All posts by Jojo Debrazza

Jojo Debrazza is a writer of young adult and children’s fiction. The Charm is her debut YA novella. Jojo has a vivid imagination and likes to make up stories. Her friends call it lying but she calls it writing. She lives mainly in a dream world with her partner and a house full of small furry animals. It’s a carefree happy place where everything is bright and fluffy. Jojo’s other passion is football (soccer). As well as playing and helping to run a club she works as a football development officer in Cambridgeshire, England.

And they were all yellow!

All the flowers in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2018 have bloomed!

The competitors, in blooming order, can be seen below:

Holts (some tampering may have occurred here)
Bull-Knox
Gramps
Team USA
Naughty
Sprilbey
Bulls
Shmelling
Pears
Sparkly

Bears

Helomi
Bowdy

Unfortunately, Gramps fell to the floor and was eaten by the bunnies.

The winners were Bulls (tallest) and Naughty (prettiest).

Bulls was the tallest sunflower
Naughty was the prettiest flower

Thanks again to all who took part or followed the contest.

See you all next year.

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Traveler’s Zone Book Tour…and Tasty Recipe

Creamy Cauliflower Pea Salad

Creamy Cauliflower

This is a traditional Midwestern recipe usually served as a side-dish. You can’t make a meal of meats and carbs alone. Well, you can, actually, but it’s nice to have a tasty vegetable dish to balance out your plate.

Creamy Cauliflower Pea Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • Half head cauliflower cut in bite size pieces (about 10 oz.)
  • English Peas fresh or frozen (about 10 oz.)
  • 1 cup peeled, diced cucumber
  • 3 tablespoons commercial reduced-calorie ranch dressing
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dillweed
  • Cheddar cheese

Materials:

  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Large saucepan
  • Large bowl
  • Knife

Directions:

  1. Combine water, cauliflower, and peas in saucepan; bring to a boil.  Cover and cook 5 minutes or until cauliflower is crisp tender; drain well.
  2. Combine cauliflower mixture and remaining ingredients in a bowl; toss well.  Serve warm or chilled.  Before serving top with small bite size pieces of cheddar cheese.

While your home fills up with the tasty aromas of an earlier time, you can indulgently curl up with a good book. May I suggest Traveler’s Zone?

Chris Pavesic continues the amazing story of Cami Malifux with Book 2 of the Revelation Chronicles.

Escape from a world of darkness into a magical realm of limitless adventure.

About the Book:

In Starter Zone, Cami kept herself and her younger sister Alby alive in a post-apocalyptic world, facing starvation, violence, and death on a daily basis. Caught by the military and forcefully inscribed, Cami manages to scam the system and they enter the Realms, a Virtual Reality world, as privileged Players rather than slaves. They experience a world of safety, plenty, and magical adventure. Indeed, magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as Cami continues her epic quest to navigate the Realms and build a better life for her family. But an intrusion from her old life threatens everything she has gained and imperils the entire virtual world.

Time to play the game.
Genre:
LitRPG YA Fantasy
Read an Excerpt:

I was born into a world where silicone still ruled. Where the products of the earth outshone those of the sea. Integrated circuits ran all electronic equipment and scientists strove to make the conducting lines smaller and smaller. Silicon Valley tried, and failed, to make chips fast enough to upload human consciousness.

The Revelation came a few years later from the hydrologists. They designed a system that did not use silicone, but instead worked with water molecules. The hydrologists managed to imprint the consciousness of a human mind on a single drop of water.

The water was to be kept in self-contained, sealed aquariums—pure, undiluted, eternal—where virtual realities were constructed to meet every need and desire. All of human knowledge encoded and stored in literal pools of data and integrated with the drops of human consciousness. It was, the hydrologists claimed, utopia achieved.

The obscenely rich were the hydrologist’s first clients, many taken near the end of their lives. The procedure did not always work, but there were enough successes to spur people’s interest. People suffering from terminal illnesses volunteered to be inscribed, and the hydrologists worked and refined their process. Private companies formed and competition forced price wars. Hundreds of customers grew to thousands, and then to millions. There were landmark court cases arguing whether or not health insurance should cover the cost of the inscription–whether or not this was a medical procedure designed to save lives or a form of physician assisted suicide. The law struggled to decide if life ended when the body was drained to a dry, leathery husk, or if life continued inside those glowing, sealed aquariums.

I was thirteen when the governments seized control of the laboratories, first in the Eastern European countries. Then the labs of Europe and the Middle East were swallowed up. Terrorist attacks soon followed and destroyed most of the civilized world over the next three years. The United States, Canada, and Greece, those bastions of democracy, did not fall until the very end. Of course, by then no one cared whether or not the government or the private companies ran the uploading programs. Many of the aquariums ruptured in the strife and the droplets, imbued with human consciousness, re-entered the water cycle of the planet.

The destruction of the aquariums led to a moment of serendipity. Once the hydrologists learned that the human minds survived outside of the aquariums, they designed a world-wide system of interlocking realms to host the inscribed human minds. Right now the realms exist in Challenger Deep, the deepest known point in the Earth’s seabed hydrosphere, but the hydrologists have plans to expand their reach into the rest of the world. Soon, the only life left on the planet will exist in the virtual world.

Time to play the game.

 
Purchase Links:

Smashwords

Watch the Book Trailer:

Praise for the Revelation Chronicles:
“She entered the game and I was hooked. I don’t even
play that kind of computer game, but the story was as addicting as I imagine a
real MMORPG to be. Each level up, each new character, each new threat drew me
in. I wish I could read the next book already!” –Kata, NetGalley Reviewer
“I love the dystopian genre, and a lot of the problem I
run into is a lot of them are boring and follow the same storyline. This one is
so different it’s amazing. I cannot recommend this enough. It’s sci-fi, it’s
dystopian, and it fresh. A definite must read that I plan on reading
again!” –Liliyana S., NetGalley Reviewer
“Both sisters are strong female characters who are good role
models for young girls.  This story is
filled with suspense and adventure with a taste of the gaming world.  It is the first LITRPG book that I have read
and I really enjoyed it.” –Teresa O, Educator
“This book was amazing! The story line, along with the
development of the characters was phenomenal. This book is very well paced, and
easy to follow. Seeing the story play out for the characters, along with the
lessons you gain from reading this book, makes it one of my new favorites. For,
this book is more than just another dystopia novel. It’s basis is on family
love, and what you’d do to keep them safe. It’s a young adult novel, yet is
appropriate for anyone above the age of 10. I would highly suggest reading this
book ASAP. You won’t regret it!”–Almaz D, Reviewer
Book 1:Starter Zone

Amazon

Want to learn more about The Revelation Chronicles? Check out chrispavesic.com for updates on this and her other series.Meet the Author:

Chris Pavesic lives in the Midwestern United States and
loves Kona coffee, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between
writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening,
working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with
friends.
Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2NlNJXB
Enter the Giveaway:

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Excerpt: Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast

 

Mirror World Publishing presents a 1-week book tour for Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast by Written by Regan W.H. Macaulay and Illustrated by Wei Lu!

 

Follow the book tour here:

 

About Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast:

Mixter Twizzle is an odd, red, round-shaped, mischievous creature. He lives in a hovel, beneath a rustic barn, underneath the chicken coop at Riverdale Farm. He’s a snoozing sneezer and a snoring barker—a peculiar sort that both annoys and pleases. At first, Mixter Twizzle is thrilled by his egg-gorging fests, delighting in his own wickedness, but he soon realizes he is lonely. He longs for companionship, but the hens will have nothing to do with him. Can this fiendish creature learn to make friends at the farm?

Check out this excerpt:

MTBpage8wtext

Genre: Children’s Picture Book; Fantasy; Friendship

Publish Date: September 3, 2018

Publisher: Mirror World Publishing

Publisher Website: https://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/

Purchase Links:

Amazon

Mirror World Publishing

 

Meet the Author:

Regan W. H. Macaulay writes novels, short stories, children’s literature, and scripts. Writing is her passion, but she’s also a producer and director of theatre, film, and television. She is an animal-enthusiast as well, which led her to become a Certified Canine (and Feline) Massage Therapist. Other award-winning picture storybooks by Regan W. H. Macaulay include Beverlee Beaz the Brown Burmese, Sloth the Lazy Dragon, and Tamara Turtle’s Life So Far. She is also the author of The Trilogy of Horrifically Half-baked Ham which includes Space Zombies! (based on her film, Space Zombies: 13 Months of Brain-Spinning Mayhem!—available on iTunes and on DVD), They Suck, and Horror at Terror Creek.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReganWHMacaulay

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReganWHMacaulay

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/regan-%20%20macaulay-18989a34

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2LxzSNt

Meet the Illustrator:

Wei Lu is an illustrator and graphic designer residing in Toronto. She grew up in China before studying at Nova Scotia’s College of Art and Design. She loves animals and make-believe characters of any kind and can bring them to life with a pencil and paper.

 

 

Exclusive Excerpt: Unreachable Skies by Karen McCreedy

Welcome to the virtual book tour for
Unreachable Skies by Karen McCreedy.

 

In a world where it is normal to fly, what happens when you can’t?
About Unreachable Skies:
When a plague kills half the Drax population, and leaves the hatchlings of the survivors with a terrible deformity – no wings – suspicion and prejudice follow. Continuously harassed by raids from their traditional enemies, the Koth, the Drax are looking for someone, or something, to blame.
Zarda, an apprentice Fate-seer, is new to her role and unsure of her own abilities; but the death of her teacher sees her summoned by the Drax Prime, Kalis, when his heir, Dru, emerges from his shell without wings.
A vision that Dru will one day defeat the Koth is enough to keep him and the other wingless hatchlings alive – for a time. Half-trained, clumsy, and full of self-doubt, Zarda must train Dru to one day fulfil the destiny she has foreseen for him, even if it is quickly becoming clear that the Prime’s favourite adviser, Fazak, is not only plotting against the wingless, but is gaining more of Kalis’ trust by the day.
Efforts to fight prejudice and superstition are certain to lead to death for some and exile for others; while Zarda’s own journey to understanding her role in events may lead her to abandon all tradition in order to protect her peoples’ future.

 

Exclusive Excerpt: 

The badge was cool and light in my paw, its circular edge worn near the top, where generations of Fate-seers had held it while they pinned it on. Feeling the weight of their legacy, I hesitated for a heartbeat more before I fastened it to the front of my tunic. As I smoothed the black-and-white striped fabric, I realised that it was stained with grease and kestox syrup, but a glance at Morel’s impatient ear-twitching told me there was no time to change. I took a moment to brush my fur, comb my whiskers, and wipe my paws, then set my ears straight and tried to keep my tail still.

“I’m ready.” That was untrue. I had been nervous enough on the few occasions that I had been admitted to Kalis’ presence, and there had been no need then for me to do more than dip a bow and set my ears and wings to the appropriate angle. Vizan had taken me with him to observe, and Kalis had taken no more notice of me than he had of Vizan’s shadow. Now I was being asked to take Vizan’s place – not merely to speak, but to watch over Kalis’ egg and pray for the hatchling.

Pray? I wasn’t even sure I could remember the correct words for the occasion, let alone put them in the right order.

Morel didn’t hear the doubt in my voice, though. He half-raised his wings and dipped his ears to acknowledge Vizan, turned, and ducked out through the doorway.

I peered around the screen to give Vizan a last glance, half-hoping that he would sit up and declare that he felt much better, but his eyes were closed again and he rasped a snore. There was nothing for it but to follow Morel outside.

Vizan’s dwelling was the central point of the High Council cluster. Not for the first time, I wished that there was enough room on the curving pathway for me to spread my wings and fly over the other dwellings on the isolated mesa. The thought had hardly grazed my mind when the long shadow of a guardflight patrol skimmed overhead. I looked up to see who was on duty, but against the after-zenith sun all I could see was a silhouette with a bow in one paw. From where I stood the trackway spiralled through the cluster, thin soil showing through the moss that covered the rest of the plateau in red tussocks. A delicious aroma of fresh-cooked fish drifted from the next dwelling, where Hapak, the Chief Artisan, lived, reminding me that I hadn’t eaten since dawn. My stomachs rumbled a protest, but I’d long since regurgitated and rechewed my breakfast; I would have to stay hungry for a while longer.

An easterly breeze freshened the air with the scent of waterweed; half-heard voices from Hapak’s dwelling vied with the hiss-and-rattle of the sea dashing pebbles against the base of the cliffs. The wind was chilly, reminding me that the harvest season was almost over, and I raised the fur on my arms a little, wondering if I might go back inside for a snack and a warmer tunic.

Morel, a few steps ahead of me on the winding path, looked back to check I was following, and slapped his tail on the ground to show his exasperation. “Zarda, we do not have time to admire the view.” Without another word, he turned and led the way around the trackway to the Spirax, where the Prime dwelt. 

Book Information:
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Adventure – This book is targeted toward a general audience.
Page Count: 242 pages
Publish Date: August 17, 2018
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing
Purchase Links:

 

Review Quotes: 
“In the tradition of Ursula K. LeGuin and Anne McCaffery, with Unreachable Skies Karen McCreedy has created a nuanced alien culture populated by compelling characters.” ~ James Swallow, bestselling author
Meet the Author:
Brought up in Staffordshire, England, Karen McCreedy now lives in West Sussex where she recently retired from the University of Chichester. She has written articles on films and British history for a number of British magazines including ‘Yours’, ‘Classic Television’, and ‘Best of British’.
Karen has had a number of short stories published in various anthologies. She also won second prize in Writers’ News magazine’s ‘Comeuppance’ competition in 2014 with her short story ‘Hero’.
‘Unreachable Skies’ is her first novel.

Bloomin’ ‘eck

Me: Is there a prize for the first flower to bloom?

Also me: No.

Me again: Damn!

The first bloomer is Bull-Knox

Now the pressure of the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2018 is over, some competitors have come out of their shells.

Bull-Knox was the first to open up, shortly followed by Gramps and Team USA.

Naughty, who has already been crowned the prettiest flower, is also starting to peek out at the world and reveal her beauty.

Stay tuned for more pictures of all the competitors.

Cover Reveal – Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast

Mirror World Publishing presents the cover reveal for Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast by Written by Regan W.H. Macaulay and Illustrated by Wei Lu!

About Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast:

Mixter Twizzle is an odd, red, round-shaped, mischievous creature. He lives in a hovel, beneath a rustic barn, underneath the chicken coop at Riverdale Farm. He’s a snoozing sneezer and a snoring barker—a peculiar sort that both annoys and pleases. At first, Mixter Twizzle is thrilled by his egg-gorging fests, delighting in his own wickedness, but he soon realizes he is lonely. He longs for companionship, but the hens will have nothing to do with him. Can this fiendish creature learn to make friends at the farm?

Genre: Children’s Picture Book; Fantasy; Friendship

Publish Date: September 3, 2018

Publisher: Mirror World Publishing

Publisher Website: https://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/

Meet the Author:

Regan W. H. Macaulay writes novels, short stories, children’s literature, and scripts. Writing is her passion, but she’s also a producer and director of theatre, film, and television. She is an animal-enthusiast as well, which led her to become a Certified Canine (and Feline) Massage Therapist. Other award-winning picture storybooks by Regan W. H. Macaulay include Beverlee Beaz the Brown Burmese, Sloth the Lazy Dragon, and Tamara Turtle’s Life So Far. She is also the author of The Trilogy of Horrifically Half-baked Ham which includes Space Zombies! (based on her film, Space Zombies: 13 Months of Brain-Spinning Mayhem!—available on iTunes and on DVD), They Suck, and Horror at Terror Creek.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReganWHMacaulay

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReganWHMacaulay

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/regan-%20%20macaulay-18989a34

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2LxzSNt

Meet the Illustrator:

Wei Lu is an illustrator and graphic designer residing in Toronto. She grew up in China before studying at Nova Scotia’s College of Art and Design. She loves animals and make-believe characters of any kind and can bring them to life with a pencil and paper.

And the Winners are . . .

The judging of the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2018 took place on Saturday 28th July at Knoxie’s zoo themed birthday barbecue.

Party animals
Party animals

The biggest sunflowers were measured and Bulls, measuring in at 111 cm, was crowned the tallest. Bulls also won the first Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest in 2014. They were delighted to regain the title and take home another cheap, plastic, solar-powered, dancing sunflower.

Bulls win the Bull-Knox sunflower contest 2018
Bulls aim high

Despite none of the sunflowers blooming in time for the judging, Knoxie’s Uncle Mick was able to use his super-sensory, cheetah skills to determine  Naughty as the prettiest flower and winner of the Indie Award.

Naughty wins the Indie Award in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2018
Naughty but nice

Holts, who had failed to appear throughout the whole contest, made a slightly suspicious late appearance on the judging day. However,  at just 50 cm it was still the shortest of the bunch.

Sunflower windmill
Better late than never

The final standings for the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2018 are below:

  1. Bulls – 111 cm
  2. Naughty – 95 cm
  3. Bull-Knox – 92 cm
  4. Sparkly – 88 cm
  5. Team USA – 87 cm
  6. Gramps – 84 cm
  7. Shmelling – 83 cm
  8. Helomi – 83 cm
  9. Bears – 82 cm
  10. Sprilbey – 75 cm
  11. Buddha – 68 cm
  12. Pears – 52 cm
  13. Holts – 50 cm

Well done to all competitors, you’re all winners in my eyes!

Bulls are Enjoying the Sun

Who loves the sun? Sunflowers and Bulls do.

Bulls is now top of the table in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2018. A big shout out also goes to previous bottom of the table dwellers, Sparkly and Helomi, who have embraced the sunshine and shot up to joint third place.

The current standings are below:

  1. Bulls – 82 cm
  2. Naughty – 69 cm
  3. Sparkly – 66 cm
  4. Helomi – 66 cm
  5. Bears – 64 cm
  6. Team USA – 63 cm
  7.  Bull-Knox – 63 cm
  8. Shmelling – 58 cm
  9. Gramps – 56 cm
  10. Buddha – 55cm
  11. Sprilbey – 48 cm
  12. Pears – 40 cm
  13. Holts – 0 cm

Exclusive Excerpt – The Ghost in the Gardens by HL Carpenter

 

Welcome the 1-week Virtual Book Tour for The Ghost in the Gardens (A Flower Girl Mystery) by HL Carpenter.
About The Ghost in the Gardens:
Until the first spooky visit, ten year old Chrysantha Howe doesn’t think about ghosts. She thinks about plants.
All.
The.
Time.
She has her future planned out, and that future includes plants. Chrys is going to be a plant scientist like her uncle and her favorite teacher, and she’s determined to find the very rare Coralroot orchid.
The ghost is not in the plan.

But when her teacher disappears and the police suspect her uncle was involved, Chrys has to figure out what the ghost is trying to tell her—before it’s too late.Follow the Book Tour:

Book Details:
 
Genre: Middle Grade Paranormal Mystery
Page Count: 152 pages
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing (http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/)
Order Links:
Mirror World Publishing:  Ebook  Paperback
Read an Exclusive Excerpt:

I

Would the pilot be able to keep the helicopter in the air until they reached South Garden?

And what would they do when they got there? South Garden was not a safe landing spot. The ground was marshy and overgrown and too soft to support the heavy helicopter. The chopper might disappear into the mud before the pilot and Uncle Everett were able to get out.

I had walked through the meadow yesterday. I’d sunk to my knees in muck in some spots, and I weighed a lot less than a helicopter.

I darted out of the woods as the helicopter wobbled in a slow circle over South Garden. I waved my arms and pointed to the east. A wide grassy clearing lay beyond the trees that framed South Garden on three sides. The land there was higher and drier.

The chopper moved in the direction I pointed.

I dashed around the edge of South Garden, avoiding the sharp thorns of the wild blackberry bushes that stabbed out of the ground in untidy clumps. Barkley stayed close to my heels, spooked by the noise of the helicopter’s engine.

When I reached the open space on the far side of the field, I stopped. I waved both arms at the pilot to let her know the clearing was safe to use as a landing site.

The pilot waved back, but instead of dropping down to the field, the helicopter continued to hover. Uncle Everett smiled like he had no idea of the danger he was in.

Then the helicopter swept up, shot forward, and sped away.

What the heck was going on?

The engine noise dwindled from muted roar to dull thump and faded into silence as the chopper vanished into the distance.

The engine noise dwindled from muted roar to dull thump and faded into silence as the chopper vanished into the distance.

I rubbed my fingers across the smooth glass of the daisy pendant that dangled from a silver chain around my neck. What was Uncle Everett doing in the helicopter? He was supposed to be in Tampa, working on his latest book. Was he concocting another one of his publicity stunts?

I hoped not. He’d only avoided being hauled off in handcuffs after his last crazy adventure because Mom was a good lawyer.

My life was getting more complicated by the minute.

What else could go wrong?

Barkley bumped my leg and woofed.

“You’re trespassing, you know,” Dalton Dyer said.

Meet the Author:
Florida-based mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter writes family-friendly fiction. The Carpenters write from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit HLCarpenter.com to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happening in Carpenter Country.
Connect with HL Carpenter:

Naughty Sunflower Chased by Bulls and Bears

Naughty is leading the way in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2018. Bulls is currently the second tallest with Bears and Shmelling close behind.

The measurements and rankings as of this morning (14th June) are below:

1. Naughty – 35 cm
2. Bulls – 31 cm
3. Bears – 30 cm
4. Shmelling – 30 cm
5. Gramps – 28 cm
6. Team USA – 28 cm
7. Pears – 22 cm
8. Sprilbey – 20 cm
9. Bull-Knox – 15 cm
10. Sparkly – 14 cm
11. Buddha – 12 cm
12. Helomi – 10 cm
13. Holts – 0 cm

Left to right: Helomi, Bulls, Sprilbey, Pears, Bears, Shmelling, Bull-Knox, Gramps, Holts, Naughty, Team USA, Buddha, Sparkly.

Those at the bottom of the table should not despair. All flowers are in with a chance of winning the Indie Award for the prettiest flower. And, the bigger the flower the more likely it is to fall from the fence and be eaten by rabbits!