Ben the Dragonborn by Dianne Astle #MMGM

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A dragon book!  My favorite thing.  Dianne Astle’s Ben the Dragonborn is available for just $2.99 right now. Check it out!

What can a fourteen year old boy do to stop a war between humans and merfolk? Ben is about to find out, for the Guardian of the Six Worlds has chosen him to go through a portals to a watery world of merfolk and monsters. Everyone, including Ben, thinks a huge mistake has been made.  Ben’s afraid of water and he can’t swim.  There appears to be nothing to recommend Ben as the best choice on five worlds . But the Guardian knows something about Ben that no one else does: Ben is Dragonborn.  Ben must discover the secret of his own true self.

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About the Author

Dianne was once asked what kind of animal she would be, if she could be an animal. The person who asked the question was shocked when Dianne said she’d like to be a dragon. There are times in everyone’s life when being able to fly high and breathe fire sound very appealing. However, if you can’t be a dragon, or have a dragon as a pet, then the next best thing is to write books with dragons in them and get a dog. Dianne lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband Doug, his three cats and her beloved dog Thomas. Thomas gets Dianne out walking almost every day, which is the next best thing to flying on dragon wing. Dianne rescued Thomas, but he is rescuing her one walk at a time.

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Check out all the Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts!

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The Dragon’s Cave has been Selected for Publication!

I’m so thrilled to report that The Dragon’s Cave won the Kindle Scout nomination for publication and will soon be published by Kindle Press!  I’m not sure of the release date yet, but everyone who nominated me will receive a free Advance Review Copy (ARC) before it’s published.

I understand there may be another round of edits before it goes to press, so that will probably determine the publication date.  I’ll keep you posted as I hear more.

I’m so excited!!

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How does the Fantastic Beasts script work as bedtime reading? #MGMM

 Not sure about how reading a screenplay works as a bedtime story?  I tried it out and I have the full report, complete with my kids’ feedback!

Welcome to Marvelous Middle Grade Monday. Today I’m sharing about the latest J.K. Rowling release and MG favorite, Fantastic Beasts.

We’d just finished the seventh Harry Potter book (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) and faced the sad prospect of no “H.P.” at bedtime. Reading the Harry Potter series had been a united activity–both my eleven year old and my eight year old looked forward to our nightly reading. For Katie Rose, it was her second time listening to me read the whole series, but she was no less engrossed at 11 than she was at 7.  My son Owen had gone from being a reluctant listener when we started (“I think it’s too scary for me”) to being the one who started asking at 7:30, “Is it H.P. time?)

None of us wanted the nighttime goodness to end, so I promptly ordered the Fantastic Beasts screenplay and The Cursed Child script.

When we worked through the Harry Potter series, we always finished reading the book first and then watched the movie.  In the case of Fantastic Beasts, we watched the movie first. I do think that helped immensely, filling in the visuals that aren’t present when reading a screenplay. I guess we’ll find out how important seeing the movie was first when we dive into the script of The Cursed Child. 

Overall, I would call the adventure a success. The one major downside–it went all too fast. A two hour movie script does not compare to the entire Hogwarts school year in terms of how many nights it took us to devour the thing (just a few!).

I brought my kids out to talk about the experience. Here’s what they thought:

Rose-Marie Lyttle: Was it harder to listen to me reading a screenplay vs. a book?

Katie Rose:  YES!

Owen:  It was harder to understand, but it helped when you’d say who said something (the screen directions), it helped.

Rose-Marie Lyttle: If we hadn’t seen the movie, would it have been impossible to understand?

Katie Rose:  I would’ve understood it, but it would be harder.

Owen:  Yeah.

Rose-Marie Lyttle: Was it better than Harry Potter book or not as good?

Both:  Not as good.  Owen: I like Harry Potter better

Rose-Marie Lyttle: Did the fact that there were no kids in this book influence how much you liked it?

Both: No.

Rose-Marie Lyttle: If someone else had written this, and it wasn’t connected with the Harry Potter world, would you still like it?

Owen: Yes, either way.

Katie Rose: I liked it because it was set in the Harry Potter world.

Rose-Marie Lyttle:  Tell me, what was your favorite thing about Fantastic Beasts?

Katie Rose:  I liked the beasts.

Owen:  I liked the Obscurus and the beasts.

Rose-Marie Lyttle: Which beasts in particular?

Owen: I liked them all.  The little thing that steals gold (The Niffler) and the leaf-guy stick thing (bowtruckle) the Swooping Evil.

Rose-Marie Lyttle: Anything you didn’t like about the story?

Both: No

Rose-Marie Lyttle: How would you rate it on a scale of 1-10?

Both:  9

Rose-Marie Lyttle: So what would HP be?

Both: 10.

Rose-Marie Lyttle: Now that you’ve read a screenplay, are you more interested in theater?

Katie Rose: I really want to be a director and this taught me more terms. I’d rather read a book, but if I was directing a movie or was in a movie, I would appreciate a screenplay more than a book.

Owen:  It shows you where the camera would be pointing– it gives you directions.

So there you have it!  JK Rowling unites our family once more!  Tonight we begin The Cursed Child. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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The Lost Branch – New YA from Donna Cook

I’m pleased to welcome Donna Cook, an author I met twenty years ago. We both studied writing at Knox College and you can see from her new release, Donna has put her education to good use. Her first book, The Gift of the Phoenix won 1st Place Fantasy in the North American Book Awards and Kindle Book Review Book of the Year Award Semifinalist. The Lost Branch is the newest book in the YA fantasy Lost Branch series.

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A portion of ash stuck on the altar at the Rock of Light reveals a mysterious new threat.

Corren embarks on a perilous quest for the secrets of a long-extinct branch of the Order. In his absence, a menacing illness threatens the extinction of the earth faeries. But is it Nicolai’s healing they need or Corren’s powerful staff? And while Marcellus delves further into his bond with the element of water, he finds it may require more than he’s able to give.

In this intriguing continuation of Cook’s epic saga, Gift of the Phoenix, the Three discover the power of ancient secrets, new enemies, and treacherous desires. Together, they must protect their world from its most dangerous threat yet. If it isn’t already too late.

What early readers had to say about The Lost Branch:

“An intriguing new angle on a familiar world.”

“A great read!”

“I loved the book and was captivated by the characters and the story. The way you so expertly and effortlessly wove together all the story lines and points of view still has me marveling. Well done!!!”

The Lost Branch is a compelling, original, engaging story.”

“I enjoyed the experience immensely!”

“Just read it and thank me later.”

READ AN EXCERPT

Website book page

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Author Donna Cook Headshot

Donna Cook is an award-winning author and freelance book editor. Her epic fantasy adventure, Gift of the Phoenix, has won numerous awards, including 1st Place Fantasy in the North American Book Awards and Kindle Book Review Book of the Year Award Semifinalist. She’s an Arizona native transplanted to Boise, Idaho, where she is delighting in the change of scenery. When she’s not writing her next novel, she spends her time chasing the kids, exploring delicious eateries, and dancing with her talented husband (Salsa, baby!). She also makes a mean Navajo taco.

You can find her on:

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