Say Hello to My Friend Jennifer

I’m so excited to introduce you to a friend of mine, Jennifer Jensen. She’s a fantastic writer, a lover of books, and is a huge Dr. Who fan (in case you were wondering, these aren’t compulsory traits to have if you and I are to be friends, but they sure as hell don’t hurt).

Jen’s first novel just dropped last week – a time-travel story (and you know how much I love time travel) aimed at middle-schoolers. Scroll to the end of this post to see the cover and read the blurb, as well as links to Amazon and all of the cyber-places Jennifer hangs out at.

For now, though, I’ll let Jen do the talking.

•••     •••     •••

Ah, the end of summer.

If you follow social trends, you’ll notice a push for parents to create summer memories and back-to-school rituals. Picking apples at a local orchard, one last BBQ or boating trip, a movie marathon before homework takes over – take your pick.

Long, long, LONG ago (you know, when dinosaurs were still around), kids in my social group didn’t have any particular end-of-summer rituals unless their FFA or 4-H animals were good enough to qualify for the State Fair. The cool kids might have a final pool party or big city shopping trip, but not us. We were busy riding horses, having sleep-overs in tents in each others’ backyards, and stuffing ourselves with wild Oregon blackberries. (You could lean a ladder against a 10’ tall bush and pick a gallon from one spot. And people wonder why I miss Oregon – sheesh!)

The closest my family came to a summer finale was Labor Day weekend, but it wasn’t for a camping trip. Mom and Dad had us convinced that Labor Day was set aside as a day “when everyone is supposed to work,” and we had to spend the entire day painting fences. Can you say G-U-L-L-I-B-L-E ?

81xArEHrzuL._SL1500_If we thought about the end of summer much, it was speculating who our teachers would be and which cute guys would be in our classes that year. And the excitement of back-to-school shopping. When I was little, September meant a luscious box of pointy new crayons, all 96 colors if I was lucky. It meant choosing whether I wanted kittens or horses on my folders, until I grew up enough to want the beige Pee-chees that the cool kids had. And by 7th grade, it was hoping Mom would be willing to spring for an “organizer,” not just folders. I couldn’t wait for school to start – new classes, new teachers, and new things to learn.

It hasn’t changed – I’m still a geek and I still buy a year’s supply spiral notebooks in August!

Is it any surprise that books played a big part in my summers, despite all our outdoor activity? I dragged a book or two on every camping trip, every long drive, every family visit, to the point where my mother had to tell me to put my book down and go play. My kids caught the reading bug, too: Son 1 tried reading The Wheel of Time at age 10, Son 2 loved anything non-fiction, and SuperDaughter spent a whole drive from Indiana to Oregon with her nose buried in Stephen King. All of us, at various ages, have been caught with a flashlight and book under the covers.

Before jobs and school sports got in the way, my boys spent late summer days playing “fort” in the hayloft and exploring the creek across the road, at least when I could get them off the computer. (SuperDaughter wasn’t thrilled with the outdoors and stayed plugged in with her books and music.) The boys went to Scout camp, gathered with friends at various houses, had bonfires and roasted marshmallows, and yes, rode horses.

Now they’re in college, and what do they remember about the end of summer? Back-to-school shopping! Backpacks, new jeans, and an endless list of school supplies. No last summer blast for us – I must have been a horrible mom!

Jim, my protagonist in Through the Shimmer of Time, has his own end-of-summer blast. It’s August, but he’s not really thinking about school – he’s completely captivated with the upcoming LaunchFest, where he’ll compete with his newest model rocket. The only problem is that he was having too much fun and got grounded for doing something like this:

So he’s stuck tagging along with his mom and his little sister, bored on a hot summer day in a history park. What kind of summer send-off is that? Of course he has to go in search of the haunted cabin!

What about you? Are you creating end-of-summer celebrations with your kids, or just letting the season wind happily to a close? If there’s a living history park near you, has it become a summer ritual?

•••     •••     •••

Final coverA mysterious pottery shard . . .

            A haunted cabin . . .

                        A shadowy stranger . . .

                                   And no way home

Present Day: Jim has a talent for getting into trouble. Grounded from his model rockets, he goes exploring where he shouldn’t and gets zapped back in time. Can he find the way back home again or is he marooned in the past?

1838: Hannah’s life in her frontier village is filled with a little play and a lot of hard work. A seemingly harmless trick lures a strange, dazed boy from the old haunted cabin. Now Hannah must make a choice – and face the dangers.

Together, Jim and Hannah struggle to unmask a thief and solve a murder while they search for the key to unlock time.  It will take courage and wits, plus the rocket motors in Jim’s pocket, just to stay alive.

Pick up your copy of THROUGH THE SHIMMER OF TIME here.

Go have a look at Jennifer’s website here.

Hang out with Jennifer on Facebook here.

Tweet with Jennifer here.

Show Jennifer some love in the comments!

Myndi

Advertisements

DIANA MURDOCK

Myndi Talks To...91hG7iHjg6L._SL1500_MYNDI: Today I’m tickled to introduce you to Diana Murdock, author of Souled. She’s agreed to answer some questions over a cuppa, so let’s dive right in!

Tell us – what word best describes you in each of these categories? CARS, BARS, and SCARS.

Go!

DIANA: I had to think about these for awhile. CARS: Fast. BARS: Loud. SCARS: Many.

MYNDI: Holy wow, I’m totally impressed – most writers find one-word answers impossible (including me). Incidentally, my answers would be similar (though longer) with the exception of cars. I like ‘em slow. Yes, I’m the grandma-esque driver folks love to hate.

Moving on…

If you could be a fly on anybody’s wall – living or not – whose would it be, and why?

DIANA: Well, Brad Pitt comes to mind for obvious reasons…but, for a PG-13 response it would have to be Lady Diana. She was such a multi-layered person, and I could only imagine the different issues she had to overcome with her upbringing and marriage into the royal family, and the benefits/repercussions that came with all of that. She was an amazing and generous person. I’d love to have seen her up close and personal.

MYNDI: Agreed – Lady Diana was such a fascinating person. She always came across as such a gentle, genuine soul.

Your picks here have me curious – are these the kind of individuals who your characters tend to evolve around? Do you ‘build’ your characters in your mind, or do they pop into your psyche ready-made?

(Also, what’s your pick for best Brad Pitt flick?)

DIANA: Brad Pitt flick? Troy.

My characters are ready-made. Sometimes I think they are one way, but eventually their actions throughout the story reveal their true nature. I can tell if I’m on track when it resonates inside my heart.

MYNDI: *grin* Troy is a great flick, and reinforces the widely-held belief that Mr. Pitt has NO BAD ANGLE.

So, if your characters come to you ready-made, how do you discover them? What triggers the story for you?

DIANA: Most of my triggers come from conversations or observations where I think, “Well, what if this happened to me?” How would the character handle it? I tend to be a bit of a Sybil-type of person. I go from one end of the spectrum to another, to blend in with the situation, so I draw off that. The paranormal/metaphysics world has so many dimensions to it, there’s always a good story somewhere.

MYNDI: Absolutely – stories hide in every nook and cranny of life…and when you add the paranormal twist, anything can happen!

On the ‘anything-can-happen’ note, would you be willing to share with us your most embarrassing (and funny) moment?

DIANA: You know, I can’t come up with anything! Not that something hasn’t happened…I just can’t remember anything. Maybe I’ve blocked it.

MYNDI: *giggle, snort* I wish I I could block my embarrassing memories. Lucky duck.

How about your characters? Do you enjoy putting them in embarrassing situations, or do you resist the temptation?

DIANA: So far the story lines haven’t needed to go in that direction, but I’m thinking I may have to give it a try in another book I’ve got brewing in my head…hmm…

MYNDI: Mmmm…brewing, brew…

Favorite brewed drink?

DIANA: I’ve been experimenting with brewing my own mix of tea. So far, my favorite is equal parts Yerba mate, gingko, and peppermint. Perfect for winter.

MYNDI: Yummo! I love a good cup of tea. And it’s kinda the perfect subject for my last question. Well, not so much a question as it is a task, for you.

Please write a haiku on the subject of tea.

DIANA: Okay, this took some thought. I think an entire novel is easier to write than a haiku! Here it is:

Anticipation.

Steaming warmth inside my cup.

Crushed leaves come to life.

MYNDI: Love it, Diana. Haiku or novel, either way, you’ve chosen a good profession for yourself. Thanks for popping in!

DIANA: Thanks for having me, Myndi! This was fun!

oOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO

img_0249-smldwnlodIf you want to know more about Diana, go check out her blog. And if you’d like to pick up her book, Souled, click here!

AUTHOR CHAT: Myndi Talks to Gwen Gardner

myndi talks to swenI’m tickled pink to introduce you to Gwen Gardner, author of the highly-rated Young Adult novel, Giving Up the Ghost. She’s ever-so-sweetly agreed to hang out here today, answering my nosy-nosy questions and letting me play bossy host.

ME: Alright. Question Number One isn’t really a question, Miss Gwen, but stay with me.

Best song of all time….annnnnnnd, GO!

GWEN: Sweet Child, Guns n Roses!

ME: Ah, the 80’s! Did you majorly crush on Axl? If so, are you still crushing on Axl? Is Axl’s name tattooed anywhere on your body? If you say Axl’s name seven times fast will he magically appear in your living room?

GWEN: Lol! No tats yet. I’m sorta still crushing on Axl, you know, because of that bad-boy image. Not that I like bad boys anymore. No. Bad boys are bad for you!

ME: *grin* Bad boys are great in theory, but in real life I’ve always been drawn to the good guys. I like a gentleman with an ornery side. No Christian Grey for me.

Tell me a little about your book – it’s YA paranormal, right? Any budding romance in it?

GWEN: Yes, it’s YA paranormal cozy mystery with a touch of romance. Like you said, a budding romance. But the main characters have too much on their plates to actually get involved, even though they’re very attracted to each other and have shared a few kisses. His father was just murdered, and, unknown to everyone but her, so was her father.

ME: Yikes! Murdered ‘rents have a way of putting the kabosh on romance…

Tell me about your main characters – there’s a him and a her. What are they like? Popular jocks? Social outcasts? Bad-boy with a heart of gold? *wink*

GWEN: Indigo Eady is the main character. She’s sixteen and a ghost-whispering psychic who also – although not on purpose – does psychometry (i.e, she can read the energy of an object, often with dire consequences). For instance, she can pick up someone’s beer mug and read the energy. If that person is drunk, she becomes drunk – and she’s never had an alcoholic beverage in her life. She once had to be escorted home by her love interest, Badger. Trust me, she completely embarrassed herself.

Badger is well built with curly brown hairs and brown eyes to get lost in. His father has disappeared and he helps his mom run the family pub called the Blind Badger. He’s attracted to Indigo and cares more than he lets on. But he has huge responsibilities and Indigo – well, she’s sort of a hot mess, always getting into scrapes when her psychic abilities short-circuit. And that time she got drunk (even though she’d never had a drink) and threw up all over his shoes…well, that was not so cool.

ME: Oh my gosh, Gwen, you totally have me sold. I love the idea of a person becoming what they see in an object. Kinda pissed I didn’t think of that myself! How have I not read this book yet?!?

Okay, quick, give me links where readers can purchase.

GWEN: http://www.amazon.com/Givin-Indigo-Paranormal-Mystery-ebook/dp/B009JGYNFY

Givin’ Up The Ghost (An Indigo Eady Paranormal Mystery)

www.amazon.comA modern day medieval village teeming with spirit activity is no place for sixteen-year-old psychic and ghost whisperer Indigo Eady. Not when all she wants is to forget about these supposed gifts. After all, when needed most, it didn’t help save her father. After her father’s death,…

ME: Perfect. Now, do this:

Pick a word that best describes you for each of these categories:

SHOES, BOOZE, and SNOOZE

GWEN: SHOES: #tenniegirl, BOOZE: #absolutely, SNOOZE: #napsRgood

ME: #napsRgood may be the best hashtag on the planet. Pair that sucker with #momneedswine and I think we’ve got the start to a good thing. Are you a regular napper?

GWEN: Haha! I’m not a regular napper, but since I work at home, yeah, every once in awhile I curl up, turn on the tv for background noise and have a little midafternoon snooze.

ME: Lovely! I’m not a regular napper, either, but sometimes it’s just what the doctor ordered.

I think on this note we’ll end with your final task:

Compose for us a haiku about….

NAPS!

GWEN:

Ah, to dream to dream

Of fantastical kingdoms

One must napalot

Thanks so much, Myndi, this was fun.

ME: You betchya, Gwen. Thanks for popping in!

oOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOo

Gwen GardnerIf you’re interested in reading Giving Up the Ghost, or would like to connect with Gwen, follow, follow, follow these links…

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Givin-Indigo-Paranormal-Mystery-ebook/dp/B009JGYNFY

Rafflecopter Facebook Giveaway: http://bit.ly/TQ4AQr