Friday, March 29, 2013

Our Read 1K Write 1K Challenge Kicks Off April 1st!

Give yourself the Gift of Accomplishment!

Come join our Read 1K Write 1K Challenge 
here at the Book Boost starting April 1st!

I think we can all agree that writing and reading go hand in hand but I'm here to test the theory that if we make time to read at least 1,000 words per day and write at least 1,000 words per day that we'll take a big leap toward meeting our goals.

For the purposes of this challenge, you'll be asked to "sign up" by either e-mailing me privately or posting a comment here on the blog no later than April 1, 2013 (deadline: noon Central Standard Time).

Why sign up?  Because I'll be giving out some prizes throughout the month and you must have signed up and be actively participating to be eligible to win.  And you must stick through to the end to be eligible for the Mystery Grand Prize!

But, wouldn't finishing that languishing manuscript be reward enough?  Wouldn't pushing past that middle of the book slump be reward enough?  Wouldn't writing along side other authors and getting the push you need be reward enough?  Wouldn't sharing great reads with each other be reward enough?

It would for me.

So, who should take this challenge?  Do you... 

Need to get the words rolling on a new project?

Feel stuck in the middle of a novel and can't seem to push through? 

Is your novel...almost done and it just needs a few...more...words?

If any of these are you, then please join me starting Monday, April 1st for 30 days of writing fun! Every day I'll chronicle my writing adventures as I juggle 3 kids, multiple editorial jobs, and much more all while completing my latest novel.

For those of you who've written with me during previous challenges, welcome back! For those new to my're in for a treat. Cause not only will you boost your word count and stay motivated by sharing your daily word count with fellow class mates, but you'll be in the drawing to win prizes.  A special shout out to all my Book Factory author family members who are here to keep that productivity in check.  Want to know more about my Book Factory Method?  Check it out here. 

Now, you may be asking, how does this challenge work exactly?

Step One: Leave a comment here or e-mail me privately to sign up for the challenge no later than noon CST on Monday, April 1, 2013.

Step Two:  Show up here on April 1 to check in (by leaving a comment and telling us what manuscript you're working on and what you're going to be reading).

Step Three:  Your manuscript can be anything and you can switch projects throughout if you need to but you must commit to writing at least 1K a day.  You may write more on some days and you may write less on some days.  That's okay.  Be honest with yourself and with us.  Just strive to do the best you can and write some every day for 30 days.

Step Four:  Choose a fiction book and read at least 2 chapters a day.  Since books and their chapter lengths will vary and it will be too difficult to monitor "actual word count" go ahead and consider 2 chapters being a minimum of 1,000 words.  Share with us the title and author of the book and let us know if you meet your daily goal.  Also, give us a little "non-spoiler" comment on the book each day.  Something like "things are heating up" or "not wild about this chapter but I'm sticking with it".  If you finish the book during the month, let us know if you'd recommend it or not.  You may read more than one book during the challenge, this is flexible.

Step Five:  Repeat steps 3 and 4 each day during April.  If you miss posting on a particular day due to the dog, the cat, the hubby, the kids, the weather, work, rain, snow, the power company, the post office, the cable company, the neighborhood kids, an impending apocalypse or well...any other possible will be fine in posting a comment on that day's update as soon as you can.  Just be sure you go to the particular day and post your comment there.  Don't combine all your updates on one post because it will be too darn difficult for me to sort out and well...I won't feel like it (nor will I have time as I'm taking the challenge too). :-)

Step Six:  At the end of the challenge, be prepared to be amazed at your accomplishments and give yourself a pat on the back.

Please Note:  The Book Boost is a promotions blog and I will be featuring various authors on the blog throughout the month.  So, if you check in and see a normal blog post at the top, be sure to scroll down to find the dated post for that day.

Most importantly, be sure to report in each day, whether you've met your goal or had a bad day...we want to hear all about it. Get ready...get set...let's write and read!

See you Monday!

Happy Easter weekend to all.

Bunny hoppingly yours,
Kerri Nelson
Owner, The Book Boost

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Recommended: Our Book of the Month by Emma Leigh Reed

Mirrored Deception
 our highly recommended
Book of the Month
featured today at the Book Boost!

What's it all about?

Jayla Ralston is running. After her apartment break in, she decided to get away from life and her overbearing twin sister. She finds the perfect Maine hide away to make some changes - The Cliffhouse Bed and Breakfast. It was perfect...until the phone calls resumed - kicking her paranoia into high gear. Trenton Montgomery is out for revenge. It has taken him ten years to return to his childhood home. After sneaking into an empty wing to focus on his clandestine investigation, a beautiful woman shows up - causing him to feel emotions, other than anger, for the first time in a long time.

Who wrote it?

Emma Leigh Reed has lived in New Hampshire all her life. She has fond memories of the Maine coastline and incorporates the ocean into all her books. She lives in a small town with family. Her life has been touched and changed by her son's autism - she views life through a very different lens than before he was born. Growing up as an avid reader, it was only natural for Emma Leigh to turn to creating the stories for others to enjoy.

Visit Emma on the web here:

Where can I find it?

Click here to pick up your copy today!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I Heart U with Astraea Press Author: R.R. Smythe

Meet author R.R. Smythe 
today at the Book Boost!

**All month long at the Book Boost we're featuring my fellow Astraea Press authors. Come back each day for more and be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize Pack (see below for details)!**

I’m often asked where I get my story ideas. I’ve always been intrigued by the strange and unusual.  As a kid I loved Ripley’s Believe It or Not, sideshows and late night chiller films.

Fast forward and indeterminate number of years. I have had my own fair share of odd experiences, including watching a craniotomy and dissecting cadavers. As I am in medicine by day, it is rife with seemingly unbelievable events which fire the imagination.

I first heard about the oddities of heart transplants one wintry day one the way home from work on NPR. About transplant recipients "inheriting" their donors memories.


The author bells clanged loudly and thus began my search through medical literature about the phenomenon called Cellular Memory.

I’ve studied neuroscience and one of the proposed explanations of how could this possibly happen…is that memories may be stored in DNA. When a transplant recipient receives the donors DNA, they begin to interact. To attempt to function as a whole.

Well the author gene in me went a tad crazy.

I then happened on a memoir by Claire Sylvia, called Change of Heart. Claire was 47 and was dying of primary pulmonary hypertension. She received the heart of an 18 year old who had been killed in a motorcycle accident.

It wasn’t long till Claire began experiencing cravings. Cravings for foods she did not like, such as beer.  Claire, once a professional dancer…began to "lumber". Her relationship with men changed as well; she no longer felt the need to be in a relationship, felt more assertive and independent.

Welcome to the premise for my new Young Adult novel, Heart Murmurs:

Mia Templeton is dying. Or was dying. After receiving a heart transplant, her world is forever altered. Before her eyes open, she overhears her donor was a murdered girl of the same age. Whispers invade Mia’s head before she’s even left the recovery room. She develops tastes for foods she once hated, and dreams so vivid, she feels they’re someone else’s memories. Her personality is altered—once a quiet doormat, she’s now inexplicably flippant, and confident. And her unexplained longing for the new boy at school is borderline obsessive.

Morgan Kelley is new. Adopted by his aunt, a descendent of Louisa May Alcott (Little Women), he’s thrown into life at a new high school, and as a historical guide for his aunt’s store—a homage to all things Alcott. Conspiracy theories abound about his mangled lower leg—but no-one has been brave enough to ask. Till Mia.

Something is awry with the Underground Railroad tunnels beneath his aunt's home. Mia and Morgan enter the world of a secret Literary Society--and are drafted to help bring a rogue Literary giant to justice, solve the mystery of her heart donor, the the real fate of Beth from Little Women.

Heart Murmurs is based on the concept of cellular memory; that the bodies DNA may carry a part of our consciousness into an organ donor. I researched memoirs of people who experienced this phenomenon. The historical portion is based on the life of Louisa May Alcott, ardent feminist, visionary, civil war nurse and abolitionist.

For some, the key to happiness is letting go of the past, for others, it’s embracing it.

A Note from the Book Boost:  I love this concept.  In fact, have you seen the movie Return to Me starring David Duchovny and Minnie Driver?  If not, check it out.  Your book sounds great and thanks for joining us today at the Boost!

Want More R.R.?

Visit her on the web here:
Pick up s copy of her book today!  Click here.

Contest Time:

Everyone who leaves a question or comment for any of our authors this month will be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize pack from the Book Boost!  Pack includes:
Falsify by Kerri Nelson
  • Your choice of books from author Liz Botts 
  • Saint Sloan by Kelly Martin
  • Never Trust A Pretty Wolf by Elaine Cantrell 
  • The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer by Lisa Orchard 
  • The Samurai's Garden by Patricia Kiyono
  • Heart Murmurs by R.R. Smythe
  • PLUS much more! 
One entry for every comment.  Visit often.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Viva La Print Books with Astraea Press Author: Zanna Mackenzie

Meet author Zanna Mackenzie 
today at the Book Boost!

**All month long at the Book Boost we're featuring my fellow Astraea Press authors. Come back each day for more and be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize Pack (see below for details)!**

When I found out it was National March Into Literacy month, quite naturally it set me to thinking about books. I love, love, love books and have done since I was a child. The trip to the shops as a kid to spend my pocket money/allowance always ended up with me choosing a comic or a book–remember Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five and The Secret Seven? Nowadays when I want a little pick-me-up treat I don’t go for chocolate, clothes, shoes, wine or make-up, I still go for books–just a few pounds spent and all that excitement of a new world and new characters to discover, truly amazing value for money I always think.

If a book has an ultra-pretty cover which I can gaze upon as well as having the excitement of discovering the story inside it, then ever better! I love that new book smell and the feeling when you first open a book and "crack" the spine to get the pages ready to start reading. I love perusing my book shelves to choose which book I want to read next, taking in all the colours of the covers, their designs, the books grouped into my favourite authors.

All of which brings me to e-books, now I know this is probably a bit controversial but I still prefer to hold a "real" paperback book in my hands any day rather than an e-book on Kindle, etc. I know e-books have revolutionized the world of books and publishing and they offer many advantages over a conventional book such as:
  • Instant downloads, brilliant for those who are impatient (me included!)
  • Exceptional value for money
  • The books are quickly and easily accessible to everyone, no matter where they live
But to me there are downsides too:
  • I don’t get to hold that new book in my hands, a proper paperback book complete with a pretty cover
  • I don’t get to line the book up on my shelves once I’ve read it, and peruse it and all the others when I want to, picking out favourites at a glance
  • I don’t get to choose a beautiful bookmark from my collection to use with my current book of choice
I don’t own a Kindle or any of the other devices but because I realized I was missing out on some terrific books I did download the free Kindle app via Amazon to my home computer so that I can read and enjoy e-books.  I guess in years to come the "real" book will probably go the same way as vinyl records and video cassettes and become obsolete and personally I think that will be a sad day and a great shame.

I, for one, will mourn their loss from the world of books whilst gazing upon my treasured bookshelves. Does anyone else still prefer "real books" or am I alone in this?

A Note from the Book Boost:  I'm a fan of both formats, but I hope that paperback books won't disappear in my lifetime anyway.  Thanks for the thoughtful post and please tell us more about your book!


Thanks to an embarrassing incident involving a wedding and her ex-boyfriend Marcus, Lucy has to leave her home town in a hurry and needs a place to escape to for a while.

Best friend Fiona is convinced now would be a good time for Lucy to get herself a new life with some potential for romance thrown in. Fate seems to agree when Lucy is given the once-in-a-lifetime chance to star in a TV show and be a contestant on The Love Programme-two weeks of luxury living on a grand Highland estate coupled with, she hopes, fun and romance in wildest Scotland.

When Lucy meets Paul - the young, handsome owner of the Highland estate-she thinks she may have found the love of her life but who is the mysterious Hannah and what part does she play in his life?

When she discovers that Marcus is planning to follow her to Scotland to win her back Lucy has some serious soul searching to do. Does she have a future with Paul, with Marcus or is she yet to find the man of her dreams?

Excerpt (edited for length):

“I’m so glad he’s marrying someone else,” whispered Lucy, watching the groom shuffle nerv-ously from one foot to the other at the top of the aisle.

“It could have been you up there,” replied Fiona. “How many times did Marcus ask you to marry him?”

“Three,” Lucy replied, shifting position for the fourth time in as many minutes. Why did church pews have to be so uncomfortable? “The first time when we were five, then again at twenty and finally,” she paused, reliving the moment in her head, “eight months ago.”

“Well,” Fiona said, as the organ struck up, filling the cold but pretty church with overly loud mu-sic, “it looks as though you’re safe from any more proposals, because I think the bride has just arrived.”

Amelie Marchant made her way slowly down the aisle, blonde hair in an elegant chignon, de-signer dress looking a million dollars. Beneath her thin veil it was clear she was smiling, no doubt savouring each precious second of being the focus of everyone’s attention, yet keeping her own attention firmly fixed on Marcus, who was awaiting her arrival at the altar.

Fiona nodded in approval. “She looks gorgeous. Her dress is exquisite.” She nudged Lucy. “Doesn’t the little bridesmaid look sweet in deep pink?”

“Yes, she’s Amelie’s niece apparently.” Lucy let a small sigh of contentment slip from her lips as Amelie reached the altar and stood close to Marcus. Finally she, Lucy Stokes, was going to be free of Marcus Brandon. He was marrying someone else, hallelujah! She would, at long last, be able to live her life exactly the way she wanted to. The whole reason she was here today was to witness the ceremony for herself. To know it was for real.

Okay, so she and Marcus had been childhood sweethearts. They’d played at the whole boy-friend-girlfriend thing on and off, sometimes quite successfully, for well over fifteen years. When she’d reached her twenties Lucy had sensed they didn’t have a future together, and she’d been trying to get Marcus to realise the fact ever since.

When she’d broken it off with him for the last time, to say he hadn’t taken kindly to the idea they were no longer an item was a major understatement. Over time she’d grown used to his persistent phone calls, the fact he often just popped round to see her and casually suggested, if they were both at a loose end, they might go for a drink or to the pictures.

Even when she’d plucked up the courage to attempt to date other people, it had been a complete disaster. Friadon was a small town and Marcus seemed to know every detail of where she went, when and with whom. On more than one occasion he’d tried to talk her out of going on a date, and she suspected, but couldn’t prove, he’d persuaded at least one of her dates to stay well away from her, causing her to be stood up, all alone in the heavy rain, outside the local cinema.

Six months after they’d split up, in a completely misguided attempt to woo her back, he’d gotten down on one knee and proposed to her for the third time at the travel agency where she worked. Armed with a huge bouquet of red roses and a bottle of champagne he’d asked her to marry him one last time. It had been in front of several customers too; Lucy had been pink with embarrass-ment. When, riddled with guilt, she’d gently declined his offer yet again, he’d gone off and met Amelie. Eight months later here the two of them were standing at the altar about to become man and wife.

Realising the ceremony was already well under way and she’d missed the first bit through not paying attention, Lucy tried to focus on what was being said, forcing the memories of Marcus from her mind. Yes, they’d enjoyed some fun times over the years, and she had to admit there had been occasions when they’d been completely great together, but it was all in the past now. His future lay with Amelie.
Clearing his throat the vicar glanced nervously towards the congregation and asked, “Does any-one here object to the marriage of Amelie Marchant and Marcus Brandon? If so, speak now or forever hold...”

“I object.” The words were barely audible but Lucy heard them and fear shivered up her spine.

Want More Zanna?

Visit her on the web here:

Pick up a copy of her book today!  Click here.

Contest Time:

Everyone who leaves a question or comment for any of our authors this month will be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize pack from the Book Boost!  Pack includes:

  • Falsify by Kerri Nelson
  • Your choice of books from author Liz Botts 
  • Saint Sloan by Kelly Martin
  • Never Trust A Pretty Wolf by Elaine Cantrell 
  • The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer by Lisa Orchard 
  • The Samurai's Garden by Patricia Kiyono
  • PLUS much more! 
One entry for every comment.  Visit often.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Forever Irish with Astraea Press Author: Patricia Kiyono

 Meet author Patricia Kiyono 
today at the Book Boost!

**All month long at the Book Boost we're featuring my fellow Astraea Press authors. Come back each day for more and be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize Pack (see below for details)!**

St. Patrick's Day is over, but we don't have to stop celebrating, because all of March is designated as Irish-American Heritage Month. There's even a Presidential Proclamation and everything, so it's official.

My own heritage is Japanese, so we probably ought to celebrate Asian-American Heritage Month in May. However, my family has always felt a direct connection to the Irish. That's because my father's family lived in Michigan during the Second World War. Dad was in high school during the entire war, and his older brother enlisted in the Army. Since Dad and his parents were the only Japanese-Americans in the area, they were not relocated to the camps in the western part of the United States.

They were allowed to stay in their home, but they were taken to the Grand Rapids Federal Building and fingerprinted, and Dad told me about times when an ominous black car followed him home from school. It must have been a really difficult time for him and his family. Though they had never caused any trouble, they were treated with distrust. There were many people who made it a point to torment him because of his heritage.

But Dad was lucky to have several loyal high school friends who looked out for him. During school sporting events they ran interference when bullies from other schools wanted to harass him. They gave him a nickname–Irish. A running joke among Dad's friends was that when people asked him where he was from, he'd say, "I'm Irish." So they played along. Later on, he continued the joke when he named his children Pat and Mike. And he laughed with glee when my younger brother was born on St. Patrick's Day. (Since they already had a Pat, my parents made Patrick his middle name!)

I shared this story with the people who gathered for Dad's funeral five years ago. I thought it was a great illustration of the way my dad dealt with the difficulty of being a member of an unpopular minority—with stoicism, laced with humor. Fortunately for us, times have changed. Unlike previous generations of my family, my daughters and nieces were not the only children of Asian descent in their schools. We are no longer in danger of being torn from our home simply because of our heritage. But we retain a pride in our culture—our adopted Irish culture as well as our own.

Dad never had the opportunity to visit the Emerald Isle, but he loved to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. The entire family wore green, and we sported "Honorary Irish" buttons. We ate corned beef and cabbage and danced the jig in our school PE classes. For one day each year, we were as Irish as the O'Tooles and the O'Sullivans and the McMilligans.

Have you ever "adopted" a heritage other than your own? How to you celebrate that heritage?

**Leave a Question or comment for Patricia and be entered to win a bonus prize.  A digital copy of The Legacy, the prequel to The Samurai's Garden.**

A Note From the Book Boost: Patricia, thank you for sharing this powerful story with us.  What a great guy your father was and how impressive that he kept his sense of humor even in the wake of personal torment.  Lovely story and a lovely man.  Please tell us more about your latest.             


Hiro Tanaka prepared for life as a samurai soldier. But his world changed when Japan's Emperor abolished the feudal system and the eliminated the samurai class. Disillusioned with fighting and violence, Hiro travels alone, going north to the island of Hokkaido. Other masterless samurai, known as ronin, wander through the country, and some have forsaken their honorable way to prey on the less fortunate.

Hanako Shimizu experienced first-hand the devastation caused by these disreputable warriors. The previous winter, they raided her farm and killed her husband. Now, she needs to rebuild her farm but she has no money and no prospects—except for the dubious intentions of the town merchant.

When Hiro, tired of his wandering, encounters Hanako in the market, arguing with the merchant, he poses as her late husband's cousin then offers to help her on the farm in exchange for a place to stay. Working on the land, Hiro finally finds the peace he has been seeking. But the reappearance of the rogue ronin, led by an unscrupulous leader from Hiro's past, forces him to take up his swords again. But now, the stakes are higher.

This time, he's fighting from the heart.

Hanako tilted her head, confusion lining her face. She took the rope, but couldn’t stop herself from asking, "Why would you do this for me?" She narrowed her eyes in suspicion. "What do you want from me?"

The big man shrugged. "Nothing, except repayment for the animals you are holding."

She felt her face burn. "Mmm, that might take a little while. I hoped Sato-san would sell me the animals and let me make payments later." Her embarrassment turned to anger as Hiro burst into laughter. "What’s so funny? Do you doubt my ability to work the farm and turn a profit?"

"I don’t doubt your ability at all. But I can just imagine what kind of payment that vermin would want from you," he rasped. "I heard some of the things he said." He took her arm as she turned away. "If you don’t have the money, then perhaps you could give me a place to stay for a while. The inn here is full, and there are no other accommodations in town. I’ve been traveling a long time and I’m tired."

Hanako looked closely at the stranger. Her sharp eyes took in the rich fabric of his obi, the fine craftsmanship and fit of his clothing, and the bejeweled hilts on both his long and short sword. "I can’t offer fine accommodations like you are accustomed to having." Her eyes narrowed as another thought occurred to her. "And why should I believe you would not expect the same payment as you suspect Sato-san wanted?"

Hiro drew himself up. "I have taken the oath of the Bushido. You are not an enemy, so I would not harm you or anything that is yours."

It was Hanako’s turn to laugh. "It was a band of your honorable men who came and raided my home, killed my husband, and burned my crops last fall. I do not have much faith in your code."

At the mention of the masterless samurai known as ronin, Hiro's lips curled in disgust. Though many former samurai had taken positions in the Emperor's army or had found new careers, a few wandered the country aimlessly, causing havoc. Now, Hanako wondered if her insult had pushed the stranger too far. If he chose to punish her for speaking to him so, she would have no defense against his strength. She watched his expression, wondering if she should try to run. Finally, he bowed stiffly and spoke. Hanako braced herself for the worst. But her jaw dropped in surprise at his words.

"I apologize for the actions of my fellow samurai," he began, "and you may consider the animals partial payment toward retribution for your loss. In addition, I will work for you this season so your lands may be restored to their former value."      

Want More Patricia?

Visit her on the web here:

Pick up a copy of her book today!  Click here.

Contest Time:

Everyone who leaves a question or comment for any of our authors this month will be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize pack from the Book Boost!  Pack includes:

  • Falsify by Kerri Nelson
  • Your choice of books from author Liz Botts 
  • Saint Sloan by Kelly Martin
  • Never Trust A Pretty Wolf by Elaine Cantrell 
  • The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer by Lisa Orchard 
  • The Samurai's Garden by Patricia Kiyono
  • PLUS much more! 
One entry for every comment.  Visit often.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Pure Pleasure of Pages with Astraea Press Author: Nell Dixon

 Meet Author Nell Dixon 
today at the Book Boost!

**All month long at the Book Boost we're featuring my fellow Astraea Press authors. Come back each day for more and be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize Pack (see below for details)!**

As soon as I saw March was literacy month I knew what my blog post would be about. I love books. All my life I’ve been an avid reader. I still read over one hundred books a year and I can’t imagine how much poorer my life would be if it didn’t have books in it.

It’s partly why I’m such a huge supporter of libraries. I regularly do talks for my local libraries and donate copies of my large print books for their shelves. I like to do school talks too to encourage more young people to go and see what the library can offer them.

When I was a child my favorite memories are of cycling daily to the library, carefully choosing my allocation of books then pedaling home. I would then spend the long summer school holidays sitting on the swing in my garden reading.

I read Enid Blyton, Richmal Crompton’s Just William stories, The Drina the Ballerina books, Andre Norton, The Chalet School series, Jean Plaidy and Victoria Holt. I read Malcolm Saville and classics like The Waterbabies, The Secret Garden, The Little Princess, Lorna Doone and Little Women. I loved Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.

Books were my sweets, my treat and my delight.

It didn’t change much as I grew older. I loved Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Ellis Peters, Ngaio Marsh, PD James, Janet Evanovich and Jennifer Crusie. Mills and Boon were the big discovery though in my teens with Betty Neels, Violet Winspear, Robyn Donald and Sara Craven.

Through books I learned about other countries, languages and ways of life. I learned about human emotions and behaviors. I learned about love and hate and all the shades in between.

Books speak to me in a way that other media doesn’t. Unlike film or TV I create the images in my head for myself. My picture of Mr. Darcy or Jo March is probably different from the author’s and different from every other reader that ever reads those stories but that’s the joy of it. It’s what makes the experience of that book unique to me.

I read for pleasure, to lose myself in a world the author has created. I don’t want to see how cleverly they have used the words to create those images or to be pulled out of a world by something that I know to be wrong. I want to dive into the story like entering a pool and being underwater where everything outside the pool is muffled, distorted and left behind.

And what greater joy can any writer have than to be able to give that gift to others? That’s what I hope my readers get when they pick up one of my books. A few hours blissful escape into a world I’ve created just for them. A unique space where they can put tiredness, a bad day with the kids, worry about money or illness behind them for a short time. For me there’s no nicer thing than when I get a review or an email that says I’ve succeeded.

A Note from the Book Boost:  I love your imagery there about diving into a story as if you are underwater to the outside world.  Great stuff!  Thanks for joining us today and please tell us more about your latest. 


Cornish farmer, Noah Penwarren is sworn off city girls, especially deceitful ones. Posy Carmichael is a city girl through and through. When romantic sparks start to fly will Posy’s secret end their Easter romance before it’s even begun?


Posy flinched as she eased the car forward into the rut she’d been trying to avoid. Behind her, the tent poles and pegs clattered and rattled as she jolted along to the gap in the boundary. She placed the car in reverse and backed into the entrance of the field ready to turn around.

The rear wheels skidded on the muddy grass. Posy changed into first gear and hoped she would manage to get out ahead of the tractor she could hear approaching down the narrow track. To her dismay the wheels of the car spun around as she revved the engine, failing to gain any purchase on the soft ground.

“Noooooo.” She moaned and gave the accelerator a last desperate nudge. A fine spray of mud shot from the back of the car to coat the back bumper and window.

The blue nose of a tractor chugged into view and stopped in front of her. Posy sucked in a breath. The way her day was headed she’d probably get told off now for trespassing. She lowered the window as the driver of the tractor dismounted from his cab and came over to her.

“I take it you’re stuck?” The man bent so his head was level with her window.

“I was trying to turn round.” Posy had a glimpse of dark blue eyes and a rugged jaw before the owner of the tractor stood leaving her with a view of green farm overalls.

“I’ll pull you out with the tractor.” His voice sounded resigned as if he were used to tugging stranded motorists from the entrance to his fields every day of the week.

Posy opened the car door and went to get out. Her shoe sank in the soft earth, with a soft, squelching sound.

“Do you want me to help?” She wobbled on one leg trying to extricate her foot from the sticky gloop.

“You’re fine. Just stay in the car and put it in neutral with the handbrake off when I tell you.”

She slipped back into her seat and tried to scrape the mud from her shoe onto the car mat. The previously unsmiling lines of his mouth had now softened into the hint of a grin as he began to attach the rope to the front of her car. Clearly, he found her encounter with the mud amusing. If she hadn’t felt so mortified at being stupid enough to get both lost and stuck Posy might have considered her rescuer attractive.

Want More Nell?

Visit her on the web here:

Pick up a copy of her latest today!  Click here.

Contest Time:

Everyone who leaves a question or comment for any of our authors this month will be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize pack from the Book Boost!  Pack includes:

  • Falsify by Kerri Nelson
  • Your choice of books from author Liz Botts 
  • Saint Sloan by Kelly Martin
  • Never Trust A Pretty Wolf by Elaine Cantrell 
  • The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer by Lisa Orchard
  • PLUS much more! 
One entry for every comment.  Visit often.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Greetings Earthlings with Astraea Press Author: Wendy Knight

Meet Author Wendy Knight 
today at the Book Boost!

 **All month long at the Book Boost we're featuring my fellow Astraea Press authors. Come back each day for more and be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize Pack (see below for details)!**

March 20th is International Earth Day. I had no idea – and it’s been around since 1971! But, isn’t it awesome? I knew about Earth Day – the one we celebrate in April, because we always plant a tree, but International Earth Day is just fabulous.

Growing up, I had two dreams. One, to be a writer. Two, to save the planet (well, technically I had more dreams than that – I wanted to be a tennis player and own a monster truck.) My debut novel, Feudlings came out on March 19th, so now I can move on to trying to save the planet!

One thing that has changed quite a bit since I was a little dreamer is the computer usage. I was sooo worried about the amount of paper I wasted when I was writing, but now I have a computer and all those mistakes and rough drafts and crappy paragraphs don’t litter the wastebasket and eventually our landfills. They litter my recycle bin and then I can delete them with no guilt! How awesome is that? And with the huge rise in e-book popularity, resources that would have gone into making all those books are saved.

There are so many small things we can do to help the planet. Maybe I can’t save it all by myself, but if I pester enough people, we can make a huge difference. Instead of throwing away old books you don’t want to read anymore, donate them! Or re-sell them–lots of book stores buy used books and resell them at a lower price.

Feudlings is set in Park City, Utah. Part of the reason I wrote it there is because Park City is gorgeous. It’s in the mountains, where the air is cleaner and everything is greener. My main character, Ari, has never been in mountains like those in Utah, even though she’s traveled all over the world, and she immediately falls in love with them, and with the city, the fresh air, and the wildlife.

We love to go to the street festival they have on Sundays, because vendors from all over Park City bring things to sell, and there are games for kids and delicious foods. The coolest thing is that they have recycle bins for everything, so that the actual garbage waste from the festival is almost nonexistent.

There are a gazillion dystopian books out that show us vividely the cost of not taking care of our planet. I love them all, but I wouldn’t want to live in them!

A Note from the Book Boost:  First off, I want to hear more about this dreamy Monster Truck!  LOL  Secondly, I love the idea of the street festival and it sounds right up my alley.  And...super Congrats on your brand new book release!  Please tell us more.


Nothing makes a new school suck worse than discovering the guy you’re in love with is your prophesied nemesis.

Ari is the most powerful flame-throwing sorceress ever, and her people’s last hope in an ancient war. But she’s also a seventeen-year-old girl, and in her free, not-hunting-nemesis times, she jumps from school to school, trying to figure out regular people her own age and pretending she’ll get the chance to graduate.

Shane lives a double life. He goes to school and masters the art of popularity, hiding the fact that he has a fate with a slim chance of his survival. He’s destined to end a 300 year-old war by killing or being killed. He knows he’s hunted by a powerful enemy who’s not afraid to die. Only problem? He has no idea who that enemy is.

When Ari shows up at Shane’s school, angry and sullen and determined to keep him at arm’s reach, neither of them realize they are supposed to be killing each other, not falling in love. Until Ari does realize it, and she almost dies – by Shane’s hand.


“Shane, I’m tougher than I look. I can handle it,” she said, although she wasn’t sure she wanted to know any more about his magic than she already did. It could get him in trouble. But she couldn’t just leave it alone. Part of her wanted to know. Maybe the monster-killer part of her.

She squashed that thought.

Shane stopped, studied her. Under his intense blue gaze her heart started to pound and she thought giddily that her favorite color just happened to be the exact color of his eyes. What were the odds?

“I’m serious, Ari. There’s this war going on, and knowing anything about it could get you killed.”

“Killed?” Ari tried to look dubious.

Shane glanced around and grabbed her hand, pulling her with him out the front doors. The air was crisp and cool; Ari could see traces of her breath. If Shane was aware that half the student population was watching them speed-walk into the woods, he didn’t show it, and after a final glance back Ari ignored them too.

When the school was out of sight, she stopped and pulled her hand away. “Okay Shane. Spill,” she commanded. She crossed her arms over her chest and tried to look cold. Normals would be cold right now, but because of the flames flowing through their blood, neither she nor Shane could feel it.

Shane sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “Where to start? Even the short version is long. We’re sorcerers, and there are two sides to this war… of course, because that’s what makes a war, right?” he rambled. Ari raised an eyebrow at him as she tried to shiver. “I’m a Carules. I have magic that stems from these blue flames that, well, they’re in my blood. Hunter, too. And all other Carules. The other side is Edren, and their magic comes from red flames. Basically, we spend all our time trying to kill each other. It’s a lot of fun,” he said with a bitter frown at the ground.

“So you hide your magic because if an Edren found you...”

“They’d kill me. Or try to, anyway,” Shane finished for her.

Ari flinched at his words, and she knew right then that if she had seen him on that battle field in Adlington, she wouldn’t have been able to kill him. Her eyes widened in shock, her mouth opened into a silent “Oh”, and her heart started to pound. This was a very, very dangerous revelation she’d just made to herself.

She had a weakness. And it was Shane.

Want More Wendy?

Visit her on the web here: 

Pick up a copy of her book today!  Click here.

Contest Time:

Everyone who leaves a question or comment for any of our authors this month will be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize pack from the Book Boost!  Pack includes:

  • Falsify by Kerri Nelson
  • Your choice of books from author Liz Botts 
  • Saint Sloan by Kelly Martin
  • Never Trust A Pretty Wolf by Elaine Cantrell 
  • The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer by Lisa Orchard
  • PLUS much more! 
One entry for every comment.  Visit often.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Laugh It Up with Astraea Press Author: J.L. Salter

Meet Author J.L. Salter 
today at the Book Boost!

**All month long at the Book Boost we're featuring my fellow Astraea Press authors. Come back each day for more and be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize Pack (see below for details)!**

What Makes You Laugh?

I love to laugh.

When Kerri booked my guest appearance here at Book Boost, she suggested four topics, one of which is this is “Humorists are Artists” Month.  I think that’s a terrific springboard.

In the right mood, I really enjoy a well-told joke.  Unfortunately, I’m among the world’s worst joke tellers.  I mean prepared, scripted jokes.  I usually forget an important element, recite components out of order, or (occasionally) even screw-up the punch-line.  Yep, I’m terrible at telling canned jokes.

But what I have done a lot of, with moderate success (if my correspondents are any measure), is to relate real things that happen to me (or which I observe)...and which can be entertaining to others.

Today, I’ll give you four very short examples of things I’ve posted on online.  All are true and each happened to me (or I observed it happening).  In one case, I tweaked the story slightly—see if you can guess which.

# 1

One birthday ritual (that comes every four years or so) is getting a new driver’s license...which I did yesterday.

Unlike the hours involved for this process in LA, in this corner of KY, there was NO WAITING!

Also unlike the LA State Trooper staff (who snap your pix only when you achieve the stupidest expression you’ve ever had), these folks actually gave you a count before they snapped.

Uh, one problem:  She neglected to tell me how far she planned to count.  So it went “one, two, click.”

I was waiting on "three" to flash her with my Errol Flynn smile.  On "two" I still looked like Gumby.


Dear [Spouse]:

When I returned from exercising at the Y this afternoon I discovered a wonderful surprise.  Our daughter left us four delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies--fresh baked.

Well, it turns out she left us three fresh baked cookies.

Oh, my mistake.  There were only two cookies in that baggie.

Dang, I miscounted. Julie only left us ONE cookie.  I'll split it with you.

# 3

The Yappy Yorkie-Poo is evidently smarter than she looks. As the three dogs were finishing their breakfast, Flitch ran out to the edge of the garage and began barking. Belle and Bojangles zoomed out, barking all the way, with absolutely no idea of why. Then (with the other two dogs occupied) Flitch sauntered back in and finished the food in all three bowls.

# 4

Sustained two minor injuries and want legal advice.

Re-heating cup of coffee in microwave while reading newsletter. Microwave dinged, went to get my cup. Opened M/W, poised hand over cup and briefly turned back to reading. Thought I was grabbing outside of cup, but stuck my fingers in the boiling coffee instead. That caused me to jerk back my hand, which hit the inside top of the microwave and skinned my knuckle.

Do I have a case to sue the microwave manufacturer?  The maker of my coffee brand?  Or the newsletter I was reading?

Of course, not everybody will think all these are humorous.  In fact, some folks won’t find any of these the slightest bit entertaining [no accounting for taste].  Humor is like politics or religion:  if it sits well with you, you (generally) think it ought to sit well with everybody.

But if you DID laugh, what made that story funny?  Was it the fact that you could just picture the same thing happening to YOU?  Or was the tale humorously phrased?  Both?  Was it funny all the way through...or just at the end?

Did you guess which one of the four stories was tweaked?  Put your guess in the comments box below and, later, I’ll reveal which tale was tweaked from the truth.

A Note from the Book Boost:  I enjoyed the stories and my fave was the fresh baked cookies.  Don't know if it is true or not but my daughter's name is Julie also.  Thanks for joining us and please tell us more about your book.


When Kris awakens in a costume, behind wooden bars inside a pitch-black community center, her only available rescuer is the hung-over new guy in town (who’s dressed as a pirate). Problem is: she’s sworn-off men, especially buccaneers.

Badly burned four years ago by a player who ruined her financially, Kris Prima’s heart is locked down as tightly as her lifestyle is confined by those massive debts. When first assisted by recent newcomer Ryan Hazzard, Kris is resentful, slightly afraid, and determined never again to trust men. But when court-ordered community service brings them together once more, she begins to appreciate Ryan’s charm, good looks, and capable manner.

With all the rumors and assumptions which followed Ryan from a large metropolitan area, how can small-town Kris even begin to trust him? And why won’t he explain any of those situations? Through her efforts to learn Ryan’s mysterious past, they share further experiences: many comedic, one quite dangerous, and others very tender. Despite several misunderstandings, Kris’s bottled-up feelings slowly re-awaken and she finally learns enough about Ryan to know she wants him in her life somehow. Kris regains her ability to trust a man and her heart is freed from its jail.


So, how on earth did I get left behind? And exactly how would I get out?

“Hello?” I knew it was too tentative, but somehow it seemed yelling into that vast darkness could make me feel even more vulnerable than I already did.


One of the big festival fund-raisers was to lock up attendees until someone donated enough money to bail them out. At first I was steamed to be imprisoned since I’d spent two weeks working on that stinking event. But once I sat down exhaustion took over, plus the spiked punch, of course. But that didn’t explain why I was still there in the dark with everybody gone… all alone.

At least I think I’m alone. “Hey! Hello?” Louder. “Anybody here?”

Silence could be good or bad. But I wished somebody would come turn the lights on and get me out. Plus, I need a restroom. Why did I leave my cell phone locked in the car? Not that there was any point waiting on a rescue. When you wake up behind wooden bars in real life, no handsome stranger comes to your aid.

My forefinger hurt but I couldn’t extract a splinter in the dark. Stood up. Oh, still a bit woozy from that long nap. Fumbled my way from the back of the jail. Straight ahead should get me to the door. Tripped on something.

Just a few more steps. Yikes! Bumped my head on something hanging from the top of the wooden jail.

One more step. Fingers brushed the bars of the front wall. Good. Door couldn’t be far away. Sideways to the left. Nope. Other direction. Ah, door frame. “Do you remember which way it opens, Kristen?” No, I didn’t. And I was talking to myself again. I reached one hand through the bars and felt the mechanism. Angle was wrong. In order to flip this latch, my entire forearm (past my elbow) had to get through.

What kind of latch? Metal. I felt a handle… it moved. But the door didn’t open. “What did the latch look like, Kristen?” I asked myself. A freezer door? No. Gate hasp? Nope. It was like those rental trailers. Have to lift something and swing something else to the side, or vice versa. Tried that. Okay, I could lift or swing, but couldn’t do both with one hand.

“Hey! Anybody here who can help with this latch before I wet myself?” Multiple echoes. I’d forgotten how big the main armory space was. “Looks like I’m stuck here.” Needed to stop talking to myself.

Tried the latch again from the other side. Ouch. Tight fit. My left elbow must be thicker. Wished I hadn’t drunk all that punch earlier. I should have known somebody spiked it because I’d seen lots of folks got tipsy. But I’d just said, “Whatever” and drank another cup. That’s how I slept through the abandonment by my former friends and the people I’d worked with on the community extravaganza. 

“Memo to Kristen,” I muttered, ”don’t ever nap in a bustier. It pinches the girls and probably leaves bruises.” Ha. Not that anybody would see them. Wally the Weasel was out of my zip code and my life. Wally-who’s-now-ancient-history-and-I-hope-he-dies-before-I-ever-see-him-again. Hmm, sounds awful. Not a good time to scare up bad karma with another curse on the Weasel. The last curse I put on Wally had to do with shriveling up his--

Okay, it was up to me. If I flipped up that gizmo, the handle pulled the thingy out of the what’s-it. Great theory. Still needed two hands. “Hey! Anybody in this stinking armory who’ll let me out?”

What was that noise? Something fell over! Somebody fell over? Better be a “good” somebody. “Hey! Over there… out there. Who’s there?”

“O-o-ow!” From the left of me somewhere. But what? It must have been near the refreshment area not far from my prison pen. “Who’s here? If you can speak, you’d better say something real quick, ‘cause I’ve got a big ole magnum gun pointed right at your head!” Bluff ‘em, Kristen.

“O-o-ow! Stop yelling! My head’s about to explode.” Closer. Man’s voice. Could be good news…or bad.

“Well, you’d better show yourself. And get some light over here.” Take charge, Kristen.

“I don’t know where the stinkin’ lights are. And stop yelling.” Closer… I could almost smell him.

“Don’t you have a lighter or something? I thought all guys carried lighters.”

He groaned a bit more. “Only the ones that smoke.”

“Terrific. The one non-smoker in Verdeville has finally arrived to let me out.”

“Out of what? Where are you? Ow! Crud! What is this?” He’d finally found the left side of my cage.

“I’m in the fund-raiser jail. Quit stalling and get me out. I need a restroom. Come around to the front and watch out for the…”

“Ow! Splinter!”


Want More J.L.?

Visit him on the web here:  

Pick up a copy of his book today!  Click here.

Contest Time:

Everyone who leaves a question or comment for any of our authors this month will be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize pack from the Book Boost!  Pack includes:

  • Falsify by Kerri Nelson
  • Your choice of books from author Liz Botts 
  • Saint Sloan by Kelly Martin
  • Never Trust A Pretty Wolf by Elaine Cantrell 
  • The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer by Lisa Orchard
  • PLUS much more! 
One entry for every comment.  Visit often.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Explore E-Reading with Astraea Press Author: Lisa Orchard

Meet Author Lisa Orchard 
today at the Book Boost!

**All month long at the Book Boost we're featuring my fellow Astraea Press authors. Come back each day for more and be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize Pack (see below for details)!**

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you today! My name is Lisa Orchard and I’m the Young Adult Author of the Super Spies Mystery/Thriller Series. I’m a guest of Kerri’s and I would like to thank her for giving me the opportunity to be here. I’d like to talk about a topic that’s near and dear to my heart and that is the literacy problems that we have in the U.S. today.

According to an article in USA Today a federal study has found that an estimated thirty-two million adults are saddled with such low literacy skills that it would be tough for them to read anything more challenging than a children’s picture book or to understand a medication’s side effects listed on a pill bottle.  For more information from this article click here.

I find this alarming, don’t you?  The statistics for our youth are just as bad. According to nearly forty percent of U.S. fourth graders do not achieve basic levels of reading proficiency. The number is higher among low income families, certain minority groups, and English language learners.

So, how can we turn this around?  That is a very good question and as I ponder it the memory of a conversation with my second grader comes to mind. We were getting ready to do his reading homework and he was grumbling that he really didn’t want to do it.  Feeling frustrated, I started to argue with him and then I stopped and asked him, “Why don’t you want to read tonight?”

He looked at me and said, “Because these books are boring.”

“Well…did you tell your teacher that?”

He shook his head. “No…she would get upset.”

I just stumbled upon part of the problem. Some of these books that schools are requiring students to read just don’t interest them. And with no interest in the subject reading becomes a “pain” and the young student’s motivation turns to dread. With all the millions of books in the world I’m sure we could find topics that would be interesting to our young readers.  Why can’t we offer them choices?

I feel that offering our little chickadees a choice and letting them pick a topic they like would be a step in the right direction. It would solve the motivation issues that seem to be a problem with our reluctant readers.

As I pondered this I thought, what if all of the students were given e-readers? Look at all the books available today that are in e-book format. I’m sure we could find something to please even the pickiest reader. I know what you’re thinking…that’s kind of unrealistic.  Or is it?

When you think about it…look at the cost of a paperback versus the cost of an e-book. I mean educators will be making up the difference in cost relatively quickly.

And while we’re at it…why don’t we put text books in e-book format? Can you imagine the savings for educators in that arena? With our educators trying to cut costs I think that e-readers represent a viable solution.

Did you know that Scholastic has an e-reader right now? It’s called Storia and parents can get most of the books available from Scholastic in e-book format.

I see e-books as the wave of the future and if our schools hop on board maybe we can turn this literacy problem around. What do you think? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

A Note from the Book Boost:  These are great ideas, Lisa.  I know that my twelve year old is quickly becoming as tech savvy as myself (maybe more) as children are starting to use technology much earlier than we did.  Thanks for being with us today and please tell us more about your book.


This book opens in a small town in Michigan where fifteen-year-old Sarah Cole is stuck spending the summer at her Aunt and Uncle’s with her sister, Lacey. She’s not happy with the situation until she befriends a girl named Jackie. The three girls stumble upon the ruthless murder of a reclusive neighborhood woman.

One of the officers investigating the crime believes the girls are responsible for her death. Fearing that this officer will frame them for the murder, the girls organize their own detective squad. They become the Super Spies and start their own fact-finding mission.  The Super Spies can’t understand why anyone would want to murder the “Cat Lady” until they start digging into her past and discover a horrible crime that happened thirty years ago.

They uncover a connection between the two crimes and attempt to bring this information to the police, only to be reprimanded for meddling in the inquest. Not only are the girls upset by the admonition, but they also struggle with the fact that their exuberant investigating could provide a legal loophole allowing the killer to go free. To make matters worse, the police don’t even believe them. Frustrated by this turn of events, the Super Spies realize it’s up to them to snare the Cat Lady killer, or die trying…


Alarm bells rang in Sarah’s head—this has to be out of character for someone who never leaves their home. She turned back and whispered to the other girls. “Hey!”

Jackie poked her head out. “What?”

“The storm door’s open.”


“So…what do I do?”

“Duh…Ring the door bell.”

Sarah shrugged and pushed the doorbell. It let out an irritating buzz and she had the feeling it had been broken long ago and never fixed. She dashed down the stairs.  The cats scattered, alarmed by the sudden activity. Reaching the shrubs, Sarah hid with her sister and Jackie.

Gasping for breath, Sarah waited for a reaction from the old woman. Her heart pummeled her ribs and she pressed her hand to her chest to calm it.

After a few minutes, Sarah started to pace. “Well…nothing’s happened.” She peeked out from behind the shrub and saw the screen door hanging ajar. “I bet she’s not even home. I’m going to try again.”

Jackie shrugged. “Be careful, remember she’s a witch.”

Sarah shook her head, and then peered out from behind the shrubs. Once again, she climbed the stairs. She was braver this time and it didn’t take her as long to make it to the door.

She looked inside, her heart lurching in her chest. She tiptoed to the picture window and peered through it. Gasping, she ran back to the entryway. Pulling it open, she lunged inside.

Sarah stared, unable to tear herself away.  Shock ran through her body like an electrical current as she eyed the scene before her. The crumpled form of the Cat Lady lay on the living room floor, just inside the door. No life flickered in the old woman’s staring eyes. Her mouth gaped open in a silent scream and her hands were up around her head as if she were warding off blows. Turning away from the Cat Lady’s body, Sarah gagged as the coppery scent of blood assaulted her. There was blood splattered everywhere, on the wall, on the carpet and under the Cat Lady’s body.

Suddenly, Sarah’s throat constricted and she gasped for breath. Fearing she would faint, she stumbled back out the door and collided with Jackie and Lacey on the porch.

Jackie grabbed Sarah’s arm and shook her. “What are you doing? Are you crazy? I never said to go inside!”

Sarah didn’t speak—she just stared blankly at the porch.

Jackie shook her again. “Are you under the Cat Lady’s spell?”

Lacey whimpered. “Hey, Sarah….can you hear me? Sarah?”

“She’s under the Cat Lady’s spell,” Jackie said waving her hand in front of Sarah’s eyes.

“Oh my---,” Sarah moaned and clutched Jackie’s arm.

“What is it?” Jackie shook her again. “Speak…say something!”

“Th-th-the C-C-Cat Lady, sh-sh-she’s,” Sarah stuttered.

“She’s what?” Jackie demanded.

“Sh-she’s dead.”

Want More Lisa?

Visit her on the web here:

Pick up a copy of her book today!  Click here.

Contest Time:

Everyone who leaves a question or comment for any of our authors this month will be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize pack from the Book Boost!  Pack includes:

  • Falsify by Kerri Nelson
  • Your choice of books from author Liz Botts 
  • Saint Sloan by Kelly Martin
  • Never Trust A Pretty Wolf by Elaine Cantrell 
  • The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer by Lisa Orchard
  • PLUS much more! 
One entry for every comment.  Visit often.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Wee Bit of Irish Information With Astraea Press Author: Elaine Cantrell

Meet Author Elaine Cantrell 
today at the Book Boost!

**All month long at the Book Boost we're featuring my fellow Astraea Press authors. Come back each day for more and be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize Pack (see below for details)!**

Hey, I’m Irish!

Until quite recently, if you had asked me about my ancestry, I would have told you I was Scottish, but as family researchers did more work on our family tree, I found that I’m not Scottish at all.  I’m Irish.  Well.  What a surprise.

After I got over my shock, I realized that there were some nice things about being Irish.  Shall I share them with you?  Okay, you talked me into it.  Here goes.

1. I can join St. Patrick’s Day celebrations with the knowledge that I’m the real deal, not a wannabe.  Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17.  In larger cities with a big Irish population, they have parades, parties, etc, to celebrate their Irish heritage.  Saint Patrick is the man who introduced Christianity into Ireland.  Legend says that he used a shamrock, one of the modern symbols of Ireland, to explain the doctrine of the trinity.

2. The Irish are great story tellers which might explain why I became an author.  One of my favorite Irish authors is Frank McCourt who wrote Angela’s Ashes.  McCourt was born in America but his Irish parents returned to Ireland which is where he grew up.  Around the age of eighteen he came back to America.

3. I like mashed potatoes.  You can grow a lot of potatoes in a small area which is one reason the Irish started planting them way back when.  Personally, I like a little garlic in mine, but that probably isn’t an Irish custom.

4. Do you associate jack-o-lanterns with autumn?  The first jack-o-lanterns were made in Ireland.  They weren’t carved from a pumpkin, though.  Can you guess what they were made from?  No, you’re wrong.  They were carved from turnips.

5. I can take pride in Irish dancers and musicians who put on such a nice show.  My husband carried me to a performance for our anniversary, and my feet never stopped tapping.

6. My ancestry might explain why I think education is so important.  Most Irish people see the value of an education.

7. The Irish have a rich mythology.  Everyone knows about the leprechaun and the pot of gold, but have you heard of the far darrig?  This is a mischievous elf who has red hair, a red nose, and a red cap and coat.  He lives on someone’s hearth and steals a smoke from filled pipes.  He enjoys playing jokes on disobedient children.  What about the banshee?  Have you heard about her?  The banshee is a scary fairy woman with a loud voice.  Her appearance means that someone is going to die.  The banshee also rode beside ancient Irish warriors shrieking to encourage them to fight harder.

8. The Irish have a respect for history that might explain why I became a history teacher.

9. Some common American saying are Irish.  Two of my favorites are: "Make hay while the sun shines." and "A man's work is from sun to sun but a woman's work is never done."  Don’t we say that a bride should have something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue?  That’s an Irish custom.

10. "Cead Mile Failte."  That means 100,000 welcomes.  The Irish are known for friendliness which is a trait I hope I have.

All in all, I’d have to say that I like being Irish.  What about you?  Do you know where your ancestors came from?  Are you proud of it?

A Note from the Book Boost:  I love Irish and I'm from Scotch-Irish as are many folks in the deep south.  I also spent my honeymoon in Ireland and loved every second of it!  Thanks for joining us today.  Please tell us more about your latest.


Liesel Wolf has a secret, a dangerous secret she’ll go to any lengths to conceal.  When she’s paired in a charity game with sexy marshal Andy Bryce, a man with secrets of his own, her carefully constructed world comes crashing down, and Liesel’s on a collision course with her past.


Forty-five minutes later, they exited the woods near the bridge that crossed the little creek. Liesel fearfully scanned the inviting, family-centered area. “I don’t see anyone.”

“Two o’clock. Men in khaki.” Andy came to a halt and jerked her against him. “Kiss me like you mean it.”

Liesel didn’t mind if she did. Hopefully the khaki men would never imagine that two lovers out for a stroll had only moments before been running for their very lives. She prayed the men didn’t get too good a look at them. Throwing her arms around him, she pressed her body against his.

She wouldn’t have admitted to it for anything, but in spite of the danger, she felt a thrill from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet. Nobody could kiss like Andy Bryce!

Andy took her hand, and they strolled casually across the bridge as if they’d been on a leisurely little walk. He kissed her again before they got into the Mustang. The minute they got in, he put the car in gear and slowly made his way out of the park.

“Now, Liesel,” he said. “Why don’t you tell me why those men are trying to kill you?”

Want More Elaine?

Visit her on the web here:

Pick up a copy of her book today!  Click here.

Contest Time:

Everyone who leaves a question or comment for any of our authors this month will be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize pack from the Book Boost!  Pack includes:

  • Falsify by Kerri Nelson
  • Your choice of books from author Liz Botts 
  • Saint Sloan by Kelly Martin
  • Never Trust A Pretty Wolf by Elaine Cantrell
  • PLUS much more! 
One entry for every comment.  Visit often.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Buy the World A Coke With Astraea Press Author: Brenda Maxfield

Welcome author Brenda Maxfield 
today to the Book Boost!

**All month long at the Book Boost we're featuring my fellow Astraea Press authors. Come back each day for more and be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize Pack (see below for details)!**

Coke in the Wilds

No indoor plumbing. No electricity. No supermarkets. No running water. But right there in front of you shines a massive billboard boasting Coke in all its glory.

I’ve experienced this more than once overseas.

The rest of the sign is often undecipherable — I never did learn to read Thai or Burmese or Lingala. But the traditional packaging logo and the letters C – O – K – E are readable everywhere in the world. A caveat here: This is not to say there is no indoor plumbing or electricity or supermarkets or running water in Thailand, Myanmar and The Congo. Of course there is! But I have been out in the boonies there where the only evidence of “modern” life has been a sign announcing Coke.

Although come to think of it, since Coke was introduced in 1886, I don’t think we can consider this world-wide elixir a symbol of “modern” life anymore.

This March, Coke is more than a hundred years old – 127 years to be exact. I was pondering that piece of trivia when I began to wonder what drink the characters in my new release would prefer. As a writer, I’ve given my characters likes and dislikes, fears and favorites, hair styles and body shapes, but I’ve never once delegated specific drinks to them.  Hmmm, this could be fun.

I’ll begin with Emili Jones, the protagonist in The Lance Temptation. Until her better judgment went down the toilet, she was a steady, consistent predictable girl. Like Coke, she had staying power. No surprises. Not too many risks taken. Maybe she would be a Coke girl.

Then there’s Farah, the gal who will do anything to get her way. She knows how to flirt and connive until she gets any desired end result she wants. Farah is never above using her wiles to get there, either. Somehow, Coke seems much too tame. Farah would choose something with more fire, maybe one of those super-charged sports drinks.

Marc Rounder is an all-around nice guy. He plays basketball. He’s a good student, conscientious, and loyal. He was Emili’s catch. (Again, until her better judgment went down the toilet.) Marc would be the guy ordering a tall glass of orange juice. Without ice.

Then there’s Lance. Lance comes on pretty strong, so no tame drinks for him. He swaggers around making sure everyone notices his muscular physique. He winks and smiles and magnetizes every girl within a two-mile radius. Being the hot guy on campus, I’m thinking he might go for a Red Bull. Or perhaps a Mountain Dew? Anything with a major kick.

After considering my four characters, I became curious about whether there were any articles on what choices of drink say about a person. I found a snappy article which made me smile. You might enjoy reading what it had to say:  click here to read.

What is your drink of preference? What do you think it says about you? If you’re a writer, what do your characters drink?

Me? I prefer dark chocolate almond milk. Delicious. A bit quirky. Smooth. Spendy.

Hmmm… now what does that say about me?

A Note from the Book Boost:  Well, as a Pepsi girl myself...I smile when I read your blog about Coke.  Hubby is a Coke guy and we jest about it all the time.  What it says about me?  I need the caffeine to stay up and write and I'm not a coffee drinker. :-)  Second fave drink?  Sweet Southern Iced Tea (well, that's cause I'm a southern belle, of course).  Thanks for joining us and please tell us more about your latest.


Sophomore Emili Jones has had it with being a boring, straight-A student. Itching for excitement, she sees plenty of it in classmate Farah Menin’s life of frequent dates and edgy adventure. Hoping the popularity will rub off, Emili latches onto Farah and manipulates herself into best friend status. The connection helps her land the hot new guy, Lance Jankins, but there’s a catch. Now a pawn in Farah’s dating games, Emili is on a crash course to betrayal. Will she realize it in time to save herself?


Farah carried her tray with its plate of green beans as if it were the royal jewels. She sashayed toward our regular table in the corner of the cafeteria, her hips lightly brushing the backs of the entire high school football team who’d already grabbed the table in the nearest the food. The catcalls began immediately.

“Hot stuff,” one player yelled, and then whistled.

With practiced innocence, Farah paused, and turned to face the guys. She rolled her green eyes and shook her head, feigning annoyance. A smile played on her lips. Then she fluttered her thick lashes and continued on, skirting her way to our table in the back.

Oh yeah, she’s a master at everything I’m not. All Farah has to do is show up and the boys follow, frolicking like puppies around a bone. So, shameful as it sounds—I made it my business to become her friend, even if it meant dropping everyone in my tight circle. I was done being the boring, straight A girl. I wanted the hot guys to drool around me for once, and I figured the connection couldn’t hurt.

Watch and learn, Farah had said. Right.

I stood with my tuna sandwich stuffed inside my crumpled lunch sack, sighed heavily and followed her, trying not to let my shoes clack out my progress. Nobody’s eyes followed my every move.

Well, there’s a surprise.

I slid onto the bench across from her. It was Monday—the only day Farah’s halfway civilized because she’s tired from the weekend—and we were eating lunch together as usual.

Farah opened her milk carton, and took a drink. She tipped her head, letting her thick red hair cascade down her back. The loose curls nearly touched her waist. Farah’s well aware how flat-out gorgeous she is, and she quickly glanced around to see who might be watching. 

The table of girls to the side of us stared at her. When they spotted me looking at them, they huddled together in one big gossip head. Farah saw them laughing, pointing, and whispering. Her expression hardened. “What a bunch of wannabe’s.”

“They’re jealous,” I said.

Farah leaned across the end of our table toward them. “Talk about me all you want, you sad groupies.”

Their heads jerked apart and each one of them glared at her. Farah scowled, and then turned her attention back to me.

I heard a yelp behind me, and someone hollered, “You’re disgusting!” A burst of raucous laughter filled the air. I could see Farah watching the whole scene over my shoulder. Wide-eyed, she jumped from her seat and flew to a table of freshmen girls. I swirled around to observe. Farah lunged across their strewn trays and stuck her face against a shocked girl’s nose. “Leave her alone! Do it again, and you’ll deal with me.” 

Her harsh voice echoed across the cafeteria. The freshmen girls were shocked into silence, but their lips fairly curled into snarls.

A choked sniffle came from a girl cowering at the end of the table. Macaroni was splattered all over her uniform. Farah stood up to her full height, her cheeks blotched red. She regarded the sniveling girl. “You okay?”

There was no answer.

“Want help cleaning up?”

The girl shook her head, picked up a napkin, and started wiping at her shirt.

Farah squared her shoulders and returned to our table. I stared at her. “What was that?”

“Bullies. I hate them. And where are the lunch monitors, anyway?” She picked up her fork and took a bite of green beans.

“You know, sometimes you’re actually nice.”

Farah grimaced. “Don’t let it get around."

I laughed and picked up my sandwich. Right then a tender feeling of protectiveness toward Farah washed over me.

And that’s when he descended upon our table. The New Guy. The one I’d secretly been panting after since he transferred to our school two weeks earlier.

Want More Brenda?

Visit her on the web here:

Pick up a copy of her book today!  Click here.

Contest Time:

Everyone who leaves a question or comment for any of our authors this month will be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize pack from the Book Boost!  Pack includes:
  • Falsify by Kerri Nelson
  • Your choice of books from author Liz Botts 
  • Saint Sloan by Kelly Martin
  • PLUS much more! 
One entry for every comment.  Visit often.

Monday, March 11, 2013

I'm A Believer with Astraea Press Author: Tanya Eavenson

Meet author Tanya Eavenson
today at the Book Boost!

**All month long at the Book Boost we're featuring my fellow Astraea Press authors. Come back each day for more and be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize Pack (see below for details)!**

Never Stop Believing Because Your Life is a Story.
I’m a writer.

It took me longer than most to say those three little words or even to believe it was true.

I found myself four years ago sitting at a desk, typing away at the keys with a story in my head that needed to get out. And the kicker—I never wanted to write. Never cared to write, yet there I was with a burden to share a story I had no idea where it was heading.

As time passed, I believed I was closer to reaching my personal goals, but every time I thought I learned something, I discovered there was more to understand. Learning comes in layers, peeling away what was there to find something exciting, sometimes difficult, yet new.

I began entering contests, guest blogging, attending conferences, starting blogs, and writing for an organization. I laugh now because the more I learn, the more I realize there is still so much to learn. However, I’m still typing away, sharing the stories that are on my heart.

I’ve also recognized the story I’m writing isn’t the story I set out to write. It has to do with this journey I’m on to publication. How I encourage people to never give up. Or how, writing takes faith. That’s the real story. My life is my story.

Are you just starting off in your writing journey? Some people would call that newbie green, or are you a hunter green; enriched with more strokes from rejection, persistence, and a belief in yourself you can do it. If you are a writer, you will continually be molded causing you to learn and grow. And the blessings that comes from never giving up on yourself, whether you’re published or not, it’s finding who you are. The greatest story will come from your journey, so write it.

Never stop believing because your life is a story.

A Note from the Book Boost:  I like how you relate writing experience in terms of the color green.  I'm definitely in the hunter green category but have a real fondness for newbie "greeners" out there.  Thanks for sharing and please tell us more about your latest.


He will fight for her at any cost...

Elizabeth Roberts can't remember her past, and the present is too painful. She turns to nightclubs and drinking to forget her infant daughter's death, her husband's affair.

When his wife's coma wiped out the memory of their marriage, Chris Roberts found comfort elsewhere. He can't erase his betrayal, but with God's help he’s determined to fight for Elizabeth at any cost.

She wants to forget. He wants to save his marriage. Can they trust God with their future and find a love that’s unconditional?


Elizabeth pushed herself up from the bed. Her gaze swept the dark room and fixed on the hall nightlight. Her hand grazed over her husband’s shoulder when a thought gripped her. Katherine. The baby monitor stood silent. Darkness shrouded the red and green lights that indicated movement.

Her chest tightened. She hurled the covers away and leapt to the floor. Panic made her clumsy as she rushed to her daughter’s room. She lunged over the crib. No sound. No movement. Not even a stirring of air from her tiny nostrils.

“Katherine!” Elizabeth snatched her daughter from the mattress. The infant drew a heavy breath as her eyes flung wide open.

Lord, what’s happening?

Elizabeth’s bare feet pounded the cold tile as she ran back to her husband. “Chris, wake up! Katherine quit breathing again!”

Chris rubbed his eyes and scowled. “What is it?”

“We need to take Katherine to the hospital. She stopped breathing.”

He studied their child. “She seems to be breathing now. Are you sure?”

“Of course, I’m sure.”

“She’s fine.” Chris fell back against the pillow.


“We don’t have the money to take her to the hospital when there’s nothing wrong with her.”

“But there is. She stopped breathing.”

He sat back up. “You’ve been worried about her since before she was born. You’re all worked up because she hasn’t rolled over yet. The doctor said that’s normal for being early.”

She’s called a preemie. She glared into his eyes. “If you were home more often you’d know she’s not fine.”

“I’m home, Elizabeth, and she’s fine.”

Heat flushed her cheeks as tears filled her eyes. “I’m scared. Can’t you see that? I need you to pray for our daughter. I need you to hold me and tell me everything will be all right.”

“Look, she’s sleeping.” His voice softened as his hand ran down her thigh. “Come to bed.”

“How can you care so little? I’m worried about our baby.”

Chris’s hand dropped to the sheets. “Shut the door when you leave.” He turned away from her.

Elizabeth stood for a moment unable to speak. With their baby in her arms, she slowly closed the door behind her and sank her teeth into her lip to keep from crying. If tears came, it would be for her daughter, not for the stranger in her bed.


Want more Tanya?

Visit her on the web here:
Pick up a copy of her book today!  Click here.

 Contest Time:

Everyone who leaves a question or comment for any of our authors this month will be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize pack from the Book Boost!  Pack includes:

  • Falsify by Kerri Nelson
  • Your choice of books from author Liz Botts 
  • Saint Sloan by Kelly Martin
  • PLUS much more! 
One entry for every comment.  Visit often.