writing

Teardrop Moons Weekend Teaser

Hi, everyone! It’s been a while since I posted, so I thought I’d share something fun. Here’s an excerpt from my latest work in progress, Teardrop Moons. If you’re familiar with the characters in The Call to Search Everywhen and The Song of Everywhen series, you’ll recognize this guy.

This is still a rough draft, but I’d love to read what you think in the comments below. 🙂

Still on his knees, Valcas smoothed his hands across the sand, wondering whether he’d found himself in a strange sort of nowhere.

Grains of rainbow glass had seemed to absorb all of the impact of his arrival. They formed a carpet of beauty that vaguely reminded him of the flowers covering the surface of Edgar.

The vast emptiness suggested he was not at the bottom of a world, but at its top. That, he could feel as a World Builder.

He rose from his grounding position and studied the horizon, marveling at how there was no line where the sand met the sky. His dark boots crunched through the sand.

“There is no sky,” he murmured. “No horizon.”

He considered whether he’d need to travel again to get beneath this ceiling of a world, to get inside.

The crunching of sand increased in volume and frequency as he ran in an attempt to gain momentum for traveling. This time, while forming a search for the space below him.

He ran until he was swallowed by white light.

“Impossible,” he said, waiting for the sprays of sand to clear.

He’d barely moved at all.

Bewildered, but not discouraged, he tried again. And, again. Until, finally, his foot landed in a soft pocket of sand.

Valcas roared with frustration as he fell into the world he’d tried so hard to enter.

His body made contact with the world’s springy, spongy bottom, causing him to bounce twice before stopping. Wiping grains of sand from his face, he caught his breath, and opened his eyes.

A filled-in world spread out before him. A city of pathways and buildings, molded of the same multi-colored grains. Several pyramids stood at a distance, sparkling beneath a sky that shone white and gold.

The sight would have dazzled someone not wearing dark shades.

He pulled himself from the sandpit he’d fallen into, and looked above. The hole he’d fallen through was growing back together. Wrapping and stretching until it healed like a wound.

“Silvie?” he called out. “What have you gotten yourself into this time?”

Read more about Valcas Hall’s travel talents on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and more!

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Teardrop Moons—Chapter 4

*This is not the final edited version. Story content may change before this book releases. Sign up for newsletter updates to get a message when Teardrop Moons (The Song of Everywhen, #2) becomes available.

A new thief is born.

Time travel objects are missing, and Chascadians are being blamed.
Silvie’s legacy and family reputation are at stake.
Will she be able to find and stop who’s responsible?
And will it be enough to convince the worlds?

4

Sloe sat in his bedroom, at his desk where there were piles of books, his mind focused on anything but the book in front of him.

“I need to get a job,” he muttered.

Studying was no longer enough to occupy his time. He’d been acing his exams, almost too easily. There was too much time; he wasn’t sure how to spend it all. When he confided in his mother about those problem, she’d laughed. When he told her he didn’t find it funny, she cracked a joke.

Sloe shook his head at the sheet hung across the opening to his bedroom. His father still hadn’t given him his bedroom portal back. Maybe it’s time for me to move out. Problem was, he didn’t know where else to go. Not without money.

He closed the book in front of him and sighed.

He’d messed things up so badly with Raven, he didn’t want it to happen again. Not with Silvie. But he wasn’t sure how to tell her that. Avoiding her attempts to comfort him wasn’t working. She was a healer, with an amazing amount of insight, so he had no doubt she knew something was wrong. It was only a matter of time before she knew what it was, or gave up trying to find out.

He felt bad that day—after Silvie had taken the time to visit him. He was happy to visit her, instead; she’d told him it was awkward to do anything date-like on Edgar, with Javis and her father around. And he hadn’t offered to go anywhere else—not after what happened with Raven, and the threat to her life. His days exploring the Clock Tower’s portals and the worlds where they led were over, for now. He didn’t want to put another person in danger.

He envied Silvie’s ability to keep herself gloriously busy at the hospital for the recovering Lost. Even though she worked both the early and late shifts, she had time to study and visit him at the end of the day—an arrangement they’d worked out to be able to be together. To give their relationship a chance. But it wasn’t working.

Yes, he needed a job. Something to keep his mind off things, and to feel useful. But what, and where? He wasn’t a healer like Silvie, and while he admired Javis, he wouldn’t want the type of job Javis had cleaning up after the hospital’s residents. He had enough trouble cleaning his own shower room, and that was with his mother reminding him every week.

He abandoned his desk and pulled open a file cabinet. He flipped through a roll of folders, stopping at one labeled, Test Results. He’d taken an aptitude test that was supposed to reveal which occupations would suit him. His high scores in categories relating to portals and traveling to other worlds confirmed he’d take over his father’s position as Time Keeper one day.

But he expected, and hoped, his father still had a long time to live. Travertine of Aboreal, now known as Nick of Time, had abandoned Aboreal, after the world abandoned him, so he didn’t know anyone from his father’s side of the family. There were aunts and uncles on his mother’s side, but he saw them so infrequently, they might as well have been abandoned, too.

Sloe needed something else to do in the meantime. He wasn’t sure how his travel talents would be useful for other work—something that would fill his time and pay the money needed for him to find a place of his own.

His room rattled. Stretchy rope bands fixed across shelves held his books in place, but a couple volumes he piled on his desk fell to the floor. He glanced at a timepiece mounted on the wall, surprised by how quickly time had passed just thinking about the possibility of a new job.

Moments later, there was a knock. Sloe threw open the sheet across his bedroom doorway and made his way to the Clock Tower’s front entrance. He opened the door.

Silvie smiled at him, her eyes bright. He didn’t feel he deserved how excited she seemed to be to see him. A smile reached his lips as he invited her inside.

“I know you don’t like the idea of hanging out with me on Edgar,” he said, “like on a date.”

Her painted brows twisted.

“But I have an idea,” he continued.

“Do you want to go somewhere else tonight?”

He shook his head. “I was thinking, maybe, tomorrow morning.”

“Tomorrow morning? But my early shift—” She shrugged. “Never mind, I can get someone to cover me. Where do you want to go?”

“You won’t have to miss your shift. I wanted to speak with your father, actually. To see if he has any work for me.”

* * *

You’ve seen it here first! Drop a line in the comments to let me know what you think.

Sign up for newsletter alerts to get an email when Teardrop Moons releases.

Read the beginning of Silvie’s story in Darker Stars (The Song of Everywhen, #1)

Read the beginning of Calla’s story in Travel Glasses (The Call to Search Everywhen, #1)

Teardrop Moons—Chapter 3

*This is not the final edited version. Story content may change before this book releases. Sign up for newsletter updates to get a message when Teardrop Moons (The Song of Everywhen, #2) becomes available.

A new thief is born.

Time travel objects are missing, and Chascadians are being blamed.
Silvie’s legacy and family reputation are at stake.
Will she be able to find and stop who’s responsible?
And will it be enough to convince the worlds?

3

Family Matters

It was unusual for Father to take us out for a family dinner.

We had wonderful cooks at the hospital, and Javis was shaping up to be quite the chef at home. But I jumped at the chance, hoping we were in for a bigger surprise. Father wasn’t the type to do things on a whim. I expected he was taking us out to tell us news of some sort.

But I was surprised by his choice.

“Nakos Kitchen?” I said. “I didn’t think you were fond of Chascadian food.”

Father shrugged and pushed open the café door.

Javis and I exchanged a glance. His lips curled into a smile. I knew he was up for this. Chascadian was his favorite.

I whispered to my brother as we followed Father inside. “What did you do—achieve some extraordinary thing with your World Building talent?”

“I don’t think this is a reward for anything I did.” He glanced at the cloth napkins on the tables while we waited for Father to speak with the hostess.

“This is the type of place I’d expect Father to take us for a birthday celebration.” I said. “But it’s not any of our birthdays.”

Javis paled. “What if he brought us here to tell us he’s met someone?”

It was my turn to pale. I hadn’t thought of that. I shook my head. Father kept late hours every day at the hospital, and Mother’s picture still sat on his desk. I had trouble picturing him with anybody else.

“You mean like a girlfriend?” I said, finally.

Javis nodded.

“But who? Unless it’s someone at the hospital—”

I cleared my throat, and guiltily smiled up at Father who’d returned to tell us a waiter would be with us soon.

“What were the two of you discussing so animatedly?” he said.

I bit my lip.

“You never answered Silvie’s earlier question,” said Javis. I could have hugged him for how he’d jumped in like that.

The space between Father’s brows creased.

“Why did you pick a restaurant in Chascadia?” I reminded him. “Not that we don’t like it—”

Father grunted, then turned his attention to a waiter who was informing us our table was ready. After we’d been seated and our drink orders taken, Javis nudged me under the table.

I swallowed. “So, why did you bring us here?”

I expected Father to roll his eyes or show some other sign of impatience with us. But his face softened. He looked almost worried.

Oh no. Maybe he has met someone. My stomach filled with butterflies. But why would he bring us to Chascadia where his wife and Healer were from? Was this new person in his life also Chascadian? And why would this bother me so much? Surely, there worse things to happen in the worlds.

I wanted Father to be happy, didn’t I?

He frowned. “Our family is under attack.”

My heart crawled into my throat. I coughed, then looked around. Fortunately, our waiter had shown up with a tray of drinks. I gratefully accepted the tall glass of frothy iced chocolate.

But I was unable to return the waiter’s smile. His eyes and lips didn’t seem to be on the same page. I sensed distrust from him. I detected a shade of pain, with my healing talent.

I looked him up and down. He wore a tuxedo with a sash and cummerbund, similar to how the men were dressed at Grandpa Plaka’s funeral. His dark curls were tied back in a tail. Everything about him was clean, neat, and respectable.

“Thank you,” Father said.

“Are you ready to order?” The waiter spoke politely enough, but there was a tightness to his voice.

“Could we have a few minutes?” I’d barely had time to look at the menu.

The waiter nodded and moved on to another table.

I sighed through my teeth. “Father, what is going on?”

“I brought you to Chascadia because everyone of Chascadian descent is being watched carefully. I thought this would be a safe place to explain to you and Javis what’s happening.”

“Why couldn’t you have told us at home?” said Javis. The exasperation and frustration in his voice was notable. But Father didn’t seem to mind.

“I wanted to see for myself what the climate was like here,” Father calmly explained. “What the local citizens’ reactions would be…”

He sighed and lowered his voice. “There’s been a sudden rise in attacks on travelers who possess unofficial objects. At first, insiders at the TSTA were the most obvious suspects. Whoever is stealing them is doing a good job of hiding.”

“Okay, but what does that have to do with Chascadia?”

“The most recent travel object to be stolen was found here, in this restaurant. The man who was arrested is Chascadian.”

Involuntary shudders made their way from my neck down my arms.

“Since this is the first of the travel objects to be found, the Chascadian people’s reputation has been gravely harmed.”

Father sat back and cleared grit from his voice. The waiter had returned, and was looking at us expectantly.

“I’ll have the daily special,” I said, not knowing if such a thing existed at Nakos Kitchen. My menu sat there unread.

The waiter raised his eyebrows, not saying anything as he scribbled my order on a notepad.

“Um, I’ll have the same,” said Javis, his eyes focused on his tea. Steam had stopped rising from the teacup, so I guessed it had cooled to room temperature. He’d barely touched it.

Father gathered the menus into a pile and handed them to the waiter. “I’ll have the daily special as well. Three daily specials, please.”

“It will be our pleasure,” said the waiter, looking anything but pleased.

I smoothed my napkin across my lap, and frowned as the waiter marched off with our orders.

Stolen travel objects. My baglamas immediately came to mind. It was safe now, or so I’d thought.

Last I’d heard, Yannan and the cloaked men had been taken away. The TSTA escorted them to their headquarters. All three men had appeared for their hearings and were convicted. I didn’t know what their punishments had been, but I couldn’t imagine the TSTA let them walk freely to wreak havoc all across the worlds. But, then, the TSTA didn’t have the power it once had.

“Do you think Yannan has anything to do with the stolen travel objects?” I said. “I remember his fascination with the baglamas. He could be at it again.”

“The man who was arrested was from the family that owned this restaurant,” said Father. “He told the authorities of a young woman who masked her identity behind a hood.”

“That could be anyone,” said Javis. “But I still think this reeks of Yannan.”

Father frowned. “With so many objects stolen in such a short period of time, I doubt he’d be working alone. None of the descriptions match Yannan, or the cloaked men.”

“And the only person arrested so far was Chascadian?” I said.

“Yes.”

“So, the waiter…the distrust I’m sensing from him isn’t of me?”

“You and Javis are descendants of Chascadia, Silvie.” Father adjusted the dark glasses that concealed his eyes. “If there’s anyone for the waiter to distrust, it would be me.”

* * *

You saw it here first! Drop a line in the comments to let me know what you think.

Sign up for newsletter alerts to get an email when Teardrop Moons releases.

Read the beginning of Silvie’s story in Darker Stars (The Song of Everywhen, #1)

Read the beginning of Calla’s story in Travel Glasses (The Call to Search Everywhen, #1)

Teardrop Moons—Chapter 2

*This is not the final edited version. Story content may change before this book releases. Sign up for newsletter updates to get a message when Teardrop Moons (The Song of Everywhen, #2) becomes available.

A new thief is born.

Time travel objects are missing, and Chascadians are being blamed.
Silvie’s legacy and family reputation are at stake.
Will she be able to find and stop who’s responsible?
And will it be enough to convince the worlds?

2

Rose fabric whipped in the wind.

Feminine laughter cut through excited chatter and the tinkling of plates and glasses. A young man looked up from his plate of grape leaves stuffed with rice. Squinting, he wiped his fingers on a cloth napkin.

The voice had come from outside, through an open café window.

A figure wearing a hooded cloak waved, then walked closer. When near enough to peer inside the window, the figure smiled. The young man’s eyes widened at how the person’s plump, rounded lips curved at the edges. Her lips and chin, and overall stature were decidedly female.

But he couldn’t see her eyes. A hood draped well past her nose. He wondered how she’d seen him well enough to have waved.

The young man cleared his throat. “Do I know you?” he said, his words thick with the inflection of Chascadia.

When he received no answer, he swiped a hand across the side of his head, along hair smoothed back, ending in a tail that burst into a cascade of dark curls.

“Are you hungry?” he said.

The figure shook her head back and forth.

“Thirsty?”

No answer.

“Will you sit with me?”

Finally, a nod.

The young man waited while she walked through the entrance and appeared before his table, all the while wondering how she could see where she was going.

“Are you well?” he said, gesturing for her to sit down.

She pulled at a chair, and silently landed on its pillowed seat.

The young man cleared his throat. “I’m Julian. Welcome to my family’s restaurant.”

The figure smiled. “Julian Nakos?”

Despite the sweetness of her voice, he paled. “How did you know my name?”

Laughing, she pointed a finger at a menu on the table. In scripted letters across the top, it said Nakos Kitchen.

His cheeks colored for the faintest moment before he joined her laughter.

“Of course,” he said. “Have you been here before?”

She shook her head.

“You don’t say much, do you?”

Her lips twisted into a smirk.

Julian exhaled a shaky breath. His gaze flickered to his plate of half eaten food. “If you’re not hungry, is there some other business you have here?”

Another nod.

“How may I help?”

She exhaled, then placed a square package, wrapped in paper, on the tabletop.

“A delivery for the restaurant?”

When she shook her head, he pointed to himself. “For me?”

She gave him a wide smile, displaying a brilliant set of teeth.

With creased brow, he reached for the package and slid it toward himself. Given her lack of response so far, he didn’t bother asking what it was. Not knowing its contents, he was unsure whether he should express gratitude.

He squinted at the package, then slipped a finger inside a folded flap.

At the sound of her chair’s screech against the floor, he looked up again.

She was already at the door.

“Wait!” His own voice echoed in his ears, but she didn’t look back.

Frowning, Julian sliced through the wrapping paper, which held a wooden box. He lifted the clasp that connected the box’s lid to its base, then sucked in a breath.

A gemstone, the size of his fist, shone from inside a lining of black velvet. With trembling fingers, he pulled the gem free. Light blue, and shimmering, the object had been shaped like an anatomical heart.

Julian peered through the object, admiring its workmanship and its clarity. He could see through it perfectly. His lips wrinkled at how his fingers left prints, smudging the beauty of the object.

He lifted a clean napkin from the table and smeared the fingerprints. With the napkin as protection, he cradled the object in his hands. Why would anyone give me such a treasure?

He had no idea what it was. Or what it could do.

The café door slammed open.

Julian lifted his eyes from the gemstone. Two men, dressed in official garb, had entered the building and were barreling toward him. One had several medals attached to his sash, the other had eyes that were on fire. The man with the medals pointed to Julian’s hands.

“There it is—the object we’ve been looking for,” he growled. “Arrest him.”

Before Julian could react, the man with the fiery eyes had twisted Julian’s hands behind his back. Cold metal enclosed both wrists.

“It was a gift,” said Julian, his voice choked.  

A gift from someone I don’t know and who wouldn’t tell me her name. A sinking feeling seized his gut as he realized his foolishness. He shouldn’t have touched the object, accepted it from a stranger.

He’d been trapped.

“Gifts like this aren’t given to men like you. This is a disgrace to Chascadia.”

Julian paled. “What have I done?”

“You are in possession of stolen property, an unofficial travel object of time.”

* * *

You saw it here first! Drop a line in the comments to let me know what you think.

Sign up for newsletter alerts to get an email when Teardrop Moons releases.

Read the beginning of Silvie’s story in Darker Stars (The Song of Everywhen, #1)

Read the beginning of Calla’s story in Travel Glasses (The Call to Search Everywhen, #1)

Happy #Halloween—be safe and well!

I’ve posted this tagline teaser in a couple places, but I thought it would also be fun for Halloween.

Thank you for making Glistens one of my most downloaded novellas! I’m working on the second installment. Marian’s next adventure will reveal more about rabbits and why they’re hunting the weakest Glistens. Roles will change when Glistens become the predators and the rabbits become the prey.

For those new to the story, the first Glistens installment is FREE for Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, and Nook. Enjoy!

Three St3ps Forward Cover Reveal

If you missed the exclusive first peek during our Facebook event, here’s the cover for all to see.

Is it a prequel, a sequel, or an equal?
Step inside the bend of time.

Three St3ps Forward…Coming Soon!

Grab a copy of our first time travel mashup, A Friend in NeedFREE for Kindle and iBooks!

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Interview: Literary Classics Award Winner, Stephan von Clinkerhoffen

The Hidden City of Chelldrah-ham, by Stephan von Clinkerhoffen, won Gold for Best High School Series in the 2017 Literary Classics Book Awards contest! Stig’s Flight of Encounters, one of the books in the series, also received Gold in the middle school general category.

Congratulations on your achievements! When did you first start writing?

It’s a bit of a long story.

We were quite happily living in Christchurch, on the South Island of New Zealand, when I began writing.  About seven years ago Christchurch was hit by two massive earth quakes which destroyed our city and many thousands of homes. Surrounded by so much hurt and destruction I found it almost impossible to carry on my job as an artist painting beautiful landscapes.

I Googled “volunteering Christchurch” and soon found myself volunteering full time, first for the Civil Defence then for the NZ Red Cross. Assessing the worst hit areas and helping those most in need.

But the artist in me needed an outlet so I started to paint large images of a fantasyland with a few sentences describing each one in a short story, kids loved it. Then the stories grew and in no time at all I had started to write my first book Stig’s Flight of Encounters.  The title of the series comes from the twin cities of my home town Cheltenham in the United Kingdom and an imaginary city Drah-ham hence The Hidden City of Chelldrah-ham. I found I could draw on the experiences that surrounded me; the poor living on a fractured land struggling to survive, and use it in the story of a young lad from a city of riches beyond belief where money was worthless. So the story developed book by book, painting by painting.

What’s the target age group for your books?

My series, The Hidden City of Chelldrah-ham, is in three volumes. When I started to write the first book I was targeting 12 years and upwards but with each new book the age group has matured as have Stig and Meg, my main characters. Many of my readers are adults of fifty plus who like escapism and to take a break from reality. Can I call “young at heart” an age group?

Chess’s ed. note: Young at heart is a most acceptable age group, in my humble opinion.

What inspired your award-winning books?

When I was about nine or ten years old I remember being inspired by a teacher.  He told me to follow my passion, and helped me a lot with my art which I loved more than anything else. He also enabled me to win an award at an art exhibition. I still have the prize, a dinosaur book. He is now a main character in my book, War of Chaos, playing a “Guard of Old”. My art and my writing feed from each other so I’m glad of his encouragement all those years ago.

Describe one of your characters with a cliché or a famous quote.

The main character in the book series is Stig who is a “Reluctant Hero”. I also describe him with an old word from the 16th century: “Younker” denoting a young nobleman. I love that word.

Do you have plans to, or have you already, released audio editions of your books?

This is something I would like to do in the future. Can I put it on the bucket list?

Chess’s ed note: Yes, absolutely!

Who would you cast as the voice actor for your main character?

I think that someone like Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), but in his younger days, would be good as the main character.

Do you illustrate your own books?

Yes, I do all of my own illustrations, to me it’s a major part of my writing, because all of my wildest machines start on a sketch pad, to make sure that they are plausible, and potentially could work. I was in engineering, prior to my career in art and then writing, and because of this I don’t have magic in my books. I like everything to work as it should or could do, even if it is from another planet. I find this inventing of new mechanical wonders very exciting.

I always find myself looking at new machines and studying their mechanisms.

Who are some of your favorite YA and/or children’s book authors?

I never read much at all, for several reasons, I like to be creative all the time, so I would rather be writing a book than reading one. Also, I would not want to plagiarise another author’s work so hopefully I will have a writing style of my own.

But that’s not to say I don’t hear of other authors or appreciate the work taken to write a book. I do love to watch a good sci-fi fantasy movie like Harry Potter, love that sort of thing.

Do you have any quirky writing habits?

I do like to put onomatopoeic words in italics. It seems to bring the sound of the word you are reading into the imaginative world of what you are seeing, in your mind’s eye. Early on my editors were in two minds about it, but now as it has progressed they have applauded it, many of my adult readers like it too.

There are a few images of my paintings in my books and at times my writing is an expression of these paintings in words.

I paint to music, but I write in silence.

How do you balance writing with book promotion and everything else there is to do in life?

Thank God I have a wife (Sally) who is very computer literate, she was also a sales person for quite a while. She has more experience at marketing etc. which I loathe. We know we need to do more promotions.

Sally is also my first port of call for editing, prior to professional editors, and helps with all those rewrites.

Do you have anything special you’d like to say to your readers or fellow award-winning authors?

To all CLC winners I would like to say a big “Well Done!”

“Hats Off To You”, I know how hard and costly it’s been to get to this stage, so let’s all look to a bright future as authors, and as the ending of my first book says “My your beliefs travel with you wherever you are”.

Author Bio

Award winning author Stephan von Clinkerhoffen grew up close to the English Cotswolds, surrounded by nature and the region’s rich history. An engineer for twenty-five years, he spent ten years in the British aerospace industry.

Clinkerhoffen’s career influenced many of the inventions found in the Chelldrah-ham series, as did his time in New Zealand, where he served as a humanitarian volunteer in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake.

An artist for the last thirty years, Clinkerhoffen has returned to England, where he rediscovered his love of local history—a love that permeates Belas Rift.

He has received praise and numerous awards for his writing from Literary Classics Book Awards, Kirkus Reviews, Readers’ Favorite, and ForeWord Clarion.

Follow Stephan von Clinkerhoffen and his writing on Twitter, Facebook, Goodeads, YouTube, Amazon, and his website.

Award-Winning Books

Stig’s Flight of Encounters

Stig is eager to test out his Spiral Drive, a power unit built for his clockwork plane. He’s so eager that he ignores his fellow inventor’s words of warning. It’s a decision that changes his life and tests whether he has enough fortitude and skill to survive.

Stephan von Clinkerhoffen’s City of Chelldrah-ham: Stig’s Flight of Encounters takes readers on a journey to Chelldrah-ham, the city of riches Stig calls home. They travel with him to strange and beautiful lands as his test flight goes astray and crashes into a wooden pod.

Stig’s trip back home isn’t going to be that easy. Soon he discovers bat-like creatures called the Bach that threaten the pod’s homeland. He escapes the encounter but will have plenty more to face.

Stig must rely on what he finds in nature and the help of new friends like Meg, whom he meets on his trek. He’s got his clockwork skills and a map that his father gave him. But is that enough to help him get back home?

War of Chaos

Stig and his friends Arn and Baits head out of the city of Chelldrah-ham on a mission to Polandrea. Their task is to determine whether the battling Bach creatures still pose a threat.

Stig has his own plans to find and rescue his missing friend Meg in Polandrea. Baits, meanwhile, is tasked as a member of the Guard of Old to search for signs of their absent leader, Lillet. Little do they know the danger that awaits them.

Chelldrah-ham prepares for war when the trio finds evidence of recent battles, and Baits learns Lillet’s fate. Stig and his comrades must confront the Bach and learn their mysterious secret if he hopes to rescue Meg.

Stig, Arn, and Baits must rely on their inventions, each other, and their own ingenuity to survive on a harrowing journey through a magical fantasyland fraught with hidden dangers.

Mystical creatures, secret weapons, action, war, and romance—along with author’s own fantastical artwork—await in The Hidden City of Chelldrah-Ham: War of Chaos.

Belas Rift

After the ferocious battle in War of Chaos, Stig and Meg pursue the evil Anet through a swirling interdimensional rift—and straight into new trouble.

On the other side of this portal, the two Manna find themselves in a world of giants and strange, ominous technology—a world that seems as obsessed with greed and gold as Anet herself. They’ve pursued their enemy to her homeland, a country known as England.

Alone and hunted by a terrifying flying machine, Stig and Meg find allies in the unlikeliest places, and they come to realize other Manna have made this trip between worlds before.

When their frantic search leads them to a golden temple hidden deep beneath the earth, Stig learns that fate ties him to this mysterious shrine. Unfortunately, the two Manna have bigger things to worry about. Anet knows Stig and Meg are in England, and she’s using all her resources to hunt them down. Stig’s ability to devise disastrous plans isn’t helping matters, but the Manna can’t afford to give up now. Anet is breeding new creatures to unleash on Chelldrah-ham, and it’s starting to look as if the Manna simply can’t stop her this time.

“Each of the three books in this magical collection are full of wonder and imagination with delightfully multi-faceted characters and a plot which keeps readers enthralled throughout this dynamic series. With a background in engineering and art, author Stephan von Clinkerhoffen lends a unique perspective to this enchanting series which he both wrote and illustrated.” Literary Classics Book Awards

In addition to the above-linked titles, a color edition of Belas Rift is available for purchase on Amazon.

Did you enjoy this interview as much as I did? Don’t miss upcoming interviews of award-winning authors! Be sure to follow my blog.

Cover Reveal for Darker Stars

So excited to share the cover of Darker Stars with you! Didn’t L.J. Anderson of Mayhem Cover Creations do an amazing job?

Here’s what the book is about:

Travel talents have evolved far past what the Time and Space Travel Agency imagined, leaving it unable to keep travelers under its control.

Silvie Hall is a descendant of Chascadia, Aboreal, and an ancient Earth. The Remnant Transporter talent flows through her blood, giving her the ability to transport silhouettes from different times and places to help heal lost loved ones.

But will it be enough to stop the darker talents that threaten her legacy and her home?

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Add my upcoming releases to your TBR list on Goodreads:

Lantern: The Complete Collection

Darker Stars (The Song of Everywhen, #1)

Teardrop Moons (The Song of Everywhen, #2)

Many thanks to Promo Stars for organizing a gorgeous cover reveal and setting up a giveaway (see below)!

  Title: Darker Stars

Series: The Song of Everywhen #1

By: Chess Desalls

Publication Date: January 2018

Publisher: Czidor Lore, LLC

Genre: YA Sci Fi Fantasy

Cover Designer: Mayhem Cover Creations

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Interview: Literary Classics Award Winner, S.A. Larsen

S.A. Larsen is the author of Motley Education, the Gold medal winner in the Juvenile/Grade School category of the 2017 Literary Classics Book Awards contest.

Congratulations on your achievement! When did you first start writing?

I began writing little poems and songs during my elementary and middle grade school years. That morphed into darker pieces during my high school years when I was figuring out where I fit into the worldor if I fit in at all. (My teenage therapy.) Plus, I’ve written my daily thoughts in a journal for most of my life.

What’s the target age group for your book?

Motley’s target audience is ages 8-13.

What inspired your award-winning book?

My youngest child was born with Apraxia of Speech—a neurological disorder where no pathways from the brain to the mouth muscles exist. (*Basically, CJ had plenty to say, but was unable to speak. Because of that he gained an endearing love of puzzles and books, in particular mythology. We’d read and explore those for hours. He began speech therapy at the age of 22 months. Today, he’s a thriving thirteen year old, who excels in athletics and school, which I attribute to his disciplined years of speech therapy.) So from that background information, I knew I had to include all the Norse myths and history CJ had introduced me to. And my main character Ebony is a kid who is misunderstood because she’s different, yet determined to be who she is. That’s CJ, and in there lies my inspiration.

Describe one of your characters with a cliché or a famous quote.

“The graveyards are full of people the world could not do without.” (Elbert Hubbard) This is for Ebony Charmed, Motley’s main character and misfit medium. Her favorite place to ‘hang out’ is The Boneyard, which is a cemetery on the other side of a woodlot between her house and Motley Junior High School.

Do you have plans to, or have you already, released an audio edition of your book?

An audio version of Motley is currently in the works by my publisher, Leap Books.

Who would you cast as the voice actor for your main character?

I’d probably go with Anna Sophia Robb (from Bridge to Terabithia & Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) in her younger years.

Who are some of your favorite YA and/or children’s book authors?

She’s not a children’s author, but Jane Austen is my absolute favorite and biggest influence. Her ability to knit a story together with such complexity, yet so much flow and emotion fascinates me. Children’s authors that I consider my favorites are LJ Smith, Melissa Marr, Dr. Seuss, Cornelia Funke, Meg Cabot, and Rick Riordan.

Do you have any quirky writing habits?

I like to write to the sound of the rain or earth tones. Kind of weird, but it works for me.

How do you balance writing with book promotion and everything else there is to do in life?

I wish I had a better answer for you, but learning to balance it all is still a work in progress for me. I can say that I have found taking time to step back and breathe is vital to keeping it all together. Live, experience, allow for a little crazy, and then return to work. Spreadsheets, calendar lists, and sticky notes are pretty helpful, too.

Do you have anything special you’d like to say to your readers or fellow award-winning authors?

To my fellow award-winning authors I’d like to offer a huge round of applause. I’m still in awe that I’ve been included with such an amazingly talented group of writers. And to my readers I’d like to offer up a huge Gouda Cheese thank you, as Ebony Charmed would say. I’m honored you’ve chosen to peek into Ebony and Fleishman’s world of ghosts, Norse beasts, a peculiar school, and of course The Boneyard. I hope you’re looking forward to book II as much as I am! And wait until you see it … think Sleeping Beauty, Sleepy Hollow, and crows. Lots and lots of menacing crows.

Author Bio

As a little girl, S.A. Larsen believed her closet held secret passageways to magical worlds brimming with all sorts of creepy creatures – her favorite kind. Sheri never did find a ghoul or a goblin in her closet, only a half-eaten fluffernutter that her brother repurposed as a hockey puck. Her debut novel Motley Education (Leap Books) is a multiple award-winning, fantasy-adventure for middle grade readers; this is the first book in the series. She’s written young adult stories, community interest newspaper pieces, youth athlete magazine articles, and Marked Beauty her debut YA contemporary-fantasy romance novel, releasing October 17, 2017 (Ellysian Press). She’s also a @MixedUpFiles contributor, #MGLitchat co-host, and writing mentor for First Five Pages under Adventures in YA Publishing. When she’s not chasing her characters around a cemetery or antagonizing them with the wonders of young love, she can be found in the land of lobsters and snowy winters with her husband and four children (yes, they all play hockey), a playful pooch, and three kittens.

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Award-Winning Book

Forget having a lively after school social life, Ebony Charmed is fighting to keep the entire afterlife alive.

Ebony’s less-than-average spirit tracking abilities are ruining more than sixth grade at Motley Junior High: School for the Psychically and Celestially Gifted. Her parents argue so much her dad’s moved out. And, even though he’s scared of his own shadow and insists on bringing his slimy, legless lizard everywhere they go, Ebony wouldn’t survive without her best friend, Fleishman.

When Ebony’s Deadly Creatures & Relics’ project goes missing she learns her missing project is one of the keys to saving the spirit world.

Now Ebony and Fleishman must battle beasts from Norse mythology to retrieve her project before spirits are lost, the Well of Urd dries up, and Ebony loses all hope of reuniting her family. But someone lies in wait, and he has other plans…including creating a new world of spirits without them in it.

In addition to Literary Classics Gold, Motley Education has received the following awards:

First Place Winner, 2016 New England Book Festival for excellence in Children’s Literature

Bronze Award Winner, 2017 Feathered Quill Book Awards for Best Juvenile/YA Fiction

Honorable Mention, 2017 Purple Dragonfly Awards; ebook

“Full of thrilling twists and an intense battle between good and evil, this fast-paced tale, replete with magical beasts and lovable characters is a must read for young fans of paranormal fiction.” Literary Classics Book Awards

Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | iTunes | Kobo | Goodreads

I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I have!

Read more about the 2017 Literary Classics Book Awards contest winners on my Interviews page and the Literary Classics website.

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Read Ivory of Aboreal, Chapter 3 on #Wattpad!

With Darker Stars (The Song of Everywhen, #1) in beta readers’ hands and Torch (Lantern, #3) undergoing copy edits, I’ve decided to continue with Ivory’s story. This novella is set in the worlds of both The Call to Search Everywhen and The Song of Everywhen.

Chapter 3 of Ivory of Aboreal is finally up on Wattpad. For those new to the story, here are the links to the first few chapters. Enjoy!

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3