Character Casting for Zaria Fierce – Meet the Fierce Family

Character Casting for Zaria Fierce – Meet the Fierce Family

Greetings! You might have noticed some changes on the website recently. One of the sidebar widgets is displaying information about the book I wrote and self-published this month.

My name is Keira Gillett (aka First Mate Keira) and I’m the author of a brand new middle grade / young adult trilogy. My book is about an American girl who meets a troll in the middle of modern-day Norway. And not the nice kind! The first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest released on March 6, 2015.

I bet you’re a lot like me when you read a book or book series. You develop a mental picture of the character and sometimes cast famous people to play the role of your favorite characters. It’s fun to do and it’s fun to compare notes… especially against the author of the book or if the book is ever picked up to be produced as a motion picture. I’m sharing my vision of the Fierce family with Zaria, Merry, and Colonel. Let me know what you think!

Zendaya as Zaria Fierce:

She’s the perfect blend of cute and sassy.

Zaria Fierce

Rani Mukherjee as Meredith “Merry” Fierce:

She’s warm, friendly, and happy.

Meredith "Merry" Fierce

Tyson Beckford as Colonel Fierce:

He’s handsome, strong, and wonderful.

Colonel Fierce

How do you visualize the characters? Who would you cast for the role of Zaria, Merry, and Colonel Fierce?

Watch the Book Trailer:

Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood ForestBook Blurb: On her birthday, Zaria Fierce finds her usual path to school blocked by an ugly river-troll. At first she’s surprised and curious, but then Olaf threatens to eat her, which is an act Zaria could not in good conscience consent to, so Zaria counteroffers. A deal is struck and she goes to school, but Zaria is about to learn the hard way that one does not trick a river-troll and expect to win.

Early Reviews:

“With kids interested in “Frozen,” with Anna and Elsa, this would be a natural progression.” – Judi Oswald, Reference Librarian

Excerpt:

Geirr stooped to pick up some decent-sized sticks, and Zaria bent to grab a few too. They talked amicably and walked, stretching their legs, until they were too burdened by their loads to keep going.

“My arms are going to collapse,” Zaria huffed. Her breath fogged around her face, covering and then revealing a well-pinked nose and cheeks. “Let’s head back to camp.”

“Sounds good to me,” Geirr said and turned around to do just that. Zaria followed and collided into him, dropping her load of kindling all over the ground.

“Hey!” she exclaimed, as she went to gather them. “Why did you stop?”

“I don’t think we’re going to find camp,” Geirr said, worrying his lip. He juggled his armful of wood and pointed haphazardly forward. “It’s like pea soup.”

Zaria looked up from playing fifty-two pickup and saw what worried Geirr. In front of them was a wall of fog, thick, viscous, and impossible to see through. She gulped and carefully set down the pile she’d been working to gather again. Was it her imagination or did the fog seem to be breathing? It crept closer in stages. Not fast enough that she saw it while looking directly at it, but if she looked away and back, it most definitely moved.

“Uh, Geirr,” Zaria said, slowly gaining her feet. “I think we should move and fast.”

Geirr looked at her puzzled. “I don’t think fast is an option here. Now if you pick up your stack and stick near me maybe we can Marco Polo our way back to the others.”

“Geirr,” Zaria hissed, her voice ratcheting higher. “The fog is moving.” He didn’t look impressed. The breathing sounds from within the fog grew louder, distressing Zaria. “No seriously, it’s moving like it’s alive.”

Geirr looked back again and stared hard, trying to penetrate the fog with his gaze alone. Zaria started to ease away, firewood forgotten.

“Come on, Geirr, we have to move. Can’t you hear the breathing?”

“That isn’t you?” he asked, alarmed.

“No!” Zaria shouted. “Run!”

Listen to an Audio Book sample:

I think Michele (the narrator) is marvelous!

Available in E-book | Print | Audio Book formats.

See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.

Keira Gillett author pictureAuthor Bio: Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting. From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader. Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.

Website: http://keiragillett.com

Social Media: Twitter (keiragillett), Facebook (zariafiercetrilogy), Pinterest (keiragillett)

Available in E-book | Print | Audio Book formats.

See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.

Review: Spell Bound (Hex Hall, Book 3) by Rachel Hawkins

Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Spell Bound (Hex Hall, Book 3)
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Format: Hardback
Page Count: x
Grade Reading Level: x

Summary: Sophie Mercer is not a witch. She’s a demon. Just as she got used to her magical powers, the Prodigium Council yanks them away. Will she ever get them back? Under the care of her sworn enemies Sophie learns that a war is brewing and the sides of good and bad are blurring.

Why I started this book:

I wanted to complete the trilogy.

Likes:

  • What the real bad guy was doing when nobody else was looking to gain power.
  • Sophie and Archer. J
  • Elodie, the witch ghost, and how she helps Sophie during crisis situations. (But not so much when she does the same thing for proving points.)

Dislikes:

  • To be honest, when I started the book I could barely recall what had happened in the series already. It took a bit to get back into the book.
  • It was lacking in emotional depth when it came to big reveals. The secrets get exposed and then it is business as usual.
  • Archer getting tortured; Cal being forced to heal him again and again and again. Students being forced to torture.
  • Character death… again.

Buy: Spell Bound (A Hex Hall Novel)

Rating: 3 Treasure Chests

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Review: Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls, Book 1) by C.C. Hunter

Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls, Book 1)
Author: C.C. Hunter
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 416 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 14+

Summary: When Kylie gets into trouble for being at the wrong party her mother’s response is to ship her off to a camp the therapist recommends. Shadow Falls camp for troubled teens is not what it appears – it is in fact a camp for paranormal kids. Kylie can’t believe her eyes and she’s pretty certain she’s not one herself, so why is she there?

Why I started this book:

I was looking for a new book series to start and I saw this on Goodreads under my recommendations based on previous books read (Mythos Academy Series by Jennifer Estep)  by and based on my TBR pile (sequel books to the other series). Thanks Goodreads!

Likes:

  • Derek: half-fae teenage boy who wants to be Kylie’s new boyfriend. His talent? The ability to influence based on touch… which sort of takes him out of the romance running in my opinion, but he’s still a good character.
  • Lucas: werewolf from Kylie’s past – and a threat to all kittens! He’s got my vote. Yum (and I don’t say that about werewolves often!)
  • Kylie can see ghosts and I like who she sees first – good choice! I wonder who she will see next in the sequel.

Toss-Up:

  • Miranda and Della, the friends Kylie makes at camp who are also her new bunkmates, were equally entertaining and/or annoying so they are here in this section.

Dislikes:

  • What kids would rather have a brain tumor than have paranormal talents? Seriously, Kylie was being stupid. I’d take “freakiness” to that every day of the week!
  • Love triangle quadangle. The sleazy ex-boyfriend who just can’t take a hint needs to go, go, go.

Last Minute Thoughts: Sequel time?!! I want it!

Buy: Born at Midnight

Rating: 3.5 Treasure Chests

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GIVEAWAY + Review: Croc Capers (Bindi Wildlife Adventures, Book 7) by Bindi Irwin and Chris Kunz

Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Croc Capers (Bindi Wildlife Adventures, Book 7)
Author: Bindi Irwin and Chris Kunz
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 112 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 7 and up

Summary: Bindi and Robert Irwin are visiting one of their favorite places in the world when their idyllic location and crocodile captures is interrupted by some noisy new neighbors.

Why I started this book:

I was offered the book by the publisher and it sounded cute.

Likes:

  • Bindi, one of the authors (and the heroine!) is a young girl, age 13. Woo! Have you seen her on the Discovery Channel?
  • Crocodile-tagging adventures are cool. I can’t imagine wrestling one can you? Yikes!
  • The fact sheets at the end of the story are great for sharing fun tidbits about the animals.
  • The great bowerbird event was pretty neat. Not everything is as it seems! Good lesson to remember!

Dislikes:

  • The book could do better to quickly share who is who for those who haven’t been in Bindi’s world before this, but it is relatively minor.

Last Minute Thoughts: Visit www.crocodilehunter.com for more from Bindi and Robert and the activity guide for more fun with the books.

Buy: Croc Capers: Bindi Wildlife Adventures

Rating: 4.5 Treasure Chests

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GIVEAWAY: You could win all 7 books in the BINDI WILDLIFE ADVENTURES series! Open to residents from the US or Canada. Ends August 10, 2012. Enter by leaving a comment! Tell us about one of your wildlife adventures!

Review: Bunnicula by Deborah Howe and James Howe

bookreview

by Captain Lyaf Yarr

Title: Bunnicula
Authors: Deborah Howe, James Howe
Format: Paperback
Pages: 128
Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Summary: Chester the cat and Harold the dog are curious about the new family pet. The Monroes found the bunny at a Dracula movie in a box of dirt. Chester tries to get rid of the bunny, now named Bunnicula by the Monroes, because he’s convinced the bunny is a vampire. He comes to this conclusion based on a book called The Mark of a Vampire. Bunnicula has all the signs – the black and white coloring, the pointy fangs, the ability to turn vegetables white and to escape his cage through miraculous means. It’s a matter of family safety! The bunny has to go!

Why I Started the Book:

Bunnicula was a class assignment in the month of October for a Halloween read. The book was broken into sections. We started by reading one chapter a week and then our teacher read aloud to finish the novel.

Likes:

  • The pictures in the book were cool. I wish there were more of them because the illustrator did a phenomenal job. The bunny is so cute!
  • It’s a very humorous story. There are a lot of laughs from silly to clever shenanigans. (e.g. Chester mixes up “stake” and “steak” and attempts to pummel Bunnicula with a steak.)

Dislikes:

  • (This is not a book dislike.) Don’t watch the twenty minute movie companion to this story! It’s soooo bad! It’s really just awful and the book is so much better!

Last Minute Thoughts: I enjoyed this book a lot and plan to read the sequel, Bunnicula Strikes Again! I think other classes and kids would enjoy this seasonal book a lot!

Buy: Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery (Paperback)

Book Rating: I give this book 4.5 treasure chests!
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Philip Hoy, author of The Revenge Artist

Queens of the Jungle: Re-Appropriating Symbols of Masculinity in YA Literature

Symbolically, animals play an important role in The Revenge Artist, and one especially reoccurring animal symbol in the book is that of the lion.

The symbol of the lion is introduced early on in the story when Evelyn’s art teacher, Ms. Shipley, gives the class a presentation on prehistoric cave paintings. Evelyn is captivated by the images, especially those of the lions leaping across the ceiling of the cave. Even more so, Evelyn is empowered by the idea that the cave painters were not painting pictures of past hunts, but using their artistic abilities to influence the success of future ones. “The hunters hunted, but these cave artists had another job,” Ms. Shipley explains. “They could see the future and they could make it happen.”

Symbols are such powerful storytelling devices because they utilize a common language of imagery, emotion, and understanding that can often communicate volumes with only a single word or phrase. Just as effectively, symbols can convey negative biases and reinforce gender stereotypes without a reader always consciously aware of the messages being sent.

Traditionally, lions are symbols of power and authority because of their dominance in the animal kingdom; however, because it is the male lion’s role to protect the pride while the females hunt, the lion is often viewed as a symbol of masculinity. As a result, such lion-like qualities as strength and courage are reinforced as exclusively male attributes. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, Evelyn is attracted to the symbol of the lion. She is drawn to these lion-like qualities in others and she aspires to them herself. This becomes evident in her art, in her female role models, and in her choice of friends.

It is not surprising then, that when the students are asked to paint self-portraits using the theme of masks, Evelyn chooses the image of a little girl wearing a plastic lion’s head, “standing alone in a field of grass, barefoot and wearing a sun dress. Her arms are raised in the air and her little fists are curled like cat paws.” The image celebrates her femininity, while at the same time revealing her inner strength and courage. She is delicate and powerful, gentle and ferocious. As conflicts between Evelyn and her bullies escalate, she struggles with these two sides of herself. And as Evelyn attempts to find her balance, the painting will go on to include the disemboweled corpse of a boy wearing a zebra mask, and eventually an angry mob of villagers with torches and pitchforks.

Hopefully, the lion symbolism in The Revenge Artist manages to undermine some of those gender stereotypes about what girls can and can’t be and maybe even openly challenge them a bit. It is Evelyn’s fiercely protective friend Karen that is probably the most outwardly lion-like character in the story. When the girls decide to venture out from their usual lunch spot behind the art rooms and brave the main food court, Karen quickly puts one particular sexual harasser in his place by verbally emasculating him with a very explicit insult traditionally—and anatomically—reserved for the boys. In the jungle that is sometimes high school, Karen definitely shows herself to be one of the dominant animals.

Best,

Philip

***

TheRevengeArtist_600x900Evelyn Hernandez is a high school junior who reads Shakespeare for fun, sews her own dresses, and keeps a sketch journal of her daily life. When varsity quarterback Garvey Valenzuela breaks her heart, she sends him to the emergency room with a busted hand.

Add black magic to her résumé.

The Revenge Artist is the story of a bullied teen who embarks on a dark journey of revenge when she discovers she has the power to make bad things happen by drawing them. The novel explores the emotional pain, isolation, and self-hatred caused by bullying and cyber-bullying in particular as it follows the self-destructive path taken by one teen attempting to defend herself from bullies.

Evelyn is temporarily empowered by her ability to hurt others, “Don’t you know? I’m a witch… a real, honest to God, black-hearted, evil witch!” and this is what keeps her from seeing that her true power comes from her loyal and caring nature, the love and support of her friends and family, and most of all, her intelligence and creativity.

Buy: The Revenge Artist