Tag Archives: middle-grade books

The Newest Button

Today I pressed a button that will change my world. ALIENS? No! Back garden bugs in close-up

We all press buttons daily. The microwave has buttons, the computer has buttons, the cellphone has buttons, the TV remote has buttons, the newer car locks have buttons and the older ones have remotes with buttons. Some things we have all learned? The red button is to be avoided until there is an emergency. Don’t lose the button thingey because it’s a pain to replace.

We’ve been surrounded by buttons for centuries, but only in this past century do the buttons actually do something. So what does my latest button push have to do with anything?

The button I pushed this morning uploaded my manuscript to Create Space.

I’ve been working on this story for probably ten years. (If you’ve been keeping up with my blog you know I’ve been rather busy the last three years and so haven’t had much time to spawn new books. I haven’t stopped editing what I have.) I’ve grown tired of the roulette/lotto game of traditional publishing. I hired a professional editor and a professional book cover designer.

After I get Advanced Readers Copies proofed, then the book will be available to YOU!

Here is what THE DRY is about:



West Virginia, 1895.

A deadly dry spell has left the earth parched and souls desperate. Crops are failing. Cities are starving. A missing newspaper man doesn’t account for much in times so terrible, except to the twelve-year-old son he left behind. When Elliot Sweeney discovers the search for his father has been called off, he boards a train alone to find him.

His quest leads Elliot into the depths of an abandoned mine, with a peculiar pocket watch, a blind burro, and a gutsy girl at his side. He discovers a world he never dreamed of, even in his worst nightmares, and lands smack in the middle of a war between two kingdoms. Monstrous insects, smiling villains, and dark riddles are everywhere. Deciding who to trust may prove to be his greatest challenge, while the fate of the world above hangs on Elliot’s choice.

This is a story like Wizard of Oz only underground with a boy protagonist.

The Dry, a novel by Rebecca Nolen

I’ll let you know the moment it is available.

Thank you for reading.

Books Written by People I Know (but wonder if they will know me after they’ve read this)

English: Performance of Hansel and Gretel 2007 DOT
English: Performance of Hansel and Gretel 2007 DOT (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may get the feeling that I only post about great books or that I think all the books I read are great books. That would make little sense. I read a lot of books. Most I’ve picked out because I think I will like them. I don’t always. Perhaps you think that I am posting good reviews for friends. Not so. I haven’t reviewed a friend’s book yet. Although that is fixin’ ta change y’all. Right here, right today, I’m going to review three books written by friends. And I’m going to throw in mention of a few books that I do not recommend just to keep things interesting.

Rodney Walther has written a good book about a boy and his father and baseball. If any writer can make me cry, it’s Rodney. Once I read a short story he wrote and in three pages I was bawling. He has hit a home run with Broken Laces. It’s about a man wrapped up in himself (I can’t imagine – how unrealistic, right?). Jack can’t get off the phone long enough to have any real-time with his sweet family. Then he witnesses his wife killed in a car accident. To top it off, he loses his job. He is lost. But the book isn’t about the loss. It is about Jack connecting to the part of his life that he hasn’t really ever understood, his young son. Broken Laces is well-written with a line of action that is straight forward and easy to follow. Anyone would like this book. Great read!

What happens when your imaginative child comes home from school and reports that her/his new teacher is a witch who wants to eat all the children? You laugh and tell your child that he/she will still be going to school in the morning. Right? Right. But what if it’s TRUE? Nikki Loftin has written a middle-grade novel  called The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy. In it little Lorelei’s school suddenly burns down. So a wonderful new school is built – in three days. It seems a little strange and that playground is definitely too good to be true. But Lorelei is dealing with a lot of troubles what with her dad marrying a terrible woman and Lorelei missing her mother so much. So she doesn’t consider the fantastic school with the darling playground sinister in any way. But when her friend Andrew goes missing she begins to suspect all is not what it seems. This fresh take on Hansel and Gretel is well-paced and has just enough page-turning suspense to keep a kid (like me) up all hours reading it. I was a little disappointed with what happens to the kitchen help but I loved the playground sand (because I’m ghoulish that way). Loved the book and I recommend to for all middle-school kids. Wonderful!

Want a little suspense, mystery, and Caribbean island yore mixed with that Bloody Mary? You must read Pamela Fagan Hutchins book Saving Grace. Katie Connel is a successful lawyer dancing daily with alcohol until she realizes that her one true love Nic doesn’t find her inebriated state very sexy. When she realizes that she has lost his respect and possibly any hope of snagging him, she does the only thing a girl in her situation can do. Get sober. Even if she isn’t an alcoholic. And how will she do that? On a Caribbean vacation of course. Except anyone who has ever been to the Caribbean knows that everyone on the islands drink – morning, noon, and night. But she is on a serious mission. She must find out why her parents went to the island on vacation the year before and while there, drove over a cliff and died. Her investigation proves only one thing, nothing is as it seems. But she does feel herself recovering from the alcohol (though she isn’t an alcoholic), and from Nic only to find herself head over heels for an abandoned shell of a mansion in the middle of nowhere. And possibly the house is occupied by a “jumbie”. The suspense keeps the pages turning with unanswered questions such as “Who is the P.I. she hires talking to and why does he keep denying it? Why was her non-drinking father drinking when he died? The novel is well paced, the action moving me forward through the story. I did question why a mysterious woman is seen at the mansion on p.61 but not mentioned again for some time later, the bee incident isn’t clear until afterward, and the finding of the ring is a little too coincidental but overall I was really wowed by the book. The action-packed, lean-forward-in-your-seat ending left me wanting a drink. Although I’m not an alcoholic. Buy the book!

With all these good books I’m going to leave the duds for tomorrow. Thank you for reading!