Friday, December 13, 2013


Welcome to the Official Blog Tour of:
Book Two in The Dream Keeper Chronicles
A thrilling fantasy-adventure series for middle-grade readers!

Don't forget to check out the GIVEAWAY
at the bottom of this page for a chance
to win one of over 30 prizes! 

Friday the 13th is always associated with Fear. Whether it’s the fear of superstition or a masked man hiding in the closet, fear is real. It can thrill, excite, even cripple. Many will go to extremes to push the fear factor within themselves—to feel fear. Spooky movies, haunted houses, a scary book—anything that sends a quick shiver up the spine is always fun for me. Is it any wonder I wrote a book about nightmares?

A lot of readers ask me how I came up with some of the scary dreamlings in my books. I answer them honestly: those were the nightmares of my childhood. From the rubber chicken wielding psychotic clown to the creature made up completely of spiders—I dreamed about those things as a kid. Even to this day, clowns still give me the heebie-jeebies. It wasn’t easy facing some of those nightmares again, but one of the themes in The Dream Keeper Chronicles is that kids need to face their fears to overcome them. I learned as I faced the nightmares of my childhood I was able to confront them. And with the help of Parker, Kaelyn, and Gladamyr, I was able to defeat them.

In book one, The Dream Keeper, Parker and Kaelyn have to face numerous nightmares and overcome their fear of them. In book two, The Dreamstone, it is Gladamyr’s turn to face what he fears most—himself. Gladamyr is a reformed nightmare, when he was bad, he was the worst. After an encounter with a dream catcher leaves Gladamyr powerless, the only thing that will return his shape-shifting gift is to become a nightmare again. It was intense writing this because it is one thing to face your outward fears like clowns and spiders, it’s another to face the inner demons. I think those are the hardest things to overcome. Overall I want to teach kids that it’s okay to be afraid. You cannot be brave if you don’t recognize that what you’re up against is scary. I want them to recognize the fear and overcome it.

I am excited to announce the release of book two in my middle-grade fantasy-adventure series, THE DREAM STONE. It is an action-packed adventure with a toe in both the real world and the fantastic. So go check it out…what are you afraid of?

Dorothy called it Oz, 
Alice called it Wonderland, 
but Nightmares call it HOME. 

When Parker’s mom is dreamnapped by the wicked Mab, it is up to him and Kaelyn to save her. When they return to Dreams, they discover Mab isn’t their only problem. Gladamyr has lost his powers and the only way to get them back is to become what he fears the most—a nightmare.

In Book 1, The Dream Keeper, Parker and Kaelyn discovered that Dreams was a real place that everyone visits while they sleep. An evil nightmare named Fyren took control of the gateway to that world. Parker and Kaelyn teamed up with Gladamyr, the only dream keeper to escape capture by Fyren, and together they save Dreams from Fyren’s rule. After the defeat of Fyren the children return to Awake to find Mab, Fyren’s next in command, has dreamnapped Parker’s mom. 

The story continues in Book 2, The Dreamstone, as the children return to Dreams to save Parker’s mom. Finding her, however, is not their only problem. Mab has waged a war on the Crossing and has sent an army of dragons to bring it down, nightmares have been released from prison, and Gladamyr has lost his powers to shape-shift. Parker, Kaelyn, and Gladamyr must once again defy all odds to set things right and save Parker’s mom before it’s too late.    

“The Dreamstone, by Mikey Brooks, is a wild stallion of a story: fast, thrilling, and unpredictable. I was hooked in chapter one. If he can snare the attention of an old reader like me, he’ll have kids sneaking this one into class underneath their text books…If this one isn’t a kid-pleaser, I don’t know what is.” –Michelle Isenhoff, author of the Divided Decade Trilogy and the Taylor Davis Series.

“This really is a cracking novel. Action-packed and spellbinding!”—Cas Peace, author of The Artisans of Albia series.

"If you like the Percy Jackson, Fablehaven, or the Harry Potter series, you'll love this!" –An Amazon Reviewer.

Mikey Brooks is a small child masquerading as an adult. On occasion you’ll catch him dancing the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown up. He is the author/illustrator of several books including the best-selling ABC ADVENTURES: MAGICAL CREATURES and BEAN’S DRAGONS as well as the middle-grade fantasy-adventure series THE DREAM KEEPER CHRONICLES. His art can be seen in many forms from picture books to full room murals. He loves to daydream with his three daughters and explore the worlds that only the imagination of children can create. Mikey has a BS degree in English from Utah State University and works full-time as a freelance illustrator and cover designer. As a member of the Emblazoners, he is one of many authors devoted to ‘writing stories on the hearts of children’. He is also one of the hosts of the Authors’ Think Tank Podcast. You can find more about him and his books at:
Now Available in Audiobook!


Hardback: 978-1-939993-22-9, Paperback: 978-1-939993-23-6, eBook: 978-1-939993-24-3

Hardback: $19.95, Paperback: $12.99, EBook: $2.99.

10 winners will receive a gift bag with numerous signed books marks, 
collector cards, wrists bands, and a handmade dream key necklace.

Paperback Books:

Can You Survive? Treasure Island, by Blake Hoena

The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer, by Lisa Cole Orchard

Color of Freedom, by Michelle Athearn Isenhoff

Explorer X-Alpha, by Lm Preston

Gangsterland, by Ansha Kotyk

Cycles, by Lois Brown

Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, by L.R.W Lee

Princess Kandake, by Stephanie Jefferson
Weight of the Crown, by Stephanie Jefferson
Arrow of the Mist, by Christina Mercer
Cassidy Jones, by Elise Stokes
The Seventh Attendant, by Elise Stokes
Curse at Zala Manor, by BBH McChiller
The Curse of the Double Digits, by Lynn Kelley
Into the Forest and Down the Tower, by Ann T. Bugg
Off to Camp and Discovering Art, by Ann T. Bugg
Agency, by Shantal Hiatt
Psyched, by Juli Caldwell
Ragesong, by J.R. Simmons
Secret Sisters Club, by Monique Bucheger
Trouble Blows West, by Monique Bucheger
The Alien Mind, by Virginia Jennings
The Last Time Keepers, by Sharon Ledwith
Frogs & Toads, by Stacy Lynn Carroll
Nexus Point, by Jaleta Clegg
Warrior Beautiful, by Wendy Knight
Shahira and the Flying Elfs, by Anna del C Dye (PDF)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, and I'm busy, busy, busy getting ready to feed a small crowd. It's something I love to do - cooking for others and watching them enjoy the meal.

Here in America, this is a day we set aside to remember all the blessings in our lives. For the life of me, I can't figure out why we set aside only one day a year for this, when so many of us are blessed so richly. To be honest, it would take me the entire day and more to list all of the things for which I am thankful.

I know the Pilgrims get credit for the actual holiday we celebrate tomorrow, but the idea of thanksgiving has been around for thousands of years. As a Christian, I often go back to David when looking for someone who epitomizes the heart filled with thanksgiving. His psalms are beautiful, which might be surprising when one considers many of them were written when he was such a young man.

David had much to be thankful for. Some of his actions might come across as being a bit on the reckless side. Taking on a giant with only a sling and a few stones sounds crazy to me, but he did it, and came out the victor. He found himself on the bad side of a powerful king, and survived numerous attempts to end his life. He also had a weakness for the ladies, which led to major problems. But God favored David, and saw him through the hard times and the mistakes he made. David was a shrewd and discerning man, and I believe there is ample evidence of his thankfulness.

My husband is certainly no David, but for many years now he has been my greatest blessing. I am so very thankful for him, his strengths and even his weaknesses. He has an ordered mind, which is such a blessing to me because I'm a scatterbrain. Perhaps it was the many years he spent in the military, but even though his garage looks like a disaster to me, he has an uncanny ability to find whatever he or I am looking for when he needs to extricate an item from the mess.

He also has a weakness for the ladies, but, fortunately for me, I'm the one he has loved for the last 45 years. His heart also belongs to his two daughters and his granddaughter, but I'm so thankful that I'm the one who is growing old with him. 

This was a bit of an unusual post for me, but my mood is reflective as I prepare a small feast for family and friends I'm very thankful for. I'm thankful that I have this privilege and that they trust me to do a good job of it. I hope on this one day, especially,  you all find more blessings than you can count.


Cordelia Dinsmore

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


The holidays are fast approaching and I'm already busier than I like. Since I'm throwing a small Thanksgiving party, I've been shopping and planning menu ideas. I've also spent what seems like hours and hours in the toy aisles getting suggestions for Christmas gift ideas. 

Several fun get-togethers are coming up soon, which will involve more shopping for gifts, and cookie baking, which are activities I actually enjoy quite a bit. But they wear me out.

This weekend, however, I'm participating in an exciting outing that is probably going to be my undoing. Survival is questionable. 

Our church youth group is attending a fall festival that is loads of fun. I've attended in the past as a sponsor for the girls, and had such an enjoyable time. Little sleep, but lots of bonding and laughing and sharing. 

This year, however, is going to be a whole different ball game.

My son is protesting that he doesn't want to attend. I can understand this, because social situations are quite difficult for him, at least when they center around kids. He is much more in his element when surrounded by adults. His autism and anxiety disorder interfere with his ability to let down his guards and enjoy himself, and one situation that is most difficult for him is being away from one of us for an overnight.

We discussed the idea of my husband going in my place, but then he would be in the same cabin as our son, and we thought it would be good for him to stay with people he knows and can trust, but still make it a growing experience - at least, that's our hope.

So I will be there, but I'll be staying with the girls. He can do this, I know, but I'm not expecting it to all be smooth sailing. He'll be highly stressed, but hopefully he'll be reassured enough by my presence to avoid a full out meltdown.

I'm happy to have the opportunity to attend. I love to see him overcome obstacles and learn that he can be successful. He's a neat kid, and of course I love him with my entire being, but it's still hard to see him struggle so much with social situations that should be all joy and uplifting. The fact that I can trust my husband to keep the other kids safe and take care of the chores here at home is priceless.

Unfortunately, the weather is not going to cooperate in helping make this a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The high 60's and low 70's that we've been blessed with this week are moving out tomorrow, and the weekend is predicted to bring snow and freezing temperatures. And wind, of course. What would Kansas be without the wind?

I just hope there is room in the van for my arctic sleeping bag, and extra blankets, and thermal socks, and wool longjohns. No chance of packing just a small bag with a toothbrush, pillow, and book. Surely I can find a place to stash my Nook!


Cordelia Dinsmore

Thursday, October 31, 2013



Since I've been working on some picture book manuscripts lately, I thought it might be fun to share some fun reads for the youngest audience members. These are all guaranteed to please and are not too frightening. 

1. Big Pumpkin – Erica Silverman, S. D. Schindler – All witch wants is a pumpkin pie for Halloween. But her pumpkin is too big for her to move. Her friends all volunteer to help, but none of them can budge the heavy pumpkin. Then the solution to the problem arrives in an unlikely hero.

2. Bone Soup – Cambria Evans – a retelling of Stone Soup with grizzly ingredients. When the hungry skeleton comes into town, he’s hoping for a feast, but no one wants to share their food with the greedy goblin. So he uses trickery and persuasion to use the town folk to help him concoct a savory meal for all of them to share.

3. Click, Clack, Boo!: A Tricky Treat – Doreen Cronin  & Betsy Lewin – Click,Clack, Moo with a Halloween theme. The animals are out at the barn, ready for some Halloween fun, but Farmer Brown wants to curl up in his footie jammies and call it a night. Guess who wins the battle.

4. Five Little Pumpkins – illustrated by Dan Yaccarino – This song is a favorite with all the preschoolers and kindergartners, and the fun illustrations make it even more enjoyable.

5. Goodnight Goon – A Petrifying Parody – illustrated by Michael Rex - A little werewolf can’t go to sleep so he tells everyone and everything goodnight. Then a mischievous goon wreaks havoc.

6. In the Haunted House – Eve Bunting, Susan Meddaugh – Rhyming text and a fun story of what it’s like to walk through a haunted house. The identity of the two moving through the house isn’t revealed until the very last page.

7. Room on the Broom – Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler – Another fun rhyming tale that centers around a witch and her adventures on her broom. A great opportunity to teach the rewards of sharing and helping others.

8. Scary, Scary Halloween – Eve Bunting, Jan Brett – Someone – or something – is watching a parade of frightening creatures pass by. Soon more eyes begin observing this scary scene. A cute tale with a possibly surprising twist.

9. Ten Timid Ghosts – Jennifer O’Connell – When a witch moves into the ghosts’ house, she doesn’t want to share, so she frightens them off one by one by disguising as different scary monsters. But the last ghost isn’t quite so timid, and when he discovers the truth, he tells his friends, who are now angry ghosts. Do they get their house back? You’ll have to read it to see

10. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat – Lucille Colandro, Jared Lee – Another parody that is loads of fun during this haunting season. And the fact that she doesn’t die should make it easier to swallow.

11. Where’s My Mummy – Caroline Crimi, John Manders – In an effort to delay bedtime, Baby Mummy asks for another game of hide and shriek. He comes across all kinds of scary creatures, but it’s an unlikely fright that has mommy mummy running to his rescue.

12. Who’s There, Little Hoo? – Brenda Ponnay – The young owl is experiencing his first Halloween, and not sure he’s brave enough. But every time there’s a knock on the door, he discovers one of his friends dressed in a costume. Cute for the youngest audiences.

13. Who’s There on Halloween? – Susan Hagen Nipp, Pamela Conn Beall, Charles Reasoner – Each page has clues as to which Halloween creature is on the following page.


Cordelia Dinsmore

Wednesday, October 30, 2013



The corn maze (or maize maze) has become a huge attraction for the fall season. It seems like every organized group of young people here in the Midwest incorporate a trip to a maze as part of their Halloween celebrations. I've traveled through mazes with scout troops, church groups, school groups, to name a few, and enjoy the exercise, and I marvel at the inventiveness of people who create these mazes.

If you've never visited a corn maze, you might want to give one a try. It's a great way to get out and enjoy some fresh country air, and it's more of a workout than you might expect. In fact, take along a bottle of water because you might become disoriented, and the corn has a habit of blocking off air flow, so the heat can be a factor, even in October.

In case you aren't familiar with mazes, here are a few little factoids about them that you might find interesting. 

Corn for a maze is often planted about 3 months later than corn crops intended solely for crop usage. This allows the corn to still be green when maze season comes around, which cuts down on the opportunity for people to 'cheat' as they traverse the paths. The crop is also usually planted at a higher population - in other words, the corn is planted up to twice the volume it normally would be in the field. This makes the stalks closer together, again discouraging 'cheating'.

To plan the maze, a GPS system is used to first record the coordinates of the four corners of the field, and later to walk the field during cutting the pattern in. Once the coordinates are determined, the pattern for the maze can be planned and adjusted to fit. Some of these patterns are quite intricate and are a joy to see from the air.

Once the corn is approximately 12 to 24 inches tall, the pattern is cut. This is often done with a riding mower. One person walks the pattern using a handheld GPS, while the mower follows along behind.

In many mazes, check points are set up along the way so that maze goers can mark their progress. Sometimes these are quite elaborate, consisting of small boxes covered in plexiglass with riddles or clues that the mazers must solve before moving on. Once the riddle is solved, instructions are given for moving on to the next stage. If you don't solve the riddle, you can wander around aimlessly for hours inside the maze.

I've been to some mazes where platforms were erected around the maze that allowed watches to look down over the maze to make sure everyone is safe and to help out if someone can't find the correct path.

Usually, after all clues are deciphered and the maze is complete, a reward or prize is given out at the end. This is always fun for the kids, but the real fun and satisfaction often comes from maneuvering through the maze without assistance from an adult.

A lot of the mazes in our area have additional attractions, as well. Some provide pumpkin cannons, hay rack rides, assorted crafts, and other good, clean fun, along with a variety of homemade snacks and goodies.

If you haven't experienced the fun of a fall maze, why not try it? My advice would be to hit it on a dry day when the mud factor is at a minimum. It's a great way to spend time with friends and family. Or leave the younger kids with a sitter and take the older ones for a moonlit maze experience. Those are a lot of fun, too.

Until next time,


Cordelia Dinsmore

Tuesday, October 29, 2013



As I shared yesterday, I'm a baby boomer. I was growing up during the late 50's and 60's, and Halloween was something I looked forward to every year with much anticipation.

Costumes in those days were never a problem. We mostly made our own from flotsam we found around the house or something from a junk store. One year, for my first boy/girl party, I had a very fancy ballgown that I'd convinced my mom to buy me for 50 cents. I felt so grown up in that dress, and the fact that I could keep the strapless garment up was a source of girlish pride. I'm pretty sure that only happened because my mom sewed several darts into the bodice that made it so tight an imaginary gnat couldn't have slipped past. 

Another year I went Trick-or-Treating as a sack of potatoes. My dad had ordered something through the mail, and it came in this heavy, brown paper sack that was nearly as long as I was tall. I instantly realized the potential in such a sack, and confiscated it before my siblings could get their hands on it. 

We lived in the suburbs of Kansas City, and in those days we were confident of our safety as we roamed the neighborhood. We went in small groups, with no parents involved for the most part. Usually only the youngest kids were accompanied by an older sibling or an adult. And we wouldn't have been caught dead venturing out until after dark. It simply wasn't the thing!

We were invited into many of the houses so that the treaters could get a good look at our costumes and guess our true identity. That was a big part of the game. We stood mutely in doorways or on porches while the homeowners plied us with goodies and tried their best to engage us in conversation so they could recognize us by our voices. 

And the treats were often special. Some of the parents purchased candy from the stores, but they usually consisted of full-sized candy bars. A few houses even gave out cash! Of course, they could usually figure out about how many Trick-or-Treaters to expect based on the number of neighborhood kids, because very few of us ventured beyond our own stomping grounds until we became teenagers, and by then we weren't so much interested in candy as we were in spending time with members of the opposite sex.

The best treats, however, were the homemade ones. These far out-numbered those purchased from a store ready to eat. Popcorn balls, caramel apples, homemade cookies, and even cupcakes were not unusual fare on Halloween night. We also received small waxed bags filled with candy corn and the little pumpkin mix. None of us thought twice about waiting until we got home to eat any or all of these yummy goodies.

Of course, once we did return home with our remaining stash, we gathered in a circle and dumped it all out on the dining room table. Each of the three of us had their favorites. My older brother tried to claim all the bubble gum and tootsie rolls. My sister loved the little waxed bottles of drink mix, and chick-o-sticks. My favorite was always the peanut butter taffy, those wrapped in the orange or black paper.

I love taking my own kids and now my granddaughter out Trick-or-Treating, but I often wish we could go back to the older ways of doing it. 

Do you have special memories of Trick-or-Treating you'd like to share? We'd all love to hear them.


Cordelia Dinsmore

Monday, October 28, 2013



Okay - it was definitely not a Trick-or-Treat prank that left my blog without a post for the weekend. Life simply became overly busy with all the Halloween festivities and I messed up. My most sincere apologies to all.

Today I wanted to write about the joys of Trick-or-Treating. Or, at least, the Trick. I want to save the Treat for tomorrow's post.

In parts of Europe, in days past, a version of Trick-or-Treating involved guisers. People would go out in disguise, with vegetable lanterns, to ward off evil spirits and tricky fairies. This occurred during Samhain, after harvest was complete, supposedly the night most conducive for mischief makers to inflict their trickery. When the traditions came across the ocean, they eventually changed into what we participate in today.

The wildly popular phenomenon of Trick-or-Treating made its debut in the United States sometimes in the 1930s. Originally, it seems to have been more of an opportunity for the young people to prank their elders than a chance to beg candy from their neighbors.

I wasn't around during that era, but I've heard tales from my father and father-in-law, among others, about the tricks they got up to while celebrating Halloween. These antics were all popular for kids living in small towns or out in the country. I don't have any knowledge of what occurred in the city.

One favorite was to wait for the teacher to make a trip to the outhouse, and then nail the door shut. That left the students free for awhile to enjoy an extra recess or two. When hearing this story, I never received a solid answer as to whether or not they always let the teacher out before the end of the school day. Definitely not a good way to expect treats in return, I would say.

Another favorite involved moving the neighbor's outhouse to the top of his barn, or some other unlikely place. This prank was always performed during the late hours of the night, probably because it's pretty hard to hide an outhouse behind your back if someone steps out of the house unexpectedly. 

I don't know what the preoccupation was with outhouses, but it seemed to be a popular target for early tricksters.

The tale I always thought was most interesting was one my father-in-law told me involving a covered bridge not far from his boyhood home. He and his friends would go out late in the evening and wait down the bank near one end of the bridge. They would have already "borrowed" two large hog panels (that's a section of heavy wire fencing that's used to make temporary hog pens) from home or from another nearby farm. They would wire one panel across one end of the bridge. Then they'd wait in the dark for a car to come along. As soon as the car cleared the near end of the bridge, the boys would climb up the bank and wire the other hog panel to that end of the bridge, trapping the car, at least temporarily, in the middle. Then they would run, knowing that the motorist would be busy for a while, unless he happened to carry wire cutters with him.

I'm sure that was all hilarious fun, but those early forays into Halloween revelry didn't seem to include much opportunity for treats. 

Do you have stories of bygone days that include Halloween trickery? I'd love to hear them.

In the meantime, 


Cordelia Dinsmore