Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Meet Middle Grade Author Julie Anne Grasso

Our author today comes from Down Under.

First a bit about Julie Anne Grasso

With her background in paediatric nursing, Julie Anne Grasso spent many years literally wrapping children in cotton wool. Every day she witnessed great courage and resilience from the tiny people she cared for, which inspired her to write stories about a little girl elf just like them. She lives in Melbourne Australia with her husband Danny and their little elf Giselle.

Why did you choose to write books for Middle Grade readers?

I love middle grade because kids are so open to wonderful fantasy stories where they can get totally enthralled in a new world and still have that innocence before life gets complicated. I want to take them on a great adventure but also impart good values along the way.

What type of books do you like to read?

Obviously I love Middle Grade, but I am a huge science fiction fan, so I love Anne McCaffrey, Jasper Fforde, Douglas Addams and Frank Herbert.  I also love Forensics so I have every Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell on my bookshelves.

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

Spending time with my husband and toddler Gigi, reading, and watching nerdy sci fi series like Doctor Who, Eureka and Warehouse 13 and Fringe.

Tell us about Escape From The Forbidden Planet and how the story came to be.

When I was in high school the kids used to call me Pixi because I pretty small in stature and I have fairly elf-like features.  As I mentioned before I am also a pediatric nurse and I have used a lot of nerdy medical technology over the years, so I decided I wanted to write a story about elves that have special healing abilities. I am a cupcake fanatic, so the result was Escape From The Forbidden Planet.

Here's a peak at Escape From The Forbidden Planet:


Caramel Cinnamon thought the worst day of her life was the day her grandparents, the King and Queen of the Elves of Cardamom went missing. She was wrong! The day she spills sticky toffee syrup onto her father's computer, that's when her worst nightmare begins. She finds herself marooned on a forbidden planet, sent there by an evil clone with a very sticky secret. Caramel is desperate to escape. If she doesn't she will lose her dreams of returning to Cardamom to become a healer like her Mum. Luckily, she has a secret of her own and the lives of her family and friends depend on it!

Have you written other books?

I have almost completed the sequel to Escape From The Forbidden Planet. It will be called Return To Cardamom and will hopefully be ready for release in mid 2013.

What's next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?
I am working on a middle grade detective story, called Franky Dupont And The Mystery At Enderby Manor. It’s going to be in first person, so a little different from my other two books but I am loving the creative process and hope to have it finished also in 2013.

What advice do you have for other authors?
I used Kindle Direct Publishing to launch my author platform utilizing the free promotional days and they have really paid off over the last two months. For my Christmas Promo, I managed to rank as high as #2 in Children’s ebooks/Science Fiction and  #35 for Children’s books aged 9-12. Giving books away for free sounds crazy, but it has given me the exposure I couldn’t have possibly generated as an unknown.

Anything else you want readers to know?
I hope you enjoy my book but beware, it has been known to cause a caramel cupcake craving!

Where can readers find you and your books?
Amazon:  http://amzn.com/B009FXC42A

Website:  www.julieannegrassobooks.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16060026-escape-from-the-forbidden-planet
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Julie-Anne-Grasso-books/287496411357122
Twitter: @jujuberry37

Thursday, January 17, 2013

MaMa's Book Corner: Cheryl Carpinello Spotlight

MaMa's Book Corner: Cheryl Carpinello Spotlight:     Author Cheryl Carpinello joins the 2013 World of Ink Virtual Tour The World of Ink Network will be touring both of author Cher...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Meet YA/Women's Fiction Author T. M. Souders

I came across T. M Souders on the USA Book Awards site late in December. When I contacted her, she graciously consented to an interview on my blog. If you work with high school students, recommend Souders' 2012 USA Book Award Finalist YA novel Freedom Road.

First a bit about T.M. Souders

T.M. Souders was born in Johnstown, PA and grew up in the suburbs outside of Pittsburgh. She graduated in 2004, from Youngstown State University, with a degree in Psychology and minor in Women's Studies. She is the author of bestselling women's fiction novel, Waiting on Hope, the USA Book Award-winning Finalist, Freedom Road, and the novelette Dashing Through The Snow. She is the founder of The Serious Reader, a site dedicated to connecting with book-lovers one book at a time. She currently lives in rural Ohio with her husband and children. When she is not writing or spending time with her family, T.M. volunteers for the World Literary Cafe, a site dedicated to helping authors and uniting authors and readers.

What types of books do you like to read? 

I’m a fairly eclectic reader. I enjoy everything from Mystery to Literary Fiction. The genres I enjoy most though are YA, Romance, and Women’s Fiction.

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

I’d love to say that I do something really exciting, but I’m afraid most of my free time is spent wrangling my two young children (ages 2 and 4), breaking up fights, and doing other normal everyday things. Lately, finding writing time is like pulling teeth, but I manage.
 Why did you pick to write books for Young Adults?

I love the idea of creating an amazing book for teenagers' impressionable minds to read. Freedom Road, my YA novel was a book that just called to me. If I can inspire even one young adult with this book, I’d be a happy woman.

Tell us about Freedom Road and how the story came to be.

Freedom Road is a story about overcoming adversity. Honestly, the idea for the book first presented itself over two years ago. Since then, however, I rewrote it completely three times. In the last rewrite I knew that my main character, Samantha, needed a larger obstacle to achieving her dreams. Samantha’s one true love is the guitar. Music is her solace and the only thing that keeps her sane in a dysfunctional family. So when she permanently injures her hand (she loses a finger), she’s devastated and thinks she will never play the guitar again. But overcoming adversity is only one of the life lessons Sam learns throughout the book.

Enjoy this blurb from Freedom Road 
For most of her life, music has been eighteen-year-old Samantha Becker’s only expressive outlet against her dysfunctional family. But when her father’s careless actions lead to an “accident,” Sam’s ability to play the guitar dies along with her dreams of attending Juilliard.
Just when Sam has given up, a budding friendship and an unexpected love force her to evaluate all she’s ever known. Armed with a new-found confidence, Sam battles her father’s plans for her future, band mates using her for personal gain, and a permanent injury. But will it be enough? Julliard auditions are almost here. Time’s running out, and Sam must re-learn to play the guitar or give up her dreams forever.

Tell us a bit about the other books you have written.

I also have another novel, Waiting On Hope, which is women’s fiction and focuses on a woman in the aftermath of rape and how she must cope when she discovers she is pregnant. It is a book about loss, love, hope, healing, and second chances. I also have a novelette Dashing Through the Snow, which is a holiday romance and a nice, light read.

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

Yes, I am! It’s coming along slooowly, but I am loving it. I don’t have a title for it yet, but it is written from two perspectives. A 40 year-old woman who is still grieving the death of her husband after an accident involving gang violence, and 20 year-old Latino boy who joined a gang to save his brother. The two cross paths and the woman takes the boy under her wing.

What advice do you have for other authors?

I’ve made many mistakes along the way, and I’m sure you will too. The key is to learn from them, but here is the best advice I can give. Take your time. Be patient. Write the best book you can, then take all of the proper steps to ensure that it’s fabulous (Beta readers, editing etc). Then, only release it or query agents when it’s polished and shining.

Where can readers find your books?

Amazon for paperback and ebook. (Barnes & Noble soon)
Freedom Road: http://amzn.to/V1Sl0N
Waiting On Hope: http://amzn.to/wwCWDq
Dashing Through the Snow:  http://amzn.to/JuFL5f

Anything else you want readers to know?

I’d love to hear from you, so don’t hesitate to get in touch! I can be found here:

I am on Wattpad, as well as my work: http://wattpad.com/TmSouders
I also have a site for readers at: http://theseriousreader.org
I’m also on Pinterest (LOVE!), Goodreads & LinkedIn – all those links can be found on my site

Writers and Authors: Finding the Words to Write

Writers and Authors: Finding the Words to Write: What a scary topic! Finding the words to write. Every writer’s nightmare at one time or another. However, have you really read the topi...

Monday, January 7, 2013

Children's Writer's World: Creating Believable Characters

Children's Writer's World: Creating Believable Characters: Today, Cheryl Carpinello guest blogs about knowing your reader for believable characters:   Authors can have the most exciting plot...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2013 WOI January Tour

Heads Up! My World of Ink January 2013 Virtual Tour Started Today. See my month-long schedule at the link below! Join me for new interviews and insights into my writing life.

January 6th
Writers and Authors - Guest Post

January 7th
Children's Writer's World - Guest Post

January 8th
Books Are Cool - Spotlight

January 9th
The Crypto-Capers Review

Blog Talk Radio Show - Stories from Unknown Authors

January 10th
4 the LOVE of BOOKS - Spotlight

January 11th
Stories for Children Magazine FG Interview

January 13th
Utah Children's Writer Blog - Guest Post

January 14th
BTR's World of Ink Network
Stories for Children Show 2pm EST

January 15th
Books Are Cool - King's Ransom Review

January 16th
Families Matter - Interview

January 17th
Mama's Book Corner - Spotlight

January 18th
Books Are Cool - Guinevere Review

January 20th
Home School Blogger - Guinevere Book Review

January 21st
Kit-Lit Reviews - Spotlight

January 22nd
Roth's Inspiring Books & Products - Interview

January 23rd
Mother & Daughter Reviews - The King's Ransom

January 24th
Home School Blogger - The King's Ransom Book Review

January 25th
Kit-Lit Reviews - The King's Ransom

January 28th
Writing Blind - The King's Ransom Review

January 29th
Roth's Inspiring Books & Products - Guest Post

January 30th
Andi's Realm - Spotlight & Giveaway

January 31st
A Book Lover's Library - Guest Post

February 1st
Families Matter - The King's Ransom Review

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Meet Writer Morgen Bailey

I'm pleased to welcome my friend Morgen Bailey (“Morgen with an E”) to Carpinello's Writing Pages. Morgen is a prolific author numerous short stories, novels, articles, and a very occasional dabbler of poetry. She is also the author of The Serial Dater's Shopping List, a chick lit novel set in Northampton, England. Morgen Bailey is a prolific blogger, podcaster, editor / critiquer, Chair of NWG (which runs the annual H.E. Bates Short Story Competition). Like her, Morgen Bailey's Writing Blog is consumed by all things literary. I'm sure Morgen will make you smile and laugh a bit as she did me, so Enjoy!

What type of books do you read?

Usually the type that I write; dark and light, so usually crime and humour, with women’s contemporary fiction thrown in. They balance each other off nicely. I’m a big fan of quirky. Kate Atkinson and Roald Dahl are masters.

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

Like to do is very different to what I do. I blog, or deal with blog-related emails, far too much of my day. I’m currently doing the final edits to my second novel (also second-written, I have four others in file waiting to be gone through) and don’t spend a high enough proportion doing ‘me’ things. I need to try harder but the lure of the email ‘ping’ or Facebook / Twitter number counters are always too great. If I didn't blog I’d certainly write a lot more (my favourite thing), although I’ve written six novels (albeit that two need finishing), 300+ short stories and a few poems in the last seven years so I guess that’s not bad. 

Tell us about The Serial Dater's Shopping List and how the story came to be.

That’s a very good question. Cheryl. I recall it being a couple of days before the 2009 NaNoWriMo (http://nanowrimo.org) and having written a 52,000-word lad lit for the previous year’s NaNo, I wanted to write something else, something just as much fun. I turned to my trusty (and very lengthy; 40+ pages) ideas Word document to see what would grab me and saw a list of over 40 weird and wonderful male characters so decided they should all appear. I then needed a female to meet them all, and she does literally. I’m not sure where the journalist came from but I needed a ‘vehicle’ (situation) in which to get her to meet them. She’s very like me, quite a tough nut, but I hope that readers see she had a softer side by the end of the book – she’s certainly had her share of challenges over the month.

Enjoy this brief glimpse into The Serial Dater's Shopping List
31 men in 31 days – what could possibly go wrong?

 Isobel MacFarlane is a recently-turned-40 journalist who usually writes a technology column for a newspaper based in Northampton, England, but her somewhat-intimidating boss, William, has set her the task of meeting 31 men, via a local internet dating site, all within a month. Having an active, though fruitless, social life with her friend and ‘Health & Beauty’ colleague Donna, she knows what she wants in a man, so creates a shopping list of dos and don’ts, and starts ticking them off as she meets Mr Could Be Right Except For, Mr Not Bad, Mr Oh My Goodness and Mr Oh So Very Wrong. Follow the ups (there are a few) and downs (there are many) of the dating process and intertwined with her experiences, get to know her colleague and family, including her niece Lola who, apart from being an amazing storyteller, can eat ambidextrously whilst wearing a Princess glove puppet on her right hand, and Baby, William’s non-too-healthy African Grey parrot.

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

Apart from the other four ‘filed’ novels (two crime and another lad lit), I’ve written 300+ short stories, some (31) of which became Story a Day in May 2011. I’m woefully behind putting the 2012 collection up, and have three collections of fifty flash fictions (all written subsequently as one piece a day) but I’ll crack on with those once novel number two has gone off to its five first readers. :)

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

I’ve just finished my fifth NaNoWriMo – a very dark (the darkest thing I’ve written) crime novel which I’m planning as the start of a series. I was told last summer at the great Winchester Writers’ Conference by an equally (supposedly scary but I knew an author she knew so that broke the ice) agent, who looked me in the eyes and said, “You’re a crime writer, you need to write crime”. I’m not sure how she thought that from the chick lit I’d presented her(!) but I’m glad she did as it’s what I’ve ended up turning to in recent months, although her wanting more crime (and historical) may have had an influence. I shall resume writing a story a day from February (because I still have so much almost ready to put online) and because I write one a day they’ll be a few hundred words each. My shortest online story to-date is a 44-worder (http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/5pm-fiction-059-stuffed-44-word-story) so I might see if I can beat that.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Write every day. Just 300 words a day will get you a 100,000-word novel at the end of a year (or a 50,000-word NaNoWriMo-length novel in six months). Also read. A lot. I don’t read as much as I’d like, although I get to read guest pieces for my Flash Fiction Friday, Short Story Saturday and Red Pen Critique blog slots so I can’t complain. Reading shows us what works (or sometimes doesn’t) and read your own work out loud. It really helps you spot the mistakes. I have other tips on my http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/writing-101 page. Even if you’re a seasoned writer you’ll still keep learning.

Where can readers find you and your books?

I have a blog (which I’ve not so subtly mentioned a few times) at http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com and my books are listed on the http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine page. They’re only eBooks at the moment but I’m planning on getting the novels published in hold-in-your-hand format. Having interviewed over 580 authors it’s clear that paperbacks will never go away (or we hope so anyway). I love reading both eBooks and pBooks (as paperbacks are less affectionately known as these days) and it’s great, as an author and a reader, to have the choice. Now, for me, 400+ books weigh no more than an iPad and if I’ve finished (or give up on a story) I know I have plenty of others to choose from.

Anything else you want readers to know?

If you don’t write, give it a go. There’s nothing like creating something out of nothing and sometimes it can only take a word to get you started (I have loads of prompts on http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/exercises). If you do already write, don’t ever give up. Unless it’s really not for you and you don’t enjoy writing, don’t stop. Always find a few minutes to write something, even if it’s appalling. And join a writing group so you have people who will be honest and tell you when it needs buffing, and most importantly tell you why something doesn’t work. “It’s great” may make us feel good but equally we want to know why it does work. You can’t edit a blank page so the washing up can wait (if you’re like my lodger no.1 you’ll use cold water anyway) and if you’re anything like me you’ll sit there waving your arms around as you imagine your characters doing whatever it is you’re making them do, and so what if the neighbours think you’re crazy? They probably do already, they’re just too polite to tell you, and think you’re writing about them… which you may well be. We write what we know, don’t we?

Where to find The Serial Dater's Shopping List:

Check out Morgen's website for her other writings. 

By the way, here is the real Morgen Bailey: