Friday, March 27, 2015

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl

Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Sunshine Griffith and her mother Kat move from sunny Austin, Texas, to the rain-drenched town of Ridgemont, Washington. Though Sunshine is adopted, she and her mother have always been close, sharing a special bond filled with laughter and inside jokes. But from the moment they arrive, Sunshine feels her world darken with an eeriness she cannot place. And even if Kat doesn’t recognize it, Sunshine knows that something about their new house is just ... creepy.

In the days that follow, things only get stranger. Sunshine is followed around the house by an icy breeze, phantom wind slams her bedroom door shut, and eventually, the laughter Sunshine hears on her first night evolves into sobs. She can hardly believe it, but as the spirits haunting her house become more frightening—and it becomes clear that Kat is in danger—Sunshine must accept what she is, pass the test before her, and save her mother from a fate worse than death.

Buy link:



The Haunting of Sunshine Girl was a book I couldn't put down. I received the book as an arc from work (bookstore) and was thrilled. I watched the Youtube video and loved the creativity behind it and was not disappointed in the book.

Sunshine has just moved from sunny Texas to the Pacific Northwest and isn't really happy about it. Her mom has a new job and she struggles to fit in. The house they move into is creepy (her words) to the extreme and the uber pink bedroom resembles an exploding pepto bismal bottle. When things start to go bump in the night, Sunshine realizes there is a lot going on with her new house. She is changing too. But that is only the start of her problems. Her mother may be possessed, her new friend is creating some romantic tension and the odd teacher at school may know more than she is letting on about the goings on at her house.

If you love haunted house tales, this is one for you!


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Truth: Diary of a Gutsy Tween

The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween
by Barbara Becker Holstein



"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.


Excerpt Three:

Date: December 2

Dear Diary,

I have a secret and it’s been eating me up inside, so I have to tell you. I lied to Angela. I told her I had a terrible sore throat and couldn’t come for the weekend. She said she was sorry and that she would invite me again. I felt terrible, and then my throat really began to hurt. But I just couldn’t go to Springport for a whole weekend_even though I miss being around Angela.

Now that I have best friends here, I don’t feel the same way I used to about going back to visit. And I didn’t know how to tell Angela that. I could tell when we talked on the phone that she really wanted me to come. And she sent me a new selfie, holding a sign that reads I Miss You! She even told me that she doesn’t have a new best friend since I left. She really misses me. She also told me that Paul is in lots of her classes and he asks if she’s talked to me. How could I tell her I’m in love with Rob and don’t care about Paul anymore? How could I tell her that I have new best friends and want to stay here with them?

I did go to Sally’s instead, and we had the best time. Her mother ordered pizza for us and we drank Coke. We watched television and made popcorn and did each other’s hair with all of Sally’s older sister’s hair products we found in the bathroom. I look silly with curly hair. We kept laughing and falling on the floor and giggling, and we played this fun game that Jackie learned in camp last summer. We all lay down on the floor and we each put our head on someone else’s belly. Someone says, “Ha-ha,” and then the next person says, “Haha- ha,” until everyone is laughing. Then you can’t stop laughing because the belly you are on is bouncing all around under your head. Sally’s mom got really angry at all the noise we were making, and we had to turn off the lights and pretend to go to sleep. I hardly slept a wink, though. I was so excited and having so much fun with my new friends. I was tired the next morning and really did have a sore throat when I went home, but I didn’t care. It was worth it to have so much fun.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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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Monday, March 16, 2015

Spark by Atthys J. Gage

1. I write because… it's cheaper than psychotherapy.

2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be?  
Well, last time I answered this question, I said oatmeal raisin, but I was mistaken. My wife's chocolate chip cookies are unparalleled. I don't know what I was thinking earlier.

3. Plotter or pantster?
I plot. Extensively. Before starting a new novel, I chart it out, chapter by chapter, scene by scene. For my current novel, I had nearly forty pages of notes. Then, when I'm actually writing, I mostly ignore them.

4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why?
I favor strong women. In five books out of six, my protagonist has been female, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. I'm not sure why that is. I like it when women don't wait for men to save the day. I like it when the damsel rescues herself. Even if it's as simple as a girl not waiting for the boy she likes to ask her out, that takes real bravery.

5. Hamburgers or sushi?
I love both for different reasons. I like sushi for its delicacy and variety, all the scents and the flavors. I also like the ritual of preparing the little dish of soy and wasabi, using the chopsticks. I like burgers for the pure pleasure of eating high caloric, savory meat. I have nothing against vegetarianism, but there is something viscerally satisfying about eating, well, viscera.

6. Name three things on your desk.
Tax papers (still unfinished), a copy of Joanna Russ's Picnic on Paradise, a magnifying glass (it’s amazing how print keeps getting smaller and smaller as I age).

7. What books have influenced your writing style?
There are so many books to name. To Kill a Mockingbird. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The Book Thief. I'm a great admirer of Samuel R. Delany's many books. I love Jorge Borges. I've read every novel and story Nabokov wrote. They've all influenced me.  Directly or indirectly, every book I've ever read has influenced me.

8. Tell us a little about your book.
Spark is a tiny entity of uncertain origin. He's pure energy, like a sentient speck of stardust. He (pardon the use of the masculine pronoun) has psionic abilities. He can influence matter and link psychically with others. One night, he follows high school sophomore Francy MacMillan home from basketball practice...

9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors?
If you love the writing, write. If it becomes a chore, stop—because, really, the odds are heavily against writing ever becoming a career or even a significant source of income, even if you do get published (sad to say). But if that's reason enough to make you stop, then you probably shouldn't be writing anyway.

10. What is next on your writerly horizon?
Next up is to finish the editing on Flight of the Wren, which Lycaon will be publishing in the near future. I hope to be guest blogging about that very soon. It's another YA title, but very different from Spark, a much darker and more dangerous story. I think folks are going to like it.

Top 5 favorite movies

La Strada, Lawrence of Arabia, Citizen Kane, The Philadelphia Story, City Lights.  (Wow, is that random. All items subject to change without notice on any given day.)


Unexplained corpses? An unearthly visitor? One game between her team and the playoffs? Yeah, it’s been that kind of day for Francy Mac.

People are dying downtown, their bodies shriveled away to almost nothing. The police are mystified and outrageous rumors are flying. Fifteen year-old Francy Macmillan listens, but says nothing. It isn’t a comfort knowing that no matter how far-fetched the theories, the truth is even stranger. 
For Francy, the truth wasn’t very hard to find. It followed her home from basketball practice one night, a floating bauble of light that speaks inside her mind and shares her thoughts and her feelings. Is it an alien wanderer fallen from some distant star? Or a shard of some divine entity? Whatever it is, Spark seems to like her.
But as their friendship grows, a disturbing fact emerges: Spark knows who is responsible for those deaths. With Spark’s help, it is up to Francy to stop them. Spark leads Francy into a strange alternate reality, along with her friends: beautiful Echo with the dragon tattoo; moody Brooke with the wicked jaw; and Owen Owens, the boy with the fascinating eyes who may just get around to kissing her one of these days—assuming the world doesn’t end first.

Snap! The air cracked like a cap pistol. Something bright flew across the room.
I wheeled around with my hand still full of hair.
"What the..."
It flared orange then red—a bright floating fleck of light. I watched it swirl, slowly stirring the air, rising like an ember from a campfire.
I dropped my hairbrush. My hair was on fire! I grabbed my head with both hands, pawing through my hair. "No, no, no!"
But I couldn't feel anything burning. Everything was normal. I checked in the mirror. Nope. Not on fire. Not even a little.
I turned around again. The fleck hovered at eye-level now. It wasn't orange any more. It was blue. I leaned in a little closer. It blinked white, then blue again.
"Okay, this is..."
But really, I couldn't think of a word that fit. I circled it in slow, careful steps. It stayed still, dangling in the air. I reached out a finger. The fleck flashed silver and spiraled upward, before settling at eye level again. Reflected in the dresser mirror, a second fleck performed the same maneuver.
"What are you?" My voice quavered a little. I wasn't scared exactly, but I could feel my heart beating pretty fast. I leaned in closer. "What were you doing in my hair?"
It made a tight vertical loop, pulsing green, blue, and then green again.
"Why are you doing that?" I kept asking it questions like I thought it could answer. I guess I was really talking to myself. I pushed my lips out and blew, just gently. The fleck flickered in the tiny draft, but it didn't blow away. If anything, it drew a little closer. I had the sudden impulse to run downstairs and get a jar from the kitchen and see if I could catch it, but I didn't do that. Instead, I put my hand out. The fleck danced in until it was barely an inch above my open palm. I braced myself and watched it settle into my hand. It was cool and tiny on my skin.
"Hey," I whispered. "What are you?"
It glowed and I heard a sound, low and metallic. Bonk.
"Was that you?"
There was a chirp, and then a low warbling hoot like when you blow air over the top of a bottle. None of these sounds came in through my ears. They were just there, sounding inside my head.
Again, it went bonk. That seemed to be its favorite. A click, a whistle, a little wooden pop. Far-off thunder rumbled. Quiet at first, it rose up inside me, getting bigger and louder. The sound swooped up into a squeal then dropped even faster to a sub-woofer grumble and faded to silence.
"Is this supposed to mean something?"
It made a soft chugging noise, like a little toy train. The whole time, the thing just sat there glowing in my palm.
"I don't think we're getting anywhere."
It rose into the air until it hung just a few inches from my nose. I stared. It glowed blue, flashed silver, and then paled to dull violet.
"It's okay," I said, and this time I was totally talking to myself. "This isn't really happening. It's a dream. I'm dreaming. A dream about a little fleck of light that floats around, making strange noises..."
Then, it flared bright crimson and flew straight into my head.
 Buy links.

Atthys Gage is a writer and musician with a lifelong love for myth, magic, and books. His second real job was in a bookstore. As was his third, fourth, fifth, and sixth. Eventually, he stopped trying to sell books and started writing them. After studying classics at Haverford College, he developed an interest in the ways that ancient stories influence modern storytelling, and has always had a fascination for that cloudy borderline between the normal and the paranormal. He lives on the coast of Northern California with his long-suffering wife, strong-willed children, and several indifferent chickens.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Death's Melody

Author Interview Questions:

1. I write because… it sounds better than talking to my imaginary friends. 

2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be? oh totes chocolate chip. I am a sucker for the original.... but it doesn't have to be cooked, that's where my alliances end. chocolate chunks? yes? cooked? Naw!

3. Plotter or pantster? Panster. I can't plot out my day. Today, I planned on showering... lol it's 9 at night and I haven't gotten out of my jammies.

4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why? OOOOH! I am such a sap for the misunderstood badboy. *Fans self* give me a man who shoots guns, takes names but answers to no one. 

5. Hamburgers or sushi? Hamburger!!! I was raised on a farm for gosh sakes!

6. Name three things on your desk. lol, well, i sort of don't write on a desk. I'm a couch potato kinda writer. So around me is an empty container of OREO's, a crusty coffee cup and my cell phone. (Which i check every five minutes thanks to Trivia Crack.

7. What books have influenced your writing style? Twilight, but let's be real; who hasn't that book influenced??

8. Tell us a little about your book. The Ringer Masquerade Series is all about falling in love when your out of time. The characters in these books have a stopwatch to their lives. They know when they will die and why. The trouble is when they find someone to live for.

9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors? Encase yourself in bubblewrap. There will be bad days, poor reviews, and some bla moments. 

10. What is next on your writerly horizon? I am currently working on the Twisted Fairytale Confessions. Death of the Mad Hatter (1) Locks: Rapunzel Unhinged (2) and soon Snow White Lies (3)

Top 5 favorite (pick one) desserts, movies, things to eat, ice cream flavors, books. Reese Peanut Butter Cup while watching Just Married after chomping down a Casey's Pizza= perfect night

“I was created to die. Death isn’t what scares me. What I’m afraid of is what they’ll do if I don’t play by their rules,” James said.
“You don’t have to do everything they want, James.”
The rage in James’ eyes fizzled into misery, but even as anguish threatened to overtake his soul, hope lingered. His familiar scent drew me closer. It reminded me of the young man he used to be. He towered over me, as if he could shelter me from the cruelty of life. It was tempting to let him, but I knew it would just be another lie. The Ringer made a game out of life and death. They created the rules and demanded everyone abide by them orsuffer the consequences. Nevertheless, I couldn’t ignore the truth any longer. I needed answers.
“Yes, I do. If I want to protect the ones I love…” James said. He leaned in close enough to steal a kiss. An agonized smile crept onto his face. “To protect you.”

A fate worse than death…
All of Catherine’s dreams ended with her progenitor’s sacrifice and the loss of her beloved. Surrounded by a scornful family and friendships built upon lies, she’s never felt more alone. The Ringer denies her plea to be an organ donor yet monitors her relentlessly. She is unable to live a life free of the hospital’s control. Her future unravels as disturbing questions arise and hidden lies surface. However, what’s even more troubling than the Ringer’s dangerous secrets are the torturous punishments they deliver to those who defy them.
 Buy link:


Sitting utterly still in front of the piano, Sebastian's dark eyes hinted at dangerous thoughts. He clenched his jaw. Every finger slammed down on the keys, creating a dreadful crashing echo throughout the room. His gaze never left mine as he stood, knocking over the bench. His chest didn't rise or fall as the rest of the world melted away until only he and I existed. When he finally breathed, it came out in a deep sharp exhale.
Desire paralyzed me. He walked haltingly across the room. His slow, calculated movements warned me that he was going out of his mind. The deranged look in his eyes stole the air from my lungs. Blinking wasn't an option. When he got within touching distance, he ran his hand through his hair.
Finally, he managed to speak, "If you keep looking at me like that I'll bloody—"
"Lose control," I finished for him while making my demand clear.
He closed his eyes as he dragged his fingers through the cowlick over his eyebrow. My impatience nearly drove me into his arms, but he opened his eyes seconds before I gave in. Taking the slightest step forward, he smirked, clearly enjoying the sight of me struggling. He leaned over me, his face close enough to kiss me. Instead he exhaled ever so slightly while a moan grew in his throat. It hit my neck, trickled down my chest, and stole my breath. Our bodies never touched. Every muscle flexed like it was painful for him not to wrap me in his arms.
I dug my fingernails into my palms as he tucked back a strand of my hair, careful not to touch my skin. I bit my lip as the warmth radiated off his hand. His mesmerizing blue eyes never looked as stunning—or consuming—as when he was frantic. Finally he slid his hand around the base of my neck and held me there. He teased me within an inch of my sanity. I hadn't even noticed his other hand venturing behind my back until he tightened his grip around my waist.
His lips barely grazed mine, but before he indulged in a kiss, he whispered hoarsely. "One day you'll admit the ironclad notion that I've already accepted."
"What am I in denial about?" I questioned.
"How much your soul yearns for mineI liI ," he said, and gently bit my lip.
Staring at my hands, I played the memory over and over. At the time it hadn't seemed like a turning point in our relationship. But it was. I'd let him see how frantic the mere sight of him made me, how his music lured me, how his charisma lit a fire in my soul. How his passion seized my heart. He gave me a taste of a life, of a world I never dreamed of yet had craved ever since. Thinking about it now I wished I had allowed myself to simply be with him—without distractions or limitations. Without a death sentence. Time was precious. I thought I'd understood it then.

Author bio:

I specialize in dark, paranormal romance - think "happy ever after" but with a twisted, dark chocolate center. Real-life romance isn't only filled with hugs, kisses, bunnies, and rainbows. True-love can be more thoroughly described in times of darkness and tribulation. It's in those harsh moments where you see what a person is truly capable of - both the good and bad. Sometimes prince-charming isn't always on time, and the glass slipper is a little snug. However, it doesn't mean Charming is not Mr. Right, and who says every shoe is the perfect fit?***