About Me

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Exit by Shane Filer‏

"Did you know I spent the whole of my fifteenth year in my room?"

Briar’s impromptu, mid-afternoon confession stirs up distant memories of the lonely time she spent trapped in her home; suffering agoraphobia — fear of open spaces.

Now it’s six years later.

She’s free, but the year's isolation has left serious personality disorders; disorders which will resurface as she relates her own story, and that of those in her orbit; Melodie, a pretty valley girl who Briar desires to be, Justine, her oldest friend, who has her own dark secret, and Dermot, a man who thinks he's the reincarnation of Robin Hood — stealing from the rich to give to the poor.

Slowly Dermot begins to draw Briar into his ever-so-exciting world, but who is leading whom on their slow descent into crime? Duel periods of Briar’s life intertwine like a rope around her neck as her lost year begins to overtake the present. It leads her to the answer to one very simple question:

“Is it what I always feared — am I losing my mind?”


Book Trailer
Author Interview Video

Q) What inspired you to write this book?
A crush on Drew Barrymore. An image of a hand pressed to a window pane. Many things. An article about a woman in Scotland who spent 30 years inside her home because of agoraphobia. She was discovered after her husband died of natural causes. After a few days his employers sent people to see why he hadn’t shown up for work. Inside they found his wife trapped, unable to leave to get help or even pick up the phone.

I had tried for some time to get writing and creative projects published in my own country, New Zealand, and eventually simply gave up writing about this country. I had been to the USA and was inspired by its vastness, its culture and people. I knew the idea for EXIT would work set there. It all just seemed right. It touches on some topics and themes quite close to me and yet far away too. EXIT became the novel I had to write, and write well. No one else would have written it.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
A friend once said to me that I don’t have children because I can make people up in stories, so there is no need to create real people here on Earth. There is perhaps some truth to that. We do actually have over enough humans on Earth, so I don’t need to add to that. The truth is when you are writing a novel, and the characters come to life, they not only take over the book, but also your thoughts and while you are living with them, your life. So you are never alone when you have imaginary people in your head. Hopefully that doesn’t sound too schizophrenic.

Q) What is your favorite candy?
Candy Darling.

Q) What is your favorite cartoon?
Watership Down. Well, technically it’s a novel, but I remember seeing the1978 animated film adaption first as a child and being absorbed by the characters and the story. Richard Adams wrote a book, for children, that didn’t talk down to them, and showed the natural world (and life) as it is – often filled with sadness, pain and death. The film to its credit retains this tone. This is no Disney cartoon, its anti-Disney and it’s sadly a film that would never be made today. Today we would get a sanitized, dumbed down version, turned into an anemic safe product that a corporation could make money off. Luckily director Martin Rosen beat them to it. If you want to see just how good a children’s animated film can be, this is it.

Q) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
From quite a young age. I wouldn’t say from birth, but I pretty much had an interest in books from birth. My mother would read me stories at night, to the point where I had memorized many of them and could repeat them back to her. So the interest in stories came from there. I discovered comics too. When I was a child there were comics everywhere, at news-stands, diaries in New Zealand, and in bookstores. War comics, sci-fi, adventure, horror and I guess superheroes, but men dressing up in tights didn’t make much sense to my 6 year old self. I gained an interest in drawing and art first. I would draw little comics, but of course found I had to write a story to draw. For a while I really wanted to be a comic book writer/artist, but I just found writing, and novels in particular interested me too much.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
Ironically after I sold the novel, I also had some comic book stories accepted by a large UK publisher - that are due out soon. I will post release dates on my Facebook page. I want to work more in comics, because it’s a medium I have some affection for, although it’s a matter of finding the right (good) material to work on. Despite my misgivings about super-heroes, I would like to write an American comic, although I don’t know if Marvel or DC would ever give me free rein to do what I would really like to do. I’d like to write Wonder Woman, because despite an well-executed effort in the late 80s by writer/artist George Perez, this is an iconic character that no one else seems to have known what to do with. Hint: DC Comics- hire me!

A second novel is close to completion. What’s it about? Well it continues themes from EXIT but in a greater, grander way: A man finds he can change his physical appearance by sheer force of will, but as he changes his looks, his personality begins to alter to suit the new personas. He becomes more perfect, people treat him differently, and so he becomes different people, changes his habits, identity and even sexual preferences, eventually losing any sense of his own identity.

Shane grew up in provincial New Zealand, a small place where options are small, were people wear PJs to the mall, a small place where dreams of being a writer or artist are not only actively discouraged, they are actively quashed. Nevertheless he fell in love with books, comics and writing at a young age and his early influences include Oscar Wilde, Alan Moore and Dr Seuss.

After many years of trying to get books, documentaries and films accepted in his own country, Shane gave up and settled for working in the fairly creative world of video-making and advertising.

A trip to Europe and the USA rekindled his love of writing, and he wrote the American-based novel ‘Exit,’ submitted it this time to American publishers and immediately, received several offers for the work. He chose one and ‘Exit’ will be released December 2nd 2013 in the USA as his first novel from Biblio Publishing.

It is the story of Briar Averill who spent a year trapped in her room, suffering from agophobia. Six years on, she’s free, yet ripples from the year's isolation still lap at the edges of her life, and that of her friends: Melodie, a pretty valley girl who she wishes she could be… Justine, her oldest friend, who has her own dark secret and Dermot who thinks he's the reincarnation of Robin Hood — stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Ripples echo down through the years, leading her to the answer to one very simple question: Is it what she always feared — is she losing her mind?

Shane has since had comic book scripts accepted in the UK by DC Thompson, publisher of the long-running ‘Commando’ comic, fulfilling yet another dream for his child-self.

He lives with a very old and very vocal Tonkinese cat, and they both dream of eloping together to the USA or Europe.

He likes oranges, orange juice, and orange furniture — in fact even the color orange. Why? Well, because it's the best color, of course. While he believes that being a grown up is not all it's cracked up to be, he still enjoys ruining his appetite before dinner, and staying up past his bed time.


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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Prophecy by Erin Albert

Growing up on a small farm in the kingdom of Vanguard, seventeen-year-old Layla Givens lives a deceptively tranquil existence. But her carefully constructed life quickly falls apart when she’s abducted by a religious zealot who proclaims her The Fulfillment of an ancient peace prophecy and whisks her away to marry her greatest enemy.

Wilhelm, Prince of the Ethereals, is reluctant to meet his new bride. He's grown up believing Vanguards are evil, an enemy to fight and fear...not love. Can he set aside his prejudices and work alongside Layla to bring lasting peace after centuries of war?

Nash, a loner who has never fit in, carries a huge secret, one big enough to destroy both kingdoms. When he accidently meets Layla, he’s no longer content to live in the shadows, but he must resist his growing attraction—for her safety and for the longevity of the two kingdoms.

When Nash's secret is revealed, a firestorm sweeps through both realms, with Layla at the center. Now she must choose between duty and desire while the fate of two nations hangs in the balance.

Thanks so much for hosting me on my blog tour for The Prophecy, Pem!

Q) What inspired you to write this book? 
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, so I typically have story ideas running through my head all the time. For The Prophecy though, I’d say my biggest inspirations were Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin and Arthurian legend.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing? 
The creative process. For this book, and the other two books in the series, I had the distinct pleasure of working with my friends, affectionately called The Dream Team. Working with them, living in this world with them, made the process all that more thrilling and special!

Q) What is your favorite candy? 
When it comes to chocolate candy, I like Reese’s Big Cups the best. For sour candy, I’m partial to Sprees and Nerds.

Q) What is your favorite cartoon? 
Gracious alive! I don’t remember the last time I watched a cartoon. It’s not a cartoon in the Saturday morning sense, but I really like Tangled.

Q) When did you know you wanted to be a writer? 
I have always had a passion for the written word. I started reading at a young age, and at the age of four, I wrote my first poem on my grandparents’ typewriter. When everyone read it and freaked out over it, a future writer was born!

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future? 
I made some changes to The Prophecy, so I am working on filtering those changes down into the second and third books. I hope to submit the second book, tentatively called The Outlanders, for publication soon and the third book, tentatively called The Fulfillment, not too long thereafter.

Erin Albert is an author and fitness trainer. Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word. She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the "Grammar Police." In her free time, Erin enjoys acting, running, kickboxing, and, of course, reading and writing.

Find me online:

Preorder Link
Twitter: @ErinAlbertBooks

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

George Knows by Mindy Mymudes

An egotistical magical basset hound named George believes it's his duty to train and protect his 12-year-old Girlpup, a greenwitch named Karly. He and his Girlpup, must solve a murder as well as save their park from being developed. George is the perfectly designed familiar for the job.

Q) What inspired you to write this book? 
I wasn’t planning on it. I was planning on writing an article for Dog Fancy and while I was typing away, George popped up. I assumed he was an English Springer Spaniel, like the ones I breed, own, and train. Or they train me, whatever. About three pages in, he told me I was a fool, that he wasn’t a springer. They were stupid and would do anything for a treat. He was a proper hunting dog, no long hair to get trapped in the field, a great voice, perfect digging paws, sleek and low to the ground. And, he had magical drool.

That, as they say, is that. I have noticed, however, that many of the scenes seem vaguely reminiscent of my own dogs antics.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing? 
I can tune out the world. I have a chronic pain issue and it disappears when I fully immersed in my stories.

Q) What is your favorite candy? 
I have A favorite candy? I think not. Whatever candy I have in my hands at the time is my favorite.

Q) What is your favorite cartoon?
Mighty Mouse!

Q) When did you know you wanted to be a writer? 
I’m still not sure about that. Personally, I think I’m possessed by a dog who requires my hands. He isn’t perfect, he doesn’t have thumbs.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future? 
I’m working on Tillie’s Tale, another stand-alone mid-grade mystery from George’s point of view. This time, he needs to banish a ghost.

Mindy Mymudes runs with the Muddy Paws Pack in Milwaukee, WI. She insists she is alpha, even as the dogs walk all over her. She hunts, cleans the den and keeps them entertained. When she can escape the pack, she enjoys digging in dirt, listening to audiobooks, and weaving the antics of the pack into stories. The alpha male, Tall Dude, just shakes his head and stays out of the way.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Megalith Union by Brad A. LaMar‏

The fate of mankind teeters on the edge of the megalith union…

Just as life was returning to normal for Brendan as a college freshman, the hands of fate intervene and adventure besets him again in the second installment of the best-selling Celtic Mythos series.

Elathan, the golden god of Celtic lore, is reborn out of the ashes of a dead king and evil witch. Through Brendan and his family, Elathan maneuvers the tendrils of destiny, seeking to gain ultimate power at the expense of all humanity.

Dogged by giants, alphyns, and ruas Brendan, Dorian, Lizzie, and a new cast of characters risk it all to unravel the mystery of the ultimate foe.

With Corways under attack and Brendan’s father captured by a forgotten enemy, can Brendan and his allies prevent the end of days?

As the megalith union looms, Brendan and his friends must look to the past to prevent a future where Elathan reigns supreme. 

If you liked Percy Jackson and the Olympians or Fablehaven, you won't want to miss The Megalith Union!

The Obsidian Dagger (Celtic Mythos, Book 1) was a #1 Contemporary Fantasy Best Seller on Amazon

Praise for The Obsidian Dagger:

"An excellent young reader fantasy novel! …There's a satisfying conclusion to the events of this book, but the witch is only the beginning, and LaMar hints at a more terrifying evil threatening to change the world as we know it. I can't wait for more in this series!"
–Tricia Lewis, Owner, Robots & Rogues Bookstore

“Hooks the reader right from the start... This is a must read!”
–Wendy Eckstein, Middle School Teacher

“Brad LaMar hits a homerun with this exciting tale!”
–Michelle Bridgewater Allee, Librarian

“A fun, exciting, fast paced adventure with a touch of humor.”
–Michelle Parsons, Love2ReadAlways.blogspot.com

Q) What inspired you to write this book?
I used to write stories for my kids when they were younger. I would put them into the stories and they would love to hear and imagine themselves on these great adventures. I wrote one story where I took them to Ireland and they convinced me to try and find leprechauns. After I thought about for awhile I felt like I could turn this simple story into an adventure for young adult readers and above.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
My favorite thing about writing is telling a story that I can see playing out in my head. It’s a challenge to convey my imagination, but that’s also what makes it fun.

Q) What is your favorite candy?
I think that my favorite candy is Mr. Goodbar. A person can’t go wrong with chocolate-covered peanuts.

Q) What is your favorite cartoon?
There are many good cartoons that have been made over the years but I probably have the best memories of the old G.I. Joe and Transformer cartoons from the 80s. Although, if I had to choose a more recent one, I think the Justice League (Unlimited) series was written, drawn, and presented in a very smart way.

Q) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I have always been told by teachers throughout my education that I was creative and filled with good ideas, but I never even considered the possibility that I could become a published author until I became a teacher myself. I wrote an example story for a project that I assigned and the students were really impressed, so I submitted it via snail-mail to some agents and got some advice that changed how I perceived myself as a writer. She told me that my writing is good and creative, but if I wanted to become published then I needed to write a novel. That changed my focus and presented a challenge unlike anything that I had every tried before. I wrote my first novel and got a agent. That was a real boost in my confidence. Even though that book has not been published yet, I was energized to keep going, to keep writing, and eventually I signed a contract to have my Celtic Mythos series published by Light Messages.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
Readers can expect a variety of stories that will hopefully entertain them. I love to write adventure, science fiction, and fantasy, or to take stories into the future or back in time in a historical fiction tale. I plan on having children’s stories published and I am even working on a couple of nonfiction works. My wife is the most organized person I know and she has some great ideas that I’m working on with her, so I would expect a book like that will be in our future as well.

Brad A. LaMar is an author and educator who resides in the Indianapolis Metropolitan area. He has worked with middle school age students for fourteen years and loves the enthusiasm they can bring to learning. Sure, he enjoys long walks on the beach at sunset, but it’s hard to beat getting into a great story whether he’s writing it himself or enjoying the fruits of someone else’s imagination.

He is married to Lori, a beautiful and supportive woman, and together they’re raising Evan and Paige, two intelligent and wonderful children. He loves the way a story can make a reader think, laugh, react, and experience a wide range of emotions. Brad has tried to deliver those experiences in his best selling YA fantasy series, Celtic Mythos, and he is thrilled to be able to continue the adventure in The Megalith Union.

Brad’s imagination is bursting with stories and he can’t wait to share them with his readers. In fact, you can look for The Dominion Pulse, book three in the Celtic Mythos series, to be released soon.

Learn more about Brad and the bestselling Celtic Mythos series at

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Leap of Faith

Guys ten times his size surrounded him.  Thousands of people stared down at him.  He was being led away from his parents to the middle of the field with strangers.  He admitted he was nervous.  The look on his face confirmed it.  But at the same time, he knew nothing bad was going to happen.  He knew he was getting the experience of a lifetime.  And when it was all said and done, he was ecstatic.

My oldest got to be the Kickoff Kid at the football game on Saturday. When the opportunity arose, I didn't hesitate to sign him up.  I know my son, so the I knew the possibility existed he would get a little shy and maybe not want to go.  If that was the case, so be it.  At least he had the chance to  make his own choice.  I just gave him the avenue.  He took the leap of faith, despite his nervousness, and had a wonderful time.  I hope you do the same every once in a while.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Outdoor Adventures

To celebrate Labor Day, the family and I went to Vedauwoo for a picnic and hike.  This trip was extra special because my parents were visiting and my sister and her kids came with us.  We all had a wonderful time.  We climbed some rocks and hiked around North Crow, where we saw a bald eagle pair.

As we were going through the woods, all I could think about were Ifs.  I started brainstorming another story, and hopefully soon I'll have a chance to work on it!

Heading up the rocks.

Seeing what can be seen from the top.

Cooling off in the reservoir.

Ooo!  More rocks!

What a lovely view!

Bald eagle on the beach. (I know, it's not a very good picture!)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Using Graphic Novels as an Inspiration for Teen Books by Pamela Kelt

How many people have tried their hand at fantasy novels with a ‘quest’ theme? The answer is, I suspect, just about anyone who’s enjoyed Lord of the Rings. That’s a lot of folk.

Some years ago, I began to develop a story set in the icy wastes of the north. It was based on a trip to northern Norway. The story only took off on the third edit, when I tried a different approach. I decided to ditch the traditional fantasy scenario and go for the flavour of a graphic novel.

Not everyone likes graphic novels. Our favourite country pub is owned by a chap, a former graphic artist, who’s lined the walls of the establishment with original front covers of graphic novels from the 1970s. Catwoman, the Incredible Hulk, Superman, The Shadow. Others were more obscure, but the powerful images are filled with exciting promise.

In my view, the figures and backdrops are striking and brilliantly drawn – with obvious good and evil connotations. This made them the perfect inspiration for an adventure story for teens and tweens.

Some say it doesn’t matter what you read, as long as you read something. This sentiment was often quoted to assist teachers hoping to encourage youngsters, especially boys, to read. So, I thought I’d try and create a graphic novel – without pictures.

So, what are the key ingredients to a graphic novel? After some poking around the web, I came up with some ground rules.

Graphic novels require super-human heroes and heroines. I wasn’t about to create new wonder-beings, so I didn’t worry overly about this aspect, although I made sure the characters were strong, with my young heroes achieving staggering feats of endurance against unpleasant villains.

Action is paramount, and descriptions are relegated to a few brief words of scene-setting. This seemed to make sense. The characters jump in, enabling the reader to be there in their imagination. This is just another way of saying ‘show not tell’, I suppose.

Memorable scenes, those staggering set pieces where the imaginary camera takes in the action, are a must for the so-called ‘visual novel’. Instead of describing the lousy weather, I tried to create an image of my stalwart heroes stranded in a snowstorm as a villainous army of mutant creatures moving in. No escape! Duh-duh-duh.

In graphic novels, captions and word balloons are critical. When it came to language, I went for a direct, simple style, as contemporary as possible without being too ‘street’. In every plot twist, someone restates the predicament so less experienced readers know what’s going on.

 Obviously, word balloons weren’t feasible (it’s not illustrated), but I tried different routes to express thoughts, such as different punctuation, style, typefaces – although too many exclamation marks weren’t deemed such a great idea by my editor. I have to agree. They looked out of place.

In a sidebar, I once had the oddest translating job. It was to convert the speech in the bubbles of a graphic novel from American English (‘Jeez, bud. You’re so dumb you drive me nuts.’) to British English (Hey, mate. Stop being such a plonker.’) The difficult thing was, we had no access to the graphic artist, so I literally had to make the words fit the space.

Back to Ice Trekker. When I read the stunning The Edge Chronicles, I could hear the forest, the strange animals, the evil armies moving in the undergrowth. I’m not saying I wrote ‘thunk’ every time someone fell off a rock, but a good bit of onomatopoeia works wonders.

Good graphic novels have terrific back-stories, some as powerful as myths. This seemed like fun, so I created a few myths to explain my mythical planet and the creatures upon it. (I put the full version on the blog for anyone who’d care to read it – http://icetrekker.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-legend-of-mount-vulkanen.html.) Such mythology reinforces the moral tone, and I feel younger readers enjoy learning from myths and fables about good and evil, and how the world should work.

Good graphic novels have a tight script, often laced with dark humour. Humour is how people often deal with tension, so I allowed myself a dry comment here and there. Unleavened seriousness can be a bit much. For example, our intrepid heroes are under attack and have to defend themselves, but they don’t have much. The cook pitches in: “I’ve got a few kitchen knives,” said Big Ben, who popped his head up. “And there’s a fair bit of damage you can do with a milk frother if you set your mind to it.”

A vital aspect of the graphic novel is the impact of cinema. I was brought up on books by John Buchan, with pages of worthy descriptions of the lay of the land. Today’s generation sees things from the cameraman’s point of view. Every time I created a new scene, I tried to think of interesting angles, extreme close-ups, panning, long shots, wide or panoramic shots, scenes over the shoulder, a bird's eye view. They’re all worth exploring.

A part of this is the use of landscapes. In graphic novels, landscapes set the mood for the whole novel. It’s time to have some fun – but the characters should interact with it. The aim must be for the reader to ‘see’ the story and its themes rather than realising they’re reading about them.

 Well, now you can decide for yourself. Here’s a short extract of Ice Trekker, due out on MuseItUp in September.

Extract of Ice Trekker:
“Hide!” hissed the old sailor, eyes white with fear. He slithered across the icy decking and burrowed into a tangle of fishing nets lying on the dock.

Midge turned his face upward. The navy night sky turned green, laced with purple and orange like oil in water.

“What is it?” he asked, ducking into the doorway of a battered wooden boathouse. A rippling movement swept over his head in a giant tidal wave of light. He held his breath as though he were being sucked under water.

“Skythons!” came the terrified reply. “You gets them in Kr√łnagar. But never seen ’em so big before. Horrible things. Horrible!”

Midge stared upward to watch a shimmering snake-like pattern weave and twist across the sky. The effect of long, rippling muscles struck him as so strange and beautiful that he forgot to feel afraid as he gazed at the shifting colours.

“They mean bad luck,” howled the sailor, arm over his eyes.

Up in the cold sky, colours still shimmered. “Surely it’s just superstitious nonsense?” Midge said, still staring. “They can’t be real. Just a trick of the light.” He couldn’t drag his eyes away from the sight as the shape swooped toward the dark line of mountains, arched up, over, and back toward where he stood on the little jetty. He jolted as he thought he saw a giant violet eye, bloodshot and terrible, staring right at him. It was so close he could see it gleam.

Looking round quickly, he found an old fish head. He scooped it up and flung it as far as he could into the harbour waters where it landed with a loud splash. The purple eye swivelled, following the movement of the bait, and the Skython swerved, changing direction with the ease of a supple salmon, skimming the dark waters. Then it snatched at the water, and zoomed upward, the fish head in its claws, before cresting the distant hills.

Author biography:
Pam’s background is in languages. She took Spanish at the University of Manchester then went on to Oxford to complete an M. Litt thesis on ‘Comic aspects of satirical 17th-century comic interludes’, which was far more interesting than it sounds.

After becoming a technical translator, she moved into copywriting, PR, proofreading and teaching English. On a stint in Australia, she landed a sub-editor’s job and entered the world of journalism, especially enjoying page layout and writing features and reviews.

Educational magazines and online publishing followed. Then, one bright day, while walking the dogs, thinking ‘to heck with a career’, she took the plunge into writing for herself. She is now the author of six books for adults, teens and younger readers. Pam writes full time in leafy Kenilworth where she enjoys walking her two daft dogs, watching her windowsill orchids grow and keeping up with the best mystery and adventure stories around.

Find Pam here:
Find Pam on Twitter and Facebook; or visit her author website and blog. Ice Trekker is the companion blog. Orchidmania is for orchid fans.

Pam’s other work:
Tomorrow's Anecdote Crooked Cat
Dark InterludeMuseItUp
Half Life (with Robert J Deeth) – out 16 August 2013 MuseItUp
The Lost Orchid – out soon Bluewood Publishing
The Cloud Pearl (Legends of Liria) – out November 2013 MuseItUp
The Deed Box – free short story to download from Smashwords

Monday, August 26, 2013

First Day of School

Today was the first day of school for my oldest.  He's a first grader this year.  He was excited to go, and promptly took off running to find his friends from last year.  It's going to be a great school year!

Yesterday, we went out fishing in our new boat.  It was a great way to relax before having to get back on schedule.  The boys had a great time and caught some fish.  We just love the outdoors!

The boys always seem to find dogs hanging out on the beach.

Watching the waves and waiting to throw in the lure.

Just checking out the water.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Being Lazy

In our house, we like to do nothing.  We like sitting around and watching TV or playing video games or reading books, but we don't get to do it very often.  Between work, day care, school, and sports, we keep pretty busy.  Occasionally, we have some days where we get to be lazy.  But no matter how lazy us humans are being, the cat always has us beat.  She has mastered the art of laying around!  I think we need to take lessons...

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lucky Phoo by Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohon‏

Seventh grade best friends, Caylie Jiang-Kahn, Lauren Blindell, and Sabrina Robinson have busy middle school lives.

Sabrina wants to make a movie about their friendship, but a stray dog shows up and ruins the day. In frustration, Lauren curses, “Oh Phooey.” The name sticks. The crazy mutt will forever be named Phoo.

Sabrina pieces together bits of the footage she shot. She highlights Phoo’s silly antics and puts the video up on a movie contest website.

The video goes viral and suddenly, Lauren, Caylie, and Sabrina are celebrities at school. When a volunteer at the dog shelter sees the film, she assumes the dog belongs to the girls and calls them to come collect Phoo.

The girls arrange to take turns caring for Phoo until he can be adopted.

While sharing Phoo, Caylie, Sabrina and Lauren begin to notice that if the dog is around, lucky things seem to happen. The moment he’s gone…the luck disappears.

When they all need the dog’s magic at the same time, it’s up to the girls to decide once and for all: Is Phoo truly a lucky dog?

Q) What inspired you to write this book?
I have been published for many years through major houses. I write constantly. This was a book f my heart. When I partnered with my friend Rhody Cohon to work on LUCKY PHOO we fell in love with the idea and the characters. Three girls, a magical dog, fashion, movies, and romance – what wasn’t to love.

The characters were kids we knew. The complexities of their lives felt familiar. This cute little dog comes in and seems to make everything better for a while. Who wouldn’t want a little Phoo? At the end, we wanted the reader to raise more questions than it answered, and we hope it’s done just that.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
I love spending all day at my computer making up kids who do exactly what I want them to do and never complain, then at three PM, I pick up my own real kids who are never as predictable. Writing keeps me balanced. It’s the perfect job for a busy mom – I work while the kids are at school and get to spend all afternoon with them , enjoying their activities. I’ve been so lucky and am grateful everyday.

Q) What is your favorite candy?
I like Big Hunk. I know, Mom warned me it would pull out my fillings, but it’s the best. I have to pick out the peanuts though. They put too many in. I wish they’d make a version without them. That would be the best.

Q) What is your favorite cartoon?
I love Scooby Do. I also write mystery novels for kids and love uncovering a puzzle. There’s nothing better than at the end of a mystery when you think you know who did it, and it turns out you had no idea.

Q) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always written stories. I just didn’t know I could do it professionally until recently. One day, I had an idea for a story. Rhody encouraged me to write it, offering her help. We published a series called Blast to the Past about kids who time travel. Then we went on to partner on other stuff. LUCKY PHOO is the most recent book we worked on together.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I have been very busy. In addition to the work I have done with Rhody, I write on my own. I have penned mystery novels (top secret…you’d never guess I was the ghost author), I have a tween zombie book from Scholastic called Mean Ghouls, I did the Smurfs 2 movie novel, and recently, I just finished writing a mermaid book, that I hope will come out soon. I am busy – and that’s the way I like it!

Rhody Cohon wishes she could adopt a million pets! Until her house is big enough she'll pamper the few she has and help others find the perfect home.

Find Rhody at www.rhodycohon.com.

Stacia Deutsch sits at the keyboard crafting stories all day and then, plays with her own crazy, lucky, dog at night. She and her three kids live in Southern California. You can visit Stacia at www.staciadeutsch.com or on twitter at @staciadeutsch.

Website: www.staciadeutsch.com, www.rhodycohon.com
Twitter: @staciadeutsch
Facebook: www.facebook.com/staciadeutsch or www.facebook.com/luckyphoo to post your own pet photos and videos

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Drinna by Jared Gullage

Drinna is a young girl from a race called the Kunjels on the cusp of adulthood, which means she is beginning to rage. She must get back to her homeland with her parents (both of whom are merchants in a foreign land) before losing control of herself. Unfortunately, she awakes in a hostile place called the Sea of Grass, alone, frightened, and unaware of what just happened. She must find her way back to someone who can help her. As she journeys through this place, she must also survive. Monsters and beasts...and someone else...watch her as she makes her way.

Q) What inspired you to write this book?
A) This book was written to address the issue of self-control and prejudice. The young protagonist is part of a race and culture that has to endure as well as control the rage. The rage is good for protecting people from danger and should only be used to right wrongs, but left unchecked, it can be a dangerous liability. For Drinna, she must learn (all on her own) to control her rage and put it to use adequately and for the right purposes or let it consume her. In one way, this novel comments on the fallacious idea that emotions should be allowed to overrule reason or responsibility. Drinna must subject her emotions and her fear to her learning from her parents, or risk losing everything. The novel also addresses the notion of prejudice, as it puts Drinna in a position where she must carefully judge those people she meets out in the wild. They may not all be what they seem.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
A) I love the ability to create new worlds and explore them. I love comparing these worlds, and cultures, and histories to our own real world and see how they differ and, more importantly, how they are alike. I love exploring universal truths this way, coming to an understanding of real humans through the telling of stories about fake ones.

Q) What is your favorite candy?
A) Dark chocolate with almonds.

Q) What is your favorite cartoon?
A) Right now, the new Loony Tunes Show is becoming my favorite. I love Lola Bunny's new characterization. I find it to be a refreshing new look at the Loony Tunes characters. However, and perhaps ironically, growing up I enjoyed the Loony Tunes (the original ones) quite a bit. I have a problem picking favorites, but these seem to have been very formative in my life.

Q) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I learned how to write. When I learned I could make up stories. Perhaps it was when I was in third grade, most notably. I can remember a time when I was asked to write an additional chapter or an alternate chapter to a book we read in class, and I ended up adding ten hand-written pages to the book. My father encouraged me, giving me ideas or adages about how much reading had influenced him. He read my earliest manuscripts and gave me notes.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
A) Hopefully, they can expect fantasy that challenges preconceived notions and which explores interesting ideas in interesting ways. I am working on a sequel to Drinna, but it may be a while. I am also working on other novels involving the kunjels of Trithofar, which I hope will become my home territory.

About the author:
I am currently an Alabama resident and have been a lifetime writer. Currently, I am a high school English and literature teacher. Ever since I knew how, I have always enjoyed writing, and much of what I am writing now has much to do with the imaginings of my childhood and what my friends and I played as children. I went to high school, during which time I learned how to play D&D and other fantasy role-playing games, which developed my story-making skills ever further. In college, I sort of fell into an English major and eventually went to school for my masters degree for teaching literature, where I get to study what makes a good story and teach how to write better and more clearly. As I am a teacher, so also am I a student, of literature now and use what I teach to help me improve my writing and get my world out of my head and into other readers'.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fishing Trip!

The 6 year old loves to fish.  He wants to do it every day.  It amazes me that he has the patience to stand there with his rod in the water, waiting for a bite.  He knows that he isn't going to catch a fish every time, but that doesn't stop him from trying.

His brother is a little less patient.  He'll put his line in for a little while, but then he gets bored and starts exploring.  That works too.  As long as everyone has fun, that's all that matters!

What's your favorite thing to do on the weekend?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Seven Shades of Luminosity by Beth Bowland

When 13-year-old Ralph and his two friends enter a magical world called Norwaeja, they find themselves on an unexpected quest for seven keys, each of which leads them closer to a dark and dangerous kingdom.

Ralph thought he was an ordinary kid, just trying to become the junior fencing champion in his state. Shortly after being chased into Norwaeja he learns of the prophecy declaring him the warrior that will lead the Great Army into battle against Apep, the evil one.

Epic battles against Trolls, dangerous treks through kingdoms, and one pesky, egotistical meerkat will pit friend against friend while Ralph discovers just who he really is and what he is capable of achieving in a world that he is not a part of. Or is he?

Buy Links:
eTreasures Publishing

Beth Bowland, a native Ohioan, has always enjoyed reading and creating stories of her own. As a child she devoured every book she could get her hands on and spent numerous hours at the library each week. She loves writing stories for tweens and young teens and is now the author of three novels. Beth’s characters are of often described as quirky and fun, but always relatable. She is currently working on her fourth novel, a middle-grade fantasy with a dash of sci-fi. When Beth is not writing, she loves watching HGTV. Beth resides in Arlington, Texas with her husband, Phillip.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Fun with Family!

This weekend, we went for a hike in the Snowy Range.  Every so often, we try to get out of town and enjoy nature.  We had plans to go fishing, but it was raining and chilly.  It was only 47 degrees!  Still, that didn't stop us from having a great time, and the cool damp weather made the vegetation very happy!

The boys at mirror lake.

The boys on a bridge overlooking a small creek.

The pool of water the bridge goes over before turning into the creek.

Heading uphill to check out a cool tree.

The cool tree the boys wanted to check out.  It was big enough for both of them to fit in!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Annie's Special Day by Clara Bowman-Jahn

In “Annie’s Special Day,” a little girl celebrates her birthday with an adventure every hour. It is a basic concept book about time and clocks.

"Kids will love watching the clock with Annie as her special day unfolds and her friends join her for a slumber party that is so much fun she doesn’t want to miss a minute of it. Parent’s be prepared to read this book over and over as your child delights in the idea of staying up all night while effortlessly learning the basics of how to tell time."
Barbara Simpson Carducci, Author of Storee Wryter Gets A Dog

"Take a delightful romp, hour by hour, through a very special day in
Annie's life. It's her birthday, and every hour brings a new adventure.
Join Annie through a day of celebration into the dark of night and finally
sunrise in the morning. What great fun!"
Suzanne L. Walls, Author
"Backyard Birds of the Piedmont"

Clara Bowman-Jahn worked as a registered nurse for thirty two years finally trading that job for her true love, writing. Clara’s short stories have been published in two anthologies, “Campaigner Challenges 2011,” and “The ‘I’ Word.” She is also the author of a children’s picture book, “Annie’s Special Day.”

When Clara is not writing, she does volunteer work for her church. She also likes taking long walks with her husband, blogging, and reading books. She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Pennwriters, Bethesda Writer’s Center and Round Hill Writer’s Group. She lives in rural Loudoun County, Virginia with her brilliant husband, and two cats. She is the proud mother of two wonderful grown sons and a grandmother to a delightful grandson.

“Annie’s Special Day” is a basic concept story about how Annie celebrates her birthday with a different adventure every hour. It is about time and clocks. There is a different kind of clock on every page displaying both analog and digital clocks and watches. Kids love finding the clocks on each page while Annie had another fun activity on her birthday.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Children's Books by Lynne Bendoly

My name is Lynne Bendoly.
After working in graphic arts for over 40 years in Cleveland, Ohio, I recently retired to write and illustrate my little children's books while residing in my home in Savannah, Georgia.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hanging with Friends

The boys got to hang out with their friends over the weekend for a birthday party.  They had a great time.  Just another exciting summer adventure!

Whack that pinata!

Keep trying to break it open.


Burning off the sugar.