Urban Fantasy Author
Book Bling Blog
You Can Use a Real Disaster to Create a Disaster in Your Story, or My Neighborhood has Literally Gone to Hell!
During the Coronavirus Pandemic we've all heard a lot of information (and misinformation) about face masks. One fact seems indisputable: medical personnel are in dire need of face masks. There is such a shortage, nurses are making face guards from pop bottles, and asking citizens who sew to make masks.
Seniors are at such risk they are on lockdown, not allowing visitors in nursing homes. Living in a senior community that's right next door to another one that is condos rather than single family homes, it's something I have paid a lot of attention to. I have also noted that the virus has spread from those with no symptons who are carriers, and that it is highly, highly contagious and can be spread by sneazing, coughing or even breathing and talking from one person to another, whether contact is commuted via the air through the eyes, nose or mouth, or from touching a surface upon which the virus has settled and then touching your mouth, nose, or rubbing your eyes, etc.
Now at first they said, and still in some cases still do say that citizens don't need face masks unless they are sick. [Recall that carriers may have no symptoms for up to 2 weeks if at all, so who is sick?] They were trying to keep the t.p. hoarders from siphoning all remaining face masks that could be used by front line responders and medical personnel, and rightly so. However, they are claiming that Korea was able to keep their infection rate down because many citizens were wearing face masks and blocking the virus and preventing themselves from touching their faces. Best defense against that? Wash your hands, right? Washing hands removes germs. Hand sanitizers only kill some of the germs. Better than nothing when a sink isn't handy, but never as good as a good scrub as soon as you get home. [Fastest spread right now, according to the experts? Gas pumps.]
Since I'm the head of our community's Neighborhood Watch Patrol, and all our patrol volunteers are seniors, I felt I needed to do something. They spend a lot of selfless hours (especially once the snowbirds leave and nearly half our neighborhood is vacant), keeping our community safe, so I felt I needed to do something to keep them safe. I also worried about my hubby who's a senior and works in a service industry job and is still working. Decision made: I don't want to take masks from the medical personnel, but I feel my hubby (who sees clients every day) and patrol folk needed masks when they are so often approached by neighbors who are out exercising and getting some air--and especially when they have to go to the store.
So I went on the search for the perfect, most protective mask I could make at home, knowing even then they wouldn't be N95 professsional masks. There were masks that accordian like the 'real' surgical masks, some that tied with fabric ties or had elastic straps. There were more conelike masks that provided space for the nose without accordian folds. They were also made from a variety of materials from simple cotton to flannel, to interfacing and even bras or maxi pads. Here's an interesting link: https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/homemade-masks-coronavirus-do-they-work-how-to-make-them-20200324.html
After extensive research, several sample trial and error attempts, more research from government sites to medical sites and youtube how-to videos, I came up with the following conclusions. Keep in mind that it's my personal opinion, gleaned from the information of experts and home diy folks.
I decided to go with the face-contoured cone-shaped pattern. I used cotton (mostly remnents from quilts and other projects I had made) material for the mask. I incorporated a filter slot in the back, and that pocket was lined with non-woven fusible interfacing, which is a fairly good filter itself, similar to the material of medical masks (washable, which is why they are washing/disinfecting and reusing hospital masks). I also, and this seems to be very, very important, add a piece of wire at the top so air can't escape above, at the bridge of the nose, which makes the mask pretty much useless when you consider breathing in contaminants, though it would still block fairly large mucus-laden globules. People have used bag ties, pipe cleaners and many other 'wire' alternatives. I used florist wire. I tried to keep the ends protected by adding a dab of hot glue to seal the end. Some used duct tape, but I'm not sure if that would wash off or not. The glue gob could come off in the wash too, I suppose.
So what filter to put in the filter pocket? It seems most sites that actually did any research on diy masks agreed that vacuum bags are best. Why? Well the ones I had were double-layered and have microbial stopping power. So I sewed the two layers together in the oval shape I needed for the pocket. This gives my masks 3 layers of cotton, 1 layer of fusible interface, and a 2 layers of microbial filter, so 6 layers of protection in total. Breathable? Yup. And that's important. Flannel, BTW, seemed rather difficult to breath through when double layered, though it's comfy against the face. Personal choices.
I decided that sewing ties takes much longer so played around with the elastic ties and moved from the over the ears, one loop of elastic on each side of the mask to one piece of elastic that loops through each side and behind the head. It takes the same amount of elastic. The behind the head types seem to fit more securely, and make the mask fit the face better, as well as being more comfortable to wear.
So I have made masks for all my neighborhood watch, family members (some who life in Cali and are very high risk), and a few requested by a doctor my husband knows. Now I am going to make some to donate to the front-liners. No matter what you think of the pandemic, these are handy. One of the watch people told me they immediately used it to use bug spray so wanted to make sure they could wash it for reuse! And let's not forget they said we need to prepare for a second wave.... If you want to try some for your family and friends this is the pattern for sewing I used: https://ithinksew.com/FreePatterns/2781_FACIALMASKWITHFILTERPOCKET_UTB.pdf
Who else thinks my mask choice is better protection, even without the hepa filter? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnVk12sFRkY
Why do I add a hepa filter layer from a vacuum bag? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6d3twpHwis&feature=emb_rel_pause
And here's the video I watched to learn how, though I alter it a bit, by making the pocket interface layer the size of the pattern, and the other 2 cotton layers about 1/2 inch longer so as the last step I can fold them over and make a casing for the elastic (I use 28" of 1/4" elastic). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlrSNFC4DLs
Need to Help a Youngster Fill Their New Kindle, Nook or Other EReader? Book Ideas for Every Age Group!
Need a last minute stocking stuffer or want to help fill your youngster's ereader for Christmas break? Of course I recommend books, for every occassion. It's a very affordable vacation! As an expert in the areas of emerging, struggling, and developing readers, I have tried to include those that will appeal to all levels of readers in every age group. You know best which of these great books is best for your reader.
Ages 3-5 (and younger, as you will be reading to them)
Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit series, to introduce a child in your life to the misadventures of Peter Rabbit in Mr. McGreggor’s garden. Classics are classics for a reason.
Tom Fletcher’s There’s an Elf in Your Book, and it’s a bossy elf, who may be trying to trick you or get you into trouble, so you may have to outwit him. A fun addition to the whole Elf on a Shelf craze.
Plum: How the Sugar Plum Fairy Got Her Wings Will and Grace's Sean Hayes and composer Scott Icenogle fill in the oft-wondered-about backstory of how the Sugar Plum Fairy came to be.
National Geographic’s First Big Book of Why by Amy Shields, to help with all those why’s in that sometimes confusing (how do you explain things that are complex in simple terms) why stage.
Jessika von Innerebner’s Kevin the Unicorn: It’s Not All Rainbows, is especially good when your child may not be having a perfect day, or may be a bit cranky (not that the child in your life would ever be cranky).
All Aboard! The Christmas Train by Nichole Mara. Folding out car by car, this accordion-style board book takes readers on a tour of Santa’s Christmas train. Each car has lots to see—elves making toys, penguins playing, reindeer preparing for the big day—as Santa searches for his missing boot. With a running landscape dotted with objects for children to find and count on the back of the book, All Aboard! The Christmas Train is a fun, interactive ride from beginning to end.
Jan Britt’s The Tale of the Tiger Slippers, is based on an Indian folktale and reminding little ones to persevere, work hard for what they get and to remember where they came from.
Dragons Love Tacos 2 by Adam Rubin, comes in as box set with two plush dragons. A funny tale about how the dragons save their favorite food.
Paul McCartney has written a book called Hey Grandude! For adventure-loving kids, you can’t go wrong with this action-packed picture book from one of the most celebrated musicians in history. With help from his magic compass, Grandude takes his grandchildren on a globe-trotting expedition. Celebrate imagination and adventure with this delightful story.
Who doesn’t love the Bernstein Bears by Jan and Stan Berenstain? Everyone’s favorite bear family is celebrating Christmas in Bear Country, in The Bernstein Bears’ Merry Christmas. With two books in one, Berenstain Bears fans will get to enjoy both The Mad, Mad, Mad Toy Craze and Meet Santa Bear. Join the family as they experience the spirit of giving and learn what matters most during the holiday season.
Grumpy Monkey Party Time by Suzanne Lang. Everyone's favorite grumpy monkey is back in a new story! Jim Panzee is nervous about going to a party. He doesn’t know how to dance. In fact, he doesn’t even like to dance. Kids that get nervous in new situations will appreciate this funny picture book. Filled with laugh-out-loud moments and expressive illustrations, this book shows kids how to manage their anxiety.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess. Sure, there’s a movie, but why not read the original book first? Teach your youngster the skill or compare and contrast from word to screen (said the retired English teacher), and increase their literacy skills!
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg is great for younger kids too. Again, book versus movie opportunity here! 1986 Caldecott Medal Winner A young boy, lying awake one Christmas Eve, is welcomed aboard a magical trip to the North Pole . . . Through dark forests, over tall mountains, and across a desert of ice, the Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish.
The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin The title illustrates the delightful and uplifting message in this beautifully illustrated book.
Runny Babbit Returns by Shel Silverstein Fun and quirky! The mixed-up language in this hilarious book will get your kids laughing and inspire their imaginations.
The Nightmare Before Christmas: 20th Anniversary Edition. I just love this and think it’s a fun keepsake for kids of all ages (including adults). In this beloved picture book that could only come from the visionary mind of author and illustrator TIM BURTON, we meet Jack Skellington-- a well-intentioned inhabitant of Halloweenland. Jack is bored of "the scaring, the terror, the fright....tired of being something that goes bump in the night". And so, in an effort to bring joy to his town, Jack kidnaps Santa and takes his place as the jolly old elf. But instead of bringing joy to the world Jack, who is a little more than a grinning skeleton, brings fear by delivering creepy toys and riding a sleigh carried by skeletal reindeer. Only through a number of things going horribly wrong does Jack learn the true meaning of Christmas.
Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties by Dave Pilkey For kids beginning to explore the world of chapter books, the Dog Man series is a favorite. A Tale of Two Kitties is the newest book in the series and is perfect for Captain Underpants groupies and kids that enjoy goofy humor.
Who doesn’t love a ninja princess? The Princess in Black: Three Smashing Adventures by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale Get the first three adventures in everyone's favorite ninja-princess series with this boxed set. Growing readers will devour these stories and enjoy the mask-wearing, pony-riding, monster-smashing fun.
Got an American Girl lover in your life? They need one of these! American Girl Character Encyclopedia by Carrie Anton and Erin Falligant They can learn more about their favorite dolls and the stories behind them, explore outfits, and discover facts every American Girl enthusiast should know.
Coding for 6-8 year old’s, really? My First Coding Book by Kiki Prottsman Coding is quickly becoming a life skill for the rising generation, and it's a high-interest topic for kids. With flaps to lift, puzzles to solve, and easy to digest information, this book makes coding accessible, interesting, and fun for young readers.
The Flower Fairy aficionado has developed a beautiful coloring book that’s perfect for this age all the way through adult! Color with your favorite youngster! The Flower Fairies Coloring Book by Cicely Mary Barker Young artists and Flower Fairies devotees will love coloring the stunning artwork on these pages. With beautiful illustrations of flowers and fairies, it's the perfect gift for the fanciful young artist.
Letters From Father Christmas J.R.R. Tolkien’s kids got a letter from Father Christmas every year, with detailed stories and illustrations to go with each. Here, his magical notes are remembered for all to enjoy.
This is a great age to get the youngster in your life started on journaling, and here’s a great first book to help them out. My Smile Diary by Raina Telgemeier Your youngster can document the details of their life, dreams, and big goals in this whimsical diary filled with blank pages and bordered with Telgemeier’s characteristic comic-style artwork, as well as handwritten prompts for deeper reflection.
Don’t think zombies are popular with this age group? Think again! The Last Kids on Earth and the Midnight Blade by Max Brallier, illustrated by Douglas Holgate. This fifth book in the action-packed Last Kids on Earth series takes place after Jack and his friends survive the Monster Apocalypse. In this story, Jack uses his Louisville Slicer blade’s incredible powers to fight zombies and Vine-Thingies. Meanwhile, Dirk’s acting suspicious and a new villain arrives in town.
Have a kid in your life that’s getting a fur baby from Santa? Dog Training for Kids: Fun and Easy Wats to Care for Your Furry Friend by Vanessa Estrada Marin For kids ready to become dog parents, this digestible guide book is a must-read. Easy-to-follow instructions allow kids to walk their pets through basic obedience training, essential commands, and clever tricks. Parents will also appreciate that kids are learning patience, compassion, and responsibility — all essential qualities in both dog training and life.
My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi During the summer of 1984, science fiction enthusiast Ebony-Grace leaves the comfort of her grandfather’s home in Huntsville, Alabama to visit her father in Harlem. Initially, she’s overwhelmed and retreats to her imagination, but soon she embraces the parallels between Harlem and the world of science fiction adventures.
White Bird: A Wonder Story by R.J. Palacio Written by the author of Wonder, this meaningful graphic novel about Julian’s Jewish Grandmère shows that kindness takes bravery. Despite the fact that Sara’s friends bullied him, when the Nazis come for Jewish children, a boy and his family hide Sara from the soldiers — saving her life and showing her the power of forgiveness.
The Long Haul (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #9), by Jeff Kinney Everyone’s favorite wimpy kid, Greg Heffley, is heading off on a road trip with his family—and any reader who loves the Heffleys knows disaster can’t be far behind. Whether it’s a pack of rogue seagulls or a fender bender, this family trip will be full of exciting incidents…and it may well turn out to be an adventure they’ll never forget.
I recall that I had to fight to get this “witch” book into the hands of students when it was first released, some who had never read a chapter book before (but read and loved this one!). Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” Read the first sentence of the book that kicked off worldwide Pottermania, and just try not to read on. If you know a young reader who hasn’t yet met Harry Potter, consider yourself lucky: you get to make the introduction. There are few stories so magical, few casts of characters so beloved, few fantasy worlds as soundly built and utterly compelling as Rowling’s.
The Web Paige Chronicles by Emilio Iasiello PRAISE FOR THE WEB PAIGE CHRONICLES: "Web Paige Chronicles offers a refreshing and empowering role model for young adults. By eschewing this iGeneration’s stereotypical malaise in favor of positive curiosity with technology, Iasiello folds practical cybersecurity guidance into a relatable story." -Scott Schober, author of Hacked Again
The Giver, by Lois Lowry This is a classic, winner of numerous awards. Another book to movie discussion opportunity. Perhaps a bit difficult for struggling readers, but used as curriculum in many middle schools, Lowry’s dystopian classic is the kind of timeless book that never gets outdated. Twelve-year-old Jonah is in training to take over as his community’s Receiver of Memory. Everyone else in his world is obsessed with “Sameness,” trading emotional depth for eternal calm. Released in 1993, this novel has been a staple of school reading lists for years, and belongs on the shelf of any child who loves The Hunger Games—and anyone who appreciates great storytelling that will stick with you for life.
Middle school can be brutal for kids. Help them see the humor with this Dork Diaries series. Tales from a Not-So-Happily Ever After (Dork Diaries #8), by Rachel Renée Russell
In the eighth installment of the wildly popular Dork Diaries series, bubbly heroine Nikki Maxwell gets a bump on the head in gym class after an April Fool’s Day prank goes awry. It knocks her right into a fairy-tale-inspired dreamland, in which she and her classmates each take the role of a classic character—but Dork Diaries fans will be glad to know Nikki is just as much her goofy self in her dreams as she is in everyday middle school.
Ages 13 Up
The Pros of Cons by Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar, and Michelle Schusterman is the story of three unlikely heroines, each with brilliant and diverse wishes, talents, and passions, who form an unlikely friendship despite their differences when they meet in unlikely circumstances.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene is a moving story about life, death, friendship, hope, and love, as a sixteen-year-old girl learns to deal with the fact that she will die and leave everyone she loves behind.
Another book and movie combo! Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald by J.K. Rowling is a must-read installment for fans of Harry Potter. This prequel to the original series sees Dumbledore on a mission to stop Grindelwald from raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman IT TAKES A GRAVEYARD TO RAISE A CHILD. Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family.The Graveyard Book, a modern classic, is the only work ever to win both the Newbery (US) and Carnegie (UK) medals.
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery's never been there, but she's heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows. The town is picture-perfect, but it's hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone's declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing. Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she's in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something.
How to Make Friends With the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow Here is what happens when your mother dies. It’s the brightest day of summer and it’s dark outside. It’s dark in your house, dark in your room, and dark in your heart. You feel like the darkness is going to split you apart. That’s how it feels for Tiger. It’s always been Tiger and her mother against the world. Then, on a day like any other, Tiger’s mother dies. And now it’s Tiger, aloneHere is how you learn to make friends with the dark.
Enter the Grishaverse with the instant #1 New York Times-bestseller King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. "[Bardugo] touches on religion, class, family, love ― all organically, all effortlessly, all cloaked in the weight of a post-war reckoning with the cost (literal and figurative) of surviving the events that shape both people and nations." ―NPR
"The story exists at an intersection of past and future selves, and in the dawning understanding that what you most fear may be what you most need." ―Washington Post
Happy Reading to you and yours!
Being a former teacher, I love the use of this mnemonic device to help people remember how to be not only a goal setter, but an achiever. Teachers use these sorts of tools to help grade school kids all the time, but I found them almost more effective with my college kids, who needed to remember to simplify. (There's a pun in there somewhere.) As great as this is, though, I would like to add PLAN to that Goal Setting technique. I think you need to have a SMART PLAN. Find out why.
You can't hit a target you can't see. Work smarter, not harder. These are all great adages that can be applied to goals. But how?
Specific is perhaps the most ignored portion of goal setting. People frequently set goals like, I want to lose weight, or I want to quit smoking, or I want to write a novel, but they don't bother to break those gargantuan goals into more specific, smaller, and thus achievable goals. How much weight? By when? How much do you want to try to lose each week, each month, etc.? How are you planning to achieve that goal? Diet? Exercise? Both? What kind? How often? If you first set the specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound goal, in order to achieve it, you need a PLAN. Here's what I want, and this is how I'm going to get it.
Remember to be realistic too. For example, lots of folks, including me, have written a novel during National Novel Writing Month (November). Their goal, if they are part of the growing community of writers who participate in this activity nation-wide, is to write at least 50,000 words. That's actually a novella to most publishers, but it's still book length, and a darn good start for someone who wants to keep going. That's a specific goal to help them get it down on paper, so to speak.
What follows, however, is the more complex and time consuming revision and editing process, and that's why there are so many local chapters that continue on, encouraging each other and sharing progress, trying to then reach the goal of getting the book published. For folks who procrastinate, who never finish the book because they are so busy editing and revising each little section, that is a fabulous activity. For those who feel they regurgitated a pile of crap when they write that fast, not so much. They might do better setting smaller, more manageable goals, like writing so many words a week, then spending a day revising and editing, wash, rinse, repeat. That's the relevant part. The goal and the plan have to be relevant to you as an individual. Is it something you think you can do, or that you would even want to do? If there's no what's in it for me, it's not a very good goal for you in the first place.
But we all do have goals, things we want, or even things we need to accomplish. The best way to do this within a reasonable amount of time is goal setting using the SMART formula and creating a PLAN to achieve that goal.
Have a great new year!
Special! An audio clip from the upcoming audio book!
Genre: Nonfiction Reference
Publisher: Tell-Tale Publishing Group
Date of Publication: November 23, 3018
Number of pages: 232
Word Count: 60,000
Tagline: An Encyclopedia for YA Writers
Finally, an all-inclusive book on young adult fiction must-do, don’t do and how-to. If you want to write a young adult novel, you need to read this book first. Coauthored by an award-winning YA author and an acquisitions editor, both experts on kids and what they like to read, this encyclopedia contains all you need to start or improve a career as a YA fiction author.
From an examination of the market, genre and its sub-genres, to mechanics and the business, everything is at your fingertips. This amazing writer’s resource is written in a relaxed and interesting style, with plenty of contemporary references and examples for clear understanding and easier application.
"The Young Adult Writer's Journey is a 'Must Have' at your fingertip reference for anyone who writes (or wants to write) for or about kids. Engaging text with topical and thought-provoking insights leading from idea to submission . . . and beyond to populate a story with believable characters young readers can relate to."—Nancy Gideon, Award-Winning author of the By Moonlight series
“The trouble with “how to” books on creativity is that they usurp creativity. Not so with this very insightful guide for YA writing. If it doesn’t become a standard or even a classic among reference books, it will be an oversight. Janet Schrader-Post and Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds have all the marinated smarts and credentialed experience to pull this off, and they do! No dictated wisdom from on high here, no grafted creativity, THE YOUNG ADULT WRITER’S JOURNEY is accessible, motivational and a clear map that leaves plenty of room to discover for anyone wanting to explore their creative side.”-Thomas Sullivan, Pulitzer-nominated author of THE PHASES OF HARRY MOON
When you talk about world-building, many writers think you’re talking about fantasy lands like Narnia, Westeros, Panam or Middle Earth. For most teens, school is their world. What kind of home life they have is their world and these worlds need to be just as complicated as Narnia. Well-developed teen worlds like Hogwarts, North Shore High School, home of the Mean Girls, Rydell High School of Grease, and Panem of Hunger Games are so well-developed they seem real, and you remember them as though they were a place you visited.
To create a real world for teens in our times, you really need to know them: what they do every day, what they like, what motivates them, the environment in high schools and many other details. Home life for kids is very different from twenty or even ten years ago. It takes two incomes now to support a growing family or to succeed, so both parents most likely work. This leaves kids as young as nine or ten at home alone for long periods of time (or even younger, unfortunately). The enemy of these parents is the school holiday, and it seem like there’s more than ever. These parents have no idea what to do with their children. Many can’t afford childcare, so the kids are home alone. It’s a thing you must think about when writing for them.
Children come from all levels of society. Poor kids will view the world through different eyes than kids who have well-off parents. Kids living with a single parent might have a different view of the world as well as different social structures. The kids with single parents or working parents might have to go hungry on weekends, on school holidays and especially during the summer. It’s hard to think about, but true. There are teenagers out there who eat breakfast and lunch at school and their families provide dinner. Sometimes all they get is their school meals some days. When school is out, they scavenge and fend for themselves or they don’t eat.
Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds knows kids well. She spent decades teaching teens and adults to write and improve their reading skills. As a literacy expert and certified coach, she helped both teachers from elementary to secondary and preservice graduate students learn to improve reading and writing instruction. She has taught at both the secondary and graduate level, everything from rhetoric, essays, and thesis statements, to poetry, short stories, and how to write a novel. She has learned to use both sides of her brain simultaneously, but enjoys the creative side the most, learning to play piano, draw and paint, and find time for her own writing since retiring from her “day” jobs.
A “true believer” in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, mythic structures, she uses that lens when considering manuscripts for Tell-Tale Publishing Group, a company she founded with some friends from her critique group a decade ago.
Daughter of a Colonel, Janet lived the military life until she got out of high school. She lived in Hawaii and worked as a polo groom for fifteen years, then moved to Florida where she became a reporter. For ten years she covered kids in high school and middle school. Kids as athletes, kids doing amazing things no matter how hard their circumstances. It impressed her, and it awed her. “How wonderful teens are. They have spirit and courage in the face of the roughest time of their lives. High school is a war zone. Between dodging bullies, school work and after school activities, teens nowadays have a lot on their plate. I wrote stories about them and I photographed them. My goal was to see every kid in their local newspaper before they graduated.”
Janet love kids and horses, and she paints and writes. Now she lives in the swampland of Florida with too many dogs and her fifteen-year-old granddaughter. She started to write young adult fiction with the help of her son, Gabe Thompson, who teaches middle school. Together they have written a number of award-winning YA novels in both science fiction and fantasy.
1. Have you ever gotten into a bar fight? Noooo . . . but I've been fought over in a few in my younger days with my '80s big hair, midriff tops and high shoes. I know . . . that's a picture you can't get out of your head!
2. Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before? I've never been across the ocean. I'd LOVE to visit Scotland, Ireland . . . anything British Isles.
3. If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be? A sloth! I love those guys. No one expects much from them. They take everything in stride . . . and have great nails!
4. If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose? Australian. Because . . . everything sounds sexy with an Australian accent!
5. What were you like as a child? Your favorite toy? I was the imaginative kid who always came up with things to do. I loved toy horses. Each one had a name, a personality and a mission. They used to cover the living room furniture with their adventures. And, of course, I was always the storyteller, making truth a little bit bigger and more entertaining.
6. Do you dream? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares? I never remember dreams except for those very realistic ones just before waking up, and thankfully I haven't had a sweat-inducing nightmare since childhood (except when I wake up and realize itâs Monday and I have to get up to go to work . . .). Strangely, if I wake up in the night, I always have the same song stuck in my head. Maybe I was a Rockstar in a former life!
6. What are five words that describe your writing process? Organized. Focused. Plotline. 4:30 a.m. Post-Its!
7. Picture your favorite writing space. What are five objects you would find there? Coffee cup. Image of my hero. Scattering of Post-It notes. To Do List. Picture of my grandguy.
8. In 5 words, please describe your 'Romance Writing Style'. Emotionally captivating. Explosive. Jaw-dropping. Compelling. (I stole those from reviews for my latest book!)
9. What is your 'girl vice'? ie getting your hair done? Nails? Shopping? Gossiping? Chick flicks? Nails! Hands down! And I'm always rather pathological about accessories-even my Fitbit band has to match!
10. How has your environment & upbringing colored your writing? My mom always told me I could be anything I wanted . . . but first I needed an education. Thanks, Mom!!
Nancyâs Halloween Playlist https://bit.ly/2POWbNq
Werewolves Of London - Warren Zevon
Bad Moon Rising - John Fogerty
Werewolf, Baby! - Rob Zombie
Dead Man's Party - Oingo Boingo
Time Warp - Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Night - Disturbed
Somebody's Watching Me- Rockwell
Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran
The Animal - Disturbed
Thriller - Michael Jackson
Prince of Dreams
House of Terriot
Date of Publication: October 2, 2018
Word Count: 98,500
Cover Artist: Patricia Lazarus
Tagline: Written in the cards . . . Who was this guy, her rescuer, her hero, her knight in shining 2-carats?
Kip . . . Prince in the shapeshifter House of Terriot
He'd said he wasn't a mobster. . . She should have asked if he was a monster.
Who was this too good to be true, always ready in a crisis guy working a menial job for her father? Ophelia knew things. Something was not quite normal about the Kip Terriot hiding behind another name in lace-up dress shoes and a preppy wardrobe â something wild and exciting as all hell. A dangerous something calling to that restless difference in her own soul.
Ophelia . . . daughter of his enemy, girl of his dreams
So sassy, so sweet so perfect . . . and what he had to do would destroy her.
Kip was in New Orleans to save his clan and his kind, not to play white knight for Ophelia Brady with her quirky habits, curvy body and tormented past. His deception would rip the heart from her world, not help heal it. Was his familyâs nemesis using his own daughter to make Kip the played instead of the player, pulling him between love and duty to make an impossible choice?
âEmotionally captivating! A brilliant conclusion to a unique series!â â Book Bling
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/g9qdy5RmkJg
Excerpt from Prince of Dreams . . .
An unnatural being from a family of shapeshifters.
Even now Ophelia didnât know whether to laugh or weep at the absurdity of it. Things like that didnât exist. Except she knew they did, just outside the peripheral, where worlds of fact and fiction met and mingled and blurred. Sheâd felt their presence in the shadows of reality all her life. She met them in her dreams and visions.
Kip Terriot gave them gorgeous face and form, but underneath, he was that creature with red eyes and sharp teeth. Her big, bad wolf, whoâd protected her from a robber and defended her from abuse, whoâd rescued her sister from the attack she still refused to acknowledge. Who loved his family and would do anything for them?
Who she loved too much to let go but couldnât give what he needed because she wasnât his kind.
Which was the greater fear, what he was or that sheâd fail him?
âWhat are we going to do, Phe? I donât want to lose this.â He brought her knuckles to his lips for a kiss.
âI donât want to lose you. But I already have, havenât I? Youâre a million miles away right now and almost out of reach.â
âIâm right here.â His argument brought her to him, her knees stepping over his lap to straddle him, arms circling his shoulders, face nestling against the curve of his throat where she rode his hard swallow. He held tight, trying to believe they could make this moment last, this glorious, fiery, tender moment that offered so much and promised so little.
âYou are my prince,â she whispered, breath moist and soft against his neck. âMy Prince of Cups. You rode into my life bringing romance, shaking my world to its foundation that first night I met you. It was in the cards.â
âFate,â he murmured, smile in his voice. âNo escaping it.â His fingers threaded through her hair, pulling back gently to tip up her face, offering sweetly parted lips and glistening eyes.
Heâd planned a sweet kiss but the taste of urgency and need in the sweep of her tongue ruined that noble ambition. They feasted upon one another for long, desperate minutes until she rocked back, thumb swiping the dampness from his mouth.
âGo, be who you need to be for them. Then come back and be who I need you to be.
Nancy Gideon is the award-winning bestseller of over 65 romances ranging from historical, regency and series contemporary suspense to dark paranormal and horror, with a couple of produced screenplays and non-fiction writing books tossed into the mix.
A legal assistant for a brilliant criminal attorney in Central Michigan (when not at the keyboard working on her latest book in progress), she feeds a Netflix addiction along with all things fur, fin and fowl and dotes on her grandguy.
Nancyâs also written under the pseudonyms Dana Ransom, Rosalyn West and Lauren Giddings. Look for reissues coming soon under those pen names!
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/NancyGideonAuthor/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nancy-Gideon/e/B001H9PV8E/
Nancy Gideon by Moonlight Goodreads Group:
It's almost time again. Is your spine tingling? Are you getting goosebumps? Do you feel anxious? No? Then let me get you in a spooktacular mood with this little twist on what really happened to Hansel and Gretel. Just one of many chilling stories in Tell-Tale Publishing's 3rd Annual Horror Anthology.
Dare to journey through the bloody mind of a madwoman, or escape, if you can, from an underground military compound, where secret experiments may land you on the menu.
Perhaps you’d like to see what the witches in Salem are doing this Halloween, or what really happened to Hansel and Gretel. Scared of clowns, vampires or puppets? Sit down and curl up with this unique collection of horror stories. You’ll sleep with the lights on for weeks.
Scared yet? Watch for TT's upcoming release: Vacuity, Tell-Tale Publishing's 3rd Annual Horror Anthology
Hudson here, Elizabeth's Social Media VP. I hope you liked that scary story. I'm sure not reading it! I get scared when there's lightning!
Many writers have a difficult time labeling their work or fitting it into specific categories or genres. In today’s popular cross-genre norm, this makes sense. Novels still need to be labeled for marketability, so I want to examine the differences and common traits of two popular modern genres that are often confused: Urban Fantasy and Paranormal.
I read somewhere that the difference between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal is that Paranormal is Urban Fantasy in which the main characters have sex. At first, I thought this was funny. Then I thought about it and decided it’s not as silly a statement as it seems. The description does, however, require a bit more elaboration to be considered anything more than an oversimplified characterization.
First let’s start by examining the genres individually. Urban Fantasy was once considered to be a subgenre of Fantasy in which the story took place in a major city or town. Nowadays, it’s considered Urban Fantasy if it takes place in a contemporary setting (VS say High Fantasy which often takes place in ancient or medieval times or magical locales). The everyday world is far from “normal” however. It involves magic or characters with supernatural powers or characteristics, though they still interact with everyday mortals—you know, Muggles. Urban Fantasy often has fantastical creatures, too, even those usually found in paranormal novels. The main character(s) battle supernatural beings, even if they have supernatural powers of their own.
Paranormal novels contain supernatural beings, such as vampires, werewolves or other shapeshifters. They can take place in any time or locale. The main characters may or may not have actual intercourse, but they have a personal relationship of some kind around which the events and plot revolve.
So why do I write Urban Fantasy? Because I like multi-layered, complex subplots. My novels contain romantic elements, but they go beyond the two main characters. They are about 2 branches of the same family: feuding supernatural beings. I decided to write a spin-off mini-series where I focused on the romantic relationship some of the minor characters had, that didn't get enough face-time in the larger novels. They're characters readers liked and wanted to know more about. Why aren't they paranormal romance novels then? Because though there is a very intimate personal relationship between the two main characters, and their romance effects the plot, there is still enough subplot that there is a story present even if they didn't have a romance. Why is it a romance? Because their relationship does move the plot forward. Complicated enough for you? Well, let's put it this way: if you like the romance elements of my Urban Fantasy, you will really like the Romance spin-off series.
Hudson here, Elizabeth's social media VP. I hope you enjoyed this post, though I have to say it's as clear as mud to me. Then too, I'm a dog, so my relationships are much less complicated.
The most obvious questions in the mind of authors and publishers are always: who’s reading and what are they reading? Some might be surprised to find that nearly 73% of adults read a book or at least part of a book last year. What may be even more surprising is that the majority of readers are in the 18-29-year-old category (80% of them have read a book) and the 30-49-year-old category (71% have read a book), which means that millennials are the largest group of readers.
Who’s publishing books?
It’s a great year for small press and indie publishers, as they again steal more of the market from the big traditional publishers (43% vs 34%). Gone are the days of mid-list authors. Not only are small presses able to fill niche markets, when traditional publishers are focused on strictly mass-market appeal, but small publishers are able to provide the opportunity for the next up and coming star authors at a time when the big publishers are only signing authors who already have their own fan base, like celebrities, politicians, and authors who are already best sellers.
What are they reading?
Though nonfiction books are dominating the market again this year, the largest fiction markets are still young adult, with a fast-rising increase in fantasy and science fiction. Take a trip down memory lane and recall hot trending movies such as Divergent and Hunger Games, Twilight, City of Bones, and Beautiful Creatures. Angels, Demons, vampires and dystopian themes are still hot paranormal markets for young adult readers, but millennials, known for their tech-savvy ways, are also sparking new interest in science fiction and fantasy genres. Genre fiction is also seeing a resurgence in thriller and Whodunnit genres, as One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus, and Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco illustrate. And wasn’t it Shakespeare who claimed all stories were just retellings? That must be why they’re trending now. Books like Cinder by Marissa Meyer and A Court of Thornes by Sarah J Maas are leading the way.
How are they reading it?
With so many readers owning notepads (50% of Americans), and phone screens getting larger so that reading on them is much more pleasant, eBooks are still selling, but digital sales seem to have stopped growing and paperback sales are again on the rise, with 20% more independent bookstores opening their doors, a welcome sight after so many large chain stores folded. Readers are stating that they like the feel, the smell and the look of actual books in hand. However, the biggest trend in book sales is not paperbacks, but audio. Audio sales have risen over 500% in the last year and show no signs of slowing down. Readers are becoming listeners, and state that with their busy lives audio books are more convenient. They also like the additional story-telling element of narrators who give the various characters unique voices. They listen when they drive, walk, exercise or even while they do chores or other work.
How are books reaching readers?
More and more authors are discovering that books direct to readers is not only a way to increase sales, but a necessity. Emailings are on the rise, more book clubs are popping up (the biggest being Amazon’s, but kobo and smashwords are also rising, as are groups on Goodreads—owned by Amazon) and social media interactions. Facebook and other venues are charging more for ads, Amazon is offering less to associates (once you’re number one, you don’t need to search for new readers), and though authors are able to demand more for eBooks without effecting volume, they need to continually reach new readers. Some authors are banding together to run contests and offer giveaways to get exposure with new readers, and small pubs offer the benefit of growing sales from one book’s PR to another. Smart authors realize that in this visual/audio age, everyone is exposed to videos. Book trailers, video author readings and interviews are trending and are continuing to grow in popularity.
Good editing is now demanded by readers who are used to over a million eBooks that glut a market where shelf-life is now eternal. The visual appeal to set books apart extends beyond videos to the design of the covers themselves. If one great image is good, more is better, if one is to believe the trend of today’s collage covers. Also trending are 70s and 80s retro, and what is known as millennial pink, muted pinkish mauve with black or gray lettering. Bold, artsy lettering on minimalist backgrounds, original drawings, and fancy touches, such as metallic or cutout covers are also eye-catching.
Nothing replaces good writing, but new writers should understand that finishing the book is . . . only the beginning.
Audio Coming Soon!
Hudson here, Elizabeth's social media guy. I can vouch for how hard publishing can be. After all, I have to organize all the social media and keep the PR guys in line. There's never a dull moment around here, I can tell you that! Sometimes it's ruff, but I love a good tail, so keep on reading!
So what’s so great about book fairs? Well, if you’re a reader, you’re in Valhalla. Not even the biggest bookstores have the diverse collection of books you will find at a large book fair, and you will get to have many of them autographed by your favorite authors. If you’re an author, nothing is ever better than being surrounded by avid readers and fellow writers.
Book fairs have more than books, too. There are panels of authors discussing a myriad of topics from how and why to write particular genres to talks on cooking, gardening, crafting, parenting, and pet care. Both nonfiction and fiction books of all genres are represented, including comic books and graphic novels. Along with hundreds of book tents hosted by large and small publishing companies, and even individual authors, there are tents with artists and craftsmen, offering their designs from jewelry to pottery and new age wares. You can learn to manage your finances or get your fortune told.
Book fairs have something for everyone. You can meet storybook characters, comic book heroes, and even Darth Vader and a movie star or two. Spend the afternoon watching children dance an Irish jig, a Mexican folk dance, or demonstrate a Karate Kota. Listen to bagpipes, rock bands, and marching bands. Visit the juggler, or the aerobatic performers.
Nearly every special interest group is represented, from the League of Women voters, to religious organizations, universities, media organizations, libraries, literacy groups, parks and recreation, and even museums.
Getting hungry from all that walking around browsing and shopping? Let’s not forget the diverse ethnic food booths. Mexican, American, Thai, Italian, BBQ and Creole, just to name of few of the hot meals to be had. If you just want a quick snack, they have yogurt, gelato, salads, popcorn, corn on the cob, wraps, and smoothies.
Visit a book fair near you! You won't regret it.
Hudson here, Elizabeth's social media editor. I thought I'd let you know that there were lots of doggies at the Tucson Festival of Books, on the University of Arizona campus, because Tucsonians love them! Maybe you can take your doggie to a book fair, so they can see all the other doggies!
I blog there the 18th of each month!
Elizabeth Alsobrooks's books on Goodreads
Illuminati - The Book of Life
ratings: 12 (avg rating 4.33)
Illuminati: The Book of Life
ratings: 5 (avg rating 4.80)
The Keeper's Secret: Tell-Tale Publishing's Annual Horror Anthology
ratings: 2 (avg rating 5.00)
2016 NaNoWriMo Winner!
My Newest Release
An Amazon Bestseller!
©2014-2020 Elizabeth Alsobrooks. All rights reserved.