Friday, July 11, 2014



You won't want to put this book down, an epic of the finest proportions, filled with people, characters, dilemmas and questions in a world so real you forget the one around you.

If you haven’t grabbed your copy of this fantastic book, read Dan Levinson’s guest post today to find out why you should!  He speaks to the subject of why Sci-Fi, Fantasy and other Speculative Fiction are compelling to the modern audience.  That's us!

The Power of Speculative Fiction -
Why Sci-Fi and Fantasy Matter
By Dan Levinson

What is it that draws you toward speculative fiction? Is it the incredible battles waged with uncanny powers? The unfamiliar, fantastical landscapes? I started reading fantasy novels as a boy, drawn in by the tales of sword-wielding heroes, of magic and dragons, of worlds in which what is impossible in our reality only scratched the surface of what both saviors and villains alike could achieve.

As a fantasy lover, it comes as no surprise that I am overjoyed to see HBO’s Game of Thrones—based on George R.R. Martin’s epic A Song of Ice and Fire series—ascend to the zeitgeist of today. Many are those who have never read a whit of fantasy themselves, yet find that they are drawn in to this land of blood, and tragedy, and betrayal, and, yes, dragons. What is it that holds their interest so?

Martin has confided that he was inspired by the Wars of the Roses—a bloody battle for England’s throne that saw the rise and fall of multiple monarchs over a decades-long period in the latter half of the 15th century. Though the names and locales may be of Martin’s own invention, the themes that run throughout his stories are universal; they echo down from the past, and they speak to our hopes and fears for the future.

There’s often an instinct to lump speculative fiction, as a whole, into what some would call “popular” fiction, or “commercial” fiction. There’s no doubt plenty of it falls into this category, which is not to say there’s anything wrong with that. There’s something delightfully scrumptious about reading a great book that was written for pure entertainment value. Be it YA, paranormal romance, or a fast-paced techno-thriller, these books bring joy to readers around the world.

Yet it’s when speculative fiction brings in deeper themes that it truly shines, elevates itself beyond the trappings of its genre. It’s interesting to me to see the massive success of a property such as The Hunger Games and think about how it speaks to our basic humanity. It deals with issues of freedom and oppression, of the heavy cost of working toward a “greater good”; issues of loss, of family, and what we would do for the ones we love. Despite its dystopian sci-fi trappings, or its classification as “young adult,” The Hunger Games shines a light upon our own society, and provokes thought and conversation both, in readers old and young alike.  

The foreign landscapes presented in most speculative fiction are often what most separate those worlds from our own; and yet I cannot help but feel that it is that distance which makes our efforts as writers to evoke a sense of familiarity all the more effective. Literary fiction is often set upon a pedestal, reflecting both the joyous and the tragic, exploring both the small and subtle turns and the earth shattering moments that impact all of our lives. At its heart, I think the greatest misunderstanding in regards to the gap between literary and speculative fiction is that the former is a facsimile of real life, while the latter is a departure from it, but this is not necessarily so. In the best of speculative fiction—though the stakes may be grander, and rife with fantastical elements—the conflicts of the characters reflect common, universal human experiences. 

Nevertheless, there has grown between the two designations a vast chasm, across which only the flimsiest of bridges has yet been built. As analysts wail and decry the death of brick-and-mortar bookstores, of hard copy literature, there is an extraordinary movement growing—a symbiotic relationship between the literary and entertainment worlds. Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones . . . All of these properties exemplify the growing appreciation audiences have for the powerful thing that is speculative fiction.

We, as writers of sci-fi, of fantasy, horror, dystopian, paranormal—whatever you write, and however you wish to classify it—are entering a golden age, and with it comes great opportunity. Ours is the literature of today, and though it may be “popular” or “commercial,” we have a chance to elevate it beyond such labels. We have a chance to craft deeper stories, tales that speak to our readers every bit as much as the exceptional pieces of literary fiction that have brought us smiles and tears through decades and centuries. Literary fiction and speculative fiction are not mutually exclusive, I feel, and we are now gifted with the chance to raise our work beyond mere entertainment, just as Rowling, Collins, and Martin have begun to do.

We have a voice—a voice that the industry now eagerly wishes to hear. So let us tell stories that speak truth, that illuminate the human experience in which we all take part. Let us build the bridge between the literary and speculative, and let our stories echo down through the ages.
Supposedly, the war between Calchis and Orion ended decades ago. But upon reporting to an isolated Orion army base for basic training, Private Stockton Finn learns the war still rages, only the weapons have changed--most disturbingly of all, Finn has been selected to become one of those weapons.

Across the border, young Calchan farm boy Aaron Waverly learns all too well just how determined his country is to win the war when he is abducted from his family's property by a sinister government operative known only as Agent. Finding himself trapped in dreary new surroundings, learning deadly skills he's never before imagined, Aaron struggles to reconcile his ephemeral faith with his harsh new reality.

As the two nations hurtle toward a resurgence of open hostilities, Finn and Aaron, along with their new friends and mentors, must rush to prepare themselves for the inevitable clash. All the while, a new archaeological find in the frozen tundra far to the north hints that the brewing conflict may only be the first of their worries...

Born and raised on Long Island, NY, Dan grew up immersing himself in fantastical worlds. While other kids dreamed of being astronauts and cowboys, all he ever wanted was to be a novelist. Now, he’s living his dream.

FIND THE BOOK - click on the links.




Thursday, May 29, 2014

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY: Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I know of) by F.J.R. Titchenell

F.J.R. Titchenell pays us a visit today as she travels along the Blog Tour for her new novel, Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (that I know of).

If you have not already gotten your copy of this amazing book, you are in for a treat.  Inside you will mortal danger salted with a humor that draws you ever deeper into the story and its characters.

Visually gripping for both its locations and characters, the pictures the words created in my mind still linger—creating a few questions.

Do you write with images in your mind of what is happening?

FJR: Of course. I'm admittedly not the most visual-minded of people. The words themselves are a lot easier for me. I thrive on dialogue and internal monologue, have to remind myself to slow down and describe the surroundings, and when I get inspired, it's almost always words bouncing around my head waiting to get out, not an image waiting to be made into words, but even I have to be able to picture what I'm writing about. If I can't see it, the reader won't see it, and the story loses vital sensory engagement. Or worse, the reader will see it, filling in the blanks as well as possible, and discover that the choreography unconsciously contradicts itself because I wasn't paying attention.

The non-stop action in Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (that I know of) stretches across California to New York City. How did you choose or research each setting or step along the way?

FJR: I chose most of the locations based on my familiarity with them and how logically they fit along the most likely route our heroes would take. I followed their progress chapter by chapter on Google maps to make sure everything made sense, though I have been busted by readers for getting some details wrong on places I didn't know firsthand, specifically Tulsa Zoo. Sorry! I needed a good sized zoo to come up in that part of the trip, and there's only so much you can figure out from brochures and aerial shots!

How do you feel about road trips? Did you draw from your own experiences to make the trip so realistic?

FJR: Love them under the right circumstances, and yes, definitely. My husband and I took a cross country road trip in college that was easily a life highlight so far, and the Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of) road trip follows our route fairly closely, so I have been to most of the places Cassie goes, except obviously Tulsa Zoo. Also some of the New York locations. I've only driven across a small corner of New York City so far. Matt and I got to see a lot more, though, without a rescue mission hanging over us, and we went further than New York, all the way up to Maine. It's something I'd recommend to anyone who has the opportunity.

Each character’s attire or appearance is distinctive. How did you use this to further the story?

FJR: I'm not really a fashion type, but I do love costumes. Back when I was studying theater, I always felt closer to characters once I got to dress up as them. I think I do the same thing with dressing up some of the Zombie Slayer characters. Do you ever look back at what you wore in high school and wonder what you were thinking? Well this bunch has no parents or school dress code or budget keeping them from taking that to extremes. We get to see a lot of how they see themselves worn almost literally on their sleeves, and we get to see how they grow out of it or don't. It's one of my favorite extensions of writing visually in Zombie Slayer.

Can you share a scene that is memorable to you?

FJR: Well, some favorites are naturally the funereal vandalism at the music institute and the battle of the Costco, but the one scene that started it all, the one everything else grew out of, is the moment when Cassie sees the first zombie sit up and she thinks about all the romantic things she should be thinking about at that moment, about conquering death and the like, and then she bashes its brains in because she's a geek who's already nursing a healthy fear of zombies before they start existing in her world. 
Thanks, Fiona!

Now, here is a taste of what you will discover inside this book.

The world is Cassie Fremont’s playground. Her face is on the cover of every newspaper, she has no homework, no curfew, and no credit limit, and she spends her days traveling the country with her friends, including a boy who would flirt with death just to turn her head. Life is just about perfect—except that those newspaper headlines are about her bludgeoning her crush to death with a paintball gun, she has to fight ravenous walking corpses every time she steps outside, and one of her friends is still missing, trapped somewhere in the distant, practically impassable wreckage of Manhattan. Still, Cassie’s an optimist. More prone to hysterical laughter than hysterical tears, she’d rather fight a corpse than be one, and she won’t leave a friend stranded when she can simply take her road trip to impossible new places to find her, even if getting there means admitting to that boy that she might just love him, too. Skillfully blending effective horror with unexpected humor, this diary-format novel is a fast-paced and heartwarming read.

Where can you find this book? Click below:


Meet the author!

F.J.R. TITCHENELL is an author of Young Adult, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Horror fiction. She graduated with a B.A in English from California State University, Los Angeles, in 2009 at the age of nineteen, and she currently lives in San Gabriel, California, with her husband and fellow author, Matt Carter, and their pet king snake, Mica.
The "F" is for Fiona, and on the rare occasions when she can be pried away from her keyboard, her kindle, and the pages of her latest favorite book, Fi can usually be found over-analyzing the inner workings of various TV Sci-Fi universes or testing out some intriguing new recipe, usually chocolate-related.
You can find her at the following links:

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Friday, May 16, 2014


123RF Stock Photo/schrades
The night sky was deep black, cloudless and filled with stars.  Though a thin crescent moon was peeking over the Slate Range Mountains, it gave little light.  The lights from the chemical plant burned as brightly as ever, but Trona, California is such a small town, so far out in the desert, there is almost no light pollution.  It was a perfect night for star gazing, except for one small distraction.
Floating hundreds of feet above the town, a small, reddish-white light burned fiercely in the sky, swinging gently in the breeze and drifting slowly to the south-east.  The time was almost 9:30 pm.  If anyone was outside watching, the floating, swaying flare would have been a strange sight.

Without warning, the night sky filled with a brilliant, bright-white flash.  Light flooded the sky for less than a second, and then was gone—taking the small reddish light with it.  For several seconds, only silence and the deep black of the cloudless sky remained.  Suddenly a roaring rumble blasted across the town, followed immediately by a shock wave that rattled windows and socked you in the chest as it passed. 
Faces peered out of windows and open doors.  Was this lightning and thunder heralding a storm?  Those rushing onto their porches, found only a totally clear sky.
123RF Stock Photo/eteimaging
At that moment, Ed, Herb, Bill and I huddled at the back of the Trona football field, grinning at each other.  We had spent weeks planning and preparing for this spectacular event.  Herb, the science class assistant, who was a year younger than the rest of us, had borrowed a condenser and heat resistant beakers from the high school science lab. Bill had set up the equipment on his back porch where we had some privacy.  Ed brought aluminum foil and Drano—the key ingredients in creating hydrogen balloons. I brought dynamite.

After hours of careful work we drove to the Trona Cemetery behind the chemical plant and launched our creation into the night sky.  We knew we had only five or ten minutes to reach the football field before the big display.  The results exceeded our expectations.

The next day others asked, “Did you hear the explosion last night?”  “What happened at the plant?”  As was our practice, we said nothing, only shrugged and smiled.  Though often accused we were never convicted. 

Although I would never encourage others to attempt this prank, I admit growing up in the Mojave Desert provided unique educational opportunities.

Monday, May 12, 2014

MOJAVE GREEN launch date announced with Giveaway!

Thanks to all our faithful readers who read Pitch Green and promptly asked, “When does the next book come out?”  We have an answer.
Mojave Green release date
OCTOBER 7, 2014
Check out Mojave Green in the new Jolly Fish Press Fall/Winter 2014Catalog to learn more.  We cannot wait to hold a copy of Mojave Green ourselves.
To celebrate, we are giving away a signed “limited edition” hardback copy of Pitch Green, Book 1 in the Dimensions in Death Series.  Just enter the Giveaway below.  Celebrate with us!

Links to books:
     Pitch Green:          Amazon    Barnes & Noble 
     Mojave Green:     Amazon     Barnes & Noble
Links to us:                Facebook    Twitter    GoodreadsBerk

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Friday, May 2, 2014

BLOG TOUR: New Sight by Jo Ann Schneider

New Sight is an exciting read, one that grabbed me from the start. In no time, I was immersed in the characters and their struggles to survive and to find answers as to why they get these wild destructive urges.

We are lucky to have the author, Jo Schneider, with us today to answer a few burning questions we needed answered:

You obviously know how to invest the reader in your plot and characters.  What do you see as important ways to accomplish this?

Torture them. Both the characters and the readers. It sounds terrible, but there you go. Taunt them with little details, small victories and moments of rest only to snatch these niceties away and replace them with more mean-ness. I honestly wish I was even better at this! 

Where do you draw from to create your characters? Do you see yourself in any of them?

In order to create a character, I draw from everyone and everything I know. I ask myself what role I need this character to fill in the story then I start tossing problems, questions and talents at them. What do I need them to do? In what way will they really mess up? Weaknesses? Strengths? Compatibility with others? All of those questions.

And yes, I totally see a bit of myself in almost all of my characters. Brady especially. He’s the snarky, geeky one. That’s totally me. However, Inez has inherited a bit of my cranky side, and Peter my optimism. Honestly just tiny bits and pieces, but they’re there. Of course, my characters also suffer from injections of my friends in real life, my family, my co-workers and whatever TV show I’m hooked on at the moment. Like I said, I draw from everywhere. 

As you write, how do the plot and your characters influence each other? Any surprises along the way?

I’m more than a little OCD, so I’m an outliner. I haven’t had any really huge surprises from the characters in New Sight, but little things come along. Like I didn’t have Inez liking Brady at all in the first drafts of the book. I think in the final copy shows a different story, one I wasn’t totally expecting.

If characters try to change too much of the plot I simply get rid of them. Trouble makers! 

What do you enjoy about creating characters?  Is there anything difficult about the process for you?

I love popping a name on a face and then letting them play in my story. It’s fun to come up with how the cast of characters will react to one another. Sometimes I just enjoy watching them freak out over their worst fears come true.

I’m actually working for the next few months to get better at creating characters. I never feel like I go deep enough into their personality or world, and let’s face it, why do people read stories? For the characters. So expect my next book to have characters that are even better than those in New Sight.

We can't wait to read Book 2. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts (and answers) with us, Jo. 

The next step for all you intrigued readers is to read New Sight and meet Lysandra (Lys for short), Kamau, Brady, Inez, Peter, Mark, and a host of others. 
CHECK OUT WHAT'S BELOW to find out more about Jo, her book, and a GIVEAWAY!

The scoop about Jo:
JO SCHNEIDER lives in Bountiful, Utah, but she has spent countless hours traveling all over the world. Her goal is to visit all seven continents, and she's nearly finished. Being a geek at heart, Schneider has always been drawn to science fiction and fantasy; she writes both. Based on her travels and her experience obtaining a black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate, Schneider's works feature authentic, impressive settings and extraordinary action sequences.
Here are places you can hang out with her:
Want to know more?  Check out the book blurb: 
After succumbing to the sudden and terrifying urge to rip people’s eyes out of their sockets, 16-year-old Lysandra Blake finds herself tied down in a psych ward, convinced she’s crazy. The doctors have no answers, and Lys is ready to give up when the mysterious Jeremiah Mason appears, telling Lys that she’s not insane—she’s addicted to a rare and deadly drug that she has no recollection of using. Mr. Mason offers to take her to his facility where he can treat her. Desperate yet suspicious, Lys agrees to go with Mr. Mason to his facility where she meets with a fellow addict, the tall and handsome Kamau. Together they discover that Mr. Mason may not have told them the truth about their condition— they’re thrown headfirst into a world of daunting powers that are not only unbelievable, they are dangerous.
Where can you find this book? Just click on one of the links below:


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Monday, April 28, 2014

GUEST POST: D.C McGannon & C. Michael McGannon


D.C. McGannon and C. Michael McGannon, authors of  the Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters series, are visiting our blog today.  

Book 3: Council of the Hunters is coming out!  We've been waiting for this ever since we finished Book 2.  Check out their website and pick up a copy for yourself.


It’s always been about the relationships between five unlikely friends, and a cast of characters that meld both humorous and serious tones into a story about monsters, witches, unseen worlds, and magic.

The year 2005 seems like a long time ago, but that’s when Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters really began. Michael and I were working a job together that began at 11:00p.m. every night and lasted until about 7:00a.m. the next morning. I (D.C.) had just walked away from a lifelong, successful career and we, as a family, decided to shift gears and go in a different direction. We left the city, moved to a small town and were focusing on just enjoying each other as a family and looking to the future.
It was hard. Real hard!
We knew where we were going in this new adventure, but just needed some time to rest, reflect, and get out of the spotlight, so to speak. When you are used to running on all cylinders, all of the time, it’s difficult to slow down and “smell the roses”. But those are the times when some of our best moments can be planted and grow.
It was during this time when the story of Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters came to life.
Michael and I had been writing all along, for years, but we started brainstorming while working these nights together and asking some fun questions.
What if we wrote a story about monsters together? What if we could breathe a little life into the legends and stories of old again? We’ve always loved monsters, particularly the classic tales. Folk tales, fairy tales, and those wonderful ghost stories that get told around the campfire under a starry sky are some of our favorite things to ponder and share.
We didn’t want to change the origins of the stories of monsters and legends of old, and we didn’t want to create new ones (at least, not for this story) but we wanted to honor the history and legends of monsters from around the world and throughout the centuries.
We wondered, “What if we could get kids, and parents too, excited about reading by telling those stories again through a new, modern setting?”
The whole monster idea was really exciting to us, as we love monsters of all kinds. But that wasn’t enough. Monsters would not be the heartbeat of the story we were going to tell.
People. Friends. Individuals like you and me. Those would be the heartbeat, because that’s what really matters at the end of the day.
We continued to wonder out loud, “What if we followed five teenagers through the course of their daily lives? Their triumphs, heartbreaks, and diverse human experiences? What if somehow they all ended up fighting for their lives, their families, and their world? What if this was in a world where the monsters of legend were not the worst thing someone could face, but rather the obstacles we face in our everyday lives? Things like bullying, prejudice, loss, betrayal, and often just facing the questions of life as a teenager…and oh, by the way, there are monsters attacking, too?”
It was always about Charlie Sullivan, Darcy Witherington, Nash Stormstepper, and the Russian twins, Lisa and Liev Vadinknov. How they met and became friends, how they dealt with the pressures of school, relationships, coming from extremely diverse backgrounds and lifestyles, and how they would manage when the face of ultimate evil surrounded them and threatened to destroy everything important to them…? These were the questions and experiences this story would build on.
And like we said earlier…monsters! Monsters would bring an extra spice that made the story really fun and tasty.
In Book 1: The Varcolac’s Diary, the story enjoys the introductions of the five main characters, how they come to meet, and their experiences with several other colorful characters, both human and monsters alike, as well as their experience “meeting” Hunter’s Key – the mysterious and misunderstood mansion that sits high above Hunter’s Grove (the town where they all live) – which is a character all to itself. Mystery abounds concerning its shadowy resident, and rumors of the Dark Prince haunting the quaint, little town, nestled in the mountains. This is where these five young people really start to come into their own and mature, putting aside social differences to do something meaningful….namely, saving the town from the Dark Prince, a vampiric royal who wants to raise a group of old beings known as the Ancients from their slumber and rule the world. Saving Hunter’s Grove doesn’t come easy, however, as the very act ultimately costs the hunters someone dear to them.

After discovering dark secrets in the shadowy corners, and saving their little town, of Hunter’s Grove, Charlie and his friends find out that all of the monsters under the servitude of the Dark Prince have been released across the human world once again, only to settle in their native lands once more. At the start of Book 2: Witch Moon, a messenger arrives from the Old Country and pleads for the help from the Monster Hunters. This messenger comes from Drakauragh, a village that time has forgotten. It is the location of one of the many portals that lead to the Ancients, the very same beings the Dark Prince was trying to awaken. In Drakauragh, three of the most powerful and legendary witches in history weave sinister plots, and once again, threaten to unleash the Ancients upon the world. The Monster Hunters agree to the messenger’s request and embark on a journey that ends up testing the limits of their bodies, their minds, and their hearts.
Book 3: Council of the Hunters finds the young Hunters weary from their recent adventures and looking forward to spending their first year of high school together, peacefully – a hopeful notion that is shattered when one of their fellow Hunters is kidnapped by a malicious entity, and when the ancient and powerful “Council of the Hunters” arrive at Hunter’s Key. Despite the recent triumphs of Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters, this enigmatic Council calls into question the young Hunters’ reputations, their methods, and their training, threatening to disband the group. As the Hunters fight to retain their mantle of responsibility, they are drawn deeper into a web of betrayal and danger. Book 3 introduces even more unsavory and eccentric new figures in the larger story, and begins to truly illuminate the grave nature and plot of those working together to bring the Ancients back to life in order to rule our world once more.
As we move forward from Book 3, the reader experiences a maelstrom of events unfolding toward the ultimate end that the Ancients and their armies have in mind for both our world and the Otherwold – the fantastical and hyper-physical world on the other side of every portal location throughout the world.
Book 4: The Dragon Gate will be released quickly, this summer, with Books 5 & 6, the final two in the series, being slated for Fall 2014 and April 2015 release dates.
Writing this series has been a distinct privilege and joy to write as we, father and son, have the opportunity to do something so completely unique and significant together. Though we each have individual series and books that will begin releasing later this year, Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters is near and dear to our hearts and we are excited to offer readers a unique take on legends of old within the context of the important, diverse relationships of five unlikely friends.
The story doesn’t end with the books, however. Last year we also began prototyping a new card game based on the books to groups nationally. This fast-paced, exciting game has been well-received and is currently in development for a full release very soon. The mechanics of the game combine several elements of other card game favorites, while introducing new mechanics unique to our stories. The art has been compared to the level of artwork produced in such games as Magic: The Gathering, and others. All of the characters, tools, weapons, magic, and locations come to full life in unique playing fashion through the card game. Full extension packs of cards will be released based on each book and new set of characters, monsters, locations, and storylines.
It is an honor to share with you today and a real privilege to bring the story of Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters to life through the written word.
Many have asked what genre and age group the books are for. Officially, the series is written for Middle Grade and Teens, and grows with each new book. It is a dark fantasy tale with elements of adventure and science fiction. Our readership ranges from 8 and 9 year olds all the way to “kids” in their 60’s and 70’s.
These are stories about life, about overcoming diversity, and about things that are truly important:  things such as friendship, character, and resilience in the face of difficulty. It’s really cool, too, that the story if filled with creepy mansions, monsters, fantasy worlds, and spell-binding magic. Those things definitely help!
Learn more about the books, the card game, and the characters at
Other places to hang out with the authors are:

D.C. McGannon is coauthor of the Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters series of books, and one-half of the humorous father/son duo known as The Monster Guys. When not travelling to conventions and talking about Japanese and Steampunk monsters, he can usually be found moon-gardening, hiking, or searching for his next cup of coffee.
D.C. is confident he can still breakdance with the best of them, but realizes his writing and speaking schedule is probably taking too much of his time. This is good news for all other break-dancers.
He is married to Holly, father to Michael and Nathaniel, and they all hang out together somewhere in the Midwest with their little Maltese puppy, Jewel.
C. Michael McGannon has been creating characters, writing stories, and chasing dragons for as long as anyone can remember. After winning an award for writing in grade school, he decided the best medium to put all his creativity into was the written word. He’s been writing ever since. Michael believes that the true power of a story lies in its ability to both entertain and enlighten.
He thinks walking barefoot is grand. This is C. Michael McGannon’s first series of published novels.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

GOING HOME: Happy Birthday, Trona

 How do you say GREAT TIME in 100 different ways?
Being part of the Trona Centennial Celebration was like going home for both Andy and I.  Memories on top of memories, meeting friends we hadn't seen for . . .well, years and years.
Good Friends  David and Ed are two of the old friends I met at the Trona History Symposium Friday. The path to the Trona High School auditorium where the lectures were held went right past our book signing table, so we were in prime position to spot those we knew.   
                                                                     During our teenage years, Ed and I were known to pull some thunderous pranks--literally. That story is for another blog.  Stuck in the middle of nowhere, Trona was the perfect place to roam and explore and we ranged far. 

1st Date: As a junior at Trona High, I asked Patty to Prom. She is still as fun a person as she was then.  

Football teammates, former babysitters, dynamite buddies, you name it—Trona was rich in memories both Friday and Saturday.

 PARADE Drew, our driver, met us behind Trona High School on Saturday morning with THE CAR.  Sweet!  1968 Ford  Galaxie convertible.  

My son and his family also arrived, ready to be parade crew.  And what a crew they were.  During the parade they passed out 750 PITCH GREEN bookmarks. 

Who could refuse a face like this?
                                                               We gave Drew a signed hardback copy of PITCH GREEN as a thank-you for the car, the driving, and the great company.            
In the background you see the Trona Chemical Plant.  The plant is a big part of Trona and figures in PITCH GREEN and its sequels.  


Finally! Street fair fun. Grandkids got a well-deserved shaved ice. Passing out bookmarks is thirsty, hot work.


The whole crew boarded the bus for the tour of the Trona and Argus chemical plants.  A great opportunity! Andy and I had never toured the plant before, even living there in Trona for so many years. 
We were forbidden to take pictures as the bus drove us through the area, but the commentary by the plant spokesman was intriguing. 
The plant plays a role in PITCH GREEN as well as the other books coming out in the DIMENSIONS IN DEATH series.  The plant tour gave us some interesting ideas for Book Three.

We drove out to Pioneer Point (also in PITCH GREEN) to see our old family home. It didn’t have this kind of greenery when we were kids.  The front yard was mainly mine tailings.
When a huge dust storm would dump inches of sand on the mine tailings adorning our front yard, my chore was to sift out the sand. I would dump shovel-fulls of sand and mine tailings onto a homemade screen set on top of the wheel barrel.
Imagine sifting out a whole front yard.  
But I never had to mow grass. Grass doesn’t grow in Trona.

One thing that hasn't changed about Trona is its small town friendliness and loyalty. As I visited with old friends and new acquaintances we all agreed:
TRONA was a great place to grow up.
Absolutely no place like it.


Thursday, March 6, 2014


This gorgeous cover hints and tantalizes. If you've read DISSENSION, Book 1, by Adrienne Monson, you understand how anxious we are to read this next book, which is sure to be as expertly told as the first.



Leisha and Samantha barely survived the vampires and immortals six months ago. Now, an explosive battle between the vampires and immortals seems imminent. 

It's more important than ever before that the prophecy child is found, but there's a problem—Leisha has lost her powers. She seems like nothing more than a human. Her newfound humanity is further complicated when Tafari, her old lover, appears with a desire for reconciliation.

Can Leisha lock up the past to save those she loves? Or will fate tear everything from her once again?

Meet Author Adrienne Monson

Monson’s debut novel, Dissension, book one of the Blood Inheritance trilogy, came out in 2013. Defiance (book 2) is slated for release February 24, 2015.

She lives in Utah with her husband and two kids. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Zumba, kickboxing, reading, and trying new recipes.