Monday, December 17, 2012

Eight-year-old Robert is eager to share his wish list with Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve. When he meets Glenn, who has only one request for Santa, Robert is confused over what he should do. Can he cast aside what he wants and ask Santa to bring his new friend a special gift? Inspiration Behind A Christmas Kindness
How is it that children have the ability to reach out and help others in ways adults don't always think to do? One year, our oldest daughter--then only eight--went door-to-door in our neighborhood collecting money for Toys for Tots. Coordinated by the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve, this program collects new, unwrapped toys each year and distributes them as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in our communities. This summer, my girls ran a lemonade stand so they could bring money to a local animal shelter. Why don't I think of doing such things? I guess it's easier to write a check and send it in the mail. But what effort is involved in that? My children make it personal, and much more meaningful, by giving something of themselves.
With A Christmas Kindness, I hope to capture the generosity of a child's heart--the way they look at the world as a place of endless opportunities to make a difference.
May you be blessed this holiday season. Cheryl Malandrinos, writing as C. C. Gevry, is a children’s author and editor. She is a member of SCBWI. A Christmas Kindness is her first book with 4RV Publishing. Visit her online at

Pump Up Your Book and C. C. Gevry are teaming up to give you a chance to win some fabulous prizes!





Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. If your blog isn’t set up to accept the form, then after they visit your blog, they are directed to where they can fill out the form to gain more entries. This promotion will run from December 17th - December 21st. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email, and announced on December 24th. Each blogger who participates is eligible to enter and win. Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. What a great way to not only win these fabulous prizes, but to gain followers and comments too! Good luck everyone!

A Christmas Kindness Book Blast Schedule

Monday, December 17th
a Rafflecopter giveaway If the form doesn't work, you can enter at:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Meet MG/YA Author Kay Lalone

Join me in welcoming MG/YA author Kay Lalone to Carpinello's Writing Pages. Kay's debut book Ghostly Clues was released in November 2012 by MuseItUp Publishing.

Kay, tell us a bit about yourself.

I have been writing for most of my life. Some of my short stories have been published in children’s magazines. Other short stories have grown into MG and YA novels. I have an interest in the unexplained things like ghosts, dreams, witches, demons, and just things that are weird so most of my stories reflect that interest. Ghostly Clues is my first book to be published. I live in Michigan with my husband and youngest son.

What types of books do you like to read?

Mystery mostly. I love the Harry Potter series and the Twilight series. I like books that have believable characters who are put into weird and strange situations that upset their normal life, routine. It is entertaining to see how they survive the situation and see how their lives change. 

Why did you pick to write books for Middle Grade/YA?

Children and teenagers have an open mind and wild imagination so it is fun to write MG and YA. Writing for that group of people is a challenge to dig deep into my own imagination and view the world like my readers would and to be creative and entertaining. I picked writing books for MG and YA because it gives me a chance to be a child again through my characters.

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

My favorite thing to do is spend time with my family whether it’s play games or watching movies. I have two adult sons and one teenage son at home so family time is hard to come by with everyone being so busy. My husband and I love to go to auctions and buy antiques. I love camping with my sons and doing things that interest them like playing video games (even though my youngest beats me all the time.) When I want to relax, I love to read.

 Tell us about Ghostly Clues and how the story came to be.

Ghostly Clues started out as a short story. I was around thirteen, same age as the main character, Sarah Kay when my grandma died. That was when I had my first encounter with a ghost. It was a ghost hand that crawled up on my bed and grabbed a doll. The next morning the doll was found way under my bed. I believe it was my grandma telling me I was too old to sleep with dolls. This memory has haunted me all these years. And I started asking myself what if questions and soon Ghostly Clues developed into a novel.


The sweet scent of lilacs permeates the air around Grandma’s gravesite. Only Sarah Kay can smell Grandma’s favorite flower, and they’re not even in bloom.

Sarah Kay and her best friend, Mary Jane, believe the lilacs are a sign from Grandma’s ghost. The girls follow one ghostly clue after another, uncovering a secret that Mom never wanted Sarah Kay to know.

Grandma makes sure Sarah Kay gets the message even from the grave. As the evidence piles up, Mom still refuses to accept the possibility Sarah Kay’s father is alive.

Sarah Kay finds Dad’s parents. A set of grandparents she didn’t realize existed. They make it clear her father is alive but days and miles separate the father and daughter reunion because Dad is a truck driver on a long haul.

Sarah Kay waits. The news reports a fatal car accident involving a semi and Sarah Kay fears the worse. She runs away which leads to Dad and the truth, Mom wanted Dad to remain dead.

Dad had faked his death so why not just stay dead.  The ghostly clues of Grandma wouldn’t allow Dad to remain dead to Sarah Kay.

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

I have written other books but they aren’t published yet. One manuscript that I am finishing up and will send to MuseItUp is a YA novel entitled Family Secret. It’s about a fifteen year old boy named Tom whose mother died and his father leaves him with a family friend to go away on business and try to figure out who killed his wife. Tom feels abandon by both parents. Strange things start to happen to Tom and he discovers the family secrets his parents have kept from him will put him in danger.

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

Yes. I am always working on new stories. I have a lot of stories running through my head. But another story that is almost complete is a YA novel Mysterious Visions. It is about Nicole who has visions, one of her parents' fatal car accident, and how she deals with her friends knowing her secret.  Also, strange things that happen in the caves on the island.

What advice do you have for other authors?

The best advice I was given is read, read, read, and write, write, write. Reading is important not just for entertainment, but to see how other authors write. As an author it is hard to find the time to write. So you need to discipline yourself to sit down and write. If you don’t have that discipline or drive to write, than learning to how to write a story is useless.

Anything else you want readers to know?

I would like to hear from my readers. I think the great thing about technology is that you can facebook or even email your favorite authors. I always wished I could do that when I was a kid, but way back then it was harder to contact an author. So I love hearing from my readers to find out what they are thinking and what they would like see in a story.

Where can readers find you and your books?
My website is Kay Lalone Author  and my blog is

Ghostly Clues can be found at MuseItUp Publishing.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Kid Lit Blog Hop #6

Welcome to the 6th Kid Lit Blog Hop. These Hops take place on the first and third Wednesday of each month. Thank you so much to everyone who has linked into the Hop previously and welcome to those of you visiting us for the first time! Every week we've been seeing a mix of new and familiar faces. So join in, link up, and hop around to make some new friends. The Holiday season is coming up fast and it is a busy, busy, busy time of year for all of us; therefore, we will only be having ONE Hop this month. You'll see us back at it on the SECOND Wednesday of January - that's the 9th! For just the month of January, the Hops will take place on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month.  
Kid Lit Blog Hop
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Kid Lit Blog Hop"><img src="" alt="Kid Lit Blog Hop" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Suggestions For How to Participate:

1. Although not mandatory, we ask that you kindly follow your hostesses and co-hostesses. You can follow us any way you choose (Email, GFC, Twitter, Facebook, G+, Pinterest, etc.). If you leave us a comment on our websites, we will be sure to follow you back.


Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews

Jaymie @ Snacks for Max

Heidi @ Geo Librarian

Sue @ Kid Lit Reviews

Our Co-Hostess for This Week:

Cheryl Carpinello, Author

Melinda @ Mom on the Make

Shaunna @ Mudpies & Melodies

2. Link up any Kid Lit related post. 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 *

* 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. Check out some other books. Don't be a stranger, go see what books other families are checking out, 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? Please email renee @ motherdaughterbookreviews (dot) com and put Co-Hosting Blog Hop in the subject line.
Happy Hopping!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Meet Middle Grade Christian Author Alice M. Roelke

Today I welcome MG/YA Christian Author Alice M. Roelke. I first met Alice about three years ago. We both took an online writing class, and once the class was finished, we decided to put together our own writing critique group. Alice was the first one to read Young Knights back at the begining. She writes in a variety of genres, including science fiction, fantasy, romance, children’s, and young adult. She is addicted to reading, cats, and farmer’s markets.

Alice, why did you pick to write books for young adults?

Actually, I just write the stories I want to read!  Sometimes they’re also a good fit for children or young adults, sometimes not.  I wrote most of the original draft of this story when I was a teenager, so I was literally just writing it for myself and my age group.  Writing it helped me figure out some things I was dealing with regarding life and my beliefs.  It was also a lot of fun to write my very own dragon story!

What types of books do you like to read?

Lots of different sorts.  My current favorite authors are Alexander McCall Smith, Ray Bradbury, Richard Adams, and Georgette Heyer.

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

Read.  Watch TV.  Play with my cats.  Shop at farmer’s markets.  Surf the internet.  I want to take up quilting again, but I’ve been too busy and intimidated by it lately.

Tell us about The Girl and the Dragon and how the story came to be.

My story is about a slave girl and the dragon who is her best friend. They are on the run for their lives seeking the cure for a plague and redemption.

How it came to be:
When I was a teenager, I wanted to read about dragons and a heroine my age with whom I could identify.  At the time, nobody seemed to be writing quite what I wanted to read, or else I just couldn’t find it.  So I wrote my own. 

I also wanted to write about some of the things I was figuring out and trying to make sense of in life.  It took me several years to finish the story, including a long bout with depression when I couldn’t write any of at all.  Finishing this story became one of my life goals during those dark days, and I’m so glad I was eventually able to.  :)

Being published by MuseItUp Publishing is very special to me, as well.  My publisher, editors, and cover artist helped me improve this story and make it stronger without changing my vision.  Respect and integrity are watchwords they seem to live by.  :)

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

I’ve been writing ‘books’ since I was eight.  So yes, I’ve written a lot.  You can read more about the stories I’ve had published at My Live Journal: Roelke.

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?
I’m always working on a new story, sometimes several at once.  (They don’t always end up finished or published, though.)  Right now I’m working with Annie Duguid (an amazing and very patient MuseItUp content editor) on my YA romantic fantasy / coming of age novel Watch Over Me.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Don’t give up. 

Write from your heart. 

If you get jealous of other writers, don’t let it make you bitter.  Just tell yourself, “If they can do it, so can I.”  It’s really true!

Where can readers find you and your books?

Better ebook distributors everywhere!  Sorry.  I had to say it…. 

My blog at my Live Journal and my older blog The Writing Life For Me.

Anything else you want readers to know?
This story has some religious and Christian elements, for readers who care one way or the other about that.  I think lots of different people might enjoy this story, but the primary audience is going to be young women.  If a fifteen-year-old girl like I was finds my story, and it touches her, I’ll be over the moon.  :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Meet Middle Grade Author Suzanne de Montigny

Join me in welcoming Suzanne de Montigny to Carpinello's Writing Pages. Her ebook The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy debuts Friday Nov. 30.

Suzanne, why did you pick to write middle grade books?

I suppose it’s because I was an elementary music teacher for over twenty years, and loved to instill values in kids. So when I began writing five years ago, it was only natural that I create stories for intermediate-aged children.

What types of books do you like to read?

I like to read anything that takes me away. If it’s too similar to my life, I fall asleep pretty quickly. That’s why I like to read fantasy and historical fiction. It’s a whole other world.

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

Almost all my time is taken up with my two boys, aged ten and twelve. When I’m not helping them with homework, we’re playing our fiddles. Oops. Wait a minute, that is homework for them. But not for me. Like reading a good novel, I get lost playing my music.

Tell us about The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy, and how the story came to be.

I loved writing as a child, and when I was in grade six, I wrote an eighteen-page, six chapter novella about unicorns for a class project. I was a total horse girl back in those days. I got an A+ for my story and always kept that little book in a safe place. Then, one day, I was surprised while cleaning the basement when I found the first four chapters of a rewrite in an old box full of kid stuff. I guess I must have started it in my teens and never finished. I chuckled and threw it in the recycling box outside, but my curiosity got the better of me, and I retrieved it two days later, dried it out, and read it. It completely captured my imagination, and a week later, I began rewriting it. Then two weeks later, the first draft was done. A month after that, I began The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy.

Here's a sneak peak of The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy:

A loud, hissing sound filled the air. The unicorns looked up, their eyes filled with horror.
Azaria, a unicorn colt, is intrigued when the young, clairvoyant dinosaur, Darius, foresees a terrifying change to their world. When a giant fireball smashes into the earth, the unicorns struggle to survive the hurricanes and starvation that follow. But nothing compares to the danger when the creatures-that-walk-on-two-legs settle in the valley, and their leader discovers the healing power in the unicorns’ horns. Greedy and ruthless, Ishmael will stop at nothing in his pursuit of wealth – even the complete extinction of the herd. Azaria must find a way to outsmart Ishmael before it’s too late.

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

I’ve written three unicorn books in all to complete The Shadow of the Unicorn trilogy. Then there’s my fiddling mystery A Town Bewitched which is about a fourteen-year-old child prodigy in classical violin struggling to fit into the small town of Hope, B.C. When a fiddler appears and bewitches the people, only the girl seems to know who has been vandalizing the town leaving tokens of dead and gutted birds. I’m just in the process of submitting this story now.

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

I’m working furiously on a rewrite of the second of my unicorn trilogy and have a lot of other great ideas swimming around in my head for other novels too, everything from koalas to a YA historical fiction about another fiddler.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Write from the heart, and write to inspire.

Where can readers find you and your books?

The Shadow of the Unicorn is available from Muse It Up Publishing and will also be available on Kindle, Omnilit, and Coffeetime.

Anything else you want readers to know?

Yes, the most important bit of all. And that is half of all my proceeds for The Shadow of the Unicorn will go to the Third World Eye Care Society, a group of ophthalmologists who travel to underdeveloped countries delivering thousands of pairs of glasses and performing eye surgery for free. Having succumbed to a visual impairment myself recently, I realize how desperate it must be to have no options for poor vision and even blindness. They may never find a solution to my vision problem, but others can certainly be helped by this organization. It’s my way of giving back.

About Suzanne: Suzanne de Montigny enjoyed writing as a child and dreamed of one day being published, but her love of music won out – at least for the time being. Teaching classroom music in Greater Vancouver, she discovered she had a knack for storytelling when kids began pleading for her stories nearly every day at the end of class. When her children were born, she decided to take a couple of years out from teaching to raise them. That’s when she began writing, and has never looked back. She lives in Burnaby, B.C. with the three loves of her life – her husband and two boys.

Look for my review of The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy on here in a couple of days. Can't wait to read it. I love unicorns!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanks to The Young Knights

This week I want to share with readers my thanks for the exceptional job my Three Young Knights are doing.

October 2012 

2012 Children’s Literary Classics Book Awards:

The King’s Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table) earns the Silver Award for YA Fiction.

November 2012

2012 USA Best Book Awards:

The King’s Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table) honored as a Finalist in the “E-book: Children’s Fiction.

The King's Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table)

Reviewed by Lela Buchanan for Readers Favorite

In a literary world rife with paranormal characters and situations, "The King's Ransom" offers a refreshing and realistic approach to pre-teen medieval reading material. The three young protagonists come from different levels of society: a prince, a blacksmith's apprentice, and an orphan. When their friend, "the Wild Man", is accused of murder and theft, they so strongly believe in his innocence that they join forces to clear him. Each one faces his own fears with determination in the quest to solve the mystery, a journey filled with danger and suspense, and, ultimately, a highly satisfying conclusion. The Knights of the Round Table, King Arthur and his famous sword, Excalibur, and even Sir Lancelot make brief but powerful appearances in this tale of coming of age.

Cheryl Carpinello has written a clean, tight read without using any of the props so prevalent in the young reader's genre. Although there is a "witch" and a "ghost" in the story, they are secondary and realistic characters playing supportive roles. The three young heroes: Gavin, the youngest prince who longs to be a knight; Bryan, the blacksmith's apprentice who also longs to become a knight; and the orphan Philip who has secret longings, all set aside the boundaries of class to work together. Carpinello writes, "On his quest to save the wild man, he [Gavin] had learned a man was only as good as his beliefs." I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely book and was genuinely surprised by some unsuspected revelations.

Five Bookworm Review by This Kid Reviews Books


This was a great book! I liked all of the action and excitement in it. Ms. Carpinello wrote this book really well and it was very appropriate for kids even though it deals with fighting and a wrongfully accused person. Ms. Carpinello described the time period really well, I felt like I was a knight in medieval times! I really love that the story features a bit of King Arthur legends in it! The ending had a couple of great twists that had me totally surprised! The only thing I’d change about the story is I would have liked to know how the boys became friends. It did not tell you that and I think it would have been nice. I like the things that the boys did to try to save the Wild Man. Those were pretty good parts to read about. I like all of the three boys. They were all great characters, each special in his own ways. I think kids ages 9+ will really enjoy this book.

Thank you, Young Knights!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Author Margaret Fieland: Sci-Fi and Poetry

Join me in meeting Poet and Novelist Margaret Fieland.

Margaret, why did you pick to write books for kids?

Poetry is my first love, and I started taking myself seriously as a writer along about 2005 or so, when I wrote a poem I wanted to keep and see published. This led me to the Muse Online Writers Conference, where I discovered Linda Barnett Johnson and joined her writing forums. Linda required everyone to join both the poetry and fiction forums. That's when I started writing fiction, and I picked writing for kids because it seemed less intimidating. Before that I'd never written any fiction at all, and if you had asked me, I would have sworn I never would.

What types of books do you like to read?

Poetry, science fiction, romance, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal fantasy, mainstream fiction. If it looks interesting, I'll give it a try.

Tell us about Relocated and how the story came to be.

In spite of being a long-time science fiction fan, I was very wary (read phobic) about writing it, and, on a whim, I decided to sign up for 2010 Nano and write a science fiction novel. I decided to write for kids again -- my main character is fourteen -- once more because, again, it intimidated me less than writing for adults. Why? I was anxious about having to write a long book {grin}. Because I wanted to increase the potential word count, and because I love poetry and am crazy, I also decided to go for Robert Lee Brewer's poem-a-day chapbook challenge that November. I created an imaginary poet in the universe of my novel, and wrote 31 of his poems. Eight appear in the book.

 Relocated Blurb

When fourteen-year-old Keth's dad is transferred to planet Aleyne, he doesn't know what to expect. Certainly not to discover Dad grew up here, and studied with Ardaval, a noted Aleyni scholar. On Aleyne, Keth’s psi ability develops. However, psi is illegal in the Terran Federation. After a dangerous encounter with two Terran teenagers  conflict erupts between Keth and his father. Keth seeks sanctuary with Ardaval.  Studying with the Aleyne scholar Keth learns the truth about his own heritage. After Keth's friend's father, Mazos, is kidnapped, Keth ignores the risks and attempts to free him. Little does he realize who will pay the cost as he becomes involved with terrorists.


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

I'm co-author of Lifelines, a poetry anthology published in November, 2011, and of Sand in the Desert, the book of poems that goes with Relocated. The last two were published this past July. I also have a chapter book, The Angry Little Boy, that will be coming out in 2013.

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

I'm editing the novel I wrote for 2011 Nano, another tween/YA science fiction novel that features one of the secondary characters from Relocated as well as an adult science fiction novel featuring another (adult) character.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Learn your craft, including grammar, punctuation, and spelling, to seek out a community of sorts, either online or in person, and to have a realistic view of yourself and your writing, both the strengths and the weaknesses.

I earn my living as a computer software engineer, and at one of the places I worked we would hold design and code reviews. The rules for these were straightforward. We would meet, and the moderator would record the issues brought up by the reviewers. The person being reviewed was allowed to ask questions to clarify the issues, but not to respond to them. After the meeting, the moderator would circulate the completed issue list, and the author could then respond. IMO this is excellent advice for authors as well as computer programmers.

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

I love music and play the flute and the piccolo, and I want to try to devote more time to that in the near future. Right now I'm busy raking acorns. We also own a large number of dogs, and they keep me busy as well.

Where to find Margaret and her books:


MuseItUp Publishing's Bookstore



Sand in the Desert:   Amazon

Lifelines:   Amazon

Margaret Fieland's Web Site

The Poetic Muselings blog

from Margaret:

I am a native New Yorker, born and raised in Manhattan, and have lived in the Boston area since just after the blizzard of 1976, thus missing the opportunity to abandon my car in a snowbank and walk home. I am the daughter of a painter and the mother of three grown sons. An avid science fiction fan, I selected Robert A. Heinlein's "Farmer in the Sky" for my tenth birthday, now long past.

In spite of earning my living as a computer software engineer, I turned to one of my sons to put up the first version of my website, a clear illustration of the computer generation gap. An accomplished flute and piccolo player, I can also write backwards and wiggle my ears. Thanks to my father's relentless hounding, I can still recite the rules for pronoun agreement in both English and French. My articles, poem, and stories have appeared in anthologies and journals such as Melusine, Front Range Review, and All Rights Reserved. My 2010 NaNo novel, Relocated, was published by MuseItUp Publishing in July.  I published the book of poems that goes with the book through CreateSpace. My book The Angry Little Boy,will be published by 4RV publishing in early 2013. I am one of six authors of the poetry anthology Lifelines.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Never imagined that I would be giving people a glimpse into my future. Most days, I’m just trying to keep with yesterday! Thanks to Katie Carroll, here it is:  the Next Big Thing for me and my writing. 

What is the working title of your book?  The working title is “Sons of the Sphinx.”

Where did the idea come from for the book?  The spark was lit back in May of 2008 when my husband and I toured Egypt on our own for two weeks. Then, when the King Tut exhibit came to the US, the idea for this story came together. I saw that exhibit 3 times!

What genre does your book fall under?  That’s tough on right now. I am wavering between MG or YA Adventure/Historical.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  I would like to do a search for the unknown actors. As a fairly new author myself, I would want to give others the chance to fulfill their dreams.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  A boy pharaoh recruits 14-year-old Rosa to help him clear his family name in a search for his missing Egyptian queen and her grandfather, and the pharaoh who is determined to stop them at all costs.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?   At this point, I haven’t made a decision as to how it will be published, but I won’t use an agency. I’ve had better luck contacting publishers myself.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  I don’t want to scare anyone, but I’ve been working on this since May of 2011. It has only been in the last two months that I finally decided on the format for the story. My plan is to be done with the first draft by the end of 2012.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  Genre-wise I would hope Avi’s Midnight Magic and Fiona Ingram’s The Secret of the Sacred Scarab.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?  The inspiration for all my writing comes from my profession as an English teacher. I hope to encourage more young people to discover the joy of reading and to become life-long readers.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  Sons of the Sphinx gives readers a glimpse into the life, love, and death of King Tut.

Join my two brave recruits as they post about their works-in-progress on November 14th and continue the Next Big Thing Blog Hop.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Meet Children's Author Kathy Sattem Rygg

Author Kathy Sattem Rygg joins us today. Learn a bit about her and her children's book Animal Andy.

Kathy, why did you pick to write books for Middle Grade readers?

Middle grade and especially younger middle grade seems to just come naturally to me. Maybe it’s because my own kids fall into this age group so I’m around it all the time, but the dialogue is easy for me to write. I’ve tried writing YA and adult and found both very frustrating, so I just stick to what I know. And my books always have a little bit of magic to them because were my favorite types of books to read growing up.

What types of books do you like to read?
I read a lot of middle grade as a way to study my genre, but my favorite is historical fiction. Tracy Chevalier (Girl with a Pearl Earring) is my favorite author. She writes the most amazing historical fiction novels.

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

When my kids have a day off school, I love taking them on outings—to the zoo, the museum, the pottery place, etc. We go to lunch afterward and make a whole day out of it. I also love date nights with my husband where we get a babysitter for the kids and go out for some great sushi (we love food!) or to see a movie. I’m very close to my mother, and we try to have a lunch and shopping day together once a month which is also lots of fun.

Tell us about ANIMAL ANDY and how the story came to be.
As I mentioned before, my kids and I love going to the zoo, and we have one of the best zoos in the nation here in Omaha. My son is fascinated by tigers, and one day we had a conversation about what it would be like to be a tiger. That inspired me to explore writing a book about a boy who turned into different animals. Our zoo also has a beautiful menagerie carousel my kids like to ride. During another zoo visit, I decided a carousel would be a great magical device to turn my main character into animals. 

Animal Andy is a great book for kids ages 7-10, both boys and girls. There are some great animal characters, so anyone who likes animal stories, adventure, and a little magic thrown in will enjoy this book! 

Here is a teaser from Animal Andy. 

Ten-year-old Andy Ohman is spending his summer working at the Aksarben City Zoo where his dad is curator. There are rumors the city might close the zoo due to budget cuts. An anonymous donor has given the zoo an antique animal carousel, and Andy’s dad is hopeful it will help boost attendance. Andy’s doubtful that an old kiddie ride will make a difference. He doesn’t see what’s so special about it. But when he takes it for a spin, he unlocks the magic that will help save the zoo. 

Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.
I have a children’s chapter book available called Tall Tales With Mr. K. It is about a magical third grade teacher who takes his students on adventures in the teacher’s lounge. They are kidnapped by pirates, learn the flying trapeze at a circus, and solve a jewelry heist. It’s a fun, humorous book for kids in first through third grades. I’ve had so many requests from readers for a sequel that book two will be out early next year.
What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

I’m currently working on a middle grade adventure series that involves the sport of geocaching. I have the manuscript for book one complete and am writing book two.

What advice do you have for other authors?
There are so many publishing options these days, don’t think you have to be traditionally published to find success. Smaller independent publishers such as Muse It Up are wonderful, and self-publishing is a great option for books that don’t quite fit into traditional molds. Just make sure you still use professional editors and cover designers to ensure the highest quality. With so many books on the market today, focus on finding your own little niche to start. I’m having tons of fun visiting my local schools and public libraries. I’d much rather be a big fish (or at least medium-sized fish) in a little pond!

Where can readers find you and your books?

Animal Andy is published by Muse It Up Publishing. The ebook is available online at the Muse Bookstore. The print version is available on Amazon.

Tall Tales With Mr. K is available in print on Amazon and as an ebook on Smashwords.

Kathy Rygg’s blog site is
Follow her on Facebook under KSR Writer
Follow her on Twitter @kathyrygg

About Kathy:
Kathy Sattem Rygg is an author, freelance writer, and editor. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Iowa State University and has worked in corporate marketing for several Fortune 500 companies. Additionally, she worked at the McGraw-Hill Companies’ Business Publications Division in New York City and was the Editor in Chief of Women’s Edition magazine in Denver, CO. She is currently the Editor in Chief of the children’s online magazine knowonder! and lives in Omaha, NE., with her husband and two children.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Here's something a little different for this week: A  peek at Lyndi Alexander's series.

If you were walking down the street and came across a real glass slipper, what would you do?

            This is the question Jelani Marsh faces, on a day when everything else that could go wrong has gone wrong. Her car’s been towed, she’s late for work, she’s had a fight with her ex-boyfriend—and then this glass slipper appears in her path. When her friend Iris dares her to try it on, she does. But it’s not exactly a prince that greets her:

            Iris climbed off the bike, put down the kickstand. “What is that?” She bent down near the object. “Oh, sweet Gaia! It’s a glass slipper!”
            No kidding. It really appeared to be a shoe made out of glass. A large one. “Who would have left this here?” Jelani picked it up, looking around for a prankster camera team. But something kept her from tossing it.
            “Try it on,” Iris whispered. “If you’re not chicken, anyway.”
            “Don’t even go there.”
            “Chicken. Bawk BAWK.” Iris giggled.
            “Fine! If it means I can get to work.” She reached down with her right hand and unzipped her boot, kicked it off. “Ready? You want a picture?”
            Iris dug for her cellphone and raised it, ready to take a shot. “Just in case your prince shows up right then.”
            Unbelievable. “I don’t need a prince. I don’t need a man! I need a new life.” Jelani set the shoe on the ground and slipped her foot in. She gently stepped down, not sure what she expected. The slipper shattered, slicing into the sole of her foot.
            Nauseous, Jelani screamed and could only watch in disbelief as tiny men sprang from the blood trickling under the broken shoe. She lost track of how many. The biggest maybe two inches high, they scattered into the shadows around the building next to them and disappeared. She lifted her foot, shaking off the remnants, and examined her foot to see if glass remained buried in her skin.
            “Did you…see that?” Iris gasped, nearly breathless. She grabbed at the wall, eyes closed a moment.
            Jelani felt faint, too, suddenly washed out. “I—I don’t know.” There were no fragments in her foot, or anywhere-- the shoe had vanished. The only trace of the whole incident was dark blood on the sidewalk, slowly drying in the sun. The cuts in her foot healed as she watched. What the hell?
            Iris knelt down to peer at Jelani’s foot. “There were little…people. Naked, hairless little people. They ran away. I swear they did.”
            “Did you get pictures?”
            “I almost forgot!” Iris got up and activated the screen on her cell, pressed the arrow. Jelani leaned close to watch the whole thing replay in living color. “Oh. Bless. My. God,” Iris said, in her shock reverting to the male deity.
            Jelani nodded. “And the horse He rode in on.”

            This event, depicted in The Elf Queen, triggers a change in Jelani’s life she never expected, as she learns that much of her past has been a lie, and she must delve into old family secrets, including the deaths of her parents, to find out the truth. Her few friends stand by her, oddballs and loners like she is, eventually becoming involved in a great adventure: the resolution of a twenty-five year civil war among a clan of elves who live in the mountains of the Bitterroot in western Montana.

            The Elf Child carries the story onward, as Jelani and her chosen mate, Astan Hawk, try to pull together the shreds of the elf clan, still in pieces after a political split over tradition. Those on the outside and those on the inside continue to skirmish, as forces within the clan itself scheme to have their way with their new young queen. Jelani must choose between her clan and her human friends, before she is lost forever:

            The moment Astan Hawk accepts his clan's challenge to protect the young Elf Queen Jelani, trouble dogs his heels. Jelani's human upbringing clashes with clan tradition, spurring dangerous intrigues within the Circle of Elders. Soon even the motives of Astan's father, Daven, come into question. With nowhere else to turn within the clan, Astan has no choice but to ask Jelani's human friends for help. But paranoid hermit Crispy, empathetic social worker Iris, and computer whiz Lane complicate Jelani's unexpected pregnancy and her attempts to rule the clan. And hiding in shadows, outcast Grigor Biren plots revenge for the loss of his mentor by seeking the help of powerful elf mages who live deep within the forest. Can Astan fulfill his promise to keep Jelani safe when the whole world seems to have turned against them?

            Book Three, THE ELF MAGE, begins as the clan is in disarray. The newborn prince is missing, the Circle of Elders scattered, and the queen and her mate are in hiding, unsure which side to trust.  Enter Jelani’s geek friend Lane Donatelli, a former foster home resident and online gamer, who is pulled into the conflict of the elves with his roommate Ron “Crispy” Mendell. Lane devises a plan, with the help of some clan members, to enlist the help of his online game persona, an eight-foot Orc named Xiomar. All he needs is a little magic to conjure him into the real world, and he’s sure the civil war’s tide will turn.

            Although things don’t quite turn out that way…


          The fourth book in the series, THE ELF GUARDIAN, will be out in 2013, and tells the story of what happens several years after the war, when a down-on-her-luck ghost hunter decides she’ll make her tv comeback studying the Montana Vortex—but finds the hidden elf clan instead. It will take all the magic—and cunning—the elves and humans can muster to save themselves from the kind of exposure that would destroy their peaceful world.

About Lyndi Alexander

Lyndi Alexander dreamed for many years of being a spaceship captain, but settled instead for inspired excursions into fictional places with fascinating companions from her imagination that she likes to share with others. She has been a published writer for over thirty years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at a newspaper in Homestead, Florida. Her list of publications is eclectic, from science fiction to romance to horror, from tech reporting to television reviews. Lyndi is married to an absent-minded computer geek. Together, they have a dozen computers, seven children and a full house in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Find out more about Lyndi Alexander and this series at or

Please feel free to ask questions about the books, characters, upcoming booksignings and anything else that fascinates you about the Clan Elves.

All Lyndi's books are available from Dragonfly Publishing, Inc.,, Barnes and, Smashwords, ITunes, Kobo.

Watch the book trailer for The Elf Queen at

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Meet Fiona Ingram, Award-Winning Children's Author

Please welcome children's author Fiona Ingram to Carpinello's Writing Pages. I met Fiona about two years ago after reading her book Secret of the Sacred Scarab. We discovered that our writing interests are similar - ancient Egypt and the Legendary King Arthur. Fiona and I share writing tips, marketing ideas, and plan to team up in 2013 for an exciting joint marketing venture when her next book The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is published.

Fiona, please tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a South African children’s author. Up until a few years ago, I was a journalist and editor. Something rather unexpected sparked my new career as an author—a family trip to Egypt with my mother and two young nephews. We had a great time and I thought I’d write them a short story as a different kind of souvenir…. Well, one book and a planned book series later, I had changed careers. I am well into the third book in my MG adventure series Chronicles of the Stone, with a movie option signed for Book One (The Secret of the Sacred Scarab), and the editing process under way for Book Two (The Search for the Stone of Excalibur). 

Why did you pick to write books for MG?

My two nephews who inspired the young heroes of my story were 10 and 12 at the time. Their excitement, their wonder, and amazement at everything we saw in Egypt opened my eyes to the magical age of middle graders. They still believe in the incredible possibilities of life, and their viewpoint is refreshing and enchanting.  

What types of books do you like to read?

I read just about anything but I’m not keen on chick lit (I find it improbable) and (I confess) Young Adult because the main characters are usually intensely self-absorbed. I love detective, mystery, historical, and archaeological thrillers. I also enjoy political thrillers and 19th century writers.

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

I feel so guilty when I am not writing—it’s like having permanent homework—that I keep finding excuses to get back to the computer. However, I love movies, musical and dance theatre, actually any kind of shows, travel, art, reading, enjoying my beautiful home and my pets. Lest I forget, dining out only at restaurants that have the best desserts in town.

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab has proven to be an award-winning story. Tell us about it.

As I mentioned earlier, my writing career veered sharply in another direction after my trip to Egypt. It started off as a short story for my two nephews and then just grew into a book, another book idea, and finally a series. It was impossible to save the world in one book! The Secret of the Sacred Scarab is a middle grade children’s adventure, filled with action, mystery, history (yes!), geography, archaeology, and all the kind of hands-on/solving clues stuff kids love. The story is a thrilling adventure for two young boys, whose fun trip to Egypt turns into a dangerously exciting quest to uncover an ancient and mysterious secret.

My book has also done me proud in Book Awards and various contests.
  • Finalist Children's Fiction USA Next Generation 2009 Indie Book Awards
  • Finalist Juvenile Fiction USA National Best Books 2009 Awards
  • Winner Pre-Teen USA 2009 Readers' Favorites Awards
  • Winner Silver Medal Teen Fiction 2010 Nautilus Book Awards
  • Finalist Children’s Fiction 2010 International Book Awards
  • Winner Bronze Medal Pre-Teen Fiction 2010 Moonbeam Book Awards
  • Finalist 2011 Rubery Book Awards
  • Winner Gold Award Mystery Pre-Teen 2011 Children’s Literary Classics Awards

What other books have you written?

I wonder if I should confess now to having written historical romance novels under my pseudonym Arabella Sheraton. I love Regency novels, and am a huge fan of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. One day my mother (who sadly passed away just recently) said she thought I could also write a romance, and that I should try. She was a Mills & Boon addict. I said, OK, and produced my first novel, which was (amazingly) snapped up by a fabulous publisher. Thereafter, they commissioned more. I have written four Regency romances with a Valentine novella and another full-length novel contracted. You can find the first two books on Amazon. The others will be available shortly. 

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

I am halfway through The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper in The Chronicles of the Stone series. Of course, I am at the point where I absolutely have to take a trip there. My young heroes have crashed into the Mexican jungle and have been rescued by an uncontacted tribe as they search for the Third Stone of Power. All very dangerous and lots of fun.

What advice do you have for other authors?

I love this question and always give the same answer:

Never give up.

Make sure your writing meets the industry standards - i.e. get it professionally edited. 

Tell someone about your book every day. Word of mouth is the best advertising.

Share with us your journey as a writer.

It has been an incredible journey and not without its dark and dreary moments. Living in South Africa affords very few good opportunities for publishing. Hence my decision to find a publisher in the USA. That too has its drawbacks—I can’t do as much as I would like with book readings etc. But the benefit of the Internet has proved itself! I have found that through blogging, tweeting, Facebook, and other online means, I have been able to build up a good author profile. 

Anything else you want readers to know?

Just that my greatest ambition is to write a detective novel, since I enjoy them so much, and I hope one day I can work out an intricate plot that will keep everyone guessing to the last page!

And now a glimpse into The Secret of the Sacred Scarab.

A 5000-year-old mystery comes to life when a scruffy peddler gives Adam and Justin Sinclair an old Egyptian scarab on their very first day in Egypt. Only when the evil Dr. Faisal Khalid shows a particular interest in the cousins and their scarab, do the boys realise they are in terrible danger. Dr. Khalid wants the relic at all costs. Justin and Adam embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, taking them down the Nile and across the harsh desert in their search for the legendary tomb of the Scarab King, an ancient Egyptian ruler. They are plunged into a whirlpool of hazardous and mysterious events when Dr. Khalid kidnaps them. They survive terrifying dangers in a hostile environment (such as a giant cobra, as well as sinking sand), pursued by enemies in their quest to solve the secret of the sacred scarab. They must translate the hieroglyphic clues on the underside of the scarab, as well as rescue the missing archaeologist James Kinnaird, and their friend, the Egyptologist Ebrahim Faza, before time runs out. They must also learn more about the ancient Seven Stones of Power and the mysterious Shemsu-Hor. With just their wits, courage, and each other, the boys manage to survive … only to find that the end of one journey is the beginning of another! 

My Review of The Secret of the Sacred Scarab.

This was the second time I've read Fiona's book, but that didn't lessen the excitement. Instead, I found myself talking to the boys, trying to warn them, much like I would do each time I re-read Romeo and Juliet with my freshmen students!

The mystery and excitement that is Egypt will hook young readers from the start. Adam and Justin are characters that are easy to relate to as each exhibit the qualities of caution and rashness. Don't we all. When one is ready to race onward, the other puts the brakes on. 

The ancient settings of Egypt are always intriguing and add to the mysery of the boys' journey. Fiona's first-hand knowledge of these sites puts readers right there beside Adam and Justin.

Lots of twists and turns round out this award-winning story.

Links for Fiona and her books:

Author Site: 
Facebook page: 
Goodreads author page: 
Book website: 

Amazon Kindle 

Amazon Paperback