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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Advent - Happy Holidays !!



Wishing everyone a happy holiday weekend, plenty of shopping at the ready !!

Have a look at our Christmas Advent Calendar below - 
awesome reads, special prices & freebies on books

Sharon x

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Advent - After the Fog by Kathleen Shoop


***2013 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist*** 
 ***Independent Publisher Awards: 2012 Silver, Best Regional Fiction–Mid-Atlantic*** 
 ***National Indie Excellence Awards: 2012 WINNER-- Literary Fiction*** 

 For every woman who thinks she left her past behind…Historic, environmental drama wrapped in a love story... 

 It's 1948 in the steel town of Donora, Pennsylvania, site of the infamous “killing smog.” Public health nurse, Rose Pavlesic, has risen above her orphaned upbringing and created a life that reflects everything she missed as a child. She’s even managed to keep her painful secrets hidden from her doting husband, loving children, and large extended family. When a stagnant weather pattern traps poisonous mill gasses in the valley, neighbors grow sicker and Rose’s nursing obligations thrust her into conflict she never could have fathomed. Consequences from her past collide with her present life, making her once clear decisions as gray as the suffocating smog. As pressure mounts, Rose finds she’s not the only one harboring lies. 

When the deadly fog finally clears, the loss of trust and faith leaves the Pavlesic family—and the whole town—splintered and shocked. With her new perspective, can Rose finally forgive herself and let her family’s healing begin?.

$0.99 Throughout December
Now Available at...

A Language Arts Coach with a Ph.D. in Reading Education, Kathleen lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

Kathleen's debut novel, The Last Letter was garnered multiple awards in 2011.  Her second novel, After the Fog (Silver IPPY), was a category finalist in the 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards. Her third novel, Love and Other Subjects, earned a Silver medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards and received an Honorable Mention from the San Francisco Book Festival. Recently, Kathleen has released the her first romance novella, Home Again (Book One) and Book Two, a novel-length work in the Endless Love series called Return to Love. Books Two and Three in the historical fiction series that started with The Last Letter are near completion.

Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writer’s Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

Kathleen's Christmas Wish...
"Just to share wonderful, magic moments with family. I love the lead up to Christmas more than anything."

Funniest Christmas Memory...
"My funniest Christmas moment was when my older brother, my sister and I pretended to be elves so our little brother would think Santa was real and that he had helpers watching him all the time. We made beards of cotton balls and dressed in robes and hats--it was a success--he believed. A close second was when we did a rendition of the Christmas story and used that same little brother as baby Jesus--he was probably 6 months old--we put him in a doll cradle and as we were all reading our parts, he crashed through the bottom, adding levity to a serious tale!"  

Best thing about Christmas....
"Giving gifts and seeing people smile just being together."

Click another date for a Christmas Surprise




Sharon x

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Book Review - Dyslexic Dick - The Marine Corps Truly Uncommon Experience by Richard W Kraemer

Book Review
Dyslexic Dick - The Marine Corps Truly Uncommon Experience 
by Richard W Kraemer

Book Description
This autobiographic story is about my life in the Marine Corps, and it is unlike any other story you'll ever read about the Marines. It's not a war story, although it did take place toward the end of the Vietnam War. So, don't look for a John Wayne type character in the author, it's just not me. It was at a time when the draft had just ended, and this was the beginning of an all-volunteer armed service for our country. It's not a victim's story because I'm dyslexic. I'm much more of a man because I'm dyslexic and a Marine veteran, as the story tells.

The Marine Corps and my dyslexia helped me achieve great things in life. However, being a dyslexic Marine does have it's drawbacks, too. This story is a humorous, adventurous, and emotional account of my experiences as a Marine. But, it also tells what happens when things are not so honorable. I talk about being pulled from basic training, and shipped to the dark side of Parris Island, a place no Marine talks about. I talk of my horrible family tragedy, and the effect it had on me and the ones I loved.

I speak about both at home and abroad of romance, lust, love, and heartbreak. You'll read what it's really like to travel around the world on a Navy ship, seeing ports of call. The story is nothing like one told before. I tell of my accomplishments as a Marine, and also write of my long list of criminal activity. I wrote about the criminal underworld of the Marines, a few good criminals, but most were not that good. I talk about the thieves, loan sharks, and drug dealers living among us at our barracks and on the open seas. I told of stories about drinking, drugging, and fighting. I spoke of many honorable Marines and some pretty despicable characters. This is one true real life Marine Corps story, and I am proud to say it's my own.

Available to buy from...

Our Book Review
Dyslexic Dick 2 is a very hard hitting and truly honest account of the author's life from the time he joins the marines, it is an emotional roller coaster full of love, humour and tragedy.  The author has the strength and determination to succeed and not give in and he describes how you will either love or hate him.  He is very loyal to the people he trusts and feels a very strong attachment to his marine corp.  The traits and issues of having Dyslexia are clearly defined and help us understand the nature of the ailment.

I have read a lot of people's life stories but not one which is so totally honest and relieving. The escapades that the author gets himself into without him thinking about the consequences add a lot of humour and you find yourself thinking of the writer as a lovable rogue.

If you like an autobiography with no hold bars and written with total honesty you will love this book.

Our Rating

About the Author
I was born into a blue-collar middle class family in the mid-1950s. My parents'™ aspirations for their children were realistic for the time, the girls would grow up to be housewives, and the boys would grow up to be tradesman in some labor union. My parents did not think their children would ever go to college, because higher education was so expensive at the time that only the upper middle class or the rich children had a chance to have a job as a professional who worked in an office.

As I grew up at the time as an unknown dyslexic, struggling to keep up with my fellow classmates academically, I slowly became socially isolated, and ashamed of myself. When I was 13, my parents had finally discovered through psychological testing that I was dyslexic. They had three choices. First, send me away to a special school for dyslexic children, which was out of reach financially for a one-paycheck family with five children. Second, enroll me in special education in my school district, which had severally mentally disabled children, in which I would be taught how to iron, cook, break change of a dollar, and basic human hygiene. At the time, I had already mastered those life skills. Third, main stream my education with the rest of children with no special accommodation, and with hard work maybe graduate high school. My psychologist like some others in his profession, even to this day, suggested the 3rd option. My parents followed the psychologist advice, and also decided not to tell me or anyone else about my dyslexia. My parents thought that I would use the disability as an excuse and it would hold me back from my highest academic potential.

Now in my mid-50s, I consider myself a successful family man. I was a United States Marine Corps Vietnam Era veteran. I joined the Amalgamated Lithographers of America in 1979, where I worked as a printer. In 1989, I earned my A.A.S. degree in Business Management at Orange County Community College. I pursued a career in information systems in many Fortune 500 companies, working my way up from computer operator to the position of Director of Production for Automatic Data Processing Inc. in 1998. In 2003, I changed my career to become a top selling real estate agent for some of the largest firms in upstate New York. I live in Warwick, New York, with my wife of 36 years and daughter.

Yes, you might say, "Hey, you had dyslexia, had no special accommodations for your learning disability, you're a successful guy and your life turned out just fine." You are right, if you were to summarize my life accomplishments in a paragraph. However, how I achieved those accomplishments was, by no stretch of the imagination, easy for me. In my first book, Dyslexic Dick: True Adventures of My World, I tell of all the crazy things I had gotten myself into, the social and personality effects of dyslexia. In short, if I had a child with dyslexia in today's day and age, I would look for educational accommodations to help my child succeed in life. Because if you don't, you could be unleashing on to the world a social outcast, career criminal, a drunk, drug addict, a loner, someone who is continuously unemployed, or they might become a successful citizen like me. Yes, there is strong psychological evidence that suggest dyslexics have a very high rate of all of these counter-social traits, and that only 25% of dyslexics end up like me. In fact, it will become very apparent in my next book, Dick becomes all of those anti-social things above, until he meets the love of his life, even then some of those traits still don't go away.

After writing my first book, I wanted readers to take away from the story that a dyslexic child should not have to grow up and be denied an appropriate public education. What is shocking to know is that over four decades after my story took place, the same type of story is unfolding to millions of students right now in our nation. I had discovered that only the upper-middle-class and rich dyslexics would be educated using the Orton- Gillingham Multi-Sensory Learning Methods. These methods had been proven to teach people with dyslexia for over 60 years. It is a harsh reality that today's people with dyslexia have to face. Dyslexic Advocacy groups had been battling for decades, to get every dyslexic a public education that was appropriate. I thought the fight for dyslexics was a noble one, and I, too, wanted to advocate for people with dyslexia. I am now a Dyslexic Advocate. My first book was recognized by the New York Chapter of the International Dyslexia Association "Everyone Reading", and I had a book signing at their 2013 annual conference. On March 28, 2014, I published the second book of the series of my military career, Dyslexic Dick II: The Marine Corps Truly Uncommon Experience. I want the reader to realize what could happen to a young dyslexic adult who is not remediated. The other reason I write these books was the challenge it presented me. All my life, I had struggled with reading and writing. Even during college, I barely squeaked by to earn my degree. I loved to write stories, but my professors were not interested in the story, only the correct English protocol for scoring. Then years later after discovering, what dyslexia really was and the effect it had on my life, I took on the biggest challenge of my life. I decided to write a book about my life. After I finished the first book, I let a few people read it and they loved it. I then reflected on my story, and realized that it was a funny and exciting life I had lived. If it were a boring story, I would have never published it. Because I might be many things but boring was not one of them. So there you have it. I like to advocate for people with dyslexia and I love to entertain all people while doing it.

Richard "Dick" W. Kraemer   
Find the author on the following sites..



Sharon x

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Winners of The Vineyard giveaway are....


THE LUCKY WINNERS ARE

Mary P
Ally S
Rose S-S
Tia
Jennifer E

CONGRATULATIONS!!


Special thanks to author Michael Hurley for this wonderful giveaway xx


Didn't Win??
Don't Worry!!
You can always treat yourself to the book from here...

A Beautiful Island in New England.
A Time of Healing for Three Women.
A Moment of Destiny for One Man.

From Michael Hurley, winner of the Somerset Prize, comes a tale of old money, young passion, and ancient mystery.

Ten years after their college days together, three wounded and very different women reunite for a summer on the island of Martha's Vineyard. As they come to grips with the challenges and crises in their lives, their encounter with a reclusive poacher known only as "the fisherman" threatens to change everything they believe about their world--and each other. 

Sharon x

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Giveaways and Sweeps Linkup Time !!

Welcome to the best Giveaway Linkup on the web hosted by Let's Start Saving Now,  Beck Valley Books,  Finger Click Saver  and  Book Worm & More! This is a great place to list and find giveaways hosted all around the blogosphere by some great bloggers.

  • List your giveaways below.
  • Hop over and enter 1 or 2 (or all) of the giveaways! If you're the lucky winner, we'd love to hear!
For more giveaways, sweeps and contests, check out our Giveaway Group on Facebook.


Join our facebook group



Sharon x

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Advent - The Trouble with Christmas by Kaira Rouda


At 35-years-old, Cole Stanton is burned out. His high-paced, uber-successful career has left him yearning to start over. He finds Indigo Island, buys a restaurant and settles into an uncomplicated life. But Christmas is a mess. He has over-committed the small restaurant’s resources again, and is over his head. He finds himself longing for everything he has left behind, until a chance encounter with gorgeous Lily offers a spark of salvation to his business and, perhaps his life. 

Beautiful pastry chef Lily Edmonds is thirty years old and heartbroken. It’s just before Christmas and she’s just been dumped by via telephone by her fiancee. Her best friend Avery Putnam invites her to Indigo Island, hoping to add joy back into Lily’s life. A chance encounter with the sexy owner of a local restaurant makes Lily feel an attraction she thought she’d never feel again, and offers her a business challenge to keep her mind focused on something other than her broken heart. 

 Cole Stanton and Lily Edmonds are both starting over. Will the joy of the holiday season bring them together or will the troubles with Christmas push them apart? 

 Southern Born Christmas 
 Book 1: Holiday at Magnolia Bay by Tracy Solheim 
 Book 2: Just in Time for Christmas by Kim Boykin 
 Book 3: A Very Married Christmas by Erika Marks 
 Book 4: The Trouble with Christmas by Kaira Rouda

$0.99 14 - 18th December
Now Available at...

Kaira Rouda is an Amazon #1 bestselling, multiple award-winning author of three women's fiction novels including HERE, HOME, HOPE, ALL THE DIFFERENCE and IN THE MIRROR. 

Tule Publishing Group's Southern Born imprint is publishing her new contemporary romance series set on INDIGO ISLAND: WEEKEND WITH THE TYCOON, Book 1; LINES IN THE SAND, Book 2; and THE TROUBLE WITH CHRISTMAS, Book 3. Four more books in the series will be out in 2015. 

Her nonfiction title, REAL YOU INCORPORATED: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs, continues to inspire women internationally. 

She lives in Southern California with her husband and four almost-grown kids, and is at work on her next novel.

Kaira's Christmas Wishes...
"To remember to treasure every moment of sparkle and love, even with the chaos the season can bring."

Fondest Christmas Memory...
"Every year, when we gather around the tree and tell each other what we love most about each other, before tearing open the presents."

Top 3 things to do at Christmas...
1. be with my family - the meals, the laughter, the games - just everything 
2. decorate for the holidays - and I go all out! 
3. watch the face of one of my kids when I’ve surprised them with the perfect gift

Click another date for a Christmas Surprise...



Sharon x

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Book Review - The Vineyard by Michael Hurley plus Signed Book & Bookmark Giveaway - 5 Winners !!



Book Review
NEW RELEASE....

A Beautiful Island in New England.

A Time of Healing for Three Women.
A Moment of Destiny for One Man.

From Michael Hurley, winner of the Somerset Prize, comes a tale of old money, young passion, and ancient mystery.

Ten years after their college days together, three wounded and very different women reunite for a summer on the island of Martha's Vineyard. As they come to grips with the challenges and crises in their lives, their encounter with a reclusive poacher known only as "the fisherman" threatens to change everything they believe about their world--and each other.

Book Available from.....

“Hurley writes beautifully”
- Kirkus Reviews on The Prodigal

"Hurley's eloquent, hypnotic style will have readers following, unquestioningly, to the very end." 
-ForeWord Clarion Review


Book Excerpt from Chapter 20
 It was a question that would never have occurred to her mother or to any of her mother’s friends. Of course she would marry Tripp Wallace, they would say—or wouldn’t say, rather, because the subject would never come up. But if they were asked, they would be pained to explain what was self-evident. He met all the necessary criteria. He was from a well-respected family. He had gone to the right schools, as had his father and grandfather and great-grandfather before him. He had the right friends who had gone to the same schools and traveled in the same small circles. He was accomplished at the right sports—sailing in summer and skiing in winter—and he knew how to say and do the right things at the right moment in a way that bore testament, along with his good looks, to an obvious breeding. He was tall and well-formed and not overly bright or bookish or moody or sensitive. He would love Dory with fraternal affection and a benign indifference that would immunize him from the terrible angst that afflicts the lovelorn. There would be affairs, perhaps, but he could be relied upon to keep them discreet and meaningless, and there would be no brooding or melancholy or naval gazing in the wake of their discovery. New love would falter and stumble as it invariably does, but the business of marriage would march on. There would be no mid-life forays into the wild unknown, because he was not a curious man. His life had followed a well-worn path thus far, and he would stick to that path without the danger of navigational error that comes from needless reflection. He would lead a good life, not a well-examined life, and thereby make it possible for Dory to do the same. He and Dory would produce tall, lithe, gorgeous, tow-headed children and grandchildren who, on their way to fulfilling their central role as heirs to the family’s fortune and curators of its legacy, would by their laughter and playfulness banish the awful silence that would otherwise creep into their marriage, like a pestilence.

Our Book Review
The Vineyard grabbed my attention as soon as I started reading and the first part of the book is still my favorite part of the story.  Three college friends, Charlotte, Dory and Turner reunite at Dory's place in The Vineyard ten years after seeing other.  Each with their own personal soul searching story that interlinks making the story flow together, keeping you well and truly intrigued, grasping you to read on.

As I mentioned I was drawn to one particular character in the story, Charlotte, who's sadness and despair weighed far too heavy for her that she could no longer carry on.  What happens next will have your undivided attention and gives you the understanding of the true face of suicide, the author I felt did an amazing job with this.  

The story is a lot more than the girls reunion, we also have an elusive spiritual figure known by locals as 'The Fisherman', to the girls as 'Enoch', who seems to have miraculous gifts of kindness and healing.  This innocent, beautiful soul wants peace and beauty in the world and for the people in it and he will help the girls in their time of need in ways they certainly would not expect.  Yet not everyone sees The Fisherman in good light.

There is some sexual content in the story so I would recommend this for adults.

Certainly a reminder that if we slowed down in our lives we would find the real person we want to be.  A story of faith, real friendship and mystery after mystery that keeps you reading on to find out more.
Our Rating

About the Author
Michael Hurley and his wife Susan live near Charleston, South Carolina. Born in Baltimore in 1958, he studied English at the University of Maryland and law at St. Louis University. Michael's first book, Letters from the Woods, was a collection of essays, self-published in 2005, based on wilderness canoeing expeditions with his children. It was selected as a finalist in the Nature category for ForeWord magazine's Book of the Year award. In 2013 Hachette Book Group published his memoir, Once Upon A Gypsy Moon, under their Center Street imprint. The Prodigal is his first novel.
Follow the Author at.....
Website   Facebook   YouTube   Goodreads 

Follow the Book Tour

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NOW FOR THE AUTHOR'S GIVEAWAY

5 Lucky Winners will win a SIGNED Book & Bookmarks from the author
Ending on Thursday 18th December at 11.59pm EST
Open Worldwide 

Enter Below and Good Luck !!
Sharon x

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Grand Finale - The Claus Box Set Tour plus $25 Amazon GC / ebook Box Set Giveaway!!

 
A themed tour through Prism Book Tours.

It's the Grand Finale for
The Claus Box Set Tour
By Tony Bertauski

Now you can purchase all three books in the Claus Series together!


Have you ever wondered if Claus had a family? Who exactly is Jack Frost? How about a living, breathing snowman? Have you ever thought about how it all would work? Let Tony Bertauski's imagination and fabulous storytelling take you on a journey through a sci-fi winter wonderland! If you missed any of the stops for the tour, you're welcome to go back and check them out now...

Launch - The Claus Universe
The story of Santa has been told a billion, billion times on the screen and the television, the written page and the digital, in short form and long, in verse and song. He’s been animated and claymated, horrified and glorified. There’s not a single word left unwritten about the jolly old fat man.
Except, maybe, not that I recall, in science fiction...

Mommabears Book Blog - Excerpt from Claus
And in March of 1820, just as the sun had begun to rise from its long winter disappearance, they set out to do what no human – Inuit or otherwise – had done before.
They would touch the North Pole.
The Arctic was stunning.

SBM Book Obsession - Characters from the Claus Universe
Elven
An ancient race that evolved through the Ice Age, the elven are short and fat with generous layers of blubber to tolerate the cold. Their fat feet are large and wide like snowshoes, the soles scaly to slide across ice. Technologically evolved, long-lived and wise, they carve their homes in the North Pole ice and secretly monitor the growth of the human race while living in harmony with their environment.

Mythical Books - Characters from Claus
Nicholas Santa
Born in the late 1700s, Nicholas Santa set out with his wife, Jessica, and son, Jon, to become the first people to journey to the North Pole. However, they discover something much more than snow. Nicholas finds himself in the middle of an elven conflict. And we discover how he becomes the immortal and mythical figure known as Santa Claus. Why does he wear a red coat? Why is he fat? Why does he laugh like that? It all makes sense.

Wishful Endings - Characters from Jack
Janack (Jack)
An elven, son of Jocah and fraternal twin of Claus. Due to a genetic abnormality, he is the only hairless elven in existence. Jack can freeze people, elven and objects with the touch of a finger. He returns to this modern day story through the science of cloning...

Letters from Annie (Douglass) Lima - Excerpt from Jack
Joe leads her into the maze. They run their hands over the flat-topped boxwoods, shuffle over the oyster shell path. The sunken garden is imbued with warmth, the kind that flows through her, melts in her stomach, opens her heart. She smiles, involuntarily, as she couldn’t frown if she tried.
The short, fat woman sits on a square pedestal inside a round pool, water dripping from her frozen hands. Light emanates from the center without a source.
“Who is she?” Sura asks.
“You’ve never heard the Myth of Jocah?”
Beck Valley Books - Characters from Flury
Flury
The snowman that lives on the property. He is rarely seen until Oliver comes to live with Grandmother. The snowman becomes his protector and slowly reveals the family secrets that have been hidden for over a hundred years.

fuonlyknew - Excerpt from Flury
“You have grown.”

She doesn’t let go while looking him over: his hair, the stray whiskers on his chin, the insufficient winter clothing. She stares at the floor. His socks are loose at the ends of his frozen toes, specks of snow clinging to the fabric. Small puddles begin to bead on the polished floor.

“And how old are you?”

“Fifteen.”

My Life Loves and Passion - Review
"These books were awesome. I am not a huge fan of holiday themed books for myself, but these were different. Each book is a very different story about 3 very common winter myths. I loved that these stories were not all candy and rainbows. There was such a good mix of fantasy and holiday spirit.
I started reading and before I knew it hours had passed. It pulls you in and makes you want to keep reading."

 The Book Lovers' Lounge - Spotlight

Book Babble - Review
"By the end of the book, I couldn't want to move on to the second one to find out what was going to happen next...

This book really took me on a wild ride. Every time I thought I had something figured out, the plot went in a completely different direction...

There is a great deal of humor in the story, and some really fun dialogue..."

More About the Series

Claus: Legend of the Fat ManClaus: Legend of the Fat Man
(Claus #1)
by Tony Bertauski
YA Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Holiday
Paperback & ebook, 326 Pages
June 19th 2012

The Christmas story you never heard.

In the early 1800s, Nicholas, Jessica and Jon Santa attempt the first human trek to the North Pole and stumble upon an ancient race of people left over from the Ice Age. They are short, fat and hairy. They slide across the ice on scaly soles and carve their homes in the ice that floats on the Arctic Ocean. The elven are adapted to life in the extreme cold. They are as wise as they are ancient.

Their scientific advancements have yielded great inventions -- time-stopping devices and gravitational spheres that build living snowmen and genetically-modified reindeer that leap great distances. They’ve even unlocked the secrets to aging. For 40,000 years, they have lived in peace.

Until now.

An elven known as The Cold One has divided his people. He’s tired of their seclusion and wants to conquer the world. Only one elven stands between The Cold
One and total chaos. He’s white-bearded and red-coated. The Santa family will help him stop The Cold One. They will come to the aid of a legendary elven
known as...Claus.

Jack: The Tale of Frost (Claus, #2)Jack: The Tale of Frost
(Claus #2)
by Tony Bertauski
YA Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Holiday
Paperback & ebook, 290 Pages
October 17th 2013

Sura is sixteen years old when she meets Mr. Frost. He’s very short and very fat and he likes his room very, very cold. Some might say inhumanly cold. His first name isn’t Jack, she’s told. And that’s all she needed to know.

Mr. Frost’s love for Christmas is over-the-top and slightly psychotic. And why not? He’s made billions of dollars off the holiday he invented. Or so he claims. Rumor is he’s an elven, but that’s silly. Elven aren’t real. And if they were, they wouldn’t live in South Carolina. They wouldn’t hide in a tower and go to the basement to make…things.

Nonetheless, Sura will work for this odd little recluse. Frost Plantation is where she’ll meet the love of her life. It’s where she’ll finally feel like she belongs somewhere. And it’s where she’ll meet someone fatter, balder and stranger than Mr. Frost. It’s where she’ll meet Jack.

Jack hates Christmas.

Flury: Journey of a SnowmanFlury: Journey of a Snowman
(Claus #3)
by Tony Bertauski
YA Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Holiday
Paperback & ebook, 300 Pages
November 15th 2014

Life hasn’t been kind to Oliver Toye.

As if juvenile diabetes isn’t enough, he’s forced to live with his tyrannical grandmother in a snow-bound house. He spends his days doing chores and the nights listening to the forest rumble.

But when he discovers the first leather-bound journal, the family secrets begin to surface. The mystery of his great-grandfather’s voyage to the North Pole is revealed. That’s when the snowman appears.

Magical and mysterious, the snowman will save Oliver more than once. But when the time comes for Oliver to discover the truth, will he have the courage? When Flury needs him, will he have the strength? When believing isn’t enough, will he save the snowman from melting away?

Because sometimes even magic needs a little help.
   

About Tony Bertauski

During the day, I'm a horticulturist. While I've spent much of my career designing landscapes or diagnosing dying plants, I've always been a storyteller. My writing career began with magazine columns, landscape design textbooks, and a gardening column at the Post and Courier (Charleston, SC). However, I've always fancied fiction.

My grandpa never graduated high school. He retired from a steel mill in the mid-70s. He was uneducated, but he was a voracious reader. I remember going through his bookshelves of paperback sci-fi novels, smelling musty old paper, pulling Piers Anthony and Isaac Asimov off shelf and promising to bring them back. I was fascinated by robots that could think and act like people. What happened when they died?

I'm a cynical reader. I demand the writer sweep me into his/her story and carry me to the end. I'd rather sail a boat than climb a mountain. That's the sort of stuff I want to write, not the assigned reading we got in school. I want to create stories that kept you up late.

Having a story unfold inside your head is an experience different than reading. You connect with characters in a deeper, more meaningful way. You feel them, empathize with them, cheer for them and even mourn. The challenge is to get the reader to experience the same thing, even if it's only a fraction of what the writer feels. Not so easy.

In 2008, I won the South Carolina Fiction Open with Four Letter Words, a short story inspired by my grandfather and Alzheimer's Disease. My first step as a novelist began when I developed a story to encourage my young son to read. This story became The Socket Greeny Saga. Socket tapped into my lifetime fascination with consciousness and identity, but this character does it from a young adult's struggle with his place in the world.

After Socket, I thought I was done with fiction. But then the ideas kept coming, and I kept writing. Most of my work investigates the human condition and the meaning of life, but not in ordinary fashion. About half of my work is Young Adult (Socket Greeny, Claus, Foreverland) because it speaks to that age of indecision and the struggle with identity. But I like to venture into adult fiction (Halfskin, Drayton) so I can cuss. Either way, I like to be entertaining.

And I'm a big fan of plot twists.

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