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16801. I write stuff. Did you know I write stuff?

I haven't written anything on this here blog for a couple of weeks now, mainly because I have been writing lots of non-internet stuff. Like novels! Which is great! You want to read my novels, right? I have to write them first. Imagine my mad, machine-gun typing here.

There's book reviews and writerly ramblings in the works, but in the meantime, here's some stuff I've written elsewhere:

Bold. Brave. Smart. Fun. Refreshingly honest. News and opinion for young women.
1. I'm writing for this rather awesome Australian website for young women called Birdee, and so are a whole lot of other awesome young women, so you should check it out. I write articles with controversial titles like THE WORST GENERATION EVER. I just wrote a piece on how the writing of young people is criticised based on the author's age, rather than the work's merits, so you should read that and let me know what you think.

Young Vagabond is a magazine for young women, offering an alternative to other print publications, which often have an unhealthy focus on image and sexuality.
2. I've written some book reviews for the second edition of Young Vagabond magazine, a rather lovely new Australian magazine. You can buy it from their website.

1 Comments on I write stuff. Did you know I write stuff?, last added: 7/22/2013
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16802. Where Can A Young Writer Get Published? Happy Poetry Friday!

. ~
Howdy, Campers and happy 

...which is over at Check it Out today ~
thanks for hosting today, Jone!
.
We've returned from our blog-cation tanned and rested.  Esther kicks off this round's topic about contests with her post on Lee and Low's New Voices Contest, including several juicy tidbits (did you know that an early version of Christopher Paul Curtis's The Watsons Go to Birmingham lost a contest before it went on to win the Newbery?) 

Jeanne Marie continues the discussion, touching on Las Vegas, mowing lawns, selling one's first born, her years as a Hollywood scriptwriter, and winning Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's scholarship.

On today's TeachingAuthors menu:
  • links to contests for young writers;
  • a poem about the delicious feeling when you learn you're going to be published;
  • the secret about entering contests.
Links to contests for young writers:
Here's the page on my personal website which lists a few select contests (including a peace poetry contest), and here, on the TeachingAuthors website, Carmela has compiled a ton more.

My poem for Poetry Friday:
I vividly remember learning I'd won a writing contest when I was in second grade.  Winning came with a fancy bookmark(!) and a certificate to Martindale's Bookstore in Santa Monica for any book in the entire store!  I was intoxicated.  Any book! 

I chose Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham, much to my father's disappointment. 
(He had his heart set on The Big Book of Japanese Fairy Tales.)

Winning a contest, getting something published...the POW! of this is experience is indescribable. And no matter how many books you have published, or how many of your poems are in magazines and anthologies, most writers will tell you that an acceptance is an acceptance--the ZING! is as powerful each time.

And so, Campers: get out of your comfort zone and enter a contest or try to get something published (which is the same thing, if you think about it). 

Which brings us to today's poem. It's in my verse novel, Girl Coming in for a Landing--a novel in poems, illustrated by Elaine Clayton (Knopf, 2002).  It can be performed by one, two, or three people.  

PUBLISHED!
by April Halprin Wayland

A letter in the mail!
They're going to PUBLISH my poem.
In their magazine.
In June.

My brain is exploding!  I can’t sleep!
I woke up early,
my body buzzy
like a playground ball boing-ing down a long hallway.

THEY'RE GOING TO PUBLISH MY POEM!
I won’t tell anyone. 
I’ll wait until the magazine comes out.
How can I wait that long?

I won’t tell anyone.
I’ll just casually hand them the magazine
or wait
until someone at school sees it.

What will Carlo think?
What will Frank think?
What will Yen-Mei think?
What will Leslie think?????????

I won’t tell anyone.
I won’t tell anyone
and boy,
will they be surprised.

They’re going to
publish my poem!
My poem!  My poem!
Who can I call at 5:30 in the morning?

 
So, teens, 'tweens, ten-year-olds, scribblers...all: go forth and enter!  


Because here's the secret:
whether or not you win, 
you've won.
poem and drawing © April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

Today's post is by April Halprin Wayland who thanks you from the bottom of her sandy toes for reading this far.













































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































6 Comments on Where Can A Young Writer Get Published? Happy Poetry Friday!, last added: 7/23/2013
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16803. Breaking Glass Blog Tour: Excerpts Put to Music


Please welcome Lisa Amowitz, author of Breaking Glass, who is here to talk about her playlist for the book and share some excerpts.

Music is a big influencer for me. Maybe even more than visual cues. Or maybe the combination of both. I’m not exactly sure. But, good music seems to focus me better than almost anything else. In my case it’s really true that music soothes the savage beast!

I have rather eclectic taste –I’ve been told that I like bands no one else has ever heard of. So prepare yourself for Lisa’s indie music playlist and the off the beaten path music behind Breaking Glass.

The following songs in one way or another inspired Breaking Glass though don’t necessarily correspond to the text.

The Decemberists: Engine Driver

Gary Jules: Mad World


The Decemberists: The Hazards of Love

The Decemberists: Annan Water


Now for the excerpt to song matchups!

This is basically the theme song for the book. If it ever became a movie, this would be the song playing over the credits.

Guggenheim Grotto: Lost Forever and…


Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros: Home
For the past year, Susannah’s been inexplicably texting me with YouTube links to her haunting stop-action animations. I watch her body drift across the screen draped with filmy gauze, her dark bronze hair and golden skin amid floating leaves, graveyards, ballet dancers, Indian goddesses, and scattered words in Hebrew and English, most of which make no sense.
But other than telling me the link is private and to keep it our little secret, Susannah never mentions them when I see her. Neither do I.
Yet if I could dive into my iPhone and swim beside her, an exotic fish in her private world, I would do it and never look back.
And Ryan would kill me. Best friends don’t want to do their best friend’s girlfriend. I think that’s written somewhere. So is not cheating on your girlfriend. And so is not ratting him out.
I glance behind me. Ryan is intertwined with Claudia Herman, the community college girl who plays Maria. Claudia’s hot. And she’s slept with our whole track team. I think of Susannah, mercifully out of town on a college visit.
My phone vibrates. Susannah again. This time it’s an actual text.
I clench my jaw and look away from Ryan and his latest fling, sworn to silence by the Guy Code of Honor.
Jeremy! guess what. i’m here! got n earlier flight
I peer out into night, then glance at Ryan again.
Shit.

Jeff Buckley: Hallelujah

Since eighth grade, when I discovered that liquor dulls my terrors, I have been a master thief and spy.
Not even Ryan knows.
Just a sip to calm my shaky nerves. One tiny sip to beat back the rising waters that threaten to drown me. I can do it. I pride myself on my steely self-control and my ability to remain stone-cold sober, even when the track team holds a victory keg party. They call me Jeremy the Teetotaler, Jeremy the History Nerd, who never partakes.
I snap open the glove compartment. The innocuous silver bottle is shoved behind the owner’s manual, gas receipts, and a collection of PowerBar wrappers. I raise it to my lips and gulp once, twice, three times, the cold liquid igniting as it hits my throat. It takes two, three more gulps to slow my heart to normal speed. The bottle is nearly empty. I cap it and return it to the compartment, warmth flowing to my cold fingers. I’d need to drink three times as much as that to lose focus.
Swerving through the deserted black roads, slick with rain over the ice, I follow my usual running circuit. This is familiar turf. Practically my backyard.
Yes. I can do this. Susannah knows my route, so I hope she’s come this way and parked, knowing I’d find her. She wants me to find her. To comfort her. I’ll tell her everything. How I’m sorry for lying to her. For letting Ryan hurt her. And maybe, at last, she’ll accept that it’s not Ryan she wants, but me.
But there’s no sign of her.
After driving and searching fruitlessly, my mind churning with outcomes, the now-driving rain blurring my windshield, I can’t stand it anymore. My heart is racing. Just one last sip to fortify myself is all I need.
When I round the next hairpin curve, my headlights flash on Ryan’s car parked behind Susannah’s, both engines running. I squint through the rain and mist and spot them behind the guardrail, illuminated in the headlamps’ cone of light. There’s no shoulder on this side of the road, so I pull over when I can, about twenty yards past them.
When I finally get out of the car, I can hear her shouts over the racket the rain makes. My head is buzzing, but my thoughts are clear.
In fact, they’ve never been clearer, as the roots that entangle me fall away.
The damp air smells like freedom.
Susannah screams, and pounds at Ryan’s chest with her fists. He shoves her hard and she falls backward. I don’t see her get up again. Raucous arguments are nothing new between Susannah and Ryan, but I’ve never seen him hit her before.
There’s a steep decline into the woods where they’ve chosen to have their argument, and I worry Susannah could have gotten hurt. Ryan disappears now, too. What the hell are they doing?
I begin to run at full tilt. I still have some distance to cover, but that’s no problem for me, even with the Absolut pumping heat through my veins. But my boot heel catches on a wet leaf and slides out from under me.
I’m flying, but I land softly.
I should have worn my running shoes, I think crazily, then scramble to my feet.
There are blinding lights. The squeal of brakes. Breaking glass.
I don’t make it to the other side.


Lana Del Rey: Dark Paradise

“She tripped, or you pushed her?” I try to sit forward, but pain lances through my leg as if a team of chainsaw-brandishing dwarves have crash-landed on it. I fall back shakily onto the pillows.
“Take it easy, Jer.”
I search my mind for details, but the night is hazy, a mix tape of rain, vodka, and bright lights. And then Susannah’s face is in front of me -- glistening lips, autumn leaf eyes, tears sparkling on their rims. The urge overtakes me, like it always does when there are things I can’t face—the urge to run. But I’m pinned to the bed like a butterfly specimen. “Where is she now, Ryan? My dad says she never got home last night.”
“Jeez, Jeremy, how should I know? I did follow her. It’s pretty rough going on those rocks. It hasn’t changed since we used to fish there. And the weather last night was hideous. The ground was slippery. I lost my footing and wrenched my ankle. I couldn’t keep up. I just lost her.”
“So, she vanished into thin air. And a high school track star like you couldn’t keep up with her. You expect me to believe that?”
“C’mon, Jeremy, what’s up with you? It wasn’t like I didn’t try to follow her. She was hysterical and I was worried because she cut her head when she fell. But I could barely walk with my ankle, you know, and I lost track of her. I figured she probably doubled back to where her car was and took off. I got back to the road just as they were loading you into the ambulance. You can check the police report. They asked me if I’d seen what happened, but I didn’t find out it was you in there until later.”
“You left a bleeding girl stumbling around in the woods and you didn’t wonder why her car was still there,” I say in a monotone. “And your ankle looks okay today,” I add.
The nurse comes in, adjusts my drip bag, then leaves. Ryan leans forward, his voice soft. Reasonable. “She wasn’t that hurt. Just a scratch. Shit, Jeremy. You know Susannah. She pulls these stunts all the time. She used to run away all the time.”
“Right. I saw you hit her, Ryan.”
Ryan turns a bit green. “C’mon, Jer. It was just a little shove. If you saw us, then you know she was slamming me with her fists first. I wasn’t going to do anything with Claudia Herman. Suze is just—oversensitive. You know how she gets.”
I’m getting fuzzy. It must be the drugs they keep pumping into me. The words kick out like a knee to the groin. I’m shouting now, my voice hoarse, my mouth flooded with a sour taste.
“You mean how she gets when you fuck around behind her back?”
I want to suck the words back in. In all our years as The Lone Ranger and Tonto, I’ve never violated the sidekick rules. Even when I had to bite my tongue so hard it bled.
Outside my room, I hear voices speak rapidly in urgent tones, too low to understand but loud enough to recognize. It’s Patrick Morgan, Esquire, talking to Dad. I’d know his booming voice anywhere. Ryan’s uber-influential father is probably here to make sure the Morgan interests are safeguarded—as in, Ryan’s name is kept clean. He had to have heard my outburst and now Dad is most likely supplicating himself and pleading to the Almighty for forgiveness on my behalf.
Clouds of cotton breeze over me, my eyes closing. The drugs are claiming me again. I almost forget Ryan is still here, beside me.
“That’s not what we fought about, Jer,” he says softly.
Behind my closed lids, I still see only Susannah’s face. “Then where the hell is she, Ryan?”


Death Cab for Cutie: Bixby Canyon Bridge

I flick on the TV and turn to the local news. The media feeding frenzy over Susannah’s disappearance has reached a fever pitch. Trudy Durban’s pleas have hit a chord. She is convincing, a grief-stricken mother, begging for word of her daughter. Even the town which had rejected her thaws to her pleas. But there’s no sign of her. Thirteen days and counting since Susannah disappeared. Since my leg began its battle for survival.
Kabbalah[RSS1] . Susannah’s latest in a continuum of shifting passions. Before her trip, I’d found an old book on it. I’d made a passing effort to bone up on it so I could appear interested, but it’s not enough to help me now.
Are the clues to her disappearance somehow linked to her interest in ancient Hebrew mysticism? Lately, Susannah’s art had taken on a distinctly spiritual quality. She’d[RSS2] [LA3]  started an amazing drawing, a brightly colored diagram of numbers, circles, and Hebrew letters superimposed over a gnarled tree drawn with gray ink on black paper. She’d smiled cryptically and told me it was the Tree of Life. She’d never shown me the finished art.


Mumford and Sons: Thistle and Weeds

I shiver and think of the velvet pouch, buried at the bottom of my gym bag. What other, darker roads had Susannah’s quest led her down?
During my hospital stay, someone from Durban Realtors kept calling my cell and hanging up. Probably Mrs. Durban or Marisa, wanting to know what was in the package Susannah left me. I wonder if Marisa ever told Trudy Durban about the package in the first place. I imagine she would have torn it open, even if it was addressed to me.
I shudder. I can’t face Mrs. Durban. Then I’d have to admit I was there that night. That I failed to help Susannah because I’m a drunk.
Time is rapidly taking on a new shape. Instead of the smooth lake of history, a place I can wade into and do the backstroke, it’s a whirling funnel that tapers to a single point, impaling me on the memory of the night Susannah disappeared.
Suddenly, I can’t get away from the surge of  memories that press against my skull, threatening to crack it wide open. I fight the useless urge to run. Birds with clipped wings can’t fly.


Jake Bugg: Broken

My father glances at me with a wounded gaze that rarely fixes on mine. He says little beyond slight words of encouragement when I manage to hop around the room on my crutches. My balance is good for a beginner, the physical therapist tells me, but it’s harder than I would have thought. I am lopsided. Asymmetrical.
The desk nurse informs us that we have a visitor who won’t take no for an answer. It’s Patrick Morgan. I tell Dad I don’t want to see him, or Ryan, or anyone else for that matter, but Dad insists. Patrick Morgan is not a person you deny. He owns Riverton, as well as the building in which Dad’s small law office is housed, my father reminds me. As if he needs to.
I’d always thought my dad and Patrick Morgan were friends from way back, the pre-cursor to Ryan and me. These days, I’m not sure. Dad seems skittish. Under his mild words, I catch the implied message. My destroyed physical condition is not a free pass. I’d better patch things up with Ryan for the good of our family’s future economic health.
In the moments before Mr. Morgan arrives at my room, Dad turns to me, face grave and splotchy.


Eddy Vedder: Society

The first time I’d ever laid eyes on the mysterious Mrs. Durban was at the Morgans’ annual Christmas extravaganza, three years ago. I’m not sure what I expected, but the pale-as-milk white woman who stalked into the Morgans’ stadium-sized house sure wasn’t it. I’d always imagined Susannah’s mother as a dusky bronze beauty, an older version of her. I knew Susannah was mixed race, but I’d always imagined her father as the white half, a wayward Jewish guy who’d left her single mom to raise her alone, not the other way around.
Miraculously, Susannah and Ryan had not actually hooked up at that point. There had just been the daily ritual of heavy flirting, batting eyelashes, and posturing I’d endured from behind my carefully constructed mask of I-don’t-give-a-crap. I could still keep my lame fantasy alive—that it was me Susannah really wanted.
At least in art class, she was still mine—a completely different person from the airheaded, hair-flinging girl she became around Ryan. In class we talked politics, history, ethics, aesthetics, and spirituality while she made twisted masterpieces from string, wire, papier-mâché, and whatever else was lying around. Then she turned to paper and ink, creating her own universe of bizarre whimsy, totally at odds with the smiling face she presented to the world.


I hope you enjoy the music—if any of you have read Breaking Glass, feel free to match songs to the text!

Thanks for having me Kelly!

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16804.

LATEST NEWS

A new short story by Artie was published this month titled Summer at the Drive-in. To read the story on the Teachers.net Gazette, please click on the image below.

Drive-in image

The North Carolina Press Foundation is offering four of Artie’s serial stories to Newspapers in Education (NIE) newspapers across the United States. This year’s theme is Dig into Reading. In addition to the NIE, the foundation will also be offering Artie’s work to libraries and other newspapers throughout the United States. To read the stories please click on the NC Press Foundation link listed above.

Ameba TV

Two of Artie’s children’s books will be featured on Ameba TV beginning this summer. Based in Canada, Ameba TV is presently streamed worldwide in million of homes.

Ameba TV’s rich, diverse content library delivers thousands of hours of educational, preschool, musical, and multilingual programming to children ages 2 to 12. The popular children’s streaming TV service features award-winning shows, like WordWorld, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That, BusyTown Mysteries, and Ruby Skye PI.

More to come!

vfaz cover

View from a Zoo – Bored with her life, a housecat seeks out adventure in this new fully illustrated picture book coming in the summer of 2013. More to come as the book’s release date gets closer….

COPYRIGHT © 2013 ARTIE KNAPP

Use of any of the content on this website without permission is prohibited by federal law


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16805. Getting Book Reviews

Reviews in Print, Is Still in Print Guest Post by Mari Selby Gertrude Stein wrote; "a rose, is a rose, is a rose" and people applauded her poetic skill. She established that a rose is a rose, just as your name in print is definitely your name in print. Of course, the "Brass Ring" of promoting your book is securing a print review in a prestigious magazine. However, revenue space has pushed

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16806. And Then There Were Many: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Shortly after arriving on an isolated island for a weekend-long party, a group of ten teenagers start dying one by one. Unable to find anyone else on the island, and with the body count rising, the teens are soon faced with the reality that the deaths are no accident and that one of them may be a murderer.




The book I’ve just described is Ten by Gretchen McNeil, which is essentially just a teenage update of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. However, with a few minor word changes, I could just as easily have been describing Devil (And Then There Were None in an elevator), Legion (And Then There Were None in space), Harper’s Island (And Then There Were None on a larger scale, with 29 victims and only 4 survivors) or Identity (And Then There Were None with an even bigger twist than Agatha Christie first imagined), to name just a few. Let’s face it, since it was first published in 1939, And Then There Were None has been adapted/paid tribute to/ripped off a lot of times, but that’s not really surprising since, in spite of its age, And Then There Were None is still one of the best mysteries stories around.

In writing And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie broke the traditional murder mystery mould and created the set-up that would later be used with much success for a significant proportion of the teenage slasher movies made from the late 1970’s onwards (think Scream, right down to the ‘you sin, you die’ motive). Instead of a murder being committed and a detective being called in to solve it, there is no clear detective in And Then There Were None, just a bunch of characters who are all just as likely to be the killer or his next victim, and who are too busy turning on each other and trying to stay alive to do any real investigating. Sound familiar? The constant stream of victims keeps the tension high and the story moving, while the lack of a detective within the novel makes the situation more dangerous. There is no saviour to step in at the last minute, just a bunch of scared characters and a killer. Christie also invented one of the great mystery plot twists with this book (at least, until it got used a hundred times and everyone saw it coming).

Getting back to Gretchen McNeil’s Ten, although I had no difficulties in finishing the book, and quite enjoyed it (in spite of the fact that the writing’s nothing special and the main character’s best friend, Minnie, was so annoying I kept wishing the killer would choose her next), for those familiar with And Then There Were None, it offers nothing new. All of the key plot points are identical and if you know the signature plot twist, you can guess the killer’s identity pretty early on. All that is left for the reader to do is to guess the order in which the murders are going to occur.

I don’t have any problems with Gretchen McNeil borrowing her plot from Agatha Christie, but her book would have been a lot better if she had been able to add something of her own to the mix. Harper’s Island and Identity both managed to do that (and Devil to a certain extent, although less so), and in the process, distanced themselves from their source material and became strong stories in their own right. By simply changing the age of the characters, McNeil’s novel is rendered little more than an acceptable homage to a much better classic. Read it by all means, but then read the original.

Verdict: An entertaining read, but if you’ve already read And Then There Were None, don’t expect anything new.

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16807. The Girl in the Video: “Take On Me” (1985)

Introduction to series “The Girl in the Video” (including list of interviewees).

The video: “Take On Me” by a-ha.

The girl-now-woman: Bunty Bailey.






How old were you when you appeared in the “Take On Me” video?

20ish.

Where were you living at the time?

London.

What music videos, shows, or movies had you appeared in prior to that?

Before that I was a dancer in West End shows in London and in various TV shows, commercials, videos, etc.




How were you cast?

I was in a TV commercial and the costume designer said a director called Steve Barron was looking for a girl to cast in a video with a new band. [MTN: Poignantly, Steve also directed a-ha
s last video, in 2010, and it hearkens back to “Take On Me.”] She asked me if I would like to meet him. I said I would and when I met him he showed me the storyboard and asked me to act out a few things. That was it. I got the job.

Do you remember what your reaction was when you were cast?

At the time I was pleased I got the job but that was it. I had no idea it would be such a huge success or that it would still be popular all these years later.

Where was the video filmed?

In a film studio in Fulham, London.

How long was the shoot?

It was a two-day shoot. But the animation was done in America and took nine months. It was done by Mike Patterson and his wife Candice.
 

Got milk. And milky white hand.

How did you feel making the video?

I enjoyed it very much.

What was the hardest part of the shoot?

Crying at the end.

How was it to work with the band? What were they like?

The band were all extremely nice. Really lovely to work with.


What did you think of the video?

When I saw it nine months after the shoot after the animation was completed, I thought it was amazing. I thought Steve Barron had been very innovative to have thought of the idea and create such a piece of work.



What did your parents think of it?

They were very impressed and proud.

What did your friends think of it?

They thought it was very good.

Did the video ever affect your dating life in any way (i.e. when you first told boyfriends you were the woman in it)?

No, I don’t think so.

Did you receive fan mail? If so, do you still have any of it?

Yes I did. And I still have the letters in my loft. I did not reply to a lot of it at the time as I didn’t think I deserved it.




Did the video generate any controversy that you know of?

No, I don’t think so.

What were you paid?

I can’t remember.

Did you watch the MTV World Premiere of the video, and if so, where and how did that feel?

No, I don’t think so.

Were you ever recognized in public? How often and when last? Any stories about that?

I was recognized when I was out with Morten. But it was mainly girls wanting to chat to him.




Did you appear in other music videos after that?

Yes, many. Billy Idol’s “To Be a Lover”; Duran Duran’s “The Wild Boys”; [ones by] Status Quo, Cliff Richard, David Cassidy, AC/DC, to name a few.

If you ever met other women who were female leads in a mainstream ‘80s rock video, who?

No.

If you went to college, where and what did you study?

I did not go to university.

What are you doing these days?

I work for a company called Eaton Power Quality. I [am] the executive PA—organize flights, hotels, and travel arrangements for some of the managers [and] other admin duties. It’s a big worldwide company and the job is very varied so I enjoy that each day there are different tasks and the people are great fun to work with.



I read that you are currently teaching dance as well—is that so or are you no longer doing that?

I did teach children street dance for a few years but no longer do that.

Do your colleagues know of your history in music videos? If so, any fun stories about that?

Some of them do. It can be quite funny. For instance, I did an interview on a TV program called The Big Fat Quiz of the ‘80s. When I went into work the next day, they were ribbing me about it, making fun of me in a friendly way. They joke with me is that they want to get me on Celebrity Big Brother or Strictly Come Dancing.

Where do you live?

I live near a town called Windsor in England.

If you are/were married, what was your future husband’s reaction when he learned you were in this video?

I was single when I made the video and met Morton whilst shooting it. We then dated for a couple of years. I am not married and never have been. So I’m still on the market if anyone is interested. Ha ha. (smiley)

Kids?

I have two boys aged 16 and 17 years old.

What do they think of the video?

They are very impressed with it.
 

Has anyone else ever interviewed about this? If so, who, when, and for what publication?

I have been interviewed for many publications and TV shows.


What did you think when you first heard from me?

I was flattered to be asked to do another interview.


Have you appeared at any fan conventions to sign autographs? If not, would you?

No, I have not and I’m not sure if I would.

Did you stay in touch with the band after the shoot?

Yes, for quite a while.

When was the last time you were in touch with them?

A long time ago.

How do you look back on the experience?

Very fondly and I feel honored that I was part of such an amazing project.




Anything you’d like to add?

Thank you for your interest. I hope this has helped your task and that you have found this useful.

Tweet about this interview to @aha_com, @mortenharket, and @mfuruholmen!

Copy and tweet to help me find more 1980s music video girls:

Real research question: if you know the Annie Hubbard who was in 1984 Night Ranger video “Sister Christian,” pls contact @MarcTNobleman

Real research question: if you know the womaneven just her name—in 1986 Cinderella video “Shake Me,” pls contact @MarcTNobleman

Real research question: if you know woman—even just her name—in ‘87 Richard Marx video “Should’ve Known Better,” pls contact @MarcTNobleman

Next: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Don’t Come Around Here No More” (1985).

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16808. And Then There Were Many: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Shortly after arriving on an isolated island for a weekend-long party, a group of ten teenagers start dying one by one. Unable to find anyone else on the island, and with the body count rising, the teens are soon faced with the reality that the deaths are no accident and that one of them may be a murderer.




The book I’ve just described is Ten by Gretchen McNeil, which is essentially just a teenage update of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. However, with a few minor word changes, I could just as easily have been describing Devil (And Then There Were None in an elevator), Legion (And Then There Were None in space), Harper’s Island (And Then There Were None on a larger scale, with 29 victims and only 4 survivors) or Identity (And Then There Were None with an even bigger twist than Agatha Christie first imagined), to name just a few. Let’s face it, since it was first published in 1939, And Then There Were None has been adapted/paid tribute to/ripped off a lot of times, but that’s not really surprising since, in spite of its age, And Then There Were None is still one of the best mysteries stories around.

In writing And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie broke the traditional murder mystery mould and created the set-up that would later be used with much success for a significant proportion of the teenage slasher movies made from the late 1970’s onwards (think Scream, right down to the ‘you sin, you die’ motive). Instead of a murder being committed and a detective being called in to solve it, there is no clear detective in And Then There Were None, just a bunch of characters who are all just as likely to be the killer or his next victim, and who are too busy turning on each other and trying to stay alive to do any real investigating. Sound familiar? The constant stream of victims keeps the tension high and the story moving, while the lack of a detective within the novel makes the situation more dangerous. There is no saviour to step in at the last minute, just a bunch of scared characters and a killer. Christie also invented one of the great mystery plot twists with this book (at least, until it got used a hundred times and everyone saw it coming).

Getting back to Gretchen McNeil’s Ten, although I had no difficulties in finishing the book, and quite enjoyed it (in spite of the fact that the writing’s nothing special and the main character’s best friend, Minnie, was so annoying I kept wishing the killer would choose her next), for those familiar with And Then There Were None, it offers nothing new. All of the key plot points are identical and if you know the signature plot twist, you can guess the killer’s identity pretty early on. All that is left for the reader to do is to guess the order in which the murders are going to occur.

I don’t have any problems with Gretchen McNeil borrowing her plot from Agatha Christie, but her book would have been a lot better if she had been able to add something of her own to the mix. Harper’s Island and Identity both managed to do that (and Devil to a certain extent, although less so), and in the process, distanced themselves from their source material and became strong stories in their own right. By simply changing the age of the characters, McNeil’s novel is rendered little more than an acceptable homage to a much better classic. Read it by all means, but then read the original.

Verdict: An entertaining read, but if you’ve already read And Then There Were None, don’t expect anything new.

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16809. The Slushpile Silly Season - Who's the Daddy or the Mummy or Anyone Else for that Matter?

by Addy Farmer The PG Wodehouse society will mark the centenary of the cricket match which saw the writer create the character after watching Percy Jeeves play for Warwickshire. Wodehouse had been thinking of naming his character Jevons before the match but changed his mind when he saw the young cricketer in action. His friend Conan Doyle, is thought to have named as many as 249 characters after

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16810. How To Promote your Book While Using Pseudonym

I just finished reading an article related to the recent revelations about the author of  The Cuckoo’s Calling, and was amused by Jody Picout’s comment:  “She wouldn’t have been able to go out and promote the book.”   But, taking a cue from Lemony Snicket and Daniel Handler, maybe she could.

Scene: the event section of a book store.  There is a happy buzz as an enthusiastic crowd of mystery readers wait  for the author, a debut writer, to arrive.  Their conversations are about the writer’s intriguing background, how much they enjoyed the book, and what might be next for him.  The book store owner comes to the front and the crowd stops their discussion to look expectantly at him.

“I am delighted you are all here tonight. I have bad news and good news.  The bad news is that Mr. Gailbraith is unable to attend tonight (groans and cries of dismay from the crowd).  The good news is his representative Ms. R. is here in his stead. “

There is stunned silence from the crowd as an attractive blonde woman makes her way to the front. “I am so sorry that Mr. Gailbraith couldn’t be here. His current work as an independent contractor in civilian security means that his safety and that of his clients could be compromised if he was seen here. However, I am very close to him and can answer any questions you might have about him.  You sir, in the first row.”

“What are Mr. Gailbraith’s favorite books?”

“Well, he likes a great variety — mysteries (of course), thrillers, classics, and even children’s books.  A book he recently read and enjoyed was  “The Vanishing Point” by Val McDermid.”

“Where does Mr. Gailbraith get his ideas?”

They pop into his head on long train journeys.”

Has he read Harry Potter?

“I believe his children have. He was overseas when the final book came out though so I don’t know if how he felt about the ending.”

The bookstore owner comes back.  ”Thank you for those questions. Ms. R will now sign books on behalf of Mr. Gailbraith.  She will ONLY sign The Cuckoo’s Calling — one per person.”


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16811. Self-Preservation

Sometimes you have to think first of yourself
Before you consider another.
This lesson is learned just by living your life
And not taught by school or your mother.

It’s natural to sacrifice comfort or time
To help out a friend who is needy;
But saying “I can’t” when you really cannot
Doesn’t mean that you’re selfish or greedy.

For instinct kicks in and it trumps even guilt,
So you do not need justification
To satisfy those who may challenge the choices
You’ve made for your self-preservation.

It’s hard to accept that you can’t always be
Quite as giving as your own perception.
If you’re lucky, those times won’t define who you are
And your friends will forgive the exception.

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16812. How To Promote your Book While Using a Pseudonym

I just finished reading an article related to the recent revelations about the author of  The Cuckoo’s Calling, and was amused by Jody Picout’s comment:  “She wouldn’t have been able to go out and promote the book.”   But, taking a cue from Lemony Snicket and Daniel Handler, maybe she could.

Scene: the event section of a book store.  There is a happy buzz as an enthusiastic crowd of mystery readers wait  for the author, a debut writer, to arrive.  Their conversations are about the writer’s intriguing background, how much they enjoyed the book, and what might be next for him.  The book store owner comes to the front and the crowd stops their discussion to look expectantly at him.

“I am delighted you are all here tonight. I have bad news and good news.  The bad news is that Mr. Gailbraith is unable to attend tonight (groans and cries of dismay from the crowd).  The good news is his representative Ms. R. is here in his stead. “

There is stunned silence from the crowd as an attractive blonde woman makes her way to the front. “I am so sorry that Mr. Gailbraith couldn’t be here. His current work as an independent contractor in civilian security means that his safety and that of his clients could be compromised if he was seen here. However, I am very close to him and can answer any questions you might have about him.  You sir, in the first row.”

“What are Mr. Gailbraith’s favorite books?”

“Well, he likes a great variety — mysteries (of course), thrillers, classics, and even children’s books.  A book he recently read and enjoyed was  “The Vanishing Point” by Val McDermid.”

“Where does Mr. Gailbraith get his ideas?”

They pop into his head on long train journeys.”

Has he read Harry Potter?

“I believe his children have. He was overseas when the final book came out though so I don’t know if how he felt about the ending.”

The bookstore owner comes back.  ”Thank you for those questions. Ms. R will now sign books on behalf of Mr. Gailbraith.  She will ONLY sign The Cuckoo’s Calling — one per person.”


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16813. Hybrid Books For Kids Growing in Popularity


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16814. A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words

Well, maybe not 1,000, but even as a writer I can’t deny the power of a photograph. One click of a shutter release and BAM, we see a story. Photos capture drama (below, survivors from the 1915 sinking of the Lusitania). They convey emotion. Sometimes they offer clarity. At other times they fill us with questions. And that’s where the words come in (thank goodness, say the writers).
Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ggbain-19173
I owe at least two of my books to photos. I became so captivated by the Earnest Withers “I AM A MAN” image from Memphis 1968 that I wrote a whole book about it, Marching to the Mountaintop. Ditto for the “Blood Brothers” image of John Lewis and Jim Zwerg, following their beating as Freedom Riders on May 20, 1961. (See page 42 of this title.)
I’m not sure which I love more, writing or photo research. Both are passions for me, so I am lucky to work in a genre that seamlessly weaves the two media into a powerful forum for conveying the stories of history. If you read these words on their magical 12-12-12 posting date, you can imagine me engaged in photo research. I’ll be in Washington, D.C., that day, wrapping up three days of research for my latest project which, come to think of it, started with an image, too. (Or at least it started during an earlier round of photo research when my efforts to track down the background of one picture led to the discovery of a whole new story from the past.)
 
Photo courtesy Library of Congress, LC-DIG-highsm-01901
So what is photo research like? Truthfully it’s about as glamorous as a day of writing, which is to say not very. By the end of the day my back aches for bending over images. My mind is so warped by time traveling through thousands of windows into the past that it is jarring to step out into real time. My sleep is animated by disjointed pictures as my mind races to process all the scenes it has observed.
 
But photo research is also as rewarding as writing. That moment when you revise to the perfect conclusion is matched by the discovery of a gotta-have-it photograph. I suspect there is some chemical parallel between gambling and photo research, because that rush of excitement from finding one great picture becomes the fuel for the next few hours of fruitless searching.
 
Sometimes I do photo research using on-line databases. Sometimes I’m on site, glove-adorned, paging through carefully catalogued original prints. And sometimes I’m cut loose in an archive of dog-eared, we-should-organize-these-some-day gems. I become a treasure hunter, gently sifting through the sheets of chemical-infused paper to find just the right shades of sepia and cream. Here a dramatic smile. There a scene filled with action. Now a glimpse of a forgotten figure. Then a fresh look at a favorite icon. Sorting the wheat from the chaff, the powerful from the mundane.
 
Courtesy Library of Congress, LC-DIG-highsm-03177
One of my favorite places to conduct photo research is the Library of Congress, and I will be there at least twice during my current research trip. Those on-site trips offer access to materials that are otherwise inaccessible, but these days it’s getting easier and easier to find treasures using the online databases of the Library’s Prints and Photographs Collection. I’m a big booster of this site, especially when I do school visits. Anyone who hasn’t used it should kill an hour or two playing around with the search engines. More and more material is now accessible off-site, and any images that can be downloaded from a remote location can be used with a clear conscience as material in the public domain. These are our tax dollars at work, people. It’s wonderful! Enjoy!
 
P.S.: I’ve developed an online tutorial for using the collections of the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs division. For more information, visit the Muckrakers page of my author website and follow the tab marked “Behind the scenes—photo research.”

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16815. Separate Site for My Audiobooks



I'm happy to announce that I have put up a new site to showcase my audiobooks. Come visit it at:

http://writermike.wordpress.com/

Some things you will have to have a subscription to bigworldnetwork.com to listen to, but this is only $3/month. I will soon have others through other publishers and I will also post about them there.

Enjoy!


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16816. we all need a double dose of xoxo!

been a crazy-busy summer - have a happy friday!  :-)

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16817. What Kind of Butterfly is That?

I spotted a beautiful animal when I was eating my lunch today. This butterfly (or is it a moth?) was fluttering against the window. I grabbed my phone and used the camera to take this picture. Then I sat down to fill out my SeeMore Explorers Observation Logto help me figure out what it is.This is really quite unusual. Everything about it (no furry antennae, no knobs at the end of its antennae, awake during the day) says that it should be a butterfly, but it looks like a moth. I take a good look at the photograph, and then type into Google: black moth white brown spots I click on "Images" and a lot of different pictures come up, but none of them look like my photograph. I decide to try again. I look hard at my photograph, and decide to be more specific in my search. Back to Google, and this time I type: black moth white brown spots pointy butt BINGO! Sure enough, there are many photographs that look just like my animal. It is an Anania funebris, or a White-spotted sable moth. I know for sure that I am right when I read that its caterpillars feed on goldenrod. We have fields full of goldenrod in the late summer around where I live. So that’s what I found today. A very delicate, very beautiful, day-flying moth. Nice.If you want to try to identify animals or plants that you see outside this summer, you can fill out your own SeeMore Explorer Observation Log.Click here to download. Print it out, grab a pencil or pen, and write the most specific notes you can about what you see. Then, go to the library or onto the Internet, and use your clues to find out what it is!

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16818. At London Evening Standard’s Get Reading Event

My birthday weekend was an absolute blast as I spent it with my dear family and had close relations and friends come to my house over the weekend. Get Reading Event

The highlight of my birthday weekend had to be going to Trafalgar Square in London for the ‘Get Reading‘ event organized by the London Evening Standard newspaper.

The key sponsor of the event was Nook who have done a fantastic job giving free copies of their eReader to schools in London and are working hand in hand with the London Evening Standard to improve the literacy levels in London. This event has been featured in the newspaper for the last couple of months and I knew I wanted to be a part of it in some way.

The main purpose of the event was as the title of the event suggested, to get kids reading.David Harewood Reading Charlie & Chocolate Factory To that effect, there were many stars of the screen and stage who graced the stage and did a bit of reading. Dick and Dom (popular UK kids presenters) hosted the show and did a fantastic job.

Some of the celebrities and stars at the event included Hugh Grant, Princess Beatrice, David Harewood, Barbara Windsor, Malorie Blackman and Peppa pig to mention but a few. They all read a few pages from popular children’s books.Malorie Blackman who is the children’s laureate also took some time to read a few pages from her popular series ‘Noughts & Crosses.’

You could almost describe the event as a reading marathon or relay as different authors, actors, celebrities etc came on stage and sat on this big red chair and then read a few pages from a popular children’s book. My children had fun splashing their feet in the pool at Trafalgar Square as they listened to the person reading on the stage.

The star I was most impressed was David Harewood as he plays David Estes in my favorite TV show – Homeland. Such a shame he’s not going to be in the third series as his character was killed off at the end of series 2. I think my children were most impressed by Peppa Pig :-)

My wife and I put down our names to be reading volunteers. So tell your loved one to be on the look out as children’s author David Chuka could be visiting their school very soon.Reading Agency Stand If you live in London or surrounding areas, I would like to encourage you to join this great cause as we all have a part to play to ensure every child can read. You can discover more about the Get Reading campaign by visiting the link below

http://getlondonreading.vrh.org.uk/

You can see more pictures from this event on the Gallery Page.

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16819. win 45 pounds (more or less)

45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson

45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson

K.A. Barson (aka my friend Kelly)

K.A. Barson (aka my friend Kelly)

Just one week ago today Kelly Barson’s young adult novel 45 Pounds (More or Less) made its debut. The blogosphere has been buzzing with words of praise from readers ever since.

WHAT?!

You haven’t read 45 Pounds yet? It’s funny, refreshing and fabulous, just like Kelly.

Well, now is your chance to win a FREE, personally autographed copy!

Entering the official Frog on a Dime drawing is simple:

–Just leave a comment on this post by 1:45 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, July 21.
–The winner will be announced on Sunday evening.

You could have your own personalized copy of the hottest debut novel of the summer headed your way soon!

Kelly hopped on over to Frog on a Dime earlier this month. Read my interview with Kelly. Check out Kelly’s interview with Natalie Aguirre on Literary Rambles too!

The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in determination. ~ Tommy Lasorda


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16820. Blogiversary Giveaway

This blog is turning four years old next month and I always have a blogiversary giveaway. For this giveaway I picked 10 of my favorite reads from 2013. I had more, but I limited myself to 10. There will be three winners. 
The 1st winner will get 3 books of his/her choice from the books below.
The 2nd will get 2 books.
The 3rd will get 1 book. 

Also, the winners will choose the format(s) of their winnings. Only winners who live in countries that the Book Depository ships to for free are eligible for print books. If winners pick ebooks, they're all in Kindle format, but I can check for Nook and Kobo availability. The Rafflecopter widget is at the bottom.

SWELL by Julie Rieman Duck - Ebook
 BURNING by Elana Arnold - Hardback, Ebook
ELEANOR AND PARK by Rainbow Rowell - Hardback, Ebook 
EMPTY  by K.M. Walton - Paperback, Ebook
GORGEOUS by Paul Rudnick -  Hardback, Ebook
HOLES by Louis Sachar - Paperback, Ebook
IF YOU FIND ME by Emily Murdoch - Hardback, Ebook
MONEY BOY by Paul Yee - Paperback, Ebook
STOLEN by Lucy Christopher - Paperback, Ebook
WONDER by R.J. Palacio - Hardback, Ebook
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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16821. TURNING PAGES: SHARDS AND ASHES, ed. Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong

Seeing a lineup of writers whose work I appreciate made it easy to pick this one up - in spite of the cover, and in spite of the title. "Shards and ashes?" I muttered to myself. Well, yes. The remnants of once great civilizations, once reasonably... Read the rest of this post

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16822. No-Bake Picnic Treats

What’s not to love about Rice Krispie Treats? They’re sweet, chewy and crunchy all rolled into one.  It’s hard for me to stop from eating a whole pan myself.  Here is a way to make them a bit more nutritious and guilt-free.

Add 2 T of peanut butter or almond butter to the melted marshmallow mixture until it is dissolved.

Along with the crispy rice cereal, mix a combination of some or all of the following to equal 6 C:  dry, uncooked oats, Cheerios, sunflower seeds, granola, crushed peanuts or almonds, a handful of mini chocolate morsels, coconut.

Stir the dry ingredients into the melted marshmallow mix until coated.  Press into a greased pan and when firm, cut into squares.  Enjoy. They are still a winner, with the  added nutritional bonus.


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16823. No Loon Chicks This Year

I’m very late in posting this loon report on the blog, but there will be no loon chicks this year.

Sigh.

Just before the 4th of July, while I was on the lake, I watched both loons swimming and diving together for over an hour.   Neither one got on the nest.

And two days after that, when I paddled out, I saw four loons socializing.

Loons 7-6 080

Loons 7-6 086

Loons 7-6 092

 

Loons who do not have chicks to raise, or have had nests fail, gather together to socialize.  Seeing these four so close to the nest site, should have reaffirmed for me that my loons were done trying.

Loons 7-6 302

But I’m a romantic.  A die hard optimist.  So I paddled to the spot where they raised their chick last year in hopes the egg had hatched and no one had noticed yet. The four trailed behind me as I went.  When I reached the spot, they went ahead of me to meet up with a fifth loon.

Loons 7-6 351

There was no chick in sight.  All five seemed happy to be together.

Even I had to admit it was time to call it.

Our eagle chick is thriving though! The adults drop off food now and again.  He calls out for attention quite often too.  I haven’t had a chance to personally check on him since the sixth of this month, but when I was last down there, he was branching to the branches over his head.   I haven’t heard a report of him leaving the aerie yet, though.

Loons 7-6 389

Now that the 4th of July camping week has passed, and we’ve all settled into a routine here at Poland Spring Campground, I hope to get out on the lake more often.  My goal is to catch beavers working on their hut . . . or to photograph the doe who walks through a section of the campground at dusk.

So many wildlife photo opportunities, so little time!

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16824. Sydney Girl Brings the House Down – Alexis Fishman

Our Aussie talent, singer Alexis Fishman, brought up in Sydney, won New York’s ‘Next Broadway Sensation’.

Her performances at the Seymour Sydney direct from her sell out cabaret debut at New York’s City’s 54 Below brought the house down.

Alexis was sensational with a brilliant voice that took the audience from humour to pathos with wit and charm.

It was a fabulous night at the Seymour! Watch her rising career!

.

The post Sydney Girl Brings the House Down – Alexis Fishman appeared first on Susanne Gervay's Blog.

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16825. What Inspired 13 on Halloween (Shadow Series #1)

So what’s 13 ON HALLOWEEN about?

Twelve-year-old Roxie wants to be like Adrianne, the peacock who gets everything she wants––a trampoline, a flock to prowl around the mall with, and most especially invitations to parties. But everything changes when Roxie invites all the peacocks (code word: popular kids) in the eighth grade to her thirteenth birthday party on Halloween and they all come. And a boy, the boy, actually talks to Roxie.

Roxie has the best night of her life until the peacocks decide they want to celebrate her birthday in a way Roxie never expects––in her attic, with a pact to never tell a living soul what happens there.

What inspired 13 on Halloween?
My friends made me write it! They always laugh at me when I say “I hamster,” or, “I gopher.” They said I should write the way I talk. I sort of rolled my eyes. But then it dawned on me, teenagers have their own languages too. So I decided to explore a character who uses animals as verbs, as I do, and looks at the world through a Wild Kingdom prism in order to understand her changing world and her role in it. I wanted the book to be funny.

I actually started to write a trilogy a while back, when I first started writing. The first book in the trilogy was called Wanda and the Witch Kingdom. Wanda is Roxie’s same age and her family has lots and lots of secrets! WWK takes place in a Chicago suburb like 13 ON HALLOWEEN. The story of WWK never left me. I see Roxie and Wanda as friends. Wanda meets Roxie in SHADOW SLAYER (Shadow Series #2).

How much of yourself is on the page?
In middle school I had a very best friend. And one day, that very best friend became really good friends with another girl. It was the three of us for a while. But for some reason the threesome didn’t work out and my best friend became very best friends with the other girl. Middle school is dramatic. Friendships are important. I wanted to write a humorous book that explored popularity and friendships probably because of what happened to me in middle school.

Do you believe in luck?
So much of 13 ON HALLOWEEN explores what it means to be lucky. I think the way we look at things has a lot to do with luck. I think positive people get lucky more often. I don’t really have one good luck charm or a lucky outfit like Roxie, but I do have some yellow polka-dot socks like her because they are just so adorable and I like to write in them. My husband and I lived in Big Sur for two years. It’s a very remote place along the coast of central California. It’s beautiful and so rugged even the Spanish missionaries wouldn’t venture into the wild. The Spanish labeled the region El Sur Grande [which means Big Sur]. They settled and built missions in every other part of California but Big Sur. After I lived there for a while, I noticed that people who live in nature [or make their living from it] seem to have more good luck charms than people who live in urban areas.

When I first moved there a lovely woman named Helga asked if I had a piece of jade. When I said I didn’t, she said I must carry a piece with me all the time. For protection. It wasn’t just Helga that believed this, I found most people who live in the area also believe that jade has the power of protection. I lived in LA up until that time. I’d never lived so remotely in my life. I asked Helga what I needed protection from. She said, “Boulders falling. Trees. Windy roads. You never know what might happen.” I bought a small piece of jade that day. I still keep it with me.

What are you working on now?
I am about to release my first adult romantic suspense novel called THE STORYTELLERS. It’s a Raiders of the Lost Arc meets Thelma and Louise story about four women writers who’s stories all come true for each other when they unknowingly evoke the powers of an ancient Mayan idol named Escrito. I’ve just finished designing the cover and will reveal it in the next few weeks.Also I’m writing two short stories for a few anthologies that are top secret at the moment, and in the midst of writing Moon Killers, book 3 in The Shadow Series.

FOR MORE ABOUT THE SHADOW SERIES INCLUDING CHARACTER INTERVIEWS, DREAM CAST, BOOK TRAILERS & SERIES PLAYLIST CLICK HERE.GET YOUR FREE COPY HERE:

iBook | KINDLE | NOOK |KOBO | Smashwords 

Audio addict? Get your audiobook copy here:

 AUDIBLE (audiobook)| iTUNES (audiobook)| |

Wanna flip the pages? Get your paperback here:

paperback

Updated from the original Interview on Reader Girls Blog given 10/16/2011:


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