Thursday, January 30, 2014

Welcome Dotti Enderle to 2014 MCBF

Dotti Enderle is coming to MCBF 2014


Dotti Enderle is the author of dozens of books for children, including Grandpa for Sale and The Library Gingerbread Man. Her young adult novels are published under the pen name, Dax Varley. She resides with her husband in Richmond, TX.


Read Dotti's interview here:


Do you outline before you write or just dive in?

I jump in feet first. I have an idea where the plot is going, but many times it takes an unexpected turn.

In high school, where did you fall? (Prom Queen/King, Gamer Geek, Brainy/Book Nerd, Jock, Shy/Quiet Scholar, Skate Rat, Stoner, Class Clown, etc.)

Shy/Quiet, but not scholarly at all. I just sort of existed.

What books or authors have most influenced your writing most?

In 1999 I read the book, When Zachary Beaver Came To Town by Kimberly Willis Holt. My first thought was, ‘Why can’t I write something like this?’ So I took a highlighter and marked up the book, highlighting the hook, which verbs she chose, how she handled dialogue. I learned more from that dissection than from any of the writing classes I’d taken.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

Washington Irving. I just published a YA novel based on “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” I’d really like to say thanks.

It’s the dawn of the zombie apocalypse, what 3 things are a must to take with you when you flee your home for refuge from the undead hordes??

My trusty slingshot, sensible shoes, and a lot of clean underwear. If I’m encountering zombies, that underwear will be needed!
 
Meet Dotti in the Children's Zone at the
on Saturday, February 15th
at Lone Star College - Montgomery

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Welcome Kim O'Brien to the 2014 MCBF Author List

Kim O'Brien joins the lineup of 2014 MCBF


At Emory University in Atlanta, Kim earned a B.A. in psychology, but then decided to pursue the dream of writing by attaining a master's degree in fine arts from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. She worked many years as a writer, editor, and speechwriter for IBM before becoming a full time mom and fiction writer. She’s been happily married for 24 years and has two beautiful daughters. A more recent addition to the family is an eight-pound Maltese/Schnauzer mix named Daisy.

Kim is the author of eight inspirational romance novels and seven non-fiction, children’s books. Her first YA thriller, Bone Deep, will be published in March 2015. She loves to hear from her readers and can be found at www:kimobrienbooks.com, facebook, and Twitter (kimobri).

Read Kim's interview here:

At what age did you start writing?
I was about ten years old. My best friend and I started a neighborhood newsletter called “The Outlaw.” (The cover was a drawing of a rearing horse. I was very into horses.). Our publication featured short stories, news, and a lot of drawings. We didn’t have computers back then, so we manually typed each issue and used carbon paper. Each copy cost ten cents. I think I still have some for sale…

Do you outline before you write or just dive in? 
A little of both. I like to know the basics of the story before I start – like who my characters are and what they want. I also jot down one-sentence ideas for scenes. The more I know about my story before I start to write, the easier it is (and there’s less rewriting too). But a lot of times I like to let the story unfold as I write it. It’s much more fun to find out what happens as I go along.

Do you have a pet? Tell us about her and how she helps/hinders your writing.
I have an eight-pound Maltese/schnauzer mix named Daisy. Every morning we walk three miles together and then come home and go to work. Her job is to sleep or look out the window while I write. Sometimes I bounce ideas off her and she never has anything critical to say. On the downside, she is always up for a break and if you lie on the couch and she gets in your lap, she puts you right to sleep.   

What books or authors have most influenced your writing most?
One of my favorite authors is Jodi Piccoult. Each of her books is written in many different points of view, so the reader truly experiences the story from many perspectives. Her stories have heart and depth and this has encouraged me to dig deeper into the minds of the characters I create. I really love complex stories – the ones that require characters to make tough choices – and I love twists that come naturally in a story, ones that aren’t an effort to manipulate the reader, but happen because of all the elements in a book come together.

On the dawn of the zombie apocalypse, what three things are a must to take with you when you flee your home for refuge from the undead hordes?
A coat as I get cold very easily and will probably be hiding in the great outdoors in some national park. I would also bring a pen and spiral notebook to record the details of my survival in hopes of someday publishing this journal and having Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt star in my story. And third, I would take my dog. Not only would she alert me to the presence of any zombie heading my way, but also she has a good nose for finding food. I think this would come in handy.  NOTE: I did not take my family into consideration when deciding what to bring. Surviving a zombie apocalypse without them wouldn’t be much fun, even if I got a movie deal out of it.

Meet Kim at the
on Saturday, February 15th
at Lone Star College - Montgomery


Monday, January 27, 2014

Spicing up MCBF with Jennifer Bray-Weber

Welcome Jennifer Bray-Weber to MCBF 2014
 
 
Native Texan and raised in the Spring area, Jennifer Bray-Weber has always wished for real life to mimic adventuresome tales, especially those of the high seas. Holding degrees in Music and Video Business and Liberal Arts, she continued her higher education, until a professor challenged her to write a novel. Never one to back down from a dare, her passion led to award-winning pirate historical romances. Her next two books in the Romancing the Pirate series are scheduled to release early in 2014. Connect with Jennifer at www.jbrayweber.com.
Read Jennifer's interview below:
At what age did you start writing? 
     37. Late Bloomer? You could say that. I was a career student racking up the college credits. During my fall semester in 2007, I impressed my creative writing professor with my short stories, albeit everything I wrote was grisly and ended in death. *shrug* One particular assignment, I went in a different direction. It was a romance and nobody died. *shrugs again* He enjoyed it so much, he suggested I write a novel. I took it as a dare and quit school. *shrugs once more*.
 
Patty Campbell talks about the germ for a piece of writing being like the
sand in the oyster.  What is your grain of sand?  Do you begin with character or setting or something else?
     For me, inspiration may come from a song lyric, a movie snap shot, or a random simple gesture. My mind creates a ‘what if’ scenario. From there springs a general setting and basic knowledge of a character or two. Getting from point A (the beginning of the story) to point B (the end) is as much a mystery to me as it is to the reader. It’s great fun!
 
Why do you write for Young Adults or Children or Adult (whichever is pertinent)?
     Despite the action and adventure of my books, I tend to write with a healthy portion of the dark side of humanity. It’s all doom and gloom. To balance out the macabre danger, I write romance. And not your granny’s romance, either. The spicy, steamy romance.
Who is your favorite character you have written or read about?
     I fell unequivocally in love with Captain Blade Tyburn of A Kiss in the Wind, the second book in my Romancing the Pirate series. He’s an infamous pirate libertine with devilish good looks, quick wit, and insatiable desire for women, no matter their shape or size. That is, until he meets his match in knife-wielding, pick-pocket Marisol.
     That said, I also just adore Darynda Jones’s Charley Davidson, the self-deprecating wise-cracking private investigator. Oh, and she’s the grim reaper, too.
What books or authors have most influenced your writing most?
     It would be unfair to narrow down the authors and books that I could say were influential to my career in some form or another. I have learned from many wonderful teachers, writers, and friends all across the publishing spectrum. However, I do aspire to have Sherrilyn Kenyon’s fandom, JK Rowling’s fortune, Stephen King’s esteem, and Anne Rice’s legacy.
It’s the dawn of the zombie apocalypse, what 3 things are a must to take with you when you flee your home for refuge from the undead hordes??
     Assuming I would have my family and supplies, I would want to take my fully charged iPod loaded with loud bass-thumping, guitar-screeching zombie-killing rock music, a modified shotgun with an attached buzz saw for mutilating attacking zombies, and Nutella, because I love it’s chocolaty hazelnut goodness.

Meet Jennifer at the
on Saturday, February 15th
at Lone Star College - Montgomery



Thursday, January 23, 2014

Rachel Harris is coming to MCBF 2014

RACHEL HARRIS joins the line-up for MCBF 2014 
 
Rachel Harris grew up in New Orleans, watching soap operas with her grandmother, and staying up  late sneak-reading her mama's romance novels. Today, she still stays up late reading romances, only now she does so openly.
A Cajun cowgirl now living in Houston, she firmly believes life's problems can be solved with a hot, sugar-coated beignet or a thick slice of king cake, and that screaming at strangers for cheap, plastic beads is acceptable behavior in certain situations.
She homeschools her two beautiful girls and watches countless hours of Food Network and reality television with her amazing husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult Fun, Flirty Escapes, and LOVES talking with readers!  
To learn more about Rachel, visit http://www.rachelharriswrites.com/.
 
We are thrilled to have Rachel joining us.  Read her interview here!
Patty Campbell talks about the germ for a piece of writing being like the sand in the oyster.  What is your grain of sand?  Do you begin with character or setting or something else?
I always begin with my characters. I need to know their flaw and their main story goal; only then can I start building around that. I create huge backstories, determine their likes and dislikes, cast them in my mind, and create story soundtracks based around their arc. My stories are very character-driven.
Do you outline before you write or just dive in?
I totally outline. A LOT. I plot out everything I possibly can, and usually end up with anywhere from 10-20 pages of detailed notes before I even type “Chapter One.” But, knowing all that ahead of time, even while I do change it up here and there, helps me write. I know what comes next, what I need to build toward, and that gives me focus for the scene at hand.
One time, I wrote a novella with a friend, and our deadline was super crazy. We had no choice but to dive in. I drove that poor girl batty with my questions and need to figure everything out while drafting. 
Why do you write for Young Adults or Children or Adult (whichever is pertinent)?
I write for YA and adults, and I love doing both. For YA, it’s because all of those experiences are still with me today. A decade later, I can close my eyes and remember every detail of my first real heartbreak. The first person my age who had their life taken way too young. Every song that came on the radio, and how I felt when I first heard it. To me, high school and college years are about experimentation, finding yourself, and firsts. While a lot of the world has changed since I was younger, the heart of these issues is still the same.
For adults, I love writing for this audience because it is my current experience. I know what it’s like being a thirty-something woman in the world. While I’m happily married, I have friends who are navigating the dating waters, and they confide how it’s changed from when we were in college. It’s another chapter in our lives, and one I love exploring. Plus, I feel my unique brand of humor comes across well in this genre. I love romantic comedies!
It’s the dawn of the zombie apocalypse, what 3 things are a must to take with you when you flee your home for refuge from the undead hordes??
I’m taking my iPad, regardless of whether or not I know if electricity will be available where I end up lol. My Kindle on my iPad is my sanity! Please tell me electricity will be there! Next, I have to bring my well-loved copy of Pride and Prejudice. This is a book I read every year and will never grow tired of reading. And, totally assuming my husband and girls are running with me, the third thing would be the biggest bag of chocolate I can find in my pantry. If I’m running from the undead, and the world is falling down around me, chocolate will be needed to keep me from flipping out totally. It certainly works when deadlines hit (*grin*).
 
Meet Rachel and the rest of the authors at the
on Saturday, February 15th
at Lone Star College - Montgomery.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Welcome Wendy Webb to MCBF 2014

Wendy Webb joins MCBF 2014

Wendy Webb is the bestselling author of novels of gothic suspense, The Vanishing (2014, Hyperion) The Fate of Mercy Alban (2013, Hyperion) and The Tale of Halcyon Crane (2010, Holt. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, photographer Steve Burmeister, and their 110-pound Alaskan Malamute, Molly. 
For more information, visit http://wendykwebb.com/.
Read all about Wendy in her interview here:
At what age did you start writing?
I've been a writer for as long as I can remember. I started writing in elementary school and just kept at it.
Patty Campbell talks about the germ for a piece of writing being like the sand in the oyster.  What is your grain of sand?  Do you begin with character or setting or something else?
For me, it's definitely setting. I've been inspired to start writing all three of my books in a single moment in a certain setting. For The Tale of Halcyon Crane, it was the moment when the ferry was approaching Mackinac Island and I saw the Grand Hotel and all of the beautiful, old houses on the island's hill. For The Fate of Mercy Alban, it happened when I stepped onto the patio of Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, Minnesota, and started imagining a summer party held there. And for The Vanishing, it was the moment I saw the house in Downton Abbey.
Do you outline before you write or just dive in?
I just dive in. I tried to outline a book once but couldn't write it. It seemed like I was writing a term paper and was no fun! I start with a setting and a main character, and then start thinking: "What happens now?"

Why do you write for Young Adults or Adults?
I write the type of books I like to read. They're technically for adults, but I get a lot of crossover into the YA market, too. 

Who is your favorite character you have written or read about?


What is one thing you would like your readers to know about you?
How much I truly appreciate every one of them.

In high school, where did you fall? (Prom Queen/King, Gamer Geek, Brainy/Book Nerd, Jock, Shy/Quiet Scholar, Skate Rat, Stoner, Class Clown, etc.)
I was on the yearbook staff and my friends were mainly the smart, nerdy kids and the theater crowd. Definitely the brainy book nerd type!

Do you have a pet (pets)?  Tell us about it (them) and how they help/hinder your writing.
I have a 110-pound Alaskan Malamute named Molly. She, along with my two other Mals who have passed on, are important characters in my newest book, The Vanishing. And when I'm writing, if ever I hit a snag, I take Molly for a walk to clear my head. She's a big help.

What books or authors have most influenced your writing most?
The book that most influenced me is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle. I read that when I was about 13 years old and when I was finished with it, I knew what I wanted to do with my life — write magical, mysterious stories like that one.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
There are so many! William Shakespeare — did you really write your plays, or did someone else? Lee Harvey Oswald — did you act alone or did someone hire you to kill JFK? Agatha Christie or Arthur Conan Doyle — please teach me everything you know about being a mystery writer! Any president of the United States — is there a Book of Secrets? 
But if I had to pick just one person, it would be my brother Randy. He died suddenly eight years ago, before my first book was published. One more dinner with him would be priceless to me. I'd ask him: "Okay, what's it like where you are?" And I'd tell him all about my success. Of course, I have a feeling he already knows.
It’s the dawn of the zombie apocalypse, what 3 things are a must to take with you when you flee your home for refuge from the undead hordes??
A book titled: "Sure Fire Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse." I'd also take my dog, Molly. She'd defend me against any and all zombies. And I'd also take a map to a secret, underground lair stocked with plenty of food and water, plus a library of books to entertain me while everyone else fights the zombies.
Meet Wendy at the
on Saturday, February 15th
at Lone Star College - Montgomery

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Stephanie Jay Evans joins the 2014 MCBF

Welcome Stephanie Jaye Evans to MCBF 2014
 
Stephanie Jaye Evans is a fifth generation Texan. She’s the great granddaughter of a circuit riding minister and the daughter of a trail-blazing Church of Christ Minister. She has attended The University of Houston, Texas A&M, and Abilene Christian University. She received her Master of Liberal Arts from Rice University. Her Masters capstone project, a mystery novel set in Sugar Land, Texas, won the William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant for Unpublished Writers, an international grant from the organization that awards the Agatha. That book became Faithful Unto Death (June 2012--Berkley Prime Crime) earned a Library Journal starred review and Debut of the Month, it was a Houston Chronicle Ultimate 2012 Summer Book List pick and an Agatha nominee for Best First Novel.
Safe From Harm (March 2013--Berkley Prime Crime) is the second book in the Sugar Land Mystery Series. Kirkus Reviews wrote "As charming and wry as Evans’ bright debut (Faithful Unto Death, 2012), filled with reasons to own dogs, love your children and your wife, and have faith" and from Criminal Element, "Evans is capable of achingly beautiful prose; at times, her writing is so lush and vivid that you just want to sit and stare at the pictures it paints in your mind."
After twenty-three years in Sugar Land, Texas, where she regularly won yard of the month, Stephanie now lives in the historic Heights district of Houston. She shares a home with a geophysicist, a pug, and her son’s dingo puppy who digs up her garden. She and her husband have seven children.
 
Read Stephanie's Interview Below:
At what age did you start writing?
I’ve always been a storyteller—I’m the daughter of a preacher and a teacher, and the best of these are always storytellers. I started writing in elementary school, continued through college and had some stuff published, won some contests. Then I got married and had three boys in four years. Having boys was like being dropped in the mission field without a calling. The writing went on hold for years. BUT! I’m back.
Patty Campbell talks about the germ for a piece of writing being like the sand in the oyster.  What is your grain of sand?  Do you begin with character or setting or something else?
I begin with a bit of story overheard, a snatch of conversation. You know, I call myself a storyteller, but we are all storytellers. And if you ask someone for a story, they will give you one. Always.
Do you outline before you write or just dive in?
I’m a head first writer. With this third book, I was required to turn in a detailed synopsis—hard, hard, hard. Finally, my husband handed me a glass of wine, sat down at the computer, and said, tell me the story. Then I could do it.
Why do you write for Young Adults or Children or Adult (whichever is pertinent)?
I write Y/A and adult. I’m published in adult. I read omnivorously, Children, Y/A, Adult—and that’s because a good story is a good story.
 
Who is your favorite character you have written or read about?
Oh, that’s impossible. A favorite? Ask me which of my sons I love best—can’t be done. BUT—here’s a few: Sydney Carton, Scout Finch, Harry Potter, Hemingway’s Old Man, Liesel from The Book Thief, Armand Gamache, the House in the Haunting of Hill House…
As to the characters I write—I love them all. I even like my murderers.
  What is one thing you would like your readers to know about you?
It’s never too late to live your dream. I became a published writer long after everyone thought I had given it up. Oh—and also that I write under my full name, Stephanie Jaye Evans, because if you go to stephanieevans.com, you get an adult entertainment site.
In high school, where did you fall? (Prom Queen/King, Gamer Geek, Brainy/Book Nerd, Jock, Shy/Quiet Scholar, Skate Rat, Stoner, Class Clown, etc.)
Book Nerd—you’ll have to take off the “brainy” qualifier. I still struggle with algebra.
Do you have a pet (pets)?  Tell us about it (them) and how they help/hinder your writing.
Tommy Lee Jones is my seven-year-old pug and I love him ridiculously. He keeps me grounded and makes me smile and gets me out of the house when I’ve been glued to the computer too long.
 What books or authors have most influenced your writing most?
A hundred years ago, my grandmother told me to be careful what I read, because I was a sponge, and that nothing that goes in can ever completely go out. And she was right. So my writing is influenced by every book that has ever touched me and made me care what happened next.
 
It’s the dawn of the zombie apocalypse, what 3 things are a must to take with you when you flee your home for refuge from the undead hordes??
Flee? Flee? Hey—I’m from Texas. I’m gonna stay and fight.

Meet Stephanie Jaye Evans
on February 15th
at Lone Star College - Montgomery.








Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Lynne Kelly joins the 2014 MCBF Author List



Welcome Lynne Kelly to MCBF 2014

Lynne Kelly lives in Spring, Texas, where she works as a sign language interpreter and writes books for kids and teens. Her debut novel, CHAINED, was released in 2012 by Macmillan/Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.  

For more information, visit Lynne's Website at http://lynnekellybooks.com/wordpress/.

 
Read Lynne's interview below:
 
Patty Campbell talks about the germ for a piece of writing being like the sand in the oyster.  What is your grain of sand?  Do you begin with character or setting or something else?
Plot is always last for me. For CHAINED, the idea came first, as a story about a captive elephant who escapes and returns home. Sometimes I have a character in my head for a while, and I have to figure out a story for them, and other times I think of a setting that would be cool and I come up with a character to put there.
 
Do you outline before you write or just dive in? 
I'm not much of an outliner; I prefer to just start writing and discover the story as I go. At some point though, like after a really messy first draft, I have to do some kind of plotting so I can figure out where the story needs to go.
In high school, where did you fall? (Prom Queen/King, Gamer Geek, Brainy/Book Nerd, Jock, Shy/Quiet Scholar, Skate Rat, Stoner, Class Clown, etc.) 
I was a good student, and pretty quiet around people I didn't know, but I'd turn into more of a class clown if I had friends in class with me.
Do you have a pet (pets)?  Tell us about it (them) and how they help/hinder your writing. 
Yes, I'd been pet-less for a few years but adopted a cocker spaniel, Holly, in March. I love having a dog next to me while I write. If she hinders my writing, it's because she loves to sleep in and snuggle.
It’s the dawn of the zombie apocalypse, what 3 things are a must to take with you when you flee your home for refuge from the undead hordes?? 
Other than the usual necessities (like water), I'd like to have a supply of Trader Joe's chocolate-covered almonds, a tree tent, and my iPhone, preferably with a zombie locator app.
Meet Lynne at the
on February 15th at Lone Star College - Montgomery. 



Spicing Up the MCBF 2014 Author List with Delphine Dryden

Welcome Delphine Dryden to the 2014 Author Line-Up
 
After earning two graduate degrees, practicing law for awhile, and then working for the public school system for over ten years, Delphine finally got a clue. She tossed all that aside and started doing what she should have been doing all along: writing novels! In hindsight she could see the decision was a no-brainer.
Del is fortunate to have two wonderful, absurdly precocious children and two delightful, if occasionally, disobedient mutts. She and her family are all Texas natives, and reside in unapologetic suburban bliss near Houston.
Website: http://www.delphinedryden.com  Twitter: @deldryden
 
Read Delphine's interview here:
Patty Campbell talks about the germ for a piece of writing being like the sand in the oyster.  What is your grain of sand?  Do you begin with character or setting or something else?
I usually start with characters, then think about the worst things that could happen for those particular characters. The poor things.
Do you outline before you write or just dive in?
I go back and forth. Write a few scenes to get into a piece, then do a bare-bones outline or Save the Cat "beat sheet," then start writing at the beginning if I haven't already. And I use Scrivener, which keeps things pretty organized as I'm going along.
Do you have a pet (pets)?  Tell us about it (them) and how they help/hinder your writing.
Dogs! I have two, and I find the secret to having them not hinder my writing is a doggie door. When you have to take them out a lot or get up to open the door to the yard, it can really break your flow!  Other than that I think having pets around helps boost creativity and reduce anxiety, always good things.
It’s the dawn of the zombie apocalypse, what 3 things are a must to take with you when you flee your home for refuge from the undead hordes??
I assume I don't have to count the kids and dogs, as those are givens. I'd bring a Leatherman or similar indestructible multitool, a sword (my late dad's, from his Navy dress uniform, though it'd need sharpening), and of course a towel.
 
Meet Delphine at the
2014 Montgomery County Book Festival on February 15th at Lone Star College - Montgomery.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Welcome Miranda James (aka Dean James) to MCBF 2014


Dean James  (writing under pen name Miranda James) joins the line up of amazing authors participating in MCBF 2014.

Miranda (aka Dean) James is the New York Times-bestselling author of the “Cat in the Stacks” series, featuring a widowed librarian and his Maine Coon cat. The author of eighteen mystery novels and several works of mystery non-fiction, Dean (aka Miranda) has been nominated for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award twice for Best Critical/Biographical Work and has won the Agatha and Macavity Awards for Non-Fiction.

For more information, visit http://www.catinthestacks.com/.




Dean took a few minutes to do an interview with us. Read what he said here:


At what age did you start writing?

I started writing when I was twelve. My first effort was a novel (although looking back at its length, I realize now it was a novella). It was a mystery, derivative of Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden, my two favorite mystery series at the time.

At what age did you start writing?

I tend to dive in, although I do think about the characters and the basic plot before I start writing.

In high school, where did you fall? (Prom Queen/King, Gamer Geek, Brainy/Book Nerd, Jock, Shy/Quiet Scholar, Skate Rat, Stoner, Class Clown, etc.)

I was definitely the Brainy/Book Nerd type.

    Do you have a pet?  Tell us about them and how they help/hinder your writing. 

I have two cats, Pippa and Toby. When I first sit down at the computer, they start complaining and asking for attention. After a bit, once I’ve given them enough attention, they settle down and let me work.


What books or authors have influenced your writing most?
The Nancy Drew books got me hooked on mysteries. Writing influences include Agatha Christie, Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels, and Phyllis A. Whitney.

     Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Among the dead, I would most love to meet Margery Allingham, my very favorite mystery writer. Among the living, I’d say probably Carol Burnett.
Meet Miranda (aka Dean) James at the
on Saturday, February 15
at Lone Star College Montgomery.