Thursday, October 21, 2021

Book tour: Mystery at Camp Esther by Phyllis Cherry


Mystery at Camp Esther

White Feathers Academy Book 2

by Phyllis Cherry

Genre: Middle-Grade, YA Fantasy 


Halo’s life changed the day she flew up to study with the angel academy. Now she has wings of her own, and so does Midas, the big golden dog and her best friend. They are ready for their first real mission--a dangerous one that could cost them everything.

Arriving at Camp Esther, Halo and Midas become the target of a killer after helping an injured man. But they are determined to fulfill their mission, even if they are not sure what it is.  Could it be helping Marie, a lonely teenager confined to a wheelchair?

Marie’s dreams often come true and foreshadow the danger surrounding Halo and Midas. Things are further complicated when Halo questions the sincerity of Marie’s new crush. Could he be the person who hurt Midas? Halo doesn’t know who to trust.

At the camp, accidents, sabotage, and death threats happen, and everything points to the new girl and her dog. Someone wants them to fail their mission and will kill to get rid of Halo and Midas. Will they survive return to White Feathers Academy as failures, or will this mission cost them their lives?


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White Feathers Academy

White Feathers Academy Book 1


WHAT IF - Somewhere in the galaxy there is a school taught by angels?
WHAT IF – A young person with no special talent finds the one perfect gift?
WHAT IF – Youngsters who failed to survive their first life are given a new life?
WHAT IF – One evil young girl threatens talented students with her greed?

Halo Havens didn’t know that angels had special talents and different jobs.

She’d never met an android, talked to a giant fish or met an angel.

Her life changed the day she skated in front of a car trying to rescue a puppy and was transported to the fantastic world of White Feathers Academy. There she makes new friends, accepts the challenge of a seemingly hopeless job and embarks on the greatest adventure of her new young life, if she can survive the tests.


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Peek between the pages

“Are you a ghost?” she whispered with a wicked smile.

“Are you kidding? I am standing here in front of you, talking to you. Do ghosts follow you around?” Our conversation was getting out of hand.

She lowered her voice as if hoping no one was around to hear. “Because I see ghosts sometimes. They have a light around them, and you have a light around you, and so does Midas. Sometimes I see things before they happen.” She stopped talking long enough to look directly into my eyes. “You don’t believe me. I bet you think I’m silly, don’t you? Well, don’t worry. You don’t have to be my friend.” She turned her chair to roll away.

“Marie, I would like to be your friend. I don’t have friends my age, either, but listen to me, you cannot go around starting rumors about ghosts if you want to make friends.” She looked so unhappy, I felt mean all over again, but she needed to know it was bad to start rumors about other people.

Phyllis Cherry loves to write about her imaginary friends who remind her to tell their stories. She likes to paint watercolor pictures, participate in Bible Studies, and has studied culinary arts and winemaking both in America and abroad.

Phyllis and her husband live on the west coast of Florida where they enjoy the beautiful sunsets and watching the moon rise above the bay.

Phyllis is a member of Florida West Coast Writers, Florida Star Fiction Writers, SCBWI and Florida Writers Association.


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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Chatting with Donna Beasley, children's book author

I'm delighted to welcome fellow SCBWI author Donna Beasley to my blog. Her latest book My Mama is Flying that Plane is now available, but before we learn more about this delightful book, let's meet Donna. 

What inspired you to write this book?

I was inspired by an article I read about the contributions of African Americans in the early days of aviation as pilots, parachutist, and an airplane manufacturer. In my book, I tell the fictional story of a Black woman who wants to be a pilot in the early days of aviation. She goes for it when she gets the chance with the support of her two daughters. It takes grit, sacrifice, and courage to reach her dream. You’ll also meet some of the aviators that barnstormed in airshows and inspired my story. The beautiful illustrations by Edwin Harris Jr, really bring the story to life.

What are you working on now?

I am currently revising my middle-grade adventure novel. To prove his worth through his family’s rite of passage challenge, a twelve-year-old Chicago boy races to find the legendary treasure of his ancestor in Timbuktu, while being pursued by both mercenary soldiers and Tuareg rebels for the treasure. I enjoyed writing the story and putting my young hero in plenty of danger, excitement, and challenges he had to overcome. Now however, I find the revising to be tougher because you have to break it down and look at every element, (character, plot, theme, dialog, world-building, pacing) to see what’s working, what’s not and figure out how to fix it. It will truly make for a better book, but I’m not having as much fun as I did when writing it.

What are you reading?

I am big fan of adventure novels. I usually read adult books, but this fall I am reading a lot of middle-grade adventure novels seeing how the pros handle it. It keeps me encouraged while I work through the revision phase of my story.

I have read some really good ones. If you have children ages 8 to 12, I highly recommend, Explorer Academy by Trudi Trueit. It is published by National Geographic so you know you’ll learn about science and the planet in these adventure stories. Another great middle-grade series is Defender of the Realm by Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler. They are both Emmy award-winning screenwriters so you know they can tell a great story.

The book that inspired me the most this year was Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. It really changed my perspective on sending my creative work out into the world from trepidation to joy.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about creating greater diversity in children’s books. I believe every child should people like themselves, their family, and their community in the pages of a book. When I started KaZoom Kids Books four years ago only 5% of children’s books featured a child of color. You could barely find a multicultural book on the shelves of bookstores. I decided to do something about it. I love being a publisher as much as I enjoy being a storyteller. Helping first-time authors and illustrators break into the field gives me a lot of joy.

We need more diverse writers to tell these stories. That’s why I encourage mothers and grandmothers to write children’s stories about their culture. To get them started I teach a course showing them how to write a multicultural children’s story they’ll love in 40 Days. And if they’re interested, I coach them to self-publish their work.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I play games like Words With Friends, Word Chums and way too much Candy Crush. Don’t judge me.

What is your favorite comfort food?

A hot cup of ginger peach tea and a slightly heated Madeleine petite cake is an ideal combo when I need to lift my spirit.

Donna's favorite quote:

“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”
― Toni Morrison

About the book

My Mama is Flying that Plane
Author: Donna Beasley
Genre: Children’s Book (ages 5 to 8)

Celebrating the little-known history of African-American aviation pioneers, this inspirational book, set in the early 1930s, shares the story of Janet and her older sister Bess.

The girls learn the meaning of courage and determination when their Mama loses her job but seizes the opportunity to chase her dreams of becoming a pilot.

Mama and the girls go through some tough times trying to make ends meet in their new home. But all their sacrifice is worth it when Mama finally gets to fly a plane in a first-of-its-kind Air Circus, giving Janet a huge surprise that makes her 9th birthday simply unforgettable.

About the author:

Donna Renee Beasley is the author of the children’s books Kason’s Kite, Blaze Barton’s First Cattle Drive, Mystery at Zig Zag Zoo and My Mama is Flying That Plane. Sparked by the monthly Dr. Seuss subscription that her mother used to teach her how to read at age 4, Donna has had a life-long love affair with books. Donna is passionate about creating diversity in children’s literature. She hopes her stories inspire a love of reading in children. Donna is also a writing coach encouraging mothers to write their first children’s book.

When she’s not working on her upcoming children’s adventure novel, you can find Donna hitting the ski slopes in winter, indulging her passion for photography or playing “way too much” Candy Crush on her phone.

Connect with Donna

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Merry Little Wishing Spritz now available for pre-order!

With all the excitement over the release of Friends to the End, I forget to let you know that my holiday paranormal romance MERRY LITTLE WISHING SPRITZ is on Goodreads and Bookbub. Plus, you can pre-order your copy so that it's delivered to your favorite eReader the day it comes out. 

What readers are saying...

Merry Little Wishing Spritz made me smile, grin, giggle and thoroughly entertained me. 
~ Long and Short Reviews

A perfect holiday romance that will make you laugh, smile, and perhaps even swoon. 
~Sydney Winward, author

A warm and enchanting holiday romance… Just perfect for curling up by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate, and maybe a cookie or two! 
~ Laura Strickland, author


Modern-day witch Cassie Moore’s cozy life turns upside down when her friend foresees the wrecking ball that threatens to destroy Cassie’s home and workplace. But Cassie isn’t giving up without a fight. She casts a well-intended spell meant to save her apartment and her job. But magic is unpredictable, especially when her friend casts a little charm of her own that has Cassie lusting after the man she desperately wants to despise.

Jack Quinn has had his eyes on Lakeside Books for years, and he couldn’t be happier the owner is finally ready to sell. He has big plans for the cozy waterfront property, but he didn’t expect to care about the store or its employees. And he never imagined he’d be drawn to a certain brown-eyed saleswoman.

As if by magic.

Pre-order your copy
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Have you read any of my books? Have a book recommendation for me? Good news of your own? I'd love to hear from you, so leave a comment!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Chatting with Songju Ma Daemic, author of Tu Youyou's Discovery: Finding a Cure for Malaria

Congrats to Songju Ma Daemick, award winning author, on her new release Tu Youyou's Discovery: Finding a Cure for Malaria. Songju is a Chinese American children's book writer. Her book, illustrated by Lin, is an own voice Women in STEM book. 

Please help me welcome Songju.

Songju, can you tell us what inspired you to write this book?

My inspiration to writing this book was from a TV show. In the beginning of 2019, I watched a BBC program called Icons: The Greatest Person of the 20thCentury. Tu Youyou, along with Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, and Alan Turing, were the four candidates in the scientist category. I was excited that Tu Youyou had been selected. I also realized that most Americans had never heard of her, even though Tu Youyou had saved millions of lives and had won the prestigious Nobel Prize. As a proud Chinese American, I had to share her remarkable journey.

Tell us about the research you did before writing this book?

There is very little material about Tu Youyou available in the US. Luckily, I can read Chinese and found a lot of Chinese books and material about Tu Youyou on the Chinese internet. During the process of researching the book, I was deeply touched by the personal sacrifices Tu Youyou had made for this project. She volunteered to be the first human tested with the extract of the sweet wormwood to prove it was safe before clinical trial. It was truly a selfless and brave deed. I wrote this incredible fact in my draft as I wanted to show how a courageous scientist she was. An editor suggested that talking about this personal medicine testing by Tu Youyou was not a good idea for young readers as it could be dangerous for them. So after doing research, it is crucial for a writer to choose just the right factual material to include in the manuscript.

Who is your favorite author?

Chris Van Allsburg is my favorite author and illustrator for his incredible children’s picture books. He is a master of plotting. His work is full of mystery and suspense. His illustrations are also so beautiful, detailed and original. I love all his books. Jumanji ; The Polar Express; The Mysteries of Harris Burdick; just to name a few.

For middle grade authors, my favorite is Lowry Lois. Her work is just phenomenal.

Giver is one of my favorite middle grade novels.

Where were you born/grew up?

I grew up in the small town of Jilin, China during the Cultural Revolution. At that time, China was a cultural desert. There wasn't a single library in our town. All Western and Chinese traditional arts and literature were considered without virtue and were forbidden. We had no TV, only radio, and occasionally, Russian movies. We had eight national Beijing opera shows, but that was it. Chinese people read Mao's little red books at school and in their workplaces. Workers in the factories and farmers in the village would vote to decide who would go to college. Reading was my escape. I not only read Mao's book and text books, but every single book I could get my hands on. I was fascinated by the beauty and power of a good story and appreciated good writing. I was a good writer when I was little girl. Every so often, my writing assignments were read to my class. I dreamed of being a writer when I grew up.

Peek between the pages and the beautiful illustrations

Tu Youyou was interested in science and medicine since she was a child. When malaria started infecting people all over the world in 1969, she went to work on finding a treatment. Trained as a medical researcher in college and healed by traditional medicine techniques when she was young, Tu Youyou experimented with natural Chinese remedies. The treatment she discovered, Artemisinin, saved millions of lives, earned her a Nobel Prize, and is still used all over the world today.

About the book

Tu Youyou's Discovery: Finding a Cure for Malaria
Author: Songju Ma Daemicke
Illustrator: Lin
Publisher : Albert Whitman &Co.
Targeted age(s) of reader: 4-8

A compelling introduction to a passionate and tenacious Chinese researcher – Kirkus Reviews

Tu Youyou had been interested in science and medicine since she was a child, so when malaria started infecting people all over the world in 1969, she went to work on finding a treatment. Trained as a medical researcher in college and healed by traditional medicine techniques when she was young, Tu Youyou experimented with natural Chinese remedies. The treatment she discovered, Artemisinin, saved millions of lives, earned her a Novel Prize, and is still used all over the world today.

Read it today!

About the author:
Songju Ma Daemicke, a former software engineer with Motorola, grew up in China and is an award-winning children’s book author. Her picture book Cao Chong Weighs an Elephant was a Best STEM book, the Winner of 2018 CALA Best Juvenile Literature. When she’s not writing, she loves attending to her flowers and vegetables in her garden and shooting her next special photograph. Songju lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and their daughters. She invites you to visit her at

Keep in touch with Songju
Website  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Facebook

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Chatting with C.B. Clark, author of Twisted Lies

I'm delighted to tell you about C.B. Clark's new book Twisted Lies and to share an excerpt. But first, she's agreed to answer a few speed-round questions. Shall we begin?

Favorite beverage? Red wine

Coffee or tea? Tea

Plotter or Pantster? Pantster

Dogs or cats? Dogs

Cake, cookies, or pie? Chocolate chip cookies

Favorite junk food? Poutine (I’m Canadian)

Favorite vacation? Jordan

Favorite book? Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel

Favorite season? Fall

Stilettos, flipflops, or sneakers? Sneakers

Now for more on her book. Enjoy!

Twisted Lies
by C.B.  Clark


Athena Cooper’s tragic past drives her to seek solace in a bottle. The addiction threatens her legal career, and she risks spiraling out of control. When her dog engineers a meeting with an all-too-handsome hunk, it’s lust at first sight…until she discovers his identity.

Businessman Russell Crawford is desperate to find the woman who cheated him out of his inheritance. His shock when she turns out to be the gorgeous red head he had a brief encounter with is only surpassed when she claims his father was a murderer.

Athena and Russ declare a truce and join forces to investigate the mystery of her parents’ disappearance from an isolated island off the rugged Northwest Coast of British Columbia. Russ promises to be her safe harbor as they uncover long-buried secrets that rock her very foundation. Can she overcome a lifelong distrust and open her heart to love?

Grab your copy!


How was it possible? After all these years? The past she’d been running from had found her. The nightmare was back. The envelope fell from her shaking hands. Her legs wobbled as she rose and stumbled out of the living room and down the short hall to the kitchen.

Afternoon sunlight streamed through the window above the sink. The cozy kitchen, with its walls painted a cheerful butter yellow, and the well-scrubbed laminate countertops, gleamed. The steady hum of the refrigerator and ticking of the antique clock on the wall were the only sounds in the silent house. The pungent smell of fried onions and roasted garlic from last night’s homemade spaghetti sauce hung in the air.

The efficient kitchen, with its breakfast nook and view of the tidy, fenced backyard and the rolling, grassy foothills and snow-crested Rocky Mountains beyond, was the reason she’d bought the small rancher. This was her favorite room—the place she sought refuge when life overwhelmed her. How many times had she sat there in the evenings after work, sipping a glass of chilled white wine, watching the birds at the feeder on the back porch, breathing in the sweet smells of flowering Saskatoon bushes, regrouping until she was ready to face the world?

These days, her drink of choice was a cup of herbal tea or unsweetened apple juice. Alcohol was off the table…had been for twenty-one unendurable days.

But today, all bets were off.

About the author:

Twisted Lies is award-winning author, C.B. Clark’s seventh novel published by The Wild Rose Press. When she’s not busy traveling around the globe or hiking and camping in the wilderness near her home in northern British Columbia, she can be found in front of her laptop plotting the next story.

Connect with C.B. Clark
Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Blog  |  Goodreads |  Instagram  |  Amazon  |  BookBub

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Trick or Treat Book Bonanza

Trick or Treat! 

‘Tis the month to celebrate all things paranormal, supernatural, suspenseful and mystical. If you’re like me, you’ll want to accept this very special invitation to join the festivities at N. N. Light’s Book Heaven’s 3rd annual Trick or Treat Book Bonanza. 27 authors share what they’d dress up as for Halloween as well as 32 books featured plus a chance to win one of the following:

One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon (US) gift card.

I’m thrilled to be a part of this event. My book, Damned When I Didn't, will be featured on October 29th. Wait until you read what my Halloween costume would be. You won’t want to miss it.

Bookmark this event and tell your friends:

Enter the giveaway


Thursday, September 30, 2021

Friends to the End Inspiration and Excerpts


I'm still celebrating the release of FRIENDS TO THE END. Today, I'm sharing a few new excerpts and the inspiration behind my brave protagonist.
The idea for the characters in this book came first. At the time, my sons had lost a few of their friends to various tragedies. Then there were nightly news stories about the senseless shootings of innocent people, some of the victims being children. Zachary Thompson was born from the idea of wanting to write a story that helped kids deal with loss, but I didn't want it to be an issues book. I wanted it to be a way to escape reality, even if just for a little while. The idea to tell Zach's story through a ghost story came later.

Friends to the End is a story about friendship, confronting one’s greatest fears, and finding the inner strength needed to face the unknown, which comes in handy when one fights ghosts. 

Peek between the pages:

One more peek between the pages...

My bewildered gaze slithered from Dom to Josh, finally coming to a stop on Morgan as I tried to decide if they were crazy.

“If the house is invisible, how do you expect to find it?” I asked.

Morgan sat on the stoop next to me. “It’s not always invisible. My brothers saw it once. They said it’s a big house with a long porch. It vanished before they could set foot on the first step, and I’m glad, too.”

“Why? What would have happened if they were on the steps?” I asked. Not because I believed an old ghost story had any truth to it, but I was curious to know what she’d say.

Morgan had to pick her jaw up from the walkway before she could answer, and when she did her voice came out in a high-pitched squeak. “If they had been on the porch or worse—” she swallowed loudly “—inside, they would have disappeared with it.”


Did I mention there's still time to enter the release celebration giveaway? 

Friends to the End
C.L. Colyer
Publication date: September 27th 2021
Genres: Action, Adventure, Middle-Grade, Supernatural

Zach doesn’t believe in ghosts…but he should.

Twelve-year-old Zach is convinced he’ll never be happy without his best friend Jeremy by his side. But both of their lives changed with a bang five months ago, and as far as Zach’s concerned, it’s his fault Jeremy will never see his twelfth birthday.

When Zach moves with his family to a Chicago suburb, he quickly becomes friends with a group of thrill-seeking kids trying to find a disappearing haunted house. But Zach’s not worried. He doesn’t believe in ghosts, so he follows them into a wild, dangerous encounter that becomes a battle to decide what’s real and what’s not.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Chatting with Jill Piscitello, author of Homemakers’ Christmas

I'm thrilled to have Jill Piscitello with me today. She has a sweet holiday romance available this holiday season, and I'm excited to learn more about Jill and Homemaker's Christmas. So without further ado.

Hi Jill! Thanks for being with us today. Can you tell us what are you working on now?

My novella, Tinsel and Tea Cakes, is in the final stage of editing. This novella will be included in the Christmas Cookies Series published by The Wild Rose Press. I’m also in the final stages of editing a cozy mystery manuscript.

How fun! I'm looking forward to hearing more about your WIP! What are you reading?

I’m currently reading One for the Money by Janet Evanovich. I love all things mystery and am thoroughly enjoying the first installment of this series.

What are you passionate about?

Literacy – At the moment, STEM is front and center. The value of a STEM curriculum is indisputable. However, literacy is the foundation of everything. Reading comprehension and the ability to communicate in writing impacts success in every other subject.

Now, for the speed round...

eBook, paperback, or audiobook? Dog-eared paperbacks

Favorite season? Colorful, Crisp Fall

Dogs or cats? Cats, Cats, Cats

Night on the town or cozy evening in? Cozy evening in

Favorite fictional world? Gilmore Girls Fall

Stilettos or flipflops or sneakers? Slippers

Cake, cookies, or pie? Chocolate chip cookies

Favorite junk food? Salt and vinegar chips

Favorite thing to do to relax? Nature walks

Beach or mountains? Beach

Thanks for being with us!!

Homemakers’ Christmas
Author: Jill Piscitello
Genre: Sweet Holiday Romance


A recent error in judgement has deposited Cricket Williams, her daughter, and a son spiking a high fever into a homeless shelter. A touch of Christmas magic is sprinkled upon her family when an eccentric volunteer invites them into her New England farmhouse. Blindsided with the proposition of a contractual living arrangement, Cricket is seized with renewed hope for her future.

Boris Glynn is in town visiting his grandmother but harbors a secret that will impact her life and the lives of his dearest friends. Complications arise when he is unable to restrain himself from pursuing his grandmother’s beautiful new neighbor.

As Cricket begins to succumb to Boris’s attention, her new world is shaken by a series of events that have the potential to destroy her plans for a fresh start.

Grab your copy!

About the author:

Jill Piscitello is a teacher, author, and an avid fan of multiple literary genres. Although she divides her reading hours among several books at a time, a lighthearted story offering an escape from the real world can always be found on her nightstand.

A native of New England, Jill lives with her family and three well-loved cats. When not planning lessons or reading and writing, she can be found spending time with her family, trying out new restaurants, traveling, and going on light hikes.

Connect with Jill: Website ~ Twitter  ~ Facebook  Instagram