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James Patterson is everywhere! Glad we found House of Robots.

My son and I have developed a strange game called, "Where's James Patterson?" We find his books everywhere. In libraries, stores, any mix of genres and age ranges. James Patterson is always there.

Imagine my not-surprise when my son found House of Robots on one of the endcaps at our local library. We checked it out, cracked it open, and never looked back.

House of Robots is a fun book about a kid named Sammy who lives in a house FULL of robots! His mom is an incredible inventor, and she's created robots that can do just about anything. Her latest invention isn't sitting too well with Sammy though, because she's designed it to go to school.

The BEST part of this book, although much of it was wonderful, were the passages that talk about Maddie. Maddie is Sammy's sister, and she has an illness that makes it so she can't go hang out with the other kids because she might get sick. My husband is chronically ill, and Maddie's story helped my son to und…
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Try Body Suit on for size.

Suzanne Hagelin is a Pacific Northwest indie author who I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with at several book festivals and conventions over the years.

In typical "let's add to the TBR pile" style, I picked up the first book of her trilogy, Body Suit, and then sat on it for months. Possibly a year. Perhaps longer.

Then, in a reading slump, I finally opened it up.

Do you ever have those times where you smack yourself in the forehead and say, "Self, why did you put this off for so long?" That's exactly how I felt while reading Body Suit.

Suzanne and I have discussed our love of the Portal video games in the past, and the A.I. cataloging human behavior and offering assistance (when it finds it convenient) is reminiscent of GLaDOS and Wheatley in the Portal games. Snarky, contemplative, and sometimes dependable enough to love.

Sil, the main character in Body Suit finds herself shipped off to the first settlement on Mars, forced to work in the mines. Si…

Starstruck for the fifth time.

"Home is where the heart is. Or maybe the pizza."
One of my very good friends, author S.E. Anderson, has just released the cover image for book five in her Starstruck series!  Book five, Starbound, is set to launch later this year. I'm so excited to get back to these characters again. If you haven't read this series yet, you're missing out on some hilarious Sci-Fi adventures. Sally and her friends jump around the universe, foiling would-be crimes, (accidentally) reigning supreme over alien races, and guest-starring on intergalactic television. Make sure you get caught up on this series before Starbound hits the bookshelf!
You can check out the blurb from the book below, and remember to get the rest of the books in the series over on Amazon.

Home is where the heart is. Or maybe the pizza.
There’s no better feeling than being back home after a long week exploring the galaxy, though being abandoned by one’s friends and left to fend off a glitching evil robot spoils …

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

For the last several months, my kiddo and I have been reading through the Chronicles of Narnia. We finally made it to one of my favorite books in the series, Prince Caspian. In this book, not only are the children transported back to Narnia once more, but they're also summoned to help Prince Caspian claim his right to the throne, and bring magic back to the land.
What struck me the most is how much more I remember of this story in my mind's eye than what is actually described in the book. Part of this is likely due to watching the movies, which do change some of the details to be fit for the screen, but I think part of it is also the way our memories fill in gaps and embellish the small bits of information that we are given.
If you haven't already read The Chronicles of Narnia with your kids, its one of the classic series that I recommend to help inspire children to love reading. Very little is as intriguing to young readers as imagining Aslan breathing magic into the woo…

Books for Authors: Mastering Amazon Ads, An Author's Guide by Brian D. Meeks

I've been failing as an author.
Okay, my husband would say I'm being melodramatic, and he's right. At the time of this writing, my biopunk novel, Adaline, has been downloaded 8,500 times in just over 20 weeks. That's not failing.
BUT, I have been struggling with my advertising spend. In late 2018, I figured out how to buy space on people's mailing lists and websites, which is how I got most of those 8,500 downloads. But I've had the worst luck in creating profitable ads on Amazon and Facebook.
After working my butt off to do so/so with Facebook ads, (and seeking help from the book Help! My Facebook Ads Suck by Michael Cooper), I decided to tackle AMS ad services. For months, I was running a couple of ads here, a couple of ads there, and not getting any kind of positive results. My best ad was running at a -70% return. Not good.
I turned to the advice of my fellow authors on Reddit, Facebook and Kboards, and kept seeing Brian D. Meeks' book, Mastering Amazo…

Books for Homeschool: 6+1 Traits of Writing

At the end of the summer each year, my son picks a great big giant project to work on for an entire school year. Last year, he built a wearable costume shaped like a BNSF Railway diesel train engine. This year, he announced that he wanted to write a book.
Although I have done public speaking about writing, gaining confidence to share your story and even how to overcome the many obstacles life throws at you while you're trying to reach your dreams, I've never taught someone the very early basics. My kid is only in the 2nd grade, so I knew this would be a challenge for both of us. He is just learning how to spell and use punctuation, and although I've written eleven books (and counting), I've never had to explain to anyone every single step I undertake as a self-published author. I just... do it.
I knew I needed help. I found a copy of 6+1 Traits of Writing; The Complete Guide Grades 3 and Up by Ruth Culham, and what a lifesaver it's been. There are great tips on cr…

Bedtime Stories: The Penultimate Peril, Book the Twelfth, Lemony Snicket

My kiddo and I have spent the last year or thereabouts reading A Series of Unfortunate Events. We've finally crested Book The Twelfth in the series, titled The Penultimate Peril.

There are several things we love about these books. One is the fast paced language. Second, the explanation of difficult words and terms by the author in the middle of the storytelling. And third, the suspense of never knowing what dastardly deeds are coming next.

With one book left in the series, we've been left unclear on if the Boudelaire orphans are becoming orphans, or if Count Olaf is becoming noble. One thing we have decided on is that most of the noble people in these books have suffered from a villainous case of indecisiveness where danger is concerned.

Above all else, we are curious about what will happen in The End, book 13 in the series because we're no closer to solving the orphan's many mysteries than we were in book one. As a parent, I've enjoyed sharing these dark, suspens…