Book Blast and Giveaway: Scents and Senses by Loren Secrets

scentsScents and Senses: Supernatural Friends. What the fairy tales didn’t tell you

Playing the role of a knight in shining armor is more complicated than it seems in the storybooks, as sixteen-year-old Joy discovers when she repeatedly comes to the rescue of a fifteen-year-old human. But when she meddles in the girl’s social life, Starra sends her packing.

Starra is determined to completely dissociate herself from the subterranean creature that has manipulated her life and cast her into the limelight. However, her resolve is soon tested when she becomes involved in a critical situation where supernatural assistance can enable her to carry out a daring plot.

Eventually, Starra’s involvement with her new other-wordly friends extracts a heavy price when she is beset by challenges that range from the down- to-earth struggles of a typical teenage student, to the realm of the fantastic. Nothing prepares her, however, for the ultimate challenge.

 

Amazon * Smashwords Continue reading

TOS Review: CTC Math

 

CTC Math Review
When my now-sixth-grader was starting first grade in a virtual school, he took a placement test that put him in third grade math. (And this was after absolutely no math instruction whatsoever.) We started him in second grade math, and he did well until he hit fourth grade math, when he started struggling. And that’s where he’s been stuck for a while. I really haven’t pushed him, but when the opportunity came along to review the 12-Month Family Plan from CTC Math, I had him try a demo lesson to see what he thought.

The demo lesson (in case you skipped the video) is for adding fractions with different denominators. Through the whole lesson, my son kept saying, “Oh! I get it now.”  The way that he was taught in his virtual school never made sense to him. I had even tried to find online tutorials to help, but nothing clicked. But Pat worked his magic, and my kid was thrilled. And I’m for anything that makes learning fun and exciting. We don’t do boring around here. 😉 (Which is one reason we also no longer do the virtual school, and have time for fun things like curriculum reviews.) The boy even liked Pat’s accent! Continue reading

Fairy Tale Fortnight Giveaway Hop

Fairy Tale Hop Image

 

This hop is in conjunction with the 4th annual Fairy Tale Fortnight.  
Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop
Hosted by
April 22nd to May 3rd

I’m giving away an Amazon/Kindle ebook: winner’s choice of one of Jessica Grey’s fairy tale-based novels or short story collections.

Update: Thanks to Jessica’s generosity, you now have the option to receive an .epub version if you prefer, and for those who may not be able to receive a gifted copy of a US Amazon ebook, you can get a .mobi/Kindle copy via email instead! In other words, there is no reason not to enter!

Choose from:

Alexandra Martin didn’t believe in fairytales…

Alex has always been more interested in rocks and science than stories about princesses and magic. Now she’s far too busy with her summer internship at the Gem and Mineral Museum to think about children’s stories. Between avoiding her former best friend and high school baseball star, Luke Reed, and trying to hide her unrequited crush on her mentor at the museum, the real world is occupying all of her time.

…Until she walked into one.

It turns out fairytales aren’t all fun and games. A curse has turned her neat and orderly world upside down, and to break it, she bands together with a fellow intern and a recently awakened princess who’s been asleep for 900 years. Can this trio of unlikely heroines put an end to an ominous enchantment, discover true love, and keep an ancient and evil magic from being unleashed on modern-day Los Angeles?

Becca Ward knows that magic is real…

Two years ago not only had she and her best friend Alex found a real life sleeping beauty in the middle of Los Angeles, they also discovered that they were powerful in their own right. They’ve managed to keep both their fae powers and their friend Lilia’s identity as a medieval princess a secret and live a normal life. Now that normalcy is threatened by the return of their former advisor at the Gem and Mineral Museum, and Becca’s least favorite person, Nicholas Hunt.

And she’s about to find out that more than one fairy tale is true.

Nicholas has been obsessed with proving Lilia’s identity and the existence of magic. While working on an archeology dig he discovered an ancient Fae artifact – a mirror that is imbued with a powerful protection spell that twists his obsession, and his body, until he is more beast than man. In order to protect her friends, Becca is forced to help him and she is surprised to find that in spite of his outward appearance, Nicholas is no longer the beast she remembers. Will she let herself be the beauty that breaks the curse, or will she let her prejudice against him stop her from discovering true love?

Eleven enchanting fairy tale short stories:

After spending her whole life isolated in a tower, Rapunzel’s salvation is finally at hand, but she may have merely traded one form of captivity for another…

Special Agent Alice Harrison of the Office of Narrative Order should know better than anyone not to follow a suspicious (and suspiciously good-looking) man in a white rabbit suit down a hole…

Miss Lucinda Beacham is bored. The endless balls and dances she must endure as a debutante hold no enjoyment for her—that is until she finds a frog sitting on the edge of a fountain, a frog who just so happens to know her name…

Being a fairy godmother isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when you’re a junior in high school and your next assignment is your former crush…

Views from the Tower is a collection of short stories that offers new perspectives on some of your favorite fairy tales, including a trio of different takes on Rapunzel. Each story offers a unique foray into the exciting world of fantasy, as well as a golden opportunity to see some well-known legends in a whole new light.

View from the Tower: Captive
View from the Tower: Longing
View from the Tower: Hope
Chasing Storms
The Price of Beauty
Oh My Fairy Godmother
In Her Service
Mountain Rose
Down the Rabbit Hole
Magical Spell Support
Red

Also includes the first three chapters of Awake: A Fairytale, the debut YA fantasy novel by Jessica Grey

A mermaid willing to trade her life for love…

A young girl whose beauty can drive people mad…

Twelve sisters with a mysterious addiction…

A beast that can only be transformed by love…

Views from the Depths is a collection of four short stories told from perspectives of multiple characters. Each of these stories takes an in-depth and sometimes melancholy look at some of your favorite fairy tales.

Includes adaptations of The Little Mermaid, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and Beauty and the Beast.

Views from the Depths is approximately 20,000 words in length.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Syndication – Good, Duplicate Content – Bad. What to Do? by Donna Huber

Syndication – Good, Duplicate Content – Bad. What to Do? by Donna Huber

Ever since Google started cracking down on blogs that had duplicate content, I have wondered how syndication played into it. In legacy media, being a syndicated columnist was a huge feat. The columnist reached greater audiences with the same content.

Then there are the news stories that play over and over on every television station and every newspaper. Even as the legacy media moved online, the practice continued. Online news sites like Huffington Post even repost content from other sites.

I’ve asked around in various groups what makes syndication okay for sites like a newspaper, but not a general blog like mine? Early answers were that they were somehow exempt from Google’s algorithm. Not fully understanding, I searched the web and Google’s own information and all I got was some technical mumbo jumbo that all I took away from was syndication was okay but not duplicate content.

I got into another discussion yesterday with an author who read an article about the benefits of syndication, but wasn’t sure how it differed from duplicate content. It got me thinking and again I went searching for answers. I ran across the most helpful article to date on the subject at Search Engine Journal.

To bottom-line the article – it’s all about the quality. You really should read the article for yourself, but I’ll highlight a few things I took away from it and some thoughts on syndication as it applies in the book-blogging world. Continue reading

Kid Quotes: Trip Edition (4/16)

My kids are always coming up with crazy stuff, but being stuck in a car together for 10-12 hours provides endless opportunities for entertainment. Mine, not theirs.

Early in the trip, we had a discussion about radio signals and why we have to switch stations frequently while driving.
Several hours later, Blake asked how we were getting “our station” so clearly.
It took me a minute to understand what he was asking.
B: How is the station so good?
Me: We’re in Memphis. There are probably twenty stations here.
B: No. How is our station so clear here?
Me: This isn’t our station.
B: But one day we were going to the grocery store, and I heard this song.
I adore this kid.
Jack said something snarky to him, and I said, “Quit. He doesn’t understand.”
“How could he not understand?”
“He’s five.”
Instantly, his voice went from “He’s an idiot” to “He’s so cute”. “Yeah, he’s five.”
I’m pretty fond of that kid, too.

After driving for 12 hours, we got to my parents’ house around 12:30. Blake woke up at 4am throwing up. He and I were sharing the lower bunk, so while I was cleaning him, me, the bed, the floor, and half the bathroom, he asked, “Do you think it got on Jack’s bed?”
“Uh, no. His bed’s way up there.”
“Well, sometimes when you throw up, it goes up.”
Not that far, son.

Last night going to sleep (the first time), Blake didn’t want to snuggle up to me. A few minutes later, he got upset because his teddy bear was in the way and he couldn’t snuggle with me(???).
“I thought you didn’t want to snuggle.”
“Well, now I *do*.”
Then oh, so seriously, “People can change their minds, you know.”

B: So there are firstendary colors and secondary colors?

B: I know clouds are for rain, but what else are they for? Cotton balls?

We stopped at Wendy’s to eat, and I got a salad a baked potato. The tomato fell off Blake’s “chicken burger”, so I gave him my fork because he didn’t want to touch the tomato with his hands. As we were packing up his leftover sandwich to finish in the car (his lack of urgency wasn’t cooperating with my desire to find a bed), he handed me the plastic fork and said, “”We can’t take any equipment out of here.”

Blake fell asleep while Jack was in the shower one night, and the first thing he said the next morning was, “Did Jack take a shower for the whole night?”

B: Why do these peanuts taste funny?
Me: They’re cashews.
B: Oh! Well, they’re good.

TOS Review: Curiosity Quest

Curiosity Quest Review
Learning should be fun, don’t you think? I think so, and the folks at Curiosity Quest think so, too! We were excited to review two DVDs: DVD Combo Pack – Produce and DVD Combo Pack – Swimmers of the Sea. I was as fascinated by these shows as the kids were.

Curiosity Quest is a show that answers those niggling questions we all have about everyday things. Joel Greene is a fabulous and entertaining host who dives into the types of adventures we’d all love to experience. He takes us inside factories, farms, and salvage yards to learn how it’s done. The show airs on some PBS stations, and is available on DVDs. Episodes are approximately 30 minutes each.

Each episode starts with a viewer question, and goes onsite to meet someone with a related occupation. Every few minutes, we are shown a “man on the street” interview segment in which people (often cute kids) answer questions related to the show’s subject. This segment is quite entertaining, as some of the people come up with totally off-the-wall answers. There are also a few “Fun Fact” segments thrown in. The show is geared toward kids ages 7-14, but my five-year-old and I both watched them along with my twelve-year-old, and we all loved them. They’re funny and informative – quality “edutainment”!

The DVDs are great on their own, or as the starting point to a unit study. You can watch the episode then spend some fun time doing your own research to learn even more! We didn’t go that far, but as we watched the videos, we paused several times to google our own questions. Sometimes the questions were answered later in the episode, but we didn’t know that when we looked them up. LOL We watched two episodes a day for three days, and one morning, the first thing the five-year-old said when he woke up, was, “Have we watched the orange thing yet?” Which somehow ended up with us googling what vitamins and nutrients are in oranges before we even got out of bed.

Continue reading