Back to School Blog Hop with Author Linda Ulleseit

What better way to get ready to pick up the books and endure the teachers’ dirty looks than to end the summer with a fantastic author of young adult novels, Linda Ulleseit. Apropos of nothing in particular, this back to school blog hop features the author and her works.

About the Author

Linda Ulleseit was born and raised in Saratoga, California, and has taught elementary school in San Jose since 1996. She enjoys cooking, cross-stitching, reading, and spending time with her family. Her favorite subject is writing, and her students get a lot of practice scribbling stories and essays. Someday Linda hopes to see books written by former students alongside hers in bookstores.

Her first novel, ON A WING AND A DARE, was published in 2012. It is a Young Adult fantasy set in medieval Wales, complete with flying horses, a love triangle, and treachery. It’s sequel, IN THE WINDS OF DANGER, was released March, 2013. The focus of that book is the misty past of a groom and the murky future of a rider. The last book in the trilogy is UNDER A WILD AND DARKENING SKY, May 2014. It follows a brother and sister, new to High Meadow, who become involved in a plot to steal flying horses.

Linda Ulleseit


As a child, Linda always loved to write. She took her first creative writing course in seventh grade, accumulating a closet full of stories that she never showed anyone until 2007. At that time, she gave the first draft of a flying horse book to a teacher colleague to read. ON A WING AND A DARE began as a NaNoWriMo novel in 2009. It was revised with the help of reviewers on over the next two years. For NaNo 2011, Linda drafted the sequel, IN THE WINDS OF DANGER. NaNoWriMo 2012 brought the first draft of UNDER A WILD AND DARKENING SKY, and NaNoWriMo 2013 saw the completion of UNDER THE ALMOND TREES. This last is a historical fiction that follows three women who struggle for women’s rights in early California.


Linda has also written a novella titled WINGS OVER TREMEIRCHSON, released as an ebook in Fall 2013. It follows the story of Hoel and Neste, parents of a main character in ON A WING AND A DARE.

Follow Linda Ulleseit


Linda is willing to do interviews and guest blog posts as well as have her books reviewed.

Books by Linda Ulleseit

  on a wing and a dareON A WING AND A DARE


On Amazon:

On Smashwords:

Book Blurb: Flying horses…a love triangle…poison….Welcome to Tremeirchson.


In Tremeirchson, a barn leader’s children are expected to follow their parents into the sky, becoming riders of the magnificent winged horses that are the medieval Welsh village’s legacy. Neither Emma nor Davyd, however, want to follow that tradition.


Sixteen-year-old Emma risks losing her family by following her heart. Eager to take her place in the air, she longs to ride a forbidden winged colt born in barn of her father’s biggest rival. She also dreams of the rival’s sons, not sure which she truly loves. Bold and exciting, Evan will someday lead his father’s barn. Davyd is quieter, more dependable, with an ability to get things done. Her father disapproves of both boys and pushes her toward an ambitious newcomer. He also insists she ride the colt he’s picked for her.


Davyd, also sixteen, is plagued with a secret—he is afraid of heights. Refusing to become a rider means public humiliation, his parents’ disappointment, and lifelong ridicule from his brother, Evan. He reluctantly prepares to join his family aloft in the Aerial Games that provide the entire village with its livelihood and tries desperately to think of an alternative.


As Tremeirchson’s barns prepare for the Rider Ceremony, winged horses suddenly start dying. Shocked, the adults hesitate, mired in tradition and politics. Is it a disease or poison? Accidental or purposeful? Someone must discover the answer and act before all the winged horses in the world are gone forever.

IN THE WINDS OF DANGER in the winds of danger


On Amazon:


On Smashwords:


Book blurb:

Nineteen year old Nia is shocked when she is secretly offered the leadership of Third Barn. This new barn full of flying horses will need someone confident, experienced, and innovative, so why are both warring factions pursuing an untried girl? Suspicious that both sides want a puppet instead of a leader, Nia races to discover their secrets before making the biggest decision of her life.

Some of those secrets are unknowingly buried in the disconnected memories of a young groom named Owain. Terror and guilt haunt Owain’s dreams – and then a face from his nightmare arrives in High Meadow. Owain looks for answers in his past and uncovers a dangerous plot that could doom High Meadow’s future. How can he foil the plot and save his people as well as the winged horses?




On Amazon:


On Smashwords:


Ralf knows he must take over his father’s bakery, but is it wrong to want some adventure before he does? New to High Meadow, he is befriended by the beautiful and dangerous Branwen, who has her own goal—to entice Ralf to help her steal a winged horse and return it to Tremeirchson.


Meanwhile, Ralf’s sister, Alyna, dives into barn life. Becoming a groom to a winged foal is a lot of responsibility to the horse, to the barn, and to her father, who idolizes the wrong barn leader. Politics, greed, and revenge swirl around the teenaged siblings as they struggle to be true to their family and their future.


WINGS OVER TREMEIRCHSON (a flying horse novella)wings over

Book Blurb: Eighteen year old Neste rides a winged horse in Tremeirchson’s Aerial Games and she is betrothed to the barn leader’s son, Hoel. Life would be wonderful if Hoel wasn’t so unpleasant to the other riders. Adam, on the other hand, is handsome and nice but a terrible rider. Together, Hoel and Adam are the perfect man. Obviously she can’t have both of them. When Neste’s winged horse is involved in a terrible accident, her life changes and she must make different choices about her future. Can she go against her father’s dying wish that she marry Hoel? Can she forgive Adam? Can she make a life away from the barn and the winged horses she loves?



Free on Smashwords:









On Amazon:




Under the Almond Trees is the story of my family – three ordinary women in California who lived extraordinary lives. It started with a falling tree branch that killed Ellen VanValkenburgh’s husband in 1862, forcing her to assume leadership of his paper mill, something women weren’t allowed to do. Women weren’t allowed to vote yet, either. Ellen decided that had to change, and became a suffragette. In 1901, Emily Williams , Ellen’s daughter-in-law, became an architect – very much against her family’s wishes. No one would hire a woman, but Emily would not be deterred. She and her life partner Lillian set out to build homes themselves. By the 1930’s women enjoyed more freedom, including the vote. Even so, Ellen’s granddaughter Eva VanValkenburgh chose a traditional life of marriage and children, even closing her photography business at her husband’s insistence. When he later refused to pay for their daughter’s college education, Eva followed the example of her Aunt Emily and reopened her photography business. I am proud to call these women family and honored to share their story.

Review of ‘Sucker Punched’

Sucker Punched by James Scott Bell is both pleasing and disappointing at one and the same time. Bell’s short tale of Jimmy Gallagher, an Irish pugilist in L.A., and his bulldog Steve, is a delight to read. It’s funny – I mean, really funny – to follow Gallagher and Steve as he decides to get his shirt cleaned at J. Wong’s laundry, plays Sir Galahad when Wong is bullied by a German boxer with a glass jaw, gets him arrested as a vagrant, and then beaten senseless by the cops, and if that’s not enough, finds himself kidnapped by a Chinese gang that insists he must engage in a ‘fight to the death.’

Witty dialogue and a gritty setting – probably a part L.A. you’d want to avoid – just sucks you right in. Then, darn it, Bell disappointed me by ending the story. There I was wanting to know what trouble Jimmy would get into next, and ‘bingo!’ the story was over. I guess, though, I can forgive the author this minor disappointment, because he promises more. Well, he danged well better deliver on that promise – I’ll be waiting.

I’m giving this book five stars on account – on account of, I’m anxious to see the next one.

Review of ‘Confessions of a Lip Reading Mom’

Confessions of a Lip Reading Mom by Shanna Groves is a heartwarming and funny book. After Groves gives birth to her son, she begins losing her hearing. This is the story of the many adjustments she had to make, told in a humorous way that, even though it’ll make you laugh, doesn’t diminish the seriousness of her experience.

You’ll laugh and cry as Shanna learns to cope with her changed circumstances, and how to convert a loss into a gain – the new perspectives she gains on life and living that make her, in my humble opinion, a much better person.

Written like a novel, with great dialogue and description, this book will educate, entertain, and enlighten. The author’s got grit, and i give her four stars for it.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialogue

The week’s photo challenge is Dialogue. I take this to mean two or more photos that relate to, or communicate with, each other in some way. Anyway, I think the young Muslim girl on her way to the mosque is a definite form of communication:


Turning the Pages YA Blog Tour: Review of ‘Kissed’ by Kimberly Loth

Kissed banner copy

They say, ‘better late than never. I signed up for the Turning the Pages YA Blog Tour, and was scheduled to do a review of Kimberly Loth’s Kissed on August 17. Unfortunately, I suffered a major hack of my email account, cutting me off from the necessary files, and then an unplanned business trip completed the isolation until recently. Well, I always keep promises – even late – and I found the book worth reading and reviewing, so here it is.

Review of Kissed

Kissed by Kimberly Loth, which I received a review copy of, is a hard novel to categorize. In some ways it’s a coming of age story, but on another level it’s a bit of social commentary that in its treatment of radical fundamentalism and cultism is right on the mark. It also has some elements of thriller that keep you reading as you follow Naomi in her perilous journey to escape her father’s insane clutches. This is fiction that reads very much like it was ripped from the pages of some tabloid – Loth might not live in the U.S., but she’s got the number of the cultish groups that infect this country like a creeping fungal itch.

This is Loth’s first novel, but she has shown herself to be a master of her craft. This is a book that I put in the must-read category, and even though it was billed in being a YA novel, adult readers will find it fascinating.

I give Loth a firm four stars, and predict that her next offering will soar even higher.

About the book and the author

Kissed (The Thorn Chronicles)

by Kimberly Loth

Trapped in a dark cult, sixteen-year-old Naomi Aren has lived a quiet, albeit unhappy, life nestled deep in the hills of the Ozarks. With uncut hair, denim skirts, and only roses for friends, Naomi seldom questions why her life is different from other kids at school. Until the day her abusive father, who is also the cult’s leader, announces her wedding. Naomi must marry Dwayne Yerdin, a bully who reeks of sweat and manure and is the only one person who scares her worse than her father.

Then she meets Kai, the mysterious boy who brings her exotic new roses and stolen midnight kisses. Kisses that bring her a supernatural strength she never knew she had. As the big day approaches, Naomi unearths more secrets of about her father’s cult. She learns she has power of her own and while Kai may have awakened that power, Naomi must find a way to use it to escape Dwayne and her father—without destroying herself.

Book cover


Buy the book: Only 99 cents

About the Author

Kimberly Loth can’t decide where she wants to settle down. She’s lived in Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Utah, California, Oregon, and South Carolina. She finally decided to make the leap and leave the U.S. behind for a few years. Currently, she lives in Cairo, Egypt with her husband and two kids.

She is a high school math teacher by day (please don’t hold that against her) and YA author by night. She loves romantic movies, chocolate, roses, and crazy adventures. Kissed is her first novel.

Connect with the Author






Review of ‘Houston #70′

Author Philip Gibson has introduced a novel way of writing about history with his hashtag history series, using fictionalized social media posts based on historical facts to show history from a totally different perspective. In Houston #70, a retelling of the Apollo 13 mission through tweets, posted by well-known personalities of the time such as astronaut Jim Lovell, or news anchor Walter Cronkite.

Experiencing this historic event through a series of 144 character tweets is a bit weird at first, but you quickly get caught up in the tension and excitement, and much like what happens when the twitterverse comes alive during breaking news today, you find yourself sucked into it as if it was just happening.

I previously read Havana #62, an account of the Cuban Missile crisis, which was not bad, but had a few entries I found hard to swallow. Houston #70, on the other hand, is completely credible. I can imagine that if Twitter had existed back then, these are just the sort of things that might have been posted.

Kudos to Gibson for coming up with a new way of sharing history with a general reading audience. You’ll find this book entertaining and well worth reading.

I received a free review copy of Houston #70. I give it four stars for creativity.

Review of ‘In a Right State’

When Duncan Hartley’s wife Nicole dies and her body parts are put up for auction, he’s curious to see who gets her stomach. He’s curious because an examination of that body part will reveal a serious crime – the growing of fresh vegetables. When Pharma Security, Nicole’s former employer, wins the bid, Hartley is worried, but there’s little he can do, but flee, which he does with the help of another Pharma employee, Amy, a woman who had become disillusioned with her life, and who also happens to have been a friend of Nicole.

If you’re curious at this point, well you should be. This is a completely different kind of story, one that will suck you in like a giant Hoover. I received a free copy of In a Right State by Ben Ellis in exchange for an unbiased review. This is his first novel, but I’ll be sure to check out his next. He has a wicked sense of humor, and it comes through here. This book had be flipping pages with anticipation from the opening paragraph.

A story of a dysfunctional future when corporations are in control, In a Right State also has all the elements of a first-rate mystery/thriller. After reading this, you’re sure to have a few uneasy thoughts about how governments and big corporations relate to each other.

Review of ‘Past Pretense’

Private investigator Patricia Delaney is hired by Gigi Lafferty to take on an unusual case – Lafferty, after having called Delaney and asking her to investigate her husband to see if he’s cheating, arrives late for their appointment and announces that she actually wants herself investigated. An expert in using the computer to ferret out information, Delaney reluctantly takes the case. She finds nothing unusual, but when she finds Lafferty murdered at her house, she learns that her client is actually an acquaintance from her past – Loretta King, a former exotic dancer at a club where Delaney had worked as a dancer. Unfortunately, the police suspect her as the killer, and she now has to prove her own innocence.

Past Pretense by Sharon Short is a spellbinding tale of murder, intrigue, and secrets that I received a free copy of in exchange for an unbiased review. I found myself totally captivated from page one, and couldn’t put it down until the end. Short is a master at weaving a tale of suspense, with rich description of people and places that draws the reader into the world she’s created. Her use of the third person enables us to see everything that’s going on, but she skillfully plants clues that force the reader to pay careful attention. I found myself rooting for Delaney from the outset, captivated by her merging of computer skills with good, old-fashioned gumshoe work, as she sets about not only solving Lafferty’s murder, but as she delves into her own past to solve an old crime that she’d long since forgotten.

Past Pretense sets a new standard for the genre, and I look forward to Short’s next offering. While five-stars is the maximum one can give – I’d like to be sneaky and give this one six.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Black and White Photos

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge for this week is black and white photos. This is a photo I took of the citadel and cathedral in Kleve, Germany when I visited there in 2010, and then converted to black and white in post-processing. Hope you like it. 

IMG_1642 (2)  

Photo Challenge: Fray

The Daily Post photo challenge for the week is ‘Fray.’ This is a word that can have many different meanings, so how would you show it photographically?  Here’s my interpretation – I’d be interested in your comments on why you think I picked this photo:


I Work, Therefore I Am —–

 is money your godWhy do you work? For money? For fame? Or, do you work because the work that you do gives your life meaning and purpose?
Unfortunately, for too many people, the economic state of the world is such that they have to work just to keep crumbs on the table and tatters on their back, so they never get the chance to contemplate these existential questions.
When I retired from government in 2012, after 50-plus years (if you consider that I began working full time around the time I was 12-years old, I’d been working for more than 55 years non-stop), I found that I could actually think about such things. While my monthly annuity doesn’t put me in the top one percent (those few who control most of the world’s wealth), along with my savings and investments, I am in a position where I actually don’t have to work in order to maintain my lifestyle at the same level as before retirement. Actually, with the free time, I can now do things I didn’t have time for before.
So, what do I do? Well, I write. Just as I’ve been doing for the past half century, only now, instead of writing early in the morning and late at night, I can write whenever I feel like it. Sometimes, I write for most of a day. I also consult – after fifty years you acquire skills that don’t exactly go away, and I feel a moral obligation to share them with the generation that follows me. Next month, I’ll be spending most of the month in the Mojave Desert working with military units preparing to deploy overseas. I’m also in demand as a speaker and lecturer. This past summer I ran a workshop on professional writing for the Rangel foreign affairs fellowship program at Howard University. I’m finding that these activities are taking up almost as much of my time as fulltime work did. Because I can say ‘no’, though, I do have control over which blocks of time get consumed. I, therefore, have time to spend getting to know my grandchildren – Sammie and Catie, and one more on the way.
Why, you might ask, does someone who worked for half a century, and who is financially secure, chose to still get up three or four days a week and leave home to work, or goes on trips of a week to a month to do many of the same things he did before as part of a daily grind? For starters, except for the demands on my time over which I had no control, I never thought of what I did as a ‘grind.’ Now that I have the ultimate say over what I do, where, and when – doing the things I’ve always done is not only rewarding, but fun. I don’t do it for the money – not, mind you, that the money’s bad. I do it for the satisfaction of knowing that I can still make a contribution. I do it because I have like seeing the results of my efforts – along with the contribution of others.
Oh, and one other thing – I love it because it gives me an excuse to leave the house periodically. For those of you looking at retirement in the near future, think about this. Being around your significant other 24/7 might sound nice, but the reality is different, and often frightening. It’s true what they say: ‘Absence does make the heart grow fonder.’

How Instant Noodles Can Hurt Your Heart

Originally posted on TIME:

In the proverbial pantry of cheap, convenient eats, nothing beats ramen. You no longer even have to be a college student to indulge: the processed noodle has graduated from dorm room to restaurant, popping up on U.S. menus 18% more from 2013 to 2014, according to the food industry research firm Technomic.

But while the rise of ramen is good for noodle shops, a study published in TheJournal of Nutrition found that it’s not great for your heart, particularly if you’re a woman.

The study looked at the reported diets of 10,711 adults using data from a two-year survey of South Koreans, who reportedly eat more ramen than anyone else in the world. Two diet tracks emerged: a “traditional diet,” which was full of rice, grains, fish, and produce, and a so-called “meat-and-fast-food pattern,” which replaced some of those staples with meat, soda, fast food, and instant noodles.


View original 243 more words

10 Tips for Steampunk Writers

Originally posted on WordDreams...:

steampunkIf you’d asked me a year ago whether I would read a steampunk novel, I would have had to pull up my trusty Google to figure out what you were asking:

a sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy that includes social or technological aspects of the 19th century (the steam) usually with some deconstruction of, re-imagining of, or rebellion against parts of it (the punk) –from

No way. Fantasy? 19th Century? Rebellion? Not my areas of interest.

Then I met Emma Jan Holloway’s Baskerville Affair trilogy. True to its genre (well, steampunk is a sub-genre), she includes all those tantalizing elements and more–magic, steam-powered machines, automatons that appear more real than ruse, mechanical mice and birds imbued with invisible spirits, electronic marvels that run daily lives as electricity and oil does ours, powerful egotistical men controlling the lives of London citizens–and Sherlock Holmes. What a marvelous mixture of mayhem!…

View original 346 more words

Review of ‘Dog Days’

Summer is not a good time to be in or near Houston, Texas. The low lands, mostly marsh, hold the heat like a steam bath, and it’s hurricane season, so it’s not really a good place for summer vacation. But, when you live there, you have no choice.

For 14-year-old Mark Eckert, who lives in a wealthy community halfway between Houston and Galveston, though, it’s a time of adventure and exploration. He’s looking forward to his first year of high school, and his summer is much as summer is for any teen in that part of the country – hanging out with his friends and dodging the older neighborhood bullies who’re determined to pound him into the sidewalk. A normal summer – until the hurricane hits and leaves a shrimp boat lodged in a tree near Mark’s house; a boat containing partially eaten corpses. Mark’s father, a Houston cop, discovers that the dead men have been eaten, not by animals, but by another person. As it that not horrible enough, more partially eaten corpses start turning up in the neighborhood and a torrid summer turns deadly in a hurry.

Joe McKinney’s Dog Days is a horror novel with a unique twist – it’s also a coming of age novel. A unique blend of genres that will leave you chilled to the marrow. McKinney knows his stuff, and he knows how to spin a great yarn. I received a free review copy of Dog Days, not sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised – chilled – shocked – and entertained. I grew up just north of Houston, and I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable spending the night back in my home town ever again.

A five-star book in class of its own.

PnPAuthors come together to write an exciting book~

Charles Ray:

A group of PnP authors (myself included) penned the various chapters of this book. Check it out at

Originally posted on PnPAuthors Promotions :

Dancing Upon My Grave 

It’s at Amazon

It’s at Barnes & Nobel

It’s at International bookstores

Buy it!

All Authors of this book are: Wandalyn Thomas, Charles Ray, Harmony Brooks, Michael Alvin, Peter & Pattimari Cacciolfi

View original