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.