A Pure and Beautiful Story: Space Boy

Some writers in my spec fic group recently recommended the webtoon Space Boy.

Space Boy has to be one of the purest stories I’ve ever read. The characters feel so authentic and real, but there aren’t really any terrible characters. There are characters who make terrible choices, but they feel like read people who have made bad choices but can also do very good things.

I read the whole thing, up to the most recent post, when I was sick last weekend. I bawled through a lot of it, which I loved. I require stories with pure, deep emotion that make me cry. I often can’t cry about being sick or life not being what I hope it would be because it’s too big a thing to cry about, if that makes sense. So I need stories to help me process emotion. I loved Space Boy for that. I also felt very cared for because the characters are so kind to each other.

All this might make it sound like there is no conflict, but there is amazing conflict! I absolutely love that the author is able to create conflict without relying on cliches and tropes or rotten people. For example, when the MC arrives at a new school, she is greeted and welcomed by a really nice guy on the football team. When he introduces his girlfriend, I thought, “Oh, no! She’s gonna be typical popular mean girl and then the guy is gonna fall in love with the MC and drama, blah, blah, blah.”

Totally not what happens!!! The popular girl is a very powerful personality, but she is very loyal to her friends and not a terrible person at all. She makes poor choices sometimes and can come off as brusque or mean, but she doesn’t realize it. I absolutely love her character. And there is no love triangle between her, her boyfriend, and the MC.

In fact, the entire school is really nice to the new girl. There is still conflict. There are times where the kids don’t get along, partly because of misunderstandings, but everyone is a decent person. It was so refreshing to see a new kid arrive at a school and be treated as a human being.

Everyone being fairly decent frees up the narrative for more complex types of conflict. It’s really wonderful.

There are also very true and good responses to tragedy and conflict.

One part that really got me was when a character starts to have a panic attack after having several. I’ve had panic attacks before, and they are pretty much the worst experiences of my life. And based on the descriptions given by friends of mine who have PTSD and C-PTSD, my panic attacks were fairly mild. So this character feels another panic attack coming on, and she says, “No body, don’t have another panic attack!” But then, she does this:

😭😭😭😭 Tears are streaming down my face, right now, at this moment.

There is just so much truth in this story.

So in case you haven’t figured it out, I HIGHLY recommend Space Boy. Some people even read it as a family. There is some violence, but not gory, so it’s very clean. I would say probably 10 or 12 and up, depending on the sensitivity of the reader. There are a couple instances that could be challenging for certain people. I will mention some specifics below, but they will be mildly spoiler-y.

At the end of most episodes, the author draws little cartoon representations of himself responding to fan art, and he just really seems like a beautiful soul. So go read Space Boy, an incredibly pure story with authentic characters written by a beautiful soul.

Find the author at https://www.stephenmccranie.com/.

Content Cautions

Least spoiler-y: There are several instances where prosthetics are shown during construction. This is a futuristic story where prosthetics are very advanced, so it looks a lot like actual body parts lying around. Could be uncomfortable for a sensitive reader.

Second least spoiler-y: There is a point with pet jeopardy, but I don’t think any animals are actually hurt. But I know some sensitive people who would have a hard time with it.

Most spoiler-y but important: There is a huge amount of death in one character’s backstory, though nothing is shown on screen. He basically wakes up and everyone is gone, including his parents and little brother. Could be intense for young children or emotional parents. Like me.

There may be more. I can’t anticipate what everyone is sensitive to, but I would rate it PG and say it’s an excellent and clean story.

All My Work

Update: Apparently there was some kind of auto-recovery, and the house came back! Yay!

My elementary-aged daughter loves designing houses using a free house plans software. Today, she spent all of her screen time working on this really amazing house with ball rooms and chandeliers and rooms for cat families, etc.

But she didn’t save her work, and the program crashed. I just held her and let her cry. I’m so sad for her to have to experience this so early in life, but it’s something most of us experience at some point in our lives. We work really hard finally finishing that first draft, and the computer crashes and goes back to factory settings. We spend a couple hours writing a breathtakingly amazing scene, but the program closes and auto recovery doesn’t auto-recovery it. We work hard knitting a pair of mittens so our fingers will stay warm this winter, and then they disappear along with the coat in whose pockets they were. Then you start a second pair of mittens, and this time, the whole work bag disappears with all of your crochet utensils and special yarn and needles and . . .

Not that I’m speaking from experience. . . .

I’m happy to report that my daughter is doing okay and working on another house. It’s really difficult to lose our hard work, but it doesn’t have to be the end. It may take some time. We might have to set it aside for weeks before we can face it again. The second time around might not be as breathtaking as the first time, but it can still be good. The third pair of mittens will stick around and keep your fingers warm for years. 😉

So remember to save often! But if something does happen to your hard work, it’s okay to grieve. It’s also okay to try again.

Happy Writing!

Look Back on 2022

In spite of my health being not great, 2022 was actually a pretty good year for writing/authoring.

I had my first ever author event at This House of Books in Billings, Montana.

I represented Chicken Scratch Books at a homeschool conference in Houston, Texas. Talking with all of the homeschool families, and especially kids interested in writing, was so much fun.

I gave my first in-person writing workshop for kids, in East Texas. It was a blast!

And the big thing (for me): I realized a week or two ago that I actually wrote 30,000 words this fall!! For the way I’ve been feeling the last couple of years, this is a huge accomplishment. I think it’s pretty choppy writing thus far, but the story itself is actually going smoothly for the first time in ages. So yay!

I hope you all had a decent 2022 and that 2023 will be a good year.

Writing Communities and Secret Santa

Now that it’s after December 20, I can finally share the digital art I made for The Silver Eye Secret Santa 2022!

One of things I have enjoyed about reading The Silver Eye is the fandom. I love how the author gets to interact with the fans and see their reactions in real time. Some fan ideas have even become almost (or actual) canon.

When I was in high school, I had a group of friends who were also writers. We loved talking stories together, telling about our favorite characters, and sharing moments of deep emotion.

I had great friends in college, but none of them were fiction writers. I really missed being able to share all of my discoveries and progress (although, my friends did listen to me A LOT and even read some of my terrible early drafts).

When I got to Vermont for my masters, I was so excited to be around writers again! But to my surprise, they almost never talked story. The focus was entirely on craft and publishing. Those are great things to talk about (especially in a school for improving craft), but I’ve found that trend continue in all of my interactions with writers. They just talk about craft and publishing. Nobody gets excited about their characters or shares heartbreaking moments.

The only times I’ve had great story conversations as an adult have been when I’ve met up with those friends from high school.

So one of the things I’ve really enjoyed about The Silver Eye is that excitement about story and characters and heartrending moments. It reminded me of that group in high school.

Of course, then I realized that a lot of the fans ARE in high school, so that might explain things. 😂 I definitely think writing for young people is what I need to do since I seem to have more in common taste-wise with middle and high schoolers than I do with my fellow adults.

Anyway, that was sort of a rambling retrospective just to say that one of the things I enjoy about The Silver Eye is the fan base, and it was super fun to participate in The Secret Santa.

(Also, the interaction with fans is making dream about doing The Epic Novel as a web comic or serial. 😁 )

The Silver Eye–Go Read It Now! It’s Amazing!

For your Christmas Present, I am going to introduce you to The Silver Eye.

I have long admired the artwork of Laura Hollingsworth, but somehow, I missed the fact that she is writing a webcomic. Then about three months ago, she posted in a writer’s group we both belong to that all her notifications for the day were angry, “Don’t kill Marcus!” notifications because of her most recent page.

Well, I had to know what everybody was so excited about. I started reading The Silver Eye, and I am now hooked. I haven’t had a fun story to get excited about in ages, and certainly not one with an active fan base. I highly recommend The Silver Eye.

What do I love about it? Well first off, Laura Hollingsworth is an amazing storytelling and astounding artist. But as for the story, it’s a group of characters, which I believe I’ve mentioned before is my favorite kind of story. There is a wonderful mix of humor and seriousness. It’s just the right blend. There is also a lot of great mystery, foreshadowing, flashback. This is like Brandon Sanderson quality weaving together. It’s beautiful.

On top of that, the premise, world, and magic system are intricate, original, and interesting. And the characters are well-rounded, three-dimensional, fun characters. Sometimes, fans ask who is your favorite or least favorite, and I can hardly say because they are all amazing, even the antagonists. But there isn’t really a main villain or anything because the story is about these complex characters making complex decisions.

The webcomic is very clean, and based on some of the fans saying the characters are several years older than they are, it seems middle schoolers are reading it. However, I would caution that it can be violent (think dripping blood from wounds and a smudgy, in-the-distance decapitation). It isn’t gratuitous but might be too much for a sensitive reader. The characters are realistic, so there are some questions of marital unfaithfulness and who is so-and-so’s father. However, it’s all very tastefully done. The only on-screen things are a few mild kisses that I would totally call PG. So, aside from the violence, I’d rate it PG.

Also, Laura Hollingsworth has an Etsy shop where you can buy Silver Eye Merchandise! I would not say no if someone wanted to send me a Silver Eye sticker . . .

Be prepared for much Silver Eye fan-girling in the future. It is really an amazingly well-done story. Also, Laura Hollingsworth came up with the idea when she was around 11, which makes me feel a lot better about coming up with my ideas for the Epic Novel when I was 15.

Now I am daydreaming about commissioning Laura to make character portraits for the Epic Novel characters . . .

A Fall of Survival

I had grand plans for all the posts I was going to write this fall, but this fall has been a season of survival. I had to let go of my blog and marketing my book for a little in favor of personal needs, like my job and being there for my family.

I went to the doctor a lot and received several diagnoses, including POTS, which is a heart/circulation condition. I was told to eat more salt! Yes, more salt. I had been trying not to give in to my salt cravings because I had heard eating salt was bad for you, but like so many things in life, that’s only part of the story. So, as directed, I have been eating more salt, and I’ve actually been feeling a little better. Yay!

I’ve been able to write some. I had hoped to write a middle grade fantasy during November as a pseudo-NaNoWriMo, especially as numerous people are asking when my next (implied MG) book will be coming out.

As much as I want to write and publish another book, I’ve had to be gentle with myself and tell myself that writing anything is a big win for me and my health, even if it won’t become the next published book.

Sometimes writing is just too difficult for my brain or my body or both. I tried drawing, but that was too exhausting, too. For some reason, I had this hunch that digital drawing would work for me. So after feeling much inspired by the webcomic I have recently begun following (post about that to come), I watched some tutorials, did some research, and downloaded Krita.

Here’s my first digital artwork!

This was just playing around. No particular plan or inspiration, but it looked sort of Egyptian-inspired once I was done.

Okay, so not really my first, but my first in a long time. I dabbled in digital art in college, but I thought I was just goofing off. I didn’t know it was a thing. Also (I feel old admitting this), YouTube tutorials weren’t a thing, and I wasn’t great at finding information, so everything I learned was completely on my own. Whenever I am self-taught, I stay mostly with basics. I’m not one of these people who can become amazing at a something just by playing around.

I also drew this after watching a tutorial by Aaron Rutten:

I did this one on the phone!

I’m not planning on selling digital art or anything, but it is very satisfying. It’s something I’m doing just for me. After two years of surviving and spending all of my energy on keeping my family alive, it’s nice to have a hobby.

Cinema Therapy

Recently, I have really been enjoying Cinema Therapy videos on YouTube. They are definitely for adults (some swearing and adult references), but they are pretty clean. They analyze movie characters from the perspective of a therapist. However, the two hosts are a therapist and a film maker, so they have some neat insights into film making, too. For example, in their video on Stardust, they mention how the montage is a storytelling device unique to film. You don’t know how many times I’ve paused in the middle of writing and wished I could just do a montage! 😆

I’ve appreciated the character insights. Now I want my (as yet, unpublished) book to be turned into a movie so they can analyze my characters because I’m really curious what they would say. 🙂

Happy Writing!

Book Review: Shadow and Sword

I am quite behind on my book reviews. Actually, I’m behind on everything. Since my diagnosis with ME, that’s pretty much become my life. But in the midst of everything I have to do in order to survive, it’s good to take a little time to myself when I can. So hopefully, I’ll catch up.

First up, Shadow and Sword by N. K. Carlson. I got an ARC of this book before it was released last spring, and I eagerly dove in. It started a little slow for me. I’m not sure what the reasoning was behind the choice of opening. It starts with the main character running away, and then shows in flashback the reason why he was running. As an editor, I would have recommended opening with the scene that causes him to run. I felt like I missed all the action. The first three chapters or so read like a travel log, so I would lose interest and put it down. It definitely felt like there was a lot of telling.

But here’s the thing–I don’t know if I would have noticed any of that as a teenager (and it’s YA, so teens are the target audience). I’m pretty sure as a teen, I would have devoured the story. And even if I hadn’t (it’s on the edge of what I liked as a teen), most of my teenage friends would have. I’m not as big on high fantasy myself, but for fans of Lord of the Rings, the Eragon series, and similar books, I think they would really enjoy it.

I found the villain strange. He was supposed to seem really intimidating, but he just seemed childish to me (not in a scary way), so I had a hard time believing him.

I confess that I haven’t finished the book yet due to life circumstances, so I can’t give a full review. My current opinion is that the writing could have been tightened up to make it fantastic, but that won’t stop avid fantasy readers from loving it.

July Fundraiser Update

Fundraiser update! We have enough donations to purchase 6 handbooks! Thank you for the support! I currently have 10 students enrolled who NEED handbooks and 6 more who would benefit from handbooks. To purchase 4 more handbooks, we need to raise just $80 more. To purchase each enrolled student a handbook, we need to raise just $120 more than that.

I still have a month before the start of school to raise funds. Please continue your support. Again, just $80 will purchase enough handbooks for currently enrolled students who have to have them.

I’d still love to raise more than that so I can purchase the short story collection and literature resources. Please keep sharing!

My First In-Person Workshop!

This June, I had the opportunity to lead my first in-person story workshop for ages 8-13. I had a blast. All of the organizers were wonderful, and the venue was beautiful. I was a little nervous about leading a 4 1/2 hour workshop because of my health, but with my wheelchair, it went fine.

The kids were so creative and so much fun. At the end, we had a Q&A session, and I got asked questions like what’s my favorite color. I also had the help of a wonderful teacher friend, who had great ideas for how to organize things. I’m so excited for my next workshop! If you would like to host a workshop, either in-person or virtual, contact me! I also offer author events where I talk about being an author and kids can ask questions.

To respect privacy, I haven’t posted any pictures with people’s faces.

P.S. Don’t forget to spread the word about the fundraiser for my English classrooms this year!

Author Signing at my Homeschool Alma Mater

I’m so excited tomorrow to go to the family picnic and new member meeting of the homeschool group I was a part of in high school. SHINE even sponsored a full-fledged graduation for me and the other seniors my last year of high school. We joked that we were a graduating class of eight valedictorians. 🙂

I’ll be sharing some about my journey from homeschool grad to published author. I’ll also be signing books and just talking with fellow homeschoolers. I hope to encourage some burgeoning authors.

The heat in Texas has been intense, so hopefully it won’t be as bad tomorrow. I’ll try to get some pictures to post, but I often wind up having so much fun I forget to pause and take them. 🙂

Happy weekend and Happy Writing!

Houston Convention

As promised, here are some pictures from the Houston Called-to-Teach Homeschool Convention!

I had such a good time. I got to talk with homeschool families. I got to talk about all the wonderful Chicken Scratch Books (I’ve read all of them now except the most recent release, but my copy is all queued up!). I got to encourage kids in their writing passion. I got to help make chicken bookmarks!

I talked lots with friend, editor, and publisher, Kiri Jorgensen (especially since our flight was delayed around seven hours . . .). It was so encouraging and fun. I hadn’t gotten to talk shop in quite awhile. And then I got to know Kelli McKinney. Her middle grade novel from Chicken Scratch Books comes out in October. It sounds like so much fun, and I can’t wait to read it.

I also met some other authors who had booths at the event and learned about different curricula options. Our booth was next-door to Right Start Math, about which I’ve heard wonderful things.

I also signed lots of books, which has been one of my dreams. A signed book from the author can be so special. I’m so happy I can give that specialness to so many kids.

A Word about Patriotism

We take this break from our regularly scheduled programming to share a word about patriotism.

Photo by Sharefaith on Pexels.com

I’ve been learning a lot more about American history lately–focused on US history, but I’m trying to learn more Canadian history, too. I know sadly little about Canada, and it’s our next-door neighbor! One of the things I’ve really appreciated is coming to terms with the fact that I can recognize the wicked things my country has done, call them out, repent of them, and still love my country. Loving my country doesn’t mean loving everything we’ve done.

We’ve made a lot of mistakes. Many of those mistakes still have repercussions. That doesn’t mean I can’t still love my country. Loving my country doesn’t mean I have to ignore or attempt to erase my country’s mistakes.

What loving my country means is that I won’t give up on it and I will always do my part to make things better. I can also enjoy some of the fun traditions while letting go of hurtful or harmful ones.

So on this 4th of July weekend, I hope you will find a balance. That you can enjoy being patriotic and singing about the things the US tries to stand for (I admit, it has often failed!), but that you can avoid glossing over the wicked things the country has done and recognize the people who are hurting from long-standing wounds.

May the US turn its heart to God so that God can “crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.”

Raising the Next Generation of Writers

Hey everyone! It’s been a busy summer with traveling, author events, writing workshops, and catching up with dear friends. I’ve also been prepping for my classes this fall! I hope to get a bit of writing done in July, but in the mean time, I’ve created a fundraiser to raise textbooks and resources for my middle school and high school English classrooms!

I have a Go Fund Me page where you can donate. These purchases will be checked out to students each year, so they will benefit many students over the years.

If we receive just $25 a day for 60 days, we’ll reach our goal!

Students’ writing skills, understanding, and retention improve significantly when they have a student handbook  to learn from and reference. Short story collections  can be difficult to find and purchase. Literature guides  with reproducible handouts will free me up to spend my time giving students individual feedback rather than prepping handouts and worksheets.

For my middle school students, I will purchase Write on Course 20-20.
This is the updated/most recent version of Writers INC, a popular and useful writing handbook from the early 2000s that has been used and loved by students and homeschool families for decades. This newer version includes information on staying safe online and searching for information on the Internet.

Write on Course 20-20

For my high school students, I will purchase the high school version, Write Ahead.

Write Ahead Handbook

I will also purchase for the high schoolers the short story collection, Little Worlds, which emphasizes different aspects of literature, such as plot, theme, character, and irony.

I hope to raise enough funds to also purchase some resources, such as literature guides from Progeny Press or the book Brightest Heaven of Invention.

Priorities for Funds
  • Top priority for funds is to purchase the writing handbooks.
  • Next priority is to purchase the short story collection.
  • Next priority is to purchase literature guides.
  • If we raise even more funds, I would purchase copies of literature choices or Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine (for the middle schoolers) or grammar curriculum.

Called to Teach Convention

Hey everyone! This weekend, I’ll be at the Called to Teach Homeschool Convention in Houston, Texas. If you are in the area, stop by the Chicken Scratch Books booth to say hi. I’d love to meet you and sign a copy of Best Friends Playbook for you!

You’ll also have the chance to meet my amazing editor, Kiri, and to learn about other wonderful Chicken Scratch Books books (I’ve really enjoyed every single one I’ve read) as well as the novel study courses offered for each book (including mine!).

I hope to meet some of you in person soon!

Superhero Inspiration

Whew! It’s been a busy spring! I’m still used to calling January through April “spring” because it’s the spring semester of school, and in Texas, it’s not out of the realm of reason for January through April to be spring (or summer). Anyway, it’s been busy!

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been doing lots of prep work for the classes I’ll teach this fall. In my downtown, though, I’ve been enjoying Batman. The 1960s version. I’m learning a lot about myself as I watch. 🙂

Photo Greenway Productions-producer of both the television series and the 1966 film., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

I have fond memories of watching Batman with my sister when we’d visit our grandmother. I had to have been pretty young. I remember one episode in particular where Robin was tied upside-down to the clapper of a bell that would kill him when it struck (I was so tense, but it was so exciting!), and another with a giant book in the middle of the street (turns out they were the same episode). I also remember getting really excited if Catwoman or Batgirl was in the episode.

I had previously traced my love of heroes-in-jeopardy to reading Hardy Boys mysteries in junior high, but now I’m thinking it goes even farther back to Batman. This could explain why my characters would always get trapped in near-death situations (and always escape miraculously . . .). My characters frequently in ridiculous situations, like being suspended from the ceiling over pits of lava or tanks of sharks, etc.

I’m also understanding better why my sense of fighting and injuries was so unrealistic. (I believe I’ve mentioned how my husband once said to me, “Your characters recover awfully fast” and that was after I’d worked to make battles more realistic, ha!) If I’m basing my ideas of injuries and fights on Batman and Power Rangers, that explains a lot.

But I’m also suddenly understanding my deep love for superheroes. Superheroes are just about my favorite things (I love a good quest, too). However, I’ve always felt confused by that because I often haven’t liked superhero shows or comics. In junior high, I didn’t really like to watch X-men or Spiderman because they were sad. Everybody hated the heroes. I didn’t like to watch Batman because it was so dark (and creepy). The few times I read comics, they were too serious.

Well if I was expecting biff, bam, sock, and it’s morphin time, that would explain things!

And now I really want to go write a cheesy but fun superhero story. 🙂

What sorts of things have inspired you?

Happy Writing!

Character Stress and Motivation

I have some time to myself today for the first time in quite awhile. I also am taking time to relax for the first time in quite awhile. It’s the perfect writing weather for me: cool and misty. So I have a cup of tea, and my 00’s rock music is playing.

I’m not in the right mindset for writing, but I wanted to do something creative, so I decided to play with my characters. One of my friends has been studying personality theory for years (and has a background in psychology and brain stuff–I don’t, hence my professional terminology 🙂 ). So we’ve been looking at characters through the lens of different personality theories.

Note: I’m not a psychology person, and I think personality theories can sometimes be harmful, such as when people put themselves and others in boxes or think they understand others better than they do. But they can be useful tools. For this post, I’m going to talk about them in reference solely to characters.

I’ve found the Enneagram to be the most useful personality tool for characters, of the ones I’ve tried, because it has lots of variation as well as levels of health. Levels of health are important for characters! I could never figure out what Myers-Briggs types my villains were because nothing said what unhealthy types looked like. The Ennegram does.

Today, I was looking at one of the characters I hadn’t delved into yet. I had tentatively typed him as an Enneagram One with all of his by-the-book, follow-the-rules, I’m-better-than-everyone perfectionism. But as I read about Ones, I realized that those are more stress reactions for him. I thought about his growth as a character, where he starts from, and where he winds up. I turned to the Enneagram Three, and it fits him perfectly.

His perfectionism has more to do with his desire to be valuable than a desire to do good. Even though it doesn’t really change anything about the character, knowing this helps me understand him at a deeper level. I can articulate his motivation better now and put a finger on why he reacts the way he does.

It may not seem like a big deal, but I’m super excited. 🙂

Kid Lit Six

This week, Julie from Kid Lit Six features authors from Chicken Scratch Books! These are really fun, short videos to help middle schoolers and their parents and teachers decide what to read next. I highly recommend this channel. Here’s today’s video to get you started!

P.S. I love that Hope Bolinger wore her dinosaur suit to answer these questions 😂

Happy Book Birthday to The Cassandra Curse by Hope Bolinger


It’s release day for The Cassandra Curse by Hope Bolinger! I got to read an advanced copy of this book, and it was super fun. It’s a little different style of book that I generally gravitate toward, but I still really enjoyed it. I get the feeling that when my sister was in junior high, she would have liked it. Some of her favorite books around then were joke books and The Cooper Kids by Frank Peretti. You might be able to describe The Cassandra Curse as like the Cooper kids except super funny instead of super scary, but I’m not sure that makes sense. 🙂

There is a quirky sense of humor in this story and a distinct voice in the narrative. Both of those things can be hard to carry through an entire story and may even wind up sounding forced at the end. However, Bolinger managed to pull them off and make it seem effortless. The main character, Charity, was so fun. I had to love the way she kept trying, even when everything went wrong. I have a fear of failure, so I really admired that Charity didn’t give up.

And oh my goodness! The nods to nerd-dom were amazing! There’s a role-playing game, and the gamers made me think of my LOTR role-playing friends in high school and all my DnD playing friends today. That whole aspect of the story made me smile every time it showed up.

The biggest thing about this story, though, is the heart (which shouldn’t surprise me since the publisher is Chicken Scratch Books). The characters have real, fun, and sweet relationships with each other. The characters’ relationships with their families are real, challenging, and wholesome. I definitely teared up in spots (when I wasn’t laughing at the other spots).

Some kids start to gravitate toward thrillers and horror stories at a fairly young age (I’ve taught some of them in my classes). That can be concerning to some parents because the content of thrillers and horror stories isn’t always uplifting or wholesome. I think Cassandra Curse, while not a thriller or a horror story, could attract some of those readers and satisfy that urge while still providing them with an age-appropriate and good story. There’s an element of mystery reminiscent of murder mysteries or horror but totally age-appropriate, and it’s fun to journey with Charity to solve it.

But of course, lots of other kinds of readers will enjoy Cassandra Curse, too.

Overall, I give this book 5 stars and say, “Congratulations!” to author Hope Bolinger and publisher Chicken Scratch Books. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

Order your copy of The Cassandra Curse today!

P.S. Note for sensitive readers which contains **spoilers.**
There is a death and a disappearance that happened 13 years ago. It’s treated fairly light and doesn’t get too heavy, but sensitive readers or readers who recently had a friend pass away may find it troubling. There is also some bullying (which led to the death in a roundabout way) and divorce. They are all dealt with at age-appropriate levels and add to the heart of the story. I don’t think any of this is a problem or should keep anyone from reading it unless that reader is sensitive to these challenges. If you think your reader might be, just preview the book first.

The Packers Lost

Aww, well the Packers lost. But stay tuned because I think it would be really fun to have some sort of live event around the SuperBowl. I’m still figuring out what that would look like, but sign-up on my email list for more details!

P.S. This has been a really fun football season to follow!