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


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.


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.

5 Reasons to Read Books before Seeing the Movie


by Captain Lyaf Yarr

Before we start I think I should let readers know that I’ve done both: seen the movie before reading the book and reading the book before watching the movie.  Below are some of the reasons why I am now a firm believer in doing the latter.

  1. Explanations. You always get more information by reading the book. Most book to movie conversions leave things out. Going into the theater armed with this information you can make connections and keep up very readily.
  2. Imagination. When you read a book you’re visualizing what is happening. In a movie the visualization is done for you. Don’t get me wrong I usually love both, but by reading the book first you get to create it first instead of the other way around.
  3. Sense of Accomplishment. Finishing a book is awesome. Making the deadline of reading the book before the premiere is even better. Why deny yourself this? Read it and be smarter than your friends.
  4. Rewards. I don’t know about you, but my family rewards me for reading books before it comes out in theaters. I’ve gone to the Harry Potter and Twilight midnight premieres because I read the books. I even got popcorn and soda. How’s that for an incentive?
  5. Book is Better??? This one has question marks after it because it’s really up to the individual if the book or movie is better. Generally most people agree that the book is better, but I have to say I love watching the books come to the big screen. It just might be a toss up!

When it comes to books and movies, which do you do?

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12 Ways to Gear-up for a Catching Fire (Hunger Games) Party!

catching fire

Who is excited for the release of Catching Fire this November? I know I am and I’ve been thinking about some party ideas for the big night. What’s so great about Hunger Games is, that like Harry Potter, there is a lot of inspiration to pull from the books. Here’s what I’ve come up with for a fabulous night you won’t soon forget:

  1. 12 Trials Obstacle Course – Catching Fire features an arena with rotating trials that appear hourly, around the clock. I propose for the big event that you gear-up and prepare a timed race with 12 trials. The person with the best time could win a prize (popcorn at the movies?). I have eight ready for you based on the book (these are not in the order of the appearance on the clock dial):
    • Blood Rain (CF, pg. 332) – Dodge a hail storm of red water balloons. They could be filled with colored water.
    • Mutated Monkeys (CF, pg. 332) – Climb something… a tree?
    • Acid Fog (CF, pg. 332) – Cover your eyes with something then attempt to run through a blanket maze.
    • Jabber Jays (CF, pg. 348) – Mimic someone convincingly. Just don’t be mean! I would try imitating the characters first.
    • Big Wave (CF, pg. 325) – Jump in the pool and make the biggest splash! All pool safety rules apply.
    • Beast (CF, pg. 348) – Face down a vicious beast (somebody’s pet dog) and make it play dead.
    • Pincher Insects (CF, pg. 364) – Crab walk around an obstacle.
    • Lighting/Electricity Surge (CF, pg. 332) – Race from Point A to Point B as fast as you can. Timed, of course.
  2. Lawn Sports – Any good Hunger Games or Catching Fire party should host lawn sports. Include archery, corn hole, lasso golf, and egg tosses (or water balloon tosses). The more adventurous could include… skeet shooting.
  3. Party on the Water – The arena for Catching Fire begins on the water, so why not start your partying there too? Rent a boat and cruise for a bit before locating a great area to anchor. Bring swim suits and fishing gear. You can even practice your archery with bowfishing!
  4. Rock Climbing Gym – Host your Catching Fire party at a rock climbing gym. Challenge each other to do more and more difficult routes, timed climbs, and then chomp down on pizza when you get ravenous.
  5. Go Capitol – Plan a Capitol-size makeover party. Buy the fun spray-on hair color (that washes out) and get white face paint or white powder foundation and see who can look the most Capitol. (Super cool parents might allow you to buy the permanent version of the hair colors, but get permission first!) Host a runway show and model your Capitol look. Take lots of photos! A prize could go to the best costume.
  6. Capitol Feast – Make your Catching Fire Capitol party a potluck, and encourage your friends to bring their most scrumptious dishes (just don’t go to the vomitorium to make room for it all, okay, that’s not cool.)
  7. Camp Out – Plan your Hunger Games party in the woods. Camp out in style or rough it. I think Peeta (and Katniss) would appreciate the s’mores don’t you? Make your camping party even more fun by combining it with different ideas on this list!
  8. Play Survivor Games – You can go wrong with classics like Manhunt, flashlight/freeze tag, Nerf war, hide and go seek in the dark, etc.
  9. Paintball Party – Plan a paintball party with your friends, either on teams or every-man for himself. Who’s got the best aim? Go to the movies in your war paint – it’s an almost Capitol look, don’t you think? See number five more ideas to complete the ensemble.
  10. Scavenger Hunt – Whether you have to hunt and scavenge for your campsite (see idea 7) or simply find Hunger Games and Catching Fire related clues on your way to the movies, this would be a great idea for a large party. You can break up into teams and have a blast running around! Who knows the most about the book series?
  11. Laser Tag – Go to a local thrill park and play a round of laser tag (perfect for that high-tech fancy look the movies go for with the tributes’ outfits). It’s way less messy (and painful) then paintball. But just as fun!
  12. Fencing/Mock-fighting – Duel it out, mano-a-mano. Get 24 tributes, I mean friends, together and plan a fencing championship. See just who will rise to the top and be the Champion! En Garde!

Most of all, just have fun getting ready for the next Hunger Games movie! See you at the movies!

Get your Catching Fire gear here!

Don’t leave without checking out: 74 Books to Read if You Love the Hunger Games

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Unanswered Harry Potter Question #12: How did Lily and James Potter thrice defy Voldemort?

Unanswered Harry Potter Question #12: How did Lily and James Potter thrice defy Voldemort?

(This article is humorous, not factual.)

Everyone thought Trelawney was a hack, but she knew better. She’s predicted several prophecies and to date they’ve all come true. She might not remember giving them, but that’s why she had a voice activated Quick Quotes Quill. It would record her whenever she spoke and later she could read over the scrolls and consult her crystal ball or teacup depending on what was called for to pick apart the prophecy.

Long before Dumbledore returned to Hogwarts that day way back when and before Snape could Apparate to the Dark Lord to reveal what he’d heard, Trelawney had scanned her QQQ notes and hurriedly unpacked a stack of yellowing Daily Prophets while drinking a cup of super hot tea. By the time she was done, she knew without a doubt in her mind that Voldemort would pick the Potters to attack because of how Lily and James thrice defied him. Her tea stained notes read:


  1. Alice single handedly stops Voldemort’s campaign to rewrite existing Muggle friendly laws and pass new Anti-Muggle laws. Voldemort attributes this win to Dumbledore’s machinations.
  2. Frank hits him with a trip jinx in a duel, but as it happened while Apparating, Voldemort figured his just twisted his ankle while turning.
  3. Lastly they refused his overtures to make them Death Eaters and joined Dumbledore’s camp instead. Voldemort figured this made them weak and stupid, but not particularly threatening.


  1. First, James ridiculed his patent snake skin shoes. Clearly Voldemort won’t understand the inherent ick factor involved as he would continue to wear them until the bitter end…
  2. Then the pair created Voldemort is a Moldy Wart magical buttons and handed them out in the streets at Diagon Alley with James’ Hogwarts ragtag loser friends. For free! As if you could entertain yourself so cheaply at the Dark Lord’s expense. If they had cost a galleon he might have been mollified.
  3. Finally, and this is what sealed their fate, they forgot to send Voldemort a birthday card, to celebrate his first “I’m never going to get old!” party. They hadn’t even bothered to RSVP! Lily meant to do so and declined, but she never got around to it.

Potters = Lights Out… o.O

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Ingenious Way to Motivate Reluctant Readers

by First Mate Keira

I stumbled on an ingenious way to motivate my two reluctant readers. The one doesn’t like reading and will only do it if the book captures her quickly and only if the book is set down right in front of her face. The other likes to read, but has recently been sucked into text messaging, Facebook, and new favorite TV shows to give it much time.

This school vacation the law was laid down. They had two options and only two. Which option they picked was entirely up to them.

The first option was to read a really big nonfiction book with lots and lots of pages a little bit each day. Just 2 pages was required each day for a total of 14 pages a week. If they started this way and decided later to go the other route that was fine.

The second way (and the way they both chose to go) was to read 1 book a week of their choosing during the summer. The size of the book, genre, didn’t matter.

If they failed to complete the book or the 14 pages during the week they would spend the next week without friend time and you know how disastrous that would be over the break!

A trip to the library later, and now we have about 12 books sitting in a pile for them to read. We decided more books was better than fewer books, that way if a book failed to grab them they had more options for reading material.

Have you found a completely ingenious way to motivate your reluctant readers? Please share in the comments below!

Unanswered Harry Potter Question #2: What Type of Shoes Does Voldemort Wear?

Unanswered Harry Potter Question #2: What type of shoes does Voldemort wear?

(This article is humorous, not factual.)

I’ve unearthed in a 1995 Quibbler article with the answer to this question. As the scan of it may be hard to read I have transcribed and pasted it below for your convenience.


Can you really be afraid of a shoe fashionisto?

For thirteen years He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has gone without foot apparel and he’s tired of it. Upon first regaining his body at the end of the Tri-Wizard Tournament this year, his Death Eaters report that the Dark Wizard asked of the Previously-Assumed-To-Be-Dead Peter Pettigrew for his favorite pair of snake skin shoes. None of us imagined that this would be Lord Thingy’s first request!


It shouldn’t surprise you that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s favorite pair of shoes is a pair of hand-tooled Oxfords made out Nagini’s skin. Nagini for those of you who don’t know is his pet snake. (A real snake, perverts! I shudder to think of a pair of shoes made with what you’re thinking of… gross!)


I certainly did not, but those closest to him have been aware of it for a long time.

One Death Eater, known for his own fashionable attire, had this to say, “The Dark Lord is as vain as they come. He’s even vainer than me, which if you knew me, is saying something. At Hogwarts I was given the superlative, The Most Likely to be Found with a Mirror in His Hand. When I first joined him he told me I couldn’t use the same hair pomade that he did. I almost quit right then. Am I ever so glad that he’s bald! Now I can go back to my favorite brand again.”

Well there you have it dear readers. It’s clear that Lord Thingy is proud of his looks. Instead of running in fear from him the next time you see him you should compliment his footwear.

Lavender Brown, fashion reporter for the Quibbler.

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