Monday, August 22, 2016

Giveaway: #UNLOCKED Pre-Order Prize Packs!

Everyone who purchases a copy of UNLOCKED by 9/30/16 will receive a prize. Scroll down for the complete details on how to qualify and details for each of the prizes offered.

**If you're attending the book launch party on 10/1/16 - there will be a different giveaway for you! See below.**

First --- to qualify:

1. Visit any retailer (online or in person) and order a copy of UNLOCKED.
2. Snap a picture of your purchase receipt.
3. Email picture to:
4. Send your email no later than midnight (MST) 9/30/16.
5. Offer only available within the United States. (see official rules at bottom of post)
6. If you're attending the book launch party on 10/1/16, see below for different rules.

Second --- the prizes:

EVERYONE who qualifies (see the steps above) will be eligible to receive a standard bookplate, signed, to adhere inside your book and a custom bookmark.

FIFTEEN random winners (from those who qualified) will receive one of four possible designer bookplates (pictured below), personalized and signed. These winners will also receive a custom bookmark.

TWENTY random winners (from those who qualified) will receive a flashlight key chain, a standard signed bookplate, and a custom bookmark.

ONE grand-prize winner will be drawn at random (from those who qualified) to receive a deluxe boat bag with a quote from the book on the front pocket, a signed designer bookplate, a custom bookmark, and a flashlight key chain.

Here are pre-order links to get you started:
Barnes & Noble


If you're attending the book launch party on 10/1/16 - here are the separate giveaway details for you:

--- EVERYONE in attendance will receive a custom bookmark.

--- The FIRST 50 PEOPLE to purchase UNLOCKED at the event will receive a flashlight key chain!



ELIGIBILITY: This giveaway is open to residents of the United States and the District of Columbia. All federal, state, and local regulations apply. LIMIT ONE ENTRY PER PERSON. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED. 

ENTRY DEADLINE: All entries must be received by midnight 9/30/16 Mountain Standard Time. 

HOW TO ENTER: If you have pre-ordered a copy of UNLOCKED, email a picture of your purchase receipt to You can also enter without pre-ordering by sending an email with your name and mailing address to the same email address. Automated entries are prohibited, and any use of automated devices will result in disqualification. Sponsor is not responsible for incorrect or inaccurate entry of information by entrants; lost or late entries or transmissions; interrupted or unavailable network, server, or other connections; scrambled transmissions or other errors or problems of any kind whether mechanical, human, or electronic, technical malfunctions of any computer hardware, software, or any combinations thereof; or problems associated with any virus or any other damage caused to entrants’ systems. Incomplete or illegible entries will be voided. 

PRIZES: See above for prizes. No transfer or cash or other substitution of all or part of a prize is permitted. Sponsor shall not be responsible for any delays, damage in the delivery of the prize, and/or loss of any prize in connection with delivery of the prize via mail. In the event that there is an insufficient number of eligible entries, Sponsor reserves the right not to award the prizes.

WINNER SELECTION: The Winner(s) will be chosen from all eligible entries received in random drawings to take place following the close of the entry period by Sponsor, whose decisions concerning all matters related to this giveaway are final and binding. All winners will be announced on social media.
The odds of winning depend on how many eligible entries have been received. Winners will be notified via email and must respond to email notification within ten (10) days of receipt. Noncompliance with these conditions may result in forfeiture of the Prize, and Sponsor reserves the right to select alternate winners (in random drawing from other eligible entries received before the deadline) in such circumstance. If winner notification of the Prize is returned as undeliverable, Sponsor may, at its discretion, select an alternate winner.

DISCLAIMERS: By competing in this giveaway and/or accepting the prize, entrants agree that Sponsor will have no liability whatsoever, and will be held harmless by entrants for any liability for any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind to person and property resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from the acceptance, possession, misuse, or use of the prizes, or participation in this giveaway. By accepting a prize, each Winner consents to the use of his/her name for publicity and promotional purposes on behalf of Sponsor with no additional compensation or further permission (except where prohibited by law).

WINNERS LIST: For a list of the Winners, send an email request to: 
SPONSOR: Margo Kelly, Author

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Book Launch Party for UNLOCKED by Margo Kelly

Mark your calendars! The official party is scheduled for 10/1/16 at 1pm at Barnes & Noble in Boise, Idaho. 

PLUS - The first 50 people to purchase UNLOCKED at the party will receive this super cool, totally awesome flashlight key chain:

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Book Review + Giveaway: SCAVENGER OF SOULS by Joshua David Bellin

Today's a great day to be a reader, and I'm happy to be participating in a blog tour to celebrate the new book, SCAVENGER OF SOULS! My full review is at the bottom of this post, AND there's a giveaway - so be sure to scroll down for everything!

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Age: 12+
Release date: August 23, 2016
For order links, visit
Available in hardcover and e-book


Querry Genn is running out of time. He may have saved his survival colony and defeated a nest of the monstrous Skaldi, but that doesn’t mean he has any more answers to who he is. And Querry’s mother, Aleka, isn’t talking. Instead, she’s leading the colony through a wasteland of unfamiliar territory. When they reach Aleka’s destination, everything Querry believed about his past is challenged.

In the middle of a burned-out desert, an entire compound of humans has survived with plenty of food and equipment. But the colonists find no welcome there, especially from Mercy, the granddaughter of the compound’s leader. Mercy is as tough a fighter as Querry has ever seen—and a girl as impetuous as he is careful. But the more Querry learns about Mercy and her colony, the more he uncovers the gruesome secrets that haunt Mercy’s past—and his own.

With threats mounting from the Skaldi and the other humans, Querry must grapple with the past and fight to save the future. In the thrilling conclusion to the story that began with Survival Colony 9, Joshua David Bellin narrates a tale of sacrifice, courage against overwhelming odds, and the fateful choices that define us for a lifetime.

Praise for Survival Colony 9:

Tantalizing mysteries abound among the human and inhuman inhabitants of the bleak landscape, and the post-apocalyptic plot is satisfyingly full of twists.—Booklist

Joshua David Bellin brings serious game in a post-apocalyptic thriller that collides breathless action with devious world building and genuine heart. A terrific novel!—Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Rot & Ruin and V-Wars

Set in a gritty post-apocalyptic world, Survival Colony 9 is both an adventure and an exploration of what it means to be human.—Margaret Peterson Haddix, New York Times bestselling author of the Missing Series

About the author:

Joshua David Bellin has been writing novels since he was eight years old (though the first few were admittedly very short). He taught college for twenty years, wrote a bunch of books for college students, then decided to return to fiction. Survival Colony 9 is his first novel, with the sequel, Scavenger of Souls, set to release on August 23, 2016. A third YA science fiction novel, the deep-space adventure/romance Freefall, will appear in 2017.

Josh loves to read, watch movies, and spend time in Nature with his kids. Oh, yeah, and he likes monsters. Really scary monsters.

To find out more about Josh and his books, visit him at the following:



If you have read Survival Colony 9, you must read Scavenger of Souls! And if you have not read Survival Colony 9 – what are you waiting for? Both books are fantastic, and Scavenger of Souls did not disappoint as a sequel. It picked up the storyline with Querry Genn and his quest to learn more about his past, but the journey is far from an easy one.

Joshua Bellin has an amazing talent for building worlds, developing characters, and devising an intricate plotline.

Bellin created a desolate setting, which Querry must traverse to save himself and his friends while fighting the Skaldi. In Scavenger of Souls, there were some new plot elements, some new characters, and some old issues resolved. As Querry learns more and more about himself and about the world he lives in, he realizes “Answers aren’t always true … and the truth isn’t always the answer you want” (page 8).

Some of my favorite lines from the book:

“It felt like the nervous energy that comes from staying up too many nights in a row, that feeling of hypersensitivity all along your scalp and pressure building behind your eyeballs.”

“The sky had turned the color of a day-old bruise, reducing the glow of the black desert to a dull gleam like burnished metal.”

I recommend both Survival Colony 9 and Scavenger of Souls. Plus, the great news is - if you’ve not already read the first book, you can read it now and go immediately into the second book with no wait in between! YAY for books. And YAY for Joshua Bellin and his terrific novels.

Be sure to enter the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy reading!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Turkish Rights for UNLOCKED Sold to Pegasus

Ben Türkiye'de bir yayıncıya benim müthiş ajan ve ekibi UNLOCKED, Türk haklarını sattı duyurmaktan mutluyum! Bu benim ilk yabancı hakları anlaşma ve ben çok heyecanlıyım.


Oh. Just in case you don't read Turkish, let me translate for you:

"I am thrilled to announce that my awesome agent and her team have sold the Turkish rights to UNLOCKED  to a publisher in Turkey! This is my first foreign rights deal, and I am so excited."


Furthermore, the Turkish publisher, Pegasus, has translated books for great authors like John Green, Brandon Mull, and Aprilynne Pike. I’m excited to be among such great company.

Happy reading!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Not Really a Necromancer

One of my favorite lines in UNLOCKED comes after Plug introduces Hannah to his dad, Necro. He's a tattoo artist, and most of his designs feature death in some regard. So ... his friends call him Necro, short for necrophilia or necromancer. But he's not really a necromancer. ;)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Camping in Idaho

One of my favorite things is camping. My husband and I have certain spots that are our favorites, but this time, we decided to explore a bit. We had a wonderful time. Here are a few pictures (okay, a LOT of pictures) from our trip:

Friday, August 5, 2016

Book Review: RAISING HUMAN BEINGS by Ross W. Greene

Raising Human Beings: Creating a Collaborative Partnership with Your ChildRaising Human Beings: Creating a Collaborative Partnership with Your Child by Ross W. Greene

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I highly recommend this book. It would make a great gift for parents with children of any age – but the younger the better. It’s easier to instill a sound pattern of parenting when the kids are young; although, this book does offer excellent examples of changing parental styles even when the kids are teenagers.

Over the years, I’ve read quite a few parenting books, and one of the things I’ve learned is: you do not have to agree with every single bit of advice offered within the pages. Take what works for you and apply it to your situation.

Ross W. Greene, PhD, has taken experiences from his twenty-five years of being a clinical psychologist and organized his advice in a very easy-to-read format. Instead of compiling pages and pages of never-ending advice and examples all in the same font and line spacing, the author (and editor and publisher, I assume) diversified the text. There are paragraphs where straight information is delivered, there are case studies presented in stories, there are Q&A sections, and there are plenty of subtitles to help keep you engaged with the book. While most of the writing is excellent, Greene does like to start sentences with the word “but” and he loves his creative dialogue tags such as hissed, mumbled, grumbled, and protested. None of which actually took away from the overall content, but it was distracting to me.

While I loved and agreed with much of Greene’s advice, I will tell you that I let my babies cry themselves to sleep in their cribs. After reading this book, if I had to do all over again, I would still let my babies cry themselves to sleep. And yet, I am certainly one to advocate parents considering alternatives to figure out what works best for them.

Greene’s straight-forward method of “Creating a Collaborative Partnership with Your Child” is one that will foster kinder human beings who are able to problem solve with empathy not only while growing up but also as adults.

Some of my favorite ideas and lines from the book:

“Identity achievement refers to a person who has both undergone the identity exploration process and has also developed a well-defined self-concept and identity. She know who she is, what she believes, and where she’s going” (page 24).

“What’s best for him is likely to involve more ‘listening’ than ‘lessoning’” (page 35).

“Your child would prefer to be doing well” (page 39).

“But there’s another reason solving problems collaboratively is hard: many adults haven’t had much practice at it, having been raised by parents who were probably highly skilled at demanding and insisting” (page 81).

“I’ve worked with three-year-olds who had an easier time participating verbally than some seventeen-year-olds” (page 190).

“We live in the information age, and we are saturated with demands for empathy … sadly, that fatigue sometimes causes us to respond with less compassion and empathy in our interactions with our children…” (page 240).

View all my reviews

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Book Review & Commentary - THE NEW TRAIL OF TEARS by Naomi Schaefer Riley

When I was offered a chance to read this book, I jumped at the opportunity. Scroll down for my review of the book AND for an intriguing commentary on the topic.

The New Trail of Tears
How Washington Is Destroying American Indians
By Naomi Schaefer Riley
Published by Encounter Books
Hardcover; 184 pages; $23.99
July 26, 2016; 9781594038532

Publisher's Description
If you want to know why American Indians have the highest rates of poverty of any racial group, why suicide is the leading cause of death among Indian men, why native women are two and a half times more likely to be raped than the national average and why gang violence affects American Indian youth more than any other group, do not look to history. There is no doubt that white settlers devastated Indian communities in the 19th, and early 20th centuries. But it is our policies today–denying Indians ownership of their land, refusing them access to the free market and failing to provide the police and legal protections due to them as American citizens -- that have turned reservations into small third-world countries in the middle of the richest and freest nation on earth.

The tragedy of our Indian policies demands reexamination immediately -- not only because they make the lives of millions of American citizens harder and more dangerous -- but also because they represent a microcosm of everything that has gone wrong with modern liberalism. They are the result of decades of politicians and bureaucrats showering a victimized people with money and cultural sensitivity instead of what they truly need -- the education, the legal protections and the autonomy to improve their own situation.

If we are really ready to have a conversation about American Indians, it is time to stop bickering about the names of football teams and institute real reforms that will bring to an end this ongoing national shame.

Author Bio
Naomi Schaefer Riley, author of The New Trail of Tears, is a weekly columnist for the New York Post and a former Wall Street Journal editor and writer whose work focuses on higher education, religion, philanthropy and culture. She is the author of several books on those topics. Her book, ‘Til Faith Do Us Part: How Interfaith Marriage is Transforming America (Oxford, 2013), was named an editor’s pick by the New York Times Book Review. Ms. Riley’s writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the LA Times, and the Washington Post, among other publications. She appears regularly on FoxNews and FoxBusiness. She has also appeared on Q&A with Brian Lamb as well as the Today Show. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in English and Government. She lives in the suburbs of New York with her husband, Jason, and their three children.

My Review
I am not Native American, but I am interested in all cultures and I jumped at the opportunity to read this book by Naomi Schaefer Riley. She stated in the acknowledgments, “When people ask me how I came to write a book about American Indians, I can only say anger. For years, I had read about the poverty, suicide, abuse, and alcohol and drug problems on reservations with deep sense of sadness” (page 187).

THE NEW TRAIL OF TEARS is a well-written book addressing current concerns of Native Americans. Riley included so many facts in the narrative that I often had to set the book down, because I felt like I was taking an accelerated sociology class. Riley cited her research throughout and included an extensive list of references at the back of the book. I did not take the time to verify any of the information.

Some interesting details mentioned by Riley caught my attention:
--- “There are 562 federally recognized Indian nations in the United States – about half of which are in Alaska – and 310 reservations” (page xii).
--- “Violent crime on the country’s 310 reservations is on average about 2.5 times as high as the national average” (page 7).
--- “American Indians, it turns out, have served in the military at the highest rate of any group since the American Revolution. According to the Defense Department, as of 2012 there were more than 22,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives on active duty, and the 2010 census identified over 150,000 American Indian and Alaska Native veterans. Twenty-seven have been awarded the Medal of Honor” (page 175).
--- “It was not until after World War II in the 1965 passage of the Voting Rights Act that all states were required to allow Native Americans to vote on the same basis as any other American” (page 175).

A great portion of the book addressed the issue of property ownership. I had zero knowledge of this beforehand. I found it quite mind boggling how complicated the federal government has made it for Native Americans to own land, and the problem still exists today. That’s ridiculous. Furthermore, it’s not just in the USA but also in Canada. “In Canada, there are three types of individuals not allowed to own property – kids, the mentally incompetent, and Indians living on reserves” (page 44). The issues are too complicated for me to highlight in my review. Read the book.

“Underlying federal policy are the assumptions that Indians are simply incapable of managing their own affairs and that natural resource development somehow runs contrary to their traditions” (page 13).

Tribal economics represented another relevant issue addressed in Riley’s book. “The unemployment rate for the 8,000 tribe members [of the Northern Cheyenne] who live on the reservation is more than 80 percent … the most talented people on the reservation tend to leave” (pages 20-21).

So the federal government has offered Native Americans “what you might call a loophole economy. We allow Indians to engage in enterprises that we can’t or won’t have in other neighborhoods. It used to be selling tax-free cigarettes, liquor, and gasoline. Then it was the gaming industry. Now, more states are allowing casinos to be run by non-Indians, and casinos aren’t the source of profit they once were. But never fear. The Justice Department decided in December 2014 to allow marijuana to be grown on reservations – even if the drug is illegal in the state where the reservation is located. Gambling, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs – who wouldn’t want these businesses to form the economic backbone of their community?” (page 50).

I could go on and on referencing the disappointing details presented in this book, which only reflect the current state of affairs for Native Americans, but I’ll let you read the book. I was surprised at my lack of awareness, which I attribute to my own privilege and naivety. So whether you think we should continue to celebrate Columbus Day (touted as celebrating the explorer who launched a genocide) or replace it with “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” take the time to look at this book. It is a very worthwhile read, especially for anyone interested in equal rights for all, sociology, or psychology.

I am passing my copy of the book along to one of my Native American friends, and I look forward to being able to discuss it with her and read her review of the book.

Furthermore, please, continue reading for an intriguing opinion piece written by a Cherokee descendant.

[I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion of the book.]

Ramshackle Trailers - An Opinion Piece by Artemis Grey
My Grandfather’s side of the family doesn’t really exist. You see, my grandfather was Cherokee. He wasn’t a Cherokee prince, and his mother wasn’t a princess, and her father wasn’t a king or chief. They were just people. People who had to choose between walking thousands of miles and probably dying for who they were, or pretending to be white people. My great grandmother grew up learning how to be white. The only time her hair was ever braided was when she was dying of cancer, and even then, she worried she would “look like a savage”. My grandfather probably didn’t even think of it as “acting” like a white person. I’ll never know for sure. By the time I was old enough to ask questions like that, he was dead.

A hundred years after American Indians were systematically forced to pretend to be white, the tables have turned. Now, it’s fashionable to be an Indian. Everyone seems have a “Cherokee princess” for a grandmother. Millions of dollars in profit are made yearly by white designers, white artists, white pretty much everyone, off Native inspired items. I’m saying this as a white person. I can’t be anything but white because I was never raised any way but the white way. I know what my grandfather, great grandmother, and great great grandfather were, but I don’t know who they were, and I never will. The chance for that is gone.

So too, is the chance slipping away for the entirety of white America–along with other races–to ever know who the remaining indigenous peoples are. Whatever Americans picture when someone says the words “American Indian” or “Native American” it usually involves teepees, war parties, buffalo hunts, leather and fringe and fancy headdresses. No one pictures ramshackle trailers with caved-in roofs, sheltering a dozen family members. No one pictures a suicide rate triple the national average. No one pictures wastelands of civilization where people are told to do for themselves but deprived of the means by which to act, told to make something of themselves, but denied the chance to be educated, told to govern themselves, but smothered by federal regulations. No one ever pictures Wallstreet stockbrokers, millionaire recording artists, Hollywood socialites, or Greenwich Village mansion owners, either.

From the moment white Europeans set foot on this continent, the indigenous peoples of America have been exploited and idealized, in equal parts. The image non-Indians have of Indian is one established and maintained by their white contemporaries. The majority of books written about Native Americans have been written by white men (mostly) and white women. Some of these books and articles idealize Indians, and some of them vilify them. Some call for the government to provide them more opportunities, others call for the government to leave them alone entirely. What all of these books and articles share in common, however, is that they were written about indigenous peoples through the gaze of non-indigenous peoples. Thus, they carry the expectations of their white authors.

What I know for certain about the indigenous peoples of my country is that virtually nothing I know about them is anything that they taught me. I learned the same white-written history in school as other American students, I’ve read about the conflicts of white-written laws, in regard to how tribes are alternatively enabled by federal allowances and hindered by federal laws. I grew up seeing and reading white accounts of Indians who slaughtered settlers and white accounts of Indians who represent the epitome of unity with nature. I’ve grown up celebrating white holidays that celebrate white people, and now I’m living through a white-instigated movement to eradicate Columbus day–a white holiday–in favor of “Indigenous Peoples Day” which is supposed to be better, but will still be a white holiday.

Where are the best-selling books by Native authors? The art and artists? As recently as last season, fashion runways in Milan hosted celebrated clothing lines which blatantly appropriated Native American cultural designs–some of them actually taken from Native fashion designers. Those who complained were told that it wasn’t “appropriation” it was something done in reverence of the cultures from which the designs were stolen. Hollywood is no different. Thousands of movies about Indians have been made over the years, but excruciatingly few, if any, have been written, directed or the characters even portrayed by actual Indians. Only in recent years have a scant few Native Americans been able to break into the ironclad curtain of Hollywood, and those have been largely viewed as novelties to be celebrated and subsequently forgotten, not as contemporary artisans skilled in their chosen areas of craft.

The enduring problem that oppresses Native Americans everywhere in our country, more than anything else in history, is that white America is still not interested in hearing what American Indians, Native Americans, or Indians, (their preference varies from person to person, it’s best to just ask) have to say about anything, from their current state within our society, to their own histories. White America must listen to–not discuss–the issues facing our indigenous peoples, both on reservations and off. We need to ask, not presume, offer, not give, and understand, not idealize. Until white America steps back and allows Native Americans to control their own lives, we’re not going to ever get to know who they are as people. We must stop dictating the dialogue of a conversation that is not ours to hold. Native Americans were thriving before we ever landed on these shores, and they could do so again, if we’d just get out of their way and allow them the freedom to do so.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

#IWSG: 3 Helpful Writing Sites + 2 Giveaways for UNLOCKED

The first Wednesday of the month is Insecure Writer's Support Group! For more information about this terrific group of writers, visit the main site at:
One of the things I find most helpful is when other writers share useful information about the craft and career of writing. Here are some sites with great writing topics, which I recently found informative and inspiring:

123 Ideas for Character Flaws
7 Things Professional Writers Know
How to Write a Thriller

AND ... before you go ... let me tell you about two giveaways currently happening for my next novel, UNLOCKED.

First: My publisher, Merit Press, is giving away 25 hardback copies of UNLOCKED over at Goodreads. Hop on over there and enter to win!

Second: As a thank you for your continued support, I'm offering a separate giveaway, for YOU, here! I am giving away a signed Advance Reader Copy of UNLOCKED. (Contest open internationally.) You can earn an entry into the random drawing for each of the items below - for each day of the contest. Simply email me at: margokelly1 @ outlook . com (without the spaces) and let me know which items you've completed. Hurry, this IWSG giveaway will close 8/7/16. Winner will be announced here and by email.

1. Share the link to the Goodreads giveaway on Twitter and tag @MargoWKelly and @Merit_Press

2. Join the social media "Book Blitz" hosted by YA Bound Book Tours - CLICK HERE

3. Share this picture (if you'd prefer I email you a .jpg - just let me know) on any social media and tag me if possible: