Monday, February 23, 2015

Bonded Against Fate

I write because…
It’s my favorite thing in the world to do.  I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember.  I love writing. 
If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be?
I would be white chocolate macadamia nut cookie.
Plotter or pantster?
I’m a total pantster.
What is your favorite type of character to write about and why?
I write strong women. I am a strong woman so these characters speak the loudest to me.
Hamburgers or sushi?
Sushi, but nothing raw.
Name three things on your desk.
My desk is pretty sparse I only have my iPod, notebook, and laptop.
What books have influenced your writing style?
I read a lot less now than I used to because don’t want my voice to mimic anyone.  I hope my books aren’t influenced.
Tell us a little about your book.
I am published under a different pen name with many adult romance publishers.  This is my first YA series and I’m really proud of these characters and their story.  This is the blurb:
Annika Valon isn’t your typical high school girl.  She has an out-of-this-world destiny.  Her friend Casmir and her foster parents Jayne and Victor have kept her safe, but when the shadows come for her, only Cas’s mysterious older brother can save her. 

Her foster parents are aliens, and so is she.  Her best friend is secretly aspiring to take a mythical vow to protect her, and there’s a planet in another dimension where forces are conspiring to kill her because she’s an honest-to-God princess. She finds herself magically bonded to her bestie’s big, hot brother.  Oh, and she has a killer trigonometry test in the morning.  High school just became a lot more alien.

What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors?
Just write.  Don’t worry about anything but getting the story out into the computer. Find a local writers group and learn from others.
What is next on your writerly horizon?
I’m going to finish this series and keep working on my adult stuff too. My current grown up work in progress is really making my muse purr right now. 

Top 5 favorite (pick one) desserts, movies, things to eat, ice cream flavors, books.

Blurb and cover:
Annika Valon isn’t your typical high school girl.  She has an out-of-this-world destiny.  Her friend Casmir and her foster parents Jayne and Victor have kept her safe, but when the shadows come for her, only Cas’s mysterious older brother can save her. 

Her foster parents are aliens, and so is she.  Her best friend is secretly aspiring to take a mythical vow to protect her, and there’s a planet in another dimension where forces are conspiring to kill her because she’s an honest-to-God princess. She finds herself magically bonded to her bestie’s big, hot brother.  Oh, and she has a killer trigonometry test in the morning.  High school just became a lot more alien.
Chapter One
Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin
Annika Valon groaned and her eyes ached from studying. Trigonometry was her worst nightmare. She'd lose her shot at valedictorian if she didn't study harder and ace the test. Her computer monitor told her it was past midnight so she shut down her laptop.
The small town's quiet broke as a slow moving car rumbled on the residential street outside her house. Light from the headlights darted across her pink bedroom walls. Standing up and stretching, she rubbed her shoulder absentmindedly before walking into her bathroom.
Annika stripped to put on her pajamas and while tossing her dirty shirt in the hamper she caught a glimpse of the mark on her right shoulder in the mirror's reflection. Self-consciously she hurried to put on a soft, pink pajama top. She'd had the strange half-moon tattoo on her right shoulder as long as she could remember. It was black and small. Sometimes she swore it tingled, which was ridiculous. The mark had bothered her lately. The symbol always reminded her of the amnesia that left a big void where her earliest years should be. Her gut tightened and there was an aching in her chest.
She shuddered. Only a monster would tattoo a child. She had no memories of her biological mother or father, or any memory before she was five and had come to live with Jayne and Victor Winter. When she thought about her mysterious ink, she was grateful she didn't know the people who'd branded her. They had to be evil. Does evil lurk inside of me too? Am I like them?
Annika picked up her hairbrush and looked up in the mirror. A shadow flashed behind her. She gasped. The large pink plastic hairbrush slipped from her fingers and clattered as it hit the sink. Turning around she saw nothing.
Annika squeezed her eyes shut tightly. It was happening again—she was seeing shadows—again. She'd kept her slow progression into insanity a secret, because she didn't want her parents to send her away.
She looked into the mirror again. This time the shape just stood there looking at her. Her own long black hair wasn't the culprit of the movement. The shadow was about the same height as she was. Its eyes glowed with an eerie blue light. The way it was looking at her made her feel sick. The thing radiated malice and hatred.
Annika gripped the sink for support and a shiver ran down her spine. This was the longest the image had remained. She could feel its gaze boring into her back. The only sound she heard was her thundering heart. She gazed at her reflection, but watched the shadow out of the corner of her eye. If she moved, it would go away.
Annika bit her lip and sucked a deep breath into her lungs. She'd never tried to talk to it before.
"What do you want?" she whispered.
It raised its transparent arm-like appendage and pointed at her. Cold terror rolled through her belly and made her shiver. She looked away into her own wide-with-fear green eyes. Then she gathered the courage to look at the shadow's image again. It was still there and it was still pointing at her. The nightmare stood menacingly behind her until it slowly began fading.
When it was finally gone, she relaxed her tense muscles. A breath she'd been unconsciously holding hissed out of her lungs. Deflated, she stood shaking. The encounter left her physically drained, as always. The first time she'd seen one of the shadows she'd ended up sick in bed for two days.
Over the last year she'd become accustomed to the horrible oily sensation of cold dread accompanying her spectral visitor. Her evolving reaction made her wonder if her body was building up a tolerance to seeing things. Does crazy make you physically sick too?
Forcing herself to remain calm and willing herself to be sane, she brushed her teeth and then washed her face. I am normal. This is normal. Everything is okay and normal and I'm not crazy. She looked in the mirror for confirmation she was alone and nodded at herself.
She had no idea if insanity ran in her family tree, but if she had a choice, she was going to be rational. On shaking legs, she left the bathroom.
Annika pulled back the quilt to lay down on her twin bed and stared up into the darkness. The glow-in-the-dark stars affixed to the light pink canopy over her head normally were a comfort, but not tonight. Change was coming. Darkness stalked her and she knew there was nowhere to hide.


When everyone wants to use you, how do you know what’s right?

Annika Valon isn’t your typical high school girl. She has an out-of-this-world destiny.  Her friend Casmir and her foster parents Jayne and Victor have kept her safe, but when the shadows come for her, only Cas’s mysterious older brother can save her.  
Her foster parents are aliens, and so is she. Her best friend is secretly aspiring to take a mythical vow to protect her, and there’s a planet in another dimension where forces are conspiring to kill her because she’s an honest-to-God princess. She finds herself magically bonded to her bestie’s big, hot brother. Oh, and she has a killer trigonometry test in the morning. High school just became a lot more alien.

About the author:

Tamsyn Monroe is a busy working mom. She loves her kids and family. Her greatest joy is creating stories to entertain others, and she hopes they bring a little more romance into the world. She's been writing since her teens for her own enjoyment,but decided in her thirties to share her imagination with readers.Tamsyn enjoys biking, camping, reading, video games, and filling her home and life with love. If she's not working or chasing children, you can find her daydreaming up her next tale of romance.  
Tamsyn's Website:
Reader eMail:

Monday, February 16, 2015

Diary of a Gutsy Teen

by Barbara Becker Holstein



Following in the footsteps of The Truth, Secrets: Diary of a Gutsy Teen begins as the thirteen-year-old protagonist makes a move with her family to a new town. She has grown up a lot over the past year—and has made a list of everything that’s important to her now that she doesn’t want to forget when she gets older. But now, as she enters her early teen years, she begins to write down the secrets she wants to keep—and the ones she has no one to tell about. From new school experiences to a new baby in the family to a new crush, this new teen finally feels empowered on making her own decisions with confidence and keeping those secrets she holds dearest for herself.

In a positive and supportive diary-entry format, Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein encourages tween and early teen girls to carry the most precious parts of themselves into adulthood. A great book for mothers and daughters to read together, Secrets is aimed to improve communication, understanding, and self-esteem for young girls as they enter the rocky road of teenager-dom.


Excerpt Three:

Date: December 2
Dear Diary,

I have a secret and it’s been eating me up inside, so I have to tell you. I lied to Angela. I told her I had a terrible sore throat and couldn’t come for the weekend. She said she was sorry and that she would invite me again.

I felt terrible, and then my throat really began to hurt. But I just couldn’t go to Springport for a whole weekend_even though I miss being around Angela.

Now that I have best friends here, I don’t feel the same way I used to about going back to visit. And I didn’t know how to tell Angela that. I could tell when we talked on the phone that she really wanted me to come. And she sent me a new selfie, holding a sign that reads I Miss You! She even told me that she doesn’t have a new best friend since I left. She really misses me. She also told me that Paul is in lots of her classes and he asks if she’s talked to me. How could I tell her I’m in love with Rob and don’t care about Paul anymore? How could I tell her that I have new best friends and want to stay here with them?

I did go to Sally’s instead, and we had the best time. Her mother ordered pizza for us and we drank Coke. We watched television and made popcorn and did each other’s hair with all of Sally’s older sister’s hair products we found in the bathroom. I look silly with curly hair. We kept laughing and falling on the floor and giggling, and we played this fun game that Jackie learned in camp last summer. We all lay down on the floor and we each put our head on someone else’s belly. Someone says, “Ha-ha,” and then the next person says, “Haha-ha,” until everyone is laughing. Then you can’t stop laughing because the belly you are on is bouncing all around under your head.

Sally’s mom got really angry at all the noise we were making, and we had to turn off the lights and pretend to go to sleep. I hardly slept a wink, though. I was so excited and having so much fun with my new friends. I was tired the next morning and really did have a sore throat when I went home, but I didn’t care. It was worth it to have so much fun.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I have been a positive psychologist in private practice for the past thirty years. In the course of working with my clients, I originated the idea of THE ENCHANTED SELF(R), a positive psychology therapy where I teach people how to recognize and utilize their strengths, talents, skills and even lost potential. I have developed a number of methods, including using our memories to rediscover what is right about ourselves and our lives, rather than what went wrong, helping people to overcome adversity, experience positive emotions and live the good life!

Since developing this concept, I've been able to use many tools to bring the Enchanted Self to everyone, particularly women and girls. I've written many books, starting with THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy, and then Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU!  My books for girls are very popular, as they are great fictional reads and also help deal with many of the questions that trouble kids as they move into the tween and teen years.  The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween and Secrets, Diary of a Gutsy Teen are the first two books in this series.

I really love to teach and educate about happiness and how to benefit from positive psychology in ways that let us lead lives of meaning and happiness. You can find me all over the place on the web. In particular,,, on Facebook at Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein: Psychologist & Author, on Pinterest at and on You Tube. Just look for me on You Tube via Barbara Becker Holstein.

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Monday, February 9, 2015


1. I write because…
It’s fun. Pure and simple. And I just love to tell stories. Nothing more, nothing less.
2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be?
Very tough question. It’s a toss-up between peanut butter with chocolate chips (which is the BEST combination ever) and oatmeal raisin. But I think I’d have to go with peanut butter and chocolate chips.  
3. Plotter or pantster?
I do both, actually. My first novel, Sunrise, was written completely by the seat of my pants. I had no pre-conceived ideas where I was headed with that story. I just wrote. However, its sequel and another work in progress are very much plotted out in detail. It just depends on what strikes me with each particular story. Neither is more effective than the other. You just have to go with whichever feels the most comfortable and allows you to be creative.
4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why?
Definitely the antagonist. With a protagonist, there’s always the expectation that they conform to some degree or another to a universal sense of goodness and morality. You can give those characters some flaws, but at the end of the day they’ve got remain on the positive side of the ledger. With villains I’ve found more freedom to be complex and multi-dimensional.
5. Hamburgers or sushi?
Nothing against sushi, because I’ve been to Japan twice and have had the real deal, but there’s nothing better than a great burger.
6. Name three things on your desk.
Paper, paper, and more paper. I’m a clutterbug.
7. What books have influenced your writing style?
Dean Koontz and Ted Dekker. They’re the kings of character development, pacing, and crisp dialogue.
8. Tell us a little about your book.
It’s a paranormal romance in which an 18-year old high school kid survives a mass tragedy only to learn that it was an orchestrated event and that he was the intended target. When he’s caught in the crosshairs of a sinister nemesis, his guardian angel comes to his rescue – only to find there’s a huge price to pay for falling in love with a human.  
9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors?
Four things: study the craft of writing fiction, join a critique group, be patient, and never give up.          
10. What is next on your writerly horizon?
I’ve got two works in progress at the moment. One is False Light, the sequel to Sunrise. The other is a standalone work entitled, The Promise Keeper. I should probably pick one to focus on, but I’m really drawn to both stories.
Top 5 favorite (pick one) desserts, movies, things to eat, ice cream flavors, books.
Hard to narrow my top 5 movies, but here they are in no particular order: We Are Marshall, Meet Joe Black, Legends of the Fall, The Game, and The Legend of Bagger Vance.


When the shadows come and your world goes dark, can you hang on until sunrise – or will you give in to the darkness?  After a tragic shooting shatters Parker’s world, the darkness comes for
him. His guardian angel, Marie, fights to save his soul, but will her love be enough to save him?


She looked at the branches overhead and squinted as a silver raindrop fell into her eye. She wiped it away with the back of her hand as the precipitation intensified. The ground under her feet grew wetter, the wind more menacing as it whipped through the treetops. Bluish-white streaks of lightning shot across the dark sky like sinewy fingers, followed by a distant rumble of thunder.
"You really shouldn't appear so much. It's not safe. Uriel and Markus wouldn't approve."
"Uriel and Markus? You mean you and everyone else. Contrary to rumors, I don't appear human as often as you think," she shot back. "Besides, I can handle Markus."
"Oh, that's right. I keep forgetting you're his favorite."
She cast him a sideways glance, lips slanting into a smirk. "Really, Jacob?"
He shrugged his shoulders. "Hey, I'm just stating what everybody knows."
"Well, he only favors the best, I guess."
He removed his spectacles, took out a handkerchief, and wiped the lenses. "Very funny."
Marie grinned. "You're the one who started it. If you can't—"
The hair on the back of her neck stood erect, and her face went slack. Something's wrong.
Jacob quickly replaced his glasses, and they turned their attention back to the house as the mood shifted to one of shared alarm. An uninvited presence crept toward the backyard fence, watching and waiting like them.
Marie scanned the fence for any movement, but didn't see anything. It was there, though, and it wasn't alone. Her body tensed. "I feel, three of them. Do you?"
"Yes. They're in the alley, behind the fence." Jacob closed his eyes for a moment, lines of concentration creasing his forehead.
Marie resumed searching for the intruders. What were they doing here? Why Parker's house? They'd never shown any interest in him or his family before. A brilliant flash of lightning, followed by a loud crack of thunder, illuminated the backyard in an eerie light. Marie's eyes darted along the fence. Several silhouetted figures lurked behind it.
Jacob opened his eyes. "Seth is near," he said, his voice taut with alarm.
Cold sweat broke out on Marie's forehead, and she wiped it away with a clammy hand. Of all the names, that was the one no guardian wanted to hear. Ever. She swallowed and tried to keep her voice from trembling. "Seth? Are you sure?"
Jacob didn't answer, but stared at the backyard fence. He interlocked his fingers and cracked his knuckles, his customary nervous habit. "When was your last fight?"
Although her preference was to avoid combat, confrontation always remained an option. Her last altercation had been a violent affair, but she had resolved long ago to do whatever it took to protect her charges, especially this one.
"Um, about twenty years ago. In Argentina." The melee during Carnival had been brutal. The colored lights of angel fire, agonizing screams, and the smell of burning flesh came back to her. An icy ball formed in the pit of her stomach, the landscape tilted and spun, and she placed an unsteady hand on the wet bark of the tree next to her.
"You'll be rusty if it's been that long. Remember, strike only when you have to and use quick, controlled bursts over as short a distance as possible."
Jacob's tone took on one of mock authority and bravado, but it wasn't convincing. Marie let the lecture slide for the moment. Seth's close proximity had Jacob rattled.
Marie looked back at the house. Parker and his family, asleep in their warm, cozy beds...they had no idea of the danger around them.
She clutched her chest, breathing becoming labored. "They're moving closer to the house, aren't they?"
Jacob jerked his head in an awkward nod. "Yeah." His eyes roamed the fence from behind wire-rimmed glasses. His forehead glistened. Was it from the precipitation...or fear?
A chill ran through her body and an army of goose bumps formed on her arms. She crossed them over her chest and cast a wary gaze toward the backyard fence.
"Something wicked this way comes," she muttered.
Jacob locked eyes with her and said, "C'mon. We have work to do."
They disappeared into the darkness and crept toward the alley.

Buy links:

Buy Links
Print Book

Author bio:
Scott works in state government and is the author of several short stories and the recently published young adult paranormal romance novel, Sunrise. He lives in the suburbs of Austin with his wife and two precocious daughters - who enthusiastically assist him in his search for the perfect combination of chocolate and peanut butter.
Scott can be contacted through his blog at

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Revenge Artist by Philip Hoy

The Revenge Artist by Philip Hoy

A bullied teen embarks on a dark journey of revenge when she discovers the power to make bad things happen by drawing them.

Evelyn Hernandez is a high school junior who reads Shakespeare for fun, sews her own dresses, and keeps a sketch journal of her daily life. When varsity quarterback Garvey Valenzuela breaks her heart, she sends him to the emergency room with a busted hand.
Add black magic to her résumé.

The Revenge Artist is the story of a bullied teen who embarks on a dark journey of revenge when she discovers she has the power to make bad things happen by drawing them. The novel explores the emotional pain, isolation, and self-hatred caused by bullying and cyber-bullying in particular as it follows the self-destructive path taken by one teen attempting to defend herself from bullies.

Evelyn is temporarily empowered by her ability to hurt others, "Don't you know? I'm a witch... a real, honest to God, black-hearted, evil witch!" and this is what keeps her from seeing that her true power comes from her loyal and caring nature, the love and support of her friends and family, and most of all, her intelligence and creativity.

Philip Hoy, author of The Revenge Artist

Dana’s YA Book Pile Author Interview Questions:
1.   I write because…
I am a sponge. I soak up everything around me, from home, from my students, from the media, from books, until I reach a point of saturation and I must wring myself out onto the page. If I can’t find time to write…if I don’t make myself…then all of that input evaporates, and all those possible stories dry up and disappear. And wringing is really an appropriate image, because writing is difficult and almost never flows easily, but all of these influences are in the mix and what I think emerges is something I can call my voice, the same voice with which I speak, only far more polished.

2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be?
I would be the sugar cookies my wife makes during the holidays. I’m a light, crispy-crunch blonde with golden brown edges, filled with a buttery deliciousness that’s not overly sweet. You can keep a small pile of me nearby to nibble on while you are reading or writing, or you can put a handful of me in your coat pocket and take me with you to the movies, shopping, or wherever.

3. Plotter or pantster?
I imagine I’m a little bit of both. I work best with a rough outline, so I talk myself through the plot: first, next, later, finally, the next day, and so on, and then go back and write it. These are two very different things, though. The first is mostly planning, but the second is creating…and creating is the most difficult. You can plot and plot and plot some more, but sooner or later, you have to switch over from planning to constructing, and then submerge yourself in the world you are creating, and begin to write from the point of view of your characters. In other words, stop telling what your characters will do and start showing them do it. Once I begin writing, I guess I’m a pantster. I place the characters within the conflict and then see what happens. Even though I’m pretty sure I know what my character will do in a situation, I have to start writing in order to find out. Dialogue can be especially surprising. I may have certain lines in mind, things that must be said to develop the characters and the plot, but once two or more characters begin to speak, the conversation often takes on a natural, spontaneous rhythm that makes unexpected turns and arrives in unexplored territory. Writing can be as much an act of discovery as reading…sometimes maybe more.

4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why?
I am attracted to characters that tend to drastically underestimate themselves. Characters who, for some reason or another, temporarily become their own worst enemies until they realize the strength they needed, or the answer they were looking for, was inside them all along.
Mostly, my high school students inspire my writing. My characters are teenagers. And like my students, they are just as much discovering themselves, as they are inventing themselves: still finding their voices, still realizing their powers, and still exploring their purpose in the world. In my novel, the high school dean complains, “You kids live in the extreme, in the moment, and why not when everything is happening to you for the first time?” I feel this is so true of young people; although, unlike the dean in my story, I believe this is exactly what makes teenagers so fascinating and so refreshing to be around.

5. Hamburgers or sushi?

6. Name three things on your desk.
Right now? My MacBook Pro, the hand-carved Maori wooden face my daughter brought back from New Zealand for me, and a bowl of oatmeal, my favorite late night snack. 

7. What books have influenced your writing style?
While I don’t think my style is necessarily similar to any of these writers, when I think of my choice to write for a young adult audience, these particular books come to mind: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, The Afterlife by Gary Soto, The Dead Father’s Club by Matt Haig, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

8. Tell us a little about your book.
The book is called The Revenge Artist and it is the story of Evelyn Hernandez, a bullied teen who discovers she has the power to make bad things happen by drawing them. The novel explores the emotional pain, isolation, and self-hatred caused by bullying and cyber-bullying in particular as it follows the self-destructive path taken by one teen attempting to defend herself from bullies.
Although there is a bit of the supernatural, or paranormal, in my book, it is categorized as a contemporary young adult novel. There is definitely romance, but the plot is much more concerned with the protagonist finding her voice than finding her man.

9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors?
Once you’ve finished that first book, begin submitting it to as many publishers and agents as possible. While you are awaiting responses, start writing your next story (never stop writing). If you are lucky, out of all the “no thank you” replies, maybe, just maybe, a publisher will include some notes along with your rejection letter. And even though specific criticism of your book may hurt a lot more at first than a generic, “it’s just not what we’re looking for at this time,” do not destroy or delete this letter…it is extremely valuable and rare. Later, after you’ve had a good cry, take it out and read it again. Chances are, it’s advice you can use.  

10. What is next on your writerly horizon?
I’ve decided to write a sequel to The Revenge Artist and I’m already half finished. Also, I’ve begun an author’s blog on my website that I really enjoy.  

Top 5 favorite movies: (I know, I have six…but narrowing it down to five was hard enough.)
1.      Indiana Jones
2.      Monty Python and the Holy Grail
3.      The Thirteenth Warrior
4.      Oh Brother Where Art Thou
5.      Galaxy Quest
6.      Zoolander


Hi, I'm Garvey."
Evelyn looked up at him through her bangs. "Evelyn," she said without lifting her head. But his hand stayed outstretched between them for an unbearably long moment until Evelyn finally gave him hers.
"Nice to meet you, Evelyn," he said with two perfect dimples framing his smile.
She turned and smiled at the other two guys now sitting at the table. Garvey followed her gaze and greeted the two with a smooth lift of his chin and some kind of half audible guy-grunt which they returned in a similar manner. Tito and Erick. The two were inseparable. Must be nice to get to sit with your best friend, Evelyn thought as she twisted around in her chair to make eye contact with Denise who had ended up on the other side of the classroom. Evelyn gave her a please-kill-me look. Denise just smirked and rolled her eyes.
"Hey, I have a cousin named Evelyn," Garvey was saying. "We're not related are we?"
Evelyn turned back to face him. "No."
"Are you sure? She likes to wear dresses too, just like you. You know with tights or whatever." He made a motion with his eyes like he was looking through the table top at her pink stockings.
She instinctively pulled her knees together.
"Have you ever done that?" he went on, leaning a little forward. "You know, liked someone and then found out they were related, your cousin or something?"
Oh...My...God, she prayed silently, please stop talking to me. Schwartz made an exaggerated clearing of his throat to get everyone's attention. "Okay!" he said, "Now that you've all had time to get to know each other, when I call on you I would like you to tell me three things you've learned about the person across from you." The class became noisy again. "Evelyn," he announced loudly over the din, and everyone stopped talking and turned to look at her.
Perfect, she thought, how can this day possibly get any worse?
"Stand please," added Schwartz. "Nice and loud."
Evelyn stood, tugging down on the hem of her dress. "His name is Garvey," she said, and then in one monotone breath finished with, "he plays football, and even though sports and school keep him very busy, he still finds time to keep in touch with friends and exchange pictures on Facebook."
Garvey looked confused.
"Okay, that's two things," said Schwartz. "One more."
"His name doesn't count?" asked Evelyn.
"No, that's too easy," he answered, obviously enjoying himself. "One more...something most people probably don't know about Garvey."
Evelyn sent Schwartz daggers with her eyes. He knows I can't answer that, she thought, he knows I wasn't even speaking to him. But when she opened her mouth it just came out. "He once had a crush on a girl until he found out she was his cousin," she said and dropped into her seat.
Someone laughed abruptly, like the bleat of a sheep.
"Oh...kay..." said Schwartz. "Garvey, what did you learn about Evelyn?"
"Well, her name is—" He stopped himself, remembering to stand up.
Evelyn slipped lower in her seat.
"Her name is Evelyn," he went on, "she's an artist and..."
Now it was Evelyn's turn to look confused.
"And she's always drawing pictures in a notebook she carries around."
Schwartz was nodding his head slowly, counting to himself while Garvey spoke. He stopped now, looking at Garvey expectantly.
"And...she likes to wear pretty girl's dresses to school because she wants to be original and have her own style."
He sat down again, flashing Evelyn his trademark smile.
"Okay, thank you Evelyn and Garvey for setting the standard with those introductions," Schwartz continued. "Now let's hear from someone in the back of the room."

Author Bio:

Philip Hoy is a high school English teacher. When he is not creating lesson plans or grading essays, he is writing. He lives in Southern California with his wife Magdalena, also a teacher.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Vengeful by Chantel Fourie

1. I write because… Fictional worlds are more interesting than the real world.
2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be? An oreo! Yum!
3. Plotter or pantster? A bit of both. I’m not someone to sit and plan something. I’ll get an idea, think about it a bit (maybe write down a few important details), and then sit down and let the story create itself.
4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why? Semi-villains! I just love a dark, mysterious kinda character that reveals a bit of good in the end.
5. Hamburgers or sushi? I’m more of a pizza person. I’ll settle for a pizza hamburger… If something like that exists.
6. Name three things on your desk. Computer, phone, tablet (now what about my cup of coffee?)
7. What books have influenced your writing style? Hmm… Good question.  If I have to choose, I’ll go with The Mediator by Meg Cabot, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and Alan Wake (more for the game than the book, but the book is just as awesome) by Rick Burroughs.
8. Tell us a little about your book. The Vengeful is the first novella in a YA paranormal series. It tells the story of Zack, a teenage guy, fighting his way through an alternative dimension full of reaper-like creatures to save his brother’s life. In this world of deceit, he must put his trust in the right person, or end up dooming the human race.
9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors? Don’t give up! Writing is a learning process. No matter how much your writing sucks, keep on trying and you’ll eventually achieve your goals.
10. What is next on your writerly horizon? I have about 3 half-written books that I want to finish this year. But for now I’m just focusing on The Vengeful’s sequel.

Top 5 Movies:
View from the Top
The Karate Kid
Bridge to Terabithia
The Covenant

In a world where vengeful creatures battle humans, knowing who to trust could be the difference between losing his brother and saving the human race.

When Zack ends up in an alternate dimension and loses his brother to the Vengeful, the last thing he expects is that one of the soul-seeking creatures would save his life.
Vale, a Vengeful with human capabilities, needs his help to retrieve an orb from the last remaining human settlement. In return, he promises to help Zack save his brother and take them back to their own world.
In the settlement, he learns the truth about the Vengeful and the orb’s power. But it is only when he meets Shiro, the human leader, that Zack begins to have doubts. Can he trust Vale to keep his promise, or should he believe Shiro instead?
The fate of the human race rests on his choice.

As soon as the engine shut off, silence crept in. It pressed down on Zack’s chest, almost suffocating him. He needed to get out of here before he went crazy. His hand went for the door, but Jake grabbed his arm. Zack shot him a glare, brushing off his hand, wondering what the issue could be this time. But then he saw it too. His stomach dropped as he looked at the figures of three more of the strange cloaked people. He noticed these were different. They were bigger and cloaked in a darker shade of gray. The hoods shadowed each of their faces and their hands and feet were invisible. Two carried weapons. One held a sword, engulfed in a dark purple energy, and the other a giant hammer, surrounded by the same substance.
“I don’t think you should have stopped, Jake.” Zack gulped.
“I didn’t,” Jake said as he turned the key in the ignition, but the car stayed quiet. There wasn’t even a click. “It’s dead!”
The people hovered closer. The giant hammer-wielding creature stopped at the side of the car. Zack’s side. Blood drained from Zack’s face as it lifted the hammer high above its shoulder.
“Drive, Jake! Drive!”
“I can’t. It won’t start!”
“Oh crap.” Zack ducked as the hammer swung down. He waited for the pain to sink in... For the car to explode... Anything. But when nothing happened, he sat up slowly. The car was still in one piece. He checked his body for any changes and relaxed. The hammer did no visible damage at all. “What’s going on?” a bewildered Zack asked.
“Whoa, it went right through! Did you see that?”
Zack didn’t answer, because first, he didn’t see, and second, one of the other people moved forward. This one held no weapon. It stopped in front of the car, standing with its face cast downward for what felt like forever, and then let loose a terrifying screech. The frequency was so high it nearly pierced his eardrums.
“Cover your ears!” Zack yelled as he covered his own with the palm of his hands, but it didn’t drive out the noise or stop the pain pulsing through his brain.
“It’s not working!” Jake said, looking right into the screamer’s face.
Instead of looking, Zack shut his eyes, thinking it would help if he didn’t see it.
“Can’t handle this, my... brain...” Jake groaned.
Zack jerked his head at the click of the car door, catching Jake stumbling out. “What the hell are you doing? Get back inside!” Zack yelled. “Are you crazy?”
Jake ignored him. He stumbled down the road a few feet before he stopped and looked back. His face was stripped of all emotion, his eyes still fixed on the screaming person who moved closer toward him. The other people followed. What’s so interesting about that thing’s face that Jake wasn’t running! Zack got out of the car to jerk him away, but he was too late.
The people were upon Jake before he could move. Let go of my brother, you freaks! Zack wanted to scream, but his voice refused. The two carrying weapons swung them down through his body with sheer force. As Jake yelled, a wave of cold rushed through Zack’s body, chilling him to the bone.
“No!” Shaking, he stepped forward. “Jake!” He forced a yell as he gasped for air. His heart pumped wildly in his chest. This couldn’t be happening. Not to Jake. Not his brother.

Author bio:

Chantel Fourie is a YA author, specializing in Fantasy and Paranormal fiction. She lives in Despatch, a quiet town in South Africa.
Since a young age, she has treasured books and spent many afternoons at the local library. Even after the librarians suggested the adult section, she kept loyal to the Young Adult shelves.
Her first novella, The Vengeful, is published with Lycaon Press. She is currently working on various short stories and novellas, including the sequel of The Vengeful. When she is not writing, she is most likely absorbed in a world of fiction or playing online computer games with her friends.
You can find her on Twitter @darkwrld1021