Work in Progress (WIP) Blog Tour


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When I pulled up my email and saw that suspense writer Bianca Sloane had tagged me in the Work in Progress Blog Tour, I was so excited. Bianca’s books are full-out thrillers with her third getting closer and closer to publication. Check out her WIP blog post here.

Here are the rules: Provide the link back to the post by the person who nominated you (see above). Write a little about and give the first sentences of the first three chapters of your current WIP, then nominate four other writers to do the same.

Sounds fun. Here we go!

Title (currently under construction/will most likely change or hey, maybe not):


Beatrice Button’s life’s been turned upside down with the sudden death of her parents. She and her two younger brothers find themselves in foster care, struggling to put back the pieces. But when they discover that they have not one, but three aunts, who they’ve never heard of, much less met, things turn even more upside down … literally. The Toolie Aunts are travelers. Realm hoppers. In their flying machine they zip from world to world, exploring strange and bizarre places that could only exist in dreams and Beatrice, Thomas, and Theodore get to tag along. The Button children discover beauty and fun, excitement and thrills. But with every great adventure there is always a terrible danger slumbering in the shadows … and Beatrice wakes him up.

I got the idea for this one during the final stages of The Orphan and the Thief and the idea exploded with possibilities. Initially it was very silly and fun, brainstorming the children’s ridiculous adventures with the Toolie Aunts — the SETTINGS! — , but with a single vision of an empty room, a black tomb, and a glowing hand-print, my fun idea turned seriously terrifying and I had my ah-HA!

Chapter One

Beatrice woke fully and completely as if someone had doused her with water.

Chapter Two

The taxi was cold and cramped.

Chapter Three

The Toolie Aunts (as they liked to call themselves) embraced Beatrice, Thomas, and Theodore with the enthusiasm to rival a cheerleading squad.

I’m nominating the following four awesome writers to reveal their WIPs. Check out their blogs and books!

R.G. Dole:

Joseph Lallo:

Karen Dowdall:

Claudia White:


Surprise Giveaway :: The Tale of Mally Biddle


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I’m giving away one ebook (mobi or epub) of my second book, The Tale of Mally Biddle. Biddle’s been coloring up the blog recently with Book to Picture, so it is only fitting to end the month with a giveaway.

To enter: Comment with your dream castle. Is it tucked away in a misty forest, daring the wary traveler to enter? Is it perched upon the top of a mountain, sporting spine-tingling views? Does it have turrets and dungeons? Secret passages and angels? (Though not the weeping kind.) Or is it modest, just a few rose-colored rooms and a matching garden? Share with us what your castle would be! I’ll randomly draw a name from my magic hat.

Giveaway closes in SUNDAY: August 31st.

Open Worldwide.

Good luck!


The Tale of Mally Biddle book review

Book to Picture :: The Tale of Mally Biddle {3}


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Book to Picture is my project where I match an image to a scene in one of my books. I’m very excited to showcase the artist or photographer’s work as well as share some of my writing. I always link to the artist’s website or prominent social media page so you can discover more of their stunning work.

Book to Picture project

Art by Andrea Hubner of Quadratiges


THE TALE OF MALLY BIDDLE is on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Book to Picture :: The Tale of Mally Biddle {2}


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Book to Picture is my project where I match an image to a scene in one of my books. I’m very excited to showcase the artist or photographer’s work as well as share some of my writing. I always link to the artist’s website or prominent social media page so you can discover more of their stunning work.

mally biddle_booktopicture2

Art by David & Myrtille


THE TALE OF MALLY BIDDLE is on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Books on Parade ~ The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro


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books on paradeFeaturing books that have caught my eye — welcome to Books On Parade! If you are an author and would like your novel featured in Books On Parade, click here to find out how.

The Art Forger

The Art Forger

Almost twenty-five years after the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum—still the largest unsolved art theft in history—one of the stolen Degas paintings is delivered to the Boston studio of a young artist. Claire Roth has entered into a Faustian bargain with a powerful gallery owner by agreeing to forge the Degas in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But as she begins her work, she starts to suspect that this long-missing masterpiece—the very one that had been hanging at the Gardner for one hundred years—may itself be a forgery. The Art Forger is a thrilling novel about seeing—and not seeing—the secrets that lie beneath the canvas.


The Art Forger is the real thing.” —

“[A] highly entertaining literary thriller about fine art and foolish choices.” —Parade

“An intelligent, cleverly plotted page-turner.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune 



This or That with Lita Stump


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This or That Challenge for The Tale of Mally Biddle. I figured Lita would have the most fun with this sort of interview.

Character’s Point of View: Lita Stump

A bit of a bio: Lita is Mally’s best friend. She is 18 with sandy blonde hair that she keeps in a long braid down her back. She has worked in the castle for a year, is terrified of heights (so she always weasels out of dusting the chandeliers), loves to annoy the cook, and will steal sweets off platters when no one is looking. She dislikes using the servant passages as they are ‘dreary’. Lita is upbeat, prefers laughing over scowling and sunshine over rain.

Vanilla or chocolate?

Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate. Why would anyone not pick chocolate?

Edward or Jacob?

Who? Are they friends of yours? I suppose I’ll go with Jacob because I knew an Edward once. He once put slugs under my pillow. You don’t look very repulsed. What’s that? You have slugs too? How big are they? I’m asking because the ones around the marshes are as long as my finger. I know! He was a disgusting idiot. My aunt always said he liked me and that was why he did it. Stupid fool. I got back at him the first chance I could. Scorpion in his boot.

Hockey or soccer?

Dear Lenzar! What are those? Candy? I would love to try a hockey. Do you have one on you?

Ebook or paper?

Don’t you mean parchment?

Salty or sweet?

Sweet. I think I gave that away with the chocolate. Have you been to the Lone Candle? No! You must go! You can’t visit Bosc without stopping at the Lone Candle! They have this spectacular drink–oh, you’ll think you’ve died. It’s called almond toffee. Tell them you know me. They’ll give you a free glass. It’s the best dessert around, but don’t tell Archie I said that.

Beach or mountains?

I’ve always lived by the coast. I grew up near Bosc, actually, so I know all about fish head soup, but I’d love to see the mountains.

Dog or cat?

I’d love a dog, but servants aren’t allowed pets. Cats are just a little too opinionated, if you know what I mean.

Messy or neat?

I’m horribly messy! It must be from having to clean up after those knights all day. When it comes to me, I just don’t care!

Ninjas or pirates?

I’ve never met a ninja. They sound delightful! But I’ve heard of pirates. They always have their shirts unbuttoned, don’t they? And I hear that there’s so much hair. Who’s up for a sailing trip?

Book to Picture :: The Tale of Mally Biddle {1}


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Book to Picture is my project where I match an image to a scene in one of my books. I’m very excited to showcase the artist or photographer’s work as well as share some of my writing. I always link to the artist’s website or prominent social media page so you can discover more of their stunning work.

mally biddle_booktopicture1

Art by David & Myrtille


THE TALE OF MALLY BIDDLE is on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Melissa Reads :: Aesop’s Secret by Claudia White


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Aesope's SecretSynopsis:

Melinda and Felix Hutton are just an ordinary pair of siblings, until their parents confess that they have all inherited the talent of metamorphosis, a revelation that begins to unravel the children’s world. Ten-year-old Melinda embraces her Athenite heritage, but her efforts often end up leaving her freckled face attached to feathered body with a twitching rat’s tail. Her older brother Felix doesn’t greet this new reality as something to celebrate. Wishing he were normal, Felix resents becoming parts of the myths and fables he’s read. But there’s a threat rising just as the children are learning of their talents, and a powerful enemy will use every trick and tool he has to keep the family from letting slip the secret of their gifts. With only the help of Melinda’s pet rabbit Aesop, who has begun acting awfully strange lately, Felix and Melinda determinedly fight back against the suffocating grasp of those who want to drive the Huttons and their kind back underground.


Let’s take a moment to talk about the cover. Just look at it. Adorable, creepy, simplistic — it grabbed me right from the get go. (Though cover Melinda and book Melinda look a good bit different, it still hooked me.)

Now let’s talk about the story. Cute, charming and fun. I love it when writers give their characters unique, quirky names and White did fabulous here. Melinda, Felix, Aesop, Stumpworthy — White clearly thinks the same as me. If you’re going to name a character, make it fun! I loved Melinda’s awkward transformations. Showing up for breakfast with rabbit ears — wonderful.

My only wish was that there was more depth to the story. It’s a short one — just a little over 100 pages. Nothing wrong with that. There have been many a book I’ve read that needed a major trim, but Aesop’s Secret needed expansion. I wanted more details. I wanted a fuller experience. I wanted more dialog. I wanted to get inside the characters’ skin. The story moved so quickly that I felt I was more skating over the surface rather than diving deep. For instance, I expected Melinda to explore and experiment with transforming into animals. Think about it. If you were ten (or really, any age) and suddenly realized you could become ANY animal what would you do? Try out a lion? Zebra? Alligator? Peacock? Heck, python? Melinda only tries to become a horse, a rabbit, a squirrel, a mouse, and a very large frog. So, to be fair, she does experiment. I just wanted something a bit more bold. There was so much potential to really have some crazy, outrageous fun. Why not rhino! Having said that, White has made the book a series, so it’s likely that the characters will continue to develop and there will be more opportunities for some fun animal transformations.

In conclusion, Aesop’s Secret is a fun read for both children and adults.

Favorite Lines

A breeze brushed her curly brown hair into her eyes, a reminder that she was simply a short, slightly pudgy ten-year-old girl with freckles playing connect the dots across her face.


“For centuries we have been forced to live secret lives, never letting anyone know who and what we really are. We are different and therefore at risk.”


Melinda’s eyes sprang open. Her room was dark except for a sliver of moonlight that shone in through the slit in her curtains. She was wide awake and knew that she would have trouble falling back to sleep, but she didn’t care. She was happy to have left that dream behind.


I want to thank Rosie’s Book Review Team and Claudia White for the free copy of Aesop’s Secret.

Melissa Reads :: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson


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Life After LifeSynopsis:

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, she dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Clearly history (and Kate Atkinson) have plans for her: In Ursula rests nothing less than the fate of civilization.

Wildly inventive, darkly comic, startlingly poignant — this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best, playing with time and history, telling a story that is breathtaking for both its audacity and its endless satisfactions.

My Rank: 4 cups of coffee

My sister handed me Life After Life saying, “It’s like a video game.” Though that statement might make you blink in bemusement, it is downright true.

This is a book about rebirth. About doing over. About trying to get it right. Ursula keeps dying. But that doesn’t get her down. She just comes right back, born once again on a snowy night in 1910. As she (repeatedly) grows up, she sometimes unknowingly, sometimes purposefully, makes different choices that change her future, sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better.

I really liked it. The story lagged a bit in places, but the writing was deliciously witty and the characters were masterfully crafted. There is a good deal of jumping through time which was rather annoying, but once I figured out where we were in Ursula’s life, I was fine. The ending is one that leaves you with a mixture of feelings. Disturbed, confused, bittersweet? That sounds scarier than it was. It’s just hard to explain without giving too much away, so I’ll leave you with this: if you are fascinated with English history (especially WWII) and enjoy magnificent prose, pick this one up. (It’s like a video game.)

Favorite Lines

Ursula craved solitude but she hated loneliness, a conundrum that she couldn’t even begin to solve.


“I feel as if I’m waiting for something dreadful to happen, and then I realize it already has.”


“He was born a politician.”
No, Ursula thought, he was born a baby, like everyone else. And this is what he has chosen to become.


“Why is everything an ‘adventure’ with you?” Sylvie said irritably to Izzie.
“Because life is an adventure, of course.”
“I would say it was more of an endurance race,” Sylvie said. “Or an obstacle course.”






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