Thursday, August 29, 2013

My thoughts on Back to School, Ereaders, and Reading

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m Lisa Orchard the best-selling author of the Super Spies series, I’m a guest here today, and I’d like to share my thoughts on going back to school and reading.

I have two boys and they are not excited about the prospect of school at all. They’ve had a lot of fun this summer, and now the beginning of a new school year is looming.

I’ve tried instilling in them the reasons why school is important, but they’re not buying it yet, they’re a little young. However, I have been able to push reading over the summer. In my opinion, reading is one of the most important life skills an individual can have.

Every day they read a few pages from their books. It was strange though, my youngest, who is reading at a higher-grade level, gave me a hard time about it. And he’s the one who likes to read! Alarmed by this new development, I took both boys to the bookstore. I pretended that I was there shopping for myself. Somehow, we ended up in the children’s chapter book section (wink). When the boys saw all the different books, they became interested, and started checking out all the titles. They were like kids in a candy store. They both ended up choosing a book that was at a higher reading level than their current one.  I considered this a success and was very happy when they both actually read the books we bought.

I believe kids will love to read, if you let them choose books that interest them. That day in the bookstore reinforced this belief.

Of course, that got me thinking. I’m always thinking and sometimes I come up with some whopper ideas! Anyway I started thinking, wouldn’t it be cool if schools could offer the same selections as a bookstore? As I thought about it, I realized that they could. If schools invested in e-readers for every student, just think of the endless selection of books that would be available. Even the most reluctant reader would be able to find something that interests him or her.

Kids would be able to carry a virtual library around in their backpacks! And the thing is kids love electronics. My boys are always playing with my kindle. They would think it was so cool to have one of their own.

Of course, manufacturers would have to make them very durable. Just like they made those toddler cameras toddler proof, they could do the same thing with e-readers.

Studies have shown that by increasing the selection in a library, it has a direct effect on the literacy levels of that community. Just think of the possibilities! Not only would we have more enthusiastic students, but they’d be better educated as well. J

Thanks for reading my post today, and if you have any thoughts on getting e-readers into schools, please share them. I’d love to read them!

Below are the covers and blurbs to my Super Spies series! They’re great reads for tweens and teens. They can be found at the Astraea Press website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo.

This book opens in a small town in Michigan where fifteen-year-old Sarah Cole is stuck spending the summer at her Aunt and Uncle’s with her sister, Lacey. She’s not happy with the situation until she befriends a girl named Jackie. The three girls stumble upon the ruthless murder of a reclusive neighborhood woman. One of the officers investigating the crime believes the girls are responsible for her death. Fearing that this officer will frame them for the murder, the girls organize their own detective squad. They become the Super Spies and start their own fact-finding mission.  The Super Spies can’t understand why anyone would want to murder the “Cat Lady” until they start digging into her past and discover a horrible crime that happened thirty years ago. They uncover a connection between the two crimes and attempt to bring this information to the police, only to be reprimanded for meddling in the inquest. Not only are the girls upset by the admonition, but they also struggle with the fact that their exuberant investigating could provide a legal loophole allowing the killer to go free. To make matters worse, the police don’t even believe them. Frustrated by this turn of events, the Super Spies realize it’s up to them to snare the Cat Lady killer, or die trying…

This book opens in a small town in Michigan where Sarah and her sister Lacey are now living with their Aunt and Uncle. Still reeling from the fact her parents have disappeared, Sarah starts the school year with her new friend Jackie Jenkins. When Sarah learns the school has been bombed, she’s filled with dread. Uncle Walt is a teacher, and he was in the school when the bomb exploded. Taking matters into her own hands, Sarah decides to search for him. The rest of the Super Spies are right behind her. When a fireman chases them away from the school, Sarah becomes suspicious. She decides to investigate. The FBI arrives on the scene. Sarah realizes this bombing could have even bigger implications. Searching for the bombers, Sarah is introduced to the world of terrorism. She fears that the bombing and her parents’ disappearance are connected and terrorists are involved. To make matters worse, the bombers are determined to finish the job. Can the Super Spies find the bombers before it’s too late?

Sarah Cole and her sister Lacey are at it once again when their missing parents’ cell phone is traced to Alden, Michigan. When the FBI declines to continue the investigation, Sarah takes matters into her own hands. She calls upon the Super Spies and they delve into the situation. Suddenly the teens find themselves immersed in small town intrigue and mystery involving a menacing stranger, who Sarah dubs “The Stalker.” But when Sarah finds out he’s connected to her parents’ disappearance she’s determined to find out what that connection is. The Super Spies embark on a journey that leads them into a web of corporate corruption at its highest level that leaves innocent victims in its wake. Can the Super Spies stop the greedy corporation before it’s too late?

Thanks again for stopping by! :)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Summer Love Blog Hop (Two Chances to Win :) )

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Astraea Press is participating in the SUMMER LOVE Blog Hop hosted by Readers Realm and Tasty Book Tours. This is a very cool (to beat the summer heat...) way to win tons of books and prizes. You can enter here and then go over to the other stops and enter for their prizes!!!
Here at Astraea Press, we have two giveaways. All the books in the first rafflecopter will be given away to ONE winner! (That's right, you can win them ALL!!!) And guess what? All the books in the second rafflecopter will be given away to ONE WINNER!!!
You can win a bunch of books AND a gift card! Nothing better than that (except a car... and even then you have to pay taxes ;) )

ALSO, two Astraea Press authors have this blog hop going on their personal blogs. Check them out as well: PATRICIA KIYONO and HEATHER GRAY.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don't forget to visit the rest of the hop:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

New Release: Mateo's Tale by Holly J. Margaret

Mateo's Tale by Holly J. Margaret

Meet Mateo… a warm hearted street rat that instantly falls in love with his beautiful upper class princess.  Being down on his luck and from the wrong side of the tracks he can’t imagine her ever falling for him.  However, all of that is about to change when he discovers an opportunity to be granted three wishes.  What will he wish for?  Will it bring him love?  Will he end up with his princess? Discover the answer to these questions as you join Mateo in his search for happily ever after.  



His parting words echoed in Savannah’s mind repeatedly as she made her way across the cooling sand. She didn’t have any particular destination in mind, nowhere special she needed to be, so she walked and let the sounds of the waves serve as her only guide. It wasn’t a particularly bad fight. The words he said as she had slammed the door behind her stung in her mind. It was only a few moments ago that Savannah had heard, “Fairy tales aren’t real, and happily-ever-afters only exist in sappy movies!” She shook her head and wished it would remove those words from her memory.

Savannah couldn’t help but wonder if she was asking too much to find her own Prince Charming. She was an avid reader and love stories were her favorite. There must be someone out there who shares my dream of finding the happily-ever-after. She pulled her white cardigan around her slim frame as the breeze began to pick up.

Suddenly she found herself sprawled across the beach with the waves crashing and the sound of the ocean echoing in her mind. If I hadn’t been so preoccupied with my own thoughts, perhaps I would have noticed the slight change in the color of the sand or the hard object under my foot before I found myself… well… here. A slight laugh escaped her. It was typical of her to be so lost in her own thoughts that things she should have appreciated often slipped right by her. She turned to find what had caused her to lose her footing, and her hand struck against a hard object she quickly began to uncover. Savannah slid her hands underneath the cold sand and began to toss it from side to side as she worked to remove the object from its sand casing. She didn’t know what she expected to find, but she immediately began feeling its cool, smooth surface with the palm of her hand. Blowing the sand away, she groaned in disappointment as she recognized the shape of the object to be that of a bottle. She considered tossing it back into the water and walking away, but something about it captivated her, so she continued removing the sand from its body. Eager to discover what the bottle might look like, she began to work faster at removing it. Finally, after what felt like an eternity to Savannah, she was able to pull the very old, green bottle out of the sand and gasped when she found a letter inside. As she pulled the letter out, she laughed in anticipation, wondering what the note would say. She wrapped the cardigan tighter around herself. The warm afternoon sun served as her reading light.

At first, Savannah just flipped through the pages. There must be thousands of words here. She made herself comfortable in the sand by lying on her back and allowing her knees to bend slightly toward the sky, bracing herself for a long afternoon of reading. She read the words aloud in a low whisper, as if reading to the water beside her.

“Dear Reader, my name is Mateo. I was born and raised in East Harlem, and this is my story.”

New Release: Back to Square One - Zanna Mackenzie

Lucy thought she was finally going to be free of her ex-boyfriend Marcus. He had other ideas. They’d grown up together, been childhood sweethearts, but in the past few years Lu-cy had felt as though she was starting to grow apart from Marcus. Trying to make a new life for herself when they both live in the same small town proves tricky. Beginning to date other people seems to be impossible. Lucy finds Marcus isn’t at all keen to let go of their past, making her wonder where her future really lies and who with…

Purchase Links: Astraea Press

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New Release: Crossing the Divide - Kelly Martin

Four months after Rachel and Asher were rescued from their grueling ordeal in the moun-tains, nothing is the same. Asher has moved on, or is trying too. Those pesky nightmares of his dead friend, Sid, won’t let him. And Rachel is upset because her leg cast is no longer needed. It means she has to move on, and she’s not ready.

One afternoon. One chance to talk. Can Rachel and Asher find a way to move on or will they be emotionally stuck on the mountain forever?

Purchase Link: ASTRAEA PRESS

New Release: New Beginnings - Iris Blobel


 New Beginnings
by Iris Blobel
To believe in new beginnings is to trust in tomorrow

Twenty-two-year-old Sophie Levesque has been guardian to eight-year-old
sister Mia since their mother’s death a few years ago. Luck comes their way when they inherit a small house in Hobart. Problem is, though, they don’t know or have even heard of Clara Bellinger, the testator, and Sophie is afraid it’s all been a mistake.
As Mia settles well into her new school and life in general, Sophie is not only occupied by her search of what connected her to Clara, but also her new studies and the two men, who suddenly have become part of her daily life - Mark O’Connor, the lawyer representing Clara’s estate, and Zach, the hunk from across the road.
Chapter One

Sophie stared at the attorney, waiting for some answers. She and her sister, Mia, had been quietly sitting in Mr. O’Connor’s office for more than half an hour, and had learnt about the details of their inheritance.


"Clara Catherine Bellinger."

"Who is she?" Mia asked.

Startled by the subtle sound of the clock chiming across the road, Sophie’s gaze turned to the window, where she saw the post office building across the road. It looked impressive and old. Surely, an old place like this would have its own ghosts — after all, Hobart was renowned for its lively spirits.

Her younger sister’s gentle touch on her arm reminded her she hadn’t answered the question, yet. "I wouldn’t have a clue." Sophie shrugged and focused her attention back on Mr. O’Connor. Although hearing his words, she still found it hard to comprehend. Here she was in this old office, furnished with heavy antique oak furniture, the curtains in a pretty shade of aubergine, and the carpet beneath her shoes thick and warm in a matching shade.

"I believe she was a distant relative of yours. I’m afraid I don’t have any further details," he replied.

Sophie arched an eyebrow in disbelief. Was he serious? What kind of lawyer was he? Sure, Tasmania was at the very end of Australia, but wouldn’t they have the same education? With a slight shrug of her shoulder, she asked, "Why not?"

He stared at her. "Pardon me?"

Sitting up straight, she repeated, "Why not? Why aren’t there any further details?"

He looked uneasy, but she didn’t care. She needed to know. Sophie had received a call from the lawyer a week earlier, and he’d told her about an inheritance. He’d given her details on where to pick up tickets to Hobart. Some legality, he had said. She needed to come in and sign documents for the transfer of ownership.

"Ms. Bellinger was one of the partner’s clients. I was only given the details shortly after the client’s death."

Sophie drew in her lips. Her eyes darted over to the window as she took a few deep breaths, inwardly calming herself. Nothing had ever been easy in her life. "Why isn’t the partner here?"

He took a deep breath. "Retired."

As she pondered on that for a moment, she began to think about what life could be like with this inheritance. Different. Better. Another sigh escaped as she returned her gaze to the man behind the desk. "You can’t just leave your assets to just anybody, can you?"

"Miss Lever—"

"Levesque," she helped him.

Their eyes met.

"Are you refusing the bequest?" he asked hesitantly, and she clearly noticed how one of his eyebrows arched upward.

Staring blankly with her mouth open, she could feel the panic running through her veins with every thump of her erratic heartbeat. An uncomfortable silence fell over them for a moment. Then she quickly said, "No. No, of course not. We’re accepting." She turned to look at her younger sister. "We’re actually looking forward to seeing it."

And with one swift movement, he stood and went to a little cupboard near the window and retrieved a bunch of keys. "Would you like me to take you there?"

Still feeling that rush within her, Sophie took Mia’s hand and inclined her head in answer. "Is it far?" Her voice sounded tired. Even to herself. It had been a long day already. She stood and thinking how tired she was, Sophie placed her arm around Mia, who was probably exhausted.

"No, not at all. Five to ten minute drive, I’d say."

"I still don’t understand. Why us?" Sophie asked quietly, meeting his gaze and, for the first time, actually taking in his icy-blue eyes. He was very attractive. Too attractive for a boring lawyer. His face was tanned by wind and sun, and there always seemed to be a hint of a smile on his face. His blond curling hair was cut short. Her gaze fixed back on his mouth. Blushing, she quickly looked away.

The attorney turned to them. He scratched the back of his head. "Ma’am, what I know is that both of you are in the will. What I know is that I was supposed to fly you down here to officially read you the will. What I know is that I’m supposed to hand over the keys to you, and to let you know that your expenses are covered for the next twenty-four months. I did not know Ms. Bellinger, as one of the retired partners wrote up the will. I do not know who she was or in which way she was connected to you. I assumed she was a distant relative."

Sophie took her sister’s hand as she thought about his last comment. Distant relative? Her mother would have at least mentioned her once. She sighed and tried to understand, not the circumstances that had brought her there, but the fact that the attorney just didn’t know. "Oh well, let’s go then."

He pinched his nose with his thumb and index finger and took a deep breath. "Okay. Look, Miss Lever—"

"Levesque," Sophie helped him again. This time somewhat more firmly.

Running his thumb over his eyebrow, he stepped closer, but not so close as to be intimidating. "I’m sorry. It’s been one extraordinary week," he said with his voice just above a whisper. "Once I get back I’ll check with the partners here to see whether anybody knows more about it."

One extraordinary week? His remark irked her. In fact it was downright annoying. Holding Mia even closer to her side, she lifted her finger and pointed at him. "No offence, Mr. O’Connor, but it has been quite a week for us as well, and I was prepared to answer all your questions. I have one simple question, and you don’t know. Wouldn’t there be something in the file?" Sophie was a kind person.

Kindness was her middle name, but she wouldn’t have got that far in life if she hadn’t watched some of those nasty actresses on television and copied them. And the stare. Sophie met his surprised frown dead-on.

He frowned and seemed taken aback by her words. "No offence taken." And then he let out a deep breath. "You’re right. I apologise. As I said, I’ll find out details and let you know."

"Thank you, Mr. O’Connor," she replied as she blew out a breath.

"What about our stuff?" Mia whispered to Sophie.

Sophie moved her head to look down at her sister, but before she had a chance to say anything, he beat her to it. "What stuff?" he asked as he opened the door.

"Considering what we inherited here, we brought all our things," Sophie explained without looking at him.

The attorney stopped in his tracks. "All, as in all your clothes?"

Sophie’s eyes met his. She emitted a small sigh, but tried to keep her composure. It was something she had learnt over the last few years. Standing straight, she corrected him. "All, as in all our belongings."

They stepped outside the building and followed Mr. O’Connor with their suitcases. Two teenage boys walked past them, eager to get the attention of some girls across the road. Aware of the attention, the girls covered their mouths with their hands and broke into giggles. Sophie’s stomach churned. So many things she had missed out on in life. But it was going to be better from now on, she reminded herself, and straightened up as she followed Mr. O’Connor.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Astraea Press

Thursday, August 15, 2013

New Release: Conflicted Jewel - Lynn Spangler

Years separated Sage and Zander. Will their reunion rekindle feelings they’ve long since kept to themselves?

Sage Whitley’s life as owner and jewelry designer for Whitley’s Jewelers was mundane and comfortable until the return of Zander Havilland. Secretly, Sage has had feelings for the handsome gemstone buyer for years and now he’s back in Jonerstown to stay. Sage’s life is soon turned upside down and Zander is there to catch her.

Zander Havilland leaves his high paying job in New York City to return to his hometown to stay with his aging mother. An opportunity presents itself shortly after his return, putting him on a collision course with the lovely, petite Sage Whitley. Soon emotions long hidden for the beauty rush in and Zander is more than ready to accept the inevitable.

Adversity draws them closer together as they try to unravel a mystery involving a large diamond, a rash of thefts, and murder. Can they solve the bizarre mystery before it’s too late and explore the possibility of everlasting love?


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New Release: Hidden Hills - Jannette Spann

Charlotte can’t move on with her future until she settles the remnants of her past. All she has to offer is The Good Neighbor Award and Jake is too much man to settle for that.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Book Trailer: At What Cost - J. Andersen

During her junior year, sixteen-year-old Maggie Reynolds expected to shop for prom dresses not maternity clothes. Now, instead of studying for the SATs, she’s reading, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Maggie’s ‘Mother Dearest’ lives in fear that Maggie will somehow taint the family name, so Maggie can’t turn to her for help. Meanwhile, her father is oblivious to anything but his 9-9 job. And her boyfriend, Justin? She’s pretty sure he’ll stay by her side.

While Maggie wrestles with her options, Justin offers a solution: abortion. It would solve all her problems quickly, easily, and effectively. And her parents would never know, which means they won’t throw her out and cut her off like they’d always threatened if she got herself knocked up. But an easy decision becomes difficult when Maggie’s aunt discovers her secret and sets out on a mission to stop the abortion, putting a kink in Maggie’s plan. Now Maggie must decide which choice she can live with: abortion or teenage motherhood. Either way, it’ll be a tough road to travel.

At What Cost Book Trailer from Travis Carlson on Vimeo.

Jessie Andersen lives in a small town in Western New York with her husband and three kids. A former English teacher, she now spends her time writing while the kids are at school and the baby is sleeping. She volunteers at the local library and sings in the church band. You can find information about her books at, and you can follow her blogs at Therabidwriter.blogspot (Personal blog) and (Book blog). You can also follow her on Twitter at and on Facebook at


Thursday, August 1, 2013

New Release: Feudlings in Sight (A Fate on Fire short story) - Wendy Knight

Boys of war suck at romance.

Charity Delyle has lived in the shadow of her Prodigy cousin and his powerful Guard since the day she was born. And she doesn’t mind—really. Except that being in Hunter’s shadow means that he can’t see her. And she’d like that to change.

Hunter has one purpose in life: Protect the Prodigy, or die trying. That means a social life, school, and even Charity come last until the war is over. For the most part, he’s okay with that—he can lose everything if he has to…except his seer.

Starting at a new school should be much safer than living in a war-ravaged Carules headquarters. But this new school is different than the others. Friendships are forged and destinies are questioned, and Hunter’s decision could cost them all everything they’ve been hoping for.


New Release: From Tragedy Comes Love - Lynn Spangler

The heartache of loss weighed heavy on Blythe Kenner. Blythe’s mother had been her best friend, her confidant, her mentor. Now, she is alone. Or is she?

In steps ex-boyfriend Garrett Richmond. Blythe dumped him with little explanation. His feelings for her were so complete that they made her feel unworthy. She was unsure if she’d ever be able to love someone so intently.

From the tragedy of death, Garrett feels the need to help, comfort, and shelter the woman who still held his heart captive. He knows she needs space after the loss of her mother but he won’t stay away for long.

Will Garrett’s daily check-ins rekindle feelings for him she thought had long since passed or will his strength and kindness ignite the spark threatening to light the fire again?

Purchase Link: ASTRAEA PRESS