Friday, July 25, 2014

The Dreamkeeper Chronicles Audiobook Tour

Don't forget to check out the GIVEAWAY
at the end of this post for a chance to 
WIN some fantastic prizes!

We are thrilled to announce that The Dreamstone, book two in The Dream Keeper Chronicles is now available in audiobook. If have never had the opportunity to listen to an audiobook before, now is your time! An audiobook is a wonderful way to enjoy a book. It brings a level of richness and art to the book you can't get with just words alone.

Dorothy called it Oz, Alice Called it Wonderland, but Nightmares call it HOME.

There is a world inside our own, 
but we can’t see it when we are 
awake—only when we sleep. 
It is then we find ourselves in Dreams.  

Synopsis for book 1: The Dream Keeper

When an evil shifter takes over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, it falls to 14-year-olds Parker and Kaelyn to stop him. Their only hope lies with Gladamyr, the Dream Keeper, but can they trust a Nightmare to save their world?

Synopsis for book 2: The Dreamstone

When Parker’s mom is dreamnapped by the wicked Mab, it is up to him and Kaelyn to save her. When they return to Dreams, they discover Mab isn’t their only problem. Gladamyr has lost his powers and the only way to get them back is to become what he fears the most—a nightmare.

Check out what people are saying 
about The Dream Keeper Chronicles!

"A fun, fantastic ride through both Dream and Nightmare. Brooks has written a book that can be enjoyed by young and old alike. Bravo!" ~Michaelbrent Collings, bestselling author of The Billy Saga

“A wild stallion of a story: fast, thrilling, and unpredictable. If this one isn’t a kid-pleaser, I don’t know what is.” ~Michelle Isenhoff, author of the Taylor Davis Series 

"I listened to The Dream Keeper on audiobook and absolutely loved it! Anthony Bianco did an outstanding job of bringing each character to life." ~L.R.W Lee, author of The Andy Smithson Series


"My heart hammered and I couldn't tear my eyes away from the page. I felt every emotion the characters did, I laughed, I cried, I felt fear while reading this book." ~Amazon reviewer

"If you like the Percy Jackson, Fablehaven, or the Harry Potter series, you'll love this!" ~Amazon reviewer


Check out this interview 
with the narrator, Anthony Bianco!

What have you enjoyed most about narrating The Dream Keeper Chronicles?

Bringing the mythology that Mikey has created to life. There is a sense of innocence, wonder, and possibility on the world of Awake and Dreams. Our dreams are one of the nearest things we still have to magic. And discovering the story has helped remind me to continue to look for the magic in the world around me.

How did you go about finding a distinct voice for each character?

Many times Mikey provided some kind of description of the character that would inform the choices I would make. Age, gender, body size/ shape. I imagine how the voices sound when I am reading and do my best to apply those changes when I get in the booth. I would like to think that all of the choices that I made were informed by the text. I did my best to fully imagine what Mikey created and trust that when he is satisfied with the result I have done my job. 

You work as a professional actor; do you find your profession helps you in narrating books?

I find it incredibly helpful. The fact that I am not in front of an audience doesn't make a lot of a difference to me. The act of storytelling is the same no matter what the medium. Many of the skills needed: articulation, breath support, vocal flexibility, emotion (to highlight a few) all come into play when recording. When you are in the booth you have to be hyper aware of every movement and sound. Even though nobody can see what you look like, any extraneous movements can cause sounds which can be picked up by the mic. It is essential to have the physical and vocal awareness to keep those sounds to a minimum. At the same time you can't allow that to keep you from bing expressive and energized when telling the story. It can be a tricky balance sometimes. But the years of training help to balance those factors.

Is there a character in the book you related to the most and why?

I think Gladamyr was the easiest to relate to, even though he is a Dream keeper. I love the tortured heroes. Plus, Gladamyr's powers are the coolest! Many of my favorite fantasy characters have been Shape-shifters or have had an ability similar to Gladamyr. It probably appeals to the actor in me, being able to shift and morph would be like the ultimate costume change.

If you were to dream up a nightmare what would it be?

Absolutely terrifying. Probably something similar to Minion, a monster made from a swarm of spiders. When I have nightmares they are the worst. I am usually being chased by a dark formless, shifting shadow (not unlike Gladamyr now that I think about it). There are always lost of teeth and it is fast; constantly changing throughout the dream. The worst nightmares know when to change and get worse when you think it can get any worse. 

How do you manage to smoothly accentuate the “voice” of the different characters? 

Breath, breath, breath. You can't transition from voice to voice without the proper breath support to fuel the instrument. If it sounds smooth it is a combination of quality editing and quality vocal control by the narrator.

How did you become a book narrator? Did anything specific prompt you to undertake this career?

A friend encouraged me to pursue it. He made the transition from actor to narrator full time and thought I would also be good at it. So, he gave me the initial push. I haven't been able to make that transition fully, though. I am still working and audition for gigs in bother careers. As well as working at a coffee shop and doing odd work as a ranch hand and landscaper to make ends meet. I am still at the begging of my narrating career but what has prompted me to continue to pursue it is the flexibility to create my own hours, work from home, and the complete artistic control of the storytelling.


Narrator Bio:

Anthony Bianco is a professional actor living and working in Denver, Colorado. He is a native Oregonian and has been acting and storytelling for the past eighteen years. He received a BFA in Acting with a minor in Shakespeare Studies at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. Anthony then went on to receive is MFA in Acting from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Anthony moved to Denver five years ago and has worked for three seasons with the Denver Center Theatre Company, one season at Colorado Shakespeare Festival and most recently appeared as Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities.

Author Bio:

Mikey Brooks 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 the best-selling middle-grade series The Dream Keeper Chronicles, The Stone of Valhalla, and The Gates of Atlantis: Battle for Acropolis. His picture books include the best-selling ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures and Bean’s Dragons. 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 full-time 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’ (www.emblazoners.com). You can find more about him and his books at: www.insidemikeysworld.com
 
Check out the books!

The Dream Keeper

The Dreamstone


Check out the GIVEAWAY!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'm excited about this because, as anyone who knows me knows I'm a huge audiobook fan. I have the first audiobook in this series, and I loved it--both Mikey's story and Anthony's narration. I've got my copy now of both audiobooks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cover Reveal: Quest of the Artisan by Donna Hosie

THE CHILDREN OF CAMELOT series continues in QUEST OF THE ARTISAN.

Six months ago, seventeen-year-old Rustin Hall thought he knew what he wanted. Then he travelled back in time with his best friend, Mila, to the world of Camelot, knights and magic, and everything changed.

Now Rustin is the artisan, and he knows his future because it's written in the past.

But Rustin's plan to build the first temple for the Gorian druids is cut down like the trees he talks to when the Round Table reveals the name of the newest knight of Camelot: a name that carves fear and unrest into the other knights. With Mila now in danger, Rustin, along with his friends, James and Jalaya, goes on a quest to find her before a new malevolent evil gets there first. A necromancer is building an army of the dead, and they are coming for Arthur's daughter.

Rustin will join forces with a young would-be knight called Galahad, as his quest takes him into the very heart of the Arthurian legends he grew up reading. A quest that could be the end of the artisan's life, not just in Logres, but for good.

Due for release 2015.

Click here to see the rest of Donna Hosie's books on Amazon.


Sixteen-year-old Mila Roth wants to be normal. It’s a phrase that has been drilled into her by her mother since she was born.

But Mila Roth is anything but normal. For sixteen years her parents have hidden a secret from her. For Mila was born one thousand years ago in the land of Logres, and far from being a math teacher and a housewife, Mila’s parents are the awakened King Arthur and Gorian druid queen, Morgana.

Two worlds, one thousand years apart. And those worlds are about to collide.

The spirit of the malevolent Lady of the Lake has been contained for sixteen years in the fabled Ring of Morgana. When the ring curses Mila’s younger sister, Lilly, the Roth family has no choice but to return Mila to the land of her birth as they face a battle against time itself.

Accompanied by her best friend, Rustin, Mila will have to decide whether to defy those she loves in order to save her sister. Should she trust the Gorian druids and the mysterious Melehan? What is the true cost to Mila’s heart as she strives to master the purple flame? And why have her mother and father denied the truth of her origins for so long?

For she alone has the combined power of royalty and druid magic within her.

And now only Mila can save Lilly and Logres.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Meandering

It was a crazy busy week last week. My son and his family left Tuesday, and more family arrived (just for one night) on Wednesday evening. That was also the night I had my online launch party for Torn Canvas.

Wow, all I can say is if you're looking for a reasonably priced party host, you'll want to check out LovingtheBook LaunchParty. I'd sent out a request in some of my writerly groups to see if anyone wanted to donate anything to the launch. I had a phenomenal response, and Becca kept things moving really fast. It's the kind of event where people can drop in as their schedule permits, but many stayed the whole two hours. And she has gathered a following of readers who come to her parties, so it was an opportunity to meet new people online. I will definitely use her again.

On Friday, I had signed up for a promotional event in a sweet/clean romance group I'm a member of. Since I had Friday off, I chose the mid-afternoon time. Two hours I had.

Um. Yeah. Not a good time slot. If not for a few of my online friends who took pity on me, it would have been an epic fail event. And I spent HOURS putting together posts related to my different books and trying to create questions that would engage participants on a personal level and, hopefully, make them interested in the books. Everyone who came had already read them. lol

But, I have all the material, so I figure when I get over the burn no one being there, I'll have this stuff to use again when there might actually be someone there who hasn't read my books. Live and learn. Timing is everything!

But I learned a cool way to show excerpts on FB, as an image with an attractive border. Here's a snippet from a deleted scene from A Change of Plans:
The software is called PhotoScape, and it's a free download. 

So did you do anything fun this weekend?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fractured by Karen Hoover



There was absolutely no way a black dragon hovered outside of Newtimber. Sianna rubbed her eyes, but the dragon was still there, clutching a round object that looked like a spotted egg. And then the egg fell, hitting the ground like an atomic bomb, sending out waves of a slow-moving fog that distorted everything it touched.

The citizens of Newtimber change. The old man down the street stretches into a screaming tree. Sianna’s skateboarding friend, Matt, transforms into a giant green dragon. Pegasus. Sirens. Griffins. Vampires. Zombies. Creatures from the myths of every culture come to life through the people.

Even Sianna changes, her skin becoming stone hard, and she gains the ability to travel from the human realm into the dimension of the fae, using it to free her father from prison and enlist his aid in battling the evil bent on taking over the world. 

One person to heal a family, a town, and save the world. It seems an impossible task, but with the help of her new friends, it could happen. 

Right?



Karen E. Hoover has loved the written word for as long as she can remember. Her favorite memory of her dad is the time he spent with Karen on his lap, telling her stories for hours on end. Her dad promised he would have Karen reading on her own by the time she was four years old … and he very nearly did. Karen took the gift of words her dad gave her and ran with it. Since then, she’s written two novels and reams of poetry. Her head is fairly popping with ideas, so she plans to write until she’s ninety-four or maybe even a hundred and four. Inspiration is found everywhere, but Karen’s heart is fueled by her husband and two sons, the Rocky Mountains, her chronic addiction to pens and paper, and the smell of her laser printer in the morning.

The first book in Karen's The Wolfchild Saga, The Sapphire Flute is free right now! Amazon and B&N.



Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Meandering

Wow. It's been a busy and wonderful three weeks with my oldest son and his family. We did a lot of fun stuff:
  • Got to see How to Train Your Dragon 2.
  • Went to the Utah Arts Festival. Pretty cool stuff there, especially the aerialists.
  • Went to the rodeo. Haven't done that in a bazillion years. It rained on us.
  • Went to a baseball game on July 3rd and got a great fireworks show. Scared the crap out of my grandson because we were so close. It had sprinkled on us earlier but it stopped before the fireworks.
  • Had a BBQ and fireworks for the 4th.
















  • Saw a theater-in-the-round presentation of Man of La Mancha.
  • Introduced the grandkids (who live in China) to movies like E.T., Shanghai Noon, and Secondhand Lions.
  • They did other fun stuff like mountain hikes, sleepovers with old family friends, confidence course, and a visit to one of those bouncy places.
* * * * * * * * * *
Reading
I got some reading done. Here are the books I've read so far this year:


I actually listened to another book that Goodreads wouldn't let me list since I'd already read it once before and reviewed it. That was Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings. And it was a behemoth. But I read it in advance of the second book that came out in January.

* * * * * * * * * *
Pen Name?
The timing was good for this visit because I'd run into a roadblock with my next project and wasn't sure what to do. After talking about it with some writerly friends, I decided to go back to another project I wrote a couple of years ago and needed to be edited. This is very different than my previous books because it's YA and a fantasy. Good decision to shift to it! It's been a great break, and I'm excited to get to work on it when the vacation is over.

Question, though. I'm wondering if I should use a pen name for this YA fantasy series. Would people who like my contemporary adventure romances be put off  by this change in age group and genre?

What do you think?

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Shaman's Curse by Meredith Mansfield

I'm excited to share the release of Meredith Mansfield's newest book, and it's the first book in a series. Woohoo! I love her books!

Vatar risked his life to try to save his friend--and failed. Now he has an implacable enemy in the vengeful shaman, who blames Vatar for the death of his only son. In his isolation, Vatar finds some comfort in daydreams. He knows the strange girl he sometimes imagines is just that--a dream. She’d better be.

Because, if she’s real things could get even worse for Vatar. The accepted magic of Vatar’s plains tribe wouldn’t enable him to see or communicate with a girl he doesn’t even know--or know where to find. That would be more like the magic passed down in certain, closely-guarded bloodlines among the ruling class of the coastal cities. And that’s bad. Very bad.

Unlike their own, Vatar’s people think the city magic is evil. If the shaman ever found out, it could be the weapon he needs to destroy Vatar. And yet, finding a way to accept the other side of his heritage may be the only way Vatar can ultimately defeat his enemy.

The two kinds of magic have always been totally separate. Until now.

The related short story "Becoming Lioness" is free in all those places and more.

Excerpt:
Vatar reined his horse back behind his friends and turned his head slowly to scan around the endless circle of the plains that merged with the sky at the far horizon. The earth was all golden brown now, the grasses prematurely dried up by the lack of rain. Here and there, the green smudges of trees dotted the savannah, marking the waterholes. The darker blue-green line of the Great Forest marked the eastern horizon. Another line of trees, much closer, marked the course of the river. Everything seemed normal, but that spot between his shoulder blades still itched with a premonition of undefined danger that grew stronger the closer they got to the river.

Ariad slowed down to match Vatar's pace, allowing the other two boys to go ahead. "Lions?"

Vatar shook his head. That was one danger he could dismiss out of hand. His connection to the Spirit of the Lion told him the nearest lions--in the shade at a distant waterhole--were sleeping off a full meal. "None we need to worry about."

"What then?" Ariad asked.

"I don't know. Something . . ." Vatar caught himself before he said too much. It was one of his mother's oldest admonitions--almost as old as "Don't touch the fire!" From the very first time he'd tried to describe that infrequent feeling of danger, she'd warned him not to mention it to anyone but her and Pa. Even his little sister Kiara didn't know about it.

Vatar was already different enough--dark-haired and strongly-built among the tall, lanky, fair Dardani. Though she was Dardani now, his mother had come originally from a far-off city on the sea coast. The Dardani would accept his hair color and height, but not anything that even hinted at forbidden magic. Other than a few old stories, Vatar had no idea why his people had such deep-seated superstitious fear of magic, but he knew full well that it was one of the few things they'd never forgive.

Vatar didn't think the itch between his shoulder blades was magic, any more than his ability to sense lions. That was his connection to his clan's totem spirit--just like Ariad could sense eagles. But Mother's caution was second nature by now. He forced one corner of his mouth up in a half-smile. "Maybe I've just heard one too many of Pa's stories about Themyri ambushes."

Ariad barked a laugh. "Haven't we all? To hear our fathers tell it, the river is almost as dangerous as the Great Forest." He shuddered a little at the reference to the one place all plains-dwelling Dardani feared most and made a surreptitious sign against magic and evil spirits. Being Eagle Clan, Ariad's hand curled in an imitation of an eagle's talons.


About the author:
Professionally, I've been a financial analyst and a visual basic programmer. I also have a paralegal certificate, although I've never worked in that field. It's anybody's guess what I'll be when I grow up.
Imagining stories and writing have always been an important part of my life. It's one I finally got to spend a significant amount of time on while I cared for my mother who had Alzheimer's disease.


Monday, June 30, 2014

Blog Break Reminder

My son and his family are visiting from China. It's only the second time they've been back in five years. With the exception of some previous commitments on Fridays, I will be off until July 14th.

Have a great 4th of July--even if it isn't your Independence Day.
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