Author, Teacher, Psychologist and Speaker

Writing Wednesday

Living the words

3 INTERNET SAFETY TIPS FOR WRITERS

Posted by on Oct 8, 2014 in Blog, Featured, Writing Wednesday | 8 comments

Safety

October is NATIONAL CYBER SECURITY AWARENESS MONTH (NCSAM). It is a good time to take a look at how safe we are online. I conduct a lot of presentations for educators, parents and kids about online safety, as well as write about it here, and in books and articles. Today I wanted to share 3 important tips for authors.

CYBER SAFETY, ONLINE SAFETY, INTERNET SAFETY – these terms are used interchangeably. In the simplest terms, they mean to use caution and common sense for online protection.

The Internet, often referred to as the World Wide Web, is a vast computer network linking smaller computer networks worldwide. And every time we access it we are traveling the same highways as millions of other information seekers, communicators and, yes, disreputable vagabonds.

As authors we spend countless hours on the net – researching, writing, and communicating – opening ourselves up to more than great reviews. Our data is up for grabs on our on blogs and websites, publisher web pages, Google, as well as various social media sites. Some of us are constantly wired via laptops, mobile phones, tablets and social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. And while we want to be connected to our fan base, editors and agents, we can be potential targets of hackers, stalkers and viruses.

 

research

 

 

Therefore it is important for us to use caution and security measures while using digital media and information technology. Because the Internet is not regulated or controlled by any one entity, it is necessary for us to exercise caution when interacting with the public domain.

We all know not to give out personal information, open emails or attachments from people we don’t know, or send “crazy” pictures. And to back up our work using a service such as Dropbox or iCloud, and/or flash/jump drives and/or external hard drives.

 

dropbox - cloud

 

But 3 things that are equally (possibly more) important for our protection are the following:

 

  • VACATE VIRUSES

 

imagesT2L7GFRN

 

 

As writers, we are constantly subject to computer viruses which can make their way onto computers, tablets, or smartphones simply by checking e-mail, surfing the web, or by putting jump drive into your laptop. A computer virus is a program or piece of code that is loaded without your knowledge and infects files, programs, and systems. It can spread throughout your world and, through files that you share, and/or email that you send, infect others.

For example, a Trojan is a computer virus that is designed as something that it is not. It may be sent through an email attachment or instant message. It is often something that appeals to you. Hackers troll the web – looking for you and trying to match up what might interest you and send you that very special email promising to rock your world. It seems legit – but is not. It is a non-self-replicating type of malware program which, like the Trojan horses of ancient Troy, is meant to trick you. It has a malicious code imbedded into a link which, when clicked, prompts you into giving out personal information, and/or giving a professional hacker entry into your computer, or Smartphone.

The best method of protection is to install ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE, which scans for viruses and malware by examining the files on your system for patterns of data identified as viruses. These programs have databases of known viruses throughout the world and will offer protection to you and your work. Most programs will update periodically (some automatically) as new viruses are revealed. (See Resources below)

  • SECURE SITES

 

spyware

 

 

While it is extremely important to install anti-virus programs, it is now also equally important to secure your own web site, and to ensure that sites you visit and/or make purchases from, are secure. For example, you don’t want to access financially sensitive information, such as your bank or PayPal account, on an unencrypted/unprotected network. Cyber criminals and hackers who are trolling the Internet looking for ways to steal from you, can easily intercept user names and passwords, with their own computers, Smartphones and tablets. They will install spyware on your system which will operate in your browser and allow the offender to track your movements online and record the very keys you press when you travel to sites and enter your passwords.

A secure website ensures that your information is traveling on a secure connection and is not accessible by anyone else. To know that you have entered a secure website, look for the “https://” at the beginning of the URL. This is not the standard “http://” found with most URLs. Also look for the “locked” icon on the bottom of your browser.

A secure site will offer Web Browsing Protection, Protection against Phishing Scams, Parental Control (if you need it), and Increased Security When Shopping Online

You can also install ANTI-SPYWARE programs, which will monitor your system as you use it for spyware-related activity. These programs have FIREWALLS to prevent malware from reaching devices through your network, averting attempts of intruders to connect and/or infiltrate your system without your knowledge.

 

  • PASSWORD PROTECT

 

Password

 

 

What author doesn’t appreciate a secret identity? Or two? Or three? We even have, in  some cases, pseudonyms to protect our innocence. That is exactly what passwords are designed to do – protect us! How do you choose your passwords? Birthdates? Children’s names? High school? Address? Or a combination of the above? Back in the early days of the Information Superhighway, simple, easy to recall passwords might have been passable. But in today’s dangerous hacker-hijacking-highway, the more complex your password is, the stronger it stands and the less likely even a determined bot (web robot) will be able to crack it.

The strongest passwords have little to do with your birthday, pets, kids, college mascots and day you met your mate. In today’s “Google It” world, hackers can learn too many things about you to hook up various combinations (using numerous programs) to find that special word. In fact, many experts now recommend using not just a single word, but a phrase – unique to only you (not easily discerned in your bio). Whether you use a word or phrase, mix it up. Numbers, upper and lower case letters and special symbols. For example:

Wh^&it29405***

And yes, WRITE IT DOWN somewhere!!! I have several combos I use for different things. And I keep them in a safe (very) place. It is also advisable in today’s heavily hacked world to change them frequently – especially the ones that are connected to your money, your family, your work. Many hackers cull passwords (just read the news) in large quantities, sell them, and keep them for use at a later date – when the heat is off!

You can even use a PASSWORD MANAGER to keep track of all of your passwords. These software programs encrypt your data and store them on their server, or on your computer or Smartphone. You then have to memorize just one “super password” for access to all of the rest of your passwords.

 

I hope you all have a safe and secure Cyber Month and Year!

 

RESOURCES:

The Top 10 Antivirus Software of 2014

The Best Password Managers

National Cyber Security Alliance – Stay Safe Online

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (ICE3)

 

 

Secure Web Site

Read More

WHY YOUR FIRST PAGE IS SO IMPORTANT

Posted by on Sep 10, 2014 in Blog, On Writing, Writing Wednesday | 10 comments

FIRST PAGE = FIRST IMPRESSION 

 

THE PROMISE OF A PREMISE

First PAge

WHAT IS A “FIRST PAGE” ANYWAY?

It is your one chance to make a great first impression. From the crucial first sentence to the critical end of the first page, you must be all about hooking your reader and reeling them in.

 

store

 

Do you like to window shop? Walk up to the big window in your favorite department store and peek inside? Survey the layout? The new designs and fashions? What can you see? Not very much of the whole store. Just a taste, a tease. But if the designer has done their job right, it’s enough to make you walk inside and check things out.

 

house

 

What about the windows of one of the houses on your street? Close your eyes and imagine it for a moment. What could we see if we took that voyeuristic leap and peered inside one of the windows? The table settings in the dining room? The clothes scattered across the bed in the bedroom? The flickering TV in the den? Would that tell us much about the lives of the people living there? Let’s take that dining room table – let’s add the dinner – Thanksgiving turkey & the trimmings. A woven horn of plenty filled with fruit. Autumn decorated placemats with the red, yellow and orange leaves and flowers. We would begin to get a sense of CONTEXT. Maybe even a hint of CONCEPT. We continue to watch as mother and father walk into the room and sit down at the table. Are they the most important characters in your picture? Children begin to trickle in, laughing, shoving, one with a smartphone in hand, texting. Then the grandparents amble in. When everyone is finally seated, the mother reaches over to remove the phone from the hand of the teen, who scowls in opposition. The family bows their head in prayer and then father stands up to carve the turkey. We may begin to get a sense of a main CHARACTER as we observe their interactions. Suddenly the teen and a younger child begin to exchange glances, then words and a fight breaks out. The teen jumps up, overturning the table and we have CONFLICT.

Your first page is like the window dressing for your story. It tells the reader that something significant is going to happen. The characters are intriguing. The stakes are high – the events are crucial, the tension is elevated. There’s about to be a change in the status quo.  You are making a promise to deliver the goods on that premise. Premise = Promise

WHY IS IT SUCH A “BIG DEAL”?

Your “First Page” is one of the most important elements of your story. Not just for your fans – but for agents and editors. They FOCUS on your FIRST PAGE. 

Why?

One reason is because agents & editors are overwhelmed and swamped with submissions. The have piles & piles of slush. Rushed and anxious to make deadlines, they are also hard pressed to stake their claims on the next best seller. They are reading on the subway. In the supermarket line. In the john. On their smartphones, kindles, & tablets. Their eyes are burning. They are tired. Hungry. Irritated. Bored. Disinterested. Distracted. They have heard it before. Rhymes that don’t rhyme. Vampires & wolves. Mass destruction and zombies. Once upon a time fractures.

And often they are quickly turned off by first pages flooded with fancy, contrived, forced metaphors and smiles. Clichés. Idioms. Too much action. Too little action. Too quick. Too slow.

They want to know if you are writing about toilet paper rolls, jungles, or flying saucers. Love. Hate. Death. Romance. They are skimming through your words faster than a hypersonic warplane to see if you have a style, a voice, and a plot. They can’t figure out what your story is about. They are searching for a conflict, a main character, a concept, a context – all on the first page. Yep, its true – they are.

By the end of the first line they are sizing you up. They don’t know who you are. And they want to know if you are at all competent to call yourself a writer.

And by the end of the first page – your baby may have already been thrown onto the “Rejected-not-right-for-our-list pile.”

 

pplot whisperer

 

SO HOW DO YOU WRITE AN EXCEPTIONAL FIRST PAGE?

You must start strong and grab readers from the first sentence, the first paragraph, the first page.

Your first page will begin to establish your narrative voice as reliable, believable, talented, and authoritative as you weave the essential elements of your story.

Therefore, you must create an overwhelming curiosity about what is going to happen in the story & pose a question that has to be answered. Know what your character wants, and set that quest into motion.

 

Remember: A story is about a character wanting something intensely but there is an impediment to his or her goal.

 

Your story is the character and the conflict.

 

Since the essential idea is to entice your reader, your most important element is your narrative hook. So you should start your book with the best, carefully chosen words to hook your reader and reel them in immediately. Don’t bury your hook. A novel should go “inside-out”. Shock/awe/seduce/trick/ your reader with your first few paragraphs – your first lines – and then build the story around that, going back through flashback, dialogue, some exposition to finish the painting when necessary. Too many writers want to build the set, paint the walls, and place the furniture before they ever introduce the character, conflict, circumstance, or concept.

A good narrative hook uses the old familiar 5 W’s:

          1-Who is the character?

          2-What is the conflict?

          3-Where and

         4-When is the context?

          5-Why this concept?

          6-How did it happen (context – what is the background)?

 

Alice

 

THE FOUR MAIN INGREDIENTS:

Character = care (about) Reveal the “Core of Your Character” in an intriguing way that reflects a vital aspect of his or her identity. Show the reader why it’s worth rooting for that character by establishing a goal or desire in the opening scene that highlights their personality and motivation.

Conflict = central crisis (create dramatic tension) Set up question your novel is answering (that will be answered by the last page). Remember that without tension, there is no story. You must have sufficient action and momentum with a catalyst or incident. Your opening scene should start off with a bang, with your protagonist in the middle of something that we sense has been going on for a while. Insinuate a conflict, a problem, some tense situation. Let you reader know what’s at stake 

Context = circumstance (time & place) Orient and ground your reader with a sense of where we are. Create a unique, unexpected, extraordinary setting. Describe an especially interesting and fascinating setting. It can also be a familiar setting with a unique &/or surprising circumstance. Integrate your setting into the action

Concept = core (of your story) Focus in on an intense and important moment. Include the gravity and significance of something that is about to happen. There should be an undeniable force compelling the reader to want more.

 

Raise your story questions on the first page with a hook that makes your reader curious. (Story questions need not be in question form, but can be statements that require further explanation, problems that require resolution, forecasts of crisis, etc.) The question must not only get the reader involved in the story, it should be justified by the story that follows.

Some examples of types of hooks are:

1-Hook (compressed) of compelling events – primary ingredient is action

2-Hook of unusual characters – involve the reader with an interesting personality

3-Hook of setting or atmosphere – opening image sets scene & mood

4-Hook of striking language – juxtaposition of words – a poetic interest in words & says something in a new, fresh & original way

5-Hook of ideas – writer involves reader through philosophical concepts – “true memory”, the reader is caught by the philosophic observations that the writer poses – give specific example – caution: the novel of ideas is still fiction & not philosophy – the protagonist is a searcher for a particular truth & he moves through certain events to reveal this truth

6-Hook of striking technical devices – an unconventional approach to writing – experimentation in literary technique – form & theme 

Readers want a first paragraph that draws them into a world that already exists, not one that will be created as they go along. They want to find themselves in the midst of people who are involved in the life of that world, people they immediately want to know more about. So your first page should also give the reader an idea of:

Place

Time

Tone/Mood

POV narrator

Content of text

Genre

Audience

It’s not an easy task –saying all of the above in approximately 250 words. But it is a great first page that makes a great first impression!

 

WHAT YOUR FIRST PAGE SHOULD DO:

CHARACTER – Who?

Who is the character we care most about (will root for)?

Have you introduced your protagonist (are they POV character)?

What does s/he want and/or desire intensely (plot goal)?

CONFLICT – What?

What is the conflict (situation/problem)?

Have you included (mentioned/hinted at) your inciting incident?      

CONTEXT – Where and When?

Where does your story take place (locale)?

When does your story take place (time period)?

CONCEPT Why and How?

What’s your hook?

Will it grab your reader?

Why did this happen?

How did this happen (background)?

ORIGINALITY –

Have you presented a unique twist or fresh spin?

HOOK –

Have you generated a crushing curiosity about what is going to happen in your story?

Have you posed a question that has to be answered?

Read More

RESOLUTIONS, ANYONE?

Posted by on Jan 1, 2014 in Blog, Writing Wednesday | 5 comments

2014

WHAT’S A RESOLUTION, ANYWAY?

imagesXYXOKEJ7

 

A resolution, a commitment, a promise to do something better, to improve oneself, of to improve the lives of others.

Typically, we spend more time reflecting upon them, pondering our goals, and declaring our vows, than we do in keeping them. According to some studies, we are terrible at keeping our resolutions. Exercising our willpower is doggone difficult! Training our brain to follow a list (often long) which is foreign to our nature and our current stasis – is uncomfortable.

 

A resolve

 

Nonetheless, people around the world take the plunge and make the pledge. We announce our resolve to change our ways on January 1 of every year!

 

THE LISTS

images2ZA3QE28

 

The TOP TEN RESOLUTIONS made every year:

10.     Learn something new.

9.       Get organized.

8.       Volunteer to help others.

7.       Get out of debt.

6.       Spend more time with family.

5.       Learn to relax.

4.       Quit drinking.

3.       Quit smoking.

2.       Get fit.

1.       Lose weight.

 

imagesOHD1SH1F

SUCCESS

Many researchers suggest that sharing your resolutions with another helps your success rate. Peer support – whether a partnership with a spouse or a friend, or participating in a group – not only is more fun but offers accountability when working toward your goals. Programs such as The Biggest Loser, Alcoholics Anonymous, Weight Watchers, etc., have proven success rates for people who share their stories, their struggles, and their successes.

The main thing to keep in mind when you engage in the setting of goals is to make sure that they are attainable. Set small, measurable goals and design a method of charting your progress. Use a chart, or an app, to keep track of your successes!

 

imagesYWOKC9PU

MY CHALLENGE

 

This year I vow to focus less on what I resolve to QUIT, and more on what I pledge to START! Some years ago, I started a BUCKET LIST. I found it this morning. And although I can check a few things off that I have done, there are still some great ideas for a new PLAN of RESOLVE. So instead of the typical “New Year’s Resolutions”, I am drawing from my BUCKET LIST.

 

bucket List

 

MY TOP FIVE GOALS for 2014

5. I resolve to relax more – to read, play, and enjoy my family, friends and blessings. (I will pledge to read a book a week. And I will carve out time to just play and have fun! I will call my family more often and show the people in my life how much that they are appreciated.)

4. I pledge more loving kindness and generosity toward others. (I will spend more time sharing and volunteering)

3. I resolve to seek peace in all situations. (That, admittedly, will be tough for me. But I vow to adopt some meditation techniques and pull from my own bag of counseling and behavior management methods and give real effort for this one!)

2. Create more art.  (I will write, paint and make music – I might even join a  band!)

1. Focus on God’s will and purpose for my life. (I will learn to be still and listen to the voice of God!)

 

new goals

 

 

Are you making any New Year’s Resolutions this year? Share some in the comments below! Happy Resolving!

 

RESOURCES:

Popular New Year’s Resolutions

The Motley Fool’s The 10 Most Common New Year’s Resolutions and How They Can Make You Rich

And for the Top Ten Commonly Broken Resolutions

Ten Apps to Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

To Create Your Own Bucket List

Surprise yourself

 

Read More

TAMEKA FRYER BROWN

Posted by on Mar 6, 2013 in Blog, Featured, Writing Wednesday | 10 comments

WHAT COLOR IS YOUR MOOD?

 

Do you feel orange? Purple? Yellow?

Would you describe the way you feel using the weather? A piece of fruit? A prehistoric lizard?

If you could change your mood with the swipe of your hand as if drawing the curtains on a horrible bad day  – wouldn’t it be grand?

In MY COLD PLUM LEMON PIE BLUESY MOOD young Jamie “eases into a green feeling like a dragon dancing through a jungle made of green Jell-O” with a crayon in his hand.

 

484104_518521951514609_1613208989_n

 

Tameka Fryer Brown is the author of MY COLD PLUM LEMON PIE BLUESY MOOD, illustrated by Shane W. Evans (Viking/Penguin), which will be available nationwide tomorrow March 7, 2013. Born in Miami FL, Tameka now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. Growing up, she dreamed of becoming a lawyer. When she got to college, she changed her mind and pursued a business degree, graduating summa cum laude. Her first job was as a medical sales representative, supplying surgical supplies to hospitals – a job she thought was “cool” because she got to observe surgical procedures. Since that first career, Tameka has primarily worked with children of all ages in many different capacities. She has been a Sunday School Teacher and a youth Counselor, a Montessori School Teacher Assistant, and a mother.

 

tameka on bench

 

I am delighted to feature Tameka as my guest today. Congratulations on the success of AROUND OUR WAY ON NEIGHBORS’ DAY and on the release of MY COLD PLUM LEMON PIE BLUESY MOOD. Thank you, Tameka, for appearing here, answering my questions, and allowing the readers to become better acquainted with you and your work.

Tameka, are you a full time writer?

No. I’m a full time mom who writes. But my kids are older now and in school, so I’m able to carve out fairly long writing blocks when I’m on a creative roll.

When did you first know that was what you wanted to do?

I was on the couch reading a picture book to my youngest daughter when the thought occurred to me, I could do this. I could write books like these. Having been a stay at home mother for 8 or so years, I was ready to do something more; something that was cerebral and just for me. In writing stories for children, I found that something.

How long have you been writing?

I decided I wanted to be a children’s book writer in the spring of 2005. I joined SCBWI in November of that year and I’ve been moving full steam ahead since then.

How has your Montessori classroom experience helped you with your writing?

That was a meaningful experience that continues to inform my writing today.

I am a fierce believer in the Montessori philosophy of education, particularly the idea of educating the whole child. In my stories, I try to advance the concepts of community, individuality, respect for self and others, and “using your words” to express emotions of all kinds—each of which is at the core of Montessori’s social education.

Why did you choose to write for children/young adults?

To write something meaningful, you have to have something to say. For some reason, the things I have to say are geared toward young people. Maybe it’s because little-girl me is still very much alive and needs to read these words as much as any other child.

 

tameka kid closeup

 

How many hours a day do you devote to writing?

It varies. I’m not a writer who sits down and forces myself to write, at least not routinely. I don’t tend to produce my best stories that way. I do devote a lot of time to mulling. I mull ideas all the time. Once something strikes my fancy as a great idea, then I start writing. Mulling is definitely a part of my creative process.

Do you have a special place and time to write? Set the mood for us.

Have computer, will write. It doesn’t really matter where, as long as it is very quiet… usually a place where I can be alone.

 

Writing Space

 

Who, or what, inspires you?

My kids inspire me. Little-girl me inspires me. My grandmother inspires me. Although my granny is no longer with me, aspects of her have found their way into the majority of the stories I’ve written. Reading phenomenal literature also inspires me.

How do you get your ideas?

Thoughts, dreams, people watching, TV shows…observing and reflecting on life provides continual material.

Do you draw mostly from personal experiences?

For the most part I do—things I’ve either experienced or observed.

Do you do a lot of research?

Only as much as is required to be sure I’m accurate.  I’m not one of those people who gets lost in their research. It’s never been something I loved to do.

Your first book is AROUND OUR WAY ON NEIGHBORS’ DAY. According to Booklist it is about “[A]n African American girl [who] bounces around her urban neighborhood celebrating Neighbors’ Day…happily surrounded by a multicultural crowd.”

Is this an accurate description? What inspired you to write a book about a neighborhood?

I think it’s an accurate assessment. I always describe AROUND OUR WAY as a love story between a young girl and her close-knit, multicultural neighborhood. The idea for this book first came to me during that twilight phase between sleep and wakefulness. Before I ever opened my eyes, I had the rhyme scheme established and the first paragraph written. Since it was an ABC book initially, the format obviously changed, but the essence of the story—a tour of a young girl’s neighborhood filled with diverse friends, family, and a strong sense of community—remained the same.

Is it reminiscent of the neighborhood where you grew up?

Kind of. Miami itself is extremely diverse and at school I had friends from various cultures. I don’t remember participating in block parties, but my granny’s house was the place for every holiday meal, so I did grow up with lots celebrations full of delicious food and extended family. It was at my great-grandmother’s apartment complex that we were able to roam around outside, walk to the corner store, etc. I suppose the neighborhood in AROUND OUR WAY is a combination of all three…my vision of a neighborhood utopia.

 

on-swing-222x300

 

Tell us about your new book, MY COLD PLUM LEMON PIE BLUESY MOOD?

Jamie (the main character) describes his day’s emotional journey through the metaphor of color. He starts out in a purple, “cold-plum eating” kind of mood, but is soon ushered into a gray “storm brewing inside” kind of place by his rude and pushy older brothers. While readers witness Jamie’s colorful attempts to get back to his original mellow mood, they’re also inspired to find new, interesting ways to describe their own feelings.

How did you develop the concept for this book?

The first line of the book came to me as I was reflecting on my own emotional state one day. I thought to myself, “Boy, I’m in a mood.” My writer’s mind took note of the phrase, and I determined that I’m in a mood would be a great title or first line for a picture book.

How did you choose the color-mood associations?

I’m not really sure. I love bright colors—they make me feel so alive.  I guess it just felt right.

What projects are you working on now?

I’m actively working on another picture book project, and mulling over a couple of novel ideas.

Tell us about The Brown Bookshelf. How it go started, the purpose, the mission, the effect that its existence has on our young readers.

 

The Brown Bookshelf

 

The Brown Bookshelf is an online resource that brings awareness to African-American authors and illustrators of children’s books. Our flagship initiative is 28 Days Later, which takes place during the month of February. During 28DL, we highlight those artists that are either new on the scene or established and making contributions to kidlit, but not receiving the recognition we feel they should. The founding members were Paula Chase-Hyman, Varian Johnson, Kelly Starling-Lyons, Don Tate, and Carla Sarratt. In addition to Paula, Varian, Kelly and Don, the BBS now includes Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Crystal Allen, Gwendolyn Hooks and myself.

I’ve been a member since the end of 2009 and it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve been part of as a writer. Our service is important because ALL young readers need to be presented with multicultural reading material as standard fare, and it’s our goal to make people (especially librarians and other gatekeepers) aware that it exists.

Where can we purchase your books?

MY COLD PLUM LEMON PIE BLUESY MOOD ~ Coming March 2013 from Viking/Penguin

AROUND OUR WAY ON NEIGHBORS’ DAY ~ Available at online booksellers everywhere

Currently, they can be purchased at Barnes and Noble. They can also be ordered in person at any bookstore, or at any online bookseller, including:

Indiebound.org

Barnes and Noble

Tameka’s connections:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

MY COLD PLUM LEMON PIE BLUESY MOOD Facebook Page

Once again thank you and congratulations, Tameka! I wish you much success with MY COLD PLUM, LEMON PIE, BLUESY MOOD.

 

 

Tameka at Barnes and Noble

Tameka at Barnes and Noble

 

 

Read More

Hiding Carly, Holiday Promotion

Posted by on Dec 26, 2012 in Blog, Featured, On Writing, Writing Wednesday | 0 comments

 

imagesCAP325N8

 

Did you get a new ereader for Christmas? A Kindle, an iPad, a smartphone? Do you have the Free Kindle Reader App available for every major smartphone, tablet, and computer?

 

imagesCAJLQ7GE

 

You can download my middle grade mystery, HIDING CARLY, for FREE at Amazon.com, from 12/26/12 through 12/30/12!

 

clip_image002MA30944546-0038

 

GET YOUR FREE COPY OF HIDING CARLY HERE:

http://www.amazon.com/Hiding-Junior-Special-Series-ebook/dp/B00AOCTZ78/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1356391220&sr=1-1&keywords=hiding+carly

 

YOU do not have to even move off the couch! Just grab your Kindle, or any device with a FREE KINDLE reading app! BECAUSE my new book, HIDING CARLY is FREE for 5 days on AMAZON. And you can INSTANTLY begin to follow Sean’s adventures!

 

GET YOUR FREE KINDLE APP HERE:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=sv_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

 

Thanks for your support! EnjoyReading!

 

read-books

 

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas filled with love, peace joy and that you have a very Happy New Year!

 

imagesCATXY962

Read More

Week 19: The Next Big Thing

Posted by on Oct 10, 2012 in Blog, Writing Wednesday | 1 comment

Holly Hughes tagged me for The Next Big Thing blog hop. She answered these same questions last week on her blog, http://www.writerhughes.wordpress.com/.

What is the working title of your book?

HOSTAGE
Where did the idea come from for the book?

This is the second book in the SEAN GRAY, JUNIOR SPECIAL AGENT series. The idea for the first book HIDING CARLY, and the series came from a mentoring relationship that I had with an eleven year old boy who went through the FBI Junior Special agent Program. The main character, Sean, was born from this relationship. The story is his.

What genre does your book fall under?

Middle Grade mystery and adventure

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Sean – Dylan Boyack  (from The Hangover)

Andy – Tucker Albrizzi  of Big time Rush and good Luck Charlie

Carly – Joey King  of Ramona and Beezus

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Sean’s testimony in the trial of a child kidnapping ring involving a rogue FBI agent is at the root of a mysterious accident plunging Sean and his new friends smack in the middle of another mystery.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Published by Peak City Publishing
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

One year…still revising
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

NANCY DREW or the HARDY BOYS. Other popular series in this category are Encyclopedia Brown and Cam Jansen stories.

More contemporary novels in the compete category:

CHARLES COLLIER, SNOOP FOR HIRE – A series of middle grade mystery novels by John Madormo follows the adventures of a 12 year old investigator.

CLOSED FOR THE SEASON by Mary Downing Hahn – a stand-alone book follows the adventure of 7th grader, Logan and his friend Arthur as they try to solve a murder mystery.

THE BIG SPLASH by Jack D. Ferraiolo features Matt, a middle school boy who tries to keep the halls safe and free from crime.

THE POSTCARD by Tony Abbott, is an Edgar Award winner, in which 13 year old Jason cleans out his deceased grandmother’s home and gets involved in the mysteries of her life.

John Grisham’s THEODORE BOONE series is also in the competitive category. Where Theodore works with the justice system in his home town to solve some situations of his peers.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

My love of children and the issues that they face. My continued involvement with the FBI.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The uniqueness of the SEAN GRAY, JUNIOR SPECIAL AGENT (JSA) mystery/adventure series is the FBI and the continued involvement and collaboration of the protagonist, Sean with the agency.

Tagged for next week:

Debra Koontz Traverso http://dlkoontz.com/

Joan Y. Edwards joanyedwards@earthlink.net

Linda Anderson http://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/

Gretchen Griffith www.gretchengriffith.com

Sandra Warren www.SandraWarren.com

 

Read More