Archive | April 2012

Six Sentence Sunday is here again!

Hi folks, and welcome back to Six Sentence Sunday! Today I’m giving you the first six lines of my psychological/paranormal thriller THE EXPERIMENT. Hope you enjoy!

“My name is Rachel Silverman and I am one of the Black Flag kidnap victims.” I pulled back from the microphone and squinted as hundreds of flashbulbs blinded me. The briefing room was packed with people, calling out requests, jostling for space.

A female CIA agent patted my arm reassuringly and I leaned in again, a hush settling through the room as everyone waited for me to speak again. I took a second to breathe and stared into the cameras, the voice recorders raised high to get every word. Everyone waiting to hear my story.

To learn more about Six Sentence Sunday and to read other amazing entries, please check out www.sixsunday.com. Thanks for coming and I’d love to hear from you!

Time to meet a fantastic YA novelist, Ann Swann!

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The Phantom Pilot, by Ann Swann

I would like to dedicate this week’s blog to introducing everyone to a fantastic young adult author named Ann Swann. One of the things I love about her work is that it’s something I can share with my nearly eleven year old daughter. So many times we find YA books and movies that say they are in that category, but really kind of “skirt the line.” Ann’s new novel, THE PHANTOM PILOT, is exciting, clean, fun, even scary and when I asked my daughter what she thought about it when she finished, she said one word: “Amazing!” I wholeheartedly agree. Well written with strong characters, I highly recommend it for those who love YA or want to get started on one. 

So, without further ado, hailing all the way from far West Texas (I think Texas is far for anyone from any other state, to be honest) I give you Ann Swann…

Elyse: Please tell us a little about your book, about the time period you chose and what makes your novel different than others in your genre?

Ann: The Phantom Pilot is a novella that originated as a short story. I entered the original story (The Escort) in the annual fiction contest hosted by my writer’s group, The Abilene Writer’s Guild, and it won first place. After that, I began to send it here and there to see if it could be published. In the meantime, my Muse decided I wasn’t quite finished with Jase and Stevie, so I wrote a wraparound story which planted the characters firmly in the time period of my youth. Most of the setting is based upon an idealized version of my West Texas hometown. After the story reached novella length, I came across a small mention in the AWG monthly newsletter which said that Cool Well Press was accepting manuscripts. I had met Denise Vitola, the editor, at an AWG workshop so I was intrigued. Since I hadn’t heard from any of the three places where I had submitted the short story, I sent the novella to Denise and she wrote back within a couple of weeks saying she liked it and wanted to publish it. Naturally, I was thrilled, and then two of the other places I’d submitted it to (months earlier) emailed and wanted to publish the short story. Isn’t that always the way? I think the time period of the late 60s, early 70s, is a little different for YA books right now. It’s nostalgic, and a bit historical, you know, set against the back drop of real events. Of course it’s also a ghost story, so there’s that . . .

Elyse: Ahh, a ghost story, that does give the book an intriguing angle. How did you come up with the idea in the first place?

Ann: A small plane was flying too low over my house one night; I imagined what would happen if it crashed and I had to go out alone and see about the pilot. I don’t know why I made the lead character a teenaged boy. I think my Muse did that when I wasn’t looking.

Elyse: I love that you have both strong female and male leads in your book.  The kid’s personalities and characters are really developed and complex and stand out nicely. So tell me, do you specifically target YA when you get an idea for a story? Do you find it easier to write to that genre?

Ann: I don’t think about it. I just write whatever comes. I know I’ve had more people interact with me on my YA stuff, so I guess it must be easier for me.

Elyse: We all have other writers we look up to. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor and why?

Ann: Only one? Ray Bradbury, no, Edgar Allan Poe, no, Stephen King…aww, I give up. All of them!

Elyse: That was tough, wasn’t it? I think reading other people’s work shapes us and helps us in so many ways with our own stories. In fact, I always think that our mentors have special places in our futures as writers, as well. So, I’m curious, what are your current projects?

Ann: I’m working on the edits for the sequel to The Phantom Student, Book Two in The Phantom Series. It will be published around Halloween.

Elyse: A sequel… excellent and congratulations! So tell me, besides writing, tell us some of the other things you love to do.

Ann: I love to draw, and sketch, and play word games like Scrabble, Boggle, and Words With Friends (on my phone). I also adore live music, and if I don’t get my evening walk in every night, I get extremely cranky. Then of course, there’s reading–books are stacked in every room, begging to be read (and my Kindle overfloweth). In addition, my hubby and I go to the movies almost every week. We also like to jump in the car and drive. We want to do both coasts, just drive and drive, and stop when we see something interesting. Then there are the kids and grandkids . . . we’re headed to a junior rodeo this weekend in Oklahoma where four of the grandkids live. This rodeo is for toddlers and up. Should be interesting.

 

So, a big thank you to Ann for allowing us to take a peek into her writing world. If you’d like to found out about Ann’s current works, here’s what she has going on:

Check out her most recent short fiction in The Rusty Nail, at www.rustynailmag.com , The Soul Gardener, in the Cool Well Press anthology, Timeless: http://tinyurl.com/cav45q2, and a new self published pseudo-zombie gem called Chems at http://tinyurl.com/cj64sd8

The Phantom Pilot is available at www.CoolWellPress.com or at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/6uk5cp2

To contact Ann directly feel free to check out www.annswann.com, www.Annswann.blogspot.com, or follow on Twitter.com/@ann_swann or on www.Facebook.com/annswann.authorfanpage

 

Six Sentence Sunday!

Hi everyone, here are the first six sentences of my Young Adult fantasy, THE WORLD OF KAROV, the first book in a planned trilogy. Books one and two are already written.

Chapter One

Four hundred years ago….

     It was the smell that woke me. The cloying, metallic scent of an animal when it’s been run over by a wagon and left to die in its own filth on a dirt road riddled with the excrement of horses. Why it was in my room terrified me.

     It was late; so late the hens were still fast asleep and the insects had ceased their incessant chattering. Even the passing horse carts, bringing their furs and goods between the villages, had gone to bed for the night.

     I couldn’t bring myself to open my eyes, fearful of what I would find.

 

Please feel free to visit www.sixsunday.com to read all the other entries and enter yourself next week! Enjoy and feel free to comment if you’d like!

 

The question of schooling….

No one likes to hear they didn’t make it into the college of their choice. It’s like a hard, sharp, kick to your gut. Now imagine when you’re not 18 years old and you’re talking about your 10 yr old with special needs and you wished he had gotten into one school but was rejected because they just can’t accommodate his behavioral issues? It can tear at your heart. My little guy is one of the most inquisitive, smartest and funniest people I know, but with a complete inability to follow rules and do what his teachers ask. And please understand, I’m not a “goggle mom,” with blinders on with regards to my son. As wonderful as he is, I admit he can also be excessively difficult, have a one track mind and very intolerant. I don’t envy his teachers, frankly. Can you imagine having a boy in your class who questions every single thing you say?

For mom’s with kids on the spectrum, this is possibly all too familiar. My son wants to control every single aspect of learning each day. If his teacher wants him to write a short story a page long, he’ll suggest he write a poem instead. If she suggests only doing numbers 1 – 8 on the math page, he’ll say he wants to do numbers 9 – 20 instead. He’ll roll his eyes if other kids have a hard time reading out loud, and gets really upset if he can’t discuss his knowledge about quarks and atoms or Schlessinger’s Cat theory (yes, an upper level physics concept) when the class is learning the basics about space exporation or whatever other science topic is going on. But please don’t ask him to multiply a few equations – it’s like you stuck him with a pin or something the way he carries on. If he’s not interested, he objects to even trying. 

So, that leaves us with “how to school this little guy?” It’s hard. If he weren’t so argumentative, he’d be mainstreamed with his twin sister going to middle school. He’d have so many wonderful classes and electives to choose from, he’d be with his old friends. But now he’s back into a much more restrictive environment, with kids who aren’t exactly peer models and it just breaks my heart. He’s this wealth of potential and I’m flummoxed on how to best harvest it. There just aren’t enough schools out there for behavioral kids high on the spectrum. I never thought that would be our issue. He’s too high functioning, but unable to make it through a regular class, so he needs this environment. We’ve looked at private schools as well, but unless they have the ability to work with very reluctant learners, it’s not the right place.

My hopes for him are still strong. He seems to be a wiz on the computer. Am I crazy to purchase him a laptop of his own and add photo shop so he can start creating movies? He’s in love with the Cyriak videos and wants to learn how to make them. It’s like I’m trying to think about what we can do for him outside of school so that down the road he can attain anything he wants. Of course, he might be up all night playing Kirby’s Mass Attack with that same computer.

Maybe it’s a maturity thing? This morning my daughter stormed into our bedroom at 6:20 am. My son was apparently already downstairs on the Wii and the sound woke her up. Now, he already got dressed for school and the sound was “lowish” so he tried to make sure he did things right (even though there is no Wii usually allowed that early in the morning). You run this weird tightwire of getting him to be self sufficient, but appropriate.

I guess it all comes down to just taking it one step at a time. One day at a time and celebrating every little tiny milestone. And one day, who knows, maybe he’ll be back with his sister in school. And maybe he won’t.

Time will tell.

Six Sentence Sunday

This is my Six Sentence Sunday excerpt of FLYING TO THE LIGHT. The boys are on the run…

 

Day 4—Thursday, 5:00 a.m.

He felt old. Not the kind of old where someone simpers along in a blessed Alzheimer’s oblivion and nurses tend to your every need, but the kind of old that nightmares bring. The old that if he closed his eyes to go to bed for the night, there would be the lingering fear he might not wake up in the morning—that this might be his last cognizant night on Earth.

Michael was so terrified he couldn’t breathe. His safe, little world had shifted out of its comfortable orbit the moment his parents were kidnapped, propelling him to places he never dreamed imaginable. Suddenly, there was horror everywhere and nothing was what it appeared to be.

 

FLYING TO THE LIGHT is available on Amazon, Cool Well Press and on Barnes and Noble

 

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