Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays Everyone!

I'm going to go ahead and take this Writer's Wednesday to wish everyone a very happy rest of their holiday season.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Writer's Wednesday - Mary Cunningham!

MARY CUNNINGHAM

Today is a special edition of Writer's Wednesday as I welcome Mary Cunningham to Alyssa's Area as a part of her blog tour for her new Cynthia's Attic release - The Magician's Castle!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m the author of the award-winning ‘tween fantasy/mystery series, Cynthia’s Attic, and proud to announce book four, “The Magician’s Castle,” has been released. My children’s mystery series was inspired by a recurring dream about a mysterious attic. After realizing that it took place in the home of my childhood friend, Cynthia, the dreams stopped and the writing began.

I’m also co-writer of the fabulously funny (No! Seriously, it really is) women’s lifestyle book, “Women Only Over Fifty (WOOF),” and the author of published short stories, "Ghost Light,” and "Christmas Daisy," (DEC 2009).


I’m a member of SCBWI (Southern Breeze Chapter), The Georgia Reading Association, and the Carrollton Creative Writers Club (A crazy-good bunch of writers!). When I give my fingers a day away from the keyboard, I enjoy golf, swimming and exploring the mountains of West Georgia.

I understand that you have a hit children's series called Cynthia's Attic. What are they about?

The Missing Locket, The Magic Medallion, Curse of the Bayou and The Magician's Castle are about twelve-year-old best friends, Cynthia and Gus, who find a magic trunk in Cynthia's Attic that sends them through time on adventures with their ancestors, although "The Magician's Castle" has some surprises in store for our time-traveling duo!

Is there a moral to learn from these books?

I'm proud of the friendship between Cynthia and Gus. No matter how mad they get at each other (and they do!), they always have the other's back and their loyalty is unquestioned.

Were Cynthia and Gus charactered after anyone?

Cynthia is my real childhood best friend and Gus is me! I'm much more like the Gus in the book than Cynthia resembles the "fictional" Cynthia. Although Cynthia and Gus have some very heated battles in the books and don't agree most of the time, my friend, Cynthia and I never got mad at each other. Hard to believe when you consider we've known each other since birth!

I heard that your 4th Cynthia's Attic book - The Magician's Castle - is coming out on December 1st. What new adventures have Cynthia and Gus found themselves in this time?


Here's a short blurb from the book:

Sebastien the Great, a magician whose fiancĂ©e, Kathryn, disappears through the magic trunk, vows revenge. If Cynthia and Gus don't find a missing page from the “Book of Spells,” Cynthia’s family could face financial and personal ruin.

Follow this time-traveling duo as they journey back to a 1914 Swiss castle where Eva, Sebastien’s grandmother, gives them clues on where to begin their search. Their journey takes them through miles of tree tunnels, an enchanted garden ruled by a cranky rock monster, and even high in the Alps. They get the surprise of their lives when they're sent 50 years into the future, have a shocking encounter with another set of best friends, and receive a fresh set of clues that could lead to Kathryn's return. But, at what price?


Sounds like you have some great books in Cynthia's Attic! Now on to a little bit about you, the author. Who has inspired you the most?

My earliest influence would have to be my dad who used to make up the most wonderful bedtime stories. I'm sure this is where I developed my love of fantasy/fiction. He was a journalist for over 40 years on a city newspaper (The Louisville Courier-Journal), and I would sometimes go with him when he interviewed an interesting person. His ability to write characters that would "jump off the page," made me want to write.

I was also greatly influenced by H. G. Wells and "The Time Machine," and have always been fascinated by the idea of time-travel. I'm a huge "Lord of the Rings" trilogy fan, so putting time-travel and fantasy together to create "Cynthia's Attic" was a natural progression.

In my early reading years, I enjoyed sports biographies and read them from A (Hank Aaron) to Z (Babe Didrikson Zaharias), and am still a huge sports fan. This is probably why POV character, Gus (Augusta Lee) is a tomboy and loves playing sports.


What made you decide to enter the field of writing?

I was told from 3rd grade on to "Never stop writing. You have a gift." And, sure enough...40 years later, my first book was published! I have written all my life, but never considered writing fiction until I got the idea for "Cynthia's Attic." The first story was prompted by a recurring dream I'd had for over 20 years about playing in a mysterious attic. Once I realized that the attic was in the home of my childhood best friend, Cynthia, the dreams stopped and the writing began.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

The best advice I ever got was, "Write what you know." My series is set in my hometown, and many of the characters are loosely based on my ancestors. Since my main characters, Cynthia and Gus travel through time from 1964-1914, I'm able to draw on family stories and especially pictures from the early 1900s. Since I'm a very visual person, this made it much easier to write about the past.

Lastly, where can readers find the Magician's Castle (or any of the other Cynthia's Attic books)?

Mary Cunningham Books
Amazon
Cynthia's Attic Blog

Thanks, so much, Alyssa, for inviting me to be a guest on your blog!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Writer's Wednesday - Pam Ripling!

ANNE CARTER

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a hopeless romance. I carry the scars of unrequited love for Johnny Depp, but other than that I’m pretty okay. I’ve been writing stories since 8th grade. I’m now a sophomore in college. :) My favorite things are classic rock, writing, dolls, pasta, chocolate chip cookies (or ice cream) traveling, summertime, convertible cars, LOST and, of course, my family.

2. You're first young adult book was Locker Shock. Was there a motivation behind writing this book?

No.

Okay, well, my son was in middle school, and I used to volunteer in the school library. I listened to the kids chatter, and I knew what the campus issues were, and I one day I just had one of those “what if?” moments that authors love to have. Although it never happened in our school, other schools were dealing with weapons and other contraband on campus. Looking around at these smart, funny, *normal* kids, I wondered how they would react if they found something at school that shouldn’t be there.


3. What age range do you think this book would most appeal to?

I think kids like to read about the age they are heading for. I peg 5th-7th graders as prime for LOCKER SHOCK!

4. I have also heard that you have a sequel to this book in the works. What's the scoop on that?

OLD ENOUGH is finished and waiting to be edited. It revolves around the same group of middle and high schoolers with a few new characters and a lot more issues. Crushes, prejudice, natural disasters—this book has something for everyone! No publication date yet, but I will keep you posted.

5. Any plans for any other young adult books?

I’d like to, but no immediate plans. I have a couple of other genre books to finish first, and I also need to move OLD ENOUGH up the ladder, too. A third Y/A book in the same series is starting to form in my head, so don’t rule it out!

6. Who is your favorite author?

I have many favorite authors. Some of them are fellow Quakers – Sam Morton, Mary Cunningham, Alyssa Montgomery :). In adult type stories, I like Nora Roberts, Stephen King, Dan Brown... I haven’t read Twilight yet, but might attempt that over winter break!

7. Was that the author that influenced you the most?

I’d have to say yes, Nora Roberts has had a great deal of influence on me. I know there are others, but I’m really bad with remembering names. I think we are somewhat influenced by everything we read. Going all the way back to Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte... and forward to everything I read today. I just finished the autobiography of an 80’s pop star and was even influence by his style. As writers, we pick up stuff without even realizing it.

8. You probably have more than one, but what about a favorite book?

As a child, my very favorite book was MRS. MIKE, about a Canadian Mountie and his wife.

http://www.amazon.com/Mrs-Mike-Benedict-Freedman/dp/0425183238/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1260339051&sr=1-2

Another was EIGHT COUSINS, by Louisa May Alcott

As an adult, I couldn’t possibly pick just one. No way. I like a good mystery; I’m not big on gratuitous violence, but don’t mind a little. I like romance, but I’m a skimmer over the too-graphic parts. I read a few biographies and autobiographies – enjoyed Michael J. Fox’s LUCKY MAN. Series are good, like Nora Roberts often writes trilogies about families. If you like the first book, you look forward to the second and third installments.


9. What is your proudest achievement in writing?

You mean, besides just getting published?? For “achievement” I’d say finishing my first full-length novel was the proudest. Saying it was “FINISHED.” I’d done it—a whole book. Another really exciting moment was selling my first short story. I opened the envelope at the mailbox with the acceptance letter and check inside. I was screaming and running back into the house waving the check!

10. Any advice for aspiring authors?

Just the usual stuff- don’t give up, keep reading a lot, keep writing a lot. Keep informed of what’s going on in the writing world. Read books in other genres, other subjects. Watch movies. Try new types of writing, like poetry, short stories, flash fiction, screenplays. Try it all. Talk about writing with anyone who will listen, and you listen to others who need to talk, too. Writing can be a lonely business.

Thanks for such inspiring questions, Alyssa!

Don’t forget to visit me at http://beaconstreetbooks.com !

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Coming Soon!

I'd like to take this week's Writer's Wednesday to talk about Echelon Press' new holiday 12 days of great reads!

What Echelon Press' new line - Echelon Press Shorts - have done is they have taken holiday-themed stories from twelve authors and have compiled them into their 12 days of Christmas promotion. Each day, from December 1-12, Echelon Press Shorts will be releasing a new story written specifically for the holidays. And what greater way to give someone a small gift then by giving them an EBook from Shorts!

If you check out their blog each of these twelve days, you can read a post by each author, all about his or her short story, on the day of the story's release. How cool is that??

On another note, Writer's Wednesday will be back next week! I have two great authors scheduled for the next two Wednesdays - Pam Ripling will be making an appearance on December 9th, and Mary Cunningham will be stopping by on the 16th while on her book tour for the release of her newest Cynthia's Attic book - The Magician's Castle.

So make sure you keep tuned in!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Writer's Wednesday - Sam Morton!


SAM MORTON

1.. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm a South Carolina native, born and bred, and a graduate of The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. I have both bachelor's and master's degrees in English. I used to be a homicide detective and also a professional wrestler (yep, the fake TV kind!). Now I write full time and live in Columbia, Sc with my wife and two children, who are both from Siberia.

2. Your new YA book is part of a series called The Austin Files. How did you choose that name?

The book and the series are named in memory of Austin Whetsell, the son of a friend. Two years ago, when Austin was 15, he went to Mexico on a mission trip with his church. One afternoon, he and his friends went swimming in the ocean. Tragically, Austin got caught in a rip current. He was pulled out to sea and drowned. Just before he went swimming, he called his grandfather, who asked him how he was enjoying his trip. His last words to his grandfather were, "What if God intends me to do this the rest of my life?" That still sends chills up my spine.

3. Could you now tell us a little bit about the premise of Betrayed?

Austin's finds out his best friend, Rico, is in the U.S. illegally. Rico and his family go back to Mexico to apply for citizenship just as the school year ends. Austin visits and finds out two things: one, Rico's cousin Veronica, who he immediately develops a crush on, helps people cross the border illegally; and, two, that a rogue Mexican general and a U.S. senator up for re-election appear linked in a deadly scheme to kidnap people trying to cross. Austin faces a decision: does he help his friends or fight the general? Either path could lead to danger or even death for him and his friends.

4. Since we just learned how Austin was based of a person, were any of the other characters based off anyone?

Absolutely. One of my minor, but pivotal characters--a man named Konstantine--is based on a friend from the Ukraine--whose name is Konstantin (without the "E" but pronounced the same. Everyone who has read Betrayed loves Konstantine, so I've drafted the real person to sign books with me at events. He tells everyone the book is about him! It's great and he's a good sport.

5. Do you have any plans for future Austin Files books?

Yes. I'm planning two more titles in the Austin Files series. I'm in the outlining phase for book two right now.

6. How about your adult books? You already have one book, Disavowed, out now. Do you have any plans for new books there?

I do, and I didn't originally intend for the next adult book to be a follow up to Disavowed, but everyone seems to like the characters and want to know what the next chapter in their lives will be. While I haven't nailed down the exact details, the next book will be about a couple who adopt two children from Russia (sound familiar?), but these two happen to be the illegitimate children of a Russian mob boss, and he wants them back. The book begins with their kidnapping. It will involved plenty of action and the characters Mike Max Chandler, (the main characters from Disavowed) but I've yet to determine what their exact roles will be.

7. How did you become involved in writing?

My mother was quite creative, so I came by the imaginative part pretty early on--elementary school. I decided I really wanted to be a writer when I was about 10 and worked toward it, studying it, and just writing for my own enjoyment. My teachers encouraged me and when I was in middle and high school, I worked on the school newspaper. Even though I majored in English, my writing needed some polish before I began making any money at it. I sold my first article in 1994 and have been writing professionally ever since. I've had some great mentors, Tom Poland (also an author), James Rembert (my college advisor and English professor), and the greatest writer of all (with the possible exception of Shakespeare), Pat Conroy.

8. Do you find that your everyday life greatly influences your writing?

Most definitely. I was vacationing in the North Carolina mountains this past weekend and the whole time kept wondering how I might work the scenery, location, plants, the Cherokee Indian Nation, even the train I was on, into the next Austin Files book. Everyone is a potential character and the stories, jokes, and anecdotes they tell me may end up as a plot device.

9. What is your proudest moment and your proudest achievement in writing?

The proudest moment was receiving my author's copy of Disavowed, seeing my name on it, holding it in my hand, and realizing that it, like John Grisham's books, Nora Roberts', Pat Conroy's, etc., was on a bookshelf for sale.

I would have to say my proudest achievement is publishing Betrayed and donating 100 percent of the proceeds to Austin Whetsell's memorial fund that continues to provide money for mission trips not only to Mexico, but to other parts of the world as well.


10. Any advice for aspiring authors?

First and foremost read, read, read. You have to be a devoted reader in order to master the craft. Second, if you wake up in the morning and all you can think about is writing--whether it's articles, books, or blogs--then you're already a writer; your heart is in it. From that moment on, just concentrate on getting better. Develop your characters. Make you dialogue as realistic as possible. Study plot development. Just like an athlete perfects the basics before moving onto more complex skills, so should you.

11. Lastly, where can readers find your books?

Both books are available at www.amazon.com or directly from the publisher at www.echelonpress.com. Any bookstore can order them for you as well.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Writer's Wednesday - Nick Valentino!

NICK VALENTINO

1. Tell us a little something about yourself.

I played music for a long time. Being that I was born and raised in Nashville Tennessee one would think that we are all given guitars before baby rattles. It's true everyone in Nashville is a musician, but I didn't play country music. Quite the opposite. I started by writing lyrics. I have a huge three inch binder full of them. From there I thought it would be cool to get in some poetry contests. Let's just say that wasn't my bag. I continued to play music, tour, and record until I started writing a book. It was something I'd been craving. I loved the team environment of a band, but that same team can really let you down at times. So I concentrated on writing more and more. It was a totally self reliant thing and it was wonderful. There was nothing to get in my way but me. In a nutshell, that's how I became a writer.

2. Before we touch on Thomas Riley, can you define what steampunk is for us?

Sure there are a lot of different ways to explain steampunk. It's such a different genre but here's a good way to look at it:

The setting: Victorian times (mostly in London or in this case Europe).
The culture: Inventions, science and alchemy dominate the popular culture of the day.
The style: Corsets, vests, overcoats, wire framed spectacles, bowler hats, goggles and cloves.
The twist: The world has experienced a huge boom in technology based on steam, clockwork mechanics and alchemy.

So the difference between Steampunk history and history as we know it is that steam powered inventions dominate the world. Hence dirigibles, steam weaponry, and everything as we know it is now powered by steam. So anything imaginable existed in the Victorian period, just with steam power and gears instead of fossil fuels and electricity. So take the pioneering and explorative spirit of the era and multiply it by the ability to fly great distances with heavy weaponry. Watch out though, the world is at war and dangerous sky pirates could be lurking in great airships just beyond the horizon.


3. Now, on to Thomas Riley, your new release. What is it about?

Thomas Riley is about two alchemists/weapons designers/scientists, Thomas Riley and Cynthia Basset. Their country has been at war for two decades and for the last ten years Thomas and Cynthia have been creating the brilliant weapons to keep their country safe, well as safe as possible anyway. Thomas is forced to do some risky alchemy on a wounded woman which backfires and imbeds her soul in Cynthia. The only way to undo the botched alchemy is to go into enemy territory, kidnap their Chief Alchemist and also their arch nemesis. But the journey isn't that easy. They encounter hostile troops, enemy contraptions and are forced into an alliance with cut throat sky pirates. With only their wits and their scientific know-how will they possibly get through this adventure.

4. How did you come up with the idea for Thomas Riley?

I go to several of the bigger cons around the country. I love pop culture of all kinds, so going to cons (Especially the San Diego Comic Con and Dragon Con in Atlanta.) is a really big thing for me. It's at these places where you see all the newest stuff coming out. Movies, TV, art, books, comics, you name it and it's probably there. For a few years I noticed these people dressed up in the most fancy yet original costumes. The guys wore top hats, vests, while the ladies wore corsets, Bustle dresses and long gloves. But that's not what got me. They all had these wonderfully crazy gadgets ranging from ornate hand made clockwork back packs to full blown steam powered rifles. (Of course they were just a costume.) The more I saw them the more they impressed me. At Dragon Con, I was floored that there were thousands of these people, dressed to the nines and with gadgetry that was really impressive. I thought, "I have to write a story about this." I did a little research and boom I just started writing by the seat of my pants. Everything appealed to me. Everything from the Victorian setting with a more modern feel to the dialogue and high flying adventure made it a blast to write. The hardest part was the research I did to get at least some of the hard science correct. Technically steampunk is Science Fiction, so you can fudge some of the facts in the name of story telling.

5. Are there sequels looming in Thomas Riley's future?

Absolutely. I see Thomas Riley as a story that could go on and on. I feel like it could go three to four books. Not that this story was a cake walk for Thomas and Cynthia, but the stakes will be significantly raised in the next book.

6. Now, on to yourself. How did you become interested in writing?

I started writing lyrics and poetry when I was about thirteen for my band. I have books and books of lyrics. As cheesy as this sounds, I even joined one of those International Poetry Societies about ten years ago. Needless to say I was sorely disappointed with the whole thing. I digress. I literally said to myself, I want to write a book and from there I wrote a horror novel which is done but yet to see the light.

7. How long have you been an author?

Really I've only been writing in this form for about four years.

8. Is there a certain author that you find has influenced you the most?

Hands down Clive Barker. I love just about everything he's done. I can't explain it, but he speaks to me. I also really love the fact that he dabbles in such different mediums and genres. Sure he has a ton of horror novels, but for a while he wrote some really great fantasy and creepy YA stories as well. Weaveworld, The Thief of Always, Coldheart Canyon and Imajica are some of my favorites. On top of that, he's a painter, director, producer, and video game producer... What doesn't he do?

9. What is your proudest achievement to date?

It's absolutely this book. It's my first published novel and I really think it hasn't hit me that it's completely real. Sure I've actually held it, but it honestly felt like a really amazing dream. Everything is in my hands now. The success of this book rides on my shoulders so I'm going to give this all I've got and then some when it comes to promotion and marketing the book. This is really the first time in my life that I'm able to put all the chips on the table and not have any reservations about it. It's funny, when I first saw the book I just flipped through it, not really realizing what I was looking at. I spent the weekend in Myrtle Beach selling it at the South Carolina Writers Workshop and I finally got the chance to look at it in detail on the plane home. It was such a rush reading what I had been working on for the last year in tangible form.

10. Any advice for aspiring authors?

For me going to writer's conferences was the best thing I ever did. I had been writing for a few years and I never really had the guts to just get up and go. I literally surfed the internet looking for writer's cons and I found the one in San Diego. I booked it and went by myself. The entire experience was amazing. I can be really shy but for some reason, I felt so open around everyone. I met the best people there and at my first critique ever for Thomas Riley I met Karen Syed. How huge is that? So my advice, get out, meet other authors, publishers, and agents. I promise you'll not only have a great time, but you'll meet some really influential and inspiring people. You can't leave a writer's con without feeling completely inspired.

11. Lastly, where can readers find their very own copy of Thomas Riley?

Find out more at:

http://sirthomasriley.com/



You can purchase signed copies at:

http://thomasriley.bigcartel.com/

or

http://www.echelonpress.com/

And for the really daring types, sign up to be a Sky Pirate here:

http://www.sirthomasriley.com/recruiting-sky-pirates

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Writer's Wednesday - Anne Carter!

ANNE CARTER


1. Tell us about yourself.

I am a writer. I am also a mother, a wife, a sister, a mother-in-law and a grandpigma. I am a bookkeeper, a reader, a photographer, a lighthouse nut. I am a fan of chocolate, LOST, Rob Thomas and sunshine. I despise small minds, prejudice, being cold and licorice. I enjoy classic rock, cosmo martinis, big epic films and concerts at the Greek Theater. I am a lover of books containing romance, mystery, adventure and heartache. I’m a traveler who’s been to London, Singapore, Barcelona and Edinburgh. I’m also a traveler who would visit New England, Provence, the Black Forest and Alaska. But most of all, I am a writer.

2. I heard that when you wrote Point Surrender, you spent time in a lighthouse. Is this true?

Absolutely true! Dimick Lighthouse in Port Townsend, Washington, is where I met my muse while finishing the last four chapters. There is no better inspiration that a real lighthouse!

3. What was your inspiration behind Point Surrender?

Only that I’ve been a lighthouse fanatic for many years, and have been writing for many years, and it was bound to happen eventually that I’d set a story in one. The cover art is a photo of Heceta Head Lighthouse in Oregon, which was the physical inspiration for the lighthouse in the story. Lighthouses are mysterious, romantic, have auras about them. They affect people in many different ways. Lonely, possibly haunted, or maybe they are protectors, guardians, sign posts. All good fodder for mystery & romance—with a ghost or two for good measure.

4. Do we have the pleasure of reading about Case and Amy in future books?

Case and Amy do appear in the second book in the “lighthouse trilogy” (see below), especially Case who is one of the hero’s BFF’s. :)

5. Now, I understand you have a new lighthouse book coming out soon called Cape Seduction. What is that about?

Here’s the blurbo: “In 1949, up-and-coming starlet Darla Foster goes missing after the release of Cape Seduction, a tragic romance filmed in a California lighthouse. Now, sixty years later, the long abandoned lighthouse is causing trouble for its present-day owners. Has the sexy, eccentric actress returned to avenge her stolen life?”

The story bounces back and forth between 1948 and 2008 in alternating chapters. Of course, both storylines converge in the end...

6. So when did you actually begin writing?

You mean, today? It was this morning. Oh, before? It was in 8th grade. I took a creative writing course and just never stopped. Short stories mostly, but today I have seven completed full-length novels (and an 8th nearly done).

7. When were you first published?

In 1996, my first short story appeared in THEMA Literary Journal. I was paid, too! My first full-length work was IN TOO DEEP, published in 1998, in ebook. First paper book was STARCROSSED HEARTS, September, 2001.

8. What is your proudest achievement in writing?

Tough question. I am proud of everything I do. That may sound a bit cheeky but those who write know what a tremendous accomplishment it is to get to “THE END.” I believe CAPE SEDUCTION is my best work yet.

9. Are you working on anything right now?

Yes. A bizarre and out-of-the-box romance that takes place in the world of 1980’s glam rock n’ roll. Subject matter may be too intense for children and the narrow minded.

10. Any advice for aspiring authors?

Read lots, write more, and familiarize yourself with the aspects of marketing. Because when you get your contract, that’s when the real work starts.

11. Where can readers buy Point Surrender? When and where can they find Cape Seduction?

POINT SURRENDER is available at Amazon, BN.com, various online booksellers and may be ordered from your favorite brick and mortar store. All of my books are available as electronic versions for your Kindle or other ebook reader at Fictionwise.

CAPE SEDUCTION will release later this month from Echelon Press in “e” format, trade paperback due out in May, 2010. Watch my website for the news! Visit me at http://beaconstreetbooks.com.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Writer's Wednesday - Norm Cowie!

NORM COWIE

It is my pleasure to introduce my first author for Writer's Wednesday... Norm Cowie!

1. Tell us a litte something about yourself.

Tell you a little something, huh? Okay, let’s see, after the economic disaster my 401 K retirement plan is little … the number of hairs on my head are little … my ego is little … no, wait, my ego is big. More like a super ego. Or that’s my Id … can’t tell them apart, ask anyone.

2. So I understand you have a book, Fang Face, that was just released by Echelon Press. What's it about?

Fang Face is my first immature, er, young adult book, published by Quake, an imprint of Echelon. It’s about time I wrote for an audience I can relate with. My wife swears she’s raising three kids, not just my two daughters. Anyway, Fang Face is the story of a teenaged girl who is bitten by a vampire that somehow got into the house. Then she’s bitten again. She learns that a third bite will turn her into one of the Undead, so she and her family have a choice …let her become fully vampire, or… fight the evil vampires. So the family whips out crosses, garlic and SuperSoakers and prepares to do battle with the biters. Oh, and there’s funny stuff, too.

3. What inspired you to write a comedy about vampires?

I didn’t really plan on writing about vampires. I planned on writing about teens. So I started a book about this ugly guy named Trug and some friends, and I decided I needed some girls in the story. Earlier on, I’d written a short story about a girl who was turning vampire and how her family got involved in stopping it and I really liked the interaction between the girl and her sister and parents. I just combined the two stories, and it went off from there. As far as making it humor, most stories about vampires are horror and romance nowadays. Not many authors approach it from the funny aspect of vampires, like you never see fat vampires since they’re all on the Atkins diet, do vampires get razor rash if they bite a guy who hasn’t shaven, what tastes better, type A or type O blood? What will you do if you’re a vegetarian and you get ‘changed’ into a carnivore?

4. Do you have any plans for a sequel to Fang Face?

Plans? Bwah-ha-ha. I have more than plans. I’m busy working on its sequel WereWoof. Yep, I’m getting into the ‘were’ world. There are funny things about werewolves that need to be explored, like what if you get turned into a werewolf, but you’re allergic to dogs?

5. Now. The Adventures of Guy. What's that about?

The Adventures of Guy was my first series, and won Preditors and Editors award for best Sci-Fi fantasy. Reviewers compare them to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. They are humor mixed with fantasy mixed with Betty Crocker’s cake mix. So not only are they a lot of fun, but they taste good, too.

6. I noticed you were also involved in both the Missing and the Heat of the Moment anthologies. Can you tell us about those and your stories in each?

Both of these books were written to benefit charities. “Missing” for the National Center for Exploited and Missing 401K’s, er, I mean Children. And the Heat of the Moment was written to benefit families who suffered losses in the California wild fires. Karen Syed, publisher of Echelon, has a big heart, and it’s wonderful she devoted time and resources to this project, not to mention trying to round up a bunch of authors which is kind of like trying to herd cats. My stories are short stories using the same characters from my Adventures of Guy series. Buy the books, people, they go to benefit worthy causes.

7. So, now that we know about your books, let's move back to the basics. How'd you get into writing?

One word: laptops. Or would that be two words, lap tops? Anyway, I’m a natural reader, storyteller and typist, and once they created cutting and pasting, I was off to the races.

8. Judging by your previous works, is comedy your genre of choice?

Actually, humor is my genre of necessity. I don’t have the patience to craft mystery, and whenever I try horror, the humor keeps popping out. You can forget romance, too (I’m a guy, we don’t get romance). Plus I find I do my best writing while sitting on a Whoopie-cushion.

9. What is your proudest achievement so far in writing?

Writing believable women characters. I get a lot of positive feedback about my female characters from females (Males generally just complain I don’t use the word ‘fart’ enough). Considering I don’t get women at all, I’m really proud women identify with characters in my stories. I’m still waiting for some feedback from vampires to let me know if I nailed them too.


10. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Yes, stop aspiring and start doing. If you’re writing your first book, finish it. And don’t bore your readers. Like Leonard Elmore says, ‘leave out the parts people skip.” Or something like that.


You can find Norm on http://www.normcowie.com/ and http://www.fangplace.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 2, 2009

Writer's Wednesday!

Just thought I'd stop by to let everyone know that I'm starting a new segment on my blog called Writer's Wednesday!

Each Wednesday I'm going to be posting an interview with a new author!

(Cue exciting clapping)

This Wednesday, I'm interviewing Norm Cowie, author of the new young adult novel, Fang Face! So make sure to stop by and listen to all that he has to say!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Pixie Chick's Lana has invaded my blog!


"Lana Richmond will not be the left behind when all her friends are using the magic of Hobbitville to escape their small Midwestern town for more exciting places. She's been trying–and failing–to use the garden's portals. The bruises haven't quite faded when Lana takes matters into her own hands and meets a stranger who promises to help her…on Halloween. Will Lana have the courage to follow her wanderlust, or will she settle for being the only Pixie Chick who can't work the Hobbitville magic? "


Hey Everyone! Lana Richmond of Pixie Chick fame here. Once more I've beaten Regan to the blog! Cut her some slack, she can't possibly be as internet savvy as us teens! (besides, I know all the shortcuts) Alyssa's been awesome, posting stuff about Pixies and Regan all week - let's give her a big round of applause!

Tomorrow is Halloween! I love this time of year! And our school has a masquerade dance too which makes it all the more fun. Sort of a spooky-cool way to mingle. I've found people get really bold when they're hiding behind a mask. It's easy to be brave and strike up a conversation when the risk of a brush off or outright rejection is minimized.

The best part of this year's masquerade is that I can use it for cover to get into Hobbitville alone. My friends, the Pixie Chicks, are great, but we're sort of at an impasse and they're not all that supportive of my intentions. I want to use the magic of Hobbitville and actually see some part of the world beyond my hometown! And I met someone who can help me. The Pixies think I'm just leaping without looking, but what they don't know won't hurt them - and most likely it won't hurt me either. I'm adventurous, but not totally stupid.

Wish me luck!
Lana Richmond,
band geek, Pixie Chick, and Hobbitville magic seeker


Link for all my Kindle titles:
http://tinyurl.com/rbkindle

Echelon buy link for Shadow Stone:
http://tinyurl.com/TheShadowStone

Regan's Realm blog: http://www.regansrealm.blogspot.com/

Has Lana and the summary intrigued you? Here's an excerpt from Shadow Stone:

Lana is alone on the day before Halloween, on a mission to test every statue in Hobbitville.
She moved on before she made herself crazy with circular arguments. "The lost thing's always in the last
place you look because you stop looking once you've found it."

"It is pretty silly to keep looking once something's found," a deep voice rumbled out of the darkness.

Everything inside her jumped. The vertical leap would impress the NBA, if her body had actually followed
through. Instead, her heart was lodged in her throat, and she was having trouble forming any verbal reply.

"Over this way," the deep voice rolled over her again.

With that voice, he was surely no one she knew, except she should know everyone local who might be in
Hobbitville. Anticipation thrummed that this might be one of those ideal guys she'd been hoping for earlier. She turned slowly, letting her ears guide her closer to him, into the deep shadows thrown by a narrow arbor covered in fading moonflowers.

"I don't recognize you," she said, keeping her voice soft. It was really all the volume she could muster.

"You will."

"Is that supposed to sound ominous?" Something about him rattled her way down deep. She wasn't sure if she liked that yet.

He laughed, just as deep and warm as his voice, and she swore she felt the sound against her skin. Weird. Not scary. Not much anyway. She peered at him, wishing for more light.

He had to be someone from school messing with her. But no one at school had a voice like dark chocolate drizzled over a warm brownie. The sound of it made her feel gooey.

And now she was hungry, too.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Interview with Regan Black!

Today I have interview the one and only, Regan Black! You've been hearing about her stories - Pixie Chicks, Hot Spots, and Shadow Stone - all week, and now have fun and listen to what Regan has to say!

Also, make sure to check back in tomorrow when Regan will actually be guest blogging!

1. What inspired you to jump into writing?

I'm not sure. Probably reading. I have journals of poetry that go back to elementary school. Of course I jumped into novels when my husband came to work at home for the second time in two years. I'd been working on a poetry book then, and it never occurred to me that I could write a 'big' book, but having him underfoot drove me nearly crazy. I started ficitonalizing how we met so I could remember why I'd fallen in love with him. It's the worst romance novel ever written, but it saved my sanity (and probably his life) The best part was realizing I could write a 'big' book.


2.How long have you been writing?

When I look back, I can see that expressing myself through poetry, short stories and journals has always just been a part of my life.


3.What is your proudest achievement in writing to date?
The latest release. Always. Whether it's a short story or full length novel, I'm proudest when I earn another contract and release date. I was so excited when my first book, Justice Incarnate, sold and I'll never get over the amazing, overwhelming feeling when I held that first paperback in my hands. I guess it was an addictive sensation, because that's what I'm consistently working toward.


4.How did you come up for the idea for the Hobbitville Saga?
Honestly, it's a page out of my past. Shh- don't tell anyone back in my hometown. Aside from the statuary being portals to parts unknown, Hobbitville was the nickname for the private garden where kids from my high school would dare each other to trespass. As an adult, I can tell you it was actually a beautiful example of a sculpture garden, but back then it was a little creepy after dark. My imagination often ran away with me even then. We thought we were living on such a razor's edge - how silly and sheltered it must seem to teens today. None of us ever vandalized the place or did damage, but the woman who owned it had to know we'd been through, teenagers just aren't that quiet even when they think they are.


5.Do you have any other Hobbitville stories in the works?
Yes. I'm working with Echelon Shorts for a special New Year's story. And I'm planning a bigger book detailing Claire and Shane's adventures mapping the Hobbitville gardens around the world.


6.What would be any advice you’d give to aspiring writers?
WRITE! Generally the more you write, the better you get. Study the how-to guides, join a writer's group, read and re-read your favorite novels, and keep writing. Short stories, epic novels, and poetry: write from the beginning to 'the end' and you'll learn so much about yourself every time. And one last thing - Believe! Only you can tell the story in your heart the way it was meant to be told.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Shadow Stone by Regan Black

Shadow Stone by Regan Black

From Echelon Press:

"Lana Richmond will not be the left behind when all her friends are using the magic of Hobbitville to escape their small Midwestern town for more exciting places. She's been trying–and failing–to use the garden's portals. The bruises haven't quite faded when Lana takes matters into her own hands and meets a stranger who promises to help her…on Halloween. Will Lana have the courage to follow her wanderlust, or will she settle for being the only Pixie Chick who can't work the Hobbitville magic?"


A Halloween-themed Hobbitville treat, we now are granted access to Lana’s story. Not only are we enabled to see who she is now (as well as her determination to be able to jump), but we also learn a little bit about her past before the Pixie Chicks. What’s most important, though, is the discovery that all of the jumping through Hobbitville doesn’t always lead a person to ideal places…

A bit different from the previous two Hobbitville stories, Shadow Stone has a more mysterious edge to it with a hint of creepiness that makes the story an absolute joy to read!

The plot itself was creative and slightly different from Hot Spots and Pixie Chicks. Its branch into the mysterious was beneficial not only to the plot, but to the characters as well. It served a great purpose to further advance Lana’s character and allow us to fully understand her adventurous, yet lacking of patience, personality.

Furthermore, the new information we receive regarding jumping, and the different locations one can jump to, is interesting to say the least. Black has taken an idea and has slowly created a phenomenal world – a magical world with both its good and its bad – out of it. Kudos to Black!

Now that I’ve read stories on Brie, Clarie, and Lana, I am anxiously waiting for (or should I say hoping for) another story focusing on the fourth Pixie Chick, Austin.


Check back in tomorrow when I will be interviewing the one and only Regan Black!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hot Spots by Regan Black

Hot Spots by Regan Black

From Echelon Press:

The gardens of Hobbitville are full of secrets, and the Pixie Chicks will do anything to keep it that way, including some innovative matchmaking. But even the efforts to keep Sierra clear of the garden can't hold off fate.

While trying to divert her best friend's pesky neighbor from breaching the gates of their haven, Claire is having trouble keeping her personal secrets. What can possibly be important enough not to tell the other Pixie Chicks?

And does the surprise visitor at Brianna's house have anything to do with it?



Contrary to The Pixie Chicks’ focus on Brie’s exploration of Hobbitville, Hot Spots is more tuned to Claire’s own experiences of jumping. Sierra, meanwhile, also becomes less of a pain as the Pixie Chicks have found an effective means of drawing her attention elsewhere.

I must say that Hot Spots is a great continuation of the Hobbitville Saga. As this is the second introduction to the characters, they begin to have a more developed feel as Black delves deeper into their personalities and motivations. The reader has the opportunity to understand Sierra’s feelings toward The Pixie Chicks as well as catch a glimpse into her own emotions for a certain member of the opposite sex. Claire's own motivations for jumping are revealed in a delightful manner, and I know that I definitely wished for Claire's happiness in the situation.

Furthermore, for lack of a better term, there are no dead words or scenes in the story. Black sticks to a tight format, only adding scenes necessary for the overall plot without leaving it boring and dull. This format creates a fast pace for Hot Spots that is both enjoyable and entertaining to read.

Hot Spots should be on the list of all young adults looking for a quick and fun read.

Check in tomorrow for a review on Regan Black's newest release - Shadow Stone! The third installment in the Hobbitville Saga.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pixie Chicks by Regan Black


Pixie Chicks by Regan Black

From Echelon Press:

"For a quartet of girlfriends known as the Pixie Chicks, life takes on a delicious new flavor when their normal Friday night walkabout through the Hobbitville Gardens reveals secrets and adventures previously unimagined. Who knew the statues were portals to similar, magical gardens around the world? Or that only a select few can travel by statue and fewer still can arrive at their desired point? These four will reach for the stars despite the risks of the unknown to embrace an adventure suitable only for the boldest of teens."

To begin, Black's use of characterization is phenomenal! Her different characters and motives are clearly defined, so it is not necessary to skim over past pages in a full-blown effort to find a single defining trait that can somehow be used to distinguish the different characters. Furthermore, her characters easily enable the reader to be drawn into the story and feel as though he is actually in it and not merely an outsider intruding upon private moments.

Black also mixes fantasy with romance with such ease that it appears seamless. The fantasy aspect provides the story with a magical and light air that wonderfully works hand-in-hand with the romance angle, creating a light-heartedness that perfectly encompasses the story. Coupled with the story dealing with normal teenagers who have access to a magical garden and the story becomes a creative and delightful mix of the average and the fastasy.

(Reposted from my 5-1-09 blog)
Check back in tomorrow for a review of one of Regan Black's new short stories, Hot Spots. And make sure to check in Friday when Regan guest blogs as part of her tour for her new story, Shadow Stone.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I am Pleased to Announce....


That Michael Springer is now available from Echelon Press Shorts!

Finals. Even with an amazing boyfriend who is calm when finals are upon them, Sarah finds herself avidly studying for the dreaded tests whenever she finds an empty spot in her schedule. The last thing she needs, on top of the never-ending stress of acing each exam, is to begin to feel sick when finals have arrived.
While she’s in the library one morning before classes start, she meets Michael Springer–a nice guy who seems to be the only one crazy enough, beside herself, to arrive early enough to school early to catch a few moments of studying. She continues to run into him, and he becomes adamant that she return home and rest; staying will only cause her illness to worsen.

Michael might be a great new friend, but finals are the most important time of the semester after all. Rest will come over winter break.

And why is it that even though she’s been at the school at year, this is the first time she’s ever seen Michael Springer?


So why don't you all head on over to Echelon Press and Buy Michael Springer now!

And make sure to visit Echelon Shorts' Blog tomorrow to read my guest blog on the site!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

You're Excited.

Yes, I know you're excited. You want to know how I know?

I can see you jumping up and down, smiling. And that generally represents excitement to the public.

So, then, why are you excited?

(Thinks for less than a second)

I know why you're excited! Can't say I blame you. It is a very exciting thing, after all. Why would you not be excited?

For those of you who don't know why this person is excited, I'll clue you in.

Tomorrow is the release of my new short, Michael Springer. Yes, that's right, the day is finally almost here! It is being released from Echelon Press tomorrow, and I will be blogging about it on the Echelon Press Shorts blog on Monday.

So head on over to Echelon Press tomorrow to check it out!

Alyssa

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Only 5 Days!

That's right! You read that correctly. There are only five more days left until the moment you've all been waiting for...

The release of Michael Springer!

(Cue music)

Today I will be posting its summary to get you all excited for Thursday!

Finals. Even with an amazing boyfriend who is calm when finals are upon them, Sarah finds herself avidly studying for the dreaded tests whenever she finds an empty spot in her schedule. The last thing she needs, on top of the never-ending stress of acing each exam, is to begin to feel sick when finals have arrived.

While she’s in the library one morning before classes start, she meets Michael Springer – a nice guy who seems to be the only one crazy enough, beside herself, to arrive early enough to school early to catch a few moments of studying. She continues to run into him and he becomes adamant that she return home and rest – staying will only cause her illness to worsen.

Michael might be a great new friend, but finals are the most important time of the semester after all. Rest will come over winter break.

And why is it that even though she’s been at the school a year, this is the first time she’s ever seen Michael Springer?


So take out those red pens and mark your calendars for five days from now! Michael Springer will be out before you know it!

Alyssa

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Michael Springer

VERY exciting news concerning the release of Michael Springer...

I have just received the release date!!

(Cue excited cheering from my millions of adoring fans)

That's right! I was just informed that Michael Springer is set for release by Echelon Press Shorts on October 15th!

No, you heard that correctly. October 15th is a mere two weeks away! A fortnight! So mark that date in your calendar, so when the 15th rolls around, you will be so excited to read the story that you'll barely be able to click the buttons necessary to read it!

Stay tuned for more news on Michael Springer!

~~Alyssa

Monday, September 21, 2009

Echelon Shorts

Hey everyone! Just wanted to take a quick second to remind everyone to jump on over to the new Echelon Shorts blog! It's for Echelon Press' new line that deals with short story EBooks and various authors from the line blog there! How great is that?

If you head on over there right now, you can find my own blog! I not only talk about my new release Mysterious No More, but I also give a quick blurb for my upcoming release, Michael Springer!

Update on Michael Springer:

I have just learned that Michael Springer will be released by Echelon Press Shorts in October! That's right everyone! October! So those of you waiting anxiously for the story to come out, you won't have to wait much longer! It will soon be available for purchase! (Cue applause)

I'll let you all know when I hear more about Michael Springer. Talk to you soon!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"I'm Bored."

You're bored. You're sitting on your bed... at your desk... on your couch... and you can't believe how mind-numbingly bored you really are.

Since when did that spot on the wall become so interesting? And that speck of dust. You really should do something about that. Maybe you should get something to drink. You are pretty thirsty after all. A nice tall glass of water might be good.

Could take away boredom for a whole minute. That just leaves... Oh... The rest of the day, but hey! You wasted that whole minute getting a glass of water. Time's sure flying by!

Now that water's sitting in your belly and you're still bored. Maybe you should just count all the bumps coming down from the ceiling...

Okay, that's when you really need to say enough. I mean, come on. Counting the bumps on the ceiling? Is that really how you want to be spending your day?

Well, if it is, carry on!

But if you're just doing it because you have nothing better to do, then you should stop. Seriously. Because I'm sure that there are better things that you could be doing right now than counting the bumps coming down from the ceiling.

Like read a book?

And it's not nice if you laughed when I said that and decided to go back to counting the ceiling bumps. Because reading can be really fun! I know that I love it!

So tell me this. Are you really entertained by those bumps? Huh? Because reading a good book can be way more entertaining than counting them, I can tell you that much!

So the next time you're bored (and you know it's going to happen!), why don't you consider picking up a good book and reading it?

Oh, I get it! You're not sure where you can find a good book and have simply been stumped this whole time! Why didn't you just say so? Echelon Press has some great books if you're looking for one! So get reading!

Or I suppose you could just go back to counting...

Alyssa Montgomery
http://www.alyssamontgomery.com/
Author of Where Are You?, Mr. Mysterious, Mysterious No More, and 9:53 PM (from the Heat of the Moment Anthology) and COMING SOON - MICHAEL SPRINGER!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ready, Set, Release!

Echelon Press Shorts is now live!

Yes, it's September 1st already! That means that today Echelon Press has just launched their new store, Echelon Press Shorts. Echelon Press Shorts is a part of Echelon Press, and their products are all short stories! These short stories range in length anywhere from 3,000 words to 40,000 words and are sure to keep you enraptured in their plots. The best part of these stories is their cost! As of today, all the stories offered for sale under Echelon Press Shorts are less than $5! Talk about a deal!

For the release, Echelon Press Shorts are having guest authors from the line blog on their site! The guest blogger for today is Regan Black as she welcomes the release of her new short story, The Hobbitville Saga #2: Hot Spots.

If you're interested in checking out the stories, check out Echelon Press.

Monday, August 24, 2009

EBooks are Great!

Since I've now convinced you that reading is fun, it's time to talk about EBooks.

Everyone knows about the conventional paper books - they've been around forever. I'm not bashing paper books - I myself have a collection that overflows from my huge bookshelf - but in this new age, there is also the option of reading an Electronic book. These books hold the same story that a paper book would hold, only they are available for reading on a number of different electronic devices - a computer, palm pilot, any EBook reader...

Electronic books are on the rise. For instance, my publisher, Echelon Press, not only offers a wide selection of paper books, but a huge selection of EBooks as well. The same goes for Barnes and Noble. On their website, you can now buy certain books in the EBook format. That is not to say that the availability of paper books is declining, but rather the availability of EBooks is rapidly skyrocketing.

When looking at Echelon Press' EBooks, one begins to realize that one of the great aspects of EBooks is their flexibility. While a paperbook can vary on their page lengths, I've noticed that a standard book is generally no less than 150 pages. However, novels are not only released in an EBook format, but short stories are also published as EBooks! These stories can be great for a quick read at a reasonable price!

So if you're looking for a great read, why not give an EBook a try?

(For a great article on EBooks, check out Pam Ripling's here.)

Alyssa Montgomery
http://www.alyssamontgomery.com/
Author of Where Are You?, Mr. Mysterious, Mysterious No More, and 9:53 PM (from the Heat of the Moment Anthology).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Reading is Fun!

Okay, so maybe that headline was a little corny, but I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about reading. I know so many people that hate to read and absolutely despise to pick up a book. I know other people who don't exactly despise reading, but would rather spend their time watching television or surfing the web over picking up a good book. Lastly, I know a sparse few people who love to read and enjoy the new world they have discovered when they begin reading a new book.

These facts interest me. I have always found reading, as cliche as it sounds, like a new adventure the moment that I flip to the first page. So here's the question: why is it that people chose to forgo this adventure? A novel is the same as a movie or as a television. They both tell a story. The only difference is that they are told in different ways - one with moving pictures and sound while the other with countless words that describe the moving pictures and sounds. The stories they tell must be similiar as well. Why else would we be watching a movie on the big screen that is an adaptation of a popular novel?

So that would mean that visual stimulation is preferable to the ages old pastime of reading. Yet, novels and stories contain countless worlds and countless stories for one to become completely enraptured by the words that play across the pages.

Now, for the 1, 2, 3's of reading...

Reading a book...

1. ... As I said earlier, is like a movie. It tells a story, one that can be picked based on your personal preference. Unlike a movie, however, the lack of pictures allows you to create your own moving pictures in your mind. While the words can be extremely descriptive, it does allow for greater creativity asyour mind is free to wander and draw whatever it feels is perfectly describes the actions in the book. The storyline exists, but you are in charge of your own pictures.

2. ... Is mobile! A book is so compact, it can be put in a small purse or bag. This allows for greater convenience, so when you're sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's or dentist's office, driving on a long road trip, or relaxing on the beach, you can whip out your book (whereas the portable DVD player would probably not be so convenient) and keep your mind occupied as you fill the gap waiting for the doctor to come and visit you.

3. ... can be free! When you're reading a paperbook in daylight, there is no electricity required - just find the sun and you're ready to go! Even at night, the electricity of a desk lamp is all that's required to continue reading that book. Furthermore, you can check out the books from your local library, leaving this option of entertainment free or close-to free.

Watching a movie or a television show can be fun, but reading can be just as fun as that! So now, as I finish writing this, a book is waiting for you. It is waiting for you to find it, pick it up, and read it.

So what are you waiting for? Get on out there and read!!

Alyssa Montgomery
http://www.alyssamontgomery.com/
Author of Where Are You?, Mr. Mysterious, Mysterious No More, and 9:53 PM (from the Heat of the Moment Anthology).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Old Enough, Already!


Old Enough, Already!
by Pam Ripling

I’m so excited to be blogging with Alyssa Montgomery today. Why? Because this is the perfect place to announce some big news: I finished OLD ENOUGH! And why is this so significant?

OLD ENOUGH is the next in a series of books that began with my middle grade mystery, LOCKER SHOCK! The latter is the story of junior high student Ben Mitchell, who one day finds a mysterious brown paper bag in his school locker. What’s in the bag and who put it there serve to make Ben the most miserable boy on campus. Worse, his best friends are feuding. Ben’s normally calm, status-quo life is upside down.

My blog host today has always been a big fan of LOCKER SHOCK! and its myriad of middle school characters. When she discovered I was writing the next book in the series, she was supportive, encouraging and overjoyed. However, as weeks, months and even a couple of—well, a few—years passed, her enthusiasm turned to crankiness and her encouragement to down-right nagging. Now I ask you: who wouldn’t want such a supportive fan? [Think Stephen King’s Misery, film starring Kathy Bates and James Caan…]

Well, the book came back to life with a gasp and a prayer, and I finished it. Still in “first draft” form, it’s not quite ready for submission, but it has a beginning, a middle, and end; conflict; pain and suffering, laughter, and dancing. It has diversity, romance, acts of God and challenging friendships. With luck and some good editing, I hope to have OLD ENOUGH released for the Kindle and other ebook readers by next summer. And just maybe a third book in the series in draft format, too—but whatever you do, don’t tell Alyssa!

Pam Ripling is the author of middle-grade mystery, LOCKER SHOCK! Buy it at Quake, Fictionwise, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon today! E-book version now available for your Kindle! Visit Pam at http://www.beaconstreetbooks.com/.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

And It's Out!

It's now official - Mysterious No More is now availabe from Echelon Press! It's for sale for $1.50!

Cara now has her Mr. Mysterious, but is he really as mysterious as his old nickname implied?

It's over between Cara and Mitchell. She's seen him out with another girl after he cancelled their plans to supposedly be with his family. Now Cara is left with no boyfriend, a dress, and no date to the Homecoming Dance.

Meanwhile, Allison seems to have her own agenda for the night of Homecoming. Does Cara really want to be a third wheel for the night?


Mysterious No More is the sequel to Mr. Mysterious.

Yipee!

~~Alyssa Montgomery

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mysterious No More Cover!


I have just received the cover for my new EBook, Mysterious No More! (And I must say that it is absolutely amazing!) Mysterious No More is the long-awaited sequel to Mr. Mysterious! It will be coming out SOON from Echelon Press, so check back here for updates!


~~Alyssa

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Betrayed by Sam Morton

Betrayed by Sam Morton

From http://www.echelonpress.com/:

It’s an election year and Senator Ben “Pitchfork” Stevens from Texas made a campaign promise to stop illegal immigration. He virtually has. Problem is, people trying to cross the border keep disappearing. That’s a dilemma for 15-year-old Austin Pierce whose father is a political consultant involved with the senator and whose best friend, Rico Alvarez, happens to be in the United States illegally.

After Rico's family voluntarily deports, Austin discovers that Rico’s beautiful cousin Veronica helps people cross over illegally. He faces a decision: should he help his friends or help the FBI to stop the senator's evil ways?



Exciting. Suspenseful.

Morton's Betrayed is a truly phenomenal novel. Alhtough dealing with the controversial issue of illegal immigration, Morton deftly navigates the issue with grace. It's this grace that allows the novel to move fluidly from scene to scene.

He further reveals his ability to create a realistic story by weaving his own knowledge of unique topics through the pages. It is necessary, yes, for an author to have knowledge concerning his story before he writes, but the vastness of knowledge Morton relays in Betrayed is evident and greatly adds to the overall effect of the novel.

Besides his knowledge playing across the pages, Morton's characterization of his characters, especially the portrayal of Austin, Rico, and Veronica, brought the characters out of a 2D fictional realm and into the higher ranks of 3D characterization. This feat leaves Morton and Betrayed in the lands belonging to the upper-level authors.

Lastly, Morton takes a moment at the end of the novel to reveal the motivation behind the writing of Betrayed and the creation of the lead character, Austin Pierce - who was created in memory of a young boy named Austin Whetsell. His decision to honor Austin's life by writing this novel is a real inspiration.

Betrayed has rightfully earned the spot on my bookshelf next to other well-read and well-written novels. I'll anxiously watch out for more work from Morton in the future.

Listen to Sam Morton's interview on Blog Talk Radio, today from 12:00 Noon - 1:00 Pacific time. The interview will be archieved following it's completion.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Melanie's Monday - The New School Year!

Hey guys, it's Melanie!

Even though there are still a few weeks left of summer vacation, it's already almost time to start school! Can you believe it? It seems like yesterday that the school year was ending, and we were all getting ready to watch Cal graduate. Time sure does fly in the summer!

I love summer. (There's no doubt about that.) Getting to go to BBQs, going swimming, going on road trips with your friends... Even with all that stuff going on in the summer, I'm still actually looking forward to going back to school. Reuniting with friends, meeting new people, hopefully getting some awesome classes. And this year I'll be a junior in high school. That's going to be pretty awesome!

Cal's obviously not going to be there, so that's a major bummer. But, like I've said in other blogs, at least he'll be going to the community college, so he'll be close by and not what seems like a million miles away. But at least Kassie will still be at school.

So now, even though summer is my favorite season, I am anxiously waiting to get my school schedule and find out what classes and teachers I got and start to find out who's in my classes. (Hopefully Kassie will be in my classes!) And hopefully this year will be more amazing than last! (And I must say that last year was pretty amazing!)

What about you guys? Love summer? Hate summer? Those of you in school, looking forward to it?

Now I'm going to go soak up the last of my summer vacation! Not going to let a minute go to waste!

Melanie Ryder is a character that can be found in Alyssa Montgomery's short stories, Where Are You? and 9:53 P.M. (from the Heat of the Moment Anthology).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Melanie's Monday - Road Trip!

Hey guys! It's Melanie!

So. The road trip. It was awesome!

We left at the break of dawn. I loved being on the road to see the sun rise! It's so beautiful! And even though it was early in the morning, it was awesome to have this excitement in the car! I could just tell that it was going to be a great trip.

We spent a few days up in the mountains, and it was so pretty there! It was nice to actually get to see countless stars in the sky that weren't washed out by city lights.

And the story with the tent. Hilarious! So even though new tents require a small amount of work to set up, the guys managed to somehow make it a maximum amount of work to set up. Kassie and I had no problem setting it up (just one look at the directions), but for some reason, Cal and Paul had the most difficult time getting that tent open and to stay open! It eventually took the four of us to get that thing open properly.

But we had the best time in the mountains. We had campfires every night, and we'd brought more than enough graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows for a s'mores fest each night! I can't even put into words how nice it was to just be away from the big city, away from any possible worries, and just be having a great time, making s'mores, with my friends. It was honestly a great time.

During the day, we spent time hiking and just exploring the general area. (And watching out for snakes. Don't need any surprises there!)

When we had finished our trip in the mountains, we spent the rest of our trip driving around the state and seeing general landmarks and such. (Which was when I was able to quickly get to an internet cafe to leave last week's blog!)

This trip, though, was amazing! That is really all I have to say. I couldn't have imagined it going better.

Any amazing trips that you all have taken?

Melanie Ryder is a character that can be found in Alyssa Montgomery's short stories, Where Are You? and 9:53 P.M. (from the Heat of the Moment Anthology).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Melanie's Monday (or Tuesday) - Road Trip!

Hey everyone, it's Melanie! Sorry about the delay, but as I said, I didn't bring a laptop with me on this trip! So I'm making a quick stop at an internet cafe to write this blog while everyone else grabs something to eat!

So I have to say that so far, this road trip has been...

AMAZING!

We've had the best time! We spent a couple days camping in the mountains (where I gladly did not freeze my butt off because I had packed all those warm clothes), where we laughed as Paul and Cal struggled to pop open his tent. Since Kassie and I managed to pop ours open pretty easily, it's kind of difficult to understand why they had such a hard time at setting up that tent. (But it's okay because it provided us with some good entertainment. Ha)

But as for all the rest of the stories, there simply is not time right now. But you all are going to hear all about it next Monday after I've come home!

So until then!

Melanie Ryder is a character that can be found in Alyssa Montgomery's short stories, Where Are You? and 9:53 P.M. (from the Heat of the Moment Anthology).

Monday, July 6, 2009

Melanie's Monday - Road Trip Prep!

It's Monday, so that means it's time for Melanie's Monday! Yay! And for those of you who don't know me, my name is Melanie Ryder, and I'm one of the characters from a couple of Alyssa Montgomery's E-Books!

So, this week has been super busy since I've been preparing for my...

Road trip!

And I'd have to say that I'm pretty excited. It's going to be awesome! This could be one of the last times all of us get to hang out for a long time, what with Cal and Paul leaving for college in the fall. So it's definitely going to rock.

So I've spent the last week with Kassie making sure that all our reservations are okay, and then going shopping for everything that I need. Which is quite a lot (something that I didn't expect until I actually started going shopping!) I had to buy a new sleeping bag for the nights that we're camping along with roughly a million batteries for my camera and flashlight. There is no way that I'm going to be running out of batteries. (Especially when I'm in the dark. My flashlight is not dying on me then!)

And then I had to make sure that I had enough warm clothes for when we're in the mountains. Just like I'm not going without a flashlight in the dark, I'm not going to turn into a popsicle at night because I didn't pack clothes that will keep me warm at night. And I know that however warm my sleeping bag is that it's just not going to cut it.

So now I'm totally psyched for this trip! We'll be gone for ten days, which means that you're going to be getting a special post next Monday from on the trip! (Or somewhere around there. We're not bringing a laptop, so it's either post from an internet cafe, or wait until the end of the trip. I guess we'll just wait and see what happens!

Well, that's it for now! I'll be leaving tomorrow for my trip! Yipee!

Melanie Ryder is a character that can be found in Alyssa Montgomery's short stories, Where Are You? and 9:53 P.M. (from the Heat of the Moment Anthology).

Monday, June 29, 2009

Melanie's Monday - Summertime!

Melanie here! And I'm so glad to announce that I have totally spent the first week of my summer in the best way! I got to spend the first week of my summer vacation, not only looking forward to and preparing for my upcoming roadtrip, but also by... simply...

Relaxing.

Yeah, that might have been a tad anticlimactic, but after all the stresses of school, graduation, and party-planning, it was great to just kick back and relax, read a book, sit by the pool, go into the pool....

Let me tell you! Nothing is better than finding a good book to read and then lounging outside to read it. I've already finished three books this week! Totally entertaining.

So that was my week. How about everyone else? Anyone do anything interesting this week?

Melanie Ryder is a character that can be found in Alyssa Montgomery's short stories, Where Are You? and 9:53 P.M. (from the Heat of the Moment Anthology).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Melanie's Monday - Summer!

It's Melanie! And now that school and Cal's graduation are over, that means that summer is officially here! Time for the beaches, pools, vacations.... (not to mention that school is out!)

I'm so excited!

Summer is one of my favorite seasons, and I plan to totally enjoy it this year! I'm going to be taking a road trip this summer with Cal, Kassie, and Cal's friend, Paul. And I have to say that I am going to have the best time! Nothing is better than hanging out with friends. Plus Cal and Paul are both going away to college, so it'll be nice for them to hang out too!

So hopefully everyone is already enjoying their summer and plans to have a blast!

Talk to you next Monday!

Melanie Ryder is a character that can be found in Alyssa Montgomery's short stories, Where Are You? and 9:53 P.M. (from the Heat of the Moment Anthology).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Interview with J.R. Turner Part 2!

And now, here is the interview you all have been waiting for! Here is the interview with J.R. Turner!!

AM: How did you get into writing?

JR: In 1999 I bought and read "For the Roses" by Julie Garwood in one day. Stuck waiting for a whole year for another book by her, I tried a few new romance authors I'd never heard of. Apparently, their covers were better than their pages because they didn't suit my tastes at all. I figured I'd rather spend the time writing the sort of book I wanted to read, then wasting time reading books I didn't care for. So, I began Loving Lillie, my first and only (and ever) historical romance that is now safely hidden away to protect innocent readers everywhere.

AM: How long have you been an author?

JR: In 2000 we moved from the big city to a small town. This meant career changes for me and my husband. He went into semi-driving, as he loved the open road, and I had a choice. I could continue on as a contract artist and keep painting portraits and signs for other people, or I could pursue my life-long dream of writing. I chose the latter (obviously) but I had never really seriously written before and I discovered very quickly how little I actually knew.

AM: What is your proudest achievement in writing?

JR: Gosh there are so many! My first was when My Biker Bodyguard won an RWA contest. I must have entered at least twenty or more of those contests and the closest I'd gotten was an honorable mention. When I took first place in romantic suspense, I was truly stoked! But then, you never forget the first time a publishing house wants to buy your book and I'll never forget the phone call that said "Stark Knight" was accepted. Since then, I'd have to say that my proudest moment was when I finally tackled that emotional hurdle I'd been struggling with for so long and discovered DFF: Dead Friends Forever made people get teary-eyed or cry. That was the validation I'd sought after dilligently trying to overcome my fear of writing emotion that felt like a low-budget cheesy soap opera.

AM: Is there any advice you would like to give to aspiring authors?

JR: I would say that they shouldn't expect much at first. Learning to write is truly a process and every step must be made before the next step can be taken. Not only do you have to learn the mechanics, but you have to learn to think like a writer, which is very different than simply writing down what you're imagining. Thinking like a writer takes time just like learning to figure skate or play the piano. You'll not be able to put on skates and do triple axles and you'll be playing chopsticks for a long while before you can pound out Beethoven's fifth. When you first put pen to paper, expect to stumble, fumble and sweat through a ton of practice before you begin to tap into your true potential. I can truly say honestly, the effort is totally worth it! :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Interview with J.R. Turner Part 1!

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview fellow author, J.R. Turner. Today I will be posting the summaries of her books that she provided me, and if you tune in tomorrow, you will get the chance to read her full interview here!


AM: "How many books do you currently have published and what are they about? Where can they be purchased?"


JT: My Newest Release:

Extreme Hauntings #1 DFF: Dead Friends Forever
Skater Kaylee Hensler might not be Miss Popular, but there are some friends a girl can do without. When the decaying ghost of a murdered girl decides they need to be total BFF’s, Kaylee will sacrifice the trust of her family, her swim coach’s respect, and any hope of a date for the Harvest Dance.

And oh yeah… discover that super-evil entities are nothing at all like they are on TV or in the movies Aside from seriously bad attitudes, they not only like to kill…but replay the killing again and again for all eternity. To avoid that fate, she’ll have to rely on her wheelchair-bound friend Davey, the mysterious Madame Maggie, and the surprising depth of her own power.

Will Kaylee survive, or will she become someone else's DFF: Dead Friend Forever?
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/DFF-Friends-Forever-J-R-Turner/dp/1590806255/ref=sr_1_20?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232133966&sr=1-20

My Knight Inc. triolgy:

Stark Knight
Knight Inc. has a new mission–find a medallion, stop a madman, and rescue the boss. That makes this one personal. When clues leading to the extravagant ballroom of the wickedly wealthy uncover a devious plot disguised by the flow of champagne and false charity, Stark and Knight dress to kill. Tempted by sultry Panama, they find bombs aren't the only thing igniting this dangerous paradise. But deep in the tomb of an underground lair, the risk will become deadly as they fight to save the world and the one man they call family.
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1590804066/qid=1126461478/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/104-4008688-4246310?v=glance&s=books

Silent Knight
Sara Stark is sent to rescue a senator's son, but when she and the boy go missing, Drake Knight will confront his deepest fears. Pawns in a power struggle, Sara and the boy are injected with a deadly virus that is more than it appears. From the Cook Islands to Lake Superior, forces put in motion decades earlier will collide in a dangerous battle where trusting the enemy of their enemy may prove fatal. It's a race against time to find a cure, the key to which only one man has, a man who must break a lifetime of silence, a man Sara and Drake call father.
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Silent-Knight-Knights-Inc-Adventure/dp/1590805178/ref=pd_rhf_p_3/102-8902495-8707334?ie=UTF8&qid=1126461478&sr=2-1

Good Knight

When a mission in Montreal goes tragically wrong, Sara Stark vows to take down the group responsible. The Trifecta is a shadow organization headed by the one woman she wished had stayed dead... From Houston to Brazil, nothing will stop Sara, not even an unexpected side effect from the experimental drug the Trifecta injected her with. For her Knight Inc. partner and new husband, Drake Knight, the more dangerous threat could prove to be the battle raging within Sara between might and right. But with the welfare of the world at stake, they may not have the option of disarming their most lethal weapon…Sara herself.
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Good-Knight-Knights-Inc-Adventure/dp/1590805992/ref=sr_1_34?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1205166361&sr=1-34

My romantic suspense novels are:

My Biker Bodyguard
Keeping Jess Owen's ex-con father and their hodgepodge family of bikers out of trouble is a tough job, but one she's managed for ten years. Until bodyguard Mitch Conner brings danger and romance to her doorstep. After Jess's mother was shot by an assassin, Mitch vowed to protect her secret daughter. But when the FBI suspect Mitch contracted the hit himself and is now seducing the next in line to inherit the family fortune, his attraction to the fiery Jess may burn him in more ways than one.
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/My-Biker-Bodyguard-J-Turner/dp/1590805607/ref=pd_ecc_rvi_3/102-8902495-8707334?ie=UTF8&qid=1126461478&sr=2-1

Bulletproof Bride
When Robert Carson steals her murdered father's company, Mina Jackson is determined to see justice done and takes destiny in her own hands. When she barges into his life and kidnaps him at gunpoint, he's thrown into a whirlwind of betrayal, secrecy and a most unexpected complication-love.
(ebook only) Fictionwise: http://www.fictionwise.com/eBooks/eBook39330.htm