Monday, October 20, 2014

Lycaon Monday: Dark of the Moon

Welcome once more to Lycaon Monday! Today we have the lovely Samantha Allard sharing her writing tips and secret quirks...

1. I write because… I can’t picture doing anything else with my life. Well, I wouldn’t mind being a baker but writing will always be my first love. The thing I enjoy doing the most.
2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be? Rich tea. I know that they can be rather plain but sweet and I do love a good cup of tea.
3. Plotter or pantster? It depends on the situation and the story. A short story I usually put in the hands of the characters. A longer story needs more planning, especially to keep the story on track.
4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why? I’ve always enjoyed writing witty female leads. A girl or woman thrown into an impossible situation. When I was growing up I enjoyed watching Buffy, Alias and She Wolf in London (a very short-lived werewolf series) and I like writing characters like that.
5. Hamburgers or sushi? Hamburger, preferably with cheese.
6. Name three things on your desk. I don’t have a desk but I usually have a coffee, my phone and a writing pad close by,
7. What books have influenced your writing style? Christopher Pike’s ‘The Last Vampire’ series. Rachel Caine’s ‘Weather Warden’ series and Jim Butcher’s ‘Harry Dresden’ series.
8. Tell us a little about your book. The Dark of the Moon was originally published under the name Ella Grey as an eshort series ‘A Difficult Decision’. This edition has been heavily revised and reedited making it a much stronger story. It tells the story of Rachel Valentine, who isn’t your typical sixteen year old. Her older brother is missing, presumed dead. Her father works for the government and Rachel has a few tricks up her sleeves. Lessons she learnt from her father. Thrown into a battle between warring werewolves. Rachel has secrets that she doesn’t even know she possesses.
9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors? Read and write every day.
10. What is next on your writerly horizon? A sequel to The Dark of the Moon. I really want to tie up some plot ideas that I introduced in this story. This will probably be my NANO project. I also plan on writing a sequel for Runaways, my telekinetic assassin story.

Top 5 favorite (pick one) desserts, movies, things to eat, ice cream flavors, books.
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas
The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Rachel Valentine isn't your average girl.
Three years ago her brother disappeared, and Rachel went off the rails quite spectacularly. Now she is trapped in a nunnery because she accidently blew up half the science department at her old school. One night she sees her long-lost brother in the crowd behind a reporter on television. There's no mistaking who he is, but getting her parents to believe her is a different matter. It leaves her one option: break out of the nunnery and travel to London to track him down.
She's about to find out that things are never that simple and there are some secrets that are impossible to believe.
I drop the box at my feet, then rummage through it. The book I need is wedged in deep.
Thank God the nuns hadn't searched through any of the books I brought. I specifically chose the Stephen King, figuring it was the safest one. It took me ages to hollow it out. There's enough money in here that no one would notice the slight difference in weight. I flick through the wad of money, stopping when I catch sight of the fake ID, which adds a few years to my age. I use the blue rucksack stuffed into the box. I add the things I need inside. First the book, the money and ID still hidden away. A few items of clothes follow them, a skirt, a dress, T-shirts, and jeans. I'm looking forward to getting out of this stupid uniform. Hell, I'd burn it if I had time.
Just leaving the cupboard, I notice a name on one of the boxes. Susan Towers. What had she told me about herself? Pausing at the door, I think.
Come on, Rachel, think. She said something about makeup. She's a makeup student. There might be something I can use in her box.
I slide the box down. One quick search through it and then I'll go. I nearly jump when I brush my hand against something soft and brown.
What the hell is that?
A smile unfolds on my face when I realize what it is, hair. A wig. I fight against the urge to break out in a dance.
This is perfect. I can definitely use this.

About the author:

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far away, passed the farthest star in the sky and where the horizon meets for its kiss with the land, Samantha battled evil drones. The drones were six feet tall, had three sets of hands, and it was best If you didn't mention the third eye. (They don't like it when you bring it up.) She wields words like a sword in her hand and cuts down her foes with the skill of a ballerina wearing flip-flops and juggling chainsaws. (She knows how to multitask.)
Take a trip into her worlds (yep, plural) as she writes young adult with a touch of wolves and anything else that takes her fancy.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lycaon Monday: Awakening

What would you do if you learned everything you knew about the world was wrong? Microbiology student Elena Michaels is about to find out. After a few chance encounters with Alexavier Edmunds, a strange but intriguing student on campus, Elena is on the run from an ancient organization of angel-like beings. Strange things are awakening within her, and there is only one with the answers—the Elder. But can she make it to him in time?

Buy link:


Elena's face felt cold as the blood drained from it. She had not seen the woman's mouth move while she spoke. She sobered almost instantly, the hackles on her neck rising as she stared at the woman's cold smile. She recognized the voice in a moment of lucidity as the one she had heard at the airport, their tail, their stalker—one of the Opposition.
My mistress was right, the woman's voice continued. She told me it would be a matter of time before one of you two slipped up. The amazing thing is you both slipped up at the same time. The woman turned to Elena.
The woman stood nearly a whole foot shorter than Elena and appeared much more fragile. Elena tried to gauge whether or not she would be able to handle this woman on her own. She knew from experience Daimon men were quite powerful, but never expected such strength from females.
Let me clue you in on some secrets. First, Daimon men cannot handle their liquor. In fact, all Daimones are very quickly undone by alcohol. The woman eyed Elena up and down before saying, Second, you could never take me on. To illustrate her point, the small woman gripped the countertop and crushed a small section of it into powder.
"What do you want from me?" Elena asked.
The choice is simple, the woman replied mentally. Either come with me to see my mistress. Or...
"Or?" Elena asked, realizing she would regret this decision.
Or you and your companion die, the woman replied. A placid and sickly happy smile spread across her face as she said it.
The woman's evident pleasure at making such a dire threat sent a chill down Elena's spine. She conjured up the most severe feeling of pain she could imagine and directed it right at the Daimon woman as she had done to the other Daimon in Canada. However, instead of the anticipated effect of crippling pain she had seen in the Daimon man, the woman's eyes flashed, and then she laughed.
Silly girl, the woman said to her mentally. I am no mere weakling. Your foolish mind games have no effect on me.
Alec...I need your help! Elena cried out, hoping beyond hope he would hear and come to her aid.
The woman started laughing even louder. A terrifying grin crossed her face. He can't hear you. Alcohol impairs Daimon abilities. And Alec has had a few too many. I guess I shouldn't have bought him so many rounds!
Elena didn't wait for the woman to move. Filled with blind rage over being trapped by this woman, she pressed her attack. If her death was on the menu, then she would take this woman with her as dessert.
Elena bowled into the small Daimon woman, throwing all of her weight into the attack. To her surprise, the woman fell backward with her arm clutching at the sink.
She didn't stay down for long, though and responded by pushing back at Elena with startling speed, shoving her back a few paces.
Elena responded as fast. She threw her hands up in anticipation of the Daimon woman's attack. However, she couldn't fathom what kind of attack to expect coming at her.
The small woman was lithe. She maneuvered herself underneath Elena's arms and thrust upward with both arms like lofting a volleyball lifting Elena off of her feet and throwing her into the far wall. Elena managed to turn herself sideways in order to absorb her impact with the wall and push herself off into a counterattack.
Elena rushed across the room. The woman crouched at her approach. Instead of missing her target, however, Elena lowered her center of gravity and leapt, flying over the woman's back. While sailing over her opponent's body, Elena stretched out and grasped the woman around the waist.
Elena's momentum carried her forward, and she tucked her head and rolled, pulling the Daimon woman off her feet and flipping her onto her head with startling force. The Daimon's legs flailed and slammed into the large wall mirror, shattering it.
But she did not stay down for long. Before Elena could right herself, the woman leapt up and moved back across the room. Elena stood and whirled to face the woman but was caught off guard as a fist struck her across the face. Surprisingly, it did not carry much force. Elena brushed the blow off and delivered her own to the woman's chest, forcing the woman back several feet.
The Daimon crumpled, winded by the force of Elena's attack. When the Daimon stood again, she clutched a large shard of the broken mirror, which she wielded like a knife.

Thanks Scott for joining me at the Bookpile! 

1. I write because…
This is going to sound cheesy and cliché, but I write because it is part of my soul. I have written fiction my whole life, but didn't decide to transition into it full time until only a few years ago. Since then, I have been writing my heart out. And to tell the truth, there is nothing more I would want to do for my vocation.

2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be?
My favorite cookie has always been a coconut macaroon. There's just something about the flavor and texture that completely appeals to me.

3. Plotter or pantster?
I am a little bit of both, actually. I like to have a general idea of where I need the car to go, but let the details of the journey evolve by themselves. I feel this approach leaves me open for plot shifts when the story calls for them, but also allows me to stay focused on the endgame.

4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why?
My favorite type of character to write about would be the "others" from a first-person perspective—anyone not the main character. My background is in anthropology, history, and archaeology and I like to be an observer of people. While watching, I like to think up a person's back story based on their appearance and interactions. Writing about the "other" characters outside my main first-person character allows me to do the same thing.

5. Hamburgers or sushi?
I would have to go with a bacon double burger with mushrooms.

6. Name three things on your desk.
My laptop, a drinking glass, and candles (I usually set myself up on the dining room table).

7. What books have influenced your writing style?
I am an avid reader and all of them influence me one way or another. My strongest influences, I feel are HP Lovecraft, ER Burroughs, and Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child.

8. Tell us a little about your book.
Awakening is the tale of a Elena Michaels, a college student wanting to study genetics, and whose whole world is torn apart. After meeting a mysterious stranger on campus, Elena learns the world is not what she ever thought it was. She finds herself thrown in the middle of a long civil war between two warring factions of angels—one seeks to dominate humanity, the other seeks to enslave it. Accompanied by Alexavier Edmunds, she begins to experience a strange new world as she struggles to find the Elder—perhaps the only one who can help her survive.

9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors?
My advice for new and aspiring authors is to keep at it. Keep working, keep refining, and keep a positive attitude. There will be many disappointments along this journey, but they are not barriers—only tests of your conviction.

10. What is next on your writerly horizon?
Currently I am working on several new projects. I have a standalone horror story, a spaghetti western gunslinger series set in a post-apocalyptic society, and of course, the sequel to Awakening. Some interesting stories will be coming up in the future. Keep your eyes peeled and be sure to follow me on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter for updates.

Top 5 favorite (pick one) desserts, movies, things to eat, ice cream flavors, books.
Top 5 Favorite Movies:
The Goonies
Harry Potter (whole series)
Chronicles of Riddick (whole series)
Transformers (whole series)
Count of Monte Christo

Scott Wieczorek is a professional archaeologist working in the American Middle-Atlantic region. He has written numerous short stories and several full-length novels ranging from science fiction to paranormal mystery to horror. In addition, he writes reviews of books by Independent authors. Samples of his work are available on his blog at

Friday, September 26, 2014

Deep in the Meadows

About DEEP IN THE MEADOWS: Bianca “Bee” Thompson’s brother, Jimmy has been dead for ten months, yet she still feels his presence lingering. And one question haunts her: Was Jimmy’s death an accident? Probing into the events on the night of Jimmy’s death, Bee hears strange voices. The voices lead her to a blood-splattered room, a terrifying threat, and a deadly trap. Is Bee on the trail of her brother’s murderer, or is she entangled in a totally different and much more diabolical plot? Buy Links: Amazon | Leap Books

A story about a deadly threat, strange goings on in her home and a brother she misses terribly. There are dark elements and an intriguing story line.

What I liked:

The plot and imagery. This story was wonderfully diabolical and held my interest.

What I didn't:

The editing and formatting made this book a difficult read for me and I had to keep putting it down.

About Lisa M. Cronkhite: Midwest Author Lisa M. Cronkhite’s love for writing started when she was a teen, journaling of her torrid romance with her first boyfriend then and now husband of over two decades. She picked up writing again after her first bipolar episode and psychotic break when her doctor recommended it as a coping skill. Once again, with pencil in hand, Lisa dove herself into crafting poetry. Through the years, Lisa has published her poems in print and online magazines such as Poetry Repairs, Grey Sparrow Press, Sacramento Poetry Center, Poetry Salzburg Review and many more. Lisa also has short stories in magazines like Suspense Magazine and YA Fiction magazine Suddenly Lost in Words. Her novels include Dreaming a Reality, Demon Girl and Deep in the Meadows. Disconnected is her fourth novel. Lisa is currently working on her next novel, Purple Haze. Social Media Links: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon Gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

After having been cryogenically suspended for eighteen years, Oliver Conroy is brought back to life and given a second opportunity to live out his dreams. Velcron Technologies assures Oliver there’s nothing wrong with the procedure. Excited to find his family and finish his senior year at Sierra Vista High, Oliver ventures out into the new and very different world.

Across town, Colby Patterson, Sierra Vista’s star student, has just experienced his soul torn from his body and returned to its original owner, Oliver, leaving him empty, void of emotion, a psychopath, who is now determined to get his soul back using any means necessary.

When Oliver comes to realize he’s being pursued by Colby he must decide what to do. Can he defend himself against this soulless psychopath? Will he be able to bring himself to murder? And, if so, what will happen to his soul?

It’s a battle for the ultimate prize – ownership of the soul.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Colby woke on the cold floor. Only one of his eyes worked. The other was sealed shut. He pulled himself to sitting, feeling every inch of his body bruised and sore. An ache radiated inside of him like his ribs were broken. Blood dripped from a cut on his lip. He smeared it away with the back of his hand, then looked down at his arms and saw burn marks seared across his flesh. The same red marks covered his legs. Colby struggled to his feet and looked around to orientate himself.

He wasn’t in the room he had been brought to when he first arrived to Velcron. This room was a laboratory—a dimly lit one. The floor was smooth and polished, with a metal table was in the middle of the room. Silver chutes lined one wall, a metal door on the other. He hobbled to the door and tried the handle not really thinking it would work, but determined to escape. He had to get out.

He remembered the last thing Dr. Wang had said. Take him to the vaporization room. Colby turned around again and saw a shower on the far end of the room—the vaporization shower. He had heard about it before. It was used in prisons to execute criminals. A prisoner would be forced into the chamber and ultrasonic lasers would shoot out of the showerhead, vaporizing the victim into oblivion. Now, they were going to try to execute him without any just cause. He hadn’t even had a trial. There was no jury, no witnesses called forth to testify, no judge to hear his version of the truth. All of it was a set-up, to annihilate him and keep him quiet, but why?

About the Author:
Young Adult author L.V. Pires lives near Baltimore, Maryland.

She graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Master’s in Education and the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor's in English. She is currently working towards her MFA in Creative Writing at Spalding University.

Her work includes "The Portrait" (Gypsy Shadow Publishing), "Summer of Winged Creatures" (Saturday's Child Press) and EXTENSION (6/15/14, Crescent Moon Press).

Follow her at
Twitter at @lisavpires

Buy the book at Amazon.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Restless in Peaceville

1. I write because… not writing is simply not an option. Really. I had about a decade of not writing, and it drove me crazy!
2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be? Double choc chip. With extra chocolate please.
3. Plotter or pantster? Pantser. And a non-linear pantser at that.
4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why? I love tortured souls, mostly so I can torture them some more. It means there's as much, if not more, internal conflict as external, and without conflict you don't have much of a story. Also I feel they deserve their happily ever after that much more.
5. Hamburgers or sushi? Hamburgers. Especially homemade barbecued burgers as done by my husband.
6. Name three things on your desk. Laptop, notebooks and pens. Pretty boring but essential.
7. What books have influenced your writing style? I read a really diverse range of genres growing up, from nautical war novels by Alexander Kent, James Bond books, murder mysteries by Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle, to animal adventures by James Herriott and Gerald Durrall. But I mostly read heavy SciFi and fantasy, then moved onto Anne McCaffrey in my late teens. Her books probably had the biggest influence on my writing.
8. Tell us a little about your book. Restless In Peaceville is essentially Warm Bodies meets Supernatural in a Louisiana that never was. It's my first zombie story, and my first paranormal, but not with your usual Hollywood-style zombies.
9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors? Never give up - never surrender! Write lots. Research lots. Get feedback but bear in mind twenty different people may give you twenty totally different opinions. You need to figure out which to listen to. And write with your heart.
10. What is next on your writerly horizon? I have a paranormal short coming out in October, a superhero romance novella in November, and a fallen angel UF short in December. Plus I have a trilogy of YA zombie shorts in progress.

Top 5 favorite movies:
Warm Bodies, Star Wars IV: The Empire Strikes Back, A Knight's Tale, How To Train Your Dragon, and Guardians of the Galaxy.


Welcome to Peaceville, population 2067 and rising...from the grave...
Luke Chester has had enough. He’s the school geek, the girls laugh at him, he’s lost his dead-end job at the pizza place, and in the midst of the world’s messiest divorce his parents don’t even know he exists. An overdose of his mom’s tranquilizers and a stomach full of whiskey should solve all his problems...
But they don’t. Instead, Luke finds himself booted out of the afterlife for not dying a natural death, with nowhere to go but back to his recently vacated corpse and reality. How the hell is he going to pass for one of the living without someone trying to blow his brains out for being one of the undead?
And it just gets worse. He’s got to fight his own desperate craving to consume the living, evade the weird supernatural hunter who’s having a field day with the new undeads rising, and there’s this creepy black shadow following him around. Add to that the distraction of female fellow undead Annabelle burning to avenge her own murder, and clearly there’s no rest for the wicked. Jeez, all he wanted to do was R.I.P.

Buy Link
You gotta be kidding me...Waking up inside a small dark space is a pretty bad experience. Although I didn't wake as such because I wasn't asleep. I just became...aware maybe? The darkness kind of faded away until I can see I'm inside this metal box. Well, as far as I can tell. I tap the wall with one knuckle to check, and the hollow metallic knock proves at least part of my assumption right. So, what is this? I died and got kicked out of the afterlife. As far as I know, coffins ain't made of metal. So at a guess, I'm in the mortuary, and since I'm not laid out on a slab I must have been put away in storage. I've never been stuck in a drawer before, but somehow this fits with how I imagine it would be.
I suppose I should count myself lucky they hadn't started carving me up, and that I'd gone for an overdose rather than throwing myself in front of a truck or out of a window. I'm in damn good condition...for a corpse. Still in one piece as far as I can ascertain, and that ain't easy to determine, let me tell you. You know how an arm or a leg goes after you've sat on it for a while, cutting off the circulation? But before the blood flow starts again and you get pins and needles? That numb heaviness? My whole body is like that. Like every part of me is full of lead.
Also, the not breathing is weird. I take a couple of breaths out of habit, for the familiar feeling of air moving in and out of my chest. After that I don't bother. It takes too much concentration and there are other things I need to focus on. Like, what do I do next, for instance?
So, what, I'm just gonna lie here?

About the author:

After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade. Her works include a YA science fiction novel—Gethyon—published through BURST (Champagne Books), a scifi romance novella—Tethered—published by Breathless Press, three self-published short stories (Terms & Conditions Apply, The Bones of the Sea, and Reboot), and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).
You can stalk her at her website, or at her blog, but without doubt her favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.

Blogs –
Adventures in Scifi -
Spacefreighters Lounge -

Monday, August 25, 2014

Newbie Nick

All 14-year-old Nick Zinsky wanted was a guitar of his own and a necklace for his mom, and he wanted to buy both on his own, without anyone's help. Too young to get a real job, he came up with a plan to get the money.
Using a guitar loaned from his high school, he spent the summer and weekends playing the guitar while busking downtown. But he had to keep his "job" a secret from everyone—from his mom, his music teacher, the other kids at school, and especially from the school bully, Beau. 
But when a music competition is announced where the prizes would solve all Nick's problems, Nick lacks the confidence to enter the competition. Having a nickname like "Newbie Nick" doesn't help, either. 
Does he find the courage to enter? Will he ever get his guitar? 

Buy Link


1. I write because…What else am I gonna do? Sure I knit, but writing is a creative outlet that has no pattern, no rules, and no boundaries. I write to (hopefully) entertain, inspire, and to make others think. We all have something to say – something to share – and writing is how I do both, best. When I was once told an article I wrote helped that person (it was a slice-of-life, inspirational article on depression), I knew what I was meant to do.  My words, my work, helped someone, and from then on, I knew why I had to keep writing – no matter what.
2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be?  Chocolate chip. Good ‘ole tried-and-true. Can’t go wrong with that?
3. Plotter or pantster? A bit of both, but mostly pantster. I need the freedom to let the story go where it will. Sure, there has to be a bit of framework, but I just….go.
4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why? For my teen books, I love to write about a good guy who has just had his world turned upside down, he toys with a dark side, but learns right from wrong and comes out a better good guy – but with an edge.
5. Hamburgers or sushi? I love both. I love the good ‘ole tried-and-true hamburger (just like a chocolate chip cookie), but sometimes I need a bit of an adventure – sushi gives me that.
6. Name three things on your desk. Post-it notes and pen, my cell phone, my watch (because I can’t write with my watch on)
7. What books have influenced your writing style?  Young adult books Janet Gurtler and Susane Colasanti, as well as women’s contemporary  by Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella (I love humour)
8. Tell us a little about your book. Blurb: When 14-year-old Nick Zinsky secretly busks for money on the downtown streets, he soon learns that keeping his "job" a secret is harder than he thought.

All 14-year-old Nick Zinsky wanted was a guitar of his own and a necklace for his mom, and he wanted to buy both on his own, without anyone's help. Too young to get a real job, he came up with a plan to get the money. 
Using a guitar loaned from his high school, he spent the summer and weekends playing the guitar while busking downtown. But he had to keep his "job" a secret from everyone—from his mom, his music teacher, the other kids at school, and especially from the school bully, Beau. 
But when a music competition is announced where the prizes would solve all Nick's problems, Nick lacks the confidence to enter the competition. Having a nickname like "Newbie Nick" doesn't help, either. 
Does he find the courage to enter? Will he ever get his guitar?

9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors? If you want something bad enough, you’ll do it - no matter what. No matter who tries to bring you down; no matter what the ‘next guy’ is doing. Fear is the biggest obstacle – if you can beat it, and you will if you want something bad enough (starting/finishing a book, sending it out, starting a new projection despite ‘rejection’) – you can do anything. Just take a deep breath and dive in.
10. What is next on your writerly horizon? I just finished another novella for teens about a high school guy, Luke Hannon, who, upon dealing with the aftermath of his girlfriend’s attempted suicide, questions loyalty – from friends and teachers, and most of himself.

Top 5 favorite (pick one) desserts, movies, things to eat, ice cream flavors, books.  Top five books: Marian Keyes ‘Under the Duvet’ anthologies; Sophie Kinsella’s  ‘Can You Keep a Secret’; Janet Gurtler’s ‘If I tell’; Jane Eyre; and the thesaurus (yes, the thesaurus).


"Whatcha doin'?" 
I stopped playing and looked up. Even though I was wearing sunglasses, I had to shield my eyes against the sun. 
It was that little girl again. 
"I'm playing the guitar." I wasn't about to be a rude jerk to her, but I didn't have much time to talk. She hung around me yesterday, but was too shy to talk. Her dad, or uncle, or whoever from the shop next to me kept a watchful eye on her, peeking out the store door every few minutes. 
I figured if I ignored her, she would go away. Traffic wasn't busy on the street, which meant less noise, but the sidewalks were busy with tourists and shoppers. If I was gonna make some decent cash today, I needed to keep playing, but not with the attention of a little kid. 
I had just started strumming, remembering how my grandpa taught me to place my fingers, when she spoke again. 
"Why are you playing?" she sing-songed. Her whiny voice bugged me. 
How do you explain being a street busker to a kid who looks like a kindergartener? 
As she picked her nose, some guy threw a dollar into my guitar case. 
"Thank you!" I called out. 
Some might laugh at getting only a dollar, but it all adds up. Not only was I saving money for a sleek guitar for me, but also a necklace for my mom. And I didn't consider what I had been doing all summer as charity. She always worked hard for us, and taking nothing for herself. I wanted to do this for her and was determined to do it all on my own, without help. I worked for every dime I got. My mom always says money doesn't matter when you have people in your life that care as much as they do. Whatever. 
I looked at the little girl, stalling to think about how to answer. 
"Jessica, are you okay?" Her father or uncle or whoever called from the store. 
"I'm fine, Daddy!" 
Oh, so that's her dad. When I first started coming downtown at the beginning of summer, he would scowl at me from the store's doorway. I was afraid he would call the police, but he didn't. I always try to move spots, but there are only so many sidewalks I can use. I have to be seen and heard, but I also have to be careful to not be seen by anyone I know. 
Her dad went back inside. Jessica was still waiting, so I gave the easiest answer. "I want to buy a guitar and one day play like my grandpa." 
"Whyyyy?" This time she sat down on the sidewalk beside me. 
I strummed a few chords. The people passing by ignored us. I was losing business chatting with her. I figured I would just get my story out quick. I knew she wouldn't care and probably wouldn't tell anyone. And besides, a little twerp like her wouldn't understand, anyways. 
Sweat dribbled down my back, and I knew the peanut butter and jam sandwich in my backpack was gonna be warm and soggy. 
I looked at her again. "Because he was the best guitarist ever. He was a music teacher and taught me how to play when I was a little kid like you." Before I knew it, I was babbling on. "If I want play like him, to be like him, I need my own guitar." 
I barely registered that someone had thrown in a few coins in my case as I kept talking. "Someone stole his old guitar from my grandma's house, and I haven't been able to play unless I borrow a guitar from school. So I want my own." I stopped. Why had I gone on and on like that? 
"Doesn't he play the guitar anymore?" she asked, as if I hadn't rambled on about any of the other stuff. 
"He died a while ago." And I miss him so much, I wanted to add, but didn't. I didn't want to sound like a freak, even if only to a stupid little kid. 
"Is he in heaven?" She looked fearful for a second. 
"Yes, he is," I said, and she sagged in relief, as if worried he wasn't. 
She picked at a worn edge of the guitar case, looked at the money inside, and then said, "Why don't you work at a store to get money? If you have a store like my daddy, you could make lots of money!" 
She was really starting to get on my nerves, though I couldn't blame her for my frustrations. I strummed again. After being without a guitar for a year, not only had I gotten rusty and lost my touch, but I had forgotten how playing made any mixed-up feelings disappear. 
But it was missing my grandpa that had me wanting to play again. My grade nine music teacher, Shark, had loaned me a guitar for practicing on the weekends. He knew my mom couldn't afford to rent one. But it wasn't enough for me. I wanted my own. I hated not having something to play during the week, and I hated feeling like a charity case and borrowing one. 
So when summer came, Shark secretly loaned me the guitar for the summer. The school wouldn't approve if they knew. Even though having a guitar with Mattheson High School in black ink down the side of it wasn't exactly cool, at least I could play. But if Shark knew what I had also used the guitar for, I don't think he would exactly approve either. 
Jessica still watched me. Waiting. 
I gave in. "I can't get a job because I'm fourteen, almost fifteen,” I was quick to add. “Maybe next year I can get a real job. But for now, my mom won't let me. She says school is too important." Just thinking about it was starting to irritate me. I had to get rid of the kid somehow. 
In a nice, fake, happy voice I said, "Hey, I think your dad is calling you. I think you better go now." 
At the mention of her dad, her eyes widened and she jumped up. She stared at me for a moment, and then skipped away. Thank God. 
A leaf fell at my feet, reminding me I didn't have much time left. Soon the crappy autumn rains would start, and my days of busking downtown would be over, along with days of making money. If I wanted to play, if I wanted a guitar of my own, I had to make money. I had already put down $50 toward theperfect guitar I had on layaway at Mike's Music store, but I had a long way to go. It was a vicious circle—playing a guitar to make money to play a guitar. It sounded stupid thinking about it that way, but it was true. 
But none of that mattered right at that moment. 
Because as I looked up, I saw him. My sweat from the summer sun turned to ice. 
It was that stupid jerk, Beau, from school. 

About the author:

Like many authors, Lisa McManus started writing at a young age. When she was nine-years old she wrote a sci-fi/horror story about an acid-spewing spider that attacked her in her sleep—it would be her first and last story for many years. Although the story was never published and eventually met its fate in the garbage dump (paper recycling wasn't around back then), the seed was sown.
Her love of books started when her dad read her The Bobbsey Twins At Big Bear Pond when was too little for such big novels. Within time it was Judy Blume who kept her up well past her bedtime—"Just one more chapter!" An outgoing teen by nature yet a reclusive bookworm at heart, her summers were spent on her back porch reading everything from Nancy Drew to Sweetdreams teen romances (it was the 80's!), to Agatha Christie and Danielle Steele. Her library card took a beating—the path to the Richmond Public Library in Richmond, BC was well worn.
Although not very academic and not destined for the accelerated classes in school, some teachersomewhere along the way must have seen something in her homework for in grade eight, and much to her surprise, Lisa was placed in an advanced English class—with all the "smart kids." There she stayed for the rest of her high school years: dissecting novels, conjugating verbs, and writing essays—which she all secretly loved. She won an award for best poem in grade 12.
But the writing bug hadn't bitten her, yet.
Soon married life and motherhood became her world, but books were still her passion and escape during those busy years. Then, eventually, her deep-seated writing-spirit finally surfaced when her second son was two years old. A slice-of-life story she wrote on a whim was accepted in a local parenting magazine. The call from the editor is something she will never forget.
And from there it started.
Multi-published in magazines locally and internationally, as well as in numerous anthologies such asChicken Soup for the Soul under the name Lisa McManus Lange, her slice-of-life stories of humour, wit and inspiration have been drawn from the world around her.
As a mother to two teen boys, it only made sense to write for kids and young adults—but it took her a while figure it out. It was only upon reading countless young adult novels in recent years - stories that speak to her teenage self - that she started to find her place in the fiction writing world. With a nudge from a fellow young adult author, she wrote Newbie Nick, a novel geared towards 12–15 year olds.
While juggling her family of three men, her office job and her writing world, she also blogs at  You can find info about her young adult books at  or write her at

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Genie and the Sandman

After an exhausting journey through an alternate dimension, Payton Wren and Logan McCullough thought they'd finally found their way home only to discover three glowing moons shining down on them from the sky. In this new world, Logan and Payton both discover surprising things about their families that endanger the possibility of returning to their own dimension. To top it off, she learns she has the ability to grant wishes—an ability much coveted by federal agents, who will do anything to obtain the secrets of the well.
When the pair is only one wish away from returning to their own world, they instead have to jump to a new dimension. But will this one kill them before they have a chance to discover what powers she has that might help them?

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 My hands gripped into fists as I let rage sweep over me. I welcomed it. It cleared my mind and allowed me to focus. The heat of my glare, if it became a physical thing, would surely have burned through the driver, who regarded me solemnly.
He tucked the gun he held into his belt behind his back and then raised his hands to appear gentle. "I didn't want any of this to happen, kid."
His voice might have sounded contrite, but there was no mistaking the cold, determined look in his eyes. Those eyes spoke volumes to me. Telling me things he would never speak aloud. Whatever it took, no matter who or what got in his way, he would have his answers. The precious well was all that mattered. Several deep breaths later, I asked the fateful question. "Is he dead?"
"Not yet. But he will be if he's not taken to a hospital right now."
"Then take him."
He regarded me thoughtfully. "You're pretty broken up about a guy who turned you in to the feds."
"I know you can grant wishes, and disappear."
"Oh, I can do a lot more than that," I baited him, making my voice soft and mysterious. "I can take you places you can't even begin to imagine. Make your wildest dreams come true." I crept as close as I dared, lest I be sent whirling through space again. From where I now stood I could see the pitiful, strained—but welcome, all the same—breaths Logan took. Faint hope remained. Hang on!
"That's a big promise you make, considering I only get three wishes."
So, he did know the rules. "I am not from this place, this world." Time was running out for Logan, and I had to talk fast.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean I am not the Payton Wren from this dimension. And that is not the same Logan McCullough." He appeared intrigued; I could tell by his gleaming, beady-eyed, rat-faced look.
Come closer little rat. Take the bait.
"We came here through a tunnel by the graveyard. It leads to other worlds, other dimensions. There's so much more to all of this than just a lousy wishing well. It's the find of the century. Just think of it."
Come closer...
"It's not true. It's too fantastic to be true."
But a magic wishing well was believable? "I can prove it."
"How?" He practically rubbed his hands together in glee. Closer...
Now was the moment of truth. The time to see if what Logan and I had talked about could actually be done. "You need to make a wish. A very special wish." I crossed my fingers that he would take the bait.
"I don't want to waste a wish. I could make one right now, and you couldn't stop me."
"True. But before the words are out of your mouth, I'll disappear again. You've seen me do it; it's another one of my powers. Next time, I won't come back. If I did, it would be too late. Logan would be dead. There would be no point." I let him stew on that for a moment. "Your choice. All I'm asking for is one wish."

1. I write because…    My mind's always been filled with stories and characters.  As soon as I get something down on paper, another bunch takes over, vying for attention.
2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be?     White chocolate chip cookie.
3. Plotter or pantster?      Definitely a pantster.  I love to experience the action as my heroine/hero lives it.
4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why?   I love to write about young women. How they face and overcome difficult situations and discover an inner strength they didn't know they possessed.
5. Hamburgers or sushi?      Burgers for sure.
6. Name three things on your desk.     Picture of my boys. Notebook. Laser light to distract the cats.
7. What books have influenced your writing style?     I love to read historical fiction and romance.  My home library overflows with books by Jude Deveraux, Philippa Gregory, Margaret George, Elizabeth Chadwick, Anne Easter Smith, and Diana Gabaldon.
8. Tell us a little about your book.  Genie and the Sandman is the second book in the series 'The Diary of Payton Wren' about the adventures of Payton and Logan being trapped in a mysterious tunnel, which leads them to different worlds, and their struggles to find their way back home.
9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors?     Write every day, and read anything/everything you can get your hands on.
10. What is next on your writerly horizon?    I'm currently working on a ghost story about a young woman who is being audited by the government for her 'ghost busting' tax deductions. The only way to legitimize her 'right offs' and her business is to take the handsome auditor on a ghostly mystery with her to a creepy old house.

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

Books: Wild Orchids by Jude Deveraux. Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George. Remembrance by Jude Deveraux. And Eternity by Maggie Shayne.

Born in Ontario, Julie Parker began her writing career at an early age, creating her first stories as soon as she could hold a pencil. She still lives in Ontario, with her husband, two teen-age sons and two cats.
Julie began writing novels while as a stay at home mom raising her two sons. When her youngest son began grade one, Julie returned to work, spending six years at the neighborhood library, which reinforced her love of books.
She has dedicated a lot of her time to reading about and researching the paranormal and medieval times—her favorite era—and developing her own stories. Her first short story was sold in November 2009, followed by several contest wins and more contracts.
Julie loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her at, or visit her web page .