Monday, December 2, 2013

Grace

Looking for a heartwarming story to read this Christmas season? Check out my friend KC Sprayberry's new release.



Blurb: Grace Winston yearns for one last family Christmas before she leaves for England, but first she has to convince her brothers and sisters it's worth their while to come home. While her parents are happy that she's been accepted at Oxford University, they are pining for their family to gather together for the holidays. Grace talks her older brothers and sister into coming home, but then they must convince their other siblings: a brother who attacked their father to get money to feed his drug habit, and a sister who recently gave up alcohol and is raising her four young children alone. While Grace manages to bring them all together, she is soon wondering if this was really worth all the trouble she's gone through, especially when no one acknowledges her efforts to make this a Christmas to remember--until she receives an early gift that leaves her certain that everything will turn out all right.
Excerpt: Grace Winston had celebrated her eighteenth birthday a mere three weeks ago, the same day as Thanksgiving. There were no thanks in her house, no special foods prepared to celebrate her becoming an adult, nothing to mark the day as unique.
Her parents hadn't said "Happy Birthday" until it was time to go to bed. Even then, the acknowledgement had sounded more like "goodnight."
It's not Mama and Papa's fault. They can't help how sad they are. My brothers and sisters should have come like they said they would. They're not even making false promises anymore. All of them claim that they have other plans for Christmas, and we need to get over our selfish desire to have the family together.
For as far back as she could remember, that day has been one where her whole family showed up, until her oldest brother, Adam, decided that he had too much work to spend a week at his childhood home. Mark begged off the next year, claiming his wife's job required him to appear at the White House. The others never bothered to make an excuse the year after that.

Playlist for Grace:
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Embed code for book trailer:
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Links for book trailer:



Bio: KC Sprayberry started writing young, first as a diarist, and later through an interest in English and creative writing. Her first experience with publication came when she placed third in The Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge contest while in the Air Force, but her dedication to writing came after she had her youngest child, now in his senior year of high school.
Her family lives in Northwest Georgia where she spends her days creating stories about life in the south, and far beyond. More than a dozen of her short stories have appeared in several magazines. Five anthologies feature other short stories. She has three books that are Amazon best sellers: Softly Say Goodbye, Who Am I?, and Mama's Advice. Her other novels available are: Take Chances, Where U @, The Wrong One, The Ghost Catcher, Family Curse … Times Two, and Secret From The Flames.
Links:

Monday, September 23, 2013

Take Chances Teaser

Good Morning! My name is KC Sprayberry. Mary Ann Cortez of The Write Place has let me hijack her blog today. The purpose is to tease all of her very dedicated readers with information about my soon-to-be-released YA coming of age novel, Take Chances.
Another interview? Oh well, I guess there's more everyone wants to know about me. Here we go!
Where do your ideas come from?
Everywhere. Wherever I go, I have a notebook handy, to write down interesting things, or about things I see people doing, or even events going on around me. My hubby laughs at this, swearing they'll have to use hundreds of nails to shut my coffin, or I'll be reaching for pen and paper to record the event.
He's not wrong!
Do you feel humor is important in young adult coming of age novels and why?
Of course. Look at teens. Their humor is sometimes rough, profane, or takes on a weird perspective with bathroom humor. You can't write a teen novel, explore their lives, without some kind of humor. In Take Chances, the humor comes from Tom's antics, mostly. Julie provides some herself, as does her first BFF, Lydie.
Why? Teens are serious. They're going through massive changes, both internally and externally. They're attempting to figure out who they are. That means they'll get intense, but they also have a great humor barometer. They'll insult each other, giving adults a fit about bullying, when in fact, within each teen's group, there are limits they are well aware of. Observing teens as I have for the last twenty years, I've come to the conclusion there are no limits for their humor, nor do they mean any particular group disrespect. This is their way of handling what this growth period does to them.
What kind of research do you do?
All kinds. I'll start with a news website or the actual, get the ink on your hands paper. Yes, those actually do exist! Often, that's where the story begins. It might be a small article that most don't notice, or a story that has the community up in arms. Next begins the internet research. That can take days and weeks initially, and I'll always go back to ensure that I have the information right. Finally, my best research arena for young adult books are teens themselves. My son warns his friends – "don't do anything you don't want to see in a book around my mom!"
He's not kidding. I've never made it a secret that I'll ruthlessly use whatever I find interesting and fits into my current plot. Most teens are overjoyed they can contribute, but there are some who have a panic attack and demand that I give them a chance to fix their hair or makeup, or reword what they just said, so they don't look or sound dumb.
Not happening!
What does your husband think of your writing?
What does he think of the hours and hours a day I spend locked inside my stories? He's the one who suggested that I do this not long after our youngest was born.
We were going through the packet the hospital gave us after we got home. There was a postcard from The Institute of Children's Literature. He's always known that I wanted to be a writer, but shoved that aside to begin a career in the military, raise my children, be a good wife.
His offer gave me so much joy. Writing has always been the one thing in my life that I've loved as much as those I let close to me. From that day forward, he's been my biggest cheerleader, and my harshest critic when he doesn't think something works.
Do you ever ask him for advice?
Yes, but he doesn't always give me the advice I want. He knows, when I do ask that I have a preconceived notion of what he'll say. There are many times when he's surprised me, usually after I start the conversation with "You'll hate this."
His response to that? "We'll see."
Then he'll disappear to read whatever I'm asking him about. When he reappears, he'll say, "It's good but … (isn't but the most awful word in the world?). My sweet hubby will then outline what he feels is wrong, but he won't ever tell me how to change it. That he leaves up to me!
Blurb:

Julie Bond grew up in Europe as a military brat. She found her very first permanent home in Landry, GA as a teen going into high school. Almost four years later, she's having pre-graduation jitters and flashing back to an incident of school violence she experienced in Europe. She attempts to convince herself that it can never happen again, but continually finds herself flashing back to that day no matter how hard she tries.
The people around her present any number of problems for Julie, and she's hard put to keep from drowning under all the issues. Then Michael--a cool guy she's had a crush on for the last three years—returns from traveling the US as a photographer, and Julie now has one more thing to distract her as she prepares to leave high school. One thing she firmly believes in: no one will ever invade her classroom with violence again.
Once again, the impossible happens. Once again, she's in a classroom with a madman holding a gun. Once again, she must survive.
Teaser Excerpt:
Hugh and I hook arms and wander through the crowded hallways, on our way to 300 Lane, where our next class is. Back when Landry High opened, someone on the school board thought it would be cute to name all the hallways like they were roads.
Cute works for elementary kids. I'd rather have ordinary.
Both of us, along with the rest of our crew, have Advanced Writing Program—AWP--class next. I have no worries about my paper since I finished it last night and it's even better than the first one I did when the teacher, Mr. Thompson, accepted me into his invitation-only class. That paper, what is most important to me, took a whole week to write. Growing up a military brat left me without one thing everyone in Landry takes for granted – close relationships. At the time, I had known Tom, Lukas, Heather, Michael, and Hugh for a little over a month. While I hope I'll always have them around, experience has taught me well.



Bio:

KC Sprayberry started writing young, with a diary followed by an interest in English. Her first experience with publication came when she placed third in a Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge contest while in the Air Force, but her dedication to writing came after she had her youngest child, now a in his senior year of high school.
Her family lives in Northwest Georgia where she spends her days creating stories about life in the south, and far beyond. More than a dozen of her short stories have appeared in several magazines. Five anthologies feature other short stories, and her young adult novel Softly Say Goodbye, released in 2012. During 2013, more young adult stories have been released: The Ghost Catcher, Who Am I?, Family Curse … Times Two, and Amazon Best Seller, Canoples Investigations Tackles Space Pirates.
You can find her on the web here:

Stick around for the full tour. Why? On September 26 through September 29, 2013, you can pick up my other YA coming of age books, Softly Say Goodbye and Who Am I? free on Amazon:













Thank you Mary Ann Cortez of The Write Place for hosting me today. Tomorrow you find the next Teaser Tour on JJ Johse The Write Time.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

People Are Strange


     We all have that someone we warn our boyfriend/girlfriend about when they are about to meet the family for the first time.

     The sixty year old Auntie who thinks she’s still twenty and might try to hit on you. Seriously. Or the Uncle farts in front of everyone and thinks it funny.

     My mother in law never liked her dishes to leave the kitchen or dining area. If a glass was set on the floor while you were watching T.V. it would be tossed out as trash. If anyone washed their hands in her kitchen sink, it would have to be replaced. She also had an extra set of dishes for people who “weren’t family.” They were very nice dishes, but it wasn’t because she was saving them for company. It was because they had different kind of germs. Still, she was a very lovely lady and lots of fun to be around and everybody loved her.

     The guy that lives in the apt. above me had fourteen cats. Someone called animal control and now he only has about eight, but claims he has two. Nice guy, very clean, very friendly, just strange.

      I know a lady (a professional) who can’t have any one touch her bed, and a man who refuses to cut his toenails because he can’t stand anyone to touch his feet but his fingernails are well manicured.

     I once saw a lady who carried a dead kitten in her purse, wrapped in tissue paper. She said it was in a coma and refused to believe it had passed on. I  recently heard about a lady who goes to a hair salon every six weeks but will only allow the hairdresser cut a few strands at a time and she has to choose the ones that can be cut. The list can go on and on. The point is people are strange.

     I have been working on a quirky character for my WIP. The problem is, finding quirks that are uncommon.  Biting finger nails down to the quick, typical; swallowing said nails, quirky.

     I’m sure you all know someone with little eccentricities feel free to share them here in the comments or with your readers through your characters. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sultry Days of Summer

Trying to save on my electric bill, I open my windows early in the morning and turn on the small fan in my writing room. We are well into summer and this heat can be stiffening.  
Now that I’m old-er when the temperatures hit those triple digits I wish for the coolness of Fall. But when it’s cold out I wish for the warm breezy evenings of summer. Why can’t we be like the kids and just enjoy what is.  They know how to make the most of the season, and summer means, picnics, pools, parks and sometimes carnivals, or when I was little, it was the church Fiesta.
Here’s an excerpt of a summer story I wrote.

Lupita and the Big Fiesta

          Tia Mina’s jalopy sputtered into the driveway. Cousins Carlos, Jose, and Marissa waved from inside. Lupita, scrambled into the backseat and they were on their way.
        The church parking lot was alive with a flurry music, booths, and Fiesta goers. The savory smells of deep fried tacos and rich red chile sauce made Lupita’s mouth water; but she had only one goal in mind.
      Among the crowds clutching cotton candy and high flying balloons she spotted The Hammer, looming like an angry giant.
     “I’ve just got to be tall enough,” she whispered.
      Lupita grabbed Marissa’s arm and pulled her toward the ride. She pressed her back against the sign that said YOU MUST BE THIS TALL TO RIDE.  Reaching over her head, she held the spot with a pointed finger.
    “Woo-Hoo!” she cheered.
     The Hammer’s motor roared furiously. It flung its long arms like mad.
    Marissa shook her head. “I’m not riding on that.”
   “Pleeease,” Lupita begged. “You can pick all of the other rides today, if you’ll just promise to ride The Hammer with me.”


Do you have a favorite summer memory? Why don’t you write about it?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Release: The Ghost Catcher

Hi everybody,

Today, I am proud to introduce you to my friend Kathi Sprayberry.  Her new book Ghost Catcher is being released today. I got a sneak peak at Ghost Catcher in its early stages and I can’t wait to read the finished product.







A gift to know when people are in trouble of the ghostly type puts Hailey Hatmaker in the middle of a major problem – one that winds up getting her into more hot water than she can handle. In true Hailey Hatmaker fashion, she dives into what turns out to be a battle with Limbo, her number one nemesis.
Can Hailey rescue two friends before it's too late? Or ish forever condemned to losing to Limbo?


No adult in Landry, Georgia would ever admit a teen can do something right. Not a one, for then they would have to 'fess up to the teens being able to make their own decisions. The people in charge just plain ignored any good thing teens did.
Then I saw a problem, one I couldn't say a word about. All I could do is stand to one side and watch as disaster loomed.
I was the last person with Maren Dougless and Zac Morton Friday afternoon at the high school. What I saw of their auras – green with a black outer edge – scared me right down to my toes. As if that wasn't bad enough, since black represented death, and green meant vibrant life, in addition the center of those auras each had a reddish eye in the center with sickly yellow streaks arcing throughout it.
            That was more than enough to make any person run for the hills, but I'm Hailey Hatmaker, Ghost Catcher extraordinaire. After many, many years of catching ghosts, I didn't want two good friends to suffer that fate, but I had a big problem.




Bio:
I am happily married to a man I met while in the Air Force. We will soon celebrate 20 years of marriage. Our teen, the youngest of 8, keeps us on our toes with his band activities. Writing is something I've done since I was very young. At first, it was in a diary and then I poured all my energies into English compositions, earning praise from my Advanced Composition teacher in high school for an extremely visual project. While in the Air Force, I placed second in the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge's annual contest and from then on, was hooked. However, the reality of a military career and raising children forced me to put off attempting publication until my husband and I moved to Georgia. It was after the birth of our now teen that I began taking courses through The Institute of Children's Literature, Long Ridge Writer's Group, and Writers Digest in an effort to make my life's dream come true. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

One More Trip Around the Block




I’ve been told there’s no such thing as writer’s block and I believe it.
There is, however, writer’s refusal, whereas, the writer refuses to write. We think about writing, we come up with story ideas or even ideas for a story we are already working on. We walk past the keyboard, or the pen and paper, or the writer’s journal and we look at them as we ignore their pleas like calls from an ex girlfriend. We hate them, with their expectations and their need for attention. And we hate ourselves more for failing to live up to our commitment to write in them.
Writing is work. It takes constant energy and thought. It takes much of our precious time; it takes courage, for we are all afraid of writing crap, which we do so often.  
Then like trash diggers we sort through the garbage to find that one little sentence, that treasure that we know is perfect, only to have an editor come along, draw a red line through it with their Freddy Krueger fingers and toss it out.
There are many things in life I avoid like the plague.  One is balancing my checkbook. I never want to see in writing how much money I don’t have.  Cleaning out my fridge is another and the most hated job for me is cleaning the oven. I only do it once a year before Thanksgiving. Yet, just now I considered doing all three of these dreaded chores to put off what I know must be done, working on my story. Seriously, I just got up and looked in the oven… it wasn’t dirty enough.
So, why write? Why call myself a writer?
It is a passion, an addiction, and way to be heard. A power trip, I get to create characters, for God’s sakes! The only thing is, once you’ve created them they do whatever they want, not necessarily what you want them to do. They get themselves into all sorts of messes and expect you to come up with a plan to get them out.  It’s maddening and exciting all at once.
We writers believe in our characters. We want them to be triumphant, to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals, but it isn’t easy. We are afraid of failing them and thereby failing ourselves. So we avoid it as long as we can, but the truth is, we love the ride. So, eventually, when the checkbook is balanced, or the fridge and the oven are clean. We give in to the urge and we sit back down at the keyboard and write.