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ImageWhen Beverly was a child she hated to read. Even though her eighth-grade teacher sent her poem “Stars” to a high school anthology and it was published in Young America Sings she hated to write. In spite of her rocky relationship with books, she managed to graduate from high school then attended Midwestern State University, where she read more books than she could count. After four years, she graduated cum laude with, you guessed it, a teaching degree. And somewhere along the way, perhaps reading to her sons or reading great Newbery winners with her students, she discovered what she’d been missing: reading was fun. Now she reads most every day. She also writes stories and articles for children and teens.

Beverly lives in the country with her husband, two cats, and a variety of wild critters that stop by for a handout or just to peek in the door. Besides writing, she plays the piano, searches for her ancestors, and teaches a women’s Sunday school class. She also has the most beautiful grandchildren in the world.

Website: http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com

Blog: http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/beverlysmcclure

Twitter: http://twitter.com/beverlymcclure

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/11462.Beverly_Stowe_McClure

Congratulations on yet another book release, Beverly! How do you keep yourself so productive?

Thank you, Mayra. It is fun to see a new book, after so many months of writing and editing, finally in the hands of readers. As for being productive, I think as an older writer, realizing I’m in those supposedly “golden years” motivates me to stay busy. Each hour of every day is precious to me. I hate to waste time. Maybe my years as a teacher helps too, since I’m used to a schedule. Even though I retired years ago, I still write out my plans for each day, not that I always stick to them, but I try. Also, my sons are grown and away, leaving me time for myself, which is rare when you have children at home. I do not see how writers with young kids and even teens manage to write.

I write at least two hours every morning except Saturday, which is catch up day, and Sunday, church day. Sometimes, my words are not worth keeping. Other times, they flow onto the screen and a story forms.

What was your inspiration for Life on Hold? Sounds like a compelling mystery.

ImageOne day, I read an article in the local newspaper about a young couple that had a baby while they were still in high school. The girl’s parents made her give the child away. The teens eventually went their separate ways, married others, and had other children. Years later, a chance conversation between the boy or girl (I forget which one) and a friend mentioned an 18-year-old boy they knew that had been adopted when a baby. The article went on to tell how the former boyfriend and girlfriend, who no longer were married to their spouses, found each other again and decided to search for the son they’d given up. And, you guessed it, the teen mentioned was their son. They went on to have a wonderful relationship with him. I love stories with happy endings. I also imagine this story happens quite often.

Could you share with us what your process was like during the creation of this novel?

Most of the time, my stories start from something I read about, or sometimes a little voice speaks to me, or an event begs to be told. With Life on Hold, I basically started with the plot of a teen discovering her father really was her stepfather. At first, I wasn’t sure how the story would end or even how we’d get there. The characters carried me along, occasionally as confused as I was; other times knowing exactly where they were going. I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to my writing and try to write a little every day, as I mentioned earlier. My schedule is flexible, but mornings are my best writing time. It took me a bit over two years to write the story, including many revisions and then more edits with my great editor. Yes, I’m slow, but like the turtle I eventually reach my destination.

Did you hit any walls while writing the book? If yes, what did you do to overcome them?

Not walls exactly, but the final version had many changes from the original as I got to know the characters better. I keep each draft on the chance an earlier edition might have a scene I’d want to add back in. When a scene wasn’t working, I rewrote it in different ways to see what worked best. Many times the first thought was the best.

Did you celebrate when you typed The End?

I didn’t do anything special, but the words The End are two of my favorite words. They give me a sense of accomplishment, because many times in a story, I’ll wonder if it will ever end or if I should scrap the whole thing.  

What do you want readers to get out of this book?

I’d like for children/teens who are adopted or those that are step children to realize that bringing a child into the world does not make a man a father. (Or a mother, a mother) Holding, rocking, and whispering gentle words to a child when she’s sick make a father. Attending her programs at school, helping her with spelling, taking her to the movies make a father. A father and mother show their love by actions: love, discipline when necessary, and always being there when the child has a crisis, whether big or small.

What do you enjoy most about being a childrens book author?

The most exciting thing about writing for children to me is when a child or teen says he/she likes my books. What greater reward can an author wish for?

Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

You’ve heard it before, but it’s true. Hang in there. Never give up. I have enough “No thank you” letters to paper my whole writing room, but some of them also contain a word of encouragement. Cling to those comments. Use them to improve your story. Keep writing. Learn more. Attend conferences, Online ones if you can’t get to live ones. Keep writing. Yes, I’m repeating myself, but if you stop writing when times are tough, you’ll never be published. If you’re persistent, one day, you’ll succeed. Hint: Don’t expect to get rich, unless you write a blockbuster. Enjoy the writing. For me, the finished story is the reward.

Whats on the horizon? 

My chapter book, Kate, Little Angel Sometimes (title will be changed) is scheduled for a May/June 2013 release from 4 RV Publishing. January 2013 is the release date of my Tween paranormal A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat, MuseItUp Publishing. My orphan train story, Scattered to the Winds, is under contract with Twilight Times, and Guardian Angel has Weird Noises in the Night, no dates set yet.

Is there anything else youd like to share with my readers?

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to read my thoughts. I hope they help you in some way. Visit me on my blogs. I love comments. If you read my books, please let me know what you think.

Thank you, Beverly! 

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ImageDominick Domingo is a veteran Animation Artist (Lion King, Pocahontas, Hunchback, Tarzan, Fantasia) who’s illustrated YA books for Penguin, Random House, Lowell House, Disney Publishing, Hyperion Books, and Harcourt. Developing original screenplays as a filmmaker led to a growing writing resume. To capitalize on it, Dominick recently penned a collection of Narrative Nonfictionessays titled “Jesus Shoes,” two of which have been included in anthologies. One of the essays, ‘L’Epiphanie,’ was awarded the 2011 Solas award in the humor category for ‘Best Travel Writing.’ The Nameless Prince represents Dominick’s foray into Young Adult urban fantasy. He’d be happy to retire as a full-time author. He lives in the Silver Lake neighborhood of L.A., surrounded by hipsters.

Thank you for this interview, Dominick! You’re an illustrator and also a writer. How did both come about?

Like many artists/creatives, I have dabbled in various mediums of expression. I took my first oil painting class at seven. I got my first typewriter for Christmas at nine or so. Though I chose to get my degree in Illustration, I continued writing. I graduated Art Center and immediately began working at Disney on films such as Lion King, Pocahontas, Hunchback, Tarzan, and Fantasia, writing for pleasure all the while. I became involved in Middle Grade and Young Adult books as an illustrator by working with all the majors- Putnam, Random House, Lowell House, Harcourt, Penguin. Only after leaving Disney to make my own live-action films, did I stumble into a writing resume by acquiring several ‘original screenplay’ credits for imdb, sag films that found distribution. I decided to capitalize on that momentum and indulge my lifelong love of writing. Around that time, ( perhaps sensing my own mortality ) I began penning a collection of narrative nonfiction essays titled ‘Jesus Shoes.’ One of them won the Solas award for best travel writing in the humor category. Two were included in anthologies. ‘The Nameless Prince’ is my foray into Young Adult. I hope to retire as a writer. MUCH more relaxing to sit in coffee shops pecking away on my laptop than tearing my hair out on the set!

The Nameless Prince is an interesting title. How did you come up with it?

The novel is basically a parable for overcoming disillusionment and returning to innocence- a classic hero’s journey. When Seth arrives in the alternate realm, Interia, its residents immediately deem him the ‘Nameless Prince’ of prophecy, sent to save them from peril. On an odyssey of riddles and self-discovery Seth must prove himself the true Nameless Prince by symbolically discovering his own name. I don’t remember when exactly, but the title of the book created itself sometime while developing the mythology of the Interior. Their sacred text became the ‘Unfinished Story,’ and the savior of prophecy became ‘The Nameless Prince.’ I wanted a poetic simplicity, but more importantly the ring of truth, in the naming conventions. The title is meant to resonate with the undiscovered greatness within all of us.

Your novel seems to aim at a wide range of readers, from middle graders to adults. Can you talk a bit about this aspect of your novel?

The truth is, I’ve written in many genres. This is my debut novel, and it just happens to be YA. The concept was inspired, and it just demanded certain things, including a protagonist on the cusp of adolescence. I wasn’t thinking necessarily about conforming to the traditions of any one genre, or of marketing limitations with regard to readership. I just wanted to write a good story. I will say, however, that I’d carried a long-standing desire to write a ‘through the rabbit hole’ fairy tale, based on the hero’s journey. I’d always loved stories in which the protagonist (usually a loner) encounters a mythological creature in an unexpected place, and follows it to an alternate realm through some kind of portal. I grew up on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein, among others, and found myself returning to the worlds they created over and over again, as an escape. I like the idea of offering this solace to young readers- a place to go that makes the tough journey of adolescence a bit easier.

ImageIn the writing of the novel I discovered that the simple, archetypal narrative held as much or more poignancy for adults. To put it in very good company, I liken its universality to that of ‘The Alchemist.’ There are many stories that I believe speak to people differently depending upon their station in life, and which may even take on new meaning when re-read as an adult with more perspective. This is my hope for ‘The Nameless Prince.’

What themes do you explore in the novel?

As I said earlier, the main theme is that of overcoming disillusionment through forgiveness. This may sound a bit clinical; the more familiar template is ‘preserving innocence.’

Other sub-themes: the truth will set you free

The power of faith

All change comes from visualization- begins in the imagination

Family is where you make it

Trusting ones intuition

Discovering ones true self only by being tested

There are many more- but I am actually more interested in what readers walk away with- what it says to them! I believe the symbology is open to projection and says different things to different people!

Are you a disciplined writer? What is a typical day like for you and how do you balance writing and illustrating?

It is not an effort for me to be disciplined in my writing; I so enjoy it that I can hardly wait to get back to it. Especially when I am steeped in a world I’ve created or engaged with my characters, which are often like children!  And I suppose I am a bit of a workaholic. But the main thing that makes me disciplined in any creative pursuit is my understanding of the creative process and its various stages. I have easy access to my process ( no stringent conditions necessary; it is not ‘fragile’ ) so I can easily relegate my writing or illustrating to 9-5 hours. For those struggling with access to their own process, I recommend studying the various models of creativity and understanding the value of each stage.

I’ve been asked what environment I create or seek in order to write. Believe it or not, I prefer the hustle and bustle of coffee houses. Access to caffeinated beverages and humanity if I like. It’s hard for me to roll out of bed and walk across the room to create. I need a change of scenery, to get my blood pumping. And did I mention caffeine?

How would you describe your creative process when you write? How would you compare it to illustrating?

Believe it or not, they are similar. As alluded to above, the steps in the creative process, the way I understand and experience them, are the same whether one is writing a symphony or building a rocket. It’s about recognizing them.

Germinating on a problem to be solved is the same whether that problem is the perfect conceptual image to represent a text in illustrative form, or whether that problem is a story you wish to tell. After germinating, the burst of inspiration is the same and quickly, passionately expressing it as an outline or a layout for an illustration is the same. And then the more methodical execution is the same, whether that means rendering a surface in acrylic paint or fleshing out a scene from an outline.

What do you enjoy most, writing or illustrating?

I’ve done so much painting in my life, that at this point writing is infinitely more cathartic and enjoyable for me!

You have worked with some impressive names in the illustration world. What has been the single most important lesson you’ve learned from these experience?

I’m grateful for the understanding of Western Storytelling structure I gained at Disney. The skills I learned with regard to collaborating on creative projects- something not everyone can do! I feel lucky to have been surrounded by not only artists and storytellers I admire, but those with a drive to better the world around them through their craft. Those with a childlike appreciation for magic, and the intellectual curiosity to wish to interpret the world around them and share the results with others!

What has been the most rewarding aspect about writing this book?

Sharing it! Though the act of writing brought me solace, inner peace and well-being, there is something infinitely rewarding about knowing it landed with people! Touched them or moved them or inspired them somehow! Hearing feedback from loved ones or even complete strangers!

Where can we find you on the web?

The official Nameless Prince website:

www.namelessprince.com

To order through Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Nameless-Prince-Dominick-Domingo/dp/1606192434

To order through Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-nameless-prince-dominick-domingo/1111483752

Please ‘Like’ us on FACEBOOK:

http://www.facebook.com/TheNamelessPrince

What’s on the horizon for Dominick Domingo?

As readers will see on the official site, I am developing the graphic novel version of ‘The Nameless Prince’ with two other artists.  The concept will be to release each episode in comic book format, premiering a new prolific American Illustrator with each instalment!

Also, ‘The Nameless Prince 2’ is half-finished! It was not conceived as a series, but certainly turned out to have been set up for it! My hope is that readers will fall in love with Seth and Elena as I have, and wish to follow them on their journey through adolescence toward adulthood. They are in high school in the sequel!

Is there anything else you’d like to say to readers?

Please enjoy the read! And spread the word! I truly believe in the message of the novel and its ability to make a difference, one heart at a time. I also believe it could be the next Harry Potter! But it takes a village…:-)

This interview first appeared in Blogcritics Magazine

 

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Kimberly Dana’s latest book will bring hours of reading pleasure to teen girls, especially those with a particular interest in cheerleading.

Years ago, a murder was committed in a cheerleading camp: a beautiful teenager with beautiful red flowing hair was drowned in the lake. Rumors say the killer was her best friend.

Now, ten years later, our witty protagonist Tiki Tinklemeyer is put in the same camp by her parents, who want their daughter to become more social and outgoing. But Tiki couldn’t hate the situation more. She feels awkward and out of place, to say the least. She’s not into fashion, makeup and boys, like the other girls in the camp. Worst of all, she’s never done cheerleading in her life! How could her parents have been so cruel? How will she possibly fit in? Thank God, one of her roommates, Rubi, turns out to be rather nice.

Soon, Tiki finds out about the ten-year old murder and the rumors that the dead girl’s ghost still roams the camp. Tiki can handle rumors of ghosts. After all, she’s an intelligent girl with common sense. However, things take a turn for the worse when strange events begin to take place in the camp. Is it one of the girls playing a trick on her — or is it the ghost of the murdered girl?

This was a delightful read! Dana really has a talent for getting inside the head of teen girls. The voice is young and fresh and the pace moves quickly with lots of fun, quirky dialogue. So this is a soft horror story with a humorous twist. The story was intriguing enough to keep me reading throughout, and the ending was good, promising more to come in Book Two. The only thing I found a little annoying was how the author wrote the dialogue by some of the girls in capitals. At times it was too much, and I found it distracting. Because of this detail, I’m going to give this book 4.5 instead of 5. Recommended!

To learn more, please visit the author’s website at: http://kimberlydana.com/

Purchase from Amazon.

My review originally appeared in Blogcriticshttp://blogcritics.org/books/article/book-review-cheerage-fearage-by-kimberly/#ixzz1vzpeDjC9

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Sixteen-year old Anna Sullivan is an outsider at her high school. Quiet and shy, as well as cursed with a tortuous family past, she can’t hope to attract the attention of popular Tyler Marsh, for whom she has a crush. How could a girl like her, a girl with a low social status, an alcoholic father and a mother who abandoned her, dare hope anything at all in life?

Then the nightmares begin… nightmares of a horrible massacre at school…

What do these dreams mean? Is Anna somehow having a glimpse of the future?

Things get more confusing when she realizes Tyler is having the same dreams. In fact, he seems to be sharing the same dreams with her, at the same time. Thus begins Anna and Tyler’s dark relationship as together they try to decipher the meaning of the nightmares and in doing so discover their connection to quantum physics and multiple parallel dimensions.

I’m a huge fan of Sokoloff and have read all of her books. I was thrilled to read this her first young adult novel, which, in my opinion, is her darkest work to date. Sokoloff has a gift of pulling readers immediately into her stories. Her writing style, though simple and succinct, is exquisite. She knows how to combine long sentences with sudden short ones, thus creating a sensuous cadence and rhythm. The novel is also filled with vivid images, mystery and a strong atmosphere of danger. I also like the way she interlaces psychological elements into the plot, thus adding depth to the story.

One of the aspects of this novel I enjoyed the most was how Sokoloff incorporated quantum physics and the idea of multiple dimensions and parallel universes into her storyline. This definitely adds something different and original from other teen horror novels in the market today. It also stimulates readers’ minds. The story crosses genres; it’s a thriller with a bit of horror and a dash of the supernatural.

I highly recommend The Space Between to fans of dark YA thrillers as well as to those readers who like a sprinkle of science in their books.

Buy now on:

Amazon/Kindle
Barnes & Noble/Nook
Smashwords 

Amazon UK
Amazon DE

Any format, only $2.99.

Read the first five chapters on Smashwords now by downloading a free sample.

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