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.