Something Special Happened at the Library Today

Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money, but my Mom gave me a wonderful gift that surpasses any of the toys we couldn’t afford – she gave me the gift of a love for reading. Every night she would sit on my bed with me and my brother, and read to us from Babar the Elephant. She took us on adventures and nurtured in us a love for books.

When I was in elementary school I couldn’t wait to get my report card because if I got all As and Bs, I could count on Mom taking me to Kmart to pick out a Nancy Drew mystery. Evenings were spent in the living room with my family. We each had our “spot” and mine was the green chair next to the lamp. I would sit cuddled up and reading while my Mom, Dad, and brother watched T.V.

When bedtime arrived – I would say my good nights, and I couldn’t wait to get to bed. Hiding under my blanket with my flashlight, I was transported to other worlds. My stack of library books were a free ticket to wondrous adventures. I would keep half an ear listening for Mom’s footsteps, so I could shut off my flashlight before she saw me. Looking back, I am quite sure she knew I was reading and smiled as she checked on me while I did my best imitation of being asleep.

I remember when my Mom took me to the library and got me a library card – I thought I was in heaven. She would drop me off at the library in our community and I would lose myself there for hours. When I came outside of its doors at our agreed upon time for Mom to bring me back home, I would be carrying a huge stack of books that I could barely see over, threatening to topple out of my arms as I made my way to the waiting car. Which is why TODAY IS SO SPECIAL!!!

There is something absolutely magical about seeing a book you have written made available in your local library 🥰

If you would like a copy in your local library – be sure and request it from your local librarian. Alien Neighbors is in the IngramSpark catalogue and they can order it from there for your library. Happy Reading!!

A Novel’s Journey: A Look at My Process from Inspiration to Launch

Ever wonder what a novel’s journey looks like? How does the author get inspiration and what is their process? Check out ALIEN NEIGHBORS’ journey to find out:

Articles mentioning Project Daedalus and Nuclear Fusion served to stir my imagination
More inspiration from Project Daedalus and antimatter fusion engines for spaceships
Magazine Articles on Extraterrestrials and Helium-3 as a clean energy source fueled my efforts

The Wow! Signal and strange audio transmissions heard by NASA astronauts further inspired the thought, “What if aliens do exist?”

I had a lot of fun envisioning Lanjo, the alien that befriends my main character, Tom Whitaker. A graphic artist did this rendition after I described to him what Lanjo looks like. The expression on his face (a grimace) is the alien equivalent of a smile. If you look closely, you’ll see the extra digit on each hand and the friendship bracelet he receives from Tom’s daughter as part of the story. 

Flowchart of events in novel (Spoilers are hidden)

Initial effort at revising completed first draft scene by scene – resulting in a much different second draft
Second and third drafts – two more drafts after those for a total of five drafts to a polished manuscript
Bookcover Mockup – Cover Reveal!
ALIEN NEIGHBORS Book Trailer
And finally – Proofs (Hardback on left and Paperback on right)

Book Launch BuzzGenerating Excitement for ALIEN NEIGHBORS entrance into the world.

Now that ALIEN NEIGHBORS has been launched into the world, one would think the journey is over. But that is not the case. Writing a book is HARD, but marketing it is even harder. It’s tough being an author but as arduous as it is to write a book – finding your audience so that you can realize your dream of writing a story that leaves a positive impact on the world is even harder. Please take a look and see if ALIEN NEIGHBORS might be for you or share it with someone who may be interested. Every time I hear someone tell me that it is a fun read that has given them a brief respite from their troubles and they found the story inspiring – it makes the years of hard work worthwhile!

ALIEN NEIGHBORS is available at these fine book sellers:

Amazon (Kindle, Paperback, and Hardcover)
Barnes and Noble (Nook and Paperback)
KOBO eBook, Apple eBook, Google Play eBook

Global Distribution: IngramSparks: ISBN 978-1956891010

A Portion of Sales Goes to Charity: In most African countries, children must pay to go to school. Nancy’s friend Donatien Gilga Ndacyayisaba is a priest in Rwanda who has five orphans under his care. Donatien’s parish is very poor and it is extremely difficult for them to raise the school fees for the children. Fifty cents of the sale of each book will be donated to help these precious children continue their education.

It’s Amazing and Marvelous!

Having worked on my science fiction novel for about five years (more if you count when I first conceived it, but put it aside after three chapters to focus on motherhood) and to come to this moment of time when it will be officially launched for the world to enjoy, can only be described as amazing and marvelous – amazing I managed to get to this point and marvelous because I got to this point. All of the hard work has come to fruition and I am about to launch Alien Neighbors into the world!

Publishing a book is a long and arduous process. After you finish the writing, the next phase begins – preparing to market your book. Reviews are so important to selling books and NetGalley is a platform that many traditional and indie publishers use to garner reviews. The idea is that ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) are made available to registered members for free in exchange for honest reviews. As you can well imagine, this can be a scary process viewed with some trepidation by the author. I am so excited to share we got our first review. Somehow, getting this review from a complete stranger, has brought me a wonderful sense of affirmation and joy.

Tomorrow is the Official Launch Day – the culmination of my dream to publish a science fiction novel that began as just an idea after reading an article in 2000. I am going to share parts of that journey in future blog posts, but in the mean time, my Book Launch Buzz video will give you a general idea of the story behind Alien Neighbors and what it means to me.

If you are interested in purchasing Alien Neighbors, it can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books, and Google Play, along with other fine retailers.

And don’t forget to leave a review 😉

Carrollton League of Writers Three Year Anniversary Celebration

I have made it a tradition to write about each year as part of our anniversary celebration. In preparation, I went to last year’s anniversary blog post:

We are living in extraordinary times. The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun. But while that is certainly true, living through a pandemic is new for most of us. It has been a challenging time as we receive changing information daily and must navigate our relationships, how we conduct business, make tough decisions regarding our children’s education, and what we should or shouldn’t do based on something we can’t even see. I know for myself, I sometimes wake up and everything feels so surreal – I never imagined living through this type of situation.

Those words really startled me and caused me to reflect on where we were then, and where we are now. It doesn’t seem like there’s much difference and it can be really easy to allow ourselves to get caught up in that fact.

I wish I could do like I did for our One Year celebration and just share about all of the wonderful different things that we were able to participate in and the very cool things that we did for our community. But the fact is, the world just didn’t allow us to do that for the second year in a row and that’s hard. So what can we do? How can we proceed? Well, Carrollton League of Writers already answered that question and in a very powerful way. We have chosen to be a family and to love, support, and respect each member of our family.

It hasn’t always been easy. Since I took on a full-time job and had shoulder surgery, the leadership I have been able to provide in the past has declined. But the Carrollton League of Writers board met the challenge and kept things going. I think we can be very proud and grateful that in a time where many writers groups have been unable to keep meeting, the foundation that was laid by a group of people who have decided to be invested in one another three years ago has stood firm – and that is truly a wonderful thing to have come out of this pandemic.

I have had occasion to talk to various members of our group and what is really amazing is that we all come from different places, backgrounds, and beliefs, yet we are dedicated to respecting each other and even more, loving and encouraging one another in the most difficult of circumstances. So, what should we celebrate when we celebrate our 3rd anniversary? Sure, we managed to do some good things. We worked really hard at putting on a virtual writers retreat to take the place of our usual annual retreat at Lake Texoma. Obviously, it didn’t have the same vibe, but it accomplished something. It said that we will not go gentle into that good night. The board met several times and created an ever-evolving plan of how we should conduct our meetings to meet the needs of our group.

3 Year Anniversary Meeting

Carrollton League of Writers may have to respond to external circumstances that affect how we move forward, but none of that will ever change the fact that we are the family that we have chosen to be. And regardless of what is going on in the world – that will always be something to celebrate!

Friends are the Family You Choose!

Carrollton League of Writers Two Year Anniversary Celebration

We are living in extraordinary times. The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun. But while that is certainly true, living through a pandemic is new for most of us. It has been a challenging time as we receive changing information daily and must navigate our relationships, how we conduct business, make tough decisions regarding our children’s education, and what we should or shouldn’t do based on something we can’t even see. I know for myself, I sometimes wake up and everything feels so surreal – I never imagined living through this type of situation.

But on the flip side, I never would have imagined being invited to attend a software boot camp at 57 years of age, staying up until 2:00 in the morning for three months straight, learning completely new technologies with young adults less than half my age. Yet, here I am, job offer in hand and I start on Monday. That also feels surreal. But it also shows that God has never stopped working in our lives for our good.

We do have much to celebrate even in the midst of pandemics and hurricanes. Some of our members have been battling health issues and we have seen rays of sunshine peeking through the clouds as they report improvements. Others are in the midst of various battles, but have their fellow Carrollton League of Writers praying for them and cheering them on. And it’s important to note that as a group, we have accomplished so much this year, despite having to forego meeting in person.

Our Accomplishments over the last year have been many. In no particular order:

Three day writing retreat at Lake Texoma

Started Tuesday Night Hangouts

Halloween potluck costume party

Valentine’s Day party/contest – Ed is our winner!

Our newest member, Ellie Crippen, made her grand entrance into the world on July 27 – Congratulations to Will and Jennifer for the birth of their beautiful baby muggle!

Monthly Newsletter

Monthly member spotlights

Monthly presentations by industry professionals, free to the public

Write-Ins at Café Brazil and Kimzey’s Coffee

Our Facebook Group increased to 193 members

New website (Thanks Jackie!)

Director took a three month sabbatical to attend a software boot camp – board members stepped in and CLW ran smoothly – which speaks to the leadership of the board and the solidarity of our group!

Many of our members attended WORDFest virtually – We are thankful for W.O.R.D. and the creativity that allowed them to offer a weekend of great writing-related programming online!

Dallas Story Teller’s Guild presented Ghost Tales, a two-day spook-tacular event. CLW’s very own Steve was one of the storytellers.

In October, CLW participated in Writers in the Field and had a great time! Scott presented on ham radios and Phil on renewable energy.

Our first short story contest happened in 2020 with the following winners:

Author: Sandra Payton
Title: Leaves Are People, Too

Author: Ed Wooten
Title: Defining Moments

Author: Steve McCluer
Title: The Vampire Interviews

An anthology committee was formed and is working hard on the logistics of our 2nd anthology.

Second Annual Arianne “TEX” Thompson Flash Fiction Contest (Judge Amber Royer) Winners – Artis, Scott, and Jennifer

Amazingly FUN Christmas party

Peggy launched “The Little Ladybug”

Andrea was published in an anthology “The Day We Came Back: Future Reports After the Pandemic” in April.

Andrea is also up for awards in the 22nd International Latino Book Awards in two categories: the Rudolfo Anaya Latino Fiction Book and Best novel – historical fiction, for her novel Las Mujeres de la Guerra (The Women of the War).

Scott’s brainchild, the Carrollton League of Writers blog, has been launched.

Monthly birthday celebrations

Phil and Nancy renewed their wedding vows on horseback and shared their joy with CLW.

Ross was published in the “The California Numismatist” and won two awards: the Virginia Hall Literary Award for medals (1st place) and the Charles Kappan Literary Award for articles on Exonumia (2nd place). The article was “The Perilous Pigeon Post” in the Fall 2019 issue.

Board of Directors elections were held.

Bylaws have been completed, voted upon, and are now official.

Numerous info-talks

Breakfast outing to Mom’s Café to celebrate Sandy’s birthday

CLW “Writers Health Month” with speakers on mental health, nutrition and ergonomics

Our second anthology (professionally edited) will launch in time for Christmas giving.

Supported Amber Royer’s book launch: Fake Chocolate

Nancy had two full manuscript requests for Alien Neighbors.

WORD Historian – Jennifer did a presentation for Granbury Writers’ Bloc on “Using Archives to Build a Better Story.”

Nancy did a presentation for TEKsystems software bootcamp on Copyright and Fair Use for SW Developers.

First Anniversary Bash with a western theme was a great success!

We always want to give back to our community, and during our second year we found several ways to do so:

Food pantry donations

Donations to the Rwandan orphans – educational fundraising went instead to basic survival needs because of the pandemic

Participated in our host church’s school supply drive

Member support: meals provided for Will and Jennifer

2ndAnniversaryMeeting

But out of all of our accomplishments, I am most proud of our unity. It saddens me to see so much divisiveness in our country right now. Our writers group is a microcosm of our country, and we have chosen to come together to love, support, and encourage one another, despite our differences. I can’t help but think that if our behavior was duplicated in the real world, what a wonderful world it would be!

I want to leave you with this…while there are real concerns for each one of us that we are struggling to address during this difficult time, there is also hope and responsibility. We have the hope of a better day, and I believe that is in the not too distant future. We will come out the other side and we will have a strength of spirit that we are cultivating during this time of national crisis, that we will possess the rest of our lives. Our parents and grandparents experienced this during World War Two. I can hear my mother’s words in times of trouble, “We are survivors…” and “It’s not a forever thing.” We will get through this, and it won’t last forever.

And we as writers also have a responsibility. When I have my engineering hat on, I am seeking effective and efficient solutions to problems. But I have found that writing is an effective and efficient solution as well – to the problems brought about through our humanity. It may not fix the problems, but it helps them to be easier to endure while we work through them. I want to challenge each of you to a renewed spirit in your writing. Rather than allowing our external circumstances quench our spirit, let’s rise above it and use our writing gifts to bless others. Let’s look back at this year in our writing group’s history and remember it as the time we all continued to “fight the good fight and write the good write.”

Final Thoughts:

A special thanks to the folks at Carrollton Church of the Nazarene for allowing us to use their fellowship hall – they have blessed us beyond measure with their generosity.

It’s been a challenging year but I’m looking forward to another one as we travel this writing journey together – I wouldn’t want to do it anywhere else than with the Carrollton League of Writers!

Friends are the Family You Choose!

 

Carrollton League of Writers One Year Anniversary Celebration

It all started with a post on Next Door and Carrollton Chatter – Anyone interested in joining a writers group? The response was huge! The next step: getting permission from the Carrollton Church of the Nazarene to use their fellowship hall. And then: Marshall’s Bar-B-Que allowing us to reserve their backroom the second Thursday of every month for guest speakers. We had our inaugural meeting on August 9, 2018. The video below chronicles our first year:

From our description:

Carrollton League of Writers exists to help writers in all genres and experience levels to improve their writing skills and to move towards publication if desired. We provide working writing sessions that include read and critique sessions and creative writing exercises. We also provide guest speakers to educate and inform from various facets of the writing industry, networking opportunities, and a chance to socialize and hang out with others who share the grand passion of writing.

***

The first few meetings we learned about each other and started with a structure that has since evolved to meet the needs of our members. Some of us took on leadership roles in order to facilitate the different interests among our group. Alice heads up our informal table – where anything can happen from creative writing prompts to lively discussions. Tom has taken leadership of our critique group, making sure everyone has a Slack account and keeps the group informed of who is in the queue, as well as moderating each week.

Before breaking into groups, we start with an Info-Talk – as a way to learn something new every meeting. Our members have done a great job taking turns presenting them every week. Our topics have ranged from Backing Up Your Data to Secondary Character Development, Show Not Tell to Guns of the Old West, and everything in-between.

When we first started meeting, everyone was a little bit shy and nervous. It was scary not only meeting new people – but also sharing our writing with each other. Weeks became months, allowing trust to be built and friendships formed. One year later we are now a family and Thursdays are a time to get together to encourage and inspire one another. For many of us, it’s the highlight of our week and we can’t imagine it otherwise.

Early on we decided that improving our craft was important to our culture and to that end we have been blessed with a guest speaker each month when we meet at Marshall’s Barbecue. We owe a special thanks to Blake Kimzey of Writers Workshop Dallas for facilitating contact with so many amazing industry professionals that have been willing to speak to our group. Guest speakers have included:

Tex Thompson, Amber Royer, Blake Atwood, David Eric Tomlinson, Blake Kimzey, Kathleen Baldwin, Amber Helt, Ashley Mag Gabbert, Kathryn McClatchy, William Ledbetter, Becka Oliver, Andra Leigh Watkins, Michelle Schusterman, Keith Goodnight, Jan Morrill Vanek, Ann Rose, and Suzanne Frank.

Our Accomplishments over the last year have been many. In no particular order:

Three day writing retreat at Lake Texoma

Attended Roanoke writers conference

Halloween potluck costume party

NaNoWriMo Weekly Write-Ins at IHOP

Two Group Write-Ins: Phil and Nancy’s house and Scott’s house

Valentine’s Day party/poetry contest

Monthly Newsletter

Monthly member spotlights

Field trip to UTD to visit physics professor for science fiction writers

Facebook Group with 157 members

Twitter Account

Attended Writers in the Field

WORDfest table and panel participation

Ross got his MFA/ published articles

Critique blunders video

Hosted Summer Writers conference: speakers and literary agent pitches

First Annual Arianne “TEX” Thompson Flash Fiction Contest (Judge Amber Royer) Winners – Jennifer, Artis, Lauren and Tom

Christmas party

Logo Contest – Jackie O’Connor winner

Carrollton League of Writers T-shirts

Birthday celebrations

Board of Directors began in January

Bylaws are in process of being drafted

Attended Comic-con in Arlington

Numerous Info-talks

Featured in article in on Pastor Resources.com

Anthology (professionally edited) and will launch this Fall

Hosted our Anthology editor – Christi Martin

Attended Amber Royer’s book launch: Free Chocolate

Literary Agent Ann Rose requested chapters and manuscripts

WORDworks leadership workshop (2) – Attended by Nancy and Jennifer

WORD Historian – Jennifer Crippen

We also wanted to give back to our community, and during our first year we found several ways to do so:

Food pantry donations

Hosted Young Writers Workshop

Rwandan orphan educational fundraising – paid one trimester for five children to attend school

Participated in School Supply Drive

Phil – presented Asssault and Battery class at WORDfest

Solar panels/fans installation for Camp Tonkawa (Phil and Bud)

English Conversation Practice volunteers/Texas Party for class

Carrollton Complete Automotive Community Recognition Award

Wordfest Southwest – Phil, Nancy, Jennifer, Jackie, and John worked as volunteers

Most importantly, we have created a culture of compassion and caring for not only our group members, but for the people around us. Not just in regards to writing, we take a holistic approach, meeting any needs that we can. This fundamental value is integral to what it means to be a part of the Carrollton League of Writers.

We were very excited (and shocked) to receive the WORD Condike award at WORDfest 2019: For Their Extraordinary Contributions to the North Texas Literary Community

I THINK IT’S SAFE TO SAY – WE DID A LOT FOR OUR FIRST YEAR!!!

The criteria for being a founding member is to either have been with us from the beginning or nearly so, or someone having come in later during our inaugural year, but showing a dedication to our group through their participation and contributing to our success through their actions. I want to recognize our founding members by presenting them with a very special commemorative coin.

Team Spirit Recipients:

Scott Taylor

Ross Irvin

Trish Smallwood

Jessica Torres

Steve McCluer

Bessie Gregg

Peggy Wilson

Donna

Artis Hayes

Andrea Amosson

Above and Beyond Recipients:

John Lemond

Ed Wooten

Jackie O’Connor

Amy Garman

Phil Golden

Leadership Recipients:

Jennifer Crippen (Board Member/Associate Director)

Alice Wooten (Board Member/Secretary)

Tom Smallwood (Board Member/Treasurer)

Sandy Paty (Board Member/Social Event Coordinator)

Nancy Golden (Board Member/Director)

I also want to recognize some of our guest speakers. They have not only poured into Carrollton League of Writers, they are constantly giving of themselves to the writing community at large.

Tex Thompson

Kathleen Baldwin

Amber Royer

Bud Humble

And a special thanks to the folks at Carrollton Church of the Nazarene for allowing us to use their fellowship hall – they have blessed us beyond measure with their generosity.

It’s been a great year and I’m looking forward to another one as we travel this writing journey together – I wouldn’t want to do it anywhere else than with the Carrolllton League of Writers!

Friends are the Family You Choose!

We Are Writers

In a sense, I felt like I lost one of my wheels today. As a bicyclist, I think this metaphor is particularly appropriate. I have been prepping for DFWCon for weeks (a writers conference billed as the largest one in Texas, with lots of wonderful industry professionals and fellow writers in attendance). I was looking forward to being a part of the conference, going to the classes, making new friends, and pitching my science fiction novel, Alien Neighbors. To my frustration, I developed a minor (although thank God, easily treatable) medical issue, but it was enough to stop me from attending. I think there is an important lesson here. There are NO career breaking moments. My writing career was not dependent on this conference. What it is dependent on, is that I stay the course. I must admit today was a bit rough, but I will pick myself up, dust myself off, and continue the journey. We are writers – that is what we do. disappointment-3151237_1920

Revisioners

I am learning what it truly means to be a writer. Perhaps we should be called “revisioners.” Writing excellence typically requires rewrites. While it may seem like a painful and tedious process – it can actually be fun. Seeing your story improve is like watching your child practice something and start to get really good at it. Remember, it’s all in your perspective. When you find yourself needing to rewrite something – view it as a wondrous opportunity, rather than a chore. You’ll be so glad to see the results when you are done!

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Starting a Writing Group

I have had several folks ask me why I decided to take on such a complicated and time-consuming endeavor, with all of the work involved that forming a community writing group entails. A moment of insanity perhaps? Like the time I decided to coordinate a district science fair for my son’s charter school? Or start an ESL ministry at our church with four levels of classes? Actually, it is very satisfying to be operating in the areas that God has gifted me with, while helping others to be successful; it’s a “win-win” even if it’s exhausting at times.

To further my explanation, we have some tremendous writing groups in the DFW area of Texas, but none in Carrollton, a suburb of Dallas. I personally don’t want to drive twenty miles to Euless fighting traffic on a weekday evening every week, even though I am aware of a fantastic critique group that has met there for years. I thought perhaps there may be some like-minded writers in my area. I posted in our city’s community Facebook page and on Nextdoor to see if anyone was interested, and the response I received was HUGE! I created a Facebook group and now, in less than six weeks, we have had our inaugural meeting with twenty writers in attendance and have had forty members join our Facebook group so far!

The paradox for me is that in committing to this venture, I have actually reduced the time I have to write.  However, the payoffs have already been enormous. To see the excitement and enthusiasm our group is creating among our members is wonderful. To experience the generosity of Marshall’s Bar-B-Q and Carrollton Church of the Nazarene in providing free space for us to meet is gratifying. To reach out to established members of the writing industry in search of guest speakers and to receive an overwhelmingly positive response is marvelous.

So here we go – at the start of a grand adventure. I am learning as I go along, but we are blessed to belong to an industry that is known for giving back, so I know I am not going it alone. I am finding that starting a writing group is not easy, but it is also extremely satisfying to know that a real need is being filled:

Carrollton League of Writers exists to help writers in all genres and experience levels to improve their writing skills and to move towards publication if desired. We provide working writing sessions that include read and critique sessions and creative writing exercises. We also provide guest speakers to educate and inform from various facets of the writing industry, networking opportunities, and a chance to socialize and hang out with others who share the grand passion of writing.

If you are ever in the Carrollton area on a Thursday night – I hope you’ll join us. If you are thinking of starting a writing group in your own area – I hope you’ll go for it. It won’t be easy, but it will be well-worth it! Feel free to comment if you need help getting started. I am fairly new at this, but I can share my own experiences and perhaps help point you in the right direction.

Book Review: A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin

book2I have always had a hard time slowing down and just relaxing when there is always so much to do, but between a WONDERFUL book to read on a cold rainy day and the perfect reading companion – I just couldn’t resist. Kathleen Baldwin has managed to win me over to the historical fiction genre in a big way with her novel, A School for Unusual Girls. I must admit I initially purchased the book for my fifteen year old granddaughter who I was sure would enjoy it, both for her love of history and for her strong and intelligent personality, which seemed to me at first glance to also be an apt description of the main character. As I scanned the book before giving it to her, I realized that it had also grabbed my own interest and I ordered a second copy, both coming from Amazon. I’m so glad I did! There is so much fun stuff, I don’t want to give it away – but just know to settle in for a captivating read filled with strong and spunky heroines, handsome heroes, scientific experiments that sometimes go awry with lethal consequences, and ultimately a journey of maturation and finding one’s place; all back-dropped by an unstable and inflammatory time in European history where the individual decisions of the residents of Stranje House are pivotal in influencing the events swirling chaotically at a rapid pace around them.

The author takes the reader on a journey that leaves one reluctant to stop. Not only does she transport us to another time and place, she manages to make us identify with these unusual girls who have troubled pasts and to root for them. A wonderful message of redemption for those who do not feel compelled to follow the established rules of society but seek to remain true to their own calling, is woven through the story’s themes of transformation, love, and responsibility. Kathleen Baldwin writes with a masterful grasp of plot and pacing, keeping the reader thoroughly enticed with just enough mystery and intrigue (and the occasional breathtaking hint of romance). She strikes that amazing balance of fully satisfying at quintessential moments, yet leaving us yearning for the story to continue. Fortunately it does, in the next novel in the Stranje House series: Exiles for Dreamers. I have already purchased my copy and I’m looking forward to immersing myself in the next adventure that the Stranje House has in store!

You can learn more (including reading chapter excerpts), discover lots of cool extras, and check out Kathleen’s other writing endeavors, as well as find out additional places where A School for Unusual Girls is available for purchase, at KathleenBaldwin.com