05 April, 2024

The Case of the Zombie Ninjas by Erik Christopher Martin - Book Spot light


 

Dotty Morgan Supernatural Sleuth Book Two


Middle Grade/Paranormal Mystery

Date Published:  Mach 15, 2024

 

 

Twelve-year-old supernatural sleuth Dotty Morgan becomes embroiled in an ancient conflict between rival factions who both want the Japanese sword her father gave her as a birthday present. The timing couldn’t be worse. She’s navigating the complications of middle school romance with her girlfriend, Hannah, and dealing with her mother who asks Dotty’s former bully to move in. To keep safe the people she loves, Dotty investigates a four-hundred-year-old murder even though undead ninjas, winged tengu, and a demon known as an oni stand in her way.


About the Author

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Erik lives and writes in San Diego. He has published four books for YA and middle grade readers under the In A Bind Books imprint. His latest book 'The Case of the French Fry Phantom' is available in all formats, including audiobook. It is Book One of the Dotty Morgan Supernatural Sleuth Series. Book Two, 'The Case of the Zombie Ninjas' will be released on 3/15/2024. His short stories can be found in A Year Ink 4, The Guilded Pen 2019, CoffinBell, Frontiertales.com, Tales to Terrify podcast, HauntedMTL, and other online journals.

Erik is a member of the SCBWI, SDWEG, and the HWA.

Erik loves all things book related. He is a former bookstore owner (In A Bind Books in Lakewood, Ohio opened in 2000 and closed 2 years later), former slush reader at Dark Recesses Press, and former part-time library employee.

Besides writing, Erik loves to read authors such as Vonnegut, Moorcock, Pratchett, Louis L'Amour, and Douglas Adams.


Contact Links

Author Website

Twitter (X)

Instagram

Facebook

TikTok

Linktree

Threads


Purchase Link

Amazon



RABT Book Tours & PR
 

Until next time,


28 March, 2024

Best Easter Baskets and Fillings from Amazon

 Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.


Easter is a Christian festival and cultural holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus. 

Eggs and Chicks are associated with Easter. In Europe, people decorate houses with colorful eggs. Bunnies and Rabbits got associated with Easter, as most of these animals give birth to new babies in Spring. 

As per AI,

The tradition of Easter egg hunts has roots in pre-Christian societies, where eggs were associated with spring and new life. Early Christians adopted these beliefs, making the egg a symbol of the resurrection and the empty shell a metaphor for Jesus' tomb.

If you have kids, you might be attending egg hunts organized in your local communities. Here are a few good props to prepare for the Easter events. 


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Here are some of the best Amazon deals for Easter:

Baskets and Fillings:

Love this simple bag for Egg hunting

2 pc Easter Bamboo basket

Cute basket for kids







Bunny Gift treat boxes



Fillable colorful Easter Eggs


Easter Basket Fillers



Bunny Ear Headbands


Hershey's Mini Bunny shaped chocolates

Reversible Strawberry Bunny Stuffie

Everything you need to know about Total Solar Eclipse on Apr 8th, 2024

 Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.


What is Solar Eclipse?

Solar eclipse happens when moon's orbit comes in between the Earth and the Sun. But, how the moon with its small size covers the big Sun? The Sun's diameter is 400 times larger than moon's, and an interesting point is the Sun is 400 times farther from the Earth. That's how on an Annual Solar Eclipse, they both appear to be of same size in the sky.

We get Annular Solar Eclipse when the moon comes between the Sun and the Earth. 


Image by Dave Davidson from Pixabay



What's special about Total Solar Eclipse on Apr 8th, 2024?

At this time, when moon is closer to the Earth, it appears large enough to completely block the Sun bringing a total darkness during Eclipse.

How it appears in Central Texas?

This year, Central Texas is in the path of totality, especially places like Waco, Fredericksburg will have total darkness for 4.5 mins. Whereas, Austin locals can experience total darkness for around 1 min 40 secs.

When Sun is completely blocked by Moon, temperature drops, sky becomes complete dark like it's night.

The Path of Totality is the path of moon's shadow across the Earth's surface.

Totality in Austin begins at: 1.36 Pm on Apr 8th, 2024.

The Eclipse will begin in Texas at 1.27 pm CST and end in Maine at 3.35 PM EST.


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How to Safely view the Solar Eclipse?

Watching the Sun directly during the Solar Eclipse is very dangerous for our vision. Normal Sun glasses are not enough. You need safe Solar Eclipse viewing glasses to watch the phenomena.

Another thing to pray for is the clear skies on that day. So, watch out for weather reports :-)


How Rare is the Event?

The last total Solar Eclipse happened in 2017 in USA and next visible Total Solar Eclipse to cross over to USA will come on Aug 23, 2044, according to NASA. But, 2044 one passes through Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.

There will be one more in 2045 which will be accessible from California, Florida and Nevada.

So, for Texas people, this is as close as it gets in near future. :-)

So, 20 or more years for the similar event. 

If you are not in the Path of Totality or not in a position to enjoy this event safely, there is a live stream that you can watch.

What to expect during Solar Eclipse?

Initially when Moon doesn't fully cover the Sun, the Sun appears to have Crescent shape.


Image by Chris Reich from Pixabay



Shadow bands are rapidly moving dark bands separated by white spaces. They can be seen on the grounds or buildings just before and after totality.

When Moon is blocking the Sun, there will be light shining through the edges, which are called Bailey's Beads.

The most interesting of the whole event is this phase of Diamond Ring where light shines from one point like a ring on a finger.


Image by AstroGraphix_Visuals from Pixabay



Next is totality. Yay! Complete darkness in the mid of the day. We might be able to see bright stars in the sky at this point. It will be eerily silent and the air temperatures drop.

Then, gradually the brightening starts. We see Diamond ring, Bailey's beads and Shadow bands again until the entire Sun is visible.

Let's watch this once in a lifetime event safely. Here is the link to buy a 5 pack Solar Eclipse viewing glasses on Amazon to watch with family. 




Until next time,




14 March, 2024

5 Reasons to visit Daingerfield State Park in Texas

Daingerfield State Park

This 501-acre park in East Texas has clear water from spring-fed lake. The location seems to be remote but more than 75,000 people visit this park every year. This is located near Texarkhana in Morris county, Texas.

If you love a quiet place beside the lake, hiking trails, clear water, wild life and bird watching, you will love this place.

We have covered this park as part of our trip to Caddo Lake state park and Talimena Scenic drive


Park Address:

455 Park Road 17 Daingerfield, TX 75638


(903) 645-2921

Hours:


Open 7 days a week year-around

Admission:


$4 daily
Children 14 and under free


https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanzim/25049645188

Here are 6 wonderful reasons to visit Daingerfield State Park:

1. Cabins


Who doesn't love to stay in historic cabins by the lake and enjoy fishing on a weekend?

These historic cabins even have AC, fridge, bathroom and kitchen. So, just remember this place if you want to lose yourself in pine wood forest for a weekend.

There are also campsites, and picnic tables.

2. Hiking


With 2 kids we always look for options to hike and get some family time on vacations. 

The hiking trails can take us through pinewoods, and dogwoods. There are 2 trails - 2.4 miles Rustling leaves trail is moderate and the most popular. It might take around 2 hrs to complete the hike. 







1.2 miles Mountain view trail is challenging and take you to the highest spot in the area with a good view of pine covered bluffs.

Little Pine interpretive center, Scenic view , Bridge and CCC dam are some of the interesting spots on trails.

3. Boating, Paddling


There are many paddle boats, paddle boards, canoes, kayaks and flat-bottom boats for rent on the lake. Paddles and lifejackets included. Rentals are available whole year around.

The water is very clear and boating on the lake is wonderful.







4. Fishing


We haven't learned to fish yet, but this park is a great place for fishing. You can fish crappie, bass, catfish, perch or chain pickerel. The park has a fishing pier.

No fishing license needed to fish here!

5. Area Attractions


Caddo Lake state park is around 50 mins and is an interesting place to watch bald cypress trees and trees adorned with Spanish moss which add to the mystic beauty. Jefferson is a historic town also popular for their haunted tours.

Tyler state park is around 1 hr 15 mins and the drive is scenic with shaded 100 foot pine trees. 

We spent around 3 hrs in the park. We loved the lake, the water was clear and the fall colors were amazing. We visited the park around second week of November, still a few fall colors retained.

We hiked the rustling leaves trail, walked near the fishing pier and spent some time watching the fall colors and the scenic lake.

So, that's it about our trip to Daingerfield State Park. 

Until next time,





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08 March, 2024

Travel the Continents and Be Back Before Bed by Robert McFadden III - Book Blitz

 

 

 

Children’s Book

Date Published: February 2021

 

 

Are you looking for the best read-aloud book for early readers or just  an adventurous bedtime story to inspire and help the young, inquisitive  minds of kids develop their knowledge and imagination?

Get ready for an exciting journey with this brightly illustrated and  artistic adventure for readers. The author takes the kids on a fantastic  journey across continents with this soothing bedtime narrative.

In this insightful children's book, rendered in basic vocabulary for  easy reading, kids will learn about fascinating wild animals from  different parts of the world. From the giant elephants of Africa to the  playful pandas of Asia- you’ve got a relaxing sleep aid for those  fun-seeking kids.

With colorful illustrations and interesting facts, “Travel the  Continents and Be Back Before Bed" is the perfect children's book for  bedtime reading.

Join us on a fantastic adventure as we travel the continents and meet  fascinating animals. From the giant Elephants of Africa to the playful

pandas of Asia, this book will take you on a journey like no other.  Packed with colorful illustrations and fun facts, it's the perfect  bedtime read for young explorers. So grab your passport and get ready to  go on a wild adventure - and be back before bed!

 

About the Author

Robert McFadden III discovered his passion for writing for kids when his first son was born. As he began sharing joyful stories with his kid to make his growing family happy, little did Robert know that a journey into writing delightful children's books had started.

Simultaneously managing the tasking reality of parenthood and being in graduate school, Robert suddenly found solace in crafting imaginative tales instead of tackling homework.

The desire to make Children happy is his newfound joy, and he cherishes every opportunity to create heartwarming adventures that will inspire kids and bring smiles to their faces.

A loving husband and father of two fantastic boys, what Robert started as a pastime soon blossomed into a fulfilling creative adventure.


Purchase Link

Amazon


RABT Book Tours & PR

Until next time,


27 February, 2024

Enchanted rock state natural area - Hill country, Texas

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is 20 mins away from a town inspired by German heritage - Fredericksburg. This large granite dome is challenging to hike, but this hike gives beautiful 360 degree views of Texas hill country.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/brianmrussell/9566091370



Enchanted Rock is 425 foot pink granite dome , also known as Batholith rock. Batholith means, a large mass of rock that forms when magma rises and solidifies. 

Address: 

16710 Ranch Rd. 965Fredericksburg, TX 78624

Hours: 10 am to 10 pm (please check website for the latest hours)

Reservations are recommended through their site while visiting the park. Entrance fee is $8 per adults and children under 12 years are free to enter.





Legends about Enchanted Rock:

Tonkawa tribes used to be scared that some ghost fires flicker at the top of the dome and there are some frightening sounds coming from the stone.

Scientists later confirmed that dome glitters on clear nights after rain due to the reflection from collected water. The dome also groans and creaks as temperature changes.



Activities in Enchanted Rock State Park:

Hiking:

There are 11 miles of hiking trails here. 

Summit trail climbing to the top of the rock is the most popular one. This 0.8 mile challenging trail might take 45 mins to 1 hr. Take your time climbing and stopping in the middle to enjoy the 360 degree views. 

Please don't under estimate this trail. Carry enough water and any snacks. Plan to hike on a cloudy day or when it is not too hot. 

Echo canyon trail is 0.7 mile moderate to challenging trail where you can checkout the giant boulders and other exfoliation features of little rock. 





Rock Climbing:

This park offers rock climbing for enthusiasts. The rock climbers should check at park headquarters to get the park map and understand climbing rules. 






Stargazing :

Enchanted rock has many legends and mysteries. This is one of the best places for star gazing. This is designated as International Dark Sky park.

This page tracks real time sky darkness. This will help you to know the days with clear skies to observe. 

This park also offers camping, picnicking, wild life watching, interpretive exhibits and a park store. 

So, that's a good place to visit in Spring break if it's not too hot. You can also spend some time in Fredericksburg.  You can stop by Llano and visit museums. Also, if you have time, drive the Peach loop if you are interested to watch wild life. There are some observation points on the way. 


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Until next time,




21 February, 2024

A Quick Guide to visit Caddo Lake State Park in East Texas

 Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

Caddo Lake State Park is located near Karnack in east Texas. It is quite remote location, but this state park has one of the largest flooded Big cypress tree forest. 

This is one of the largest natural lakes and swamp land. The Gigantic Bald Cypress trees adorned with grey Spanish moss reflecting on the water is a beautiful scenery. 

If you search for photos of this state park in Google, you will be awed with the serene, mystic feeling you get watching them. The reflections of trees in water, the twisting lake in Bayou, and the Wild life around draws many tourists here.

 But, to enjoy the beauty of the lake, you should rent a canoe/ Kayak or signup for the guided boat tours.


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Here is a quick guide to Caddo Lake State Park


How to Reach?

Caddo Lake State park is 2.5 hrs drive from Dallas and 45 mins from Shrevport, Lousiana. 



Where to Stay?

Marshall is a small town with many good options to stay. This is budget friendly. You can also rent cabins inside the state park which you have to reserve ahead or get campsites. 

Jefferson, which is 45 mins from Caddo lake is popular as the most haunted town. There are many vintage and historic bed and breakfasts to stay here.


Boat Tours and Canoe/ Kayak Rentals:

If your accommodation has kayaks already, it's great. If not, checkout Riverbend Outfitters or Johnsons Ranch Marina for rentals. 

If you are like me, who is not good at kayaking, you can try booking a tour with Richard. We contacted Rich through email and blocked our tour ahead of time. It was around $40 per adult and $20 per kid in 2023. 





The tour was amazing. We stayed in marshall and reached the Shady Glade Marina by 10am. The tour is 1.5 hours. Rich explained about the geography of land, how  the swamp was formed, how this part was covered in water and used for cargo transport, the trees, the wild life, movies that were filmed there and so many interesting facts.







Rich also does photography tours. This lake changes a lot with seasons. We visited in the late fall, still there is little orange on many trees. The bald cypress trees look mystic with Spanish moss on them. We saw many birds as well on our tour, but no alligators (kids little disappointed).

We would love to visit this place again in spring as we can see the whole lake filled with blooming lotuses everywhere. That would be a beautiful scene to watch.





In summers, it will become hot and humid. This might not be the best time to visit. 

They provide map to the people who kayak/ canoe. But these trails or pathways on water are not easy to follow using map. Be extra careful so that you don't get lost.

Hiking:

Caddo lake State Park has a few great trails along the lake and around. 






Caddo Forest trail is 0.7 mile moderate trail that goes through the woods. Don't forget to carry bug spray.

Pine ridge loop is 0.7 mile moderate hike on the hills. 

Saw mill pond:

One of the must see locations in Caddo lake state park is Saw mill pond. You can walk along the wooden broadwalk to view the lake, and wild life like turtles and birds from here. This is a good location for pictures. 





Activities around Caddo Lake:

Caddo lake national wildlife refuge is home to 400 yr old bald cypress trees, many bird, mammal and reptile species. They have hiking trails as well with 9 mile hike to Wildlife observation point. 

You can try ghost tours at Jefferson, which is around 30 mins from Caddo Lake. Enoch's stomp Vineyard and Winery is just 20 mins away from Jefferson downtown.

Broken bow is a nice tourist town with a lake, fishing and unique stores and homemade ice cream. 

Daingerfield State park is 1 hr away. It's beautiful to hike during the fall season. The fall foliage around the lake is great.

Tyler state park is also famous for fall season, which is around 2 hrs from Caddo lake.

Food near Caddo Lake state Park:

Shady Galde marina has a basic restaurant overslooking the lake, which is great. 

Big Pines lodge in Karnack is famous for cat fish and Jalapeno hushpuppies. Bayou landing serves cajun fare. Riverbend Restaurant on Caddo is great place to dine with lake views. 

McGarity's Restaurant and Saloon is a bar with lunch and dinner options at Jefferson, known for excellent service. 


So, that's about Caddo lake. See you in my next travelogue about Daingerfield State park.

Until next time,



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