Friday, September 28, 2012

The Secret Underground + Guest Post

The Secret Underground
by Natalie Bahm

Goodreads Blurb:

Twelve-year-old Ally is the only witness to a bank robbery in her small town. Unable to block out the memory of the robbers, a notorious gang known as the Gauze Men, Ally joins her little brother and a bunch of neighborhood boys digging a hole in her backyard.

Only the hole isn't just a hole - it's a massive set of tunnels snaking beneath the neighborhood and heading for an abandoned steel mill. Ally is old enough to know the danger, but she reasons spending time with sixth-grade heartthrob Paul is more fun than sitting at home with her worries. And dangerous it is - none of the kids' parents realize the tunnels exist, but the Gauze Men might.

100% of proceeds from this book will be donated to help a baby boy named Jayden, and contribute toward his family's massive medical expenses. Jayden suffers from a combination of congenital problems including Hirschsprung's disease.

Natalie wrote this book to help Baby Jayden and his family, who have been through untold emotional and financial hardship since his birth. The proceeds for this incredible book will go to Jayden's parents. Wow. I am blown away by Natalie's compassion and generosity. I hope you will all buy a copy, spread the word, whatever you can . . .


When I was a kid reading aloud terrified me.  When I read to myself the words on the page made sense, but when I read aloud they got blurry and mixed up.  I stuttered and missed words and read very slowly to compensate.  When a teacher called on me to read in class I’d panic, sure that I would mess up and look silly. 

I was lucky enough to have teachers who realized I was a good reader (thanks to comprehension tests), but other students teased me. I never volunteered to read aloud, and tried to keep my eyes down during class reading times so I wouldn’t be asked to read.

It was bad.

When high school came I knew I needed to get over my fear. I practiced reading aloud to myself at home.  I tried to skim ahead when the class was reading something, so if I got called on I could recite bits from memory.

Then one day, I was in English and my teacher asked me to read a long poem to the class.  I read the entire thing without stumbling once.  I still remember the feeling of triumph in that moment.  I’d conquered my fear.

Two weeks ago, I finished recording the audiobook for The Secret Underground.  It was such an interesting experience.  I learned a ton about narration and recording.  I made all sorts of mistakes and spent HOURS fixing them.  Fifteen years ago I never would have imagined I could read a whole book aloud, much less a book that I’d written. I’m pretty sure middle-grade-me would be proud.

Natalie Bahm’s The Secret Underground will come out September 28th with all profits going to the family of baby Jayden Huynh.  Jayden is a two-year-old with serious health problems. You can read more about the project here. The eBook version of The Secret Underground is available for preorder on Amazon and Apple/iTunes.  The print and audio versions will be available on release day at all major online booksellers.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Templeton Twins Blog Tour + GIVEAWAY

Welcome to the 
Templeton Twins Blog Tour
and Giveaway . . .
and Recipe . . .
and Guest Post!
(yep, I'm a full service blog stop today) 


Twins Stuff
by Ellis Weiner

Readers might be wondering: am I going to get into any of the nifty/creepy stuff we’ve heard about, read about, or fantasized about, vis a vis the special psychic connection between twins?  Will John and Abigail Templeton be revealed to:

a. Have their own private language, which is gibberish to the rest of the world but deeply significant and signifying and of signal importance to them?
b. Possess some kind of wacko mental-telepathy thing, where they finish each other’s sentences (which is, really, not interesting; who hasn’t done that with a good friend?) or even don’t bother using sentences, since they can read each other’s minds (v. interesting)?
c. Be unable to exist or survive without each other?
d. Grow into adults displaying a truly weird duplication in many of their pursuits, tastes, and personal relationships, e.g., both end up marrying people named “Sam,” both end up as civil engineers, or both end up opening—on opposite sides of the country, unbeknownst to each other—Cajun/Irish fusion restaurants?

I don’t know.  I’m wondering that myself.

On the one hand, it seems like looking for narrative trouble, to start exploiting any kind of special psychic connection.  The whole point of the series is to show them solving problems without magic.  If—as I have—I have made it a point to forbid the real-life magical devices of the digital age, from cell phones to GPS to computers, I can’t very well introduce ESP and paranormal abilities and expect the series to retain its distinctive charm. 

I’m also leery of getting too fancy-schmancy with the whole private language/private mythology thing, however documented it has been in real life.  Again, the point of Abigail and John is that they’re not weird, and that the skills they display are available to any kid (and adult) who bothers to think about them.

As for having them grow up into mirror-image lives, it’s true that there is an abundance of amazing real-life cases in which twins separated in childhood (to different foster homes, for example) end up dressing the same, both marrying women named Joan, both of whom dislike lima beans, and so on.  But I doubt whether we’ll ever see, or even speculate upon, the twins as adults.  So the question, which in real life is fascinating, here is moot.

Still…It might be fun to make up some special trick they can do by virtue of their twindom, or twinhood, or whatever word Word will let me use.  I just thought of that and I have no idea what it means.  But as long as they are twins, I would probably be well-advised to think about exploiting it in unfamiliar, surprising ways. 

End of post?  No.  Something’s missing, and the astute reader has already realized what it is: What about the Dean brothers?

They’re twins—in fact, they’re identical, not fraternal, so their twinitude is even more pronounced than the Templetons’.  Surely I can come up with some funny/odd twin phenomenon that exists between them—some comical riff on secret shared language, say, or on shared psychic abilities that don’t quite work the way the Deans think it should. 

THAT is a good idea.  Thank you for helping me think of it.

 The Narrator's Meatloaf

One random commenter (US/Canada only) will receive an AUTOGRAPHED COPY of The Templeton Twins. 
  • Leave a comment * required for entry
  • Tweet - extra entry
  • Facebook link - extra entry

* You can watch the video trailer HERE

* Find The Templeton Twins and pester the Narrator on Tumblr HERE

* Twitter
Be sure to tag #TheTTNarrator 
and/or @ChronicleKids
when you Tweet about The Templeton Twins 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday + GIVEAWAY

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and "Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays" was born. 

***BLOG TOUR:***

Huber Hill and the Brotherhood of the Coronado
  by B.K. Bostick

Expected publication: October 9th 2012 by Sweetwater Books


The Dead Man’s Treasure has been stolen! When Huber receives a revelatory message from a girl in Spain regarding the treasure’s location, the gang hatches a plan. Convincing their parents they are part of a study abroad program, Huber, Scott, and Hannah travel to Salamanca, Spain- an old city full of secrets. 
While in pursuit of their goal, the group becomes dangerously entwined with a secret society called the Brotherhood of Coronado- a ruthless organization led by three self proclaimed kings, bent on reacquiring the lost fortunes of the Spanish empire for nefarious purposes. 
Their only hope of finding the stolen treasure and escaping the city with their lives requires trust in new found friends and in a cloaked figure who reveals clues leading to the Brotherhood’s hiding place. But in a city of strangers, who can you trust?  
With a plot that will keep you guessing, Huber Hill and the Brotherhood of Coronado is a study abroad adventure you’ll want to be a part of!

B. K. Bostick has provided us with another perfect MG story full of adventure and bad guys and unexpected craziness. I loved getting to rejoin the awesome cast of characters from The Dead Man's Treasure and following them on their most recent quest--to Spain! I enjoyed this one even more than the first, which is awesome, because I loved the first one!

For readers who 'like' B. K.'s Facebook or follow him on Twitter, he will mail them a special memento for the book launch (U.S. only). After you've liked the page or followed on twitter, you can email him with your physical mailing address and let him know. The email he'd like you to use is
Cedar Fort has also agreed to give away a copy of the book to one of my lucky readers. Just leave a comment by Friday and I will choose a winner randomly. EXTRA ENTRIES for tweeting, FB, and liking B. K. Just let me know in the comments.

B.K. Bostick, author of Huber Hill and the Brotherhood of Coronado and the best selling book, Huber Hill and the Dead Man's Treasure, resides among the magnificent Rocky Mountains. In addition to writing, he has spent his career in education. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Utah and his Masters in Psychology from Utah State University. He has worked as a teacher, after school program coordinator, teacher mentor, and currently as a counselor for the Open High School of Utah. He loves spending time with his lovely wife, son and two dogs. In his spare time, he enjoys eating cheetos and watching old episodes of the Twilight Zone. (Book Trailer)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cover Reveal - Abandon

by Elana Johnson

Tour hosted by:  AToMR Tours

Goodreads Blurb:
seduced by power,
broken by control,
and consumed by love...

Vi has made her choice between Jag and Zenn, and the Resistance may have suffered for it. But with the Thinkers as strong as ever, the rebels still have a job to do. Vi knows better than anyone that there's more at stake than a few broken hearts.

But there is a traitor among them...and the choices he makes could lead to the total destruction of everything Vi has fought for.

Vi, Jag, and Zenn must set their problems aside for the Resistance to have any hope of ending the Thinkers' reign. Their success means everything...and their failure means death.

ALSO: Elana is running a Pinterest contest for the cover. She wants to get 500 pins (or repins) over the next two days. If we can get that many, she'll pick someone who pinned the cover to win a $50 Amazon gift card.  It's so easy to do this. All you have to do is click this PIN IT  button and select one of your boards to pin the cover to. Elana has done everything else!

Don't have a Pinterest board yet? Put it on your Tumblr page. Your Facebook page. Your twitter stream. Elana will count those too! Just be sure to tag her (@ElanaJ on twitter, Possession by Elana Johnson on Facebook).

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Daily Cheap Reads



Hey, all of you blogging buddies with e-readers! 
Do you know about this cool resource? is a wonderful tool for keeping up with the latest specials on e-books. And for my wonderful Indie-writing buddies, you can email the site director and usually have your own specials posted. 

The site includes the daily Kindle book and app specials, book reviews, and a huge range of genres and reading levels. What I especially love is the junior edition!

If you aren't already aware of this site, 
and if you have an e-reader, 
check it out!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - The Golden Door

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and "Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays" was born. 

The Golden Door
  by Emily Rodda

Published by Scholastic: October 1, 2012

Goodreads Blurb:
The start of a stirring fantasy trilogy from Emily Rodda, the internationally bestselling author of Dragons of Deltora. The walled city of Weld is under attack from ferocious flying creatures that raid in the night, bringing death and destruction. The Warden calls for Volunteers to find and destroy the Enemy sending invaders, and the heroes of Weld answer the call one by one, never to return. Rye is officially too young to go, but his brothers are among the lost and he must find them. What terrors await him beyond the Wall?

I have always loved Emily Rodda. More than any other author I've discovered, her books get reluctant readers to read, especially the Deltora Quest series. When I saw she was beginning a new series, I jumped for joy and immediately requested an ARC.  My daughter, who is currently obsessed with dragons, scooped it up when it arrived in the mail, so I had to wait until she was finished reading. All I heard for days was, "This book is SO GOOD, mama!" She loved it, like I knew she would. Emily Rodda is a SURE THING with kids. Not all adults love her stories, but I have never yet met a kid who could resist them--and I have never been able to resist them myself!

This one is officially released on October 1st, and I recommend getting a copy for the MG reader in your life.

For a full list of MMGM posts, 
visit Shannon Messenger's blog HERE.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Manuscript Advice - Harrison Demchick of Ambitious Enterprises

Harrison Demchick
 Ambitious Enterprises Editing

Harrison is an EXCELLENT editor. I have recommended him in a variety of posts here at Book Dreaming, and I continue to consider him one of the best and worth EVERY penny. In addition to working as an editor at Bancroft Press Publishing, he is currently doubling as a developmental editor with Ambitious Enterprises. His post provides us with useful manuscript advice and reminds us to always think logically inside our stories.

The Bird and the Biscuit: Playing by the Rules 

Not long ago, I was editing a children’s book about a boy who travels back in time to the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812 with a magical talking raven. It’s a fun little story, and through most of it, the main character, Daniel, is not only in an era very much not his own, but also tiny enough to fit on the back of the raven, Calvert.

As the book’s editor, I saw no issues with any of this.

In one scene, though, Calvert the Raven swoops down, grabs a biscuit off an American soldier’s plate, and, midflight, passes half of it back to Daniel.

Here I had problems.

Think about it. Logistically, how does this work? Calvert is a bird. He has no hands. He can use his beak, but how is he going to pass half a biscuit back to Daniel—while flying? If he bites the biscuit in half, most of it will fall. Maybe he could grab the biscuit with his feet, but how is he going to get a foot, attached to his tiny legs, across his back so Daniel can have his share? Any way you think about it, it isn’t going to happen. Something had to change.

Well, sure, you may say. That’s all nice and logical. But—didn’t this raven just shrink Daniel and fly back through time? Is the biscuit really that big a deal?

Actually—yes. It really is.

Every book has a basic premise you need to accept. Maybe it’s that your main character and his brother have been at odds for the last twelve years. Maybe it’s that your main character and his brother are on opposing sides of an intergalactic space war. Who knows? But this is your premise, and there’s nothing wrong with a premise introducing a reality and rules that may not exist in the real world. In this particular story, the premise is that Calvert is a talking raven with the magical ability to shrink Daniel and fly him back through history. This is established early, and within the world of the book, it makes sense. Readers understand that things happen in fiction that couldn’t happen in reality.

But other than that, this world is the real world. The Battle of Baltimore Calvert and Daniel experience is the same one fought between American and British forces in 1814. In fact, that’s rather the point. If Baltimore was saved suddenly on the last page by Godzilla, we’d have problems.

And Calvert, for all his magic, is a raven. We understand a raven to have a certain anatomy and properties. We know birds have wings instead of arms. We can imagine a bird with a biscuit, and a bird with a biscuit flying, but we know that he’s not going to be able to pass half a biscuit to the tiny boy on his back.

If he does, readers—the very same readers who have readily accepted a time-traveling raven with a tiny boy on his back—will know something is wrong. They will reject the plot point. They will no longer be invested entirely in the story, and the author will lose his authority.

When readers are distracted by illogic, they’re not invested in your narrative, and no matter how good the rest of your story may be, it’s simply not going to hit readers the same way. Run a switchblade through a small part of the Mona Lisa and no one notices the masterpiece. All they see is the scratch.

So how did we solve this one? Simple. Calvert passes the whole biscuit back to Daniel. Daniel, who does have hands, splits the biscuit in half and hands one half back to Calvert. It solves the logistical problem and tells us something about Daniel, all while maintaining the credibility both of the author and the book. (The book, Calvert the Raven in the Battle of Baltimore, the first of J. Scott Fuqua’s Flying Through History series, comes out later this year from Bancroft Press.)

This is what you need to remember: You’re not going to lose readers with a wildly inventive premise, or even an outright ridiculous one. But if you contradict the reality and rules you’ve established, you’re going to run into problems. If you think logically, no matter how wild your story, you can ensure it’s the story itself, and not the holes, your readers care about.

(Of course, sometimes a change in the rules is part of the story, but that’s another discussion for another time.)

Harrison Demchick is an editor with seven years of experience in the publishing industry. Specializing in memoir and fiction, he’s worked with children’s books, young adult books, and adult novels of all sorts, from mysteries to thrillers to chick lit to literary fiction and everything in-between. He’s currently taking clients as a developmental editor with Ambitious Enterprises (, a creative services boutique.
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