Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Meet MG/YA Author J. B. Pelts

Carpinello's Writing Pages welcomes J. B. Pelts and his first novel in what will be a popular series for MG/YA readers.

First, a bit about J. B.:

Originally from Oxford, England, J. B. Pelts lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, 18 month-old triplets, and two rescue dogs.  Growing up on stories of wonder and adventure that dragged him into wanting to become a part of the tales themselves, the lure of an exotic mysterious island just waiting to be explored filled his head with imagination, and it was from these seeds that the island of Corentin was born. With its old Breton heritage and location in the Atlantic Ocean off of the south-west tip of England, it became a place where adventure reigned, where castle ruins and derelict stone towers are interspersed with chocolate factories and 7-story toy stores, and where a boy from middle England could spend the most exciting summers of his life.

Why did you pick to write books for MG/YA?

Two reasons really.  First, if you get a good book/series in this age group (Harry Potter being a shining example), then they are so much fun to read for all ages.  You get swept along with the story, and it’s not a chore to get through (those are the WORST types of books!).  I figured if I was going to write a novel, it should be something that I would really enjoy reading myself!

Second as a kid I loved stories of adventure, like Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe (Hint: look out for Crusoe Park in Armorica, the capital of the mythical island in my Robin Pembroke series!), and Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. It was the fact that these were adventures that you felt could possibly happen to you one day that drew me in, and I wanted to recreate something similar, but with the flow and bounce of the modern day classics.

What types of books do you like to read?

My tastes are a bit all over the board really. As with so many people, Harry Potter ranks right up at the top of my list, especially the earlier ones–I loved the way that they bounced along as you read them. Roald Dahl was probably my favorite author when I was a child, and I still go back and re-read him sometimes. Fantastic Mr. Fox, in particular, I loved.

I made the decision in my 20’s to go back and read some of the classics, having not really been exposed at school, and that was one of the best decisions I ever made. There are so many amazingly brilliant works out there, just waiting for you to get lost in. It was from this that I read The Grapes of Wrath and, that in turn, led me to read most of what Steinbeck has written—East of Eden is another favorite of mine. F. Scott Fitzgerald created some masterpieces too.

A really gripping non-fiction book, or something semi-fiction, always pulls me in too.  Erik Larson has some great books out there, and then the like of Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson is a great read—although maybe I’m biased being English—as well as his A Short History of Nearly Everything which gave me so many tidbits of information that I tend to bore people with!

Currently I’m reading through the Percy Jackson series, between other books, and next on my list is to start on the Divergent set of books.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

Other than reading, I am a big soccer fan, and whenever I can get the chance to kick a ball around it is a good day!

Mostly my remaining time is spent with our 18 month-old triplets – they are developing so fast, and with three little people now running around and questioning everything, my wife and I are constantly kept on our toes!  It is a little madness sometimes, but a fantastically wonderful madness!

Tell us about Robin Pembroke: Pirates & Winged Horses and how the story came to be.

Robin Pembroke: Pirates & Winged Horses is my first published novel and is the first in a 6-part series that follows Robin through his summers from the age of 10 to 15. 

In short, the story centers around Robin, who is from a very poor family living in middle-England.  Then, soon before his 11th birthday, he receives an inheritance of a house on the island of Corentin from a great aunt he didn’t even know he had.  After finding a way to visit that summer with his parents, he makes new best friends in Millie and Olwenn, a brother and sister who live on the island, and Georgie who visits every summer with her grandparents.

The book came to be as a story that I’d always wanted to write – something that you can get completely lost in, with all the aspects of real-life. To do this, I created the island of Corentin (off of the coast of England), and gave it a Breton heritage – many of the names and locations on the island are Breton, and this ancestry plays a big part in the mystery the kids uncover.

I’ve also always found it hard to follow books as to exactly what is happening and when, especially if I don’t read the whole thing inside a couple of days. I want a story to be easy to follow, and so to accomplish this I wrote the book as 35 chapters of consecutive days—after two introductory chapters—making it easy to remember where you are and to follow along.  In addition, the kids’ cork board is used to pin up notes that help the reader to see easily what has been found out so far and are great spots to bookmark as you read through!

Here's a peek at Robin Pembroke: Pirates & Winged Horses:

Nearly eleven, Robin Pembroke discovers his inheritance of a house on the mythical island of Corentin off of the coast of England and embarks on the most amazing summer of his life.  He and his new best friends chase a fantastical pirate mystery that is interwoven with the hunt for wondrous secret treasures, all the while trying to avoid the evil Maurier siblings Seb and Angelina. 

They uncover the start of a pirate mystery that has lain hidden for over 200 years, and their clues and findings take them on a fantastical adventure across Corentin, culminating in a breathtaking finale that you don’t see coming.  In between, they rope in help from the likes of Alfie Andrews and his group of super-smart friends, become engrossed in the local board game Cells & Giants, and have to contend with the evil Mauriers, and particular the son Seb, who is Robin’s age.

Robin hadn’t foreseen pirates playing any part in his upcoming school holidays whatsoever. But then again neither had he expected to find a secret treasure map, uncover a dinosaur fossil, sight a legendary lake monster, or make three fantastic new friends. That though, and much, much more, is exactly what happened...

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

The second Robin Pembroke book is being written right now and is taking shape nicely. The outline for all six books has been created. The flow is all laid out, and I’m currently writing the early chapters. The story picks up the following summer, leading from the revelations uncovered at the end of Pirates & Winged Horses, as Robin, Millie, Olwenn, and Georgie race on another adventure across Corentin, taking in old favorite places and characters, while introducing a whole new set of locations. 

Oh, and watch out for Seb and the other bad guys in this one – they start to cross paths with Robin and his friends as they chase the same mystery…

What advice do you have for other authors?

It’s a long road, especially writing a first book, but you never finish unless you start. I know everyone says that, but it is so, so true. Pirates & Winged Horses took four years from initiation to publishing!

And then once you start, set yourself goals, but make them realistic. I started with the plan of writing a chapter a week, and that soon fell apart. Once you’ve missed a goal, it's tough to find the motivation continue. So what I did was to set up goals that I knew I could realistically hit, but were strong enough that those kept me moving along.

Also, write for the genre that you most enjoy—you are writing the book for yourself as much as anyone else—and what you like is what you’ll have had the most exposure to and what you’ll be best at.

Anything else you want readers to know?

Just that I am a big fan of feedback and would love to hear from anyone who reads the book as to what they’ve thought. I can be contacted directly at I hugely appreciated the investment in reading my book, and I respond personally to all communications. I listen to any ideas readers may have for future books—one of the new characters in the second book is actually named after a suggestion from an early reader!

Where can readers find you and your books?

Robin Pembroke: Pirates & Winged Horses is available as an eBook on Amazon and as a paperback.

More details on the book can be found at, including the full prologue and first chapter of the book, as well as snapshots of all of the key characters and locations on Corentin.

Additionally, I have a Twitter account which I predominantly use to post weekly updates from what is happening on Corentin, and is a cool way to stay connected to the island.

Finally is the Robin Pembroke Facebook page which is a great resource for more general updates about the books.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Re-Thinking Sons of the Sphinx and the Kid Lit Blog Hop #52

This week I participated in the second of two Author Discussions/Reading with fellow author Gail Strickland. The event revolved around the influence of Joseph Campbell's The Hero's Journey in both of our books, Sons of the Sphinx (mine) and Night of Pan (Gail's). We do a good job together talking about the progression of the journey throughout our stories and illustrate steps of the journey through individual readings. Here we are ready for our audience with Gail on the left and yours truly on the right:

We each presented our stories as coming of age, but Gail also emphasized the historical accuracy of Night of Pan. On the way home, I got to thinking that I could have done a better job of introducing Sons of the Sphinx. I also kicked myself all the way home for not realizing this sooner.

Sons of the Sphinx is based on the schism that the Pharaoh Akhenaten shot through ancient Egypt when, according to historians, he turned his back on Thebes and the gods of Egypt. He built his own city to honor his god the Aten, and he insisted that the people of Egypt do the same. Along with this, he supposedly refused to send troops to defend Egypt's borders thus incurring the wrath of the then General Horemheb. When Tutankhamen becomes pharaoh, he reverses Akhenaten's proclamations and returns the governing center to Thebes and the worship back to the god Amun.

However, the damage has been done, and by the time Horemheb attains pharaoh status, he has proclaimed the betrayal of the Egyptian people by Akhenaten so widely and so much, all members of the family including Tutankhamen and Ankhesenamun and Ay are dishonored. Horemheb further insults the family by defacing Ay's tomb after his death. It is Ay's decision before his death to ensure that Ankhsenamun is not subject to dishonor by keeping her final resting place a secret.

The historical significance of my story is the main reason I was able to write Sons of the Sphinx. Needing to help right a wrong done over 3000 years ago and reunite the boy king with his queen (whose tomb has yet to be identified or found), allowed my protagonist Rosa to come to terms with who she is and what her place in this world is.

I would love to hear if you think this is essential/important information that would benefit readers of Sons of the Sphinx.

And now,

Welcome to the 52nd Kid Lit Blog Hop where we continue to develop a dynamic and engaged community of children's books bloggers, authors, publishers, and publicists.

On this Hop, Carpinello's Writing Pages interviews Tween/Teen author  
Krysten Lindsay Hager
and MG/YA author J. B. Pelts.
So, you are always more than welcome to join us by popping in a post and hopping around to meet some of your fellow Kid Lit bloggers and authors! For the first time, we will also be including a Linky Party to be held in conjunction with the Kid Lit Blog Hop. Every two weeks, you will have the opportunity to join in a linky party focused on one social media network, helping you to connect with and grow your network of fellow kid lit bloggers, authors, and parents. First up... the Facebook Linky Party. We are pleased to be welcome the following co-hostess with us this week: Katie from The Logonauts, a blog focused on sharing and discussing great books for elementary and middle grade readers. Please take a moment to drop by and say hello. Welcome Katie!  


Mother Daughter Book Reviews

Julie Grasso, Author/ Blogger

Cheryl Carpinello, Author / Blogger

Stacking Books


Pragmatic Mom

Best 4 Future: Bringing Up Baby Bilingual

Reading Authors



The Logonauts


Happy Hopping everyone and enjoy the Hop!

Kid Lit Blog Hop

Kid Lit Blog Hop & Linky Party Rules *Please Read*

1. Add the link to your Facebook fan page in the Facebook Linky Party linky list below. Be sure to visit, "like", and/or comment on your hostesses' Facebook pages as well as the two links directly before yours. Make sure to leave us a message if you are following us and we will be sure to follow you back.

2. Link up any Kid Lit related post in the Kid Lit Blog Hop. This can be a link to a children’s book review, a discussion about children’s literature/literacy, or a post on a recently-read children’s book or one that you love from your childhood.
* Don't link directly to your blog, it must be a specific post.*
* For Authors, we prefer you to link to your blog if you have one. Please link unique posts each time ~ no repeats please. *
* Make sure you include an image relevant to the POST (e.g., book cover), not your blog button or photo of yourself.*
* Feel free to link more than one post.*

3. Please visit AT LEAST the TWO LINKS from the Kid Lit Blog Hop directly ahead of your own and leave them some love in the form of a comment. We are trying to build a community of bloggers, readers, parents, authors, and others who are as passionate about children’s literature as we are so please CONNECT and follow any or all of the blogs that interest you! 4. If you like, grab the button above and put it somewhere on your blog, preferably the post you're linking up. If you'd prefer, you can just add a text link back to this Hop so that others can find it and check out all these great book links! 5. It would really help us get the word out about the Kid Lit Blog Hop if you would be so kind as to tweet, share, and spread the word about the Hop!
Interested in co-hosting the Kid Lit Blog Hop/Linky Party? If you've joined us before, you are welcome to join us again! Please email renee @ motherdaughterbookreviews (dot) com and put Co-Hosting Blog Hop in the subject line.
Happy Hopping!



Meet Tween/Teen Author Krysten Lindsay Hager

Carpinello's Writing Pages welcomes Krysten Lindsay Hager author of several Tween/Teen stories.

First, a bit about Krysten:

Krysten Lindsay Hager is an Amazon international bestselling author and book addict. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio, where you can find her reading and writing when she's not catching up on her favorite shows (Hart of Dixie and The Goldbergs). She's worked as a journalist and humor writer and writes middle grade, YA, and adult fiction.

Why did you pick to write books for Tweens and Teens?

That is the age when I really got into reading and began collecting books. I used to go to the library a lot with my mom and sister, and every month my mom would take me to the bookstore to pick up the latest edition of all the different series books I read.

What types of books do you like to read?

I read a little of everything. I read YA and middle grade. I love biographies, memoirs, and autobiographies. I also like fiction based on real people’s lives, Christian non-fiction, and women’s fiction, too. I read classics, and I enjoy my book club where we read a wide range of books.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

I like to read, watch TV, and I’m a big shopper—books are my biggest vice, but I’m into fashion, too. I always say I’ve never met a bookstore I didn’t like.

Tell us about True Colors and how the story came to be.

The book is about Landry Albright, an eighth grader who just wants to be one of the interesting girls at school who always have exciting things going on in their lives. The idea came to be when I was in college. I had just finished an independent creative writing class with a professor, and he said you should write the book you want to read, and I started thinking back to an idea I had in grade school. The idea was about these four girls as friends (Landry, Devon, Peyton, and India) and it came from when I was in the sixth grade and saw the cover of a Bangles’ album called, “Everything.” I started wondering what these four women were like as preteens/early teens. I put the modeling competition in the story because I feel so many of us have insecurities about our appearance and about how sometimes young girls feel that looks can gain them acceptance. I had done some modeling at that age (I started a little younger than Landry.), and I saw how it impacted my views on things. I wanted readers to see it wasn’t what they (or Landry) thought it would be like.

I wrote True Colors because I think we all go through times when the people we think are our true friends show us their true colors, and it hurts. Trying to figure out where you fit in is something you go through whether you’re in eighth grade, college, or as an adult. I remember being in first grade and dealing with cliques. I wanted to write about that time when you’re trying to figure out who you are as well as figure out who really has your back.

Here's a peek at True Colors:

Eighth grader Landry Albright just wants to be one of the interesting girls at school who always have exciting things going on in their lives. She wants to stand out, but also wants to fit in, so she gives in when her two best friends, Ericka and Tori, push her into trying out for a teen reality show modeling competition with them. Landry goes in nervous, but impresses the judges enough to make it to the next round. However, Ericka and Tori get cut and basically "unfriend" her on Monday at school. Landry tries to make new friends, but gets caught up between wanting to be herself and conforming to who her new friends want her to be. Along the way she learns that modeling is nowhere as glamorous as it seems, how to deal with frenemies, and that true friends see you for who you really are and like you because of it.

Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.

I have been published in several anthologies. I have a YA short story on vampires (think humor, not Twilight) in Autumn Magic that came out in October.

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

The sequel to True Colors will be out this year (2015). It’s part of the Landry’s True Colors series and is titled, Best Friends…Forever? This second book picks up right where Landry’s story leaves off when she gets off the train with her mom in Chicago. I also have another book for the same age group, an adult novel, and an older YA novel I’m working.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Read as much as you can, go to conferences and workshops, and get into critique groups. I’d also suggest not just taking a creative writing class, but a literature class as well to see how great novels come together. I think my most helpful writing classes were the many lit classes I took in college.

Anything else you want readers to know?

If you’re interested in seeing how I imagine the characters, you can go to my website to check out my Pinterest board where I have pictures of not just the characters, but some of the girls’ bedrooms/furniture/pets/etc. I update my blog and will have a playlist for the book coming as well as my original scrapbook that I started before I ever wrote the story. You can see what that “grapefruit” colored paint looked like, too!

Where can readers find you and your books?



Purchasing links:

Barnes and Noble

Friday, January 16, 2015

Mystery Bonus Treasure and Giveaway!

URQ Poster3 

What do pirates, explorers and children have in common? They all love treasure hunts!

THE ULTIMATE READING QUEST will end on Monday, January 19th, at midnight. This is your last chance to explore new books and authors, and to take home free prizes and books. Plus, one lucky winner, will get a


To enter your name for this SPECIAL TREASURE you must prove yourself worthy by collecting the 49 letters of a secret message! Just by reading this post you already have two of the letters (A and B).


Find the rest within the Quest, writing them down as you go. When you have all 49, unscramble them to decode the secret message. Enter the exact words of the message in the Mystery Prize Rafflecopter right here: a Rafflecopter giveaway.  

As you're searching for the letters, be sure to leave a comment for each and every author. Not only will you get to chat with the amazing Quest authors, but each comment will earn you extra entries in the general Quest prize giveaway that includes an astonishing XX free prizes and gifts! a Rafflecopter giveaway

What are you waiting for? Click this button to start collecting the rest of the letters. Then return here and enter to