Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Gertrude Warner Award Winner!

This past weekend I was honored to receive first place for the Gertrude Warner Mystery Chanticleer Book Award, 2016, for my book, The Mystery of Hollow Inn!



The Chanticleer writing contest is a highly competitive, international contest with blind, independent judging by a panel. To have my book recognized is amazing, and I love that they have a category specific to middle grade books!

Have you read The Mystery of Hollow Inn, yet? It's the first in a seven book series, and I'm currently working on book number eight! Although the stories are sequential, each can be read on their own. However, The Mystery of Hollow Inn is only .99, so it's the perfect place to start!
Always FREE with Kindle Unlimited!




For those craving a good, old-fashioned mystery or a clean read for their child!
  
"An endearing series perfect for fans of Nancy Drew!"
   
Twelve-year-old Samantha Wolf, and her best friend Ally, are excited to spend part of their summer break in the mountains of Montana. But unbeknownst to them, Hollow Inn is bathed in mystery and legend. After arriving, they soon discover that things are not going well for Sam's Aunt and Uncle, who own the Inn. There's vandalism, ghostly sightings, and rumors of lost treasures. Determined to help, Sam and Ally embark on a challenging journey to discover the truth. 




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Dating the It Guy - A New Release!

I'm happy to introduce this new, clean romance by my friend, and author, Krysten Lindsay Hager!


Dating the It Guy

By Krysten Lindsay Hager

YA contemporary romance
Published by Clean Reads




Blurb:
Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator's son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon's world and it doesn't help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you're dating the it guy.




Excerpt:

He put the magazine between us, and when I moved forward to see it, he put his arm across the back of my chair. Now lots of guys did put their arms on chair backs, even Kirk did that with Rory, and he definitely wasn’t interested in her, but I couldn’t help but hope it meant something. I got this shivery feeling, and he asked if I was cold. I shook my head. I always got a feeling before something major was about to happen, and it has nothing to do with being cold, but I didn’t know why I got the feeling. Grandma used to do the same thing and always said, “Somebody just walked across my grave.” Somehow I didn’t think Brendon would understand if I told him I needed to move my future burial plot to a less high-traffic area.
“Are we still on for the art fair?” he asked.
I had only been circling it with hearts on my calendar since he asked.
“Sure, I think I’m still free,” I said.
We finished up our work, and he walked me out to meet Kylie.
“Okay, I’ll pick you up at three tomorrow,” he said, walking off.
“Can I ask a stupid question?” Kylie asked as soon as Brendon was out of earshot. “What’s he like? Because he’s so well-known, and I can’t imagine what it’d be like to grow up with your whole life under a microscope. I mean, my mom remembers his first birthday party pictures being shown on the news. And he’s hot, but he’s not like I-know-I’m-a-hottie hot, but more like a confident, ‘Yes, I am hot. Any questions?’ I mean, he has to have noticed there aren’t any guys who look like him walking around.”
“I should tell him what you said.”
“Don’t you dare,” Kylie said.
“I get what you mean—he’s grown up with everybody knowing his dad and watching him, but he’s pretty down to earth.”
“So what’s up with you two? You guys didn’t do any work last Saturday, and now you’re going to an art fair.”
“I dunno. He just asked me to go with him.”
“Asked you to go with him as his study buddy or asked you to go with him because he’s desperately in love with you?” she asked.
I said we were just friends, but she wouldn’t let it go.
“Okay, duh, obviously I like him, but let’s be honest. He’s out of my league. He’s out of most people’s league. It’s weird because normally if I like a guy then one of two things happens—either he likes me and asks for my number…or I find out he’s not into me and I cry in my pillow and listen to man-hating music for at least three days,” I said. “But this time’s different because he’s, I dunno, not just ‘some guy.’ I mean, I’m not putting up a shrine to him in my room, and I haven’t rooted though his garbage can, but I have as much chance of going out with him as Kirk does of getting an ‘A’ in this class.”
“You listen to man-hating music?” she asked, and I narrowed my eyes at her. “Whatever. Anyway, Em, he’s asked you out once already, and you are seeing him tomorrow. Plus, he’s always staring at you.”
I said he was probably just bored in class today, but she wouldn’t let it go.
“I’m not just talking about today. When we watched the movie on Monday, he watched you instead, and whenever I see you guys, he acts like there’s no one else in the room,” she said.
I couldn’t hold back the big, stupid smile spreading across my face. “He does? For real?”
She nodded. “You know, it’s weird. Here you were all upset you didn’t have a partner at the beginning of the semester, and then you ended up with like, Mr. Perfection, as your partner.”



Purchase:
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2m5y9OC


 Follow Krysten






Bio: Besides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, ​Krysten is a also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes young adult, middle grade, new adult, and adult fiction as well as humor essays. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in southwestern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows (she's addicted to American Dad to the point where she quotes episodes on a daily basis and also loves Girl Meets World). She's also a third generation Detroit Lions fan.
Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends...Forever?, Next Door to a Star,  Landry in Like, and Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2). Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book. Krysten's work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton.


Praise for Dating the It Guy:
“A sweet, endearing story—you’ll fall in love with Emme just like I did!” --Kimber Leigh Wheaton, YA/NA author

"Hager's authentic characters will resonate with readers of all ages as they are immersed in the story  - complete with teen drama and angst, but also the relationships which make it all worthwhile." --  Leslie L. McKee, book reviewer, Edits and Reviews by Leslie






What people are saying about Krysten’s work:


From Teenage Book Recommendations in the UK: "This is a fantastically relatable and real book which I feel captures all of the insecurities and troubles which haunt the modern teenage girl. It is about a young model who has to go through tough times when she is torn between a life as a model and managing her friendships. You learn which friends she can most trust and which will create the drama typical of teenage life. Follow the life of Landry and try to see if you can find out which are her true friends before their true colours are revealed. This book is all about relationships, hopes and truth. I loved this book!"
From Books & Authors Spot: “This book is such an inspiration for those who just care about their looks and are tensed about them. This thing is looks aren't everything. This book is related to every teen's problem. Hager has written a very inspiring novel.”
“Krysten captures the teenage girl today. The struggles are real, the issues are something children have been dealing with since before I was a teen, and oddly-Krysten captures the readers! I was prepared for another "Mean Girls" story. This is NOT that. This is the real story of teenage girls! You watch Landry flower into a young woman who finds out trust is an invaluable item to find, and friendships are hard to seek genuine realism in. You will learn about relationships with not just friends, but peers, boys, and others. The details put into the book will draw you, and make the story so much more realistic. Krysten expresses emotions beautifully through her writing, and the story flows flawlessly…” By Candice J. Conway Simpson
“True Colors, is just a dazzling story of how middle school kids show their true colors of jealousy, drama, loss and gains of friendship. However, the way Krysten wrote her story; she wrote it with passion, creativity and honesty that this story line could be placed in anyone's life at any age.” Review by Double Decker Books
 “Krysten Lindsay Hager understands what it means to be a teen today, and she writes with an authentic voice. Landry, the main character, is funny, lively, and very real. Readers will relate to her struggles with friends and family, self-esteem and self-discovery, boys and school and life in general. It's fun to read about Landry's blossoming modeling career and the changes it brings.” Review by Author Diana Jenkins



Monday, March 20, 2017

Local 9-Year-Old Credited With Saving Mom's Life

-Story by Tara Ellis, Staff Writer with Skagit Breaking News
 (Cross-posted from Skagit Breaking News)

When Kimberly Smith woke up on March 2nd, 2017, she knew that something wasn’t right. Her chest hurt. It was hard to catch her breath, and her arms felt heavy. But she didn’t have time to be sick. She had just had a baby by C-section on February 6th, and as a single mother of three boys, she decided to just ‘shake it off’.

However, as the day wore on, her symptoms only got worse. By the time her nine year old son, Camdyn, got home from school, she was clasping at her chest. It felt like she was being stabbed each time she took a breath. Camdyn was concerned. Sitting next to his mom on the couch, he offered to take his baby brother. Kimberly reassured Camdyn that she just needed to rest. That she could put the baby down to sleep, and take a nap.

 

Camdyn with baby Dylan


Camdyn didn’t think that was a good idea. Now this is where the story turns into one of heroism. Because most nine year olds would have just shrugged, and figured their mom knew best. But instead, Camdyn gave her a very convincing argument.

“Mom,” he implored. “My health teacher said if someone grabs their chest like that, I should call 911. I’m going to get my shoes on. We need to get to a hospital.” With that, her middle child that normally fought getting ready to leave the house, actually went and put his shoes on.

Moved by her son’s pleas, Kimberly didn’t take a nap. Instead, she called her doctor’s office to make an appointment, thinking she might have pneumonia. However, when they heard what her symptoms were, they decided to call an ambulance.

Camdyn went with his mom in the ambulance, charming the paramedics with both his interest in the apparatus, as well as the wise advice he gave his mom. Kimberly was thankful for the kind nature of the medics, and how they put her son at ease during a very scary time.

Once at Skagit Valley Hospital, it didn’t take long for a diagnosis: bilateral pulmonary embolisms. Kimberly’s lungs were full of blood clots. A blood test revealed that she had a genetic pre-disposition, and the recent C-section put her at an increased risk. The doctor was blunt; if she had taken that planned nap, there was a good chance she would have never awakened from it.

Kimberly with Dylan while recovering in the hospital

“I feel like he’s my son, but he’s also my hero,” Kimberly now says of her son, Camdyn. “I can’t even imagine if he hadn’t said what he did. What would have happened. I want to bring awareness about blood clots. I’m thirty-two, and I didn’t even know what a pulmonary embolism was.”
While spending seven days in the hospital, Kimberly had plenty of time to study up on blood clots, and discovered that March is Blood Clot Awareness month. According to the National Blood Clot Alliance, a blood clot is diagnosed once every minute, and someone dies from a blood clot every six minutes.

Some of the signs and symptoms of a blood clot in the lung (pulmonary embolism) are:

- Sudden shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Sharp, stabbing, worsens with breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Unexplained cough; sometimes with bloody mucus

Camdyn doesn’t think he’s a hero, but sometimes, a hero is simply defined by being the one person to speak up. If he hadn’t, the story might not have such a happy ending. Kimberly has a long road to recovery, but she’s thankful to still be there for her kids. It will take three to six months for the blood clots to be completely resolved, and up to two years to heal. Meanwhile, Camdyn and her oldest son, Bryson, are going out of their way to help their mom. Skagit Breaking would like to recognize Camdyn’s heroic actions that day, and help Kimberly with her desire to spread awareness.


       
Big brothers, Camdyn and Bryson, helping to care for their little brother.

If you would like more information about blood clots, or Blood Clot Awareness Month, please follow this link: https://www.stoptheclot.org/blood-clot-awareness-month-2017.htm

A GO FUND ME account has been set up for the family, if you would like to help.



Tara Ellis is a staff writer for Skagit Breaking, as well as a local author. You can find all of her novels on her Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Tara-Ellis/e/B00IVF1JQK    




Thursday, March 2, 2017

A New #RomanticSuspense for only .99! & #FREE short story!

Well ... I did it. I published the first book in a new series in a brand-new genre, Romantic Suspense! Because it's such a different theme, I created a new platform and pen name, Tara Meyers.

ECHO OF FEAR




Chris Echo thought a private island in the South Pacific would be the perfect escape from the terrors of her life as a CSI profiler. But shortly after retreating to the tropical setting, she finds herself trapped in the middle of something far more dangerous.

Kyle Stone is battling his own demons. And it isn't anything a remote luxury island can fix. After a long undercover mission, he and the guerrilla cartel he's infiltrated are traveling to an exchange when a storm washes them ashore. The resort's guests are taken hostage, and he can either keep his cover intact or save their lives. To complicate matters even further, there's a beautiful captive who may just be his salvation.

Each of the visitors to the island arrives harboring different fears, but they are about to confront the ultimate fear of all, a struggle between life and death. In the midst of the turmoil, Chris begins to realize that perhaps death isn't her greatest challenge after all.



**Note: Go to my Facebook page now and comment on my post about the new release to get your FREE COPY!!!!!


Check it out, and let me know what you think. I have several books planned for this series!! 


To get you started, you can read the free short story lead-in, A Distant Echo.





Find me as Tara Meyers on Amazon!   Tara Meyers Amazon Profile
Twitter:   @TaraMeyersAuth
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TaraMeyersAuthor/






Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Book Tour - Historical Western + a Giveaway!




Have you ever wondered what it was like for orphans born in the Wild West? Faith Blum has a new book that explores the life of three orphans born during that time. She’s with us today to tell us a little about her book. Make sure you read to the end to see the super fun giveaway she has going on, too!

About the Book

The ground shook and a rumble sounded through the air as the train squealed to a stop. Maybe, just maybe, I could carry someone’s bags without the porter taking notice. And then there was the even bigger maybe: Maybe I could get enough money to at least buy a crust of bread for Trevor and Tabitha to share.
I hid behind the boxes in the freight yard and kept one eye on the porter, and the other on the second class passenger car. The porter had his attention on the first class car, so I slipped into the gathering crowd.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

#FREE Children's #Mystery!

The Secret of Camp Whispering Pines




Read this fun mystery as a stand-alone, or start with book #1
for only .99!
(all of my books are free with Kindle Unlimited!)


What could be better than hiking, swimming, and horseback riding? Having a mystery to solve, of course! 


When Sam and Ally go off to summer camp together, they discover the secrets of Camp Whispering Pines. Set in the beautiful, rugged mountains of the Pacific Northwest, the clues are slowly revealed and it's up to the two girls to figure it out. 

New friendships are formed, while at the same time enemies lurk nearby. The closer they get to uncovering the truth behind the camp, the further they are pushed into danger and deceit. Can Sam and Alley put all of the pieces together before it's too late? Follow them on another thrilling tale filled with excitement and adventure, along misty, high mountain trails, and deep ravines, where the answers wait to be found!


This fun middle grade series is being called a modern-day Nancy Drew. It will take you back to your Trixie Beldon days, but are in current social settings with real issues relevant to today's teens and pre-teens. They're clean, wholesome stories that you and your kids will devour! 



Check out the whole series




Tara Ellis, an Amazon best selling author, lives in a small, rural town in Washington State set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She enjoys the quiet lifestyle with her two kids and several dogs. Tara was a firefighter/EMT, and worked in the medical field for many years, before committing herself to writing young adult and middle grade novels full-time. 


Follow her on:





And join her NEWSLETTER




Sunday, February 5, 2017

Special .99 Price and a Fun Video Review

The Mystery of Hollow Inn is Only .99!






With seven titles out in the series now, I've decided to lower the price on the first book in the series, The Mystery of Hollow Inn, to only .99!







(59 reviews on Amazon with a 4.4 rating!)


Have you already read The Mystery of Hollow Inn? Be sure to collect them all!




You HAVE to watch this amazing review, done by a young man at VeryShortBookReviews.

I LOVE this!!!