An interview I did with Rock Paper Spirit Daily re my book about bullying.
Read the entire interview here
An interview I did with Rock Paper Spirit Daily re my book about bullying.
Read the entire interview here
Book Summary: Two best friends. A Top Secret incident. A souvenir. A wild cross-state adventure. It’s 1947 on a U.S. Army base near Roswell, New Mexico, and eleven-year-old Kate’s friend and neighbor, Billy, shows her a secret. A CIA agent arrives at Billy’s house, to recover the Top Secret items, and threatens the family, warning them to never talk about the incident-ever! Special Agent Falco informs them of their sudden reassignment to Germany. Billy, not wanting to move to Germany or return his treasures, begs Kate for help. Feisty and fiercely loyal, she agrees to hide him. Thus begins a most unusual road trip in which the two friends use their wits, their knowledge of the terrain and geography around the base, and sheer determination to evade capture. Kate must also reach her grandfather, more than two hundred miles away, and warn him how the secret poses a dangerous threat … to anyone involved. Their race has begun, and there’s no turning back.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been grinding away at it for around ten years, but got serious over the last five, which helped me complete four books and one ‘wip’ (work in process).
What did you enjoy most about writing ‘Foiled’?
I enjoyed most empowering my young gutsy female main character. Adults are constantly telling children what they can and can’t do. In Foiled, I set out to write a story about an eleven year old stumbling over endless physical and mental pits, picking herself up, and pushing herself on to discover for herself what she can do. I also enjoyed constantly testing her and asking, “Would an eleven-year-old stop at the established limits set by the grown-up world to save her friend and family, or would she break those limits?”
Are you working on a series for ‘Foiled’? If so, have you written a second book? What is the title? Tell your readers about it.
Presently I have no plans for a series for Foiled; however, I’ve just finished the last book in my sea-island Action trilogy:
(1) Shanghaied: Escape from the Blackwolf.
(2) Shipwrecked: Dragon Island.
(3) Sea Raiders.
I served in the U.S. Navy on board nuclear hunter/killer submarines, which inspired me to write Book 1.
Shanghaied: forced to join a ship lacking a full crew by kidnapping or other underhanded means. Twelve-year-olds Emma and Scott stumble across a dark secret and are shanghaied by a rogue submarine that once suffered a ghastly fate: a radioactive incident that transformed its crew into mutants. They are plunged into the depths of the ocean, far beyond the reach of help, where the Blackwolf battles against lurking enemy navies. Now they must find a way off the submarine without being killed first—or even worse, being forced into service for the rest of their lives. The race to escape has begun.
Book 2. The trek has begun, and the trail will show no mercy. After escaping a rogue submarine, twelve-year-old cousins Emma and Scott, and sixteen-year-old Harrison wash ashore on the beach of a remote tropical island lurking with jungle dragons and headhunters. So begins their trek to find safety and civilization so they can return home to their families in Australia—but not before having to fight for their lives across a savage land. Can the young castaways survive long enough to find help? Trapped in a wild place and with high stakes, Carey Fessler’s sea-island adventure forges ahead with this exciting sequel to Shanghaied: Escape from the Blackwolf.
Book 3. Kidnapped by a rogue submarine crew with mutation magic, twelve-year-old Aussie cousins Emma and Scott, along with sixteen-year-old Harrison, escaped their captors by swimming to a remote tropical island, where they fought off man-eating monster lizards and a village full of headhunters armed with blowpipes and endowed with deadly aim …
Now taken hostage during a modern-day pirate raid, Scott and Emma fight for their lives and swim back to the last place on earth they want to return to—Dragon Island. Meanwhile, Harrison faces his fears and tries to thwart the pirates. Can the three young survivors stay alive and raise the alarm—and return home to their families? Set in a wild and dangerous location and with even higher stakes, Carey Fessler’s sea-island adventure forges ahead with this exciting sequel to Shipwrecked: Dragon Island.
What question do you wish that someone would ask about ‘Foiled’, but nobody has? How would you answer your own question?
Why did you pick Foiled as the title?
There are three subtext meanings in the title Foiled:
(1) Foil: noun- referring to the ‘magic foil,’ (piece of thin metal sheet) in the story, which is a piece of alien technology from the crash site of a UFO. On the front cover, you can spot the girl holding it in her hand. 😉
(2) Foil: noun- The two MCs contrast each other and so emphasize and enhance the qualities of the other.
(3) Foil: verb- prevent (antagonists) from succeeding.
Also … is Carey Fessler your real name?
I use the pen name Carey Fessler to honor the two people who encouraged me to read as a kid—my grandparents: My G’ma’s maiden name is Carey and my G’pa’s last name is Fessler … Carey Fessler worked perfectly.
What real-life inspirations, if any, did you draw from for the story within your book, ‘Foiled’?
Some years ago, I was in the States, visiting my family in New Mexico. While at my sister’s house, her husband, Jack, showed me three photographs that may or may not have been a UFO near Roswell, NM.
As an author, I didn’t care if the photos were real or not. My mind was busy trying to cook up a cool idea for a UFO story.
Whenever I need to come up with an idea for a scene (remember, a story is just a series of scenes you weave together) I just ask myself: What happens if…
So I thought: What happens if two kids get a piece of alien technology from a UFO crash-site near Roswell, and they go on the run from the authorities?
That was the seed that inspired me to write my first book, Foiled.
Ideas can come from everywhere, which is why I’m open to trying new things.
The more experiences I have in life the more I have to draw from to inspire my writing.
What book that you have read has most influenced your life?
I don’t remember the title, but it was a modern-day submarine novel that was dull and littered with errors and inaccuracies. I had grown so bored and frustrated by the time I reached the halfway mark that I chucked the book straight into the rubbish, thinking I could write a better story than that. And so I put pen to paper and started writing my first novel, which was a hot mess, but it got me started on the path to becoming an author and I’ve never looked back.
What do you love most about the general writing process?
Coming up with the story outline. You let anything fly, no matter how over-the-top. It’s the most creative time and comes before you even start writing. You’re just focused on telling an entertaining story.
What character in ‘Foiled’are you least likely to get along with? Why?
Special Agent Falco. I respect that he was a loyal patriot just doing his job and loved his country, but it made him emotionally detached and gave him tunnel vision.
What character in your book are you most likely to get along with? Why?
Grandpa Clyde. I like hanging out with salty old farts and I like fishing too.
Do you see writing as a career or a hobby?
I write full time. Up at dawn, walk the dog, and then write until lunchtime. Walk the dog again and then re-write/revise work from previous day of writing. Knock off around three. Do some domestic stuff and errands. Have supper. Walk the dog again at dusk. Binge on Netflix. Read for fun for an hour before hitting the sack. Rinse & repeat.
How long does it take to complete one of your books?
My first book, Foiled, took me a couple of years to complete. My latest book, Sea Raiders, took me six months to finish. For my current wip, House of Ash (working title) I’m shooting for four months.
What advice do you have for beginning writers?
Write for your own pleasure. I write my stories because they’re the kind of books that I would’ve wanted to read when I was a kid.
Talent is nice to have, but I relied more on practice and determination to achieve my dream, which was to write a book. When you’re passionate about something, it never feels like work.
Dreams do come true, so don’t give up on yours!
Author: Carey Fessler
Genre: Children’s Books/Mysteries & Detectives/Action & Adventure/Historical Fiction
Price: $5.00 (Paperback) $3.49 (Kindle)
Available at: Amazon.com
I grew up in a military family and moved around more often than a gypsy until we planted roots in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With my head always in the clouds, I learned to fly, parachute, and even scuba dive before dropping out of university and enlisting in the US Navy to roam beneath the seven seas in a submarine. When my hitch was up in the Navy, I unpacked his seabag in Sydney, Australia, where I worked as a postman, an international flight planner for QANTAS, and an animator for Disney before awakening my imagination and becoming a children’s author.
Book Summary: The stories in this collection are set 1980’s and 90’s Ireland. A by-pass around a small village has rid the residents of their once busy traffic. They feel forgotten by the world. The need to reach out and be heard is explored in every story, from the young woman who starts to have phone conversations with her husband’s gay lover, to the dyslexic man who confronts his cruel teacher years later and the woman whose dreams are shattered because of a married lover. Treading the Uneven Road introduces us to a society that is unraveling, and we cannot help feel for Brown’s characters who need to make a choice on how to carry on.
Where did you get the idea to write ‘Treading the Uneven Road’?
I started writing short stories when I moved to the States eight years ago and I wanted to write about misconceptions, for example how Lou is seen because he is dyslexic and, in a time, when people didn’t realize what that meant. The characters started then, Dick and his brother, Ann and her loneliness but they were all over the place, some in Ireland and some in the States. In Emerson, they have a program where they pair authors with editors from the publishing course and I was lucky enough to work with Marinna Castilleja. She asked great questions about setting and through this I realized that I should bring the characters all together. When I thought of my home town, I knew it fit perfectly. Before I brought them to Sligo, I knew the characters pretty well.
What made you choose to set the story in the 1980’s and 1990’s, instead of modern day?
I don’t remember having to decide to do it, it just seemed right and the only way. I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s and I write about that time with a lot more ease than I would if I were to write about now. I am a dinosaur when it comes to social media and such. I just don’t get it. I can just about manage Facebook and I have a twitter and Instagram account, the latter because my daughter got one for me, but I don’t use it much. Before, if a writer grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, they’d experienced changes in style and ways of life but not such a huge jump with technology or change in children growing up. All my work is either set in 80’s, 90’s, except for Patient 55, which is more future, big brother, orientated.
What was your favorite thing about the 1980’s and 1990’s? TV shows? Books? Music?
I loved growing up without gadgets and phones and cameras. I’d go off camping alone in the 90’s without a phone. We did that, we survived without having to tell everyone what we were doing.
What did you enjoy most about writing ‘Treading the Uneven Road’? What did you enjoy the least or found to be the most challenging about writing ‘Treading the Uneven Road’?
I loved the characters and being in Ballisadare in the 80’s. I loved tying the characters together. Nora is in “The Sacred Heart’ and when I was putting the collection together I realized she was also Joe’s mother in ‘The Taste of Salt.’
The last story ‘White Trout’ was written months after I’d considered the collection done and I realized that I needed something more for Dick, who we’d seen since he was three years old. I love that story for the way it ends.
The only thing that I could say I enjoyed the least is never the writing, but maybe sending it out, and it’s not the rejections as much as the waiting to hear back that gets to me for the powerlessness. For this collection, an agent expressed interest and wrote with feedback on how to improve the collection. I agreed with everything, re-worked a lot and sent back, but they eventually said no, and that it was very close. Now, I never thought this was terrible. Although it was very disappointing, there is no doubt that that feedback greatly improved the collection and that’s the way you have to think if you want to keep writing. Even the hard stuff matters.
What real-life inspirations, if any, did you draw from for the story within your book, ‘Treading the Uneven Road’?
In ‘Sacred Heart’ Dick tries to sell a book around town that has business names and with the book the owner would get a 10% discount for all listed services or products. My father came up with that idea in the 80’s when I was around 13/14 and I went door to door trying to sell them. Just like in the collection, there was no money in Ireland then.
What is your favorite book to read and why?
The only books I have read more than once is ‘The Gathering’ and ‘The Unbearable Likeness of Being’. I love Anne Enright’s prose and the feelings she puts on the page. And I love the subtlety in Milan Kundera’s work.
I also loved ‘Cat’s Table,’ too, and “Beloved’ which is a hard and beautiful book.
What character did you find fascinating in your story and why? What made that character standout over the other characters in the book?
I really liked Dick because he is such a dreamer and all over the place, and when I read him now, I think he is so Irish. But thinking about this question I realized that Patrick from ‘Amends’ is a great character. His father finds him with a boy in the basement of his house and he says. “We were not a family anymore. All those moments we’d shared had been blown apart by the incident in the basement. It was as simple as that”
Yet he retains a hope to reconcile with his father that is almost childlike and he has a great sense of humor that is wonderful.
Have you written any other books? If so, please tell us about them. If not, do you plan on writing more books in the future?
Yes, Debris, a coming of age mystery was published last year. Fomite has my new collection ‘It is Good We Are Dreaming.’
I attained an agent for my novel ‘Patient 55’ which is about a drug that can erase bad memories and a woman’s need to find out what happened to her when she wakes with no memory, though my agent, preferred ‘Hinterland’ which is about family secrets, so that is being shopped around now.
I am planning a book now, reading a lot and thinking a lot, and hopefully will start end of this month. I wouldn’t be able to not write.
Do you have any advice for new writers?
Just keep writing and accept criticism with gratitude. We never stop learning and if we are to get better we need to listen to readers and read.
What is your favorite inspirational quote?
I don’t really have a favorite one but today I will pick-If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities, if you believe it won’t, you’ll see obstacles.
THE UNEVEN ROAD
Author: L.M. Brown
Genre: Short Story Collection
Price: $15.00 (Paperback)
Available at: Amazon.com
L.M Brown grew up in Ireland but resides in Massachusetts with her husband and three daughters. She is the author of the YA novel Debris. Her short story collection Treading The Uneven Road was published by Fomite Press. Her stories have appeared in over a dozen magazines, such as Electica, Litro, Review Americana, Eunoia Review, Fiction Southeast and more. She has a master’s in creative writing from Emerson College.
New book highlights ‘nutty’ things kids do
Author: Christina Martinez
Published: 11:44 AM EST December 17, 2018
Updated: 11:44 AM EST December 17, 2018
What are some of the nuttiest things your child does?
Author Normandy Piccolo and Illustrator Elizabeth Marie of “My Little Peanut Does the Nuttiest Things” stopped by the set to tell us about how they got together and created this hilarious book for parents and youngsters. To purchase “My Little Peanut Does the Nuttiest Things,” head to amazon.com.
WATCH THE FULL TELEVISION INTERVIEW HERE!
We’re taking a hiatus for the remainder of 2018 – but we’ll be back soon!
If you would your book reviewed, please submit the requested information, after January 20th, 2019.
Thank You in advance for your patience and understanding.
We look forward to resuming book reviews soon!
Normandy’s Bright Ideas
Author: Peta Lemon
Illustrator: Maria Dasic Todoric
Publisher: Quirky Pictures Press
Genre: Children’s Books / Humor
Price: $7.99 (Paperback)
Available at: Amazon.com
What’s a cow to do, when one day, while grazing in a pasture, she grows weary of uttering, moo?
Hilda, a brown-spotted cow is fed-up with being herself. So, she decides to make a change. Literally. On a farm, there are a variety of animals to choose to become. Perhaps, a woolly sheep? Maybe a stinky pink pig? Or a clucky, feather-covered hen might work. But, will Hilda find the happiness she seeks by being someone other than herself? Or, will she come to discover being who you are is what breeds contentment?
Peta Lemon took a moment with an actual cow appearing fed-up in a field, and put together an adorable, hilarious, rhyming story about self-acceptance, in her book, The Fed-Up Cow. One cannot help but enjoy the journey right along with Hilda, as she finds herself in one creative predicament after another when deciding to make a ‘change’. Ms. Lemon demonstrates through her lesson-inspired book, that even with determination, sometimes what we think will bring forth joy, may not always be the case.
Marcia Dasic Todoric’s illustrations are lively, adorable and display elements of complimentary story-line characteristics. Hilda’s mischievous side is demonstrated not just through facial expressions, but also with the attention to detail Ms. Todoric gives to the secondary characters. The colors used in The Fed-Up Cow are bright and help render a country, farm-like feel to each page of the book.
Hay! Get “moooving”! Join the herd and fetch your copy of the The Fed-Up Cow.
Peta Lemon is a UK-based author who writes funny picture books in rhyme. Her books are illustrated by the hugely talented Maria Dasic Todoric.
Peta is the mother to 3 very young children. She has always written but developed a passion for writing children’s picture books as a result of many hours spent reading to her children. She writes the type of stories that she would like to read to her own children and that she thinks the children would enjoy as much as the adults.
In 2018 she will release Timmy on the Toilet, another rhyming picture book about a boy who is granted a wish and accidentally wishes he could fly whilst sitting on the toilet at school. This book is in the final stages of illustration and the illustrations are hilarious.
Author: B.C.R. Fegan
Illustrator: Daniela Frongia
Genre: Children’s Books / Fairytales, Folk Tales & Myths
Price: $8.99 (Paperback) $4.99 (Kindle)
Available at: Amazon.com
We all wear a ‘grumpface’ at some point…(most before that first cup of coffee in the morning). But, what happens when you tick off a wizard who in turn curses you with a permanent grump face? You live alone in the land of Ho, taking pleasure by granting freedom only to those who can complete three simple tasks. Dan, a clumsy failed inventor is helplessly in love with a flower girl named Bella. Dan accidentally crossed paths with the Grumpface, while seeking a rose to win Bella’s affections. If he ever hopes to see her again, he must complete the three tasks. But, will the failed inventor succeed and, in the process, undue the wizard’s curse? Or, will he fail once again, and be doomed to live in the land of Ho forever?
Bryce Fegan has truly captured the essence of grumpiness in his adorable rhyming book, The Grumpface. The storyline contains imagination, intrigue, mixed with dashes of comedy, romance and an unexpected twist near the end of storyline. The main character, Dan is very inspiring. He keeps reaching for the brass ring, refusing to accept defeat, despite failing every single time. His ‘go-go-go’ attitude is a positive example for children to glean from. As for the antagonist of the book, the Grumpface, one cannot resist the urge to grab this sour-puss off the page and sweeten him up with a hug.
Daniela Frongia did an outstanding job illustrating the story-line. Her interpretation of how a grump-face should look is spot-on, warts and all. The grouchiness of this character, especially the eyes, can be felt. Ms. Frongia’s detail is showcased brilliantly with her illustration of the volcano. It looks so real, one can almost hear the lava bubbling. The palate of colors chosen throughout the book are subtle, yet, complement the classic vibe of the book, giving it a dash of old world charm.
Before leaving this Book Review, you must complete these three tasks:
1. Make a cup of coffee for yourself.
2. Make hot chocolate for the kid(s).
3. Add a copy of The Grumpface to your book collection.
BCR Fegan is an award-winning author who has written a number of fairy tales and fantasies for children and young adults. He is inspired by stories that resonate deeply with our desire for adventure, yearning for magic and search for meaning. When Fegan is not writing children’s books, he is forging worlds in the realm of Young Adult Fiction.
March 22, 2018
Normandy D. Piccolo
The phrase, ‘Starving Artist’ is equated with an artistic person (writer/painter/ poet/ sculptor/ musician) who sacrifices monetary comfort and security to focus on their craft, hoping to be discovered. They sink every dime into their work. Some even go so far as to endure a budgeted diet of Raman noodles until they make it.
The character Lelaina Pierece (Winona Ryder), a documentary film maker in the 1994 movie Reality Bites, joked she was, “moments from selling fruit at an intersection”, if Michael Gates (Ben Stiller), hadn’t generated interest in her project. I wonder what type of fruit Lelaina would have sold had Michael’s opportunity not come along?
A starving artist’s work is like a baby whom they nurture, until it is ready to be birthed for the world to marvel at. They feel a sense of accomplishment, joy and admiration at their project’s unveiling. Hoping others will embrace it with the same enthusiasm they have in creating the work. You see, starving artists are notoriously emotional, often revealing bits of personal, gut-wrenching life experiences in their work. So, what happens when the work they invested so much emotion and effort in falls flat?
The first instinct is the desire to dive under a duvet and never face the world again. Tears, humiliation, frustration, resentment and anger follow. Finally, confusion arrives over how such magnificent work filled with passion, heart and soul was shunned. Before long, self-doubt about their ability as an artist takes root.
Rejection feels rotten. But, rejection to a starving artist is like having an inflated balloon filled with hopes and dreams cruelly get popped. They are now left holding a sagging string with a piece of broken latex attached to it, unsure if they ever want to try again. Or, just drop the string and walk away.
If you are fortunate enough to be accomplished in the field of arts (writer/painter/ poet/sculptor/musician) with several works already under your belt, rejection is no big deal. You already have a fan base and a publicity machine pushing your artistic talent out to the public. If one idea fails, you simply hop back on the bike, generate another idea, and let the publicity machine put you and your barely bruised ego back on top of the heap once more.
But, if you are a starving artist with meager means, getting back on the bike after getting racked and facing the giant heap is not as easy as it sounds. The ego is severely bruised, among other parts, and the spirit is broken. When rejection happens, a starving artist must heal, then decide if they want to try again, risk enduring further rejection and, most importantly, stomach more Ramen noodles.
So, the next time you are online, or visiting a local store or happen to spy an artistic person displaying their talent on the street, show them support and appreciation for their artistic efforts by purchasing their work or at least giving them a compliment. Also, a little complimentary word of mouth via social media can give them a needed boost.
Just because a starving artist’s work is not hanging in a museum, showcased in a record store, featured on television/in a movie, or sitting on a shelf at a national bookstore does not mean the work lacks value or is not entertaining. Society has become so conditioned to supporting “what’s in” -“following the latest trend/phase” while overlooking or dismissing the unknown starving artists. Popularity doesn’t always guarantee talent.
By supporting a starving artist over a “an established one”, YOU may wind up helping the world discover the next Ernest Hemmingway, Pablo Picasso, Al Pacino or Robert Frost, who has been overlooked by corporate bean counters, agents, publishers, record companies and/or art dealers.
YOU may be the reason a starving artist no longer has to face the possibility of selling apples or oranges at an intersection.
If you are a ‘Starving Artist’ . . . “I want to wish you all the best of luck in your artistic endeavors.” ~ NDP
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Alexander the Great: Student of Aristotle, Descendant of Heroes.
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Publisher: Independently Published
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs / Historical
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