forget to check out the GIVEAWAY at the bottom this post
chance to WIN a $25 Amazon
Gift card and other great prizes!
are saying about it:
author of Ragesong: Awakening.
McChiller, author of The Monster Moon
author of The Andy Smithson series.
release is just $2.99! (List Price: $4.99)
The longer you stay the more chances you have of winning prizes! We have slew of eBooks to giveaway, as well as a Stone of Valhalla necklace AND a $25 Amazon gift card! It is hosted by LovingtheBookLaunchParty on Facebook. Just follow this link to join the event: http://goo.gl/Q2Fd3r.
Mikey is a small child masquerading as an adult. On occasion you’ll catch him dancing the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown up. He is the author/illustrator of several books including the best-selling ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures and Bean’s Dragons as well as the middle-grade fantasy-adventure series The Dream Keeper Chronicles. His art can be seen in many forms from picture books to full room murals. He loves to daydream with his three daughters and explore the worlds that only the imagination of children can create. Mikey has a BS degree in English from Utah State University and works fulltime as a freelance illustrator, cover designer, and author. As a member of the Emblazoners, he is one of many authors devoted to ‘writing stories on the hearts of children’. He is also one of the hosts of the Authors’ Think Tank Podcast. You can find more about him and his books at: http://www.insidemikeysworld.com/.
Stone of Valhalla Autographed 11×17 Poster
I’ve spent too much time in front of the television lately.
I posted a while back on how my daughter and I became addicted to The Voice. A new season began a few weeks ago and I was immediately sucked in. The show strikes a perfect chord (pun intended) with its combination of terrific performers, background stories, and friendly banter among the coaches. In addition, does anyone in the world possess a more beautiful smile than Usher or Shakira? Seriously, those two should be used as instruments of mass peace. IMPs to counteract WMDs. I mean who could stay angry and hostile with Usher or Shakira smiling at them?
But, even above all that, my favorite moments on the show are seeing the families’ reactions when a coach turns around for their singer. Screams burst forth. Tears of happiness flow. Exaltation abounds when these people see the realization of a dream fulfilled for their loved one. Watching the first few shows of this season, an oft used phrase came to mind as I saw one family cavort and hug each other when that magical moment of a chair turn happened.
Then, March rolled in — though you wouldn’t know it from the weather — the month when the most overused word in our lexicon immediately becomes “bracket”. Everyone has one, is making one, or is agonizing over one. Even people who don’t follow college basketball get involved in the madness. And beyond that, you see other types of brackets pop up: brackets for the best books, pets, TV shows — the list is endless.
Beyond all the hype, however, are the games themselves. I’m not a big fan of college basketball myself, yet the drama of the tournament is compelling. The David versus Goliath match ups are intriguing to me, as a storyteller, as well as the emotional roller coasters the players, coaches, and fans ride during the games. Having coached youth soccer for many years, I can relate to many of those feelings and my heart goes out to those kids who put everything on the line, only to realize, when that final horn sounds, that their everything wasn’t enough in this particular instance. Fortunately, for every bench of disappointed and distraught players, there’s another bench at the opposite end of the emotional spectrum. Those who survive to play one more game — especially those who weren’t expected to in the beginning — leap and shout and hug each other in the shared happiness of their accomplishment.
And that phrase popped into my head again: unbridled joy.
These people experience it and we watch as they do, with a smile on our face and possibly a tear in our eye, and in some small way we get to experience a piece of it along with them. It’s a part of being human that we can all relate to and desire to feel ourselves again and again. It’s why sports and competition captivate us, whether we’re participants or spectators. We want to touch that unbridled joy, just one more time.
Then, the writer in me pondered the words. Unbridled joy. The negative implies a positive. Who ever speaks of bridled joy? Why would joy ever be bridled?
I thought back to some of my own experiences of joy: winning soccer teams I’d coached, a state champion Knowledge Bowl team I’d been a part of in high school, the birth of my daughter. All were occasions of happiness that I’ll never forget, yet I realized they were all examples of bridled joy. Yes, during some I whooped and hollered briefly, but then decorum and embarrassment aggressively stepped in and lassoed my emotions, bridling my joy. In some cases, this was likely a good thing. Wanton jumping and fist pumping in my daughter’s delivery room would have been frowned upon at the very least. At worst, I could have accidentally punched a doctor or nurse in the close quarters. I might have experienced a literal bridling in the form of hand cuffs or a straight jacket in that instance.
But other times … why did I restrain myself so? We all crave that feeling, yet when I upon approaching it, I backed away. Reined myself in.
In the end, I came to the conclusion that what I feared most was losing control. It’s the reason I don’t drink alcohol, the reason I drive the speed limit, the reason for many aspects of my life. I don’t regret any of those decisions, but I do regret my fear tempering the moments of pure happiness I’ve been a part of. Unlike the characters in my stories, I can’t go back in time and make changes. I can, however, make different choices in the future, so when that next moment comes to revel in a major accomplishment of my own or a loved one, I’m determined to not hold back. And I apologize in advance for any potential black eyes that may come as a result!
Unbridle your joy.
Warrior faery princes can be very stubborn. Especially when they possess your body.
Fourteen-year-old Finn just wants to keep his little sister out of Child Protective Services–an epic challenge with their parentally-missing-in-action dad moving them to England, near the famous Stonehenge rocks. Warrior faery Prince Zaneyr just wants to escape his father’s reckless plan to repair the Rift–a catastrophe that ripped the faery realm from Earth 4,000 years ago and set it adrift in an alternate, timeless dimension. When Zaneyr tricks Finn into swapping places, Finn becomes a bodiless soul stuck in the Otherworld, and Zaneyr uses Finn’s body to fight off his father’s seekers on Earth. Between them, they have two souls and only one body… and both worlds to save before the dimensional window between them slams shut.
NOTE TO TEACHERS: Check out the Virtual Author visit video and Common-Core-Aligned Teacher’s Guide for Faery Swap here.
Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card
Signed Paperback of Faery Swap
Two Faery Wands
**Click the link below to enter**
ENTER TO WIN
Years ago, soon after the extinction of the dinosaurs, I coached a soccer team of eleven-year-old girls. I had them working on some basic dribbling and juggling skills one day when I decided to show them some different ways to pick the ball up without using their hands. They practiced pulling the ball back so it rolled onto the top of their foot and followed by lifting their foot and the ball into the air. After just a minute or two, each of them could at least pop the ball up enough so they could catch it with their hands.
Then, I showed them something a little more difficult. I placed the ball between my feet, applying pressure with the insides of my heels. I jumped, lifting the ball with my feet behind me, and twisted. Once the ball was in motion, I released it and landed again on my feet. My twist repositioned me so that I faced the ball in the air and collected it with a raised thigh and began to juggle. The girls all grinned and immediately began trying this new trick.
Most accomplished it after a few tries, or after a couple of pointers from me. One girl, however, quickly grew frustrated and stomped her foot.
“I can’t do it!”
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“The ball keeps hitting my butt when I jump. I can’t do it.”
“Here’s one thing I know,” I said. “If you tell yourself you can’t do something, you’ll always be right. But if you tell yourself you can do something, chances are you’ll still be right most of the time.”
That’s the first time I remember uttering those words — I’m still not sure where they came from — but I’ve used them many times since with soccer players, kids I tutor, and my own children. We positioned the ball a little further back between her heels and she performed the trick after only one or two more tries. I still remember the enormous grin on her face.
Positive self-talk is more important than we realize. Which brings me to the power of “Yes.”
Marian Bechtel is a sophomore at Bryn Mawr College studying geology, physics, and gender studies. At age 13, Marian had her eyes opened to the horrors of landmines. She met a group of international scientists working on a device that utilized holographic radar to detect buried landmines (RASCAN), and was inspired by their work. The one weakness in their device, they said, was that it was rendered useless in wet environments.
One day while playing the piano, Marian noticed that the strings on a nearby banjo resonated when she played certain notes or chords. This gave her an idea — she realized that using acoustic or seismic waves to excite a buried landmine could allow for its detection, even in wet soils. Thus, she joined her newfound passion for humanitarian de-mining with her love of music, and embarked on a long scientific journey, going through three different projects to further this idea, and eventually creating a simple prototype of an acoustic detection device on the frame of a scrap metal detector.
Marian’s research projects took her across the country to many science fairs, including Intel ISEF and I-SWEEEP, and even around the world, to the Royal Society’s 250th Summer Science Exhibition in London. Marian was a 2011 Davidson Fellow, and a finalist in the 2012 Intel Science Talent Search, where she was awarded the Glenn T. Seaborg award for passion in communicating science to the public. She was also featured in the August 2012 issue of Popular Science Magazine as one of their Top 10 High School Inventors.
Marian published her work in the Summer 2013 issue of the Journal of ERW and Mine Action.
The above is from this year’s TEDxTeen event and Marian tells her own story in the video below. It would have been easy for Marian to say to herself, “No, I could never do this. I could never make a difference.” And she would have been right. But, by telling herself, “Yes, I’ll give it a try and who knows what might happen!” she put herself on a path of discovery and invention she never imagined.
What can you accomplish by saying YES today? Age, education, gender, race — none of these matter. What does matter is opening ourselves up to possibilities. And your voice — Your Voice Matters.
There was a time in my youth that I lived for Choose Your Own Adventure books! I devoured every one I could get my hands on. When fellow author and Emblazoner, Michelle Isenhoff, told me her kids were creating their own CYOA story and wanted to make a blog hop out of it, I was instantly hooked. How could I say no to such an awesome idea?
The story’s title is Tony the Phony and the Cursed Mansion, written and hosted by T. Isenhoff and M. Isenhoff on their Storyboys blog. T. is in 3rd grade, and M. is in 6th grade. This story was their winter homeschool project. Travel over to their blog to start at the beginning. Have fun!
“Let’s get out of here!” Ed whispered.
The boys dashed to the door, but it was locked. “This way!” Tony whispered, leading Ed through a doorway and down a hall.
They found themselves in an old-fashioned kitchen with a giant fireplace taking up one wall. A cast iron stove stood before it, covered with dust and grime. A tarnished copper kettle stood on top, still waiting to make tea.
An antique sideboard stood at one side of the room. Ed shone his light on it. On top rested a bag of potato chips, a package of Oreos, and a three liter of root beer. “Did they have this kind of stuff in Silas Walker’s day?” Ed asked.
“Of course not, idiot.”
“Do ghosts eat this stuff?”
“I don’t think so.”
Ed picked up the Oreos and opened them. The cellophane crinkled in his hands. A voice growled from the hallway. “Who’s in there?”
Ed froze and spoke through a mouthful of cookies. “That means that’s a real dude chasing us. Hide!”
They opened the doors on the sideboard and ducked inside. They heard footsteps in the kitchen. “I know someone’s in here. I’m going to find you and smash your face in, punk.”
“It sounds like Meatloaf,” Tony whispered. Meatloaf was the meanest kid in school. He’d been held back so many times he was the only seventh grader with a driver’s license. An encounter with his fist meant a hospital visit.
“Um, Tony,” Ed whispered.
“Shut up. He’ll hear us.”
“But, Tony,” Ed persisted, “cupboards are supposed to have back walls. This one doesn’t.”
Tony reached behind him and felt only darkness. He clicked on his flashlight and shone it down a long, black tunnel.