Monday, March 31, 2014


Today I am proud to announce that I am hosting writer/illustrator Mikey Brooks on one stop of his blog tour. His newest Middle Grade novel just released yesterday, and he has a little bit to say about it and what inspires him as an artist.

Also, if you wish, there is an opportunity at the bottom of this post to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. So enjoy! And I'll be back in a few days with some more thoughts on Middle Grade books.

Welcome to The Stone of Valhalla Blog Tour!

A middle-grade fantasy-adventure by Mikey Brooks.

Don’t forget to check out the GIVEAWAY at the bottom of this post
for a chance to WIN a $25 Amazon Gift card and other great prizes!

Art in Writing
Guest Post by: Mikey Brooks

I am a writer but I am also an illustrator. A lot of times I am asked if I use my illustrating to help me in my writing. I reply: “Of Course!” A lot of thought goes into a painting. Of course you have your main character there but you also have other things. The background can tell a lot about what is going on. It can also help move the story. In fact, when I hit a wall, or what some authors call “writer’s block” I step away from the computer and I pull out the sketch pad. I am a very visual person and have to see the scene visually before I can write it. Drawing helps me do that. I don’t spend too much time on it. Mostly the characters look like something a child drew. I focus mostly on the background. I need to know what is happening. I tried this once when I had a character in a room. I didn’t know where else to go with the scene. So I started drawing the back ground. I drew a stone wall with some dark shadows here and there. Then I drew a window. Suddenly I had a shadow in the window. “Who is outside the window?” I asked myself. Soon the writer’s block was gone and I was onto finishing the scene. So yes, drawing can help move writing along.

Another way I incorporate my art into my stories is I draw out some of the scenes. For my newest book, The Stone of Valhalla, I actually drew chapter pictures. I did this about 13 years ago when I first finished the story. Since then it has been majorly rewritten and the pictures don’t really fit the descriptions of the characters anymore, but they helped me when I first constructed this story. I was able to see into this other world as my main character, Aaron saw it. Art carries with it a small sense of emotion. I took that emotion I felt from the art and tried to convey it into words. Art can be a powerful tool when constructing a story.

I am thrilled to announce the release of my newest middle-grade fantasy-adventure: The Stone of Valhalla. I hope you love Aaron as much as I do. Yes, he has a lot to learn in the beginning but the excitement comes as we see him grow throughout his journey.


Aaron was chosen to save their world, but it might come at the cost of losing his own.

Breaking into an old lady’s basement was supposed to reward 13-year-old Aaron with new friends. Instead he finds an enchanted amulet that transports him to another world—one at war with magic. Before he knows it, he is accused of witchcraft and invited to a bonfire—where he’s the main attraction. If that’s not bad enough, a goblin army shows up and toasts the town...literally. The good news: Aaron escapes being charbroiled. The bad news: the goblins are after him. They want his amulet and will stop at nothing to get it. Battling to find his way home, Aaron teams up with a not-so-magical-wizard and learns it’s his fate to destroy the amulet and save this new world. But is he willing to sacrifice his own?

Check out what these talented authors are saying about it:

The Stone of Valhalla is one of those books that only comes along once in a great while. Brooks doesn't just create a world, he puts you inside of it, allowing you to experience the wonder in a way that only he can. His characters are likable and fun. His twists leave you asking ‘Why?’ Treat yourself to an exciting adventure through a beautiful new land. Make new friends and be a part of the magic. This is a book that you will not be able to put down!”
—J.R. Simmons, author of Ragesong: Awakening.

 The Stone of Valhalla drew me in from the get-go. Aaron’s journey is reminiscent of Dorothy’s trek in The Wizard of Oz. Magic, sword fights, danger, and more danger, sprinkled with humor and unexpected twists. This is one of the ‘best’ fantasy adventures I’ve ever experienced!”
—BBH McChiller, author of The Monster Moon Series.

The Stone of Valhalla is a riveting mystery revealing true friendship, loyalty and sacrifice. Brooks engages the curiosity of middle graders and older sleuths alike, until the very end. Fantastic!”
—L.R.W. Lee, author of The Andy Smithson series.

Where to Find The Stone of Valhalla:
Exclusive price for the eBook release is just $2.99! (List Price: $4.99)
And only $9.99 for the paperback! (List Price: $12.99)
On April 12th 2014 the price will return to the List Price

Another special offer:
During The Stone of Valhalla Blog Tour
Mikey’s other great middle-grade eBooks will also be set to the low price of just $0.99!

The Dream Keeper:
Kindle | Nook | Kobo

The Dreamstone:
Kindle | Nook | Kobo

You’re Invited to PARTY!!
The online launch party will take place on Thursday, April 10th at 4pm (MST). The party will run for 2 hours and you’re invited to drop by anytime. The longer you stay the more chances you have of winning prizes! We have a slew of eBooks to give away, as well as a Stone of Valhalla necklace AND a $25 Amazon gift card! It is hosted by LovingtheBookLaunchParty on Facebook. Just follow this link to join the event:

What’s that? Another Party!
That’s right! If you’re local to Utah you don’t want to miss this kickin’ party. We are having a launch party to celebrate the release of this awesome new book. Of course there will be plenty of giveaways there too, but what’s even better are the guest authors! Just check out these fabulous names: J. Scott Savage, Chad Morris, Lisa Mangum, Jenni James, Ali Cross, and many more. The Launch Party is: Friday, April 11th from 6-9pm at the Viridian Center in West Jordan, Utah. Follow this link for a map:

About Mikey Brooks:

Mikey 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, cover designer, and author. 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:

The Giveaways!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I read to each of my children when they were young, and still read to my youngest, who is now a teenager. My kids developed a love for reading, and my house is overflowing with all the books we purchased that they couldn't bear to part with. At times I threaten to clear out a few, but my threats are met with such vehement opposition that I always give in and make way for more.

Now I read to my granddaughter. She loves books featuring princesses and fairies, but she lets me slip in a few of my favorites in between all that sweetness. Lately we've been on an alphabet book kick, partly to help her learn them, and partly because I've always been partial to them. So many talented writers and illustrators make for endless possibilities with those 26 letters. One of my favorites is A Was Once An Apple Pie by Edward Lear. I owned a copy of that book as a child, purchased for a nickle at a junk store. Unfortunately, I often read outdoors and would sometimes get distracted and leave my books in the yard. It rains a lot in the Midwest during the summer months. Alas.

Last night, however, I didn't want to read about princesses, or fairies, or alphabet creatures. So I went upstairs to peruse one of our many bookcases, and I found something I thought my little one might enjoy. It was my son's ABSOLUTELY MOST FAVORITE BOOK IN THE WORLD when he was her age. I'm referring to Mercer Mayer's Critters of the Night, Midnight Snack. It's written by Erica Farber and J. R. Sansevere, and is one of the Step into Reading series.

Midnight Snack is a rhyming picture book - no wonder I love it - and tells the story of how Groad feeds all of his friends their favorite snacks during the dark hours. The pages are filled with the unforgettable, wonderful illustrations of Mercer Mayer. Frightening monsters and stray eyeballs fill the pages, and there is just as much story revealed in the pictures as there is in the actual wording. My granddaughter loved it and asked for it again as soon as I had finished the last page. I love when that happens.

So if you're looking for something fun, and apparently not too frightening, to read to your little ones at bedtime, this is one I would suggest. 


Cordelia Dinsmore