Wednesday, 31 October 2012

#BlogFlash1031 for Halloween

Spook! Happy Halloween!

To celebrate pumpkins, ghosties, zombies and things that go bump in the night, I'm happy to be taking part in  #BlogFlash1031 for Halloween, co-hosted by Terri Giuliano Long and The Indie Exchange. Everyone had to write something spooky using up to 500 words. 

Here's mine:

Footsteps in the rain

She walked into the path of oncoming traffic
Lights flashed her blind in the pitch darkness
Heading her way they swerved to the side
Their horns screeched like cats, radios blared
The night ached a thousand lived memories

She walked barefoot, her feet cut but soundless
Like a dreamer who had long ceased to dream
The stars glistened high above like fairy lights
Dazzling in the night sky, so quiet their beauty
Unravished by life, uncorrupted, so pure, fine

Her eyes squinted to improve their clarity
They shone so brilliantly, like ice against black
She had wandered far, not knowing the distance
Far, far, a long way from home and her people
Seated around a wooden table, food cooking

Amid warm smells of crisp, burning wintry heat
She could imagine them laughing and grinning
Their teeth glinting in the lights as they spoke
Blood dripping on their plates, their eyes red
Clawed fingernails gripping the edges so taut

Their wild hair flicked as they wailed and groaned
Enough! This she did not miss, could never miss
So now her escape was final, desolation dismissed
The blood could stay chilled and frozen like ice
Away from her, hidden in those dark, darkest eyes

Closing her eyelids, she flicked away the memory
The road was cold, the rain was starting again
Tap, tap, tap, the lights danced in the water
Her toes flicked little glistening drips into the air
She grinned at such a simple, honest thing

Memories of a life forgotten, once lived before
In the time long ago, in a time she lived once
The horns continued to sound, high-pitched wines
Too high, shattering the quiet of the still night
She turned her head to scowl, unseen in the dark

Determined, she walked on, oblivious to the cold
Heading towards the noisy, bustling flow of cars
She had no fear of them or their terrifying roar
They sounded their horns but they could not see her
Blinded as they were to the dead thing walking.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop: 24-31 October

Welcome to my stop on the Spooktacular giveaway hop,
hosted by
I Am A Reader, Not a Writer & The Diary of a Bookworm!

So, to get into the mood of pumpkins, witches, ghosties and things that go bump in the night, I'm giving away 3 ebook copies of each of my books that has a spooky element or is set on Halloween.

To enter, simply do your stuff on the Rafflecopter!
Afterwards, click on the linky to hop to over 400 blogs offering fantastic giveaways!
Have fun and happy spookiness! :) woo-hoo!

The trio of ebooks you can win are:

Kiwi and the Living Nightmare

Book 3 in the Kiwi Series, but can be read as a standalone book

Amy, James and Kiwi embark on their spookiest adventure yet - on Halloween. What begins with an eerie dream about a three-legged cat will take the budding detectives on a quest to find an old house in the middle of the woods, meeting some familiar characters and some perky squirrels along the way. Little do they know that there awaits an angry, restless ghost that will do anything to stop them leaving.  

Day of the Living Pizza

Detective Smarts of Crazy Name Town has a problem. Doctor Boring and his receptionist have been bumped off, and the only clues at the scene are some olives, tomatoes, mushrooms and sprinkles of oregano. With the town folk dropping like flies and strange figures stumbling down the streets, Officer Dewdrop has an idea.

Day of the Pesky Shadow

After his previous oregano-sprinkled adventure, Detective Smarts is still finding it hard to look at a pizza, never mind eat one. But there is a new mindboggler to solve - who is the mysterious, dark figure causing the townsfolk's legs to go wibbly wobbly? Smarts and sidekick Dewdrop are hot on the trail.

To enter, click on the Rafflecopter and be sure to answer the mandatory question as a comment on my blog...


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Millicent Marie Tour with Karen Pokras Toz: Oct 11-31

Welcome to my stop on the Millicent Marie Tour, celebrating the new release from award-winning author Karen Pokras Toz. Don't forget to enter the competition to win some goodies! Good luck! And then you can check out the other stops on the tour. Have fun!

Millicent Marie Tour

Guest Post: Millicent Marie on Little Brothers

Hi. My name is Millicent Marie. I’m twelve years old, and I have a younger brother. His name is Doogle. I know – weird right? Actually, his name is Douglas, but he was born when I was two, and I couldn’t pronounce Douglas, so it came out as Doogle. I’ve been calling him that ever since. My parents hate when I call him that. They are really into proper names, like calling him Douglas and me Millicent Marie instead of Millie (or Amanda – I’ll get to that later.)

Anyway, back to my brother.  We used to get along great, you know play together and stuff, but ever since I turned twelve, he’s been nothing but a pain. I think it started when Mom and Dad got me my own laptop. I know, I’m a lucky kid. They actually gave me a choice between a cell phone and a laptop. Sure there are days when I wish I picked the phone, but overall I think I made the right decision.

Right after they gave it to me, Doogle started snooping around my stuff. I’d keep catching him in my room, usually standing next to the laptop. A couple of times I caught him just as he was closing it up. Oh, he’d always have an excuse: you know, “Mom told me to come in here and look for blah, blah, blah.”  But I knew none of that was true. The thing is, I could never really figure out what he was looking for.

Well – I did keep my diary on my computer, but since I knew Doogle was meddling through my stuff, I kept my posts pretty vague, and I always signed them “Amanda.” (Yeah, that’s where the Amanda thing comes in.)

I guess you’re wondering where I’m going with this huh? Okay. Seems one day, Doogle did manage to get into my diary, and he decided it would be funny to post it on the Internet as a blog. Can you believe that? Ugh!! That was when I decided little brothers really are the enemy.

Although I have to admit (and if you tell him this, I swear I’ll never speak to you again), in a way, I’m kind of glad he did it. I learned important lessons about bullying, gossip, and friendships. I think it’s important that all kids learn about these things. Don’t you? So thanks Doogle – but from now on – stay out of my things – or else!

Karen Pokras Toz

Karen Pokras Toz is a writer, wife and mom. Karen grew up in Connecticut, and currently lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and three children. In June 2011, Karen published her first middle grade children’s novel for 7 to 12-year-olds, called Nate Rocks the World, which won First Place for Children’s Chapter Books and the Grand Prize Overall in the 2012 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, as well as placing first for a Global E-Book Award for Pre-Teen Literature. In 2012, Karen published the second in the Nate Rocks series, Nate Rocks the Boat, followed by middle grade novel, Millicent Marie Is Not My Name. Karen is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).

What is Millicent Marie about?

Twelve-year-old Millicent Marie does not like her name. After all, she was named for a woman who died more than fifty years ago and was not the most loveable member of the Harris family. Her friends call her Millie, but when she writes in her diary she refers to herself as Amanda – the name she always wished she had.

When Millie’s younger brother finds her diary on her computer, he decides to publish it as a blog for the entire world to see, including the boy Millie has a crush on. In the midst of all the mayhem, Millie/Amanda discovers she is suddenly Springside Elementary’s most sought after sixth-grade mystery gossip and advice columnist.

But not all is fun and games, as Millie quickly learns, once she realizes feelings are at stake. Nobody, least of all Millie, expects things to turn out as they do in this tale of friendship and respect.

Competition!! Enter the Rafflecopter to win:

Individual swag pack
Bookmarks, sticker, notepad, magnet, keychain, & signed postcard

Grand Prize
Swag pack plus tote bag, mug, and Amazon Gift Card

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Social Media Links:

Amazon (print and ebook)
Barnes & Noble (print and ebook)

Tour Schedule:

Oct. 11 Loves 2 Reads - Character Guest Post, Review, & Swag Giveaway
Oct. 12 Alchemy of Scrawl - Author Interview, Review, & Swag Giveaway
Oct. 13 Living, Learning, and Loving Life - Review & Swag Giveaway
Oct. 14 Double the Fun Day
Book Him Danno - Review & Swag Giveaway
Lindsay and Jane's Views and Reviews - Review & Author Interview
Oct. 15 So I'm Fifty - Character Guest Post, Review, & Swag Giveaway
Oct. 16 Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dave - Author Guest Post
Oct. 17 Geo Librarian - Character Guest Post, Review, & Swag Giveaway
Oct. 18 Rumor Has It - Character Guest Post, Review, & Swag Giveaway
Oct. 19 Book Lovers Paradise - Character Guest Post, Review, & Swag Giveaway
Oct. 20 Fairday's Blog! Author Guest Post
Oct. 21 Vixie's Stories - Character Guest Post & Swag Giveaway
Oct. 22 Ali's Bookshelf - Author Guest Post, Review, & Swag Giveaway
Oct. 23 The Bunny's Review - Character Interview, Review, & Swag Giveaway
Oct. 24 Larkin's Book Bloggers - Author Guest Post, Review, & Swag Giveaway
Oct. 25 Mrs. Mommy Booknerd's Book Reviews - Author Interview & Swag Giveaway 
Oct. 26 Someday, When I'm Famous... Author Interview, Review, & Swag Giveaway
Oct. 27 It's About Time Mamaw - Author Interview, Review & Swag Giveaway
Oct. 28 Q&A with Karen Pokras Toz at
Oct. 29 Mom Does Reviews - Character Interview, Review, & Swag Giveaway
Oct. 30 Kid Lit Reviews - Character Guest Post & Swag Giveaway (Review on 10/31)
Oct. 31 Italian Brat's Obsessions - Character Guest Post, Review & Swag Giveaway

Friday, 19 October 2012

The Indie Exchange #FlashFiveFriday: House

It's Friday Flash time again...

The prompt is...

#FlashFiveFriday is a weekly flash fiction/flash blogging prompt run by The Indie Exchange.

The rules are very simple if you’d like to take part:
1) Write for no longer than five minutes;
2) No upper or lower word limits;
3) You must write something new;
4) You can prepare your post ahead of time but the 5 minute limit still applies; and
5) If you add your blog post to the weekly linky you must visit five other blogs that week too to show your support.

Click the link to read other people's flashies...     
Why not give it a go?

Here is mine:

The house in the forest

In the summer of my mind I spy a house. Windows darkened and curtains drawn, the sun blazes down on the cracked windowpane. Water trickles from a broken drain. Grey paint flakes from the wooden door that has stood against the elements and braved them for so many dark winters long. The red brick is dashed with a few pebbles, but most have been cast out, long gone. On top, a brown-tiled roof sits perched like a well-worn hat that has seen better days and is hurrying off to a second-hand shop, but charity seems to have departed this home. 

In my mind’s eye I see people busying themselves. A woman hangs blankets on a swinging line, a laughing boy cycles nosily, a girl runs rings round a barking, leaping dog, and a stern man huffs and puffs his way through the daily newspaper. 

In my dream I walk for miles in never-ending circles of wandering beneath the dipping branches and the falling yellowing leaves of autumnal mists. I wither in the turning. The rivers run fast towards the end of times, the skies open their arms in mourning. In my dream I turn towards the eyes of glass staring back at me, knowing that the house is me.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Words with... Donna Dillon-Truckenbrod

Thanks to Donna Dillon-Truckenbrod for this interview

What is your day job or are you lucky enough to write for a living?

I am lucky enough to have a husband who thinks I should focus all my attention on writing. We have tightened our purse strings a bit to make it happen, but he works and I write.

What books have you written so far?

I have completed 3 books so far. The Snake Pit: Jr. High Can Be Torture, a YA novella about bullying, was published in October 2009. Through The Gloaming is a full-length YA/mainstream crossover about a young man who falls through the ice, finds his afterlife is not as pleasant as it could have been, and is given a second chance to change. It was published in April 2012. Why Did It Have To Rain Today is a children’s picture book about Jack, a little boy whose Saturday plans are ruined by a rainstorm so he finds adventure through reading. 

What works in progress do you have?

I am currently working on another children’s book about Down Syndrome, called My Sister Has Down Syndrome.

How long did it take you to write your book/s?

The Snake Pit basically wrote itself and I had the first draft done in 2 days. Through The Gloaming took almost a full year to complete. Why Did It Have To Rain Today? was very easy to write; just a matter of about an hour to get the story down, but the illustrations seemed to take forever. It took about 6 months to complete.

Do you write linear, or jump back and forth? Do you plan or write by the seat of your pants?

I don’t plan or plot anything. I generally sit down, open a bag of M&Ms and write whatever falls out of my head. Sometimes it’s good; sometimes it’s not so good. Usually it works very well for me.

Why do you write?

Because I was born to.

How long have you been writing?

Pretty much all my life.

Where and when do you write? Do you have set times?

I do my best writing late at night when my family are asleep. I have 4 kids and you would think that the daytime, when they are all at school, would be optimal, but it doesn’t work. Phone is ringing, dishes need doing, laundry needs folded… late night is all mine.

Which character from your books do you like most / are most like?

Cinda, the main character from The Snake Pit. I was born with the same birth defect as she, and I endured many of the same nasty names and bullying as she did, so I do identify with her. I was not one to stand by and allow myself to be bullied, so there lies the difference.

What/who inspired you to write and still inspires you?

My mother. She thought everything I put on paper was brilliant.

What do you think is the ideal recipe for a good novel or story?

You have to have a hook – something that grabs the reader from the beginning and doesn’t let go.

Have you ever based a character on someone from real life? And did you tell them?

Cinda’s best friend, Charlie, is based on a friend of my daughter, but I never told her so.

If you had to pick some actors/actresses to play the characters in your book, who would you hire?

Oh my, I have no idea about that one!

Fave things: animal? food? film? colour? band? place? item of clothing?

Dog, M&Ms, Shawshank Redemption, purple, Queen, home, My Walter Payton Jersey.

When you were a kid, what did you want to do/who did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a medical examiner. Then I found out I had to go to medical school, so I scrapped those plans.

Would you say that your dreams have come true or are you still working on them?

Dreams are always, and always should be, a work in progress.
You’re walking in the forest and you bump into an alien librarian from Mars. He wants five book recommendations from you…
1. To Kill A Mockingbird;
2. The Five People You Meet In Heaven;
3. Harry Potter;
4. Stephen King’s The Long Walk; and
5. Roots.
Who is your favourite character from any book and why?

Dobby from Harry Potter… I’m still not over his loss.

Who is your hero / heroine?

My mom… she was amazing.

Which book do you wish you had written?

The Harry Potter series... absolutely brilliant.

Which three authors would you like to take to the pub?

JK Rowling, Edgar Allen Poe and William Shakespeare. I would say Stephen King, but just the thought of it turns me into a big slobbery mess and I don’t think that would make a great impression!

Are you published or self-published? What is your experience?

I am self-published through Createspace. They have done all three of my books and I am still happy with the experience.

How do you find the marketing experience?

Picture the world’s largest headache; then multiply by 7.

What advice would you give other writers just starting out?

You can’t do this by yourself. Join author groups and surround yourself with those who have been there, done that. And it won’t happen overnight. If it were that easy, everyone would do it.

Do you have a blog? What do you blog about?

I blog like I write. Whatever is rolling around in my head at the time falls out on to the paper.

What other hobbies do you have?

I love to paint, if I am not writing, you can find me at my drafting table drawing and painting something.

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?

I would like to see The Snake Pit part of the curriculum in every Jr. High School in the country.

If you won the Lotto or a major publishing contract, what would you do with that dosh? 

I would buy a bigger house so my kids could each have their own room and then rent my current house to a single mother for next to nothing so she could go to school and not worry about struggling to pay rent.

Complete one of these stories in 100 words or less… 
1. There was once a wee worm called Fred…
2. In the deep and darkest reaches of the dank forest...
3. One day Charlotte decided she was going to change the world...

There was a wee worm called Fred
Whose hat wouldn’t fit on his head.
He struggled and cried, and eventually sighed,
And put on an old scarf instead.

What question do you wish I’d asked and, of course, what is the answer?

I think you asked the perfect questions and wouldn’t change a thing.


Donna is also Janus' chosen author this week -

Friday, 12 October 2012

The Indie Exchange #FlashFiveFriday: Dog

It's Friday Flash time again...

The prompt is...

#FlashFiveFriday is a weekly flash fiction/flash blogging prompt run by The Indie Exchange.

The rules are very simple if you’d like to take part:
1) Write for no longer than five minutes;
2) No upper or lower word limits;
3) You must write something new;
4) You can prepare your post ahead of time but the 5 minute limit still applies; and
5) If you add your blog post to the weekly linky you must visit five other blogs that week too to show your support.

Click the link to read other people's flashies...     Why not give it a go?

Here are mine:

It's a dog's life

It’s a dog’s life, you know. A little scratch here, a little scratch there, a sniff, a whiff and a phew, why does my bum smell so bad? What did I eat last? You know, with all these scraps I find, I’ve no idea. I love a rummaging in the dustbins in the mornings, just before the men turn up to empty them. You never know what you’ll find in there. People throw away so much perfectly good food. Okay, some may be past it’s best, but it tastes okay to me. I even found a pair of old slippers the other day though they were too big for my paws, but I wrestled with them for a bit and that passed the time til I found a bone to chew on. 

It’s a dog’s life, checking out the gardens, dashing between the alleyways, running through the fountains, fishing in the stream for, well, dog knows what, and chasing squirrels in the park. Nope, don’t go all animal-rights and mushy on me, I haven’t caught any. It seems that I’m too slow. Nothing to brag about there. But I can still fetch a bone, if the fancy takes me. 

It’s a dog’s life. I take everything in my big paw stride. It’s a waggy-waggy woo day when the sun is shining and I’m heading off for some fun with my nose in the air. A sniffy sniffy –woo, what will I find today. Mmm. There goes old Mrs Whatshername... I wonder if she’ll have any treats for me today, or at least a tickle under my chin. She’s my favourite woman in the neighbourhood because she really loves doggies. Voof.

From the dog house

Well, how do you do, Mister,
Woofed the dog to the man.
I see you’re looking around
For a brand new pooch.
What d'you reckon on my coat?
Or my big, soppy brown eyes?
I can sit, beg and fetch a bone
Chase rabbits or squirrels –
You name it, I’ll run after it,
If that’s okay with you...
I know you don’t understand 
No matter how much I woof 
But I’ve been in this dog home 
A long, long while and I’d like
To move out to a nice warm place
With a big garden, preferably,
And maybe a kid or two to play 
Plus some tasty dinners going
But I’m not too fussy, if I’m honest
For a doggie of my old years
All I’m looking for now really
Is some good old-fashioned love

Thursday, 11 October 2012

ITP and me, by Greta Burroughs

This article was previously published as 'Authors Give Back' article by Rhonda Hopkins on her blog, which is here: and is reproduced with her kind permission.

Greta is a wife, mother of three dogs and an author. She also has an autoimmune disease called ITP – Immune Thrombocytopenia, also known as Immune or Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura . This blood disorder changed many facets of her life, but she has no regrets. It gave her the opportunity to become a writer; first as a freelance reporter for a local newspaper and then as an author. Writing has become very important to her and she has also been able to fulfil her dream of writing a novel. 

Scroll down to find out how you can help the charity of her choice.

ITP…three little letters that can turn a person’s world upside down.

For kids, that means not being able to run and play with friends when platelet counts are low. For teenagers, appearance is of the utmost importance and having bruises, rashes and the like make them want to run away and hide. For adults, the ever present question looms at the back of their mind, where did that bruise come from?

ITP is an autoimmune disorder where a person’s immune system starts to destroy what it is supposed to protect. In the case of this blood disease, platelets are targeted. A low platelet count leads to the inability of the blood to clot properly. This results in bruising, petechiae or possible internal or external hemorrhaging.

There is no cure for ITP, only treatments and sometimes the treatments are worse than the disease itself. The PDSA (Platelet Disorder Support Association) works tirelessly to spread awareness of ITP and to raise money for research. Through their efforts, September is now recognized as ITP Awareness Month. Events across the USA are sponsored by the PDSA during the month to bring this terrible blood disorder to the attention of everyone and to raise money for research.

September is an important month but the PDSA continues their campaign year round. Since ITP is not very well known, it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get the word out to the general public and to raise funds for studies and research. They host a conference annually for ITPers to attend. During the conference, information on new findings and treatments are presented, plus it gives people suffering from this disease a chance to meet and talk.

The PDSA does not work alone, the ITP Foundation in the UK also has the same goal: to spread awareness and initiate research for better treatments and maybe someday a cure.

Why do I think the PDSA and the UK Foundation are worthy causes? Because I have ITP.  During the first several years of trying to understand this disease, I felt alone and very confused. I did not know any other people facing the same challenges. When I discovered PDSA and the various support groups on Facebook, I realized there were other ITPers out there asking the same questions.

I am in remission now but since my diagnosis in 2005, I have experienced a doozy of a ride on the ITP roller coaster. I wrote about my experiences in a book entitled Heartaches and Miracles to do my part in helping to spreading the word. For the month of September and October, the proceeds from the sale of my story will be donated to the PDSA.

You can buy Greta’s books at the following locations. If you purchase Heartaches and Miracles, you will be helping to support a great cause:
Amazon US     Amazon UK     B&N     Smashwords

Greta's other books:

A follow-up to Gerald and the Wee People is coming soon...

You can find out more about Greta and connect with her at the following:

Also on my blog:

Words with Greta Burroughs -
My reviews of Greta's books - check under the 'book review's tab