Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Writing Tips and Meet MG Author Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Welcome to Carpinello's Writing Pages. Before we get introduced to today's author, here are some writing tips from previous authors on my blog. As always, feel free to share your author tips in the comments.

You’re the only one with the ultimate vision of the story you’re trying to tell. Don’t let anyone talk you out of it. Join a writers' group, attend classes or workshops, and never stop reading. Exercise those writing muscles! Set goals and deadlines for yourself, and meet them. Persevere in your quest to become a published author, and enjoy the ridePat McDermott, author of the YA series Glimmer.

It is difficult to find time to write sometimes. However, you can always find the time to imagine or daydream. File those thoughts away in your mind, record yourself on a handheld tape recorder, or jot them down on a piece of paper for when you have time to writeCrystal Marcos,  author of the YA series The Cresecren Chronicles: Novus

Keep writing! If one idea doesn’t work out, go on and write the next bookMariko Layton, author of the MG multicultural story Ayumi’s Violin.

And Now,
Please welcome MG author Emily-Jane Hills Orford
to Carpinello's Writing Pages

I'm pleased to welcome Emily-Jane back to my blog. One of the greatest advantages of writing today is the opportunity to become friends with authors from all over the world. Emily-Jane is one of these friends.

Here's a bit about Emily-Jane:
An avid gardener, artist, musician and writer, Emily-Jane Hills Orford has fond memories and lots of stories that evolved from a childhood growing up in a haunted Victorian mansion. Told she had a ‘vivid imagination’, Emily-Jane used this talent to create stories in her head, allowing her imagination to lead her into a different world, one of her own making. As she grew up, these stories, imaginings and fantasies took to the written form and, over the years, she developed a reputation for telling a good story. A retired teacher of music and creative writing, she writes about the extra-ordinary in life and the fantasies of dreams combined with memories.

Emily-Jane can now boast that she is an award-winning author of several books, including Mrs. Murray’s Ghost: The Piccadilly Street Series Book 1 (Telltale Publishing 2018) which was named finalist in the 2019 N.N. Light Book Awards, Mrs. Murray’s Hidden Treasure: The Piccadilly Street Series Book 2 (Telltale Publishing 2019), Mrs. Murray’s Home: The Piccadilly Street Series Book 3 (Telltale Publishing 2020), Queen Mary’s Daughter (Clean Reads 2018) which won the 2019 N.N. Light Book Awards, King Henry’s Choice (Clean Reads 2019), and several other books.

Why did you pick to write books Middle Grade?

Actually, I write in several genres, but Middle Grade is my preference. I enjoy the idea of re-visiting my childhood memories. I think some of the best books I ever read were written for the Middle Grade audience: C.S. Lewis, Mary Norton, Gene Stratton-Porter and, of course, our blog host. Plus, I’ve taught music and creative writing to this age group, so I feel most comfortable writing for this age.

What types of books do you like to read, and what do you do when you are not writing?

I like to read multiple genres (mostly the same as the genres I write): mystery, historical fiction, memoir, creative nonfiction, animal stories. When I’m not writing, I’m doing something else something equally creative: collage painting, needle art, baking, gardening, composing music and playing the piano, and, most important, reading.

Tell us about Mrs. Murray's Home and how the story came to be.

Mrs. Murray’s Home is the third book in the Piccadilly Street Series, which has been compared to Harry Potter. Home is where the heart is, or so they say. It’s also been said that a home is a person’s castle. But home is also with family and friends. Mrs. Murray longs for home, the family home, a castle an ocean away. The Brownies also crave for home, the same castle Mrs. Murray considers home. And Granny? Mary’s Granny hasn’t been home since she was Mary’s age. It’s time to visit the homeland, Scotland. Mary’s excited to tag along with Granny, Mrs. Murray and the Brownies. And then there’s the witch. The one they thought they’d killed. And the treasure. The one they had found. And it all ties together, for better or for worse.

I started this series with the idea of re-visiting my growing-up years in an old Victorian Mansion that was haunted. Some of the things I write about in these stories really happened; some are mere fragments of what my grandmother described as my “vivid imagination”. Oh! And Granny (as we called her when we were younger) is one of the main characters in this series. Basically, these books are, in some ways, personal memoirs combined with fantasy and lots of adventure. The stories are set in the 1960s, when my family first moved into the haunted house, and it includes some of my childhood friends and nemeses, including the schoolyard bully whose memory haunts me to this day (moreso than the ghost).

Here's a peek at Mrs. Murray's Home:

“No, you can’t.”

“I can too.”

“Leave her alone.”

“Let her sleep.”
“Quiet!” Mary covered her ears, forcing her eyes to open. She shrieked when she did and slid backwards to the headboard of the bed, curling her legs in front of her, in a feeble attempt to protect herself.

“Now you’ve done it.”

“I have not.”

“She’s awake, isn’t she?”

“Should have let her sleep.”

“Who are you?” Mary looked around the room, crammed full of, what? Ghosts? No. It couldn’t be. Gathering her wits about her, she asked the only question that came to mind. “Where’s Mrs. Murray?” She was one ghost Mary trusted and with whom she felt safe.

“Here.” Came the chorus of ethereal voices. “We’re all Mrs. Murray.”

“No!” Mary shook her head vehemently. “It can’t be. If so, where is my Mrs. Murray?”

The response was so loud, Mary was forced to cover her ears. “Stop!” she shrieked. “One at a time. Didn’t anyone teach you some manners?”

How do you go about researching for your stories?

When research is needed, I make use of the internet. There are a lot of resources available at the tip of our fingers. I also read a lot of nonfiction and possess a huge collection of books. (When we last moved ten years ago, the movers complained about the 500+ boxes of books. I’m sure it’s more now.) I used to frequent the public archives, but with most of the resources now available online, I find it much more convenient, especially with lockdown restrictions still in place for accessing public spaces.

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

I have written a lot. My genres include: historical fiction/fantasy (Queen Mary’s Daughter and King Henry’s Choice), creative nonfiction (It Happened in Canada Books 1, 2, & 3, Personal Notes, The Whistling Bishop, F-Stop: A Life in Pictures”, Ukulele Yukon, Amazingly Extra-Ordinary Women, and To Be a Duke), mystery (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter), and, of course, Middle Grade and Young Adult, which includes this series, as well as Gerlinda (another childhood memory story). I also have several unpublished books in each of these genres looking for a publisher, including, surprisingly for me, a couple of dystopian novels.

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

Always. Another dystopian novel – must be the lockdown, Corona virus conspiracy theories getting to me and affecting my creative output.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Write. Don’t procrastinate. Just write. Even bad writing is better than no writing, and it’s a step in the right direction as the more we write, the more we improve.

Anything else you want readers to know?

Support an author by posting a review. We all depend on our readers and their opinions (both good and not-so-good).

Where can readers find you and your books?

Author Links:

Purchase Links:



Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Writing Tips & Meet MG Author S. N. Bronstein

Welcome back to Carpinello's Writing Pages! I've been busy transferring my Arthurian Legend books over to Silver Quill Publishing, my author co-op. Just finished this last week. Now I'm working on publishing my Guinevere trilogy in an eBook collection. So far, it's time consuming, but no major problems. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Before I introduce us to our author, hear are some writing tips from our archives. The key is that writing tips don't go out of style. Please leave your tip(s) in the comments. All my readers would appreciate the share.

Succeeding in the field of writing comes down to three things: Practice, Patience, and Persistence. Without those, you’ll never make it. As writers, we never stop learning, and we never stop practicing our craft and trying to improve. We learn early on to be patient with ourselves and our stories and this crazy business of writing and publishing. We also learn to be persistent and to never give up on the projects we care about, even if that means multiple rewrites, multiple submissions, a radically different approach to publishing or marketing, etc. We are strong people, we writers, and we love what we do. We’re lucky

Just write and don’t let anyone else decide what success meansWilliam Stuart, author of

And now,
Please welcome Middle Grade author fellow educator S. N. Bronstein to Carpinello's Writing Pages

First, here's a bit about S. N. Bronstein:

I worked 34 years in a large metropolitan area school system. During those years I was a teacher, crisis counselor, investigator of student at risk cases, and Regional Supervisor.  Following my retirement I began writing and publishing novels for both adults and children.I still live in Florida with my wife and our cat Nugget. You'll see why I mention Nugget when you read on.

Why did you pick to write books for upper middle-graders?

My decision to begin writing MG books came about after publishing a number of adult crime stories called The Fairlington Lavender Detective Series.
I reasoned that if adults enjoyed crime stories, then why wouldn’t MG students enjoy age appropriate stories with the same theme? Of course the nature of the crimes and the plots would have to be altered to be consistent with the age group.  MG students can learn a great number of important life lessons from this genre. This resulted in The Private Eye Cats series being published.

What types of books do you like to read, and what do you do when you are not writing?

I enjoy reading historical non-fiction when I am not writing. I also enjoy home improvement projects.

Tell us about The Private Eye Cats series and how the stories came to be:  

The Private Eye Cats series consists of two books; The Case of the Neighborhood Burglars and The Case of the Kidnapped Dog. The plots follow two sister cats who live at home with their ‘humans’ and at one point decide to become private detectives.

How such an implausible challenge could be realized is revealed early in the first book. Special skills the cats possess that the readers learn of allow the two feline ladies to pull this off. Scooter and Nugget solve two separate crimes in the area of their home.

Here's a peek at The Case of the Kidnapped Dog:

I think I talked about it in our first book, but in case you don’t remember, with cats it’s all about the action. Cats have a need to find out everything about everything. It’s called curiosity and as my older cat sister Scooter taught me, it’s part of our instincts. We have no choice in the matter. Dogs can be content sitting around the house, going for a walk twice a day, and chasing after a ball and bringing it back to their humans until they pass out from the heat. Not us. We can play the ‘make the humans happy’ game like any other house pets, but our real goals are to explore, find out what’s up, and stick our noses exactly where they don’t belong.

It was this instinct to get into the action that got me, Nugget, and my sister Scooter into so much trouble last April. During that month I wanted to find a way to sneak out of the house once our humans, Tony and Misty, went to work. Well, I did find a way out.                      

I convinced Scooter to join me on a trip to the outside world. Against her better judgment, she finally agreed.

Scooter’s decision to join me on a tour of the real world beyond our four walls led to all kinds of mischief. Once she heard about some burglars breaking into houses on our block, she dreamed up the idea that we should help the police catch the crooks.

Well, we did help the police solve the case. We caught the criminals who were responsible, and we became Private Eye Cats.

How do you go about researching for your stories?

I had to do very little research for the MG books given that I had extensively researched many of the forensic details for my adult crime stories. A big positive here is that the cats are ours in real life.

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

The Private Eye Cats series includes two books so far: The Case of the Neighborhood Burglars and The Case of the Kidnapped Dog.

My adult series consist of four cases worked by Detective Fairlington Lavender in South Florida. The books include The Case of the Miami Philanthropist, The Case of the Miami Blackmailer, The Case of the Miami Vigilante, and The Case of the Yellow Flower Tattoo.  The WIP  and final addition to the series is The Case of the Small Town Coroner. All are fast paced thrillers where the MC faces almost insurmountable odds in bringing the antagonist to justice.

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

Aside from the adult WIP, I am planning a third in The Private Eye Cats series.

What advice do you have for other authors?

For novice authors I advise them to follow their instincts when sitting down to write. Don’t count words, don’t count pages, and don’t write when your creative side is not in gear. Let the story flow from your mind to the page without a lot of concern for rules.  There is one rule for writing…there are no rules.

Of course, proper grammatical form is a must and all books have to be logical in terms of the story line moving along.

Writing is easy. Editing is a challenge. Getting published by a traditional house is even more of a challenge. Marketing and selling your works is the most frustrating of all. But never give up, ever.
If there is ‘a book in you’ then write it.

Anything else you want readers to know?

Keep reading regardless of whose books you decide to select.

Where can readers find you and your books?



My books can be found on the site, sample chapters read, and books can be purchased in all formats directly from Amazon. My books are also available from most on-line book sellers.