#NewRelease – Dragons Walk Among Us @DanRiceWrites

I am so pleased and excited to share an awesome new book release with you from a fellow Wild Rose Press author, Dan Rice! Take a look at this fabulous cover!

But I am going to let Dan tell you about it!

Thanks for having me as your guest today, Jan. I’m super excited about my new book and I hope your readers will be too!

            Dragons Walk Among Us is about the friendship between the protagonist Allison Lee and her squad. I imagine them as typical high schoolers with lives and interests and conflicts young adult audiences will identify with. For example, Allison is infatuated with cross country star Jason, who sees her only as a friend, if a good one. Unbeknownst to Allison, her close friend Haji harbors a ginormous crush on her.

            The card-carrying members of Allison’s squad are Dalia, her BFF, and Haji, the editor of the school’s online newspaper. The three of them are inseparable, although Allison seeing or perhaps hallucinating mythical creatures threatens their bond. While the story is 100% Allison’s, Dalia and Haji are significant players in the novel’s plot. As such, I give each unique interests, while allowing for enough overlap for great friendships.

            Let’s take a closer look at Allison. She is more introverted than her squad but isn’t painfully shy. This one trait differentiates her quite a bit from her more outgoing friends. Her passion is photography in all its forms. In fact, she photographs many of the sporting events Haji covers for the school newspaper. Allison’s also concerned about the environment and photographs local climate protests that Dalia organizes. Right away, you can see how their interests are different yet intersect. I hope this makes their friendship seem realistic.

            Of course, there are other ways I differentiate the characters. Allison is biracial and, at one point, suffers abuse for her appearance. Dalia dyes her hair neon pink and sports a nose ring. While the two girls are cross country runners, Haji refuses to run even when in danger, citing flat fleet––okay, he runs eventually because he’s not a dunce. In terms of how they speak, Dalia is typically upbeat, while Allison is a bit more subdued. Haji, being obsessed with all things sports-related, often uses terminology and sayings derived from athletics.

            I hope the realistically portrayed friendship between Allison and her squad adds an extra layer of depth to Dragons Walk Among Us, making the characters irresistible to readers. In the end, after all, no matter how fantastical and well told the tale, it’s the characters we remember.

Blurb:

 Shutterbug Allison Lee is trying to survive high school while suffering the popular girl’s abuse. Her life is often abysmal, but at least her green hair is savage. Her talent for photography is recognized by the school paper and the judges of a photo contest.

While visiting her friend Joe, a homeless vet, Allison’s life irrevocably changes after an attack leaves her blind. All her dreams as a photojournalist are dashed as she realizes she’ll never see again. Despair sets in until she is offered an experimental procedure to restore her vision. But there are side effects, or are they hallucinations? She now sees dragons accompanying some of the people she meets. Can she trust her eyes, or has the procedure affected her more than she can see?

Excerpt:

Dalia resumes talking about strategies to solve the equation, but I barely register a word. My gaze is lured back to Dr. Radcliffe like a particle inexorably pulled into a black hole. My eyes widen, and my jaw slackens. Furrowing my brow, I blink, desperate to clear the mind-boggling absurdity from my vision.

Projecting from Dr. Radcliffe’s body is a shimmering golden dragon, the European variety complete with sparkling golden scales, talons, and green wings. The dragon fades and flashes in and out of existence. The tail, the bulky body, and leathery wings pass through the wall as if all are insubstantial. This is insane asylum madness. I must be hallucinating, or maybe it’s my prosthetic eyes. Not a single person, and there must be at least fifteen people in the library, notices the beast. On top of that, the dragon doesn’t make a sound. There is no way an animal of that size can be silent in such a confined space.

I don’t know if I should hope it’s my eyes or not. If it’s not my eyes, I’m a nutter. If it is my eyes…it’s too terrible to consider.

I draw a shuddering breath and chew on my lower lip. The hairs on the back my neck stand up straight, and my body tenses like prey ready to flee a predator. I want to look away from Dr. Radcliffe and the craziness glimmering all around him, but I can’t.

“Allison. Allison.”

I tear my gaze away from the professor, but I still glimpse the dragon’s glimmering golden light in my peripheral vision.

Dalia stares at me in evident exasperation. “Did you hear anything I just said?”

My gaze shifts back to Dr. Radcliffe and the draconic projection surrounding him. A student walks straight through a foreleg. My mouth drops open.

“What is it?” Dalia asks and turns in her seat to face Dr. Radcliffe. She turns back to me. “Do you know him?”

“Know who?” I shift my gaze to Dalia, long enough to catch her puzzled look, then look at Dr. Radcliffe.

“That old man you’re staring at,” Dalia says. “Are you okay? Is he the one who attacked you?”

I stare at my friend. “What? No. How would I know? I don’t have any memory of that. That’s Dr. Radcliffe. He knows my dad.”

I see golden scales and a red cardigan right behind Dalia. I look up and feel like my prosthetics are going to pop out of my head. Behind Dalia is Dr. Radcliffe and the twinkling winged beast.

“Oh my God,” I whisper.

A spectral golden forefoot with foot-long white talons passes straight through Dalia’s chest.

“What?” Dalia says. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

Dr. Radcliffe stares at me from behind rimless spectacles. He is holding a thick book at his side. I try to meet his gaze, but my eyes keep flicking up at the looming dragon’s head, staring down at me with yellow eyes split by black pupils.

“You’re Raymond Lee’s daughter,” Dr. Radcliffe says. “Wait. Don’t tell me. Alice.”

I shake my head. Dalia faces the professor.

“Hello, Dr. Radcliffe,” Dalia says. “Allison was telling me all about you.”

“Oh, that’s right. Allison. How could I forget? And who are you, young lady?”

“Dalia.”

“What a lovely name. Your hair. Pink like a dahlia,” the professor says and hefts the book he holds. “Well, I will let you young ladies get back to it. Good day.”

Author, Dan Rice

Dan has wanted to write novels since first reading Frank Herbert’s Dune at the age of eleven. A native of the Pacific Northwest, he often goes hiking with his family through mist-shrouded forests and along alpine trails with expansive views.

Dragons Walk Among Us is his debut novel. He plans to keep writing fantasy and science-fiction for many years. You can explore his blog at https://www.danscifi.com.

Social Media Links:

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Links for Purchase:

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“Stuck” – New Release from Diane Windsor @motinabooks

I am happy to turn my blog over to a wonderful author I’ve recently met, Diane Windsor! She had some ultra-important information to share with you. The floor is yours, Diane!

Thank you, Jan. I am thrilled to talk about my new book, “Stuck,” here on your beautiful blog site!

When a child is diagnosed with pediatric cancer, no matter what kind of cancer, time stops. Everything changes for the entire family. There is no “normal” anymore. My youngest son was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on June 20th 2018. Anything happening before that date was “before,” and anything after, of course, is “after.”

Brendan was 20 years old at the time, and very independent. He was living in another state completely on his own. We had been chatting on the phone pretty regularly, and he told me that he hadn’t been feeling great. Apparently, he was tired all the time. I thought his fatigue be the result of a little too much partying, but I held my tongue.

So, he went to a clinic for an examination. Based on a CBC (Complete Blood Count) test the doctor told him that he thought he had either lymphoma or leukemia and needed to get to the emergency room immediately. Brendan asked me to order an Uber for him because he didn’t have the money.

I bought a one-way plane ticket to Minneapolis so I could be with my kid. That was the beginning of the year and a half of cancer treatment. Plan A, or the frontline treatment, was chemotherapy. Chemo cures leukemia for many patients, but unfortunately, that didn’t work for us.

Plan B was a state-of-the-art immunotherapy known as CAR T cell therapy. Brendan‘s T cells are harvested from his bloodstream using apheresis. The T cells were then sent to a pharmaceutical company to be modified. After about four weeks they were re-infused into his system and these super cells would attack all of the leukemia cells. This worked beautifully for a while. Thirty days post-infusion he was in complete remission and there was no trace of leukemia cells in his bone marrow or bloodstream. After sixty days there was an indication that this therapy was no longer working and he would move to Plan C which was a bone marrow, or stem cell, transplant.

So at this point we are one year post diagnosis and into intensive cancer treatment. The chemotherapy has completely wiped out any immunity that he had to disease. All of his vaccinations have been wiped out. He is greatly immuno-compromised and very susceptible to any illness. I remember driving to clinic one day and we were listening to the local news on the radio. There was a report of a measles outbreak in a county in Texas. He looked at me with a worried expression on his face and asked, “Is that close to us?” Luckily it wasn’t, but he also knew that this measles outbreak was caused by the growing movement of not vaccinating children against childhood diseases. If a person who has a compromised immune system should contract the measles, chickenpox, pertussis, or any other childhood illness,.their body will have a much more difficult time fighting that illness then a healthy individual. It could potentially lead to sepsis, organ damage, and even death.

This is why childhood vaccinations and heard immunity are so incredibly important.

I’ve always been a pro-vaxx mom. When my oldest child was born in 1990 there was never any question about whether I would have him vaccinated or not. I never felt that I was blindly following with the pediatrician told me to do. I simply had a healthy respect for the opinions of medical professionals because of their education and experience. I had never even heard of the anti-vaxx movement until about the year 2010 when a coworker mentioned to me that vaccines had caused his son’s autism. I was puzzled since that was the first I’d ever heard of this phenomenon. I didn’t give that much more thought thinking he was just an outlier with that opinion. But as social media became more prevalent I realized that many people shared this opinion.

My son’s cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment really brought this home for me. It helped me understand how harmful this anti-science movement can really be to many thousands of people in our country.

I wrote the book STUCK, which is a young adult (YA) novel, with the hope that the younger generation will help turn this movement around. The story revolves around Cassidy and Angie, who have been best friends for many years. Angie is diagnosed with leukemia. Since Cassidy’s mom never had her vaccinated, she ends up getting the measles. Cassidy infects her friend, who doesn’t survive.

This is the real world for cancer patients. Herd immunity protects those who can’t be vaccinated. So, those who can be vaccinated should be.

PURCHASE LINK FOR “STUCK”

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NEW RELEASES – SHORT STORIES #RRBC

I am SO excited to release three new short stories as a result of the 2019 90-Day Alpha/Omega Beginning to End Short Story Contest at #RRBC!

I love how this contest pushes me out of my comfort zone and gets my creative juices flowing!

I’ll list the three short stories in no particular order. I sincerely hope that at least one will pique your interest!

BLURB:

For almost eighteen years, Jewel has known little beyond hopelessness and hunger. Barely existing in a ramshackle cabin, on the edge of a Louisiana swamp with her little sister and their mother, she sees no way to stop the downward spiral. When her mother falls gravely ill, Jewel learns that her life is about to take a drastic turn. But will it lead to joy or more devastation?

Take a heart-warming journey with Jewel as she struggles to rise from the clutches of poverty and shame.

PURCHASE LINK:

BLURB:

At the tender age of fourteen, Jennifer shoulders the full responsibility of running a household and caring for her seven-year-old sister. It’s bad enough that their father is lost at war in Afghanistan, but troubles multiply when their so-called mother abandons them for another man. Hardships and struggles are constant companions. Family is whatever Jennifer can make it. That’s the way the cards have been dealt, and that’s the way she’ll play them.

This strong young girl meets every obstacle head-on, while never losing hope for a better tomorrow.

PURCHASE LINK:

BLURB:

Claire Winters is heartbroken when her husband of many years says he’s found a new love and wants a divorce. While having a pity party with her best friend, Jade, they come up with a daring idea. Together, they construct a Voodoo doll and with the help of several bottles of wine, create a ceremony to bring the same heartbreak to Daniel Winters as he brought to Claire. But do they go too far? You decide!

PURCHASE LINK:

I enjoyed writing these vastly different stories and I hope you enjoy reading them!

Daisy Bold & Beautiful – Ellie Collins

Daisy

BOOK BLURB: 

D.J. and her dad moved far from the small town and only home she ever knew. Now she’s starting middle school in the city with kids she’s never met. She tries to make friends, but they all appear to be slaves to screen time. D.J. just likes to garden, nurturing plants, watching them grow and thrive. It seems she’ll never find a way to fit in, but then she awakens in a gorgeous garden where she meets Persephone, Goddess of Spring. She must be dreaming; her new friend can’t possibly be real—and what could she know about getting along with gamers? D.J. really needs some ideas, or she might never find her own place in a complicated world.

Daisy, Bold & Beautiful is the debut novel of middle-schooler Ellie Collins, daughter of award-winning author Stephanie Collins. Boys and girls alike will appreciate Ellie’s keen eye for the challenges of growing up that she and her friends must face. Discover the wonderful writing of Ellie now, then follow her to learn about her writing and more books to come.

MY 5 STAR REVIEW:

This is such a heartwarming story about a girl starting middle school in a new town, new school and without her mom.  It’s just her and her dad. I loved the relationship depicted between the young girl and her father, both trying to find their way. The book is well-written and to know it was written by a ten-year-old is mind-blowing. I loved every aspect of this book from the rendezvous in the garden with the mythical Goddess, Persephone to the challenges of trying to fit in at an awkward age in life. The messages are powerful in this book. ‘Be yourself no matter what’ is a strong message. And, if you stay true to yourself, everything will fall into place. The book also touches on how a child deals with her grief at the loss of a parent. I highly recommend this book for teens and tweens. I think everyone can learn something from Daisy Bold & Beautiful. My hat is off to the young author!

Ellie_Collins

Stephanie Collins, Award-winning Author, is Ellie’s mother. For more, visit: RAVE WRITERS INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS