Archives for category: Uncategorized

Starting with a great cover and back story, this is definitely a fun read for kids. It’s short, quick, and it has the type of adventure antics brainy, nerdy kids would love to get involved with. This story involves an intricate scheme to steal valuable art, and the adults are fairly clever. They’re no match for the Twisted Oak Amateur Detectives, though, even if the kids can’t seem to get their strategy right at every turn. From falling out of trees to crashing supercharged wheelchairs, the detectives manage to work their past their foibles and eventually face their adversaries. Each of the detectives possesses a distinct skill, and pooled together they make a formidable squadron of crime fighters.

Although I feel young readers would never notice my minor critique, I am a college professor, a writer, and critique many manuscripts and papers. I think The Phony Farkleberry features what nearly all books contain, my early offerings included, and that’s too much prose where it’s not needed. “Less is more” is an old axiom, and I think it would hold true in some parts of this book.

All in all, though, I think kids would eagerly read this book, and the other Twisted Oak Amateur Detectives books as well. If you’re brainy, nerdy, or picked on because of those attributes, you’ll find the adventures of these kids very enjoyable.

I was given a free copy of this book for an honest review.


Holiday Giveaway Kindle Fire Kids Edition 2014 - button

About the Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition 7″ Tablet

Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet

I was pretty excited to see this pretty cool new product available through Amazon. This is a HOT PRODUCT! The all-new Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet also comes with 1 year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited (which means kids get unlimited access to 5,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games—at no additional cost!). It includes a quad-core processor for great performance, a vivid HD display, front and rear-facing cameras, and Dolby Audio PLUS comes with a Kid-Proof Case, and a 2-year worry-free guarantee – if they break it, return it and Amazon replaces it for free. No questions asked! Um… can you say Christmas present?

Fabulous Sponsors (Bloggers)

Thank you to the following bloggers who are sponsoring this giveaway. Please consider visiting at least one or two and thanking them personally.

Mother Daughter Book Reviews

Enter Here Canada

Lavender Likes, Loves, Finds and Dreams

I am a Reader

Addicted Readers

Crystal’s Tiny Treasures

A Bit Bookish

Home on Deranged

Book, Reviews and Giveaways

Tales of a Bookworm


A Leisure Moment

Fabulous Sponsors (Authors and Publishers)

A big thank you to all of the participating authors and publishers who are sponsoring this giveaway. Below you will find their fabulous books

Please consider purchasing one, two or more books that interest you as a “Thank You” to these generous sponsors. Some books are free, others only 99 cents!

Santa's Birthday GiftLobo's Howliday by C.L. MurphyThe Christmas Owl by Angela MuseFrizzy the S.A.D. Elf by Dorothea JensenWhen Violet Was Blue by Deb TroehlerThe Magic WordPlay yayPeter and the Whimper Whineys -coverGimme JimmyMy Fingerpaint Masterpiece - coverABC Adoption and MeGood-bye Baby Max by Diane CantrellCaptain No Beard and the Aurora BorealisIsabella Babysits Baxter by Melissa Perry MorajaThe Tail of a Boy Named Harvey by Gregory BrayThe Time Travel Storm - coverPopcorn: No one makes a mess like a hungry childManner-Man by Sherrill CannonSophias Jungle AdventureSometimes Snow Falls in the SummerIf You Were Me and Lived in GreeceIf You Were Me and Lived in PeruA Different Kind of Safari Helen HippKarmack by J.C. WhyteThe Bravest SquirrelThe WeaverFuzzy ForensicsBefore Happily Ever AfterCamp Bug JuiceThe Mystic Princesses and the WhirlpoolA Whirlwind of DiscoveryFinding Fuzzy by Cat MichaelsSweet T and the North WindThe IfsSecret Dinosaur - Book 1Dewy and the Seeds of Doom by Maggie LyonsDemonic Incident in ChinatownFrankie Dupont and the Mystery of Enderby Manor by Julie Anne GrassoThe Observations of the Obstreperous AnimalsGeorge Knows by Mindy MymudesA Place to Call Home by G.A. WhitmoreLegend of Ghost Dog IslandKT CS cover 2014WhipEye by Geoffrey SaignSticks n Stones and the Garden of Phea - SidebarPair of DocksDiego's DragonIlmarinenTime Square UFOSpartanicaThe SwiftThe Last Timekeepers and the Arch of AtlantisEscape from the Forbidden Planet julie grassoThePrincelingsoftheEast__FinalThe Secret Sisters Club - coverperf5.0625x7.8125.inddBingo Summer by Dawn MaloneDelores Fletcher - coverThe_Princess_Fables_Cover_for_Kindle - 50The Jewel of PeruThe Null DimensionRagesongGhost Leopard by Lars GuignardJohn Bloom and the Victory Garden

Return to Cardamom by Julie Anne Grasso

Giveaway Details

Prize: One winner will receive either a new Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition 7″ Tablet (US only) a $200 Amazon gift card (International) or $200 PayPal cash prize (International)

Contest closes: November 30, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open to: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

NOTE: When the winner is chosen, ALL of their entries will be verified. If ANY of the winner’s entries is invalid, they will be disqualified and a new winner will be chosen.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

MDBR Book Promotion Services


Diego’s Dragon: Spirits of the Sun is one of the top new fantasy books for middle grade and young adult readers.

An eleven-year-old Hispanic boy wins a district-wide writing contest for sixth graders. When an author visits his school to award his prize, Diego Ramirez has no idea how much his life is about to change.

Nathan Sullivan hands Diego his statue, a handsome, glistening black dragon. He shakes his hand and leaves him to his friends. The students crowd around Diego, asking for permission to hold it.

After hearing the name Magnifico spoken aloud by family and friends, Diego awards it to his new dragon. If he only knew how fitting the name was, he might have known what lay ahead. Magnifico is the leader of the Sol Dragones, dragons that live within the magical fires of the sun. Nathan Sullivan is the earth’s connection to the mysterious creatures. It is his task to find Magnifico’s guide.

As Magnifico comes to life he becomes quite mischievous, playing tricks on Diego to embarrass him. As he discovers his bloodline, however, Diego assumes greater control over his dragon and his destiny. In the climactic journey, he frees his people and suffers a terrible loss by guiding Magnifico to their goal.

Taylor Hawkins’s Goodreads Review
Naila Moons’s Goodreads Review
Shannon O’Donnell’s Goodreads Review
Jiha’s File Review


Kevin Gerard lives in San Diego, California, with two feline friends, Jesse the WonderCat and Little Man. When not writing or teaching statistics at Cal State San Marcos, he enjoys walking the grounds at the San Diego Zoo, hitting the waves at Cardiff State Beach, and hanging with his brother, nieces and nephews at the local Pizza Port. He also enjoys playing Halo on the internet; look for him in the rocket games as one of the characters from Diego’s Dragon or Conor and the Crossworlds.

Diego’s Dragon Website
Diego’s Dragon Facebook Fan Page
Diego’s Dragon Twitter Page





Book Blast – March 6 through March 8!

This weekend Renee at Mother/Daughter Book Reviews will host a Book Blast for Diego’s Dragon: Spirits of the Sun. Can’t say I really understand it all, but it sounds like a very cool promotion. Over 50 bloggers will participate in spreading the word about Diego’s Dragon, and there will be a “rafflecopter” giveaway, a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

I’m interested in seeing the result. As I’ve said before, 2014 is the year of the internet. I’ll try a number of different promotions to see if I can push Diego’s story over the hump. Later this year I’ll work with pubslush to organize a crowdfunding effort so I can have Spirits of the Sun made into an audiobook.

Wish me luck! Here’s the URL for the Book Blast, and remember, it’ll only appear on March 6, 7, and 8.


2013 was the year of farmer’s markets and street fairs. They didn’t pan out very well, so 2014 became the year of the internet. Steep learning curve? Picture half-dome in Yosemite National Park and you’ll get a pretty good idea.

I did happen to find a goldmine while reading one of the IBPA (Independent Book Publisher’s Association) monthly magazines. There are two websites devoted to bloggers who love reading middle grade and young adult fantasy novels. I emailed every one of the middle grade folks asking if they would read and review Diego’s first book, Spirits of the Sun, and about fifteen to twenty responded favorably. I sent print or ebooks, and the reviews came back very positive, extremely so in some cases.

One of the bloggers, Mother Daughter Book Reviews promotes books in a few innovative ways. I signed up for a “Book Blast,” which will occur between March 6 and March 8. I’m sure I won’t do her justice by trying to explain the promotion, so I’ll quote her website:

“A Book Blast involves multiple blogs (including MDBR) all posting information about one book (i.e., title, summary, purchasing information, author information, etc.) over 1, 2, or 3 days.  A Book Blast also involves a shared Rafflecopter giveaway (usually for a $25, $50, or $100 Amazon gift card and/or PayPal cash) where individuals gain entries by adding the book to a Goodreads shelf, following the author, following the participating blogs, and so on.  Each participating blogger posts roughly the same information and shares the post and giveaway via their social media networks.  A Book Blast’s main purpose is to gain exposure for the book and followers for the author.”

The link for the Blast is below, and you can only access it during those three days.

The fantastic part of this promotion is that other bloggers sign up to promote it. Diego’s Blast has over 50 bloggers involved, which may result in a huge amount of exposure.

I keep plodding along, but with every day comes a new discovery. I have an author facebook page, a fan facebook page, and a twitter account, and I think as of March, 2014, I finally know how to use 2.7% of the functionality of either platform. I’ve been to author/publisher seminars where speakers have said, “If you write for kids and you’re not on Instagram, you don’t exist.” So I came home and popped open the Instagram home page, which showed two large icons, telling me that I could open an account either through Apple or Google. I tried Google, got completely lost, and gave it up. If anyone knows how to establish an Instagram account and they’re not laughing uproariously right now, could you email me and give me a quick lesson?

I’m having trouble with my upstairs neighbor. She seems to think my cats are making her place stink, even though my place doesn’t!?! Nothing in the world would make me give up my boys. They are my children and I couldn’t love them more if they were human kids.

When I wrote the Conor and the Crossworlds series, I made a group of giant, wild cats the protectors of the dimension called the Crossworlds. I used the personalities of my cats to create the characteristics of the Champions of the Crossworlds. Ajur, a 2800 pound jaguar, had the same plodding, stubborn mentality of Lenny, an orange tabby. Eha, an 1800 pound cheetah, matched the happy-go-lucky personality of Sunny, a black and white tabby and a real card.


Maya, the Lord of the Champions, is his real self, a big tom that used to live next door to me in another neighborhood. He died in the most horrible of ways. I told the woman who cared for him that I was going to make him immortal by making him a character in the Conor and the Crossworlds story. He weighs in at 1400 pounds, and every aspect of his personality remained. He is a powerful shaman, so powerful that even the creators of the Crossworlds don’t know the extent of his magic.


I think I put a little of myself into one of the Champions, a 3000 pound flying cougar named Purugama. He is Conor’s mentor, his best friend, funny but stern, and every reader’s favorite character.

Cats are magnificent animals, whether domestic or wild. What I love most is the identical similarities between the two. It’s amazing to watch a documentary about any wild cat, and then watch your tiny little house cat exhibit the same traits and behaviors. I’ll always have them in my home, they are a real comfort, whether resting on my desk as I write, sleeping with me, or tugging at my foot because they want to play.


Kevin Gerard



I know, I haven’t written since October. Time to get cracking again. Here’s a good topic to begin with – I believe I’ll be able to start writing the fourth book in the Diego’s Dragon series around April first. I needed a break – 8 novels in 8 years – it was starting to show. Not in the quality of the books, but in the quality of my emotional and physical well-being. Thank the maker for the gym! I exercise quite frequently, as a matter of fact I’ll be heading to the exercise room in about an hour. But enough about me.

If you’ve read Book Three: Battle at Tenochtitlan, then you know where it left Magnifico, Diego, the Spanish conquistadors, and many of the Sol Dragones. Readers have to wonder how Estrella and what’s left of Magnifico’s army will be able to battle Satadon as long as he is siding with the ancients.

And what of the introduction of the new supernatural beings? What role will they play in Diego’s struggle to save his people? Millions of Aztec descendants have vanished, including Diego’s mother, Alejandra, taken from their loved ones by the horrible spell set into motion by the Dark Lord.

I love writing myself into inescapable corners, because eventually the light turns on and the path becomes illuminated. I can’t remember when it happened, but a few weeks ago the window opened and I saw the first vision of how the story will continue, and who will join with the Sol Dragones to battle Satadon and his mystical alliance. The only hint I’ll provide is this – those who will come to fight with the Sol Dragones were introduced in Book Two: Dragons of the Dark Rift. It makes perfect sense, and it’s a brilliant plot twist. What’s more, it will take the combined power of Sol and Celestina to open the heavens so the saviors can travel across space and time to find Tenochtitlan, Magnifico, Estrella, Racquel, and hopefully, Diego. If you’ve finished the third book, then you know where Diego is, and who he’s with. He’s safe for now, but he’s angry. He wants revenge for what Satadon did to his friend Magnifico, and to his beloved mother. It will be up to his new friends to convince him to wait until the right time to strike at the Dark Lord.

Yes, I’m getting very excited about continuing Diego’s story. Was I put on this earth to write fantastic novels for kids? I think so.


In 24 hours I’ll be dropping Little Man and Jesse the WonderCat off at their Mommy’s house. They get to stay with her and their brother and sister while I’m up north at the festival. Poor Jelly has to stay here by himself because Mandy and Toby don’t know him yet. That might be too much to expect from any babysitter. I have a caring neighbor who will look in on him every night, and he’s come to love his new home. I think he’ll be all right.

In 36 hours I’ll be watching the sunset from my room at the Lost Whale Inn in Trinidad. I remember when I was in grad school and I heard about the Lost Whale being reserved three years out for each graduation. It seemed like this untouchable place I would never get to enjoy, but now I’ll be there for a much needed rest.

I’ll formally visit two schools during the festival, and the students are very excited. I hope to give them an experience they’ll never forget. It’s so magical for them to have an author come to their school, even if it’s just little old me!

Thanks Conor and Diego for getting me invited to this awesome festival 🙂

Here’s a link to some incredible books – WOW


Kevin Gerard
Diego’s Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds



Benito is working on the next illustration for Diego’s third adventure book. Diego has a vision of traveling back 500 years to Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztec empire, where he sees a boy buying a statue of Magnifico from a vendor. When he realizes it really is Magnifico, he steals it and runs for his life. Four Mexica soldiers catch him and take him to the nobles, who will decide the outcome of Diego’s crime. The illustration shows Diego being carried by the soldiers. It’s just a sketch, so keep checking back to see it in its finished form.

This Hispanic book is going to be so amazing! I love writing fantasy, and like Conor’s story, Diego’s story is getting better and better with every fantasy fiction book.

Check out the Diego’s Dragon blog on to see the illustration.


Kevin Gerard
Diego’s Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds



A fourth grade fan of Diego’s fantasy fiction novels created the coolest shrine to the series. She put both adventure books together on a desk and decorated it with trees, dragons, and more!

I’m honored!

If you want to see a picture of this, go to Diego’s fantasy dragons website ( and click the Reader Comments link, or go to and search for Diego’s Dragon. I’m putting the picture on the website this morning.

Maybe that will be the next contest – having fans create their own shrine to Diego and Magnifico – but this one will be hard to beat!


Kevin Gerard
Diego’s Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds