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Monday, November 23, 2015

December Promo Spots Now Open!



Are you an author looking to promote and spread the word about your book or series?! Then you're in luck, because promo spots in December are now open at Word Spelunking...

If you're a Young Adult, Middle-Grade, New Adult, or Picture Book author, I'd be happy to feature you in the following ways:

  • Author or Character Interview
  • Guest Post
  • Book/Series Spotlight
  • Giveaway
You can learn more about each type of posts and my policies by visiting My Policy Page

If you're interested in being featured here at Word Spelunking in December, just send an email to wordspelunker@gmail.com and we'll set something up!





Friday, November 13, 2015

Spotlight: Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye by Tania del Rio and Will Staehle {review & guest post}


I'm thrilled to be spotlighting the awesome new middle-grade book, Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye, by sharing a fun guest post and my review...


Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye
by Tania del Rio
created and illustrated by Will Staehle
November 24, 2015
Quirk Books

Meet Warren the 13th, a cursed 12-year-old Victorian bellhop who’s terribly unlucky . . . yet perpetually optimistic, hard-working, and curious. Orphan Warren’s pride and joy is his family’s hotel, but he’s been miserable ever since his evil Aunt Anaconda took over the management. Anaconda believes a mysterious treasure known as the All-Seeing Eye is hidden somewhere on the grounds, and she’ll do anything to find it. If Warren wants to preserve his family’s legacy, he’ll need to find the treasure first—if the hotel’s many strange and wacky guests don’t beat him to it! This middle-grade adventure features gorgeous two-color illustrations on every page and a lavish two-column Victorian design that will pull young readers into a spooky and delightful mystery.



Tania and Will’s favorite evil relatives
 (from books, TV or movies)
  • Cinderella’s step sisters (Will)
  • Darth Vader (Will)
  • The Wormwoods in “Matilda (Tania)
  • The Durselys in Harry Potter (Tania)
  • Jane Eyre’s aunt, Mrs. Reed (Tania)
  • King Joffrey from Game of Thrones (Tania)

Warren the 13th is a hardworking, optimistic twelve-year old, who works as a bellhop (and handyman, maid, gardener, etc) at his family’s hotel. The hotel was once a beautiful, busy place, with lots of guests. But since his father, Warren the 12th, passed away, Warren the 13th’s lazy uncle and mean Aunt Annaconda, have let the poor hotel fall into ruin. Wicked, witchy Aunt Annaconda is convinced that the magical and powerful All-Seeing Eye is hidden at the hotel somewhere, and she’s determined to find it...so Warren the 13th and a few unexpected companions set out to find it first!

Tania del Rio’s Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye is an imaginative and inventive middle-grade read bursting with clever humor, sparkling storytelling, captivating world-building, and engaging characters.

Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye has a deliciously creepy, yet charmingly whimsical atmosphere and a pitch-perfect voice. Tania del Rio does a superb job of creating a vivid, lush, and wondrous setting with excellent world-building. Warren the 13th’s family hotel is a huge Victorian structure full of mysteries, twists and turns, and fantastical things to discover. And this awesome (and surprising) hotel is full of unforgettable characters! Young readers will be enthralled by the eerie, yet enchanting setting and delighted by the quirky characters.

The mystery of the All-Seeing Eye offers readers a fun and fast-paced adventure full of surprises, wicked magic, and clever twists. And as entertaining as the mystery and adventure are, this book is also filled with plenty of heart and tenderness.

The layout and look of Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye is absolutely gorgeous, with the stunning and humorous illustrations by Warren’s creator Will Staehle, and eye-catching color palette.

my final thoughts: Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye, with its quirky whimsy, unique look, and wondrous story, makes for a spectacular and fun reading experience!

MY RATING
5/5 yummy cupcakes

Will Staehle is the creator of Warren the 13th, and is an award-winning designer and illustrator. He grew up reading comics and working summers at his parent’s design firm in Wisconsin and uses his design and illustration background to create bold covers, stylized posters, quirky websites and mini-comics to ensure that he gets as little sleep as possible. He lives in Seattle.

Tania del Rio is a professional comic book writer and artist who has spent the past 10 years writing and illustrating, primarily for a young audience. Her clients include Archie Comics, Dark Horse, and Marvel; she is best known for her work writing and drawing the 42-issue run of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She lives in Los Angeles and you can follow her on twitter @taniadelrio.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Spotlight & Review: Personalized Lemony Snicket Books from Put Me In The Story


I'm a huge Lemony Snicket fan, so, when the awesome folks at Put Me In The Story asked me to review their new personalized editions of Snicket's All The Wrong Questions Series, I jumped at the chance...

About All the Wrong Questions and Lemony Snicket:

All the Wrong Questions is Lemony Snicket’s second series and follows the wildly successful A Series of Unfortunate Events, which has sold over 65 million copies worldwide and has been translated into more than 40 languages.

All the Wrong Questions has reunited Snicket with his longtime representative, Daniel Handler, author of the Printz Honor–winning young adult book, Why We Broke Up, which was described as “beautifully rendered” by the New York Times and “perfectly pitched to woo romantics of any age” by the San Francisco Chronicle. Handler is also the author of We Are Pirates, The Basic Eight, and Adverbs.

Acclaimed illustrator Seth returned (against his better judgment) to illustrate the cover and interior art. The cover of “Who Could That Be at This Hour?” was named one of the New York Times’ and Flavorwire’s favorite covers of 2012. Seth is also the creator of PalookavilleClyde Fans, and The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists.

For more Lemony Snicket, visit LemonySnicketLibrary.com

For the first time ever, Lemony Snicket’s All The Wrong Questions series is available in a personalized format on Put Me In The Story!

Each book in the series, including the new release, “Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights?”, explores the mysterious origins of Lemony Snicket and his early misadventures.

The personalized editions present the series as an associate’s training guide, and include:
·         Personalized covers with the reader’s name and initials cleverly integrated in the front and back cover art
·         Reader’s initial designed into the opening artwork page
·         Photo of the reader included on a character portrait page
·         Unique customized letters and interactive messages to the reader from Lemony Snicket
·         Two of the reader’s friends’ names incorporated in the letters and messages
·         Dedication page for the gift giver to write a personalized message to the reader

Lemony Snicket is looking for trusted associates! He's ready to reveal his account of the time he spent in a fading town full of mysteries, and share his secrets with associates-in-training.
Do you know a curious reader? Get started on an intriguing journey
Come along with Snicket as he embarks on his own apprenticeship, hidden in this special edition, readers will encounter three personalized letters from Lemony Snicket, guiding them through their own training, including uproarious quizzes and instructions. Welcome to the first case in your voluntary apprenticeship. Snicket wishes you all the luck in the world, except for the luck he needs himself.
This book is yours to personalize for a curious young reader. Include your child’s name, a photo, and a dedication message from you. Add your child’s first initial for a monogrammed opening. Plus, include the name of two of the child’s “associates”, a local street name, and the name of the gift giver, which will appear throughout the book in letters from Lemony Snicket.

Lemony Snicket is back in the town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea and he is on the lookout for Cleo Knight, a curious young chemist who has gone missing. As a voluntary apprentice, you are receiving Snicket’s top secret files of this mysterious account.
To aid your training, Snicket has included three letters found only here that instruct you to locate more associates, fulfill a necessary checklist, and create a classified file of your own for future reference and present enjoyment. Welcome to the second case in your voluntary apprenticeship. Snicket wishes you all the luck in the world, except for the luck he needs himself.
This book is yours to personalize for a curious young reader. Include your child’s name, a photo, and a dedication message from you. Add your child’s first initial for a monogrammed opening. Plus, include the name of two of the child’s “associates”, a local street name, and the name of the gift giver which will appear throughout the book in letters from Lemony Snicket.

Your journey as Lemony Snicket’s associate continues in this account of his time in the town of Stain’d-by-the Sea. The most recent fire in a string of arsons has destroyed Stain’d Secondary, the town’s only remaining school.
As you carefully and selectively review these confidential files from Snicket, you will come across three letters found only here! In these letters, Snicket will instruct you to study individuals, exercise fire safety, and celebrate with soup. Welcome to the third case in your voluntary apprenticeship. Snicket wishes you all the luck in the world, except for the luck he needs himself.
This book is yours to personalize for a curious young reader. Include your child’s name, a photo, and a dedication message from you. Add your child’s first initial for a monogrammed opening. Plus, include the name of two of the child’s “associates”, the name of a local street, and the name of the gift giver which will appear throughout the book in letters from Lemony Snicket.

Follow Lemony Snicket and his assembled group of associates as they encounter the many myths and mysteries of Stain’d-by-the-Sea. In your final confidential file from Lemony Snicket, everything and everyone that you have ever wondered about is aboard a train. Will everything be derailed?
Throughout the book, you will receive four letters found only here from Lemony Snicket that require legible handwriting, pretend sleep, and delayed fright. Pay close attention to Snicket’s questions, this is the last time that you will see them for the first time. Welcome to the final case in your voluntary apprenticeship. Snicket wishes you all the luck in the world, except for the luck he needs himself.
This book is yours to personalize for a curious young reader. Include your child’s name, a photo and a dedication message from you. Add your child’s first initial for a monogrammed opening. Plus, include the name of two of the child’s “associates”, the name of a local street, and the name of the gift giver which will appear throughout the book in letters from Lemony Snicket.

*I was provided copies of each book in exchange for my honest review

This is such a fun, smart series! The four books in the All The Wrong Questions series are bursting with Lemony Snicket's signature wit, unforgettable characters, enthralling story-telling, and a pitch-perfect voice.

Lemony Snicket takes readers back to his own childhood and his misadventures as an apprentice in the mysterious V.F.D. Readers will journey with young Snicket to the almost dead town of Stain'd-by-the-Sea, where a complex and twisty mystery is brewing. Readers take on an active role throughout the series as they join Snicket and his associates in their attempt to solve the mystery and save the town. Prepare for twists and turns, diabolical villains, unexpected murder, and bitter coffee!

Lemony Snicket's macabre and deliciously dark humor, unique way of spinning a tale, and ability to create intriguing and memorable characters, all shine in this thrilling series. With engrossing and vivid world-building, clever and expertly plotted story-telling, and engaging characters, these books are impossible to put down. Fans of A Series of Unfortunate Events will delight in and love discovering all the connections Snicket creates between these two series. 

And of course, these editions are extra special because of the ways Put Me In The Story allows you to personalize them! Put Me In The Story stands out in the world of personalized books because of their attention to detail and their strive to make each book feel uniquely one-of-a-kind to readers, and the books in this series are no exception. From readers' names, initials, and photo featured in the artwork to the names of people and places familiar to readers also sprinkled throughout each book, and the interactive and personalized letters, puzzles, and quizzes, these books are truly one-of-a-kind and will make any young reader feel special! I personalized my copies for my niece, for when she's a bit older, and I cannot wait to see her enjoy and devour these awesome books!

Lemony Snicket has crafted another spectacular and timeless series and the wonderful Put Me In The Story has made this series extra fantastic and enjoyable with their personalized editions!

MY RATING
(for the whole series)
5/5 yummy cupakes

About Put Me In The Story:
Put Me In The Story creates personalized versions of bestselling books featuring your favorite characters. With your name, picture, dedication message, and more, YOU—our readers—have become our most dynamic characters.

Put Me In The Story inspires a love for reading, across all ages and generations, through the experience of shared, personalized stories. Become the star of a great adventure at www.PutMeInTheStory.com.






Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Holiday Picture Book Reviews: Sharing the Bread, Santa's Sleigh Is On Its Way To My House, The Night The Lights Went Out On Christmas


With Thanksgiving and Christmas fast approaching, I have three books to share that are perfect for this holiday season...

by Pat Zietlow Miller
Sept. 22, 2015
Random House Kids
Celebrate food and family with this heartwarming Thanksgiving picture book. We will share the risen bread. / Our made-with-love Thanksgiving spread. / Grateful to be warm and fed. / We will share the bread. In this spirited ode to the holiday, set at the turn of the twentieth century, a large family works together to make their special meal. Mama prepares the turkey, Daddy tends the fire, Sister kneads, and Brother bastes. Everyone—from Grandma and Grandpa to the littlest baby—has a special job to do. Told in spare, rhythmic verse and lively illustrations,Sharing the Bread is a perfect read-aloud to celebrate the Thanksgiving tradition.

PRAISE
"A warm and wonderful holiday treasure." —Publishers Weekly, Starred


"Captures the spirit of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner." —School Library Journal

"A delightful holiday book that shows the heartwarming tradition of food and family." —Booklist

*************************************

Sharing The Bread transports readers back to the 19th century and follows one family as they prepare a magnificent and yummy Thanksgiving meal!


Told through sparse, lyrical rhymes, Sharing The Bread is a heartwarming and charming picture book. The simple, yet descriptive, rhymes are sweet and amusing in their sing-song flow. Little readers will easily be able to memorize their favorite lines and “read along”. From putting the turkey into the oven to making all the fixings and setting a gorgeous table, Sharing The Bread explores it all, and it does so with a lot of heart!

The bright, captivating illustrations wonderfully capture the story and will engage little eyes, as young readers have fun pointing out all the clever details.
Sharing The Bread is a beautiful and entertaining story that does a wonderful job of capturing the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
MY RATING
Pat Zietlow Miller knew she wanted to be a writer ever since her seventh-grade English teacher read her paper about square-dancing skirts out loud in class and said: “This is the first time anything a student has written has given me chills.” (Thanks, Mrs. Mueller! You rock!)
Pat started out as a newspaper reporter and wrote about everything from dartball and deer-hunting to diets and decoupage. Then, she joined an insurance company and edited its newsletter and magazine.
Now, she writes insurance information by day and children’s books by night. Her first picture book, SOPHIE’S SQUASH, is illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf and published by Schwartz & Wade. Her second picture book, WHEREVER YOU GO, is illustrated by Eliza Wheeler and will be released April 21, 2015 by Little, Brown. SHARING THE BREAD, illustrated by Jill McElmurry, will come out from Schwartz & Wade in August 2015. THE QUICKEST KID IN CLARKSVILLE, a fiction picture book inspired by Olympic sprinter Wilma Rudolph, is under contract with Chronicle.
Pat has one wonderful husband, two delightful daughters and two pampered cats. She doesn’t watch much TV, but she does love “Glee” and "Chopped." Pat lives in Madison, Wisconsin.


by Eric James
Oct. 1, 2015
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
It's a magical Christmas Eve, and all of the children in your town are sleeping. Well, all of the children but you! How could you possibly fall sleep when you know Santa and his sleigh are on their way?






Eric James follows up his spooktacular A Halloween Scare, with the immensely adorable and enthralling Santa's Sleigh Is On Its Way To My House!

Through pitch-perfect and utterly charming rhyming text, Eric James wonderfully captures the excitement and anticipation of Christmas Eve. Little readers will easily relate to the "just can't wait" feelings the young characters in the book experience and will love the thrilling and humorous adventures of Santa as he makes his way to your little one's house. The way the narrator directly addresses readers, and places them within the story, creates such a fun, engaging story! The gorgeously rendered illustrations are soft, yet eye-catching and full of whimsical details. 

And like Eric James' A Halloween Scare, this Christmas picture book is a location based book with over 100 different versions, taking place in different states/countries and featuring location based text and pictures, available.


MY RATING

Eric James is a children's book author, word tickler, and champion asparagus thrower. You can find him online at www.ericjames.co.uk. He lives in Bath, England, with his family.

by Ellis Paul
Oct 1, 2015
Albert Whitman & Company
Based on acclaimed singer-songwriter Ellis Paul's Christmas song, this hilarious tale focuses on an inevitable part of the holiday season--lights! Year after year, the neighbors on one suburban street try to outdo one another with their holiday decorations, until one night their efforts take out the world's power grid. Once the neighborhood is dark, though, they're finally able to clearly see the stars above--a simple, perfect Christmas show. 

The Night The Lights Went Out On Christmas takes Ellis Paul's famous song and turns it into an endearing and unforgettable picture book that captures the true essence of Christmas!

Told through sing-song rhymes and silly text, little readers will have a blast watching this Christmas decorations extravaganza unfold and implode in darkness. The jewel toned, filled to the brim illustrations perfectly bring Paul's charming and funny words to life. Every page is a glowing, colorful explosion of Christmas lights, blow-up decorations, expressive faces, and more, and young readers will enjoy pointing out all the holiday details.

MY RATING

Ellis Paul is a singer and songwriter whose style bridges pop and modern folk. In a career spanning more than twenty years, he has released 18 albums, including The Day After Everything Changed. The first of his two children’s albums, The Dragonfly Races, was one of NPR’s top ten picks for 2008. He grew up in northern Maine and is now based in Boston. He spends much of the year on the road, playing nearly 200 tour dates around the country. The Hero in You is his first picture book.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Picture Book Review-- #BabyLove: My Social Life by Corine Dehghanpisheh {giveaway}

Don't forget to enter the giveaway below my review...



#BabyLove: My Social Life
by Corine Dehghanpisheh
July 9, 2015
My Art To Inspire

“Click.” “Tap.” Tag and Post. An adored baby tells a modern tale about life in today’s digital world. #BabyLove: My Social Life highlights the social phenomena of sharing daily activities using technology and social networks.

PRAISE FOR #BABYLOVE

"A charming modernization of the traditional bedtime tale.”- Reviewed by Kirkus

#BabyLove: My Social Life is a clever and entertaining look at raising children in the age of social media… The author's story flows beautifully, and her illustrations are brightly colored, cheerful and humorous… Dehghanpisheh's wry and subtle humor is evident throughout this story that will entertain adults as well as the children they share the book with. #BabyLove is highly recommended for tech-savvy parents and their babies.” – Reviewed by Readers’ Favorite

"#BabyLove offers a hipster view of contemporary parenting. Beneath the story of technological trendiness, however, lies a more enduring portrait of nurture and joy." – Reviewed by Foreword Clarion Reviews

****************************************

Corine Dehghanpisheh's #BabyLove: My Social Life is a hip, witty, and modern take on parents and social media. The author perfectly captures what it's like having an adorable baby in this social media age and wanting to share every precious, funny, and unforgettable moment of their little one's lives with the world...something I've been ALL too familiar with since my niece (now 2 years old) was born. With a gaggle of grandparents, aunties, uncles, and her mama and daddy of course, my sweet niece is definitely used to having a camera in her face and being Instagram famous ;)

Told from a baby's perspective and through clever, fun rhymes that flow effortlessly, #BabyLove: My Social Life is as smart as it is entertaining. The sing-song text will sound pleasant and lulling to little ones' ears, while providing plenty of laughs to parents. The bright illustrations, with their expressive characters and humorous details, create a happy, cheerful atmosphere.

Dehghanpisheh definitely explores modern parenting with gently, wry humor, but #BabyLove: My Social Life if full of a lot of heart as well and wonderfully captures the true essence of love, family, and joy.

This charming and amusing picture book is a fun choice for both parents and little ones.

MY RATING

Corine Dehghanpisheh is a children’s book author and illustrator. Her inspirations for writing and illustrating come from everyday life. She was a Mom’s Choice Awards® Silver Recipient and a Next Generation Indie Author Finalist for her debut children’s bookCan We Play Again?which was published in March 2012. Her inspiration for this book came from her work as a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist in NYC. Corine published her second children’s book, Buddy’s Dream, in November 2013, and her third children’s book, #BabyLove: My Social Life, in July 2015. When Corine is not busy being creative, she is most likely having fun taking pictures of her family. Corine lives in Manhattan, NY with her husband and new baby. Readers can connect with Corine on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodreadsTo learn more, go to BooksByCorineD.com

Win a copy of
#BabyLove: My Social Life!
Thanks to Corine and Book Publicity Services, I have one Kindle copy of this cute picture book to give away.
DETAILS
-open to anyone who can read Kindle books
-ends 11/13
please read all rules below

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Interview & Giveaway: Paula Berinstein, author of the Amanda Lester Detective Series


I'm thrilled to have author Paula Berinstein here today for a fun interview and giveaway...


Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy
(Amanda Lester Detective #1)
by Paula Berinstein
May 22, 2015
The Writing Show

Amanda Lester wouldn’t be caught dead going into the family business. Her ancestor, Sherlock Holmes’s colleague Inspector G. Lestrade, is a twit. Nevertheless her parents refuse to see his flaws, and she’s going to a secret English school for the descendants of famous detectives whether she likes it or not.

When Amanda arrives at the dreaded school, she considers running away—until she and her new friends discover blood and weird pink substances in odd places. At first they’re not sure whether these oddities mean anything, but when Amanda’s father disappears and the cook is found dead with her head in a bag of sugar, they’re certain that crimes are taking place.

 Now Amanda must embrace her destiny and uncover the truth. The only snag is that arch-villain Blixus Moriarty, a descendant of Holmes’s nemesis Professor James Moriarty, might be involved, and he doesn’t like nosy little girls interfering in his business.



What three words best describe your book, Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy?

Fun, quirky, mystery

Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy a try?

What would you do if you discovered a secret conspiracy involving the world’s most notorious arch-villain?

Grab a copy of Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy and answer the following:

favorite chapter?

Chapter 30, “Monkeyshines.” In this chapter Amanda meets up with a very cheeky monkey, and it’s not pretty.

favorite page?

Page 293, when the truth comes to light.

favorite setting?

The Holmes House common room at the Legatum Continuatum secret school for detectives. Legatum’s d├ęcor gremlins change its appearance every day so the observation teacher can test the students’ skills. You never know what you’ll find there.

flip to a random page and give us 1-2 sentences teaser:

Page 122: “There was a mood in the room that Amanda couldn’t describe—a creepy kind of silence that made her feel as if something terrible were about to happen.”

What inspired Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy? How did the story come to be?

I love mysteries, and I’ve always wondered if I could write them. Before I could test myself, though, I had to invent a detective. I wanted it to be a woman because I thought I could get inside a woman’s head more easily than a man’s, and I wanted her to be unusual. I came up with the idea of a young woman who would rebel against her upbringing. Her family would be intellectual and college-educated, but she wouldn’t want to be anything like them, so she’d become a plumber. And so I made her a plumber’s apprentice. In the first story, she’d find a dead body under a house when she crawled underneath to fix a pipe.
I got the idea of her being descended from the fictional character Inspector Lestrade because unlike Amanda, I love Sherlock Holmes and I wanted to use him in the story, but only indirectly. Trying to follow Conan Doyle’s (the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories) amazing act was just too intimidating, so I didn’t want to write about Holmes himself. Since I enjoy speculating about the lives of minor characters, Lestrade was the perfect choice.
I made Amanda American so I’d be likely to get her right. At first the setting for the story was going to be Los Angeles—specifically Woodland Hills—which I know really well. But I couldn’t make that setting exotic enough, so I moved the story to England, which is where my husband, Alan, comes from.
But I still had difficulty—until I came up with the idea of making Amanda a kid. Once I did that I was able to invent a school for her to attend, and everything fell into place. Writing for kids allowed me to come up with some crazy ideas, such as a sugar conspiracy, which adults might have trouble taking seriously.
Can you tell us a bit about your heroine, Amanda? What makes her unique and interesting?

Amanda is a twelve-year-old girl whose parents won’t stop talking about the great la-di-da detective Sherlock Holmes. “Amanda, that isn’t the way Sherlock Holmes would do it.” “Amanda, did I tell you what Mergatroyd Thumbwhistle said about Sherlock Holmes?” “Amanda, when I was your age I had already memorized the complete memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.” They’re just exhausting.

You see, Amanda is descended from Holmes’s colleague, the bumbling Scotland Yard detective Inspector Lestrade, and they want her to be just like him. Or Holmes. Or both of them. Of course Amanda will have none of it. She wants to be the world’s greatest filmmaker. Unfortunately, her parents think that’s a frivolous idea and insist that she prepare for her career by attending a secret English school for the descendants of famous detectives, the Legatum Continuatum Enduring School for Detectives. (Ssh. Don’t tell anyone about the school. It’s a secret.) That presents several problems for her. For one thing, she’s afraid of criminals. For another, she lives in Los Angeles and would have to move to the English Lake District where it’s very cold. And when would she have time to make movies? She’s so proud of the films she’s made—“Lunchpail,” “A Distant Snail,” and “Mynah Bird” in particular. Now she’s about to make the best film of her life—still untitled—and she’d have to drop it at the absolute worst time.

There’s another thing, if you haven’t already guessed it. If Amanda goes to the stupid school, people will find out she’s descended from that laughingstock Lestrade, and she’ll never be able to face anyone again. And then what will she do?

You must be a big Sherlock Holmes fan...what are some of your favorite Holmes mysteries?

“The Hound of the Baskervilles,” to be sure. The setting is so atmospheric, with spooky moors and creeping fog and large, dark houses, not to mention shady characters. There is also a good deal of forensic activity in the story—physical evidence to be analyzed—which I find fascinating. Also, because of its length, we get to savor it.

I must say that I am rather partial to “The Red-Headed League” as well, for kind of a crazy reason. I once made puppets and put on a little show based on the story. You can imagine what fun it is to create a character with flaming red hair, not to mention Holmes himself, with his signature deerstalker hat and cape. I think I even made him a pipe. Do you know that in the Conan Doyle stories Holmes never wore a deerstalker hat or smoked a calabash pipe? Those became associated with him because of the way he was portrayed on the stage. Obviously they stuck, though, and now we don’t think of him any other way.

Can you give us any hints about what’s to come for Amanda in future books in this series?

Yes! For one thing, a descendant of Sherlock Holmes becomes a student at Legatum, and is he a dork! He’s crazy about Amanda, but she can’t stand him. Unfortunately she will have to find a way to work with him or the bad guys are going to get hold of something they really, really shouldn’t.

After that, Amanda and her friends tangle with the world’s most dangerous hacker, and it isn’t who you think. Later even more new villains emerge, including someone Amanda is related to.

We will be also meet some very silly blue peacocks and some bright red spiders with remarkable powers. You won’t want to miss them.

What’s the best thing about being an author?

World-building. Even when you’re writing a realistic story, which the Amanda Lester, Detective stories aren’t quite—they’re very exaggerated, although they’re not fantasy or paranormal or science fiction—you can create a unique world for your characters to inhabit, and it can be anything you want. It’s hard work though. You can’t be lazy or inconsistent or the story won’t work and your readers won’t be happy.

Fill in the blanks:

I’m really awesome at being silly.
I’m really embarrassed to admit that I have not read every single Sherlock Holmes story. Amanda’s parents would not be pleased.
The last great book I read was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

If you were to bake a cupcake inspired by Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?

Well, I suppose I would have to call it the Nigel, after Amanda’s roommate’s guide dog. It would be chocolate because Amanda is a chocoholic, and of course it would have pink icing because I’d use pink sugar to make it, and that would make it so sparkly. However, the frosting would taste terrible, and if you read the book, you’ll know why. The chocolate part would be lovely, though. Very light and airy and not too rich, but dark as night. I’d be tempted to put copper sprinkles on it as well, and if you look at Chapter 34, “Acting,” you’ll see why.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Paula!

Paula Berinstein is nothing like Amanda. For one thing, she’s crazy about Sherlock Holmes. For another, she’s never wanted to be a filmmaker. In addition, compared to Amanda she’s a big chicken! And she wouldn’t mind going to a secret school at all. In fact, she’s hoping that some day she’ll get to build one.

Win 1 of 3 paperback copies of
Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy!
Paula has generously offered a paperback copy of her book for three winners.
DETAILS
-open to anyone
-ends 11/13
please read full rules below

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Unless otherwise stated, the policies and rules for each giveaway are as follows:
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and Washington D.C. who are 13 years old or older as of date of entry.
To enter, fill out the appropriate Rafflecopter form associated with each giveaway.
The start and end dates for each giveaway will be clearly stated and followed.
The specified amount of winners shall be selected in a random drawing.
Winners will be notified by email and must claim their prize within 48 hours. If a winner does not respond within 48 hours, then a new winner will be chosen.
Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes in the mail. Once a prize is dropped off at the post office, it is no longer my responsibility and I will not compensate in anyway for prizes not delivered because of the USPS.
If a third-party (author, publisher, etc) is shipping a prize, once I provide the winner(s)' mailing information to them, the prize is no longer my responsibility. I will forward your mailing info to the proper people within 48 hours after getting it from you. If you have not received your prize from an author or publisher within 8 weeks, it is your responsibility to contact them further.
By participating in any giveaway, you agree to adhere to these rules. Any breaking of these rules by entrants will disqualify them from the giveaway and their entries will be deleted.