Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Invasion of the Boy Band: One Who?

Justin Bieber. You’ve heard of him, right? My 11-year-old daughter had a friend who was obsessed with him (and by obsessed, I mean she had a life-sized cardboard cut out of him in her bedroom.) My own daughter couldn’t stand him.

I was one of the lucky ones.

...or so I thought. You see, she had me completely off-guard. I thought it was Bieber or Bust. I didn’t know Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry, and Louis were waiting in the wings. Who are they? That’s what I said when my daughter first mentioned these boys.

“Mom!” she shrieked, “They’re from One Direction!” Or 1D for those of us in the know – which sadly, I am now. Why is that? Well, they’ve pretty much taken over my house from the screen saver on our family computer to even my iTunes account. Not to mention my daughter’s bedroom:

Her door:

Her room - - don't feel bad for the other three, they are on the other wall:

This is only a sampling of the One Direction invasion in my home. They've even taken over her texts. Every time she texts me - there is an auto signature to remind me she hearts One Direction.

See for yourself:


But since I promised my daughter, I wouldn’t *embarrass* her (sigh), let me show you who was on my bedroom walls when I was her age...

photo credit: The Shifted Librarian via photo pin cc

I know all you forty-somethings out there are nodding – but hands off – he’s mine!

The future Mrs. Shaun Cassidy

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Friday Five 4.27.12

Hey all. This was one busy and emotional week. Some good – some not so good, but it all seems to be working out in the end... so lets get right to it!

1. Visitor. The week started out really nice actually. A friend of ours from Iowa, came for a lovely, but short visit, last Friday. We provided cheesesteaks, she brought ice cream (no not all the way from Iowa.) We had a fun time!

2. Spring? Seriously – what happened? The heat has been back on all week. I think it’s because my seedlings are now ready to go into the garden. Cold and wet and rainy and yuk. Some areas even had snow. We (thankfully) were not one of them. Um – excuse me spring? Feel free to come back now. Thanks.

photo credit: OliBac via photo pin cc

3. Good News/Bad News. This was a difficult and stressful week for me. The short of it is that I went in for a biopsy on Wednesday – I received the call today that everything is okay - thank goodness. It’s really not a roller coaster (or procedure) I ever want to repeat. Feeling very grateful today – for everything.

4. The Silver Lining. While in bed recovering on Wednesday, a friend of mine texted me the following photo! I had no idea the store put that up. Way to put a smile on my face!! In case you are wondering, that’s the Barnes and Noble in Jenkintown, PA. I think you should all come!!!

5. Book News. Well in case you haven’t heard the news, the official Nate Rocks the Boat release party/scavenger hunt is on May 1st on my Facebook Author Page – there will be lots of games and prizes - books, sketchpads, key chains, and other Nate Rocks swag– starting at 10:00am EST. But – you don’t have to wait until May 1st to get started! There is a photo contest going on right now!! All you have to do is take a picture of the cover of your copy of Nate Rocks the Boat (either the print or digital version) in a creative way (think summer camp theme) and send it to me. We’ll pick a winner on May 1st. Up for grabs is a signed Nate Rocks tote bag and a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Don't have a copy yet? It's now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble! I hope everyone stops by!

May 1st also kicks off the Nate Rocks the Boat Blog Tour!! To see the line up of all the AMAZING participating bloggers, visit my website:

I hope everyone has a great week! See you next Friday and hopefully sooner!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Nate Rocks the Boat TRAILER!!

PS - Only FIVE more days until The Official Release Party/Scavenger Hunt! Great Prizes!! Don't forget to pick up a copy of Nate Rocks the Boat for the photo contest going on NOW! See my Facebook page for details.

To Purchase Nate Rocks the Boat:
Barnes & Noble

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Daughter's Review of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

It's time for another review by my daughter, Sarah.. You may remember that she is trying to win a Kindle Fire for herself. Thanks to Alan Tucker, author of the Mother-Earth Series for sponsoring the contest that is getting teens to write and review books (at least it is getting my 11-year-old to write and review books!!)

The contest ends April 30 - the question is ... will she keep it up? I'm hoping the answer is YES!

Now on to her review...

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is about a boy named Bruno. His dad is a soldier in the Holocaust. One day, Bruno is walking - he sees a boy. But there is a problem. The boy is on the other side of the fence, and he is not allowed out. Bruno does not understand why. He becomes friends with the boy and wishes he were also on the other side of the fence so he could be with his new friend.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is an amazing book. It shows a very strong friendship. I could not imagine being in that situation. I've read many Holocaust books and this was one of the best. Anyone 11 and up should read it. It will blow you away.

Thanks, Sarah & good luck!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Virtual Scavenger Hunt! Nate Rocks Style...

Great News!!! I know I’ve been going on and on (and on) about the May 1st release date for my newest Nate Rocks book: Nate Rocks the Boat ... but ... guess what? You don’t have to wait until May 1st anymore! That’s right! It is now officially for sale on Amazon in both print and kindle formats, and will soon be available at Barnes & Noble and other retailers.

I know what you’re thinking? What’s that got to do with a scavenger hunt? Well.... in Nate Rocks the Boat, 10-year-old Nathan Rockledge goes off to overnight camp for the first time – where one of the activities involves a scavenger hunt. So.... I thought it would be fun to have a scavenger hunt of our own to celebrate the release of Nate Rocks the Boat.

Who? Everyone! You’re all invited – and so are all your friends!

When? The festivities begin 10am on May 1st and last until approximately 10pm EST

Where?  My Facebook Author Page

What? Here’s the deal: I will be posting a variety of virtual tasks for you to figure out through the day – all Nate Rocks themed. We’ll have find the picture, trivia, caption the photo, identify the quote, and lots of other items that you’ll have to search for on line – all relating to Nate Rocks.

Why? Because he’s Nate Rocks of course!

But are there prizes? Are you kidding? Here’s a little sample of what you can win...

But, what if I didn’t read the Nate Rocks books? Well, for some of the games, having read Nate Rocks the World will give you an advantage, and for other games, it doesn’t make a difference. But honestly, what are you waiting for? There is plenty of time to read Nate Rocks the World before May 1st. Not only that, there will be some Nate Rocks the Boat questions with some extra special prizes – so grab your copy of Book 2 and have a great time at camp with Nate. See you on May 1st!

For more information about the Nate Rocks Series visit

To purchase a copy of Nate Rocks the World:

Amazon           Barnes & Noble

To purchase a copy of Nate Rocks the Boat:

Amazon          Barnes & Noble - coming soon.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Friday Five 4-20-12

Happy Friday everyone! So much going on this week, I probably could have done a Friday Ten! Here are the highlights...

1. Dance Competition. Yup again! And once again, we only had minutes to change from one outfit/hairdo to the next, but some reason, it was easier. Maybe we’re finally getting used to this routine! The dancers were all amazing. My daughter’s hip hop team was the best they’ve been all year. They won the high score award for their category/age group. Way to go team!

photo credit: InertiaCreeps via photo pin cc

2. T-Ball. The season officially kicked off on Saturday. Unfortunately, I had to miss it because I was with my daughter. I really wish those scientists would hurry up with the human cloning thing! Anyway, my husband is my son’s coach, so I got a full report. He (both of them actually) had a great time, minus one scraped up knee (my son, not my husband.)

3. End of Tax Season. Sigh. Collapse. That’s all.

4. The Proof! In case you haven’t seen the ten gazillion posts on Facebook, Google +, Goodreads, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbledUpon, Triberr, and my blog (I think that’s all of them...) Let me tell you one more time... I received the proof of Nate Rocks the Boat! There is nothing like holding that first copy of your book in your hand. It Rocks! Not only that, it brings us one step closer to the official release date – only ten days away! Have you seen it yet? Here is it, for the ten gazillion and first time:

5. Book News. I am so excited for the book release – not only because you all will finally get a chance to read Nate Rocks the Boat, but because we are going to have so much fun! One of the things Nathan does in the book is go on a scavenger hunt. So I began to think – how much fun would it be to go on a virtual Nate Rocks themed scavenger hunt of our own? Sounds fun right? Join my on my Facebook Page all day on Tuesday May 1st, where you can join in on the scavenger hunt to win signed copies of both my Nate Rocks books.

I hope everyone has a great week! Leave me a comment & let me know what's on your Friday Five. I'll see you Friday and hopefully sooner!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Look What Came in the Mail!

Only 12 more days until its official release! Who's excited? (Well besides me, obviously!)

Don't worry if you haven't read Book 1, Nate Rocks the World, there's still plenty of time to catch up.


Friday, April 13, 2012

The Friday Five 4-13-12

It’s Friday the 13th! Are you superstitious? I am about some things, but Friday the 13th doesn't bother me. Just as long as I don't run into any mask wearing kid named Jason... anyway - here's what's been going on in my week...

1. Happy Holidays! I hope that all who celebrate had a very nice Passover and Easter. We celebrate Passover - it was quiet this year. My family usually gets together, but my brother and his family moved out of state and with tax season and other things going on, we just couldn't make the drive. Still it was very nice (& mellow.) My husband's family celebrates Easter, so on Sunday we visited with his family. All in all, it was a very nice weekend.

photo credit: paurian via photo pin cc

photo credit: Sister72 via photo pin cc

2. Tax Season. We’re in the home stretch now – this is the last Friday of tax season! Someone recently asked me how I was holding up. My response was that my brain feels like fried mush – this last week has been c-r-a-z-y. Here is my tax tip of the week: Open your mail! Just because it says tax document on it, doesn't mean you shouldn't open it before giving it to your accountant. It may be time sensitive (or even better - a check!) I know it’s late in the season, so remember that one for next year... and don’t forget to be extra nice to your accountant this week. :)

3. National Library Week. In addition to the last full week of tax season, it is also National Library Week! I had a great time celebrating with the kids at The William Longstreth School in Philadelphia. Thank you to WePAC (West Philadelphia Alliance for Children) for inviting me! You can read all about it and see some more pictures in yesterday's blog post.

4. Disney. We’re gearing up for our big trip. This week, thanks to some recommendations from friends, we bought “The Unofficial Guide to Disney,” watched the Disney DVD that we received, and made reservations for a character lunch with Handy Manny. We’re just a tinsy bit excited here!

5. Book News. Thanks to my amazing designer, Deana Riddle, at, the cover and interior for Nate Rocks the Boat are done! I’m just waiting for the proof back from the printer to give the final okay and then we go into production just in time for the May1st release of Nate Rocks the Boat! Are you interested in learning more about Nate? He’s going to be interviewed this coming week on the World Literary Cafe. Stop by and say hello!

I hope everyone has a great week! Leave me a comment and let me know what's in your Friday Five this week. I'll see you next Friday and hopefully sooner!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

My National Library Week School Visit

Did you know this week is National Library Week? I only realized this about a month ago when I received an email from a man named David Florig. David is the director of an organization here in Philadelphia called WePAC – West Philadelphia’s Alliance for Children.

WePAC is an incredible organization. The sad reality is that many public schools do not have enough funding to keep their own in-school libraries up and running. Most of these schools are in impoverished neighborhoods. WePAC through its generous donors and volunteers, helps to re-open and maintain these libraries. Since starting its “open book, open mind” program in 2009, WePAC has re-opened 12 school libraries.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting The William Longstreth School, as their guest author to help celebrate National Library Week. The children and I had the BEST time. I met with both 2nd graders and 4th graders. These kids were AMAZING! I spent the first few minutes reading a little bit of Nate Rocks the World to them and talking about writing. Then it was their turn to interview me. They had awesome questions. Not only that – they had awesome suggestions! We wound up having a mini-brain storming session of what types of adventures they’d like to see Nate go on (sorry – not giving those away – you’ll just have to wait until book 3!)

The fourth-graders and I even wrote our own story about Nate going on a visit to the Baltimore Aquarium, involving an escape shark - of course Nate saved the day thanks to these quick thinking children! The second-graders had an opportunity to draw their own cartoon adventures, which included everything from a rocket trip to the sun to taking a zip-line through the jungle to getting stuck on the Eiffel Tower! Way to use your imaginations kids!

Thanks so much to WePAC & The William Longstreth School for the invitation. I hope to see you all again soon! 

Don't forget ... Reading Rocks!

Would you like me to visit your school? I'd love to! Visit my website for my contact and media information:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: & Then I Discovered Instagram

So this Instagram thing has been around for awhile now, but I'm old & it takes me a bit to catch up. Anyway - I'm here now & I love it! It's been some time since I posted pics of the kittens. Kittens - meet Instagram - mwahahahaha:

Have a great Wednesday!


Friday, April 6, 2012

The Friday Five: 4-6-12

This week has been so crazy that I actually forgot today was Friday and almost missed posting a Friday Five!! Here’s the scoop:

1. Dance Competition. I’m either the best Mom ever or the craziest – you can decide. My daughter had a dance competition on Sunday. Her first dance was at noon and her last dance was at 4:00pm, but other teams from her school were dancing starting at 8:00am through the evening. She asked if we could go early to watch her friends - and then stay late. We left the house at 6:45am – on a Sunday – just because.... we were there until 10pm. I know she was the one dancing, but I felt like I had run a marathon. We had some crazy close costume changes in between dances and there was a lot of running around – did I mention the dressing room was up a flight of stairs? Anyway – all the kids did awesome and now we get a weekend off before the next round.

photo credit: ۞DLB۞ via photo pin cc

2. Tax Season. Only 11 more days people! Some of the clients this week were a tad punchy. Look, I’m sympathetic, but it’s not my fault that you took so long to get your info into my office, so please do not take it out on me. It’s also not my fault that you don’t qualify for certain deductions this year or that you got a penalty for taking money out early from your retirement account. I’m just the messenger... so chill. Thank you :)

3. Garden. It’s that time of year when I start thinking about what to plant. I’ve got my seeds all ready, and I plan to get them started inside this week – lettuce, peas, beans, carrots, and cucumbers. Then my favorite – the tomatoes! I love this time of year! Who’s with me?

photo credit: Pig Sty Avenue via photo pin cc

4. Library Week. Did you know that this coming up week is National Library Week? I’m so excited to be included among the list of authors who will be visiting some Philadelphia public schools with the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children. I have some fun activities planned for the children! Show your own library some love this week!

5. Book News. Early reviews are starting to come in for Nate Rocks the Boat, and I’m so excited by the feedback! Risteh Kala’s Book Reviews gave it five stars, and  here’s what Author Stacey Rourke had to say:

"Nate Rocks is back and better than ever! Author Karen Pokras Toz sticks with a formula that works in her sequel Nate Rocks the Boat. With her flare for description Toz gives us the heebie jeebies at a slithering rattle snake about to strike, makes us laugh out loud at an over zealous camp counselor, and snicker behind our hand when Nate takes a horse shoe to the face in a backyard game gone wrong. But in the end we learn that thanks to his active imagination and clever thinking Nate truly does rock! This is a must have for the young readers in your life!"

Thank you Stacey!

I hope everyone has a great week! Leave me a comment and let me know what’s in your Friday Five. See you next Friday and hopefully sooner!


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Daughter's Review: The Hunger Games

Once again, thank you to Mother-Earth-Series, Alan Tucker for sponsoring the Kindle Fire Giveaway to one lucky teen. My daughter is very hopeful (no pressure Alan) and has written yet another book review! You may remember a while back, she professed her love and admiration to me, her mother, as one of the best authors ever. Well, it seems my title has been withdrawn, or at least knocked down a few notches. I'm okay with that, as I happen to agree with her assessment of The Hunger Games.

Here is my 11-year old daughter, Sarah's review:

The Hunger Games is about a girl named Katniss. She volunteers to be in the Hunger Games in her little sister's place. The Hunger Games are games where two people from each district are put in an arena where they have to kill each other. The last person standing wins.

The Hunger Games is the best book I've ever read. I love it because things happened that you never thought would happen. It was exhilarating and exciting. Everyone 6th grade and up will love it.  Trust me, you won't be able to put it down.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Nate Rocks the Boat: Six Sentence Sunday

Who wants to have a sneak peek at a little Nate Rocks the Boat? In case you forgot, it officially comes out May 1st! That's just 28 days! In this scene, Nate is getting ready for Color War at camp... he is on the White Team & they are trying to get their spirit on:


In addition to our W-and-H-and-I-and-T-and-E cheer, Matt also made up one other cheer:

“We’re Boys White and we came to fight. Blue and Red can go back to bed. We’re fierce, we’re proud, we’ll never give in. Watch out other teams— we came to win. Our team is here, so don’t come near, cause W-H-I-T-E spells victory!”


So what do you think? Will the White Team prevail? 

You'll have to wait until May 1st to find out, but in the meantime, you can catch up on Book 1: Nate Rocks the World: Available on-line at Amazon & Barnes & Noble.

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