About Me

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The King's Ransom by Cheryl Carpinello

Meet 11-year-old Prince Gavin, 13-year-old orphan Philip, and 15-year-old blacksmith apprentice Bryan. Each wants a future different from the others, but they all want to belong. They owe their friendship with each other to one man they call The Wild Man. When an advisor to Gavin’s dad King Wallace is murdered and the valuable jewell known as The King’s Ransom is stolen, The Wild Man is captured and proclaimed to be the culprit. Gavin, Philip, and Bryan bravely vow to clear their friend by taking the Knight’s Oath and embarking on individual quests to save The Wild Man. In the end, each one faces their fears and even death in their determination not to fail.

Ride along with these unlikely friends as they learn the importance of the cornerstones of Arthurian Legend: Honor, Loyalty, and Friendship. And, don’t miss the characters from the Legend who show up: King Arthur and his famous sword Excalibur, the Knights of the Round Table, and Sir Lancelot.

What inspired you to write this book?
When I retired from teaching, I decided to write for young readers in the hopes of hooking what I call reluctant readers on reading. Reluctant readers are those who can read, but who choose to do the umpteenth million others activities out there. A lot of these readers are boys. I wrote Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom to reach the boys out there since my first book Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend appeals more to girls.
What is your favorite thing about writing?
This would have to be getting that first draft finished. Unlike reading, for me anyway, where I can sit go and read a book in about 2-3 hours, writing a story takes me several months. By the end of that first draft, my experience with the story is rather disjointed. I’m not sure if every chapter/scene flows like it should. Once I am able to sit and read the entire draft at one sitting, it’s easy to see which parts need more work and which parts flow smoothly. This also allows me to see if my pacing is what I think it is. Just between you and me, getting that first draft done is a huge relief.

What is your favorite candy?
Not a sweet eater, I totally succumb to chocolate-covered cherries at Christmas and chocolate-covered marshmallow eggs at Easter!

What is your favorite cartoon?
I’ve always enjoyed The Family Circus. Creator Bill Keane has such an insight into the minds of kids and always made me feel better as a parent.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I can’t point to a specific time. I’ve written almost my whole life. Most of those stories will never see the light of day. Once I retired from teaching high school English and grading essays and research papers (the number if I even tried to count over 25 years would probably pave the road all the way to the moon!), I finished Guinevere and then started on Young Knights.

What can readers expect from you in the future?
My next story moves from Medieval England to ancient Egypt. I’m three chapters away from finishing the first draft! Sons of the Sphinx transports readers and the main character back to pharaonic Egypt to help a well-known pharaoh search for his lost queen and try to right a wrong that has condemned generations.

In the planning stages are sequels to Guinevere and to the Young Knights.

About the author:
I am a twice-retired high school English teacher. I’m afraid I’m one of those people who do not do retirement well. Working with kids is a passion I have never lost. I regularly conduct Medieval Writing Workshops for local elementary/middle schools and for the Colorado Girl Scouts. We explore writing and reading, and it is fulfilling to see young students excited about writing and reading. It seems I'm not the only one who loves Medieval Times and the King Arthur Legend. The kids thoroughly enjoy writing their own medieval stories complete with dragons, wizards, unicorns, and knights.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Storm Clouds by Mary Sutton‏

Eighth-grader Jaycee Hiller is beginning to fear she only imagined her trip to Mallory. But when a rainy afternoon leaves her with hours of playing Hero’s Sword, her favorite video game, she finds herself drawn back into the game – literally.

STORM CLOUDS is the exciting second volume of the HERO’S SWORD saga – chronicling Jaycee Hiller’s trials in eight grade, and her exciting adventures in Mallory, the setting of her favorite video game. Jaycee enters the video game realm via a special controller and is caught up in the action of this fantasy realm.

In STORM CLOUDS, a valuable jewel belonging to the neighboring estate of Devin, the Sapphire Star, is missing, stolen at the Fall Consortium. Lady Starla stands accused of the theft. Devin’s demands are clear: return the Star or they will take it back by force.

Now it’s up to Lyla Stormbringer to find the Star and the thief. before Mallory finds itself at war.

A software technical writer by day, Mary Sutton has been making her living with words for over a decade. She writes the Hero’s Sword middle-grade fantasy series as M.E. Sutton, and The Laurel Highlands Mysteries series as Liz Milliron. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and two children.

Amazon Author page

Q) What inspired you to write this book?
I remember middle-school just sucked for me. And now my kids are in middle-school and I see my daughter going through some of the exact same stuff. I wanted to write a story for all of those kids in the same boat and tell them, “It’s okay to be different. You are an amazing person. Don’t be afraid to claim your space.” It’s the book I wish I’d read in 8th grade.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
Getting lost in the story. When I get into a groove, the rest of the world just kind of disappears and I’m actually in that world (Mallory in this case). And then the characters start talking to me, telling me where they need and want to go. It’s such a thrill ride.

Q) What is your favorite candy?
Mostly I’m partial to dark chocolate, but I admit to a weakness for Swedish fish too.

Q) What is your favorite cartoon?
I love classic Looney Tunes, especially Marvin the Martian. They really nailed the comedy. Also Animaniacs, but Phineas and Ferb is good too (glad I’m not their mom!).

Q) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Probably since I was 13. Because I wasn’t popular, I spent a lot of time in my own head, making things up. Of course, things were always better in my make-believe world. And then I started mentally rewriting ends of books and movies when I thought the ending wasn’t quite what I liked.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
Definitely more books in the Hero’s Sword series. I can see the end, but Jaycee has a long way to go to get there and I’m looking forward to being with her on her journey. I also write a police-procedural mystery series under a pen name (Liz Milliron), so I’m looking forward to exploring that world some more as well.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Animal Andy by Kathy Sattem Rygg

Ten-year-old Andy Ohman is spending his summer working at the Aksarben City Zoo where his dad is curator. There are rumors the city might close the zoo due to budget cuts. An anonymous donor has given the zoo an antique animal carousel, and Andy’s dad is hopeful it will help boost attendance. Andy’s doubtful that an old kiddie ride will make a difference. He doesn’t see what’s so special about it. But when he takes it for a spin, he unlocks the magic that will help save the zoo.

Excerpt from ANIMAL ANDY:
Andy’s knees wobbled and buckled as he stumbled off the carousel’s platform. He thrust forward, collapsing into a heap on the ground. Shaking his head a few times, he flinched when a snort escaped his mouth.

A flash of turquoise caught his eye. He scrambled up as a skinny-necked bird with short legs and a long, plump body strutted over. It stopped a few inches away and let out an ear-splitting squawk. Only a peacock could make that sound.

“What are you doing over here?” the bird asked. “Are you out of your mind? Don’t you know this is the kind of thing that gets all of us into trouble?”

Andy froze. He was sure the peacock had just spoken to him.

“Well, don’t just sit there, zebra, we need to get you back to the pen,” the bird snapped.

Andy whipped his head from side to side. Nobody was around, and he didn’t see a zebra.

“Did you just talk?”

"Don't get all high and mighty on me," the peacock said. "It's socially acceptable for a peacock to speak to a zebra."

"Why do you keep calling me a zebra?" Andy narrowed his eyes at the bird.

“Well, I don’t see any other escaped animal standing in front of me,” the peacock said. Andy lowered his gaze and saw four black and white striped legs beneath him. He craned his neck and saw a thin, black tail swishing behind him. Puzzled, he glanced at the carousel and saw an empty brass pole where the zebra had been.

He stumbled backward. "No, no, no,” he said, shaking his head. "How…it can’t be,” he breathed.

“There’s just no way. I…I…I’m a zebra!”

ANIMAL ANDY is available as an ebook from Muse It Up Publishing and the print version is available on Amazon.

View the ANIMAL ANDY book trailer!

Q) What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to write a book for 7-10 year olds that transported them to another world, and I chose the world of animals. During a visit to our local zoo, my kids wanted to ride the menagerie carousel there. I decided a carousel would make the perfect device to transport a character into that world. From there I interviewed zoo keepers at the zoo to get behind the scenes information about working at the zoo as well as amazing animal anecdotes that became part of the final story.

But this story is more than just about exploring the world of animals; it’s also about a boy trying to find the right balance of independence, as so many ten-year-olds do, and about kids learning to listen to their instincts—that little voice that tells you when it’s important to act on something.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
I love the fact that I can’t think about anything else while I’m writing (kind of like trying to walk and chew gum at the same time!) It’s very relaxing, and if I haven’t accomplished anything else that day (like cleaning the house) then at least I was productive in some way! My day never feels complete unless I’ve written at least one page.

Q) What is your favorite candy?
I’m not a fan of milk chocolate so candy bars are out. But I can’t resist a piece of dark chocolate. I also love cherry flavored Jolly Ranchers. To be honest, if I had to choose something sweet, I would prefer a piece of cake over anything else!

Q) What is your favorite cartoon?
Growing up, cartoons were only on TV on Saturday mornings. They started at 7 am with Super Friends and I would watch all morning—Scooby Doo, the Hair Bears, etc. I love that some of the original Scooby Doo episodes are still on and my kids like watching them.

Q) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote short stories as early as kindergarten. They usually involved princesses and witches, and I’d try illustrating them too. I wrote my first book with dialogue when I was 8-years-old. I made the cover out of cardboard and string, and I still have it. I like to say “writing isn’t what I do; it’s who I am.”

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I’m currently writing a middle grade fantasy series that revolves around the sport of Geocaching—a real life treasure hunt. I love the middle grade market—it’s definitely my comfort zone!

You can follow me online at: www.ksrwriter.com 
Facebook: KSR Writer
Twitter: @kathyrygg
Goodreads: Kathy Sattem Rygg

Kathy Sattem Rygg is Editor-in-Chief for the children’s publication Knowonder!, and an active member of SCBWI. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Iowa State University and has worked for the McGraw-Hill Companies’ business publications division in New York City. She was also the editor in chief of Women’s Edition magazine in Denver, CO. She currently lives in Omaha, NE, with her husband and two children.

Monday, June 17, 2013


It's summer, so that means vacation time!  We just went on vacation to Arizona to visit family.  It was incredibly hot, but we had a wonderful time.  The boys got to play golf and visit a museum full of stuffed animals.  It was a blast!

Do you get to go on vacation?  Where are you going?

The boys walking back from putting on the golf course.
Trying to sneak up on one of the many rabbits that were on the course.

A stuffed bird from the museum.  At one point in time, it had been alive!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Palace of The Twelve Pillars by Christina Weigand

The Peace Summit was in shambles, the prince kidnapped.

When the rival king realizes he kidnapped the wrong prince, hostilities escalate. Loyalties to each other and country are tested for the twin princes of Crato, Joachim and Brandan.

Joachim, captive of King Waldrom, faces deception and betrayal as he struggles to find his way home. Brandan, at home with a father focused on rescuing Joachim, wrestles with his own demons as he searches for his place in the world and the favor of his father.

Torn from the safety and peace of their childhood, they are thrust into a world where bonds of family, brotherhood and roles as heirs to Crato are tested. Through war, spiritual journeys, death and marriage, will they choose the path of good or evil? Who can be trusted, as the world they know slips into a whirlpool of chaos?
Video trailer
Here is the buy link

Christina Weigand’s a writer, wife, and mother of three grown children and a middle school daughter. She is also Nana to three granddaughters. She lives with her husband and youngest daughter in Pennsylvania, returning there after a short sabbatical in Washington. Currently, she’s working on fantasy novels and inspirational writing. Through her writing, she strives to share the Word of God and help people young and old to realize the love and mercy He has for everyone.

When she’s not writing, she’s active in her local Church as a lector, Bible Study, or with the church theater group, volunteering at her daughter and granddaughter’s school in the library as well as helping the children develop a love for reading and writing. Jesus fills her home with love as she shares Him through her writing.
Q) What inspired you to write this book?I had written a short story about a teen prince and two things came of it, first that there was more story than could be contained in a short story. Second; I wanted to know how the prince got to the place he was at the beginning of the short story. I wanted to know about his family and what events led up to and included the prince’s story. So I went back two generations to his grandparents and parents and Joachim and Brandan, the father and uncle emerged. And boy did they have a story to tell.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?When God and the characters take over the story. It’s almost like an Elvis has left the building kind of thing. God and the characters tell the story and I become the conduit that brings them to life. That hasn’t happened in a while because of the prep of getting three books to publication. But I am looking forward to the day when the new characters rattling around in my head find their way to the forefront and can tell their stories.

Q) What is your favorite candy?That’s an easy one; anything chocolate. If I have to narrow it down I would have to say Snickers or M&M’s

Q) What is your favorite cartoon?Okay a little harder. Peanuts. If you are looking for one on tv I’m going to show my age here. When I was a kid there was a cartoon about a white lion cub named Kimba. It wasn’t on very long but I loved it.

Q) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?I remember being in middle school and high school and wanting to be a journalist. After high school life got in the way and it wasn’t until about eleven years ago when I rediscovered writing.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?Palace of Three Crosses the second book in the Palace of the Twelve Pillars trilogy will be released in September 2013. Just recently I received word that Sanctuary of Nine Dragons the third book in the trilogy will be released February 2014. Then after that I will have to see what God has in store for me.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Sacrifice by Cher Green

Angelina must travel to the castle to protect her sister, who is marrying the king of the land. But who will protect Angelina on her journey when she encounters a troll and other unexpected obstacles? Luckily, she carries her precious and powerful medallion. She will need it, for even after she reaches the castle, all is not as it seems.

The Sacrifice is a fairytale-like story of a young woman's journey to save her sister.

Q)  What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve participated in many writer groups over the years. In one of those groups, we wrote a short story each month based on a prompt. The Sacrifice developed out of one of these. I believe it was on the lines of writing a fairy tale, but it’s been a few years. Angelina’s adventure grew and developed over time.

Q)  What is your favorite thing about writing?
I believe my favorite part is the creating, the magic of drawing pictures with words. You start with a sentence, a paragraph, extend it out further and all of a sudden there’s new life right there on the page. It’s really an amazing experience to have a group of characters come into existence right out of your own imagination.

Q)  What is your favorite candy?
I’m not much of a candy eater, but from time to time I have chocolate cravings. When this happens, I’ll grab a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or a Hershey’s Almond Bar.

Q)  What is your favorite cartoon?
I really don’t watch many cartoons. I remember one, ‘The Last Unicorn.’ It would probably be my favorite.

Q)  When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always been fascinated by words. Since the moment I could read, I grabbed everything, soaking up the adventures of other writers. I don’t think I really started writing until I reached my teens. I began writing poetry and then started experimenting with short stories. I caught the bug instantly, once I realized I could create my own adventures. I knew I wanted to share them with others. By the age of fourteen, I knew one day I would be a writer, in one form or another.

Q)  What can readers expect from you in the future?
I have a few novels in progress, all at various levels of the process. I decided early this year to concentrate on one project at a time and complete each. The one I’m working on now is a paranormal novel, with a hint of romance. The other ones vary from more paranormal to a serial killer novel.

Cher Green writes in many genres, spanning from horror to romance. Her work has appeared in various magazines and anthologies. She has also authored two paranormal romance novellas, Escape to Love and Seduced by Darkness. For more information on this author visit: www.chergreen.com

Other available links: Footsteps of a Writer (blog), Twitter, Facebook, and eTreasures.

Her latest publication, The Sacrifice, a children picture book, released early last week and is available for purchase at eTreasures Publications.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Now Available in Print

Mr. Chocolate and the Magic Js is now available in print.  You can purchase it from Amazon.  Hooray!

All the woodland creatures love Mr. Chocolate’s amazing garden, but most of all they look forward to the harvest of his Magic Js. They are sweet and juicy, the best fruit any of them have ever tasted. They are so appealing that they draw the interest of an antelope family, Mr. and Mrs. Little House, who rarely venture into the forest.

When Mr. and Mrs. Little House secretly gorge on the Magic Js, they learn a very important lesson about the benefits of sharing with others.