Monday, July 21, 2014

Well, here I am sitting at the computer with fingers flying over the keys. I've got to get book #4 written and ready for revision. I haven't begun to think about the cover yet, I just need to write the story.

It's nice to be back in the halls of the great palace at Nubia, steeped in culture. Sometimes I get so focused that when I come up for air I am often put off by people not behaving as they would be expected to in that ancient kingdom. The place and the characters are so real while I write. I can see everything so vividly.

It would be cool if I could really step backward in time and truly see the people I write about. But then again, maybe not. What I write is fiction and if I were to visit these people their differences from what I make up would be quite disappointing. So for now I'll just satisfy myself with the stories that live within my imagination.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day! Today is the day our nation celebrates our independence from England. The need for our separation from that kingdom was not so much that we believed that England was evil. On the contrary, we share a great relationship with that nation to this day. Rather it was more that we felt the relationship was uneven, unfair. We were asked to share in the costs and support of that kingdom without adequate advocacy for our part, and so began the conflict.

It is much the same for traditional publishing today. This is the reason many writers, myself included, have chosen to go the independent route. It is not that traditional publishing houses are evil. It is more that they are extremely one-sided with little to no support for the writers that create the work that keeps their business afloat, particularly the newbies and mid-listers.

So, today while I celebrate the birth of a great nation, I also celebrate one of my better decisions.



Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Prequel to Independence Day

As many of you know July 4th we celebrate out nation's independence. Here's a little something to get you started. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Writers are Among Us

It is always a pleasure whenever I get an opportunity to make a school visit. In April I was extended the invitation to sit on a panel of experts at a local middle school, Glassford Hill MS. I was so excited!
I was greeted by the school librarian, Ann Carey, and her two awesome assistants. They immediately made me feel welcome and treated me like a celebrity. These ladies made sure I had everything I could possibly need, and then some.
I proceeded to give my presentation about the advantages and difficulties of being a writer. I asked if there were any in the group that had considered writing. Almost every hand reached toward the ceiling. Then I asked if any had put pen to paper or finger-tips to keyboard. Again, hands flew up like rockets from bottles. So I ended the presentation with throwing out a challenge. I told them that if any were willing to write an original piece of fiction or nonfiction, have it looked at by their English teachers, and then present it to me, I would give them a prize. Mind you, I never told them what the prize would be.
Within two weeks one of the students took me up on my offer and presented me with a story! Here is the prize: to showcase the story on my website and here it is! Hunter's Orders by S. K. JamesI've created a new webpage on my site for young writers to introduce their work to the reading world and the work of S. K. James is the first!
Take a look at an example of the awesome talent that lurks within our reach and awaits us in our very near future. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Ideas Have No Manners

Recently the idea for a new series has invaded my mind. It's there when I wake up in the morning with scenes and dialog trampling through every thought I have. It's there in the evening when I'm trying to settle in for a good night's sleep. The ideas are even there when I'm trying to have a conversation with those around me. While this is wonderfully exciting, it is also most inconvenient.

Right now I'm in the middle of writing two books: the 4th book of the PRINCESS KANDAKE series and a new contemporary science fiction piece. How can I possibly start something else? There are only so many hours in a day and only so much space in my brain.

Nevertheless, this new idea comes barging right in and taking over. I see the main character in every daydream. I hear snippets of conversation between the characters and I don't even know their names, yet. Today the entire beginning of the story unfolded while I was in the middle of my morning ablutions. The dang thing is relentless!

Because I have no choice I cry, 'uncle.' I surrender! I must begin to write some of it down before it all disappears into the ethers. So, when I should be working on the other two pieces, here I sit at my computer banging out the first few pages. Sheesh! Such rude behavior.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The Chronicler's Safari

What happens when a writer feels empty? I’m not talking about writer’s block, or the times I can’t think of what a character should say or do next. I mean empty…like when there are no stories left in me.
This happens on occasions when I've been pushing really hard and have just completed a project, attended a book event, and participated in a panel for young writers all within a very short time frame. In short I’m spent and I feel as if I've been wrung dry of every story idea. If I were to sit in front of the computer nothing would happen, except maybe a game of solitaire or two.

It’s during times like these I am presented with a couple of choices: I can either sit in front of the television and become a vegetable or I can go on a story safari. It is often tempting to plant myself before the ‘one-eyed monster’ (as my mother called it), but the better, more exciting choice is to go on the hunt. So I pack my gear and head out into the story wilderness.

You might as where that would be and what gear I need. I’ll start by listing the vital pieces of equipment needed on such a quest. My rucksack is filled with a digital camera for still photos and video and a digital recorder (a smartphone can substitute for both of these items). I also carry a writing tablet, sketch pad, a couple of pencils (soft lead, of course), a bottle of water, and a protein bar.

The territory I cover is vast: the mall, the park, the movie theater, fast food restaurants, and these are just a few of the places I explore. When I get there I observe the denizen in their natural habitat. I make note of how they talk, the way they interact, and what they wear. I pay close attention to how they address or ignore their elders, especially how they whine and wheedle to get what they want. Without fail I come home with new story ideas.

Do I only go on safari when I’m empty? Absolutely not! I go out often because you never know when a new idea will strike. Have my fans ever spotted me on one of my treks? As a matter of fact they have. They will often ask if I saw what just happened and will be in one of my books. My answer is always: You never know what lurks in the heart and mind of a writer…the pages will tell the tale.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Meet MIKEY BROOKS: Author of The Stone of Valhalla

Welcome to The Stone of Valhalla Blog Tour!
A middle-grade fantasy-adventure by Mikey Brooks.

Don’t forget to check out the GIVEAWAY at the bottom this post
for a chance to WIN a $25 Amazon Gift card and other great prizes!


Aaron was chosen to save their world, but it might come at the cost of losing his own.

Breaking into an old lady’s basement was supposed to reward 13-year-old Aaron with new friends. Instead he finds an enchanted amulet that transports him to another world—one at war with magic. Before he knows it, he is accused of witchcraft and invited to a bonfire—where he’s the main attraction. If that’s not bad enough, a goblin army shows up and toasts the town...literally. The good news: Aaron escapes being charbroiled. The bad news: the goblins are after him. They want his amulet and will stop at nothing to get it. Battling to find his way home, Aaron teams up with a not-so-magical-wizard and learns it’s his fate to destroy the amulet and save this new world. But is he willing to sacrifice his own?
Check out what these talented authors are saying about it:

The Stone of Valhalla is one of those books that only comes along once in a great while. Brooks doesn't just create a world, he puts you inside of it, allowing you to experience the wonder in a way that only he can. His characters are likable and fun. His twists leave you asking ‘Why?’ Treat yourself to an exciting adventure through a beautiful new land. Make new friends and be a part of the magic. This is a book that you will not be able to put down!”
—J.R. Simmons, author of Ragesong: Awakening.

 The Stone of Valhalla drew me in from the get-go. Aaron’s journey is reminiscent of Dorothy’s trek in The Wizard of Oz. Magic, sword fights, danger, and more danger, sprinkled with humor and unexpected twists. This is one of the ‘best’ fantasy adventures I’ve ever experienced!”
—BBH McChiller, author of The Monster Moon Series.

The Stone of Valhalla is a riveting mystery revealing true friendship, loyalty and sacrifice. Brooks engages the curiosity of middle graders and older sleuths alike, until the very end. Fantastic!”
—L.R.W. Lee, author of The Andy Smithson series.

Excerpt From: Chapter Two: The Penalty of Witchcraft

Aaron thought he’d been transported to some kind of renaissance fair. People milled about in the street, all dressed like they belonged on the set of some medieval movie. Most of their faces were stained with dirt, and they wore soiled clothing. Large, wooden buildings, held together by plaster, loomed overhead and all around him. Some had signs announcing specific trades and goods. The sweet smell of bread came from one shop, clearly a bakery. A rotund man stood out front, arguing with an old man who had a silvery- white beard and a long, purple cloak. He was telling the baker that the rolls he had purchased tasted ‘day-old’ and he required a reimbursement.
Several passersby gave Aaron odd glances. One little girl with a group of women dressed like nuns pointed at him and giggled. He thought he heard her call him a buffoon, but she was quickly shushed by one of the women and pulled into a shop.
This is so unreal.
Aaron couldn’t figure out what had happened.
How did I get here? Who are these people?
Aaron waited for someone to jump out and yell, “Surprise, you’re on camera!”
It never happened.
The seconds drew on like hours, and Aaron stood unmoving like a statue in the middle of the dirt road. The sweet smell from the bakery was drowned by the stench of a sweaty mule pulling a cart packed full with what had to be manure. The wind blew and the wafting smell of poo filled Aaron’s nose. He coughed and tried to cover the reek with his shirt.
“Witchcraft! Witchcraft, I say!”
Aaron turned around to see a middle-aged woman with only three teeth shouting hysterically. She pointed directly at him. He looked over his shoulder to ensure no green-skinned, broom-commandeering, warty-faced lady in black stood beside him. There wasn’t anyone there. The noise on the street stopped dead except for the woman. She grabbed a small wooden crate from a cart filled with fresh flowers and stood on it. “Fetch the constable! Don’t let him get away, or he’ll set a curse on our town.”
Five large men formed a group behind the woman and advanced toward Aaron. He didn’t know what to do.

Where to Find The Stone of Valhalla:
Exclusive price for the eBook release is just $2.99! (List Price: $4.99)
And only $9.99 for the paperback! (List Price: $12.99)
On April 12th 2014 the price will return to the List Price

Another special offer:
During The Stone of Valhalla Blog Tour
Mikey’s other great middle-grade eBooks will also be set to the low price of just $0.99!
The Dream Keeper:
Kindle | Nook | Kobo
The Dreamstone:
Kindle | Nook | Kobo

You’re Invited to PARTY!!
The online launch party will take place on Thursday, April 10th at 4pm (MST). The party will run for 2 hours and you’re invited to drop by anytime. The longer you stay the more chances you have of winning prizes! We have slew of eBooks to giveaway, as well as a Stone of Valhalla necklace AND a $25 Amazon gift card! It is hosted by LovingtheBookLaunchParty on Facebook. Just follow this link to join the event:

What’s that? Another Party!
That’s right! If you’re local to Utah you don’t want to miss this kickin’ party. We are having a launch party to celebrate the release of this awesome new book. Of course there will be plenty of giveaways there too, but what’s even better are the guest authors! Just check out these fabulous names: J. Scott Savage, Chad Morris, Lisa Mangum, Jenni James, Ali Cross, and many more. The Launch Party is: Friday, April 11th from 6-9pm at The Viridian Center in West Jordan, Utah. Follow this link for a map:

About Mikey Brooks:

Mikey is a small child masquerading as an adult. On occasion you’ll catch him dancing the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown up. He is the author/illustrator of several books including the best-selling ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures and Bean’s Dragons as well as the middle-grade fantasy-adventure series The Dream Keeper Chronicles. His art can be seen in many forms from picture books to full room murals. He loves to daydream with his three daughters and explore the worlds that only the imagination of children can create. Mikey has a BS degree in English from Utah State University and works fulltime as a freelance illustrator, cover designer, and author. As a member of the Emblazoners, he is one of many authors devoted to ‘writing stories on the hearts of children’. He is also one of the hosts of the Authors’ Think Tank Podcast. You can find more about him and his books at:

The Giveaways!

Enter the giveaway below to be entered to win one of the following prizes:

$25 Amazon Gift Card
The Stone of Valhalla Necklace
Autographed Paperback of The Stone of Valhalla
Autographed 11x17 Poster
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Finding time to Do It All

I'm finding that I have less and less time to do all of the things I need to do as a writer. The list is insurmountable. I do the obvious: write, edit, revise, publish, and market. Then I do the not so obvious: participate in a marketing group, participate in a critique group, learn new technology, maintain blogs, website, and social media. And after that there's more: research for books, research for markets, make appearances, read, and on and on. And that's just the writer portion of my life.

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, small group leader, neighbor and each of these things requires a significant part of my day. I even have hobbies that I try to keep up with. I try to cut back on some of it, but every time I attempt to cut something out I come up with multiple reasons of why I need to keep it. I'm drowning, but on good days I love it!

The list of things I need to get done this week is overwhelming and I have no idea how I'll do it, but I know that I will. I research time-management tools but those are so time-intensive to maintain I'm much better off without them. So I've come to a decision. I will get done what I can and when I'm running behind on something that should have been done sooner I will be gracious to me and be glad I got it done.

So the byword for today is GRACE!

Monday, March 03, 2014

Between the Lines: a different kind of newsletter

I wanted to share the first installment of Between the Lines. I am having so much fun creating this. I hope you enjoy reading it. To follow along on a regular basis, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel or you can subscribe to my newsletter, Between the Lines. Either way you'll be kept up to date on all of the stuff I'm involved in.

Enough chatter. I'll get on with it. Here's the first installment of Between the Lines!

Isn't Soji awesome? Send her a Tweet @SojiBTL, drop her a message on WeChat: SojiBetweentheLines, or leave her a comment here or on my YouTube channel

Friday, February 14, 2014

Introducing...Between the Lines! A different kind of newsletter.

Here's what we've all been waiting newsletter. It's a different kind of newsletter. One that's fun and very friendly to my readers.

Every month a new installment will be available for viewing on YouTube or in your email inbox. And here's the cool part. You can interact with Soji. Ask her anything you want to know about my books, the characters in them, my writing process, or me. All you have to do is leave your questions in the comments, send her a tweet @SojiBTL or text her on WeChat:SojiBetweentheLines. Or, you could drop Soji a line on my author page on Facebook.

So here's your chance to find out how it all gets started.

To receive this great new newsletter, just sign up here, on my author page, or subscribe to my YouTube channel. Let's have great fun together.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Warrior of the Egyptian Kingdom is LIVE

Yes! The newest installment of the PRINCESS KANDAKE series, Warrior of the Egyptian Kingdom, is LIVE! You can purchase your very own copy of book #3 NOW!

Warrior of the Egyptian Kingdom
Princess Kandake, youngest child of King Amani and heir to the throne of Nubia, has determined to continue her warrior training, but that is not the only thing that complicates her 14 year old life.

When the king receives a dispatch from Pharaoh Nakhtnebef of Egypt, Kandake is sent to find out why the pharaoh would need Nubia’s warriors to remain in Egypt any longer and why he has included a secret symbol within his message—help.

In Egypt, Kandake discovers treachery and a poisoned pharaoh, the identity of the bandits that attacked Nubia’s caravans, a Nubian orphan, and that Kandake may be Sakhmet—the Egyptian goddess of war.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

An Awesome Read!

People are always complaining that there are no good books for boys. Well folks stop the complaints. Here's a great series. It's clean, action packed, and definitely boy-friendly! Grab two for yourself and one to giveaway!

Taylor Davis would get stuck with an archenemy that won't stay dead.


Taylor Davis is back, and he just can’t catch a break. Most of his friends only concern themselves with girls and grades, but he has to worry about retaliation from hellish warlords. When three of his classmates succumb to a strange malady, Taylor becomes the target of irrational violence. Is it a coincidence, as Elena so firmly believes? Or could there be a more dangerous explanation? The epidemic soon spreads to national leaders. Taylor and his team are called on to uncover the root of the problem before violence breaks out on a worldwide stage. Their quest leads them to the heart of Africa, to the underworld, and to a second encounter with an enemy who just won’t stay dead. Book two of the Taylor Davis series is now available for Kindle, Nook, and paperback formats.
And book one is now FREE!

TaylorDavis_FlameOfFindul_cover nook

Sometimes life gooses you when you’re not looking. You might be happily coasting through days in a little New Jersey suburb, dreaming about Jennifer Williams and making plans to see the new movie showing uptown when—bam!—everything changes in an instant. Your family moves overseas and suddenly you’re hacking at water demons with a four-foot blade. Taylor Davis didn't want to move to the Caribbean, and he certainly doesn't want save the world. But when he's sucked into a supernatural world of angels and their adversaries, that's exactly what he must do. The Flame of Findul--the sword that guards the Tree of Life--has been allowed to burn out. Taylor and his new teammates must relight it in the forge of Findul the firesmith before the tree falls into the wrong hands. But Findul hasn't been seen for several centuries. And a formidable enemy, one who has eaten of the tree, stands in their way. Free on Amazon and Smashwords!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It's Here!

That's right, it's here! I just received the new cover of book #3 of the PRINCESS KANDAKE series, Warrior of the Egyptian Kingdom. Oh. My. Gosh. Don't you love it? It's absolutely beautiful! I know, I say that with every cover, but it is the truth! Donna Casey hits another home run. She does it every time. this cover is another great work of art. Don't you agree?

This cover whets the appetite for what's inside.

Warrior of the Egyptian Kingdom
Princess Kandake, youngest child of King Amani and heir to the throne of Nubia, has determined to continue her warrior training, but that is not the only thing that complicates her 14 year old life.

When the king receives a dispatch from Pharaoh Nakhtnebef of Egypt, Kandake is sent to find out why the pharaoh would need Nubia’s warriors to remain in Egypt any longer and why he has included a secret symbol within his message—help.

In Egypt, Kandake discovers treachery and a poisoned pharaoh, the identity of the bandits that attacked Nubia’s caravans, a Nubian orphan, and that Kandake may be Sakhmet—the Egyptian goddess of war.

So now your next question, when will it be available? Your wait is almost over. Warrior of the Egyptian Kingdom will be available new month. Yes...February, 2014. You will be able to purchase it in print or as an ebook.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Silent but Working

I know I've been pretty silent over the holidays, but I've been working really hard. I've recently decided to publish a newsletter. I know, there are so many out there, but I want mine to be different. Really different. So I'm focusing on its construction and plan for the future.

These are a few of the things that it must include:
1. It must be flexible so that it addresses my total readership -   Tweens and adults.
2. It must be entertaining and informative.
3. It has to keep everyone up to date on what I'm doing (as much or as little as folks would want to  know)
4. It will announce the dawning of new books and new book series by me.
5. It will give the inside scoop on the characters of my books.
6. Most importantly, it will provide a way for my readers to interact with me.

What a big bill to fill, but if I do it right it's totally doable. I'm completely stoked and ready to dive in. I'll keep you posted. As soon as it's ready to launch, you'll be among the first to know!