspires readers to go back and relive a book they've already read, and that is precisely what this book accomplishes." ~ The US Review of Books ~

"FIVE STARS! A great book to dive into and a fantastic follow up to the first... One of the best things author S.S. Segran has done here is that the book can be read as a stand-alone. Highly recommended!"

~ Readers' Favorite Reviews ~

Enjoy an excerpt:

… Jag Sanchez bolted upright in his bed, gasping for air. As he caught his breath, he stared at the wall ahead, not realizing he was sweating but very aware that every part of him was trembling. He ran a hand over his face and shut his eyes tightly.

That voice. That voice had been haunting his dreams for the last nine months, since . . .

He looked at his phone beside his bed and yelped when he saw the time. Late for school, again. He leapt out of bed and stumbled around his room as he got ready then grabbed his bag and flew down the stairs toward the front door, not bothering to stop for breakfast. How was it that he lived only five minutes from the high school but was constantly late, even when he put his alarm on?

About the Author: 6_19 ss segranS.S.Segran spent a good chunk of her childhood exploring the enchanted forest of a million tales in the mystical land of books. In her early teens, she began crafting intriguing new worlds and conjuring up characters who came alive with the flick of her wand... err... pen. With the publication of her first novel in the Aegis League Series during her senior year of high school, she was surprised by the abundance of time that magically appeared right after graduation. She plans to use this newfound resource to expand the arc of the series. Her future plans include studying Cognitive Science at university and helping youths in developing countries realize their potential through her non-profit organization, Aegis League (

When not devouring a book or writing one, S.S.Segran can be found standing behind the cauldron of life, stirring a potion made up of chores, parkour, gaming, drawing, horseback riding and—having recently jumped off a perfectly fine airplane at fifteen thousand feet – perhaps skydiving.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Choose Your Own Death by Marianna Shek - Virtual tour and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Marianna Shek will be awarding 1 Choose Your Own Death book mark and 4 postcards by the illustrator Tara Brown (can be sent internationally) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

I think all writers have a natural ‘voice’. It’s like slipping into a pair of comfy pajamas. I’ve always written in a young adult voice. I worry as I get older, my writer voice will change but so far, this hasn’t happened. Having said that, I always try to challenge myself by writing in other styles. I also love writing speculative fiction and chick lit.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

I was the biggest Babysitters Club fan. And my favourite babysitter was Kristy because I thought she was the smartest but I knew it wasn’t cool to like Kristy so I always pretended to like Stacey.

Growing up as a Chinese migrant, I was always encouraged to read. My mum took me down to the bookstore all the time and just let me pick out a new book every week. I’d buy a new babysitter’s club or Sweet Valley High or another of the ongoing series. I read all the Roald Dahl, RL Stine and Robin Klein books. I loved the front cover of Klein’s Hating Alison Ashley and spent many lunch hours drawing it. BRB…

I just drew this from memory!

I also just realized Robin Klein may not be as popular in other countries so your readers may not have a clue what I’m talking about but trust me, growing up in Australia, her books were compulsory reading in every school.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

I wanted to be a writer or an artist but it mattered because my parents were very traditional Chinese and insisted I could only be a doctor, pharmacist or lawyer. I ended up being a pharmacist. The most fun I had working in pharmacy was when a drug rep left a two metre tall dragon plushie as a marketing gimmick for one of their drugs. I drew the dragon and turned it into a colouring competition for all the kids. The best picture got to keep the dragon plushie. After that, I knew it was time to quit pharmacy and pursue my own dreams.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

This is possibly not a superpower but I always imagined I was the most amazing sharpshooter. I’d be able to turn three quarter, do that squinty thing with my eye, draw back the bow and drill a five cent piece into a tree from fifty metres away. I would of course look very cool and attractive while doing this.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

Hhhm – I have both physical books and my Kindle on my nightstand table. Ursula LeGuin’s The Earthsea quartet has been gathering dust for about a year now. I’m finding it really difficult to get into despite it being a classic. On my Kindle, I must have over three hundred books but the one I’ve just finished reading is Lois Lowry The Giver. (it was wonderful – I stayed up over two nights to finish reading it)

Hunger Games or Twilight? Why?

Hunger Games, of course! I have a thing for bow and arrow. (See response regarding superpower)

Which of your characters would you most like to meet IRL? Why?

Amelia. She’s a zombie orphan. ‘Nuff said.

What four literary characters would you most like to have over for dinner?

Dobby or any house elf because they would cook and clean.
Anoia, God of things stuck in drawers because I have a few drawers I need help cleaning out.
Inigo Montoya because he’s the coolest character ever written.
Sirius Black but only if he’s in his animagus dog shape because I love dogs.

Goultown. The sort of place where kids could walk down the street in the middle of the night. Or accept sweets from strangers because strangers were just friends you hadn’t met yet. A place where grown-ups got tattoos of smiley faces and if kids graffitied, they were sure to do smiley faces too.

That was before the murders began. After Sally Ellerson drowns at the chocolate factory, you know there’s something weird going on. It’s time to take charge.

Choose Your Own Death is a path-picking adventure where every wrong turn unleashes an eldritch evil. If you don’t solve the mystery soon, the next death could be yours.

Enjoy an excerpt: ‘Wicker witches!’ She rummages through her backpack, pulls out a peg and clamps it over her nose making her sound like she’s blocked up from a cold. ‘I’ve read all about them in Scented Supernatural. They lull you into a sense of dullness and kill you.’

‘Sandalwood and lavender. My favourite.’ Angus seems to have forgotten Tammy lying stiffly at his feet.

The trees are closing in. Shuffling like old people. Dribbling waxy secretions onto the ground with every step. The wax drips and curls into crevices forming eyes, mouths and noses. They look and smell like giant scented figurines from a candle shop.

Jessica pulls out two more pegs and places them on you and Angus. The spell breaks.

‘Wicker witches?’ Angus howls. ‘Let’s get out of here!’ He grabs the torch, scoops up Tammy’s stiffened form and flees.

‘Come on, Drew!’ Jessica takes off. She’s the fastest runner on the track team at school. She used to try and get you to train with her but you always laughed and asked what was so great about being sporty.

You stagger after her but the wax on your jeans has set hard. You hold out your hands to break your fall.

‘Wait for me,’ you cry, but the words come out muffled. The wax has coated your lips shut. You try yelling out some swear words but realise you’re wasting time. You upturn your knapsack looking for a weapon. Rock. Paper. Scissors. What the? You will never let Tammy pack the survival kit again!

Marianna Shek is a writer, reader and ideal eater. She took a ridiculously arduous route to get there, dabbling in pharmacy before switching to animation and finally settling down as a writer. She has a wonderful day job as a researcher and producer. You can follow some of her crazy art and film projects at: She rambles specifically about books and creative writing at:

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Friday, June 5, 2015

The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Barbara will be awarding $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Welcome to Books in the Hall!

Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

I write juvenile fiction because I am so drawn to the inner child that is still within each of us. I see that child as having a rocky road as he or she moves from being a kid to growing up. So I want to help that child feel confident, be resilient and stay alive and well. The best way I can think of to do that is through the fictional diaries I have been writing for girls, tweens, teens and their parents. Why their parents? Because us adults have to find, love and cherish the part of ourselves that once was young and still has lots to give us.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

When I was very little I wanted to be a pediatrician when I grew up. Later I wanted to be an actress. Then again I wanted to be a doctor of medicine. Then I wanted to be a journalist. I did not want to be a teacher. But in my senior year of college my parents told me I had better become a teacher as they were not supporting me after college. I was not crushed, as my interests were still alive and well. I loved drama and attended lots of plays and did some acting. I loved to write poetry and stories and I continued to do so. I was fascinated by the human mind and how we learn so actually training to be an elementary school teacher was fun for me. As it turned out I am a writer, a psychologist, a playwright and a teacher. What could be better?

Favorite TV show from your childhood?

Absolutely I Love Lucy! I loved her then and I love her now. Just today I saw a couple of her old shows while I was at the gym. Her shows on Monday night were my treat to get through Monday when I was a kid. I laughed, I felt good. I wanted to live with Lucy and Desi and be their kid! And today, I still laugh, feel good and want to live in an apartment in NYC like theirs. I think now, it is their friendship with Fred and Ethel that so attracts me. It was so innocent and pleasant and fun. They walked in and out of each other's lives and apartments and had so many good times. Everyone loved their baby, and there was always an older neighbor to babysit. Life was good even though crazy things happened.

Sum up your book for Twitter: 140 characters or less.

Gutsy Tween figures out a secret, clever solution to the problems of growing up.

You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

I would rent an apartment in NYC, similar to the one that Lucy and Desi had. I would give a lot to charity. I would fix up our home. I would buy new cars. I would give money to family members. I would buy some fun stuff like really good bikes.

"I hate Angela and I wish she would move away tomorrow!" "I get so worried when I hear my parents fighting at night." "My mother thinks my crush is silly. I know I am in love!" "I have so many questions about growing up. Who will answer them?" "I feel so awful when Jake makes fun of me." "When I grow up I going to remember how to have fun with my kids and never look away." Growing up is tough. Adults don't always understand you (even though they were once kids), and children today face increasing pressure to be, look, or act a certain way. Written in the voice of a girl on the cusp of becoming a teenager, The Truth provides young girls with an opportunity to see how a girl, who is in many ways like themselves, handles her toughest problems and most personal thoughts. Each new page brings forth a discussion to help girls handle everyday problems: How do you survive a bully? How do you handle a crush on a boy? What can you do about relentless teasing by your peers? What really matters as you grow older?

In a positive and supportive diary-entry format, Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein encourages tween girls to carry the most precious parts of themselves into adulthood. A great book for mothers and daughters to read together, The Truth is aimed to improve communication, understanding, and self-esteem for young girls as they enter the rocky road of teenager-dom.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Date: July 7

Dear Diary:

I feel so lonely. I can’t believe my parents made us move. Don’t they understand how awful it is for me? I don’t have anyone to share secrets with. I talk to Angela on the phone, but it isn’t the same. Sometimes when I’m on the phone with her I get the feeling that she is on her computer at the same time or maybe just thinking about other stuff. I don’t feel that closeness with her anymore. I want to feel it, but I don’t know how. I’m afraid to ask her if she is playing a game on the computer or chatting on Facebook at the same time as she’s on the phone with me.

The only good thing that happened is I asked Angela if she wants to send selfies back and forth to each other. My phone is old and I don’t have FaceTime, but I can still take pictures and send them to her. She loved the idea, so I spent hours yesterday sending her pictures of me in different rooms in my house and in the backyard, too. It was a lot of fun. I dressed up as if I was putting on a play and each room was a new scene. I wore a velvet scarf and one of my mom’s fancy hats and put on an old long petticoat I used to dress up in as a kid and then I went outside and stood on the swing that is hanging from a tree. It was hard to keep the swing still enough to get a good Selfie, but finally I did, and I sent it to Angela. She sent back a selfie of herself dressed up like a Flapper girl from the 1920s, posing with a long stick as if it was a cigarette in a holder. We laughed and laughed on the phone, and it was the best I have felt since we moved. The best part was that if felt like we were together again even though we are apart!

I have been a positive psychologist in private practice for the past thirty years. In the course of working with my clients, I originated the idea of THE ENCHANTED SELF(R), a positive psychology therapy where I teach people how to recognize and utilize their strengths, talents, skills and even lost potential. I have developed a number of methods, including using our memories to rediscover what is right about ourselves and our lives, rather than what went wrong, helping people to overcome adversity, experience positive emotions and live the good life!

Since developing this concept, I've been able to use many tools to bring the Enchanted Self to everyone, particularly women and girls. I've written many books, starting with THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy, and then Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU! My books for girls are very popular, as they are great fictional reads and also help deal with many of the questions that trouble kids as they move into the tween and teen years. The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween and Secrets, Diary of a Gutsy Teen are the first two books in this series.

I really love to teach and educate about happiness and how to benefit from positive psychology in ways that let us lead lives of meaning and happiness. You can find me all over the place on the web. In particular,,, on Facebook at Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein: Psychologist & Author, on Pinterest at and on You Tube. Just look for me on You Tube via Barbara Becker Holstein.


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