Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Shredding the Gnar

If you read my Friday Five last week, you know that my oldest son is currently driving cross country with a friend. Every day he texts me about his adventures, along with pictures from the day. Most are fabulous, wondrous, and of places I've never been to myself. It is truly the trip of a lifetime, and I'm totally jealous.

His text from St. Louis over the weekend had the expected picture of the famous arch. It also had a video of him skateboarding, with the caption "Shredding the gnar in St. Louis." While someone of my generation might think his auto correct went cuckoo, I knew better.

According to the Urban Dictionary (THE source in these types of matters), shredding the gnar originated in the early days of skateboarding and is now popular when referencing other extreme sports. They give the the following example:

"dude, let's go shred the gnar!
bro, i can't
last gnar session i tweaked my dome.

Tweak my dome? No. This is a family friendly blog!  Plus, I still wasn't clear on the shredding the gnar thing. But, then further down the page, another definition:

"To go big, never stop or give up; accept the reality that anything is possible, and everything can be accomplished if you set your mind to it."

A-ha! That I understood, and suddenly it all made sense, because that is MY motto in life. DREAM BIG! So yes ....


I wonder if I should change this sign hanging in my office to read "No shred is too gnar ... " (or it is "No gnar is too shred?")



Monday, August 15, 2016

Book Trailer Reveal! Joshua and the Arrow Realm

I’m thrilled to unveil the trailer for book two in Donna Galanti’s fantasy adventure Lightning Road series,  JOSHUA AND THE ARROW REALM, arriving August 30th. My nine-year-old LOVED book one and we can't wait for book two! The Midwest Book Review calls book one, JOSHUA AND THE LIGHTNING ROAD, “a heart-pounding thrill ride full of unexpected twists and turns from start to finish.”  Grab book one for just $.99cents now through September 20th.

Be sure to enter the fun giveaway package at the bottom of this post that includes a paperback of book one, poster of the Lost Realm, bookmarks, and a $25 B&N gift card (U.S. only). Sign up for Donna’s Thunderclap book release campaign and help her zap the world through social media with her lightning message!


On August 30th take the lightning road back to a world of beasts, bandits, and heroes in book two of the Lightning Road series. Join Joshua in a new fight for power in the Arrow Realm. Can Joshua and his friends conquer an unstoppable evil?
Joshua never thought he’d return to the world of Nostos but is soon called to the Arrow Realm to free his imprisoned friend, King Apollo, kidnapped as a power pawn in Queen Artemis’s quest to conquer every realm. With his loyalties divided between our world and theirs, Joshua wonders whether he alone can restore magic to the twelve powerless Olympian heirs and save all those enslaved. But when he finds himself abandoned in his quest, he fears he cannot only save those imprisoned—but himself as well.

“Fast-paced and endlessly inventive, Joshua and the Arrow Realm is a high-stakes romp through a wild world where descendants of the Greek gods walk beside you, beasts abound, and not everything—or everyone—is as it seems.” ~ Michael Northrop, New York Times bestselling author of the TombQuest series



A faint rumble groaned through the whistling wind.


Thunder ripped the sky overhead.

Charlie reached the frozen pond, spinning across it. “Woohoo! I win! You Americans can’t beat us at speed!”

Lightning flashed. It zinged across the pine trees like brilliant sunlight. A seed of terror flickered inside me.

Boom! Boom!

Another flash scorched the sky.

Charlie’s smile fell to a frown as he raced across the ice, peering up into the swirling clouds.

We both knew what lightning could do.

Suddenly, sneaking outside for a moonlit sled ride before Bo Chez got home from his monthly poker game didn’t seem so smart.

The sleet turned to snow. Icicles flew off trees like glass splinters, shattering on the hard snow. As I shot toward the pond, a tree on the edge moved. Its branches swayed in the swirling snow.

It wasn’t a tree, but a girl! She stumbled through the mad flurry, arms outstretched.

“Charlie, look!”

Gusts snatched the words away as my sled hit the ice and careened out of control on the bumpy surface. The girl staggered and fell onto the pond. I twisted my sled away to avoid hitting her and smashed right into Charlie. With a yelp, he pulled me up, and we clumped toward the girl. We lifted her up, half dragging her back up the hill to the house in the pelting snow and sleet.

“Who is she?” Charlie yelled.

“No idea,” I yelled back.

He said more, but his words were lost in the wind.

My lungs burned with the cold and effort. There was only one reason someone would appear with lightning—to steal us. This girl might appear like a waif unprepared for a storm but I couldn’t trust that’s all she was.


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Joshua-Arrow-Realm-Lightning-Road/dp/0996890491?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/joshua-and-the-arrow-realm-donna-galanti/1123486660?ean=9780996890496


Donna Galanti is the author of The Element Trilogy (Imajin Books) and The Lightning Road series (Month9Books). She attended an English school housed in a magical castle, where her wild imagination was held back only by her itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included!). There she fell in love with the worlds of C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl, and wrote her first fantasy about Dodo birds, wizards, and a flying ship. She’s lived in other exotic locations, including Hawaii where she served as a U.S. Navy photographer. She lives with her family and two crazy cats in an old farmhouse, and dreams of returning one day to a castle. Donna is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs with other middle grade authors at Project Middle Grade Mayhem. You can find her at www.donnagalanti.com.


E-book ARCs are available for this next thrilling book in The Lightning Road series! Email donna(at)donnagalanti.com for copies and specify the format you’d like.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Friday, August 12, 2016

The Friday Five 8-12-16

Yes - it's a Friday Five! I know, it's been years. Two years, to be exact, but it's been kind of a busy week, and I'm doing this goal thing, one of which is to write more blog posts. So I figured ... Why not? 

Here are five random things from my week in no particular order...

1.  Goals! I had lunch with a friend who is all about goals. Long term goals, short term goals, non-negotiable goals. Goals, goals, goals! I soaked up her every word like a sponge (and even took some mental notes of some funny personal stories for a future book). Can you tell I'm hooked? I have my lists (and of course my spread sheet) I'm ready to rock 'n roll.

2.  Teens! My oldest son (he'll be 19 in October) left on Wednesday from Philadelphia to drive cross country to L.A. with a friend. The last text I got from him was last night, telling me he was racing go-karts on the Indy500 track and was 1.5 seconds under pace. Apparently this was good news.

3.  Millie! I have finished the second draft of the new Millie book. This actually is good news! It goes to my editor next week. See #4 for more. 

4.  More Millie! After reviewing feedback from readers and doing some serious thinking, I've decided to re-do the cover for Millicent Marie is Not My Name. My illustrator has already come up with something AMAZING. I can't wait for you to see it! 

5.  Pretties! I received gorgeous flowers from my love this week to celebrate our 1st anniversary. (Collective awww). After they arrived, he told me he didn't realize they were coming from a volcano in Ecuador (true story).. He hoped no scorpions or black widows crawled out. So far so good. I'll keep you posted.

Want to be FIRST in the know about the new Millie book including the title, new covers, release dates, and a sneak peek at the first chapter? SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER! 

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pitch Wars Pimp My Bio!

Hi – I’m Karen. Now that I’ve stalked #PitchWars and decided to take the plunge, I figure it's time to Pimp My Bio. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, feel free to ignore the crazy lady … instead you can read about my nine year old and his Evil Dude Club here).

Before I start, I apologize for the lack of GIFs. I couldn’t figure them out, so they’re just not happening. As my 18 year old likes to remind me on a regular basis, “old people and the internet are funny.” Whatever.

Since I kind of brought it up, I’m on the far side of middle age, and didn’t start writing until my forties. In fact, until that time, I HATED writing. I always believed you were either a creative, writing type or a math nerd. Since I had a thing for logic and numbers, I figured I fell into the latter category. In college, I took Advanced Calculus for fun (true story), and after my kids were born, I spent ten plus years preparing taxes. Now I write stories, and my numbers world all seems like a million years ago. It wasn’t of course, I’m not that old.


Once I did start writing, I couldn’t stop. Since self-publishing my first middle grade novel in 2011, I’ve gone on to publish ten more middle grade and adult titles, both self-published and small press. I've even won a few awards!

Some of my books...

I’m now looking to move into the world of traditional publishing and have yet-to-be published middle grade and adult manuscripts ready to go. I spent quite a while trying to figure out which manuscript/genre to enter into Pitch Wars. My middle grade story already did well in two contests this summer, so after reading through the mentors' wish lists, I decided it was time to give my adult manuscript some love. Now I’m excited to share a little bit of my Women’s Fiction/Domestic Drama: A MOTHER’S STAND:

Nobody ever expects to be in the 50% of marriages that end in divorce when they say their “I do’s.” Even more unexpected is to end up as 1 of the 125,000 people in the U.S. waiting for an organ transplant shortly thereafter. However, that’s where Samantha Powell finds herself as she listens to testimony concerning the custody of her only child, nine-year-old Ella. Two years ago, her husband left town, leaving both Samantha and Ella behind. Now he was back and had filed a lawsuit to move Ella several states away, claiming a disabled woman couldn’t possible mother a child. While Samantha and her attorney were ready for the argument with their own experts, they couldn’t have possibly prepared themselves for the confrontation outside of the courthouse — for the gun Samantha’s ex pulled on her, for the ensuing hostage situation, or for the fight she would face to stay alive. Confronted with the possibility of losing her daughter forever, Samantha must prove that a mother’s love for her child is strong enough to overcome even the most harrowing situation.

And now the part where I tell you why you should pick me:

I'm one of those moms who is always telling my kids to dream big, reach for the stars, take the bull by the horns … I could go on and on. At some point in my life, I realized I needed to take my own advice. I also realized I couldn't do it alone. When I wrote my very first novel back in 2009, I hired a writing coach to look over the first few chapters. After all, up until then, my writing had been limited to corporate and client emails. She told me it was horrible. I cried. She also gave me the most amazing advice. Ever since then, I have cherished the kind people who have taken the time to critique my work. I know I have come a long way, and I know I have a long way still to go. But I love to learn, and I know there is no better way to strengthen my story than to partner up with someone who has been where I have been and is now where I want to be.

What you'll get from me as your mentee:

I’m ambitious, enthusiastic, and dedicated to improving my craft. My day job is THIS. Writing is my passion, and I work hard at it. I obsessively check my email, which means I'll never miss one from you. I'm goal oriented, extremely organized (oh yes, there will be Excel spreadsheets involved on my end) and most importantly, I promise to respect and learn. Also, I promise there will be no math problems.

Random things that make me happy:

-Writing (duh!)

-My two assistants:

Skill set includes walking across keyboard in the middle of a scene.

-Clocks: I love big clocks and I cannot lie.

-Coffee. Tea is okay too, but … coffee.

-HGTV. Specifically, Fixer Upper. In my fantasy world, I'm besties with Chip and Joanna Gaines. 

Channeling my inner Joanna with my #shiplap shirt

-My family and other people I love … last on the list, but definitely not least.

Thanks for reading and I hope we get to meet soon!


Don't forget to check out other bios here!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

This Crazy Game Called Life

Last night, I took my three kids out to dinner. Let's forget for a moment that in a completely empty restaurant they gave us the table closest to the bar. I'm chalking that one up to me looking worn out and them assuming I might need a drink or ten. (FYI I only drank water).

We were in one of those restaurants that had a game console on the table. Normally, I say no to that sort of thing, but despite my haggard look, I was in a particularly good mood. I was with all three of my children … a rare occasion these days … and I was in air-conditioning. Did I mention my AC broke? Did I mention we were in the middle of a heat wave and it was a holiday weekend? Again, I would like to say that I did in fact only drink water.

The kids decided to play The Game of Life. It seemed like a fun and harmless game. More importantly, they all agreed on it without any arguments. It started out innocent enough. Two of my children chose college paths, one became a professional athlete. They each got married and bought houses. But then talk of babies started. Everyone wanted one.

"How do you get a baby?" I asked, followed quickly by, "Don't answer that." Okay, so my nine year old and I have already had talks, but I wasn't in the mood to re-hash it all around the dinner table in a restaurant. Although, we were in air-conditioning.

My fifteen year old, not missing a beat, responded with, "You have to land on a space … just like in real life." She smirked. Oy.

My youngest, nodded and added, "I'm going to name my first child Peter Parker. Then I'm going make him get bit by a radioactive spider."  Seemed like a reasonable response.

Also heard around the table was:

"'Can I buy your children off of you?" ... from my fifteen year old and

"I keep having kids! I'm getting a vasectomy." ... from my eighteen year old.

Seriously, where was that waitress with our food?

Finally, the topic moved away from baby making and baby preventing. You see because in this version of Life, you can sue people. Oh yes, my kids thought that was awesome!

The new conversation went like this:

"If I can sue someone I will!"

"Sue! Sue! Sue!"

"I will not hesitate to take all your money!"

When finally I made a comment about how complicated this game was compared to the version I had when I was a kid, my youngest replied with:

"You need Life to be easier, you're old."

And that my friends pretty much sums it up, don't you think?



Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Conversation With My Nine Year Old: The Evil Dudes

It's been a while since I've posted a conversation with my youngest - we have some great ones. They usually take place while walking to and from the school bus stop. What I love about our conversations is that no matter what I ask, he has a response. It's often hard to keep a straight face, and I usually lose it somewhere by the end. That's the point where I rush to scribble it all down...

C: [Friend] and I started a club called the Evil Dudes. We're going to build a house then build the most powerful machine in the world.

Me: That sounds expensive.

photo credit: piles-o-cash money via photopin (license)
C: Yes, but we're going to raise a trillion dollars to make it happen.

Me: How? I could use some good fundraising tips.

C: Through recruits. That's why we need the house. So they can live there.

Me: Listen, do you think once you raise all this money, you can maybe loan your mom some? Maybe just a little, like $10,000 or so?

C: Nope.We're going to need it all.

Me: How about if you raise your fundraising effort? I mean a trillion dollars is kind of a lot. A trillion ten thousand is just a tiny bit more at that point.

C: No can do. This thing is going global and will be going on for generations to come.

Me: That's a lot of Evil Dudes. Why so evil?

C: We're not really evil. Our machine will save the planet. We just needed a cool sounding name.

Me: Why not Cool Dudes?

C: That's already taken ... Some guys in Antarctica.

photo credit: El verdadero Kowalsky via photopin (license)

Well  … okay. At that point we were home. I quickly jotted down the conversation,  knowing I just had to blog about it. We started homework and got into our usual after school routine. The next morning, I added "blog post about Evil Dudes" to my to-do list. However, I wasn't expecting this added gem when it was time to leave for school.

Me: What's that? (Pointing to a rolled up piece of paper in my son's hand)

C: Evil Dude plans for an underground bunker. Sorry, I can't disclose the location. It's a secret. We'll need $500 mil to start. We have to eat you know.

Kid's got a point.



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ramblings of a Sentimental Mom

Can I get sentimental for a moment?

It's been that kind of week so far. It all started with the emails. There was the one reminding parents that cap and gown orders were due for my high school senior (done), the one that said there were mandatory religious school confirmation rehearsals for my fifteen year old (noted), and the one that said fourth grade graduation would be starting at 9:15 (got it).

Within the course of one week, all three of my children will be hitting milestones. It is a week that will involve a LOT of tissues.

photo credit: Graduation Cake Guy via photopin (license)
The thing is, that emotional week is still several weeks away, and the waterworks have already started. Like yesterday. I went to Walgreens to buy cards. As soon as I saw the first graduation card, I knew I was going to lose it. I quickly put it down and decided it was a task for another day.

Maybe my sentimental craziness is because I've been reading a lot of my old blog posts lately. Last week, I listened to a podcast about social media. One of the things discussed was recycling older entries that readers might still enjoy/find relevant. Since I have over 400 posts, I thought why not? So I started at the beginning and started reading. There were so many about my three children. Memories came flooding back as if the events I wrote about happened yesterday. Except they didn't. Years have passed, and the tweens I wrote about are now teens. One is eighteen, works, has his own car, and is getting ready to graduate high school. The other will be sixteen this summer and is already thinking about colleges. And that toddler who I wrote about? The one who was worried that the Tooth Fairy didn't get help the way Santa did and wondered if maybe she could borrow an elf or two? Well, he's almost ten and getting ready to enter the tween years himself. Like most parents, I had a "wait, what? when?" moment trying to figure out how they aged when I didn't (snicker). Of course, there were tears thinking about it all, but there were also laughs … because so many of the memories made me smile.

So if you see me on social media being more social with old posts, it's just me being a sentimental (older) mom.



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