Monday, August 26, 2013

Who Doesn't Love Pie?

Well I love pie and hopefully your kids will too, because my latest middle grade book, coming out in just a few weeks is about pie ... and ballet ... with a smattering of Russian history.  Strange combo, I know, but it's getting some nice early reviews:

"Georgie is as sweet as pie and Karen Pokras Toz has left me hungry for more! A fun, lovely, touching, and inspiring story for tweens." – A.B. Shepherd, author of Lifeboat

“Karen Pokras Toz has a hit on her hands again with her tale of a little girl who wants to dance, and the vivid memories of a former Soviet Union ballerina. The story will grab you from page one, and keep you mesmerized until the last page.” – Kristy K. James, author of Enza

“The story will take the reader on a journey through time to a place that was different to how we live today, and gives a history lesson in a positive way that will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned. This book is a must have for every young girls bookshelf.” –Jane Anne Linsdell, Lindsay and Jane’s Views and Reviews


Ballet and baking pies – these are two of twelve year old Georgie Harris’ favorite things. When her parents decide to move closer to her grandmother’s nursing home, Georgie quickly learns the bad news: dance lessons are too expensive in this new town.

Georgie spends most of her time baking pies to bring to her grandmother at the Willow Lakes Nursing Home. There she meets Eve, who inspires Georgie with stories of having danced with a world famous Russian ballerina many years ago.

As Georgie and Eve’s friendship evolves, their tales intertwine in this feel good story showing dreams really can come true.

And even though it's not out yet, you can add it to your Goodreads "to read" list now or visit my Amazon Author Page and click on the "Stay Up To Date" link in the top right corner to get notified as soon as Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas is available!

As always, thanks so much for your support!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Author Spotlight: Alicia Michaels

Hello and welcome! Today I'm excited to welcome fellow Anchor Group Publishing author Alicia Michaels to the Author Spotlight! I'm even more excited to be participating in her Children of the Sacred Earth Release and Blog Tour.

Children of the Sacred Earth is Alicia's newest release and Book 2 in her "The Lost Kingdom of Fallada Series" where she cleverly re-writes Grimm Brothers' fairy tales with a fantasy twist. But ... I'm going to let Alicia tell you more about that...

Welcome Alicia!! So - tell us about your new book.

Child of the Sacred Earth is book 2 in my Young Adult Fantasy series, The Lost Kingdom of Fallada. The series is a mashup of the fairytales as told by the Brothers Grimm. Each book is based on a different tale and this one is drawn from one of their lesser known tales, Snow White and Rose Red. Mostly, this story focuses on Rose Red; Snow White gets her own story later in the series, although she does play a huge role.

Basically, foster kid Jocylene (AKA Rose Red), learns that she is from a mystical, parallel world full of creatures like Faeries and Shape Shifters and that she is one of seven lost princesses. The world has fallen into darkness and a vain queen is working on a takeover. Each princess is needed in the war against evil, and this time Jocylene must step up to the plate. Along the way she will finally have some answers about her past, her family, and her role in the future of Fallada, the mystical kingdom.

I never knew about Red Rose - I'm intrigued! What inspired you to write this book?

When reading the Grimm tales, I was interested to learn that they wrote of two different characters named Snow White. The first, of course, is the more familiar tale of the girl who lived in the woods with seven dwarves. The second, is twin sister to Rose Red, and I found their story much more interesting. Overall, my goal was to take the tale and make it my own by adding a twist of Fantasy, faeries, shape shifters and of course, romance.

How interesting! When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I wrote my first book when I was 12 years old and have been writing nonstop ever since. Even when I was in college studying the wrong major I knew what I was really supposed to be doing. Writing and storytelling has always been a part of my life.

It's funny how our brain manages to steer us in the right direction isn't it? As a busy mom (of gorgeous children, I might add), when and how do you find time to write in your daily life?

I have to make the time because there really isn’t any extra time to be ‘found’. I’m a stay at home mother of three, one of who was very recently born. So, a lot of my day is spent taking care of home and family. I do a lot of writing during naptime and at night when everyone else is in bed. I wish I could say I was one of those organized people that has it all together but the truth is, I make the time whenever I can and try to make the most of it.

I have yet to meet one of those all together people. Even if they say they are - they lie. Lol! Any advice to aspiring writers?
Never stop writing. Never stop learning, and polishing and striving to be grow and develop as a writer. And never give up on your goals and dreams, no matter what they are. Never let anyone tell you your idea has no merit, or you story has no market. If it’s in your mind, it’s meant for someone and you can find success with it.

Absolutely!Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
I actually make a very calculated effort to inject a bit of myself into my characters. In the case of Child of the Sacred Earth, the heroine, Jocylene very much gets her sarcasm from me. I like to put my signature in some way on each character because it makes me more invested. If I know who they are and can identify with them in some way, then it feels more genuine for me to have complete control over their lives and fate.

Very cool! What is one thing that you could not live without?
My laptop for one. Coffee for another. Both are essential to the author!

Ah - we think alike! Do you have any hobbies?
I love to sing and cook. I usually do both at the same time. I also just recently took up sewing. My husband got me a machine for my birthday after I told him I wanted to learn. I just finished my first project—a shirt—and it’s actually not bad!

Cooking and sewing? What are those? I've heard of them I think... If you could have a superpower what would it be?
I’d want super speed. That way I could churn out more books within a year!

Me too! Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Just to thank them for checking out this interview, and I hope you have the chance to check out my books!

Definitely!! Thank you Alicia! And now... Alicia has a giveaway for you all...

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Ever since she first read books like Chronicles of Narnia or Goosebumps, Alicia has been a lover of mind-bending fiction. Wherever imagination takes her, she is more than happy to call that place her home. The mother of two and wife to an Army sergeant loves chocolate, coffee, and of course good books. When not writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, shopping for shoes and fabulous jewelry, or spending time with her loving family.


The Lost Kingdom of Fallada Series

An epic Fantasy spin on the fairy tales as told by the Brothers Grimm
Child of the Sacred Earth is book 2 in the series


Title: Child of the Sacred Earth
Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairytales, Mythology, Paranormal, Romance
Length: 75,000 words
Release Date: June 15, 2013
Publisher: Anchor Group Publishing

Blurb: Get a degree, get a job, save adorable foster siblings from the clutches of the evil foster mom …
These are Jocylene Sanders’ top priorities as she enters her sophomore year of college. The last thing she expects is to find herself the champion of an entire kingdom. However, that is just what happens when the mysterious Faerie, Rothatin Longspear, appears to her, tasking her with saving a parallel world full of creatures from her wildest dreams.

Jocylene journeys with him into the world of Fallada, hoping for answers about her birth parents and background. What she finds is a mystifying past, and an even more uncertain future, as her heart becomes entangled with the stoic, battle-hardened Rothatin, as well as Eli, the untroubled Panther Shifter with no loyalties and no home. With her heart and soul pulled in so many directions, can Jocylene find the strength needed to become the savior one nation so desperately needs?

Purchase links


Other books in The Lost Kingdom of Fallada Series

Book 1: Daughter of the Red Dawn
Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairytales, Mythology, Paranormal
Length: 60,000 words
Release Date: September 15, 2012
Publisher: Anchor Group Publishing
Blurb: These are dark times in the land of Fallada, and I fear that they will only continue to grow darker. Only the return of those we’ve lost will even the score.
It will begin with first line of the prophecy, which foretells of a red sun over the desert sky…
--Adrah, Queen of the Fae

On the outside, seventeen year-old Selena McKinley is like any other teenage girl. Yet Selena has always felt as if she doesn’t belong and is counting the days to graduation and her freedom from the small town that makes her feel so out of place, when the arrival of a stranger turns her world upside down. Selena will learn just how different she is and the truth of where she comes from.
A lost princess, they call her, the catalyst for a war involving a world that Selena was taken from as a child. An evil queen obsessed with her own beauty with a plan to enslave the human race.…the notion seems so silly, yet Selena knows in her heart that it is true. Then there is Titus, the shape shifter whose blue eyes and claims of destiny hold her heart captive. Can Selena find the strength to do what she must while following her heart?

Purchase Links

A FREE read!!!!!!

Prequel: Beyond The Iron Gate (A Lost Kingdom of Fallada Novella)
Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairytales, Mythology, Paranormal
Release Date: April 15, 2013
Publisher: Anchor Group Publishing

Blurb: In the year 1845, before the mystical land of Fallada was separated from the realm of men forever, the two worlds coexisted in harmony. Man could mingle freely in the world of the Elves and Faeries at will and peace reigned. In the hills of Shropshire, England, just miles from the gate separating the village of Ludlow from the world of mystical creatures, farmer’s daughter Zara Wells longs for answers.

It is not only the golden hair that trail feet behind her, or the strange hue of her violet eyes that separates her from the other girls her village. There is something inside of her, something touched by magic that longs to know more about what lies on the other side of the gate. In Fallada, darkness has begun to spread. As the youngest and most beautiful girls of her village begin to disappear, Zara comes closer to discovering the true circumstances surrounding her birth. Little does she know, that the closer she comes to the answers she so desperately desires, the closer she will come to being ensnared in the dark queen’s web of growing treachery.

Get Your Free Copy Here:

Barnes and Noble

Coming Soon to other ebook retailers


Have you been to Millie's Blog lately?

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Return of the Friday Five: 8-16-13

Hey all... it's been a long while since I've done one of these, but since I've spent the last year telling you about some amazing authors, I thought I'd take some time to give you a little update on yours truly... (after all, it is my blog!)  Don't worry - the Author Spotlight will return next week. I'm currently scheduling Authors for fall and winter dates, so if you would like to be highlighted on my blog, please contact me!

So.... here are five things that are going on with ME :D

1. CHASING INVISIBLE.  Thank you to everyone who has purchased, read, and reviewed my debut adult contemporary novel. I'm truly blown away by the positive feedback I've gotten. This was not an easy novel for me to write, as it was WAY out of my comfy little middle grade kids' zone. But I'm glad I did. For those still wanting to pick up a copy - it's your lucky day! My publisher has it on sale for just a few more days for your Kindle and Nook (or you can use the apps if you don't have the actual device)

Kindle: - Nook:

2. PIE. Once Chasing Invisible wrapped up, I walked ran back to my comfy middle grade kid zone to work on a new kids' book called PIE AND OTHER BRILLIANT IDEAS:

When ballet lessons prove too costly in a new town, Georgie spends her time baking pies to bring to her grandmother at the Willow Lakes Nursing Home. There she meets Eve who inspires Georgie with stories of having danced with a world famous Russian ballerina many years ago. As Georgie and Eve’s friendship evolves, their tales intertwine in this feel good story showing dreams really can come true.

Coming in September...

Do you want to see the cover? The head on on over to my FACEBOOK page where I'm doing a cover reveal once jigsaw puzzle piece at a time.

3. MILLIE. It's been a while since we've heard from Millie. Well - she kind of got in a little trouble this summer and was grounded. Her parents FINALLY let her have her computer back and she started blogging again. Today she's doing an interview for the Character Book Club. You should definitely stop by!

4. AUDIO.  BIG NEWS!  I'm going to be releasing two new audio books this fall! Both Nate Rocks the School and Millicent Marie is Not My Name will be joining's library. I've been listening to my narrator's work and so far they sound great! I think you're going to love hearing these characters come to life! The best part is that they auto sync with the kindle versions - how cool is that?

5.AWARDS. It's that time of the year again, and two of my books are up for some awards! Millicent Marie is a finalist for pre-teen literature in the Global e-book awards (to be announced August 19th) and is a finalist for a Readers' Favorite Book Award in the pre-teen category (to be announced September 1st) and Chasing Invisible is a finalist for a Readers' Favorite Book Award in the Fiction - Drama category. Stay tuned for further announcements...

So what do you think? Do you like the return of the Friday Five? I can't promise it will be back every Friday, but you just never know when it will pop back in.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Author Spotlight: Donna Huber

We're back! Did you miss us last week? Author Spotlight took a mini break - I decided I needed to retreat into my writing cave and finish my current WIP once an for all so I could hand it over to my trusty editor.... more on that another time - Today, I'm very excited to introduce you to author Donna Huber. Donna is not just an author, she is a PR guru and has helped me successfully launch my last three books via virtual tours. Her book, Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour, is getting rave reviews.

Here's mine:

In Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour, PR expert, Donna Huber, provides pages of invaluable information for every author looking to both set up their own tour or learn more about hiring a tour company to run a tour on their behalf. Donna brings years of experience to the table, sharing tips in an organized and easy to follow manner. Donna gives great examples from her own experiences, ranging from working with traditionally published authors to self-published authors, giving the reader confidence in Donna's results.  This is a must have reference guide for every author.

And now.... I'd like to welcome Donna Huber....

Author Spotlight: How Did I Get Here?

*Squinting* Wow! It's bright in here. *Looks around* What does that say up there? Author Spotlight...that would explain the bright light shining on me. But, wait... Author?!? What am I doing here?

Since releasing my ebook Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour at the end of June, I've been asked a lot about how I came to be a published author. Because it was not something I ever considered doing, my friends and family were kind of shocked by it. To tell you the truth, I'm kind of shocked by it all as well. I often ask myself, how did I get here? And to be completely honest, peer pressure led me to do it.

I love to read and talk about books. I got involved with an online writing community because it was fun to read stories in progress and talk with not only other readers, but the writers themselves as the story developed. I was not there to write my own story and I choose the handle Girl Who Reads in hopes that people wouldn't be asking me about what story I wrote.

One thing led to another, and no I still didn't consider writing a book. Instead, I started a book blog. At the time I was working for a start-up publishing house heading up their marketing department. Through my blog, I connected with other bloggers who would host my authors, but I also was contacted by other publishers to feature their books in my blog. It was a great way to learn the business.

I was learning all kinds of things about blogging and the book industry. And I like to help others, so I started a weekly tips series on my blog. It covers anything from useful html code to best practices for social media to discussion on content creation. Around this time, I was asked to join a group of bloggers and authors for ebook events.

Several of the members of this group, after reading my tips posts, told me I should write a book. I was all "whatever". Writing was not my thing. But they didn't give up. Every so often someone in the group would make a comment about putting my tips into book form. Then I started getting requests for tips post. Usually it was something I had already written about. However, on a blog with almost two year's worth of tips (and not to mention all the other posts) it can be difficult to find what you are looking for. For the first time, I thought about putting together a book.

I'm asked by both authors and bloggers about organizing blog tours often. I knew I had several posts that authors would find useful in either planning their own tour or when working with a tour company. When I want to know how to do something, I don't want to spend hours reading about it. I'm busy (did you see my hat collection on the first day of the tour? and I know authors are too. I wanted them to be able to read my book in about an hour and have all the tools they needed to put together a great tour.
I pulled together my posts on blog tours, giveaways, book blasts, and approaching bloggers. Then I fleshed them out and added the advice I give to my clients on making great appearances and following up after the end of a tour. My beta readers suggested I add some guest post topic suggestions and that led me to including sample interview questions as well. What resulted was a lot of information packed into a little space.

That's how I got here... a little bit of peer pressure and a whole lot of desire to see others reach their dreams.


Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the blogger behind Girl Who Reads where, in addition to book reviews and author appearances, she writes the popular blogging advice series, Tips on Thursday. She has worked as a freelance publicist since 2010 assisting publishers and authors with their marketing and publicity needs. Most notably, she was the publicist for The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House edition of Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker by E. L. James.

When she is not doling out blogging advice or promoting the next bestseller, she can be found spending time with family (particularly the four legged, furry members), rewatching Downton Abbey and Harry Potter, or trying to make a dent in her never ending to-be-read pile.


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Plan a successful blog tour while keeping your sanity

From the publicist who introduced the world to Fifty Shades of Grey, Donna Huber is now revealing her secrets to successful blog tours. She shares tips and tricks learned through organizing over 30 tours, blasts, and promotional events for nearly 50 independently and traditionally published titles.

Secrets revealed in this quick read include,

Planning stage decisions
Different types of tours
Recruiting bloggers and keeping requests organized
Best practice communication tips
Tricks to making a great guest appearance
How to organize a fun (and legal) giveaway
Actions to take during the tour
Next steps once the tour is complete
Virtual tour and other promotional opportunities
When to hire a professional

In this easy to follow manual, Donna does not stop there. She spills even more of her blog tour secrets to help authors get the most out of their events by providing,

Tour checklist
Tour invite tips
Step-by-step guide to creating tour graphics
10 broad guest post topics
25 sample interview questions


Amazon (US) (UK)

Join Donna for a Twitter Party: August 15 at 8:00 pm eastern #GWRchat

Prizes (2): 5 - 9 stop tour; $20 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Kindle: - Nook:

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