Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Next week is Children's Book Week and what better way to celebrate than picking up a children's book and having a good read :) I'll be re-reading Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix that I loved so much in middle school. I think I'll throw the Phantom Tollbooth in as well to read for the upteenth time (my all time favorite book) and might I suggest perhaps a read of Sticks n' Stones and the Garden of Phea? I hear it's fabulous ;)
Friday I'll be at Waco Elementary lovingly ranting about the struggles and work ethics of a writer and giving a few copies of my book to kids in its target age range! Very excited about that.
I'm also hoping for a book signing in Palm Bay Florida, I'll post more when I find a venue. I'll be in Florida May 7th-14th spending Mother's Day with my mother and having myself a nice working vacation. Don't forget, Mother's Day is 11 days away!
Monday, April 21, 2014
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Check out my interview with MT McGuire and discover my thought provoking ideals on the 5 things the world can live without ;) Cast your vote on whether you agree the world would be a better place without these 5 pet peeves of mine. Lots of fun to be had, only a click away!
Box 010 Interview with Angela Burkhead
Today marks the first day of the Mother Daughter Book Reviews Book Blast for Sticks n' Stones and the Garden of Phea. I hope you'll check out the book and sign up for some prizes. Mother Daughter Books celebrates many wonderful books and you should stop by their site to see what other goodies they have to give!
I thought I would take a minute to introduce myself and my book and while youre here I would love to answer questions. I was born in Kentucky and spent most of my life in Berea, the arts and crafts capital of Kentucky. Every year we celebrated with Christmas Country Dance school, I am a wonderful Contra dance partner ;), and attended Contra dances throughout the year. I was a part of the Festival Dancers that performed at events and schools to bring our Appalachian culture to Kentucky residents, as well as around the world in yearly trips to Europe and Denmark. Berea also hosts a Craft Fair every year where craftsman from around the world come to sell their goods. Its a major event and tons of fun. Mainly because the Festival Dancers perform ;)
Now you know a little about the unique and creative world I grew up in, lots of art and culture and tradition.
I attended EKU and recieved a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Photography, yes im a photographer. My photographic work is available online if you want to check it out, just look up Chasing the Wind Photography on Facebook.
Despite the fact I chose to got to school for something other than literature or creative writing I do feel my art training was crucial to tearing apart an idea and looking at the world in a unique way. I am very thankful for that.
I could give the story that I have always wanted to be a writer, I kept a notebook next to my bed so I could record my thoughts and dreams late at night, but that seems to be everyones story so I'll skip that.
Sticks n Stones took a year to piece together. I saw very clearly what I wanted in my mind and I took time to get the story down the way I envisioned it. It took another two years to edit and get published but it has been well worth the wait!
Emily is very much like I was as a girl, very quite, keeping to herself, a little on the plump side. I, however, wasn't teased as she is, though I saw it quite often done to others. Her character was meant to be a part of a short story and it grew into a world that will hopefully continue into a series of young adult books. She has lots more to learn.
I remember peer pressure being the most difficult to resist in middle school. High schoolers mature a bit, looking toward licenses, college, and the future and they are a bit more equipped to handle the world. Middle school is full of huge changes, no more recess, your body begins to mature when BO becomes a problem, girls become "women", and whether we as parents like it or not, sex becomes introduced to our kids. Yes, I remember the stories of exploits joined in by my friends even at that young age. Stuck in an age too young to decide your future but too old to still be a child, its a tough time.
Emily is stuck in the troubles of young adults and she finds she has to face them rather than run away. With the help of a few new friends she goes on an adventure that changes her life.
I hope you will check out the book and enjoy a story about finding yourself and seeing that you are uniquely beautiful.
Monday, April 14, 2014
After learning that her life has been a lie, that there are men still in the world, people can touch without fear of the illness, that life is safe outside the compound, Mary wants to go with him. Through a series of kidnappings, by both Compound watch women trying to return Mary to their home and Earthers trying to protect their way of life, Mary and Taylor uncover the truth about The Cleansing and the attacks on the compounds.
On review sites I've given The Only Boy a 4 star rating, I disagree that it should be 3 stars but it should be more of a 3.5. I won't round down to a full 3. The story is written in first person dialogue and has a very personal, diary like feel to it. We hear and see through the thoughts and actions of the characters as the chapters move back and forth between Mary and Taylor, each misreading each others actions on several occasions. The tone is very dark and desolate, the very emotion drawn from the two main characters through a hard life and for Mary through the lack of affection and physical contact throughout her life. The only thing missing from the first person point of view in this book is the action of doing something. The characters look and see and do but they are never doing. I would have liked to read a more active interaction of characters where someone was running through the woods rather than saying 'I run through the woods'. I am highly curious how canned foods have lasted for so many years after society fell. It seems they would have run out well before one hundred years unless I mis-read the time frame.
Either way, the story is very unique and intriguing. I enjoyed seeing through another's eyes and getting to understand the way actions and words can be misconstrued between a boy and a girl. At times you can almost imagine it's you in the book, remembering an experience of a world after society. The Only Boy is a well thought out novel delivering suspense and intrigue to the readers delight.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Back Cover Description:
"The circle is closing. The stakes are high. And old truths will live again . . .
The Emperor has been murdered, leaving the Annurian Empire in turmoil. Now his progeny must bury their grief and prepare to unmask a conspiracy.
His son Valyn, training for the empire’s deadliest fighting force, hears the news an ocean away. He expected a challenge, but after several ‘accidents’ and a dying soldier’s warning, he realizes his life is also in danger. Yet before Valyn can take action, he must survive the mercenaries’ brutal final initiation.
Meanwhile, the Emperor’s daughter, Minister Adare, hunts her father’s murderer in the capital itself. Court politics can be fatal, but she needs justice. And Kaden, heir to an empire, studies in a remote monastery. Here, the Blank God’s disciples teach their harsh ways – which Kaden must master to unlock their ancient powers. When an imperial delegation arrives, he’s learnt enough to perceive evil intent. But will this keep him alive, as long-hidden powers make their move?"
I got incredibly lucky to find a copy of The Emperor's Blades at my library several months before I expected to be able to read it. My pre-ordered copy won't arrive until August! I read the first 7 chapters as Tor.com released them on their site and buried my desire to read its entirety deep in the vaniate. I nearly missed the copy sitting on the shelves thinking it's existence to be impossible until emotions broke through and I have been unable to let the book go ever since. It will take all my strength to return it to the library...
The characters in The Emperor's Blades are some of the strongest, most well-developed characters I've read. The emperor's children have grown into adulthood still clinging to their past, their strict father, their buried mother, the unfairness of their duties to the empire. They force themselves to move past emotions and do what's best for the good of all. They're very real and raw yet strong and determined. This does not just apply to the three children of the emperor, the book is filled with lively and interesting characters that make this world exciting to read about. The Kettral are deadly, thought provoking, and pure emotion, the monks are contemplative, severe in their teaching methods, and forever seek the vaniate, a type of 'blankness' of the mind. Political minds of the empire plot and scheme and are twisted in a plot stretching further than those loyal to the Malkeenian line can possibly see or understand.
This being book 1 of the series, we follow the three children of the emperor through their harsh lives of training and the aftermath of their fathers death. The two sons, Kaden and Valyn, were sent away from the empire at a young age for training. Kaden trains as a monk to the Blank God as his father thought best for him as future emperor, while Valyn trains as a Kettral warrior. The reader gets a deep look into the ways of the monks and the Kettral giving an understanding of the two brothers personalities and influences. Their sister, Adare, remained all her life with their father learning of politics and has become the Minister of Finance for the empire. She awaits Kaden's return to save the empire, taking care of what she can in his absence.
Each chapter ends at a crucial point leaving you wanting to read more. It keeps the book well paced and exciting and though the reader only gets a glimpse into the fantastical beings of this world, book 1 builds up to revealing a powerful, and uniquely magical world in the books to come. In the fantasy world, I would consider this a must read.
Saturday, April 5, 2014
An action packed, teenage romance where the main character doesn't give 'it' up the first chance she gets. (Hallelujah)
Stevie is a teen fully expecting her life to change after graduation, but she did not see this coming. She was adopted as an infant and when her mother is attacked by men with glowing eyes, her mother reveals the strangeness of Stevie's adoption. Stevie is coming of age causing her birthmark to enlighten and reveal her true identity as one of the Djen race. With her protector and the love of her life, Colton, to guide her, she grows into maturity and her Djen abilities faster than she realizes. Her duty? To save her native people from evil reign.
Her human friends stick by her side proving friendship is a stronger bond than our troubles. Her mother, Jan is a strong character that supports Stevie while keeping a cautious head on her shoulders. One thing I enjoyed about this book is that Jan had reason to let Stevie go. Stevie is now an adult that has to make her own decisions, but not only that, her mother doesn't simply give in and disappear to make room for the story line. Her reasoning in letting her go makes sense, if I'm making any sense in explaining this.
Also, the language and behavior of the teens is a very real portrayal of young adults. There's good dialogue between characters.
This is book one of a series and Stevie's story does take place in the human realm, but her Djen protector does allow us a glimpse of what is to come in book two when Stevie will be reunited with her people.
I enjoyed reading Fable and would love to keep reading about Stevie's journeys.
Friday, April 4, 2014
I can't hold in my excitement so I'm sharing a sneak peek at my entry! The title is 'The Garden of Phea' from my new book Sticks n' Stones and the Garden of Phea. I am very excited to participate in this years Edible Book Day and can't wait for tomorrow.
So, I give you, The Garden of Phea:
If you've not seen Chef's new kids chef show, you should watch it. These kids are amazing little cooks and Chef is super sweet and completely encouraging. Almost makes me not afraid of him... FYI, he finally rid himself of the awful Hells Kitchen contestant that cooked a frozen meal as his special dish in the first episode. I'm thrilled about that.
Anyway, My cocoa cupcakes are all baked and stuffed with marshmallow cream filling (all made from scratch I might brag) and now I'm off to make the buttercream, graham cracker icing, and to top it off, Marshmallows cut into petals on top to make each cupcake look like a blooming flower. Perfect timing for spring, and oh yeah, my book hitting the shelves!
Yes, I am creating a bouquet of Smores cupcake flowers (Thank you Wayward Backers for the Smores idea) to celebrate Edible Book Day at our local library with a tasty treat to announce my new book Sticks n' Stones and the Garden of Phea. They're due at 10 am tomorrow morning so I really need to get going while the little one is asleep...