Tag Archives: Storytelling

Books I’ve Recently Read

I don’t often blog about what I’ve read, mostly because Goodreads has my list if anyone is interested. But, I realize some of my blog readers may not be part of Goodreads. I will try to do this more often. So, here are a few books I’ve read recently and enjoyed. (And yes, some of them I should have read a long time ago.)

Snow Like Ashes

NOW LIKE ASHES by Sara Raasch. I loved this tale because instead of starting in a world of people showing of their magic, it started with only eight survivors (Winterians) whom had lost there magic (actually they had it stolen). This story is full of dangers and evil politics, and a bit of romance. I think readers of FROST BLOOD will enjoy this

The Delphi Effect (The Delphi Trilogy Book 1) The Delphi Resistance (The Delphi Trilogy Book 2)

THE DELPHI EFFECT and it’s sequel THE DELPHI RESISTANCE by Rysa Walker. It’s no secret I love a story with ghosts involved, but then add magical powers, secret governments, and kids on the run…I’m in! The character Anna, picks ghosts up by simply touching something the spirit has clung to. Then they journey within her until they feel they’ve completed something, but bits of them stay with her after they’ve gone, which is really cool. For example, wouldn’t you love just to suddenly know how to play a piano without ever taking a lesson? There is a third book in this series and I can’t wait to get to it.

King's Cage (Red Queen)

KING’S CAGE by Victoria Aveyard. This is the third book in the RED QUEEN series. And y’all know I’ve already read the first two books. Mare Barrow’s journey continues after discovering new bloods and the war wages on between red bloods and silver bloods. In this story she is prisoner of the boy she once loved and stripped of her magic. I couldn’t wait to see how the story would end and how she’d regain her magic. One thing that has intrigued me throughout the series are the various types of magic in this series, I’m so in love! And lucky for me, the fourth installment came out last month, which means I get to read more about Mare Barrow!

Rise of the Empress (2 Book Series)

FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS by Julie C. Dao. The story of Xifeng destined to become empress had me WOW’d when I realized the story was darker than I had thought. Her aunt is a witch who has taught her magic, but until she finds herself in the company of the Empress and Emperor does she discover how callous she can be. I’ve never wanted to root for someone who is good and so bad at the same time! I’m crying because I have to wait for the sequel to come out this November. I want it NOW!

The Amulet of Samarkand: A Bartimaeus Novel, Book 1

THE AMULET OF SAMARKAND by Jonathan Stroud. I am a fan of a few of Jonathan Stroud’s LOCKWOOD & CO. series books, so I thought I’d give this a try. The author had me laughing out loud at times. Nathaniel is a magician’s apprentice, but his master seems to be a bit daft. Then Nathaniel gets humiliated by other magicians and his master does absolutely nothing to protect him. So Nathaniel summons the powerful djinni, Bartimaeus, to help him get revenge. Seriously, this is a funny and magical read for kids and adults both.

Off to Be the Wizard [Kindle in Motion] (Magic 2.0 Book 1)

OFF TO BE THE WIZARD by Scott Meyer. What would you do if you found out that a computer program controlled everything you and everyone in the entire world did? Become a wizard, of course! This is another story that had me in stitches! Martin discovers a program that controls what he does, where he is, “when” he is, and how to get there, but it gets him in trouble with the cops, so he does what anyone else would do, he goes back in time and discovers someone thinks he’s Merlin (or rather, is imitating Merlin). But thankfully, Martin finds a wizard who is willing to make him an apprentice. Just know the computer has everything to do with why he’s a wizard. So miscalculate some codes and you’ll appear to hover above the floor instead of standing on the floor. There is so much funny in this story, you have to read it!

The Outsider: A Novel

THE OUSIDER by Stephen King. Okay, I have to admit that this was really, really, really, hard for me to read. I couldn’t stomach the way the young boy died. I put the book down, but would pick it back up again later. I’d put it down, then back up, and so forth, and so forth. What kept me going was my curiosity of how Mr. King would resolve the issue of the murder suspect being in two places at once, and the need to see the true murderer–an evil of no human being–be killed. But reading this story reminds me why I like to read middle grade and young adult novels, the brutality may be insinuated most times, but isn’t described in detail. (I don’t need details, not when it comes to kids being murdered.) So, read at your own risk. You have been warned!

Grayling's Song

GRAYLING’S SONG by Karen Cushman. Well now, when I read the blurb about people turning into trees, I HAD to read to find out how different it might be from a manuscript I wrote regarding the same issue. I’m was thrilled to find a huge difference, so I won’t have to shelf my story! Grayling must find who has stolen her mother’s grimoire and prevent her from turning completely into a tree. Along her journey she finds other witches are turning into shrubbery and their grimoires gone too. She picks up a few unlikely witches to help her along the way. This was an easy read and quick read. I not only enjoyed it but I found myself a new comp title. Woo-hoo!

And there you have my current list of books. Hope you find one to put on your TBR. Have a great day!

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and writer of MG/YA fiction.

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Virginia Festival of the Book 2018

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The Virginia Festival of the Book brings readers and writers together for a five-day celebration of books, reading, literacy, and literary culture. The 24th Annual Festival will be held March 21-25, 2018. Programs range from traditional author readings and book signings to children’s programs and hands-on workshops. All programs are open to the public and, with the exception of a few ticketed events, the majority of Festival programs are free to attend.

An abbreviated list of past participants includes Rick Atkinson, Edward Ayers, David Baldacci, Maureen Corrigan, Edwidge Danticat, Kate DiCamillo, Rita Dove, Alan Furst, John Grisham, Jan Karon, Jim Lehrer, Frances Mayes, Colum McCann, David McCullough, Alice McDermott, Katherine Paterson, Jon Scieszka, Lisa Scottoline, Pete Seeger, Karin Slaughter, Alexander McCall Smith, Lee Smith, Bryan Stevenson, Elizabeth Strout, Judith Viorst, and Charles Wright. For a current listing, go here.

As always, have fun and learn lots!

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and writer of MG/YA fiction.

Chicago Writing Workshop 2018

Chicago Writing Workshop

Per the Chicago Writing Workshop website, this writing event (June 23, 2018) is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of one day, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more. Note that there are limited seats at the event (200 total). They will inform everyone directly on the website when seats are closed.

Here are a few of this years faculty that will be in attendance:

Since the seats are limited, don’t delay in registering. Hopefully, I’ll see you there!

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and writer of MG/YA fiction.

DC Comics Talent Development Workshop 2018

Wow! If you’ve ever dreamed of writing for DC Comics, this is your chance. But please note, this is for writer’s who’ve been published. However, the written work does not have to be a comic. They’ll also accept up to two published fiction works that’ll highlight an authors skill as a possible DC writer. By end of the workshop, the participant(s) may obtain a position writing on one of the DC Comic book series.

Submissions open March 1st, 2018 and ends March 31, 2018. They express on the website that files can be large to upload, so don’t wait until the last minute to try. They will not accept resubmission or changes after the deadline. No exceptions.

For complete information on how to enter and the dates of when the workshop will start, go (Link Removed). As always, good luck!

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and writer of MG/YA fiction.

2018 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award

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For all lurking contest junkies, Baen Fantasy Adventure Award was brought to my attention a few years back. You only need to create 8000 words. That’s right, a mere eight-thousand! Most thrilling? You have until April 30th, 2018 to create a wonderful story.

  • GRAND PRIZE winner will be published as the featured story on the Baen Books main website and paid at industry-standard rates for professional story submittals. The author will also receive a handsome engraved award and a prize package containing $500 of free Baen Books.
  • SECOND place winner will receive a prize package containing $500 of free Baen Books,
  • THIRD will receive a prize package containing $300 of free Baen Books.

Baen Books will announce the winner of the inaugural Baen Fantasy Adventure Award at this year’s Gen Con to the best of original short fiction capturing the spirit and tradition of great storytellers as Larry Correia, Robert E. Howard, Mercedes Lackey, Elizabeth Moon, Andre Norton, J.R.R. Tolkien, David Weber and Marion Zimmer Bradley.
All the details can be found here.

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and writer of MG/YA fiction.

Pacific Northwest Writers Association Contest 2018

pnwa

The deadline for Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest is approaching. All unpublished entries must be received by March 23, 2018. This is also a chance to get feedback on your work. There are twelve categories:

  1. mainstream
  2. historical
  3. romance/women’s fiction
  4. mystery/thriller
  5. sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal
  6. young adult
  7. middle grade
  8. nonfiction/memoir
  9. poetry
  10. short story
  11. children’s picture/chapter book
  12. adult short topics (articles/essays/memoir)

There are three monetary prizes:

  • FIRST PLACE: $600
  • SECOND PLACE: $300
  • THIRD PLACE: $100

Eight finalist will receive two critiques on their submissions. The agents and editors participating in the PNWA‘s summer conference will pick winners out of the finalists. Go here for complete details. As always, good luck!

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and writer of MG/YA fiction.

Books I’ve Recently Read and Enjoyed!

As I said last month, I don’t often blog about what I’ve read, mostly because Goodreads has my list if anyone is interested. But, I realize some of my blog readers may not be part of Goodreads. I will try to do this more often. So, here are a few books I’ve read recently and enjoyed.

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Frostblood by Elly Blake. Okay, so I actually listened to the audio book. But boy was I sucked into the world of Ruby hiding her fire gift in the cruel world of the frost king. And of course, like all creatures who try to hide things, they get found out. But when frostbloods rescue her from the frost king’s prison, she must learn to trust them and help save them from the evil king. Oh, and she just might fall in love with her enemy. What a fantastically imagined world! I enjoyed it so much, I had to listen to the sequel immediately afterwards:

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Fireblood by Elly Blake. For those who might’ve skimmed the previous paragraph, this is the sequel to Frostblood. Again, Ruby’s world lured me in as she left her frost king–her love–to learn about her homeland of fire, a world she never knew growing up. In this book, her powers grow stronger and she risks never seeing her beloved frost king again. Oooh, this story was just as good as the first. How many times can you say that about sequels? My only complaint is that I have to wait until June 5, 2018 for the third book in this saga. Waaaaaa!

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The Monster at the end of this Book by Jon Stone. Yeah, I read to my grandson people! Find a youngster and read this Sesame Street book. My grandson laughed and asked me to read again and again and again. Of course, when Grover says not to turn the page so the reader will never get to the end of the book because he’s afraid of seeing the monster at the end, I kept asking my grandson, “What do you think? Should we turn the page?” And of course, after some giggles, he’d say yes. What fun we had!

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Entertainment weekly described this as The Hunger Games meets The Night Circus. Needless to say, I HAD to read it! The blurb says it best as Scarlett becomes “enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic” as she searches to find her sister before Tella disappears forever. Loved it and can’t wait for the sequel!

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Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast by Josh Funk. (No, not the Josh Funk I went to school with. LoL) This was a wonderful rhyming book that reminded me of some of the Dr. Seuss books I’ve read. My grandson loved the rhythm and seeing the illustrations of some of his favorite foods animated. Grab a kid and get to reading!

And there you have a quick view into what I’ve read lately. Let me know if you have any recommendations! Have a fantastic day.

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and writer of MG/YA fiction.

Pitch Wars Submissions Are Open!

This is a quick reminder that Brenda Drake’s Pitch Wars submissions opened yesterday and will close August 6 at 10pm EDT (New York time). Go here for the guidelines and here  to submit. There are two other ways to get into the contest, a scavenger hunt  (scroll to find the info) to get a free pass into Pitch Wars and if you donate at least $20 you can pick two extra mentors. Woot! Note the participating menotrs are on the post with the scavenger hunt information. Lastly, be sure and stop by twitter to watch the #PitchWars feed because they are giving extra mentor prizes away.

One For Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn

One For Sorrow BookPublisher: Clarion Books
Sold By: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: July 18, 2018

Okay, I’ll admit the cover drew me to this story! But look at it, soooo spooky! ONE FOR SORROW is set during World War I and the influenza epidemic of 1918, this story unravels the tale of childhood school days gone wrong. Annie is eager to make friends at her new school, but Elsie claims her as her own bestie, refusing to allow Annie to connect with other girls. After Elsie passes from influenza, her ghost returns to torment Annie for befriending others and to make sure Annie is isolated and disliked as much as she had been when alive.

While this was an easy read, Elsie didn’t become a ghost until halfway into the story. This was delayed longer than I’d anticipated, making some of the bullying redundant in order to get to the good stuff–a scary ghost! And even though the historical setting enriched the story, I felt cheated with the lack of generational terms. But make no mistake, author Mary Downing Hahn creates a realistic story of how easy it is to get swept into bullying when a child just wants to be liked. She also paints a cruel tale of how difficult it is to get out of a this horrible situation. So, if you’re looking for a darker read, this is for you!

Mary Downing Hahn

Mary Downing Hahn, a former children’s librarian, is the award-winning author of many popular ghost stories, including Wait Till Helen Comes, which is being adapted for film. An avid reader, traveler, and all-around arts lover, Ms. Hahn lives in Columbia, Maryland, with her cat, Oscar.

***THE OFFICIAL BLURB***

Against the ominous backdrop of the influenza epidemic of 1918, Annie, a new girl at school, is claimed as best friend by Elsie, a classmate who is a tattletale, a liar, and a thief. Soon Annie makes other friends and finds herself joining them in teasing and tormenting Elsie. Elsie dies from influenza, but then she returns to reclaim Annie’s friendship and punish all the girls who bullied her. Young readers who revel in spooky stories will relish this chilling tale of a girl haunted by a vengeful ghost.

Amazon | BN | Kobo| Google PlayGoodreads | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | Target | BAM! | Audible

And check out these additional reviews:

“Hahn’s story is characteristically steeped in eerie atmosphere, and the novel’s blend of historical drama, the supernatural, and the intricacies of adolescent friendship is a gripping combination.” —PW

“Hahn is a veteran author who clearly knows her apples about writing ghost stories, as this, her latest inventive page-turner, evidences… Shivers aplenty, but also genuine emotion that will invite empathy.” — Booklist

“Another historical and chilling success.” —Kirkus

“Another solid addition to Hahn’s oeuvre, this would also make a spine-chilling pair with Cohen’s The Doll’s Eye.” —Bulletin

Author Links: Website | Facebook

#MenteesHelpingMentees has opened early!

Mentees Helping Mentees

For all the Pitch Wars hopefuls this year, the class of 2016 mentees have gotten together to offer critiques to 140 writers on their query and first ten pages at Mentees Helping Mentees. They have created seven different Rafflecopters for writers to enter based on age category and a few sub/genres:

  • Middle Grade
  • Young Adult Contemporary and Historical
  • Young Adult Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Paranormal
  • Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Adult Romance
  • Adult Mystery & Suspense
  • Adult Other (Historical, Literary, Upmarket, Women’s Fiction)

The giveaway ends on July 2nd, 2017 at 12 am EST. Winners will be notified via Twitter on July 5th. Watch the #menteeshelpingmentees hashtag! Those selected will get their critiques back no later than July 24th (plenty of time to review before Pitch Wars submissions open on August 2nd).

What a fantastic thing for them to do! And remember this is a new thing, so tweet, share, and blog to spread the word. Good luck to all that enter!

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and writer of MG/YA fiction.