Saturday, October 12, 2013

THE LAST ENCHANTER BLOG TOUR



Welcome to the official blog tour for 
THE LAST ENCHANTER, 
Book II of The Celestine Chronicles
a fun-filled fantasy adventure series for middle grade readers!  
_______________________________________________________________

In Book I, THE ROCK OF IVANORE, enchanter's apprentice Marcus Frye and five other boys set out on a dangerous journey to locate the Rock of Ivanore and bring it back to their village.

In THE LAST ENCHANTER, months have passed since they succeeded in their quest. One of the boys, Kelvin, is living as royalty in Dokur, and Marcus is studying magic with Zyll. When Lord Fredric is murdered and Kelvin becomes king, the Enchanter Zyll and Marcus head for Dokur in hopes of protecting Kelvin from meeting the same fate, though it quickly becomes apparent that none of them are safe, and Marcus has had disturbing visions of Zyll's death. With the help of his old friends Clovis and Bryn, joined by new friend Lael, a feisty girl in search of her mother, Marcus uncovers a powerful secret that will change the course of his life forever.

In addition to THE LAST ENCHANTER being released on OCTOBER 15th in hardback, THE ROCK OF IVANORE is also now available in paperback! Both titles can be purchased at bookstores nationwide and online at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Indiebound. They are available as E-books, too.

To celebrate the release of her newest book, author Laurisa White Reyes is giving away a brand new 16 GB NOOK HD!!!  Details on how to enter the giveaway can be found at the end of this post. In the meantime, please enjoy this excerpt from THE LAST ENCHANTER followed by an interview with the author, Laurisa White Reyes.


 

EXCERPT from THE LAST ENCHANTER

Marcus waited until he heard Zyll turn the lock in his door before heading back down the corridor. Zyll had told him to do what he thought was best, and that’s exactly what he would do.

He passed several armed sentries, one at every door, as he made his way through the lower level of the Fortress. Kelvin was determined not to let the Agoran rebels get inside again. Maybe Marcus shouldn’t worry about his brother. With all these guards around, Kelvin was far safer than Fredric must have been. Still, he deserved to know how their grandfather died. Secrets had nearly destroyed Marcus and Kelvin’s relationship during their quest eight months ago. There would be no secrets between them ever again.

Marcus didn’t want to go back to the dining room. Kelvin and Jayson were probably still arguing over dinner, and what Marcus had to say was private anyway. He would go instead to Kelvin’s council chambers and wait for him there.

Other than the sentries, the interior of the Fortress was quiet. Most of the servants had already retired to their rooms for the night. Marcus hurried across the vast entry hall toward the east alcove where the offices were located. He had made it halfway when he suddenly had the feeling that he was not alone.  He turned and looked behind him, but there was no one beside the guard standing at the Fortress’s main door. The light from several oil lamps left the corners of the room hidden in darkness. Someone could easily conceal himself in one.

This is silly, Marcus thought. I’m letting my mind play tricks on me. Still, he walked the rest of the way as fast as he could without actually running.

The door to Kelvin’s council chambers stood just inside a narrow alcove. To Marcus’s surprise, the sconces on the wall were not lit. The alcove was dark except for a weak glow from the lanterns in the great hall.  He had expected to find a guard here, too, but the alcove was empty—or was it?

Near the door to Kelvin’s chambers Marcus saw a large, dark clump of something on the floor. He approached cautiously and touched it with his foot.  An arm fell forward, hitting the floor with a dull thump. Marcus stepped back, his breath quickening. The dark clump was a sentry. In the dim light, Marcus couldn’t tell if he was unconscious or dead.

Behind him, Marcus heard the sound of footsteps which stopped abruptly.

“Hello?” Marcus called out hoping it was one of the other guards. “There’s a man here,” he said. “I think he’s hurt!”

When no one replied, Marcus realized once again that his imagination was running away with him. But he did need to find help for the sentry. He was about to leave when he heard a new sound coming from inside the chambers: an unmistakable rattle as if something had fallen and rolled across the floor.

Marcus stepped over the guard’s body and took hold of the door handle. Slowly he turned it, pushing open the door just an inch. Candlelight spilled through the narrow crack into the alcove. Marcus saw now that the sentry’s eyes were open, staring dully up at nothing. He was most certainly dead. And Marcus suspected that whoever was inside the room had done it.

Pushing the door open a little further, Marcus stepped inside. Large tapestries hung floor to ceiling against the walls. Three stories above, the stained glass ceiling looked like a patchwork of black and gray. Charred remains of a log stood cold in the fireplace, though six candles burned in an ornate candelabra beside Kelvin’s desk. On the floor lay an ink bottle, dark liquid trailing from it like a tail. This must be what had made the noise. Marcus bent to pick it up. The glass bottle felt warm to the touch.

The air in the room was chill. So why would the bottle be so warm? Someone must have been holding it, Marcus thought, but who?

As he set the bottle back on the desk, he noticed movement from the corner of his eye. A tapestry fluttered ever so slightly. Marcus’s heart raced. He reached for his knife, but then remembered he had left it in his room for he had thought he was just going to talk to Kelvin. What would he have needed it for? He reached for the tapestry with trembling fingers and jerked it aside, but the only thing behind it was a bare wall.

All of sudden, something heavy hit him from behind. Sharp pain exploded across his shoulders, and Marcus’s face smashed into the wall. He felt drops of hot blood trickle onto his lips. Licking them, he tasted copper, and he wondered if the loud crack he’d heard had been his back breaking or something else. He turned and saw Kelvin’s chair in pieces behind him on the floor. Someone had thrown it at him! He had only a second to think before something else came flying at him, but this time it was a man.

The man yelled. Marcus caught the glint of a blade in his hand just before it came down on him. Marcus twisted away just in time, the blade grating instead against the stone wall. But the man did not stop. He sliced his dagger wildly in every direction. Marcus jumped and slid his way across the room, doing his best avoid the attacks. The man was slender, almost frail-looking, and yet was surprisingly fast and strong. He lunged at Marcus, not with the dagger, but with a set of blood-stained claws extended for the kill. It wasn’t a man at all, Marcus realized. It was an Agoran.

Marcus grabbed the candelabrum. As he swung it in an arc, the candles flew off. Two went out as they hit the floor, but the other four stilled burned, casting long, unnatural shadows onto the tapestries. One lit the corner of a tapestry on fire, the flames soon licking the woven patterns like a hungry snake. The candelabrum hit the attacker with a force that would have knocked most men to their knees, but this one didn’t even flinch. When the Agoran took hold of it, Marcus expected him to yank it out of his hands. Instead he thrust it forward, pushing Marcus off balance. He fell onto his back, sending a fresh tremor of pain through him. A second later, the attacker was on top of Marcus, holding the point of a blade to his throat. Damp tendrils of long, shaggy hair clung to his face. His pupils, narrow like a cat’s, peered at Marcus, recognition slowly dawning.  The Agoran and Marcus stared at each other, both remembering the day months earlier when they had first met.

Just then the door to the chamber flew open. A guard rushed in, his sword raised. Behind him came Kelvin and Jayson. The Agoran leapt off of Marcus and crossed the room in half a breath’s time. The guard ran after him, but the Agoran tore the burning tapestry free from the wall and flung it at him. The guard screamed in pain as fire engulfed his uniform. The tapestry dropped to the floor, the flames trapping the Agoran at the back of the room. Marcus managed to roll clear of it, though he felt his skin blistering with the heat and smelled the guard’s scorched flesh.

Jayson ripped the burning fabric from the guard’s body as Kelvin picked up his fallen sword. Kelvin slashed at the tapestry, trying to make a path through the fire. As he broke through, Marcus looked up to see what would happen next, but to his and everyone’s surprise, the Agoran was gone.

 INTERVIEW w/ LAURISA WHITE REYES

What books influenced you most when you were growing up?
My favorite series for years was the TRIXIE BELDEN MYSTERIES. I still have the entire set of books in a box in my garage. Some of my other favorites included ROBINSON CRUSOE, OF MICE AND MEN, GONE WITH THE WIND, WUTHERING HEIGHTS and ROOTS.  Heavy duty stuff for a kid, I know, but I loved them. Still do. As an adult I learned more about writing from Dan Brown (THE DAVINCI CODE, ANGELS & DEMONS) than anyone else. He is a master of suspense, every chapter a cliffhanger so that you just can’t put his books down. Period. And I love how he weaves multiple points of view together until they all collide at the end. I wish I could write like that.

What gave you the idea for your book series The Celestine Chronicles?
I’ve always enjoyed reading to my kids at night before they go to bed. When my oldest son was about 8 years old, he asked me to make up a story instead of read one. So I told him about an enchanter’s apprentice who botched his spells. Each night my son would tell me what he wanted to hear that night, whether it was dragons, or magic, or sword fighting, and I’d weave it into the story. Eventually I started writing it down. A year later I had a completed manuscript of THE ROCK OF IVANORE. I wrote THE LAST ENCHANTER two years later.

What is your writing day like?
I don't have a typical writing day. As a mom of five kids, I actually have very little time to write. Years ago I used to stay up late at night to write, but I now I try to wake up an hour before the kids do and get a little work done then. On a good day I might write 1,000 words -- the equivalent of about 5 printed pages.

Who are your favorite characters in THE LAST ENCHANTER?
That's a tough question. While I like all the characters (I wouldn't write a character I couldn't like) Lael is new to this book. She wasn't in Book I. Lael is Marcus's age but wasn't included in the original quest because she is a girl. She really proves herself, though. While the boys use swords and bows and arrows, Lael is adept with the sling. Also, Bryn (the Groc who parades around in the form of a little boy) is particularly fond of her. And any friend of Bryn is a friend of mine.

Will there be a book III in The Celestine Chronicles?
Yes. The Seer of the Guilde is tentatively slated for 2015. However, in the meantime, I am working on the parallel series called The Crystal Keeper, which chronicles Jayson's years in exile in Hestoria. Anyone interested in the story of Jayson and Ivanore will want to read it. In the meantime, I hope everyone will enjoy THE LAST ENCHANTER.

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Laurisa White Reyes, author of THE LAST ENCHANTER, 
is giving away a brand new 
16 GB NOOK HD!!!  

There are many ways to win:

1) Take a pic of you and your copy of THE LAST ENCHANTER - post it on the web (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, a website, etc.) and email the link to:  laurisawhitereyes(at)yahoo(dot)com

2)  Follow Laurisa's blog and/or Facebook page

3) Tweet about this giveaway

4) Leave a comment below

The winner will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter. 
To enter the giveaway, fill out the form below. 
U.S. residents only, please.  
This giveaway will end on November 6th. 
 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

INTRODUCING MIDDLE SHELF MAGAZINE: COOL READS FOR KIDS



In 2010, a new digital literary magazine hit the web with the gale force of a typhoon. Shelf Unbound introduced readers to the wealth of quality books produced by small and indie presses, and provided a needed and deserved outlet for promoting these books. Three years later, Shelf Unbound has over 125,000 subscribers in 62 countries. Publisher’s Weekly called the visually dynamic magazine “richly designed,” and Shelf Unbound is a 2013 Maggie Award finalist for Best Digital-Only Magazine and a recipient of the Alliance of Independent Authors' Honoring Excellence Award.

After enjoying this level of success, the magazine’s founder and editor, Margaret Brown, decided it was time to take Shelf Unbound’s vision to a new audience: middle grade readers. Like Shelf Unbound, Middle Shelf will feature the best reads, whether from large publishing houses or small and indie presses, all directed to readers between the ages of 8 and 14. Each bi-monthly issue will include author interviews, reviews, excerpts, and cover artist spreads. And like Shelf Unbound, subscriptions are free.

At the helm of Middle Shelf is Laurisa White Reyes. As a published children’s book author, small press editor, and the mother of five children, Laurisa has her finger on the pulse of the children’s book industry and hopes to connect kids, parents, librarians and educators to wonderful books that don’t always get the attention they deserve.

The inaugural issue of Middle Shelf comes out this October. Features will include interviews with Margaret Petersen Haddix (author of Shadow Children and The Missing series), cover artist Gilbert Ford, and 12-year-old author MacKenzie Wagner. Top reads for the Halloween season will be included along with spotlights on non-fiction, graphic novel, poetry, and novelty titles.

To subscribe to Middle Shelf: Cool Reads for Kids, visit Shelf Media Group’s website:  http://www.shelfmediagroup.com/pages/introducing-middle-shelf.html. And please spread the word.

Find Middle Shelf on Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/middleshelfmagazine
Email the Editor in chief:  Laurisa at shelfmediagroup dot com

           

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

NEW BLOGS HAVE BEEN ADDED

Just a heads up that dozens of new blogs have been added to the directory, and several more will added soon. If you haven't checked them out recently, take a few moments and do so. In future posts, I will try to mention some of them. Thanks!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

THE LAST ENCHANTER BLOG TOUR - SIGN UP NOW!

Attention Middle Grade Mania bloggers! Last year I mentioned the possibility of offering blog tours. Many of you responded positively. Our first blog tour will be for my new book THE LAST ENCHANTER. I will be emailing those of you who said you'd be interested in hosting blog tours. Or you can sign up now here:  http://laurisareyes.blogspot.com/p/blog-tour.html



All blog tour hosts will receive a hand-crafted pewter gryphon medallion on an 18" leather necklace, identical to the one worn by a character in THE LAST ENCHANTER. You may keep it for yourself or use as a giveaway prize to your readers.


If you'd like more information or are interested in participating in this or future blog tours, please email me at laurisawhitereyes at yahoo dot com.

Thank you!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

RECYCLING ARCs: GIVE 'EM TO KIDS WHO NEED 'EM

What is an ARC?

Advanced Reader Copies are paperback pre-release versions of books that publishers send out to reveiwers. If you're a blogger, you know how quickly ARCs can pile up. You can't legally sell them, and libraries can't accept donated ARCs. You can pass only so many along to friends and family. So what do you do with them?

My answer is BOOKROOTS.


BOOKROOTS is a non-profit organization located in Los Angeles, CA that puts books into the hands of at-risk teens, like kids in juvenile hall, the foster care system, or are just living in poverty. These kids have few personal belongings, and too often don't have a single book to call their own. Research has shown that access to books increases literacy, which positively impacts kids lives in many different ways.

The way it works is volunteers visit various locations throughout Los Angeles where they can best reach these kids. They display donated books according to genre. Every teen gets to choose two books to take home with them--for keeps.

Cornelia Funke, author of the Inkheart Series, Dragon Rider, and Reckless is a strong supporter of BOOKROOTS.  How can you get involved?  Simple. Donate those used ARCs or any new or gently used Young Adult or Adult book. My son, Marc, is planning to host a massive book drive for BOOKROOTS this fall as an Eagle Scout project. If you'd like to help him out send me an email (laurisawhitereyes at yahoo dot com) and I'll tell you where you can ship your books. Or you can donate them directly by shipping them to the following address.  Just make sure you include a note stating that the books are for BOOKROOTS:

BookRoots
c/o Children's Book World
10580 1/2 Pico Cyn. Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

BOOKROOTS will also take monetary donations.

So next time your bookshelves are filled to overflowing, consider sharing them with kids who really need them. Pass them along to BOOKROOTS. Thanks.

Monday, June 24, 2013

SUPER SWAG SUNDAY KICKOFF!

SUPER SWAG SUNDAY has begun!

7 chances to win tons of really cool prizes donated by 55 middle grade and young adult authors!

http://laurisareyes.blogspot.com/2013/06/super-swag-sunday-day-1.html

Sunday, June 16, 2013

2ND ANNUAL SUPER SWAG SUNDAY IS COMING!!!

GET READY FOR

The 2nd Annual

SUPER SWAG SUNDAY!!!



When:  June 24th thru July 1st

Where:  laurisareyes.blogspot.com

Why:  For a chance to win lots of cool promotional items signed by 50+ of today's best middle grade and young adult authors!

Win? Did you say WIN?

YES!

Every day for seven days, Laurisa's blog will spotlight some of the most amazing new books for kids and teens! Monday thru Saturday visitors will be able to enter for chances to win one of 6 swag packs containing everything from signed bookmarks and postcards, to pins, pencils, totebags, stickers, key chains, lip balm, charms and more!

On the last day, SUPER SWAG SUNDAY, one last MEGA SWAG PACK will be given to one very lucky winner! This pack so far includes everything listed above PLUS:

1- hardbound copy of THE UNWANTEDS signed by author Lisa McMann
1- TEST TASTE charm bracelet
1- TOUCHING THE SURFACE T-shirt
1 - LOVE AND LEFTOVERS charm necklace
1 - SEND ME A SIGN guitar pick
1 - paperback copy of EVERTASTER: THE BUTTERSMITH'S GOLD signed by author Adam Sidwell
1- hardbound copy of THE SCORCH TRIALS signed by author James Dashner
1- paperback copy of THE ALWAYS WARS signed by author Margaret Peterson Haddix
1 - OyMG! T-shirt
1 - Original Artwork Print from FISHTALE signed by author Catherine Masciola
1- LOSING IT water bottle signed by author Erin Fry
1 - hardbound copy of LOSING IT signed by the author
1 - paperback copy of HYSTERIA signed by author Megan Miranda (not pictured)
1- hardbound copy of STARTERS signed by author Lissa Price (not pictured)
1 - poster of THE BINDING STONE signed by author Lisa Gail Green (not pictured)
1 - DRAGONWITCH pencil
1 - signed Margaret Petersen Haddix PIN!

And more prizes are still being added to the pile!

So be sure to stop by laurisareyes.blogspot.com every day from June 24th thru July 1st for plenty of chances to win. Stop by now and follow the blog to receive notifications of when the event starts posting.

See you then!

Friday, April 19, 2013

WHAT'S MISSING ON YOUR BLOG?

Middle Grade Mania is all about accessibility. Readers connect with authors, authors connect with bloggers, bloggers connect with the community at large. Since I've been working on this resource I've had the opportunity to visit hundreds of book blogs. Some are simply awesome! They reach their audience and connect in a way that brings people back again and again. Other blogs are not as successful.

I've pinpointed some specific elements that truly successful book blogs have and not-so-successful blogs don't. Now, when I say successful, I'm not talking about the number ticker on your Google Friends Connect. We all know that no matter how big that number may be, there's no guarantee that all your followers are actually reading your blog. The success of a blog can be measured by asking the following questions:

1.  Do my readers comment on my posts?
2.  Do my readers visit my blog on a regular basis?
3.  Is my blog regularly getting new followers?
4.  Do my readers share my posts on their blogs, FB or Twitter?

There are other questions you can ask, too. But the idea here is to have a blog that appeals to your readers and makes them want to come back time and time again.  When I visit blogs there are certain elements I look for. I tend to pass on blogs that don't have them because without them, the relationship is just a one way street. You'll see what I mean in a minute, but here is my short list of must-haves for successful blogs:

1. YOUR NAME - Blogs without a human name attached feel as if the blogger expects me to read their posts but is unwilling to connect with me on a personal level. A photograph is nice, too. Then I'm communicating with a real human being, not a just a blog title.

2.  CONTACT INFO - Again, if I have no way of communicating with a blogger other than through commenting on a post, it's a one way street. Readers should feel as though the blogger is accessible and willing to hear what they might have to say. If you don't want a particular type of communication, such as book review requests, mention that on your contact page.

3.  FOLLOW OPTIONS - Some blogs have only one way to follow, such as email. I don't care to follow blogs via email because then I end up with a very full mailbox every day. I prefer to visit on my own terms, so I like blogger feed or Google Friend Connect. Make sure to have several follow options, including FB and twitter.

4. UP TO DATE REVIEW POLICY - Nowadays, it's really important to state right up front whether you do don't accept review requests, and what kinds of books you are willing to read. If you're closed to requests, say so. And make your policy page easy to find.

5.  BUTTONS - Buttons are those cute little graphics on blog sidebars that link to other cool blogs and websites. They serve two main purposes: pointing your readers to blogs and sites you like, and giving back to sites that support you. For example, blogs that are listed in the Middle Grade Mania resource list are invited to include the MGM button on their blog. Many do. Some don't, but it is kind a rude to not have a button to a site that promotes your blog. Just common courtesy.


So there you have my short list of must-have blog elements. If you're blog is missing any of them, I urge you to consider a quick overhaul to make your blog more accessible.  In fact, I just realized that I forgot a couple of things on my new blog, so I'm hoping over there right now to fix it. Bye!