Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tweens Rise to the Occasion


For the last six years, a group of authors I work with have held a writing conference for teenagers (ages 13 to 19) called Teen Author Boot Camp.  It is a daylong event and often we have people ask us how we dare spend 8 hours with a bunch of crazy teenagers. Yet we have never had a problem (and we’ve had as many as 750 teens at TABC). I fact, I’ve met teens  who I consider genuine friends and fellow authors.

This year, I felt the desire to put on a writing conference just for tweens (ages 9 to 12). I had a couple of people tell me I was absolutely insane—what with all of the ADHD, bullying, lack of respect, and such. After some of the feedback, I started to worry a bit as well.  

Last night we held the first ever Tween Author Boot Camp. Almost 250 kids came to a conference for nearly five hours to learn how to write better. And guess what? They sat in their chairs. They listened. They took notes. They asked a very intelligent questions, and they gave brilliant answers.

I was impressed!

The kids did just as well as the teenagers in paying attention. The authors who taught were lively, and the classes lasted only 25 minutes instead of 40. The evening went by quickly.

Granted, the “Lost and Found” was HUGE, but other than the tweens were outstanding students. With all that goes on in America and in the school system and in society, we tend to think that kids are headed on a downhill spiral. In reality, we have some amazingly intelligent young people in our society.

Kudos to these parents who are raising such bright young minds. My favorite part of the evening came during teaching my class called “idea invention.” I showed the kids a picture of a man in a kayak with the darkened image of a large shark looming in the water about 20 feet away. I then asked the kids to pose a question using "what if?" The kids came up with a lot of great “what if” questions:

What if the shark eats the man?
What if the man survives the shark attack?
What if the shark is the man's best friend?

But the one I loved the most, the one that I thought a New York Times best-selling author could easily write a book about, was the answer from a 10-year-old kid who said, "What if the image of the shark is really just the man's shadow?"


Wow! Doesn't that sound like an intriguing novel?
Monday, February 1, 2016

10-year-old author of Choose Your Own Adventure Story

Today I’m part of a special blog event hosted by T. Man, a 10-year-old author and homeschooler. When T. Man was only 8, he partnered with his older brother, M. Man, on a special homeschool writing project that resulted in their first published book, Tony the Phony and Cursed Mansion. This year, T. Man went solo and just finished the second book in the series, Tony the Phony and the Northern Woods. Written in the engaging style of a Choose Your Own Adventure™, each book is available for .99 on Amazon.


But today T. Man has chosen to share his new book with his readers in its entirety in a special interactive virtual event. Seven different bloggers are hosting sections of the story. The fun begins on T. Man’s blog. At the end of each page YOU have to decide how the story will go. Each choice will lead you to a new blog. You have the possibility of landing on any of four endings. Of course, when you finish you can always go back to the beginning and start again. Choose wisely!
Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Andy Smithson, Book 5 -- New Release

Four years ago, Andy Smithson discovered he is the Chosen one to break a 500-yr-old curse plaguing the land of Oomaldee when he unexpectedly and mysteriously found himself there. To do so, he must collect ingredients for a magical potion. Thus far he has gathered the scale of a red dragon, venom from a giant serpent, a unicorn’s horn, and the tail feather of a phoenix. Now he must ask a griffin for one of its talons. There’s just one problem…humans have poached griffin treasure, causing these mythical creatures to attack on sight.

Complicating matters, the evil Abaddon, sovereign of Oomaldee’s northern neighbor, is turning more and more citizens into zolt in his ongoing campaign of terror as he sets in motion the final steps of his plan to conquer the land. Things really start to heat up in book five!

If you loved Harry Potter, you’ll love the Andy Smithson series chalk full of mythical creatures, newly invented animals like zolt, herewolves, and therewolves, a complex plot with evolving characters, and positive themes including responsibility, diligence, dignity, friendship and more.

Purchase Kindle and Paperback


THE BUZZ
5 Stars! - “A marvelous book in a great series!” – Erik Weibel (Age 14) This Kid Reviews Books Blog
“Readers of this series have come to anticipate a host of challenges, intense battles, and on an epic scale. In Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, you won’t be disappointed. For lovers of fantasy, I consider it a must read.” – Richard Weatherly, Author
“One of the admirable qualities I like about the entire series is seeing Andy’s growth from a self-absorbed kid to a more thoughtful teen as he learns how to deal with the various crises which face him, all the while knowing that the future may hold unpleasant consequences.  The watchword for Vision of the Griffin's Heart is “courage.” – Wayne Walker, Home School Book Review

OTHER BOOKS IN THE ANDY SMITHSON SERIES:


Blast of the Dragon’s Fury (Andy Smithson, Book One) ebook is
FREE. Download a copy at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Google, B&N.
Listen to the FREE podcast of Book 1 by L. R. W. Lee on Podiobooks.
Book one is also available in paperback.


Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning (Andy Smithson, Book Two) is available in 
Kindle and Paperback.
Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon
It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook first…Savings of $16!


Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor (Andy Smithson, Book Three) is available in Kindle and Paperback.


Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace (Andy Smithson, Book Four) is available in
Kindle and Paperback.


Power of the Heir’s Passion (Andy Smithson, Prequel Novella) ebook is FREE. Pick up a copy at Amazon, Google, B&N, Smashwords. It’s also available in paperback.
Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon
It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook for $.99 first…Savings of $1!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
  
L. R. W. Lee credits her love of fantasy with her introduction to C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. Later on, she enjoyed the complex world of Middle Earth brought to life by J. R. R. Tolkien in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The multiple dimensions of the worlds mixed with a layer of meaning, captivated her and made her desire to invent Young Adult Fantasy and Epic Fantasy worlds others could get lost in, but also take meaning away from. More recently, L. R. W. Lee has found inspiration from J. K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series as well as Brandon Mull and his best selling Fablehaven, Beyonders and Five Kingdoms series.

L. R. W. Lee writes to teach her readers principles that can transform their lives – overcoming frustration, impatience, fear and more. She also shows why responsibility, diligence and dignity are the keys to true success in life. She lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband. Their daughter is a Computer Engineer for Microsoft and their son serves in the Air Force.



L.R.W. LEE INTERVIEW
1.  How did you come up with your main character, Andy Smithson?  Did he just pop into your imagination or did you specifically develop him?
Andy is patterned after my son. After our first child who was what I would call compliant and seemed to need little to no correction, our son arrived on the scene. As with most 2nd children, he was polar opposite and provided much fodder for an engaging main character.
2.  How did your experience with building a business help with your writing?
It has been invaluable for I understand that writing is only 50% of the writer’s success equation. Unlike Field of Dreams, with so many good books available today, just launching it, even on a well trafficked platform like Amazon, does not get recognition. Because of my corporate background, from day one I began working to build a platform – Twitter and Facebook primarily and now also Book Nerd Paradise. As well, I understand the importance of the author community, for no author can succeed these days without the support of fellow authors. My background has also helped in understanding the need to optimize my books to rank well on the variety of sites they are listed on. There’s much more, but those are the biggest helps I would say.
3.  Was there any particular book or author whom you feel had the most influence on your work?
I have to say JK Rowling. The imagination she revealed, the strength of her characters, the world building, the depth of plot over multiple books…she definitely shaped how I think about writing.
4.  What do you love the most about writing for young people?
Young people are moldable. My passion for writing is to share with readers principles that from my experience can help them live more peaceful lives. A few of these principles include overcoming fear, frustration and impatience as well as understanding that true success in life is not from riches, fame or power, but rather responsibility, diligence and dignity. If they can finish any of my books closer to understanding these principles, I feel very fulfilled.
5.  Which part of the creative process is your favorite?  Least favorite?
Designing the story arc is my favorite part of the creative process for you can take a story anywhere your imagination can go. My least favorite part is editing/revising. Even though I know the narrative gets much stronger as a result, it’s still my least favorite part.
6.  How long does it usually take you to write one of your stories from when you get the idea to when it’s finished?
Usually about 6 months.
7.  I know that most authors love all their characters but which of your many “children” is your favorite (besides Andy) and why?
I have to say Mermin, the kindly old wizard who speaks with a lisp. I love him most after Andy because he’s so warm, humble and approachable. He’s fallible and he knows it, which is why he doesn’t apologize for his mistakes, rather he is comfortable in his own skin.
8.  Do you ever plan to branch out into other genres besides middle grade/young adult fantasy?
Funny you should ask. Yes, I’m actually noodling with a story arc of a YA Sci Fi story.
9.  How do you feel your writing has evolved since your first novel?
I can see how much I’ve changed and improved in showing rather than telling my readers what’s happening. I want them to engage and to show – providing sight, sounds, touch, smell, and taste cues is a big part of that. I was particularly thrilled when my editor came back a full week sooner than expected with this current book because I had improved so much between book three and four. My pocketbook also appreciated that J


THE DEPTH OF THE ANDY SMITHSON SERIES
If you’re an adult looking for a clean series you can sink your teeth into, Andy Smithson is definitely it! In it I develop four layers simultaneously: 1) Andy Smithson in Lakehills, TX 2) Andy in Oomaldee 3) the Afterlife 4) a meaning layer. A few examples to demonstrate the depth…
Symbolism is used extensively (a couple examples):
·         The fog of the curse symbolizes blindness and oppression.
·         The magic key unlocks doors, brings stone statues to life, as well as revives. Put another way, it symbolizes bringing forth, opening up, and revealing (aka taking responsibility).
·         Methuselah is not only a weapon and helper, but also represents justice as it divides good and evil. Consistent with life, justice requires diligence to uphold.

Names are also important in this series (a few examples):
·         Andy means brave or courageous.
·         Alden means helper.
·         Hannah means favor or grace.
·         Imogenia means blameless.

Alchemy used throughout the series (a few examples):
·         Alchemy played a significant role in the development of modern science. Alchemists sought to transform base metals into the gold or silver and/or develop an elixir of life which would confer youth and longevity and even immortality.
·         In the series, the first instance of alchemy begins with the gold weavers, Max, Oscar, and Henry, spinning straw into gold to manufacture the wealth of the kingdom.
·         The four elementals: air, earth, fire, and water are then seen on Methuselah’s hilt.

The titles of the books manifest yet another layer of meaning and reveal Imogenia’s evolution.
·         Beginning with Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, Imogenia is furious at what has happened to her and she fuels her emotional hurt.
·         In Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Imogenia turns venomous (or spiteful) and cunning in seeking ways to continually punish her brother.
·         Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor has Imogenia act in a manner disgraceful to the honor of royalty.
·         In Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace we see Imogenia’s grace reborn as she begins to reflect.

·         In Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Imogenia realizes she is gripped by hatred and distrust she has harbored for so long. Unlike griffins who choose to trust others, Imogenia cannot yet make that leap when it comes to her brother.
Monday, January 4, 2016

Fill up your tween's Kindle fire with GREAT books at fabulous prices.

I'm excited about this promotion because it's geared to one of my favorite audiences: middle-grade readers! I read online that the very reasonably priced "Kindle Fire" was one of the most popular gifts this Christmas for kids 9 -12. (I know I got my child one.) This is a chance to fill up that Kindle with great books no more than 99 cents each. (Many are even free!) One of the books I wrote is part of the promotion as well. I wrote Dumpsters and Dinosaurs because I love to write books that entertain kids but *sneakily* teach them science at the same time. (I'm a bit of a science nerd at heart.)

The Multi-Author Middle-Grade Book Promotion starts January 4, 2016 and ends January 7, 2016.


From $5.99 to FREE
Kindle Nook  * iTunes

All Jacob wants is to make the basketball team. All the Lorkon want is to control the magical powers Jacob doesn't know he possesses.
From $2.99 to $0.99
Kindle

Twelve-year-old Steven never wondered where the Loch Ness monster or Big Foot came from until he found a stone box with a dangerous secret--one people are willing to kill for!
From $2.99 to $0.99
Kindle * Nook * Kobo

More than anything, Benjamin Ravenspell wants a pet, but when he buys a mouse named Amber, he gets more than he bargained for.

From $0.99 to FREE
Kindle * Nook * Kobo * iTunes

Cassandra's ordinary life is riddled with hilarious and sometimes heart-breaking mishaps as she guides herself through the world of pre-teens on the brink of adulthood.
From $2.99 to FREE
Kindle * Nook * Kobo

Part Neanderthal, but raised as a human, Arken Freeth finds that he doesn't fit in either world as he struggles to survive.
From $3.99 to $0.99
Kindle * Nook * Kobo

An eleven-year-old girl discovers she has the power to grant any living thing its one true wish.

From $3.99 to FREE
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When a malnourished horse shows up as a rescue at the farm where she volunteers, Jacinda, a bullied girl, takes it on as a project horse, and the mare's sweet nature inspires her to spread kindness around to make a positive difference in the world.
From $0.99 to FREE
Kindle * Nook * Kobo

Jenni Kershaw and her eighth grade science class take a field trip they will never forget. Dragons and goblins and spirits, oh my!
From $2.99 to $0.99
Kindle * Nook * Kobo * iTunes

When Colin suddenly learns he has magic, he discovers that Atlantis is real, and that his new mermaid friend, Alleya, is in trouble.
From $2.99 to $0.99
Kindle * Nook * Kobo * iTunes

Bed bugs, burglars, and a missing mother. For Doodle, it’s just part of a day’s work. A laugh-out-loud mystery for dog lovers of all ages.
From $2.99 to $0.99
Kindle * Nook * Kobo

To save her brother, the banshee Seven must save Atlantis.
From $1.99 to $0.99
Kindle

One girl with a nightmare to live through; one ghost with a dream to live. With so much to lose, can anything be gained?

From $3.49 to FREE
Kindle

Enter a world of myth and magic as young English boy Thomas Farrell seeks to discover the identity of his late father, and why he left him a strange glass orb containing a serpent...
From $2.99 to $0.99
Kindle

When eating dog kibble on a dare gives 10-year-old Tawny special powers, her life nearly goes to the dogs!
From $5.49 to $0.99
Kindle * Nook * Kobo

Twins Justin and Janine discover a mysterious egg ... can they protect the hatchling while lost in Montana's Absaroka wilderness?

$3.99 to $0.99
Kindle

Daniel doesn't think there's anything worse than spending a week at Camp Bigfoot . . . until he loses his prized possession: a pencil that brings his drawings to life.


From $4.99 to $0.99
Nook * Kobo

Laughing and Learning Little Life Lessons
From $3.99 to FREE
Kindle

When a blast from the past shows up and makes her BFF go nutburgers, Ginnie is torn between helping her friend and getting some very important questions answered.

From $3.99 to FREE
Kindle * Nook * Kobo

Harry Potter and The Hobbit rolled into one captivating and humorous epic fantasy series that will have kids begging for more.
From $0.99 to FREE
Kindle * Nook * Kobo

Winner of the Mom's Choice Award honoring excellence in media for children. Classic fantasy adventure - quirky, funny, sinister, and action-packed
From $3.99 to FREE
Kindle * Nook * Kobo * iTunes

To save his friends from a dystopian future Earth, Nikolas leads them to a fantastic Moon in the past. But what happens when the fantastic becomes fatal?

From $3.99 to FREE
Kindle * Nook * Kobo

Explore the magical history of Kendra Kandlestar's world in this collection of bonus tales from the Land of Een.
From $4.99 to FREE
Kindle * Nook * iTunes

DREAMS: Dorothy called it Oz, Alice called it Wonderland, but Nightmares call it HOME.
From $2.99 to $0.99
Kindle * Nook * Kobo * iTunes

What's worse than stumbling upon the dead body of the Cat Lady? Being accused of her murder. Sarah Cole and her friends take it upon themselves to catch the Cat Lady Killer.

From $2.99 to FREE
Kindle * Nook

When Turik finds a special egg his Grandfather is kidnapped and he must balance his power for good with the strength of the evil that wishes to consume him.
From $2.99 to $0.99
Kindle

Felicity, an ordinary sparrow learns that she can do extraordinary things!
From $3.99 to $0.99
Kindle * Nook * Kobo

When a group of crazed ninjas take over their school, the Smartboys fight back. And it all happens on a day when Monkey has the worst case of flatulence imaginable.

From $2.99 to $0.99
Kindle * Nook * Kobo

George, the magical basset hound, is on the trail of the mysterious ghosty haunting his Packmate, Tillie.
From $2.99 to $0.99
Kindle

The legend of the little red hen, as told by the acorn that smacked her in the head. NO ONE IS TOO SMALL TO CHANGE THE WORLD!
From $2.99 to FREE
Kindle

Carter's life changes when an old man entrusts him with a book of magical spells, one of which grants the power to raise people from the dead.

From $0.99 to FREE
Kindle

Ever wonder what it would be like to be pulled into your computer? Sarah is about to find out.
From $2.99 to FREE
Kindle Nook * Kobo * iTunes

It takes more than a school trip to change Christy's life. It takes murder.
From $2.99 to FREE
Kindle * Nook * Kobo * iTunes

When a savage pirate and a corrupt businessman join forces to steal the treasure for themselves, Christopher and his crew get caught up in pirate chases, time travel, and an underground network of spies!

From $0.99 to FREE
Kindle * Nook * Kobo * iTunes

Semi-autobiographical adventures from a 20th Century Northern California outdoorsman
From $2.99 to $0.99
Kindle * Nook * Kobo * iTunes

The future looks bleak unless eighteen-year-old Lance and his young New Camelot Earth Warriors can save the planet from catastrophic climate change.



Enjoy your new books! :-)
Monday, December 7, 2015

The absolutely most organized book catalog you'll ever find

emblazon Our new Emblazon catalog is here!

Do you have children between 9 and 14? Let us help you turn them into lifelong readers. The Emblazon authors have been hard at work this year adding to our fine collection of tween literature. We're nearing 100 titles! Now, just in time for the gift-giving season, they have been collected in one convenient location. Our winter catalog has a brand new look, with titles listed by genre, blurbs, Lexile scores, and live Amazon links. (Links to additional retailers can be found on the Emblazon website.) We've made shopping for your young reader so easy! Take a few moments to browse our great selection.

To view or download our catalog, please click the link below:

Winter 2015-2016

Merry Christmas! And thanks for browsing Emblazon books!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Soul in Ashes: Out of the Past by Sauna E. Black




When Shauna E. Black was a young teen, her English teacher made the mistake of offering extra credit for original short stories, and was suddenly swamped with Shauna’s writing. Dutifully reading each story (at least, she wrote encouraging things in the margins), this teacher inspired Shauna to follow her dreams, leaving her with a warm spot in her heart for all English teachers.
Today, Shauna still keeps a box in the attic full of early manuscripts, most written in pencil on lined paper. She lives in the high desert of the southwest with her husband and four children. On springtime hiking adventures to the many Ancestral Puebloan ruins near her home, she finds inspiration for her writing. She also likes to experiment in the kitchen, perform in local singing groups, and travel to exotic locations to collect wind chimes. Visit http://shaunablack.com for more information.


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"Soul in Ashes Series - As an exile studying the healing arts in a foreign land, Alswyn discovers ash magic that could destroy a delicate peace treaty and plunge the countryside back into war. Now she must reveal the truth of her sordid past, risking her new life as she uses forbidden knowledge to counter the ash magic and catch the sorcerer before her adopted homeland is destroyed.

Out of the Past: Episode 1 - Alswyn can no longer avoid the peace treaty delegation from her homeland when Lady Serrin, the king's foreign bride, falls prey to a mysterious illness, and Koen discovers a demon summoning circle in the castle's slim tower."

Get your copy of the book Today:

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 Ready for a Snippet!?!

“You have no choice.” Bridei pointed at the only boot visible under my robes. “That missing foot makes it certain she can’t work magic. Anyone else could betray you. Anyone!” She stared Talorc down, and it was as if my mother stood there in a familiar battle of wills with her king. “Even me.”
Talorc’s mouth worked, making his mustache twitch and quiver. “Alswyn.” He nearly choked on my name. “Your sister is right. We … need you.”
I lost all control of my temper. “Now you want my help? I tried to help you once before, old man! You didn’t believe then that I was on your side, so why should you believe it now?”
Talorc turned a bright red, his face a thundercloud. “You had no proof of your accusations, and you were a known servant of Dera.”
“I removed her mark so that I could warn you. I lost my leg, but I saved your kingdom, and your miserable life!”


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I'm a mom and author, among other things. I enjoy writing middle grade and young adult books.

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