Friday, February 27, 2015

Lost and Scared New Book Release by K.C. Sprayberry

When their younger twin siblings were murdered by their cold-blooded father, Shane and Keri’s own twin connection deepened. Their father shamed Shane and Keri into silence, and then went on to bring four more children into a house shuddering under the weight of his unpredictable temper.
Ten years later, what should have been a regular visitation turns into a horrific nightmare. Trapped in the Superstition Mountains with an addicted and dangerous father, Keri’s faith and determination wavers, but she knows she must save her brothers and sisters and return all of them to the home they love.

She now faces one insurmountable obstacle. He can’t afford to let her go.

Excerpt 1 ~ Shane

The window in my bedroom that I share with my two younger brothers overlooks Main Street. I angle my head, so I can attempt to see where my twin is.
“See Keri?” Axe, my best bud, asks.
“Nope. But I do see a bunch of cars leaving.” I face him and grin. “That means she’s on her way back.”
“Great. We can leave now.”
“Looks that way.”
He and I race down the stairs. The normal noise of a large family during winter holiday break greets me, along with what can only be described as evil snickering. We come around the corner, shoving and pushing to see which one of us gets to the bottom first, with me gaining an inch on my bud.
“Yes!” I pump a fist and hop down the last three steps, the satisfaction of proving once and for all that I’m the best pass receiver on our team.
“I am so going to beat you one of these days,” he says.
We knuckle bump and clown around.
“Ready when you are, honey,” a strange female voice says.
“Huh?” I turn around.
A woman who looks like a million miles of bad road stands beside the open front door. Before I can ask who she is and what she’s doing in our house, a series of loud bangs precedes the sound of a cat yowling. That noise sends fear shivers through every inch of my body, and I don’t scare all that easily.
“What the heck?” Axe pushes me aside. “What’s going on, Shane?”
“Don’t know.” I point at the woman. “Who are you?”
“Jake’s honey-poo,” she purrs.
That response is wrong on so many levels, beginning with Jake is my dad’s name. The last time I checked he was still married to my mom.
“Who are you two handsome hunks?”
Gross. Sick. Yuck! She sounds just like Scooter when he catches a mouse.
Just as I’m about to tell this loser from the wrong side of the tracks to get lost, Scooter races out of the kitchen. A mix of who knows what, he has gorgeous gray and white striped fur and I can only describe him as fat and slow.
Slow comes nowhere close to describing that streak racing for safety. Scooter howls out his fear. His fur stands on end and his tail is so fluffy that it looks ten times its normal size.

Author Bio:
Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in Northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.
She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Some of her short stories have appeared in anthologies, others in magazines. Three of her books (Softly Say Goodbye, Who Am I?, and Mama’s Advice) are Amazon best sellers. Her other books are: Take Chances, Where U @, The Wrong One, Pony Dreams, Evil Eyes, Inits, Canoples Investigations Tackles Space Pirates, The Call Chronicles 1: The Griswold Gang, The Curse of Grungy Gulley, Paradox Lost: Their Path, and Starlight. Additionally, she has shorts available on Amazon: Grace, Secret From the Flames, Family Curse … Times Two, Right Wrong Nothing In Between, and The Ghost Catcher. 

Excerpt 2 ~ Keri

Carly and I sneak up the walkway to the backdoor of the house where I live with my parents and five siblings. We’ve done nothing wrong. There is no reason for us to be sneaking into my house, except one… him.
“Are you sure about this?” she whispers.
“Yeah.” I cast a guilty glance at the driveway.
Shane’s truck isn’t here. He must still be hanging with his best bud, Axe. Heat rushes up my face whenever I think about that hunk. Axe not Shane. Big Bro is anything but a hunk. Well, he is kind of cute, and a lot of girls like him, but a hunk? Give me a break. None of the girls hot for him know that he stinks up a bathroom or dumps his clothes all over the place for me to pick up.
I’ll forgive Carly for thinking like that. She’s good for Shane, if he’d just get over the “everybody will hate us for dating” thing. Big deal if she’s African American and we’re white. Nobody cares about that anymore.
“Your dad will pop a cork if he catches me in the house,” Carly says. “You know he hates… you know.”
We never talk about that. So what if my dad is the biggest bigot in the world? The rest of my family is totally cool with me having Carly around. They like her. She’s funny, and an awesome bestie.
We both stop in front of the back door. I reach out a hand, but don’t turn the knob when I hear shouting.
“Oh, shit.” I glance at Carly.
“What now?” she whispers.
Memories flood through me of a night I try so very hard to forget. Once upon a time, there was another set of twins in our house. Then they were gone. The reason they’re not with us anymore is too hard to think about. I don’t even talk about that night, but that’s because Shane and I made a sacred vow. We will always keep that secret. Telling now will cause so many problems for us.
I have to tell someone, but that means I’ll go to jail. Won’t I? Isn’t that where liars go when they hide a crime?
The anniversary of that particular act still haunts me, even though it was way back in August. December has usually been good, even if we’re sad because of whatever he is doing. To have such an innocent act end in the violence as that one did should never happen to anyone, especially a kid. To have the person responsible still walking around as if he did nothing wrong infuriates me, until I think about how I never told.
Shane didn’t either. We should have told. It didn’t matter if we were only seven. It doesn’t matter now that we’re almost seventeen. We should have told.

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Friday, February 13, 2015

What I Learned At My First School Visit

I've worked with and around kids, for most of my life so that fact that my knees were shaking and my stomach balled up into a big fat knot surprised me.
 Show no fear, I told myself over and over again. I whispered that mantra even as the first group of pint sized critics filed into the school library. I was scheduled to do four, forty- minute presentations, to groups of children from forth through sixth grades, all in one afternoon. This was my first school visit as a guest author and I was terrified.
 I took a deep breath. “I’m going to read a few excerpts from my book and then we are going to talk about the writing process.”
I chose three places in the book that I’d hoped would pique their interest.
I gave them a little background on the beginning of the story, and started at chapter four.
I read.
I pace back and forth in front of my computer, compelled to check my messages again.
A jolt of excitement rushes through me when I see the little exclamation point that means I have a message. As I move the cursor to open it, I realize I’m not as angry with Annabelle as I thought. I’m more curious to see what she has to say.
Sandy, I know you came to my house. I watched you from the window. Was that your sister with you? I tried to get your attention. I’m trapped up here. They won’t let me leave. I hoped she would let you in, but she sends everyone away. Please try again, I need a friend.
The kids gasped at the end of the first reading.
“Read more!” they said.
I read another section.
“Let’s go to the front door,” I say.
We follow the tall green hedge around the corner. The front of the house is so intimidating that I’m glad we didn't see it the first time we were here. There is an elaborate wrought iron gate that is flanked by stone pillars. Sam examines the way the stones are stacked on top of each other. I imagine she is thinking of her old rock collection.
The latch on the gate is not locked so I push down on the lever. It swings open with a loud squeak.
The gable in front comes to a tall point, resembling a witch’s hat with a small shuttered window in the center. I wonder if Annabelle is up there watching us.
They were hooked.

Next came the presentation.
Let me just say, I know myself. I knew, that as soon as I was in front of an audience I’d forget. I’d forget what questions to ask, what witty, (author like) things I’d planned to say. The things I thought the Dalai Lama of authors might say. All of it had flown out of my head.  But you know what? It didn't matter.  I’d made index cards with notes on them in case we ran out of things to talk about. Guess what? I didn't need them.
 Kids these days, they’re so smart. They asked the most wonderful, intelligent and interesting questions. I’m not gonna lie, there were a couple of moments when the conversation veered off course. Luckily the librarian was wise to the ways of school aged children and helped me bring them back to the topic at hand.
So for those of you out there who are wondering how these things go, here are a few tips that helped me out.
1.       Make sure you check in with your contact person a couple of days before your visit.
2.       Be prepared. Even though I didn’t use my index/cue cards. I was glad I had them.
3.       Look the kids in the eye when you talk to them and answer honestly.
4.       Type up and send an order form for your book to the school about 2 weeks ahead of time.
5.       Bring extra copies of your book if possible .I’d sent an order form to the school a week ahead of time, but out of 80 or so kids that attended only 2 brought their order form back, but I was able to sell the few books I had on hand to the kids who brought money. I also extended the order date another week so that the kids who forgot or lost them would still have an opportunity to place an order through the school and get the book at a discount.
6.       Bring a hand out.  I brought bookmarks so all the kids could have something with a picture of my book and my author information on it. The kids were so excited to get a little something from their visiting author.
These are a few of the questions the kids asked.
How long did it take you to write the book?
How many pages is it?
What gave you the idea for this book?
Did you write it by hand or on the computer?
What do you do to get from the middle of the story to the end? (There were a few future authors in that audience.)
Do you know Jeff Kinny? J.K. Rowling? Suzanne Collins?  Do you know anyone famous? (Sadly no; but they didn't hold it against me.)
How long did it take to get published?
Will it be a movie?
And my favorite
 Is there going to be a second book? This question alone made me realize how important this type of marketing can be to obtaining loyal readers. These kids had only had a taste of this story and were already anticipating a second book.
Here are a few things I talked about.
Story structure. Beginning, middle and end.
Characterization. How to make your characters real.
The importance of revision. (This one was a biggie with the teachers.)
Well that’s it, my first experience doing a school visit. I had so much fun. It was both encouraging and inspiring.  I got the word out about my book and gained a few more fans, but really, I became a fan of my new readers.