Category Archives: young readers

Meet Author W. H. Matlack

W. H. Matlack, who has had several novels and short stories published, is the latest author to appear on my blog this summer. He writes in a variety of genres, including a recent venture into writing a series for  young children (see the end of this post for more information). He has another book released at the beginning of this month.

 What is the title of your latest book?

Latest book title: Grin of the Krocodil.  A new synthetic opiate has been discovered that offers a high that is hundreds of times more intense than Heroin. It’s also many times more dangerous than any other drug as it eats away flesh right to the bone.

Now a chemistry PhD candidate has worked out a formula that makes the drug safe and just as effective. As the word of this modification gets out both the US government and a powerful drug cartel become highly interested in obtaining the formula beginning a deadly tug of war.

What are the most challenging aspects of being a writer? And the most rewarding?

 Most challenging is plot-line development. Character development is the most rewarding. I can spend all day happily developing characters. It clearly releases endorphins when I’m working on characters. Then turning to what these characters should do, or what should befall them, the endorphins evaporate and the grind of plot development kicks in.

What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?

My top tip for all writers is to read like a writer. Go ahead and enjoy reading your favourite author, but the whole time be aware of how he or she phrases things, handles action sequences, builds characters and manages grammar.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m a third of the way into my sixth novel. It’s a bit too early to tell what it’s about, but it involves a pawn shop and a mystery gun.

 What do you like to read?

Raymond Chandler, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Carl Barks, Dashiell Hammett

Where can readers find you?

 On Facebook at: W.H. Matlack – Author

Amazon: http://goo.gl/jloZ8w

Barnes & Noble: http://goo.gl/ufLCJe

Email: matlackpr@att.net

Grandma Explains the Rain (1)

 

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A short story for a summer day.

Today for my #SundayBlogShare I am sharing my short, unpublished, story for young readers, and knowing adults, called When God Came Calling.  

Blurb: A little girl starts praying for enough money to buy a pony. Only to be sadly disappointed.

When God Came Calling.

       I’ve done with praying. Mummy said God knows where she’d find the money for the rent, let alone buy me a pony, so I prayed every night for three months. Pony

‘Please God … (I said ‘Our Father’ too because Granny said he was a father to me as my own daddy went back up north when I was a baby.) ‘Our Father’ makes him sound more part of my family; someone who’d really want to help me and Mummy. Does that make him Mummy’s father too?

Every night after Mummy put me to bed and closed the door I’d jump out and kneel by the side of the bed, just like I’d seen in a picture at Granny’s house. I’d put my hands together and squeeze my eyes tight shut and pray really, really hard.

‘Please God, Our Father, give Mummy a house of her own with a field and a stable.’ I thought God would like it if I asked for something for Mummy, and didn’t ask for anything for myself, which Granny says is rude. But if he got Mummy sorted, and I saved my pocket-money all year, then I’d be able to buy the pony myself.

I saved for weeks and weeks. Granny gave me a £10.00 note to give to Mummy to help buy new shoes for me when I started in Year 6, and I put it in the box under my side of the bed along with the other money. I told Mummy I’d lost it after Granny had gone home. Mummy was really cross and I couldn’t go out to play for a whole week. But that made it easier to save my pocket-money. So it wasn’t much of a punishment really.

In three months I had nearly £30, including Granny’s shoe money. I didn’t know how much a pony would cost but I thought it couldn’t be more than £100.00. Of course, you have to buy tack and food as well, but I’ve got a birthday coming soon, and then it will be Christmas. I thought I could persuade Granny to give me money instead of knitting me something, so I kept telling her I’d got plenty of jumpers from last year that still fitted.

I saved hard and prayed hard and tried hard to be really good and not answer Mummy back so she wouldn’t stop my pocket-money, and I really, REALLY thought it was all going to work out.

But then God knocked the door one evening just after we’d had our tea. There was a loud ‘Bang! Bang! Bang!’ on the front door and Mummy stopped in the middle of washing up and her hand flew to her face as if a really hot splash had hit her in the mouth. Usually she tells me to answer the door but this time she said: ‘Stay where you are Anna,’ quite sternly and went to answer it herself. Mummy opened the door and I heard her say ‘Dear God, it’s you.’ Then she came back with God behind her, and she said ‘Anna, this is your father.’

He was tall and had a big beard and he said ‘How is my little angel?’ But he didn’t look at me when he said it; he only looked at Mummy in a cross sort of way. I cried and ran out of the room. I hadn’t expected God to look so scruffy and to smell like he’d traveled all the way from Heaven without his wash bag.

I heard Mummy and God talking downstairs. They talked quietly at first, but then they started shouting. I didn’t think it was a very holy way to carry on, but grown – ups often behave strangely – Mummy says ‘bugger’ a lot when she’s mad at someone – so I suppose gods can be funny too.

I crept into the bedroom and got out my secret box as I liked counting the money when I felt upset. I was wondering if I should go down and show it to God. Perhaps he’d be impressed and stop shouting at Mummy and answer my prayers even sooner than I’d hoped. But suddenly Mummy rushed into the room and grabbed her handbag.

‘I’m just popping out to the cash point with your father. Don’t answer the door while I’m out, and if Granny phones – tell her I’m in the bath.’ Then her eyes landed on all the money in my box.

‘Where the Hell did you get that?’

‘It’s mine,’ I tried to hide the box back under the bed but she was too quick for me.

‘Thank Heavens!’ she said. ‘Perhaps he’ll go back where he’s come from and leave us in peace for a bit if I give him this.’ (She used the ‘B’ word too, but I pretended not to notice). She scooped up the money and ran straight back out and gave it all to God. I heard him grunt as he let himself out of the house without even saying thank you to Mummy, though he did say over his shoulder ‘Kiss my little angel for me.’

So God has gone off with all my savings, and Mummy is crying on the sofa downstairs, and somehow I don’t think we’ll be moving to a house with a field and a stable any time soon.

If you have enjoyed this story, and would like to read more of my work, please go to one of my Amazon Book pages: 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00RVO1BHO

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00RVO1BHO

 

Meet Author David A Wilson

On my blog today is children’s author, and dragon dreamer, David A Wilson. Like me, David lives in Coventry, UK, and is a member of the Coventry Writers’ Group.David Wilson

What is the title of your recent book? (In a nutshell what is it about?)

 Aaron Gray and the Dragon War is a book about an extremely bratty kid called Aaron who says “Crud” a lot. He lives in a children’s care home and has the same dream every night about dragons fighting each other around a castle. One day he gets sucked into the dragons’ world and is sent on a quest with another kid called Julia to try and stop a dragon war.  Julia’s generally quite thrilled about the whole thing. Aaron isn’t.

 What are the most challenging aspects of being a writer? And the most rewarding?

 It turns out that there are rules about when to use commas and exclamation marks. No matter how hard I try I never get it right and have to kill off all punctuation mistakes when editing. Sometimes I let a few stay in out of pity. The most rewarding part is that I have this whole world of characters and fantasy creatures that I get to explore. I’ve especially grown fond of Aaron and can’t wait to send him on more adventures in the future.

 Tell us a bit about everything you needed to do to get your book published – and launched. What worked? What you wouldn’t do again?

David Wilson 2Well Aaron Gray is self-published, rather than going through a publisher who already knows what they’re doing. The steps are all still the same, but it’s me doing them all rather than clever people in an office somewhere. I had to find my own editors to critique my book and find any errors, then find a printer and distributer, then find someone to design the cover because my art skills are shocking,  then format the book for printing and for e-books, then market the book myself and approach booksellers. Oh and before all that I had to write the book too.

My main piece of advice would be to give yourself plenty of time between your final book edit and publication. Getting books printed takes time, and every time you contact someone like Waterstones there’s a 30 working day (6 week) wait before you get a reply. You also need to take time to plan your book launch and contact your local media. I tried to do all of this in about 6 weeks, which as you can imagine posed some problems!

 What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?

 Decide what you want to write and write it. Don’t stop because it’s rubbish. First drafts are supposed to be rubbish. Don’t even stop and edit what you’ve written before. Just write whatever you need to write until your story’s finished. Then give yourself a week or so, go back to your story and start to craft it into something special.

 What are you working on at the moment?

 Book two! Aaron Gray and the <cough cough cough> is all plotted out and I’m hoping to have the first draft finished by the end of May.

 What do you like to read?

 I have a ridiculously  strict reading regimen, making sure that I’ve read one book in each of the following four genres before returning to the top of the list.

  • A children’s/YA book (because that’s my genre)
  • A christian/spritual book (good for the soul)
  • A book that is considered a classic (because there are so many amazing books I haven’t read)
  • A book recommended by a book club (to see what’s currently popular)

Where can readers find you (Amazon links etc)?

 The easiest thing to do is check out my website at www.breveny.co.uk, which has links to all the various bookstores and new content three times each week. You can also find me on facebook at www.facebook.com/breveny .

 

 

 

 

Happy Everybody Reads YA Sunday.

Welcome to another ‘Happy Everybody Reads YA’ #SundayBlogShare.

Today I’m sharing an excerpt from s short story called Sleeping Beauty. I will be re-reading it myself over the next few weeks as I am going to have a go at turning it into a screenplay. I’ve just been to a workshop on writing film scripts, and think this has some of the basic elements for a first attempt. We’ll see how it works out in the New Year.

sleeping beautyExcerpt:

“Get out, get out! You little bitch!” my stepmother had screamed. Sukie wasn’t technically my stepmother, not having properly married my Dad. She’d just drifted into our lives a year or so after Mum died, stayed over one night, and never moved out. I thought Dad was a bit scared of her, to be honest. Sukie was beautiful, with long blond hair (dyed, of course) and if she laughed when she and Dad had visitors it was like wind chimes tinkling in a gentle breeze. Everybody thought she was charming, and beautiful, and Dad was so lucky to have met her, him being a widower with a small kid (me) in tow. What a help she must be to him, now he was no longer lonely, and had a mother figure again for his little girl. I think Dad thought that too, at least at first.

Blurb:

Dawn has been in a coma for a year and is visited in hospital every day by her devoted father, occasionally by the ghost of her dead mother, and once by her vicious stepmother. Unable to move a muscle she monitors their coming and going and relives the events that lead to her accident. She yearns to wake up and live like a teenager again, but nothing so far has been able to rouse her from her deep, deep sleep. Then, on her fourteenth birthday she is visited by a mysterious delivery boy with a strange package.

Links: MyBook.to/TheSleepingBeauty

Sleeping Beauty is available as a single story download from the above link. It also appears in the anthology, First Love, published by Solstice.

http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01BH43NXS

 

EVERYBODY READS YA SUNDAY

Happy everybody reads YA Sunday. Today I’m talking about a SolsticFirst Lovee Publishing Anthology – FIRST LOVE.

The anthology is full of short stories about the pleasures and anxieties of a first teenage love – that first kiss, the anxious wait for a phone call ….

Below is an excerpt from my own story that is included in this anthology – SLEEPING BEAUTY.

EXCERPT:

“Sorry,” he replied, unabashed. “The note on the parcel says I’ve got to deliver it into her hands personally.” He sidestepped the nurse and continued towards me, and placed the small package on my bed. “My, isn’t she pretty?” he added, as he pressed my hand over the parcel. Again I felt my fingers tingle. “Pretty enough to kiss, even if she is asleep,” he went on, bending down and placing his lips firmly against mine before anyone could stop him. I’d never been kissed like that before. I’d certainly never expected to be kissed like that in front of Mum and Dad. I gasped, and opened my eyes.

BLURB for Sleeping Beauty:

sleeping beauty

Dawn has been in a coma for a year and is visited in hospital every day by her devoted father, occasionally by the ghost of her dead mother, and once by her vicious stepmother. Unable to move a muscle she monitors their coming and going and relives the events that lead to her accident. She yearns to wake up and live like a teenager again, but nothing so far has been able to rouse her from her deep, deep sleep. Then, on her fourteenth birthday she is visited by a mysterious delivery boy with a strange package.

 

LINKS: First Love Anthologyhttp://bookgoodies.com/a/B01BH43NXS

Sleeping Beauty: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01CKKNG7Q

Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Margaret-Egrot/1374506486178952

Twitter: https://twitter.com/meegrot

Website: www.margaretegrotwriter.weebly.com

 

 

 

Girl Friends, my latest YA book, is released 6th May.

In case you missed it, I have a new book released on Friday. Yay!Girl Friends - cover

Called Girl Friends it is, of course, also about boyfriends. It is narrated in the first person present by fifteen year old Courtney who doesn’t expect much from life – which is just as well, as she hasn’t got much. On the other hand, her friend Grace has a burning ambition to be a model and a brand new older boyfriend who says he can help her. Courtney is worried about how this relationship is developing – or is she just jealous? What she doesn’t realise until very late in the day is that Grace is caught up in a gang that exploits young girls. Then it is up to Courtney and new friends to try to rescue her.                       Amazon link:  MyBook.to/GirlFriends

Background:

In the past I have worked with a few girls like Courtney, and their life stories have inspired me. When I wrote the first draft there were a few mentions in the British media about the sexual exploitation of vulnerable girls like Grace, but not a great deal of public interest. Indeed some people regarded these articles as unnecessarily alarmist, and potentially racist. A few years, and some high profile court cases, later we are now aware that the situation is very much worse than those early articles suggested. Should I reflect all this in my book, I wondered, as I started on a second draft. But Girl Friends is, first and foremost, a work of fiction and written to entertain. Essentially it is a story about two friends and how, despite their various problems and diverging paths, the bond between the two girls holds firm.

Girl Friends is now available on Amazon as an e-book or in print. I hope you are tempted to buy it, read it, and enjoy it! Oh, and reviews and feedback are always welcome.

Amazon Link: MyBook.to/GirlFriends

 

Meet author Karen King

I have been lucky enough to meet Karen on a couple of occasions. I have also taken part in one of her workshops for writers. Karen has written countless children’s stories and books for young adults,Karen KIng and an increasing number of romantic novels. Here she talks about her recent work.

What is the title of your latest book?

 My latest book is a chick lit novel titled ‘I Do? – or do I?’ which will be published by Accent Press on 12th May.  It’s about a local journalist Cassie who is getting married to hot-shot, reliable Timothy and his mother Sylvia nicknamed ‘Monster-in-Law’ wants to plan the entire wedding. When Sylvia books the exclusive ID Images to take photographs of the extravagant do, Cassie has no idea what she’s walking into.

The elusive JM, ID Images’ newest photographer, just so happens to be Jared, Cassie’s first love and ex-fiancé, who broke off their engagement to travel and take photos of far-reaching wonders. He’s back to pay for his next wild adventure.

Cassie decides it’s best to pretend not to know him, but when she’s asked to write an article for her newspaper, she’s tasked with a column surrounding all things wedding related. When Cassie jokingly writes a column meant for herself depicting her situation, a co-worker submits it in place of the real article and it’s soon making headlines, with readers asking the age old question – Who Will She Choose?

What are the most challenging aspects of being a writer?

The most challenging thing is finding time to do anything else. Writing can tend to take over your life. For me, the most rewarding thing is getting a message from a reader saying how much they’ve enjoyed reading my book. That makes my week!

 What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?

Know your market, know your reader. I think it’s important to know the genre you’re writing and who will be reading it. A psychological thriller has a completely different tone to a romcom, for example.

What are you working on at the moment?

My third chick lit novel for Accent Press. They contracted me for three books and are republishing my romance and YA back list. I feel amazingly lucky. I’m also about to start on a YA for them.

Wearing my other hat, as a children’s author, I’m working on a series for 6-8 year olds and a couple of picture book texts. I always have a few projects on the go.

 What do you like to read?

Mainly light-hearted, pacey books by authors such as Sophie Kinsella and Marian Keyes, but I was gripped by Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Before I go To Sleep by S.J.Watson.

 Where can readers find you (Amazon links etc)?  Website

Amazon Author PageI Do (3)

Karen King Romance Author Facebook

Karen King Children’s Books Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

 Amazon link for ‘I Do – or DO I?

 Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog, Margaret.