Showing posts with label BeachBoundBooks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BeachBoundBooks. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

"The Staircase of Fire" by Ben Woodard

EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
The Staircase of Fire
(A Shakertown Adventure Book 3)
by Ben Woodard

The Staircase of Fire (A Shakertown Adventure Book 3) by Ben Woodard

The Staircase of Fire is the third book in the Shakertown Adventure series by Ben Woodard. Also available: A Stairway to Danger (read my blog post) and Steps Into Darkness (read my blog post).

A Stairway to Danger by Ben WoodardSteps into Darkness by Ben Woodard


The Staircase of Fire is currently on tour with BeachBoundBooks. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
A quiet town in Kentucky explodes from a racial incident and fourteen-year-old Tom Wallace is in the thick of it. His past haunts him and now he’s witness to a horrific event leaving him devastated and afraid.
Tom and his cousin, Will, search for lost Shaker gold he believes can help him escape his town and memories. But leaving has consequences. He will lose his friends and his new love.
On a fiery staircase Tom finally realizes that he must face his inner demons and his terrifying nightmares. To do so he must take a stand that could change his life … or end it.
Author Ben Woodard relies on firsthand experience and family history to tell this moving story of personal tragedy and racial hatred set in the rolling countryside of Kentucky in 1923.


Excerpt
Every night when Tom went to sleep, He thought of her. Every night when he closed his eyes, he saw her face. But he never cried.
“I’m so sorry, Tom, but you know, we can’t tell anyone we saw this. The Klan would come after us.”
Tom didn’t reply.
“Please, Tom, don’t tell anyone. They will kill us—and our families.”
Tom nodded slightly. He was afraid for Helen.
They separated and as he watched Helen disappear into the woods, the world changed.
The leaves drooped and the trees sighed. Creatures stilled and his heart ached.
Death surrounded him. A cloud. a fog, a mist of death.
Enveloped him, chilled him, terrified him. Mary was dead. Mama was dead. Now one more death.
Why was he alive?
He slumped against a shagbark hickory.
“I’ll find out who the Grand Dragon is,” he screamed, “and I will kill him. With a gun, or my bow, or my hands.”
Tom’s fists lashed out at the loose bark pounding it until blood splattered chips littered the ground.
Then the sweats started. Tom dropped to his knees and gasped for air.
He wrapped his arms around the tree and gagged. Retching as the sweat turned to chills. He shivered and threw up into the grass. Again and again until the last of his breakfast competed with morning dew to cover the ground.
He collapsed on the cool dirt and curled into a ball. He lay there gulping for breath thinking how he couldn’t go on. The pain was too much.
Tom used the tree to pull himself up, but his knees buckled and he hugged the tree waiting until he regained his strength and then struggled back to the West Lot house.
[Want more? Click below to read another excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
The Staircase of Fire succeeds in offering dramatic action, mystery, social insights, and a story line that evolves from pure adventure to something deeper … a highly recommended pick for teens looking for something different …” ~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
The Staircase of Fire is a riveting and intense tale ...” ~ The Children's Book Review
“Tom grows a lot in this book and I really enjoyed reading his journey. It seems like almost every white character is racist in some way (which is historically accurate) and it was refreshing to see Tom learn to break out of the narrow-minded thinking that he had and which surrounds him.” ~ Eustacia Tan
“An inspiring adventure where the reader discovers that strength of character, the belief in what is right, and facing your demons, is the only answer to true inner peace – Highly recommended.” ~ Susan Keefe
The Staircase of Fire is an extraordinary book for children aged 12 upwards.” ~ Robbie Cheadle
“The story is wonderful. I liked the settings, and the characters are well-thought out. I recommend this book to older teen readers, due to light adult content.” ~ Alyssa Elmore for Readers' Favorite


About the Author
Ben Woodard
Ben is a (mostly) retired amateur adventurer who has traveled across Tibet, climbed to 18,000 feet on Mt. Everest, and solo backpacked wilderness areas. Now his adventures come in the form of imagining stories, writing and telling them to kids and teens. He works with teachers, schools and literacy organizations spreading the word that books are vital - and fun.



Giveaway
Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.

Links

Monday, May 7, 2018

"Catalina and the King's Wall" by Patty Costello


REVIEW and GIVEAWAY
Catalina and the King's Wall
by Patty Costello

Catalina and the King's Wall by Patty Costello

Catalina and the King's Wall by Patty Costello is currently on tour with BeachBoundBooks. The tour stops here today for an interview with the author, an excerpt, my review, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
One day Catalina overhears the king planning to build a wall and fears her family will never be able to visit. Catalina tricks the king into building walls that droop, drip, swirl, and swoosh away. But now the king demands a wall that will outlast even a Twinkie. Luckily, Catalina has the perfect ingredients to bake up a family reunion!

Book Video


Excerpt



Praise for the Book
“When a foolish king decides to build a wall to keep people from a neighboring kingdom away, his royal baker dreams up a delicious solution. Catalina is a lighthearted parody full of colorful confections. Innovative artwork in a riot of watercolor shades depicts the crafty baker as she whips up gobs of dough, gallons of icing, and miles of rainbow sprinkles, outsmarting the king just in time for a visit from her family one kingdom over.” ~ Foreword Reviews
“Catalina is a talented baker in the story, so in the spirit of this theme, the book s illustrations are the icing on the cake. The pictures on each page are as colorful as the characters personalities are, with very little white space existing in the pen and watercolor illustrations. The thoughtfulness of details in the setting on each page (e.g., the ornate frame of the king's mirror) is incredibly eye-catching. Best of all, Catalina s baked goods made from her love and hard work are beautifully depicted on each and every page. I highly recommend this book for all progressive parents.” ~ Tonia Bock, PhD in Developmental and Educational Psychology Professor of Psychology, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota
“Delicious, edible looking illustrations with sly images of little Russian nesting dolls decorate the pages of this modern fable of Catalina and the King's Wall, a homily warning against greed and separatism that speaks to today's children and adults as well.” ~ The Midwest Book Review
“Great conversation starter for families about why someone would want to keep two communities apart and how brave Catalina was for standing up for what she believed in.” ~ Carrie
“A lovely book that is whimsical, poignant and relevant. It's wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated. Children will love it and it provides an opportunity to open a dialogue to how it relates to whats happening in the real world.” ~ Mark Hubert

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.


By Lynda Dickson
The king wants to build a wall between his kingdom and the neighboring kingdom where Catalina’s family lives. Fearing she will never see them again, Catalina comes up with a plan to thwart the king’s plan.
The text flows beautifully and is full of humorous puns, alliteration, and onomatopoeia, while the accompanying watercolor illustrations by Diane Cojocaru are simply gorgeous. On the surface, this is a simple picture book, but it contains commentary on the current political climate. With these varying elements, this story is sure to appeal to children and adults alike.

Interview With the Author
Author Patty Costello joins us today to talk about her new children’s book, Catalina and the King's Wall.
Please tell us about yourself, Patty.
I live in Boise, Idaho, with my husband, a toddler, a dog named Pippa, and a dog named Spencer. I have a BA in Psychology from the University of St. Thomas and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Minnesota. I was born and raised in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, and still consider myself to be a Minnesotan (you betcha!) I currently work in higher education and have had my research on attention and implicit processing published in journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Consciousness and Cognition, and Psychological Science. My background in neuroscience and psychology helped me to write my first picture book. It is designed to be a teaching tool for progressive parents to discuss current events with their young children.
I am an active member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and my local Idaho-Utah chapter of SCBWI. I am currently in my first 12 x 12, a supportive community for picture book writers, encouraging us to write a new picture book a month. I recently was offered representation by a New York Agency and my book is currently out “on submission.”
What inspired this book?
I was inspired to write this book after I took my son to my local women’s march in January 2017 following the combative U.S. presidential election. I stood with him on that cold and snowy day and wondered: What kind of world was he born into? How will he learn to always be kind? I was deeply concerned, yet hopeful because of the turnout at the march. I wrote my book to help parents discuss these questions with their kids in a fun story format that children can relate to. I would love for all kids to hear the story of a persistent cookie baker named Catalina and how she never gave up on seeing her family again.
I am excited that the book has successfully garnered a lot of attention and pre-orders before the launch date of May 5th. I ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise PR funds and also funds for local refugee organizations.
Tell us about your main character.
I really loved how Catalina turned out. Catalina is a talented young baker, away from home, happily baking for the king. However, she learns that the king wants to build a wall to keep anyone who is “different” out. She realizes that her family, due to visit her soon, won’t be able to visit after all if a wall is built. She is too busy baking to take time off to go visit them. Catalina is determined to come up with a plan to stop the king from building his wall. She is persistent, never giving up on her dream of seeing her family. She speaks in baking puns and is always very positive. When she is trying to come up with her next idea, she says to herself “Oh, for goodness bakes!” and when the king demands more and more of her cookies, even when yelling that he does not like them, she thinks to herself “he really frosts my cookies!”
What do you think readers will find most appealing about your book?
I think parents will appreciate the underlying message and will find the subtle political spoofs – both in the text and the illustrations - amusing. I think kids will like it because it talks about cookies, cake, and frosting! They will like Catalina’s silly way of talking in baking puns and how persistent she is in standing up for what she believes in. She is the true underdog to root for, and kids will be rooting for her the entire story.
Tell us about your illustrations.
I really lucked out with my illustrator Diana Cojucaru! I found her through an online forum of international artists. I immediately fell in love with her whimsical watercolor. Diana had done children’s books before, but my project was her first project for a book that would not be self-published. Even though she lives in Romania, half a world away, we developed a wonderful rapport and communicated often. We discovered that we both had toddler boys – our first-born children; we dedicated the book to our sons and she told me that I was the first author that had asked her whom she wanted the book dedicated to.
I was the art director – I had to give her a general idea of what I was looking for on each page and she created the rest. Her vision is what you see - amazingly rich and detailed paintings created with care, flair, and pure imagination. I did not give her any of the political backdrop information as I thought that might detract from her creative endeavors. I also figured that Romanians probably just aren’t that interested in US politics anyway! We continue to stay in touch and I would love the opportunity to work with her again. I can’t tell you how many people ooh and ahh when they open my book and see these remarkable paintings. I smile and say the only thing I can take credit for is finding and hiring her! Small presses, with their smaller staff and resources, tend to rely on the authors to find their own illustrators (unless you are an author-illustrator and don’t have to worry about that at all!).
Thanks for stopping by today, Patty. I hope you enjoy the rest of your tour!

About the Author
Patty Costello
Patty Costello lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, a crazy awesome toddler, a dog named Pippa, and a dog named Spencer. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of St Thomas and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Minnesota. She currently works in higher education. Catalina and the King’s Wall is her first book. At all hours of the day (and night) she can be found standing at her desk, helping her university run smoothly and working on her next story.




Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.

Links

Thursday, April 26, 2018

"The Staircase of Fire" by Ben Woodard


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
The Staircase of Fire
(A Shakertown Adventure Book 3)
by Ben Woodard


The Staircase of Fire, the third book in the Shakertown Adventure series by Ben Woodard, is due for release on 25 May but is currently available for pre-order at the special price of $2.99 (save $1.00). Also available: A Stairway to Danger (read my blog post) and Steps Into Darkness (read my blog post).



This book blast and giveaway is brought to you by BeachBoundBooks.


Description
A quiet town in Kentucky explodes from a racial incident and fourteen-year-old Tom Wallace is in the thick of it. His past haunts him and now he’s witness to a horrific event leaving him devastated and afraid.
Tom and his cousin, Will, search for lost Shaker gold he believes can help him escape his town and memories. But leaving has consequences. He will lose his friends and his new love.
On a fiery staircase Tom finally realizes that he must face his inner demons and his terrifying nightmares. To do so he must take a stand that could change his life … or end it.
Author Ben Woodard relies on firsthand experience and family history to tell this moving story of personal tragedy and racial hatred set in the rolling countryside of Kentucky in 1923.

Excerpt
Chapter 1
Rose stood up.
"They could kill you," whispered Tom.
"Tom, sometimes a person has to stand for what they believe, and this is one of them. Go on home."
The County Clerk's door opened and Rose and James moved toward it. A crowd followed.
Tom's eyes pleaded with James. His friend ignored him.
"Rose," said Tom. "Don't do this. It's not that important. Your vote won't change anything."
"You don't understand," she said softly. "You can't understand. The Nineteenth Amendment says I have the right to vote. I intend to use it."
"But you know an amendment passed a couple of years ago won't change anything. Mercer County will never allow you to register, much less vote. Few Negroes ever have — especially women."
Rose moved closer to the door and eyes, dozens of eyes, followed her.
"She wants to register," an elderly man yelled.
Tom tensed as the crowd pressed toward them.
A stench of hate filled the stale, tobacco-laden air and constricted Tom's throat. Doors slammed, feet pounded on steps and curses echoed through the tight courthouse space.
The news had sped like a bullet through the small town and an angry crowd of white people filled the tiny courthouse room, spilling into the hallways and out the door.
Tom unconsciously eased away from his friends. He stopped himself. They needed to get out of here. He leaned closer to Rose, "We have to leave, now."
"Go home, Tom," James spat out the words.
Tom flinched. This wasn't the James he knew. The gentle and quiet farm hand Tom worked with on a daily basis.
James stared straight ahead, the muscles in his face like granite, his eyes hard. Showing only confidence and determination.
Rose and James edged toward the Clerk's office and the crowd surrounded and jammed against them.
Tom stood horrified. As he tried to push his way back to his two friends, a rawboned farmer in overalls stopped him.
"Are you with those two?" he asked.
"I'm trying to get them out."
"I seen you with them. You need to leave. We'll take care of them."
Another man spoke up, "I've seen him before. He knows those Negroes."
"Yeah," said the first. "Isn't he the one from Nicholasville who —"
Tom moved with the crowd into the Clerks office. He had to escape before they figured out who he was, and what he did.
Sweat formed on his upper lip as he glanced in every direction desperately trying to find a way out of the courthouse.
The two men were now in the door and continued to point at him as Rose reached the counter. She said above the din, "I want a voter registration form."
The room went quiet. Deathly quiet.
Then, a woman to Rose's left screamed, "Damn Negroes."
Beside Rose stood an older woman in a simple cotton dress with a bonnet covering her mousy-gray hair. Her face was contorted with rage. The rest of the crowd joined her in shrieking at the small, brown woman.
A glob of spit and tobacco juice smacked into the back of Rose's starched calico dress and the screaming woman yanked out Rose's yellow hair ribbon. James spread his arms around his mother and took the brunt of the slaps and pushes.
The women behind the counter stood confused.
The County Clerk came out of his office and held up his hands for quiet. He glared at Rose.
"What do you want?" he said.
"I want to register to vote."
The crowd growled again and the Clerk quieted them.
"We don't allow your kind to vote," he said.
Rose only smiled. "What kind?" she asked.
The two men came closer to Tom and others now pointed in his direction. They must have figured out who he was and they might turn on him next.
Tom remembered a stairway to the basement that led to a rear exit. He wormed his way toward it finding the stairway door closed, but unlocked.
Tom jerked it open.
His body tightened.
The sounds faded as memories and fears came charging back at the sight of wooden steps vanishing into the shadows.
Sweat stung his eyes and salted his lips. Tom's hands trembled. He wiped his face on a sleeve.
He couldn't go down. He wouldn't.
But the men still watched. Tom was trapped.
The bedlam of the room returned and he heard the Clerk scream at Rose and James telling them to get out.
He had to help them, but fear glued him in place.
Tom jerked as Sheriff Smith pushed his way into the room bellowing for the mob to get away from Rose. Two grim-faced deputies armed with shotguns flanked the lawman. They elbowed their way to Rose and James and the Sheriff whispered to Rose. She shook her head. He spoke to her a few more minutes and she finally nodded.
The three lawmen surrounded Tom's friends and led them through the crowd. Screams and curses followed.
Tom snuck through the throng and barreled down the front courthouse steps. The Sheriff and deputies escorted Rose and James to their wagon
Tom stared as their rig bounced down the dusty road toward Shakertown. His stomach rolled. He should have done something.
Anything. Except freeze in fear.
The reeling in his gut got worse and he staggered toward the clump of trees where he'd tied his horse.
Tom untied the reins and slipped into the saddle. He was sure, or at least tried to convince himself, that the Sheriff would protect Rose and James.
He spun the horse around and headed for Shakertown.
As he rode, the fear for Rose and his fear of the staircase still gripped him. Was every set of stairs he saw going to terrify him? Cause the memories to come crawling back?
And no matter where he was in Mercer County, someone might recognize him.
He released the reins, the horse knew the way home, and dropped his head on the animal's neck. Trying not to throw up. And then the sweats started, soaking his body.
The usual. Caused by a memory from that morning at Grandfather's house. Still there after four years.
He needed to get himself under control before he saw Will or Helen. His best friends. But he couldn't tell them, or anyone, what happened that Sunday morning. The memory hurt too much.
But he had to talk to them about Rose and James. His friends would understand.
And right now, Tom needed a friend.

Praise for the Book
The Staircase of Fire succeeds in offering dramatic action, mystery, social insights, and a story line that evolves from pure adventure to something deeper…” ~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
The Staircase of Fire is a riveting and intense tale ...” ~ The Children's Book Review
“Tom grows a lot in this book and I really enjoyed reading his journey. It seems like almost every white character is racist in some way (which is historically accurate) and it was refreshing to see Tom learn to break out of the narrow-minded thinking that he had and which surrounds him.” ~ Eustacia Tan
“An inspiring adventure where the reader discovers that strength of character, the belief in what is right, and facing your demons, is the only answer to true inner peace – Highly recommended.” ~ Susan Keefe

About the Author
Ben Woodard
Ben Woodard is a (mostly) retired amateur adventurer who has traveled across Tibet, climbed to 18,000 feet on Mt. Everest, and solo backpacked wilderness areas. Now his adventures come in the form of imagining stories, writing and telling them to kids and teens. He works with teachers, schools and literacy organizations spreading the word that books are vital - and fun.



Giveaway
Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.

Links