Wednesday, May 22, 2013

'Land of Nebra: Their New Home' by Cheecowah Jack

Atlantis and Lemuria are at war again. Two sets of twins needs to learn how to survive using their wits and magic with the help of Mayan elders.

Book blurb from Amazon:

This is young adult fantasy, which is blended with indigenous stories. It is infused with magickal creatures and mystery.

This story is a magickal adventure into the past when people could talk to the animals, trees and all of nature. You will find new ways to see the world.

35,000 years ago the island of Lemuria and the island of Atlantis were at war again. 

The Earth Changes spoken about in the worlds pre-history are about to happen. 

Our heroes are 2 families youngest children who are both twins.
The children with the help of their teachers do incredible things. This adventure is like nothing you have seen or read before. 

If you can let your imagination run free you will enjoy this story and perhaps even try to hear the animals reply when you say hi. 

Listen to an excerpt:

~~Visit the website for Land of Nebra~~

~~Buy it on Amazon~~

Saturday, May 18, 2013

'A Green Ghost Tale' by Mandy Austin Cook

Something that had been hiding under Johnny's bed runs past him, stealing his baseball bat and glove. Since those are two of Johnny's most prized possessions, this means war. After careful investigation with a flashlight, he discovers a frightened creature in the attic. The baseball thief is a little green ghost named Peanut. Who would have thought that a ghost would be afraid of a human?

~~Preview the first chapter and purchase a copy here.~~

Mandy Austin Cook is a children's drama and voice instructor in Atlanta GA. "A Green Ghost Tale" is a compilation of stories that she told to her little sister and younger cousins on stormy nights when they were afraid of the dark. The stories were put into book form so that they could continue to be shared with her niece, nephew, and generations to come.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

'How Not to Train a Zombie' by Annie Rachel Cole Blurb Blitz Tour

by Annie Rachel Cole



How does a thirteen-year old become the most popular kid in 8th grade? He trains a zombie to be a pet... And that's exactly what Max Taylor plans to do, even if he had to lie, steal, and lose his best friend in the process.


Read an excerpt:
Max walked over to the table in the back of the room where Eddy sat, put his backpack on the floor, and plopped down in the empty chair.

Eddy looked up from the science book, shook his head, and went back to reading.

“What are you reading?” asked Max.

Eddy ignored the question and kept reading.

Max rolled his eyes. “I’ve got a really cool idea for a science project.”

“I’ve already got a project.”

“But you haven’t even heard what my idea is.”

Eddy looked up from the science book. “If it has anything to do with zombies, I don’t want to hear it. That’s all I’ve heard about since dad spoke at Career Day.” He turned his attention back to the book.

Max bit his lip. “Then you’ll like my idea, because it has nothing to do with zombies.” He put on his best smile. The same smile he used when he was trying to convince his mom he wasn’t up to something.

Eddy closed the book and sighed. “And what is your idea?” He turned and looked at Max, not at all convinced that Max’s idea had nothing to do with zombies.

“I was thinking that we could—that could—”

“That we could what? Try to train a zombie or something as equally stupid or dangerous?” asked Eddy.

Max glanced at the posters covering the wall. His eyes stopped on the poster depicting the solar system.

“Well?” asked Eddy.

“I was thinking we could do something with the solar system.”

“The solar system?”

Buy links: Amazon \ Barnes & Noble

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I live in Texas with my husband, son, and two cats who think they run the place. I read, write, play Texas Hold’em poker (I'm actually part of a local league), and occasionally I compete in BBQ competitions with my husband. Our team name is Outcast Cookers. I also teach in a public school.

My likes include: a wide variety of music (see my play list for book 2 on my blog), Star Trek (My son got me a signed picture of Patrick Stewart which sits on my desk.), Star Wars, Grimm (TV series), winter (though we don’t have snow), the holiday season, coffee, hot tea (with cream and sweetener), pizza (no anchovies though), puzzles, Edgar Allan Poe, Ray Bradbury, and JK Rowling.

The author will award a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.  Follow the tour for more chances to win!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Chinese Heritage Tales by Camille Picott

Chinese Heritage Tale Tour
by Camille Picott



Raggedy Chan (novelette)

Emma Chan-McDougal receives a special gift from her Auntie Gracie: a rag doll named Raggedy Chan. But Raggedy Chan is no ordinary doll. She is a beautiful Chinese princess who lives in a jasper palace on the enchanted isle of Kunlun. The peace of her island home is threatened when Drought Fury steals Winged Dragon, bringer of rain. Without Winged Dragon, Kunlun will wither and die.

To save her stricken homeland, Raggedy Chan sets forth alone. Her quest leads her to America, where she meets people who distrust her because she’s different. Can Raggedy Chan adapt to the strange ways of this new land and rescue her beloved dragon?

In this modern fairy tale, Chinese-American author Camille Picott draws on her heritage to weave a story of magic, adventure, and sacrifice.

Read an excerpt:

“What do you have in there?” Emma eyed the large canvas bag hanging from Auntie Gracie’s shoulder.

Auntie Gracie smiled. “I show you. Come sit on couch.”

Emma scrambled up, pulling the red-haired rag doll into her lap. Auntie Gracie sat beside her, picking up the doll.

“This your favorite toy?”

“It’s from Grandma McDougal,” Emma said. “She had a raggedy doll just like this one when she was a little girl.”

Auntie Gracie pursed her lips and placed the doll on the coffee table. She reached into the canvas bag and pulled out a new rag doll. The yarn pigtails hung long and black. She wore a bright red dress and a white smock. Her black eyes, stitched of thread, had a distinct almond shape.

“She for you.” Auntie Gracie plopped the new doll into Emma’s lap. “Her name Raggedy Chan.”

“Raggedy Chan?” Emma burst into giggles, hugging the doll to her chest. “Wasn’t that Mommy’s last name before she married Daddy?”

Auntie Gracie nodded. “You like her?”

“I love her.”

“I tell you about Raggedy Chan. She from China, like me. You like to hear how she come to America?”

“Oh, yes, please.” Emma snuggled up next to Auntie Gracie, pulling a throw blanket over her legs. “I love stories.” She cuddled Raggedy Chan. Her other raggedy doll lay facedown and forgotten on the coffee table.

Auntie Gracie arranged part of the blanket over her own legs. “One time, far away, there mountain kingdom called Kunlun . . .”
Buy links: Amazon

Nine-Tail Fox (novella)

When fifth-grade Emma Chan-McDougal is ridiculed by her classmates for being part Chinese, she's devastated. To ease Emma's wounded self-esteem, her aunt, a Chinese immigrant, spins the mythical tale of a brave little Nine-Tail Fox named Ainu who lives in San Francisco.

In a parallel animal world that comes to life when humans slumber, Ainu Nine-Tail and her mother face off against Chih Yu, an ancient demon who feeds on hatred. As the last of their clan, the Nine-Tails are honor-bound by a family oath to defend the Chinese animals from the demon. When Chih Yu kills her mother and leads an angry mob against Chinatown, Ainu is left to complete the task alone. Raw with grief and only partially trained for battle, Ainu must reach deep inside herself to find the wisdom and courage to save her people.

Will the journey of Ainu Nine-Tail help Emma find the strength to confront the school bullies and win back her confidence?

In this modern Chinese fable, Chinese-American author Camille Picott draws on her heritage to weave a story of courage, truth, and adventure.

Read an excerpt:

A young nine-tail fox stood at the railing of a freighter steamship, white fur ruffling in the nighttime breeze. Her real name was Lang-Dao, which meant “bright leader,” but everyone called her Ainu. It was her mother’s nickname for her, meaning “sweet girl.”

Most of the humans on the ship slept in their bunks, leaving the deck swathed in silence and darkness. Hiding from those few humans still awake, Ainu and Mama Nine-Tail stood in the shadow of a big coiled rope.

The ship rode the ocean’s deep, even breaths. Ainu stared at the lights spangling the silhouetted city. The tall buildings yawned up at the sky like jagged teeth, seeming on the edge of violence.

The moon, three-quarters full, hung crookedly in the night. It shed light on a small island between the city and freighter. No plants grew on that mound of bronze-colored earth. Two long arms of land sprouted on either side of it. In the rippling light, those narrow peninsulas gave the island the appearance of having wings.

Studying that harsh landscape and, beyond it, the massive mainland city, Ainu shivered.

“San Francisco doesn’t look very welcoming,” she said, leaning against Mama.

“That is because Chih Yu is there,” Mama said. “He spreads his hatred for the Chinese among the American animals.”

“Which is why I must begin my training as soon as we get to shore,” Ainu said. She hoped she didn’t sound too eager. It wasn’t good to be excited when her fellow animals suffered. “So I can help protect the Chinese animals,” she added.

Mama nodded. “Master Zheng sent me word of events in America before we boarded,” she said. Master Zheng was Mama’s longtime friend. He sent her regular reports on Chih Yu’s activities in America. “We could very well find ourselves part of the greatest battle against Chih Yu since the time of the Yellow Emperor. Chih Yu has become corporeal, my daughter.”
Buy links: Amazon

**My thoughts**

I enjoyed reading this series. Folktales from other cultures have long fascinated me, because there are so many ways to tell similar stories. I love the Camille is sharing her cultural and family heritage by penning the stories that have been passed down in her family.
'Raggedy Chan' introduces young Emma to her Chinese heritage as she learns how to play Mahjong and to properly hold her chopsticks (both of which I have apparently been doing wrong all of these years, despite what I had learned). It also tells her the story behind her new doll, who is also struggling to find her way in a mixed culture with a mixed heritage. This story alternates between Emma's discussions with her auntie and Raggedy Chain's story, which shows how the two go together.

'Nine-Tail Fox' also features Emma at the beginning. She is struggling with a "Mean Girl" at school, who makes fun of her for being half-Chinese. She is distraught and turns to her auntie for advice. Auntie Gracie tells her the story of Ainu, the nine-tail fox, who must fight against the evil Chih-Yu. It is an epic tale with a message, that Emma takes with her when she returns to school and has to face her own enemies again. Emma is empowered to take on Melissa. While I don't like Emma being mean to Melissa to make her point, I think it shows that you can stand up to bullies and sometimes even work things out again. The focus of this book is on the fable as inspiration for life, as opposed to interspersed life lessons like in 'Raggedy Chan.' 

Both of these books are enjoyable for kids, as well as adults. You can learn a lot from them, no matter your heritage. 


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Camille Picott is a fifth-generation Chinese American. She writes science fiction and fantasy books with Asian characters and/or Asian settings. Camille grew up reading speculative fiction stories largely devoid of Asian characters and culture. This, coupled with a passion for her heritage, is the reason she strives to bring some aspect of Eastern myth, legend, culture, and ethnicity to all of her writings.

Twitter: or @camillepicott

 Camille will be awarding an autographed Raggedy Chan bookmark to every commenter; a Chinese Heritage Tale illustration signed by the author and illustrator to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour, and a grand prize of a Limited Edition Raggedy Chan Doll to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. A choice of a Raggedy Chan doll or signed Chinese Heritage Tale print will be awarded to a randomly drawn host. (ALL ITEMS US ONLY) Follow the tour for more chances to win!

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