Interview: Literary Classics Award Winner, C.M. Huddleston

This year, C.M. Huddleston won Literary Classics Book Awards Gold in Middle Grade Historical Fiction for her book, Greg’s Second Adventure in Time. The first book in her time travel series received Gold in last year’s contest. I’m excited to feature her time travel tales! Read on for more about Huddleston’s award-winning books.

Congratulations on your achievement! When did you first start writing?

I wrote my first children’s book in 1988 while between jobs as an archaeologist. I was bored, living in a new town, and decided to write a novel.

What’s the target age group for your books?

Middle grade, 4th to 7th

What inspired your award-winning books?

I am from Kentucky. My family has been here for ten generations. So I wanted to tell about our beginning, our part in the American Revolution. I wanted children to learn the true story of Daniel Boone and the men and women who stood with him for those two long weeks at Boonesborough.

Describe one of your characters with a cliché or a famous quote.

Motormouth Greg writes each story just like he talks.

Do you have plans to, or have you already, released audio editions of your books?

I don’t have any plans to do an audio edition at this time. Other than teaching accurate history with my books, I also want children to actually read.  I love audio books and know there is a place and a time for listening as well as reading; however, I would rather have parents read to their children than have them listen to a stranger.

Who would you cast as the voice actor for your main character?

If I ever did an audio book I would ask my nephew Jake Anderson because I love his voice.

Do you illustrate your own books? If not, how did you find your illustrator?

I have illustrations in my books, but they are taken from nineteenth century books or are copyright free. I can’t draw anything!

Who are some of your favorite YA and/or children’s book authors?

I have recently read two books by Karen Stone, several by M.J. Evans, and three by Patricia Reding, all CLC winners.  I loved their books! I read, or at least start reading, several children’s books each week for my blog Monday Morning Indie. I then interview the author and review the book. I have to say that each week I find some really poorly written books and always a gem – a real diamond of a story.  I guess my favorite recently has been Beauty & the Beast by Rebecca Hammond Yager!  She won the Words on Wings award this year. I can’t wait for her next book.

Do you have any quirky writing habits?  

I have been told I am doing it all wrong. You see, each day I read from the beginning of the manuscript and edit as I go. Then I add on to the story. By doing this I think I find plot flaws, typos, etc. .  As the story gets longer, I might skip the first chapter or two so that I actually have time to write. Most creative writing teachers tell me not to do this, but with two gold medals, it just might be the way I need to write.

How do you balance writing with book promotion and everything else there is to do in life?

Mondays!!! I write and post my blog, Monday Morning Indie on Monday morning and then do any marketing I need to do for the rest of the day. I might prepare things to post or send out later in the week, tweet, etc. . . I look for authors for my blog. I prepare press releases.  Then throughout the week, I have less to do for marketing and can write. Now, this doesn’t always work, because right now it is Friday, and I am answering interview questions. As for the rest of life, I work on my writing Monday through Friday from about 9 am to about 5:30 pm. I rarely work on weekends and never at night.

Do you have anything special you’d like to say to your readers or fellow award-winning authors? 

I firmly believe that we, as Indie and small press authors, can achieve our goals if we work together to promote each other’s work. That’s why I began Monday Morning Indie about one year ago. I met many talented, but under-recognized authors at my first Literary Classics award events and wanted to do something to help us all get our names out to our reading public. This year I have put together an anthology of eleven short stories from nine Indie authors based on characters in our books. It is entitled Winter Wonder and will be available in early October on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Many of the short story authors are CLC award winners!

Author Bio

C. M. Huddleston loved history and dreamed of writing a book even as a child. Instead, she became an Army wife, mother, elementary school teacher, archaeologist, and historic preservation consultant, before publishing her first book! In 2016, she published her seventh and eighth volumes, all dealing with her first love, our nation’s past. While three are written for children, her other works are histories for adults on a variety of subjects.

Connie resides in a log cabin in Kentucky, with her husband Charlie and their Australian Shepherd Katie. They all enjoy the quiet of rural Kentucky.

Connect with her on Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, and her website.

Award-Winning Books

Greg’s First Adventure in Time: Twelve year old Greg mysteriously time travels 3,000 years into the past. Now a Native American boy has a spear pointed directly at his heart. Greg’s scared, worried, and hungry!  Can he trust this stranger, can he get home, can he survive? Join Greg on his first adventure where there are moose to hunt and wolves to worry about, along with loads of fun! Greg’s wild adventures will excite and enlighten all while telling a rousing story about a young boy’s intriguing encounter with Native Americans.

Greg’s Second Adventure in Time: Greg’s first adventure in time travel happened quite by accident, and now he’s time jumped once again, right into 1778. Still not understanding how to get back to his own time, Greg travels farther into rural Kentucky and right into an Indian uprising. New friends, American heroes, and famous battles fill Greg’s days as the months pass. How will Greg get home?  Will he survive an Indian siege? Enjoy a romp through history in this fast-moving story of our nation’s frontier during the American Revolution.

“Action and adventure abound in this deliciously entertaining read that is likely to spur a keen interest in young readers, as history takes center stage in the continuation of this delightful series.” Literary Classics Book Awards

In 2016, Greg’s First Adventure in Time won a gold medal for middle grade fiction from Children’s Literary Classics after receiving their Seal of Approval in 2015. In  2017, Greg’s Second Adventure in Time won a gold medal for middle grade historical fiction from Children’s Literary Classics. Greg’s Adventures in Time are available in print and ebook versions. Learn more and find lesson plans and activities for each book at www.cmhuddleston.com.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of award-winning author interviews as much as I did. Want to read more? Browse my blog’s interview page.

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Lantern: The Complete Collection—available to preorder!

Whew! I wanted to get this out for everyone to enjoy this Halloween. It’s been a scramble, but I’d like to think it’s worth it. For the first time ever, all my Lantern novellas are packaged together in one collection.

Experience three different stories, all with a connection to a certain mysterious lamp maker.

Tori discovers a lantern that shines for her and nobody else. Is it a ghost or a living being that must be set free?

Serah unseals a globe made of Celestial Glass. Does success bring her happiness or create more trouble than it’s worth?

Evelyn meets Graham after attending a party where a lantern burns out. Who lights the way to pull the other through?

Preorder for Kindle, Kobo, and more!

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Interview: Literary Classics Award Winner, Stephan von Clinkerhoffen

The Hidden City of Chelldrah-ham, by Stephan von Clinkerhoffen, won Gold for Best High School Series in the 2017 Literary Classics Book Awards contest! Stig’s Flight of Encounters, one of the books in the series, also received Gold in the middle school general category.

Congratulations on your achievements! When did you first start writing?

It’s a bit of a long story.

We were quite happily living in Christchurch, on the South Island of New Zealand, when I began writing.  About seven years ago Christchurch was hit by two massive earth quakes which destroyed our city and many thousands of homes. Surrounded by so much hurt and destruction I found it almost impossible to carry on my job as an artist painting beautiful landscapes.

I Googled “volunteering Christchurch” and soon found myself volunteering full time, first for the Civil Defence then for the NZ Red Cross. Assessing the worst hit areas and helping those most in need.

But the artist in me needed an outlet so I started to paint large images of a fantasyland with a few sentences describing each one in a short story, kids loved it. Then the stories grew and in no time at all I had started to write my first book Stig’s Flight of Encounters.  The title of the series comes from the twin cities of my home town Cheltenham in the United Kingdom and an imaginary city Drah-ham hence The Hidden City of Chelldrah-ham. I found I could draw on the experiences that surrounded me; the poor living on a fractured land struggling to survive, and use it in the story of a young lad from a city of riches beyond belief where money was worthless. So the story developed book by book, painting by painting.

What’s the target age group for your books?

My series, The Hidden City of Chelldrah-ham, is in three volumes. When I started to write the first book I was targeting 12 years and upwards but with each new book the age group has matured as have Stig and Meg, my main characters. Many of my readers are adults of fifty plus who like escapism and to take a break from reality. Can I call “young at heart” an age group?

Chess’s ed. note: Young at heart is a most acceptable age group, in my humble opinion.

What inspired your award-winning books?

When I was about nine or ten years old I remember being inspired by a teacher.  He told me to follow my passion, and helped me a lot with my art which I loved more than anything else. He also enabled me to win an award at an art exhibition. I still have the prize, a dinosaur book. He is now a main character in my book, War of Chaos, playing a “Guard of Old”. My art and my writing feed from each other so I’m glad of his encouragement all those years ago.

Describe one of your characters with a cliché or a famous quote.

The main character in the book series is Stig who is a “Reluctant Hero”. I also describe him with an old word from the 16th century: “Younker” denoting a young nobleman. I love that word.

Do you have plans to, or have you already, released audio editions of your books?

This is something I would like to do in the future. Can I put it on the bucket list?

Chess’s ed note: Yes, absolutely!

Who would you cast as the voice actor for your main character?

I think that someone like Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), but in his younger days, would be good as the main character.

Do you illustrate your own books?

Yes, I do all of my own illustrations, to me it’s a major part of my writing, because all of my wildest machines start on a sketch pad, to make sure that they are plausible, and potentially could work. I was in engineering, prior to my career in art and then writing, and because of this I don’t have magic in my books. I like everything to work as it should or could do, even if it is from another planet. I find this inventing of new mechanical wonders very exciting.

I always find myself looking at new machines and studying their mechanisms.

Who are some of your favorite YA and/or children’s book authors?

I never read much at all, for several reasons, I like to be creative all the time, so I would rather be writing a book than reading one. Also, I would not want to plagiarise another author’s work so hopefully I will have a writing style of my own.

But that’s not to say I don’t hear of other authors or appreciate the work taken to write a book. I do love to watch a good sci-fi fantasy movie like Harry Potter, love that sort of thing.

Do you have any quirky writing habits?

I do like to put onomatopoeic words in italics. It seems to bring the sound of the word you are reading into the imaginative world of what you are seeing, in your mind’s eye. Early on my editors were in two minds about it, but now as it has progressed they have applauded it, many of my adult readers like it too.

There are a few images of my paintings in my books and at times my writing is an expression of these paintings in words.

I paint to music, but I write in silence.

How do you balance writing with book promotion and everything else there is to do in life?

Thank God I have a wife (Sally) who is very computer literate, she was also a sales person for quite a while. She has more experience at marketing etc. which I loathe. We know we need to do more promotions.

Sally is also my first port of call for editing, prior to professional editors, and helps with all those rewrites.

Do you have anything special you’d like to say to your readers or fellow award-winning authors?

To all CLC winners I would like to say a big “Well Done!”

“Hats Off To You”, I know how hard and costly it’s been to get to this stage, so let’s all look to a bright future as authors, and as the ending of my first book says “My your beliefs travel with you wherever you are”.

Author Bio

Award winning author Stephan von Clinkerhoffen grew up close to the English Cotswolds, surrounded by nature and the region’s rich history. An engineer for twenty-five years, he spent ten years in the British aerospace industry.

Clinkerhoffen’s career influenced many of the inventions found in the Chelldrah-ham series, as did his time in New Zealand, where he served as a humanitarian volunteer in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake.

An artist for the last thirty years, Clinkerhoffen has returned to England, where he rediscovered his love of local history—a love that permeates Belas Rift.

He has received praise and numerous awards for his writing from Literary Classics Book Awards, Kirkus Reviews, Readers’ Favorite, and ForeWord Clarion.

Follow Stephan von Clinkerhoffen and his writing on Twitter, Facebook, Goodeads, YouTube, Amazon, and his website.

Award-Winning Books

Stig’s Flight of Encounters

Stig is eager to test out his Spiral Drive, a power unit built for his clockwork plane. He’s so eager that he ignores his fellow inventor’s words of warning. It’s a decision that changes his life and tests whether he has enough fortitude and skill to survive.

Stephan von Clinkerhoffen’s City of Chelldrah-ham: Stig’s Flight of Encounters takes readers on a journey to Chelldrah-ham, the city of riches Stig calls home. They travel with him to strange and beautiful lands as his test flight goes astray and crashes into a wooden pod.

Stig’s trip back home isn’t going to be that easy. Soon he discovers bat-like creatures called the Bach that threaten the pod’s homeland. He escapes the encounter but will have plenty more to face.

Stig must rely on what he finds in nature and the help of new friends like Meg, whom he meets on his trek. He’s got his clockwork skills and a map that his father gave him. But is that enough to help him get back home?

War of Chaos

Stig and his friends Arn and Baits head out of the city of Chelldrah-ham on a mission to Polandrea. Their task is to determine whether the battling Bach creatures still pose a threat.

Stig has his own plans to find and rescue his missing friend Meg in Polandrea. Baits, meanwhile, is tasked as a member of the Guard of Old to search for signs of their absent leader, Lillet. Little do they know the danger that awaits them.

Chelldrah-ham prepares for war when the trio finds evidence of recent battles, and Baits learns Lillet’s fate. Stig and his comrades must confront the Bach and learn their mysterious secret if he hopes to rescue Meg.

Stig, Arn, and Baits must rely on their inventions, each other, and their own ingenuity to survive on a harrowing journey through a magical fantasyland fraught with hidden dangers.

Mystical creatures, secret weapons, action, war, and romance—along with author’s own fantastical artwork—await in The Hidden City of Chelldrah-Ham: War of Chaos.

Belas Rift

After the ferocious battle in War of Chaos, Stig and Meg pursue the evil Anet through a swirling interdimensional rift—and straight into new trouble.

On the other side of this portal, the two Manna find themselves in a world of giants and strange, ominous technology—a world that seems as obsessed with greed and gold as Anet herself. They’ve pursued their enemy to her homeland, a country known as England.

Alone and hunted by a terrifying flying machine, Stig and Meg find allies in the unlikeliest places, and they come to realize other Manna have made this trip between worlds before.

When their frantic search leads them to a golden temple hidden deep beneath the earth, Stig learns that fate ties him to this mysterious shrine. Unfortunately, the two Manna have bigger things to worry about. Anet knows Stig and Meg are in England, and she’s using all her resources to hunt them down. Stig’s ability to devise disastrous plans isn’t helping matters, but the Manna can’t afford to give up now. Anet is breeding new creatures to unleash on Chelldrah-ham, and it’s starting to look as if the Manna simply can’t stop her this time.

“Each of the three books in this magical collection are full of wonder and imagination with delightfully multi-faceted characters and a plot which keeps readers enthralled throughout this dynamic series. With a background in engineering and art, author Stephan von Clinkerhoffen lends a unique perspective to this enchanting series which he both wrote and illustrated.” Literary Classics Book Awards

In addition to the above-linked titles, a color edition of Belas Rift is available for purchase on Amazon.

Did you enjoy this interview as much as I did? Don’t miss upcoming interviews of award-winning authors! Be sure to follow my blog.

Cover Reveal for Darker Stars

So excited to share the cover of Darker Stars with you! Didn’t L.J. Anderson of Mayhem Cover Creations do an amazing job?

Here’s what the book is about:

Travel talents have evolved far past what the Time and Space Travel Agency imagined, leaving it unable to keep travelers under its control.

Silvie Hall is a descendant of Chascadia, Aboreal, and an ancient Earth. The Remnant Transporter talent flows through her blood, giving her the ability to transport silhouettes from different times and places to help heal lost loved ones.

But will it be enough to stop the darker talents that threaten her legacy and her home?

Don’t miss this book release! Sign up for my newsletter to get an email when Darker Stars is available!

Add my upcoming releases to your TBR list on Goodreads:

Lantern: The Complete Collection

Darker Stars (The Song of Everywhen, #1)

Teardrop Moons (The Song of Everywhen, #2)

Many thanks to Promo Stars for organizing a gorgeous cover reveal and setting up a giveaway (see below)!

  Title: Darker Stars

Series: The Song of Everywhen #1

By: Chess Desalls

Publication Date: January 2018

Publisher: Czidor Lore, LLC

Genre: YA Sci Fi Fantasy

Cover Designer: Mayhem Cover Creations

#darkerstarsreveal

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Interview: Literary Classics Award Winner, Patricia Reding

Author, Patricia Reding, won two medals in this year’s Literary Classics Book Awards contest. Her novel, Ephemeral & Fleeting: The Oathtaker Series, Volume Three, took Silver in both High School Fantasy and College Fantasy. Oathtaker: The Oathtaker Series, Volume One was a 2015 Gold winner, and Select: The Oathtaker Series, Volume Two, was a 2016 Silver winner, both for fantasy/young adult.

Congratulations on your achievements! When did you first start writing?

Thank you so much, Chess, for inviting me, and thank you for the well wishes!

I’ve always written, but for many years did not do any creative writing to speak of. Then about a decade ago, after reading a truly extraordinary fantasy series, I found myself floundering, trying to find stories that would live up to the level of that series in terms of the character development, the element of surprise, and so on. At the same time, I didn’t find myself attracted to fantasy stories that required a glossary to be able to identify what was happening, or that used names for people and places that were so odd that I was unable to pronounce them. For me, stories that do these things make for slow and tedious reads, as I find I must stop regularly to re-read and to do some figuring, just to get to the crux of the matter. After some time of frustration, I decided I’d try myself. I wanted to know if I could tell a full-length story that was of the type I would read—and that was in the nature of what I would/could encourage my (then young teenage) daughters to read. My intention was to illustrate life principles in a fantasy world, thereby potentially influencing young people in ways that would encourage them to do the best they could do and to be the best they could be.

What’s the target age group for your books?

The target audience is really young women 15 and up—but I’ve had readers as young as 13, and as old as 80. Those on both extremes have thoroughly enjoyed the stories. This is a difficult balancing act, as to reach young readers, you need characters young enough that they may identify with them, while to reach older readers, you need a story “real” enough for them not to feel that it is only for a school-aged audience.

What inspired your award-winning books?

The 2017 award winner, Ephemeral and Fleeting, is the third in a fantasy series (in which more installments are yet to come). In each story, I illustrate one or more life principles that I think are worthy of attention. In Oathtaker, Volume One, I addressed the importance of being true to your word, as well as the difficulty that one may experience to do so—and the glory that may come of making the right decisions. In Select, Volume Two, I addressed the importance of determining your life calling—identifying that thing that you and only you are called to do. Ephemeral and Fleeting, Volume Three, was my attempt at addressing the issue of the power people have over life and death. Sometimes the power comes from extraordinary circumstances (or to magic, even!), while in other cases, it is about life decisions that we make.

Describe one of your characters with a cliché or a famous quote.

Reigna (yes, this is spelled correctly, as her name is derived from the word “reign”):

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse . . . A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice—is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself . . .”

–John Stuart Mill

Do you have plans to, or have you already, released audio editions of your books?

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do have plans for audio books. I’ve wanted to do the audio myself and have been working on Volume One for some time!

Who would you cast as the voice actor for your main character?

I guess since I’m working on the audio books myself, the answer to this question would be “me.” Notwithstanding, when Volume One first placed in a contest, WindDancer Films also chose it for further review. I gave some thought to what I would want to do if I had to consider the person to play Mara, the main protagonist in the series (if the story was to be filmed). Mara is a young woman who, for the most part, I did not describe in Oathtaker—with one notable exception. I mention that she has a spattering of freckles across her nose. Dixon finds them amusing—attractive. The “face” I chose for Mara on my cover is that of Mybelin Hernandez. She does not have freckles, but I imagine if she ever played the part of Mara, we could add them.

I find her quite lovely—and interesting. What I don’t know, is if she acts, as well!

Who are some of your favorite YA and/or children’s book authors?

As is true of so many, I thoroughly enjoyed the Harry Potter Series, which matured from mid-grade reads to YA reads with the last additions to the series. I also quite enjoyed (and especially loved the movies for) The Hunger Games. I liked Kristin Cashore’s Graceling when I read it some years ago, and Tamora Pierce’s Trickster books (Daughter of the Lioness Series) also are intriguing. For kids books, my choices will date me a bit . . . I love the Junie B Jones books (and OH, what fun they are to read out loud!), the A Series of Unfortunate Events series, and so many more!

Do you have any quirky writing habits?

I don’t think so . . . except that I learned some time ago that I can most easily avoid that feeling of “writer’s block” coming upon me if I follow one simple procedure. That is, whenever I leave my writing for a day, I leave it mid-sentence or mid-paragraph—or at a minimum, mid-scene, if at all possible. The reason is because when I then sit down the next time, I can start right in with finishing that thought and it seems to move more quickly from there. If I do otherwise, too often I find myself staring a blank screen wondering where to go next.

How do you balance writing with book promotion and everything else there is to do in life?

Ha! Not nearly as well as I wish I did. The hardest part for me is the promotion—not because I don’t have good ideas about what to do, but because efforts geared at the marketing/promotional end seem to take the most time. I still work a day job—and with two in college, continue to have significant added “living” costs. (Yes, there are tuition costs for them, but there are also living expenses, rent, groceries, cell phones fees, health insurance premiums, health costs, car insurance premiums, and so on, and so on, and so on!) Interestingly, I was just looking at some charts the other day that are supposed to calculate when you can retire. I’m not getting my hopes up, at this point . . . Still, I’d like to think that when the day comes that I’m not supporting so many others, I might be able to write on a more full-time basis. At that point, maybe taking time out for marketing endeavors will come easier.

While we are on the subject of marketing, I would like to mention an interesting program called Bublish. Whereas readers get to leave their thoughts by virtue of their reviews., etc., Bublish is a tool that allows authors to share the background to their stories—their reasoning, or whatever else might be interesting about their writing. Find examples of some of the book bubbles I’ve posted, see: (for Oathtaker) https://www.bublish.com/bubble/stream/12594; (for Select) https://www.bublish.com/bubble/stream/12631; and (for Ephemeral and Fleeting) https://www.bublish.com/bubble/stream/12688. Fun. Right?

Do you have anything special you’d like to say to your readers or fellow award-winning authors?

Oh, but of course! (We authors always have something to say—especially if we can do it in writing!) I would like to say, “Thank you” for taking the time with me here. Thank you for reading and following The Oathtaker Series. I always love to hear from readers—particularly when they are in the midst of the story. It’s such fun to watch it unfold through their eyes. You see a reader’s experience with a story is so different from the author’s own. You might say that we never really get to read our stories “for the first time.” So, please contact me on my website, Facebook, or elsewhere, and let me know if you’re enjoying the journey!

Author Bio

Multi-award winning author Patricia Reding leads a double life. By day, she practices law. By night, she reads, reviews a wide variety of works, and writes fantasy. She lives on an island on the Mississippi with her husband and youngest daughter (her son and oldest daughter having already flown the nest), and Flynn Rider (an English Cream Golden Retriever). From there she seeks to create a world in which she can be in two places at once. She took up writing The Oathtaker Series as a challenge and re-discovered along the way, the joy of storytelling

Learn more about this author and her writing on Goodreads, Booklikes, Google+, Instagram, and Twitter.

Award-Winning Book

A Lost Freedom. An Ephemeral Existence. A Profound Mystery.

After Mara and her charges, Reigna and Eden—the ranking twin members of the first family of the Select—discover the twins’ unparalleled magic powers, they return to the City of Light. There they train with the Oathtaker forces, preparing a response to the ongoing threat from Zarek, the evil leader of Chiran. But when a traitor in their midst discloses their plans to visit the realm’s border for a closer look, they are captured and imprisoned. Stripped of her Oathtaker’s blade, Mara soon discovers that an unknown power bars her ability to use her attendant magic to escape, or to free the twins.

As Mara’s dreams endeavor to inform her of events to transpire, as her cohorts labor to decipher ancient prophecy, as the twins learn of the power of a magic artifact they carry, and as Lucy struggles to uncover the traitor in their midst, Dixon’s rescue attempt takes shape. Meanwhile, Zarek’s son—the twins’ cousin, Broden—seeks to assist his father’s prisoners. But before he can do so, Mara discovers that the loss of her charges is only one painful outcome that could come to pass.

Escape is impossible; survival, questionable; loss, inevitable.

And yet . . . things are not always what they seem.

Author Patricia Reding continues to engage readers with unexpected twists and a plot which sears with vivid details of events that will keep readers on the edge of their seats in hopeful anticipation of another installment in this fantasy series. Literary Classics Book Awards

Find links to all books in this award-winning series on Patricia Reding’s website.

Read more about the 2017 Literary Classics Book Awards contest winners on my Interviews page and the Literary Classics website.

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Release Day: Torch (Lantern, #3)

My third Lantern story is now available. The special release day price is only $0.99 and will last for a limited time!

Evelyn moves to Pennsylvania where she attends her first lakeside Halloween party. But she misses her brothers and is disturbed by a lantern on the pier that’s burned out.

Graham’s dreams come true in Havenbrim where he is Machin’s newest apprentice. Until he finds himself repeatedly disappointing his master.

Is the solution to their happiness in her world, or in his? Who will light the way to pull the other through?

Download for Kindle, Kobo, and more!

Interview and Award-Winning Memoir of Walter J. Scherr

Walter’s Way: How A Relief Kid Survived TB, Corporate Betrayal, Bankruptcy, Made Millions, and Touched the Lives of Billions is a memoir by Walter J. Scherr, co-written by John Hanc and Deborah Chiel. The memoir, published by John Wiley & Sons, won the 2017 Lumen Award for Literary Excellence, and Gold for nonfiction in the 2017 Literary Classics Book Awards contest.

Mr. Scherr, now 93, was interviewed by his co-writer John Hanc.

What inspired you to write your memoir?

“I always wanted to do this as a legacy project for my grandchildren. I also wanted people to know about the Center for Discovery, a facility in upstate New York that provides services for children and adults with severe disabilities. It’s a very special place, and it’s not as well-known as it should be. I hope my book will give it greater exposure.” (Hanc Ed. Note: All net proceeds of Walter’s Way go to the Center.)

What’s the target age group for your book?

“Anybody, of any age, that is entrepreneurial, or that needs inspiration and would like to hear a good story about a kid who started off with nothing, but through hard work and the help of others, became a success. Personally, I don’t think we can get enough of those stories!”

You decided to use professional writing help for your book. What was that like?

“I wrote about eight chapters on my own. But when the professional writers got involved, I realized why they are professionals. There was more depth, more background, more color and context in everything. Dialogue was more natural, and the story just seemed to flow much better. It worked also because we were a good team…the designers and other people involved in the project as well…and we all had a common goal. That was, to produce a really good book. Winning two prestigious awards…a silver medal the Axiom Business Book awards last year, and now this wonderful Literary Classics award are the proof that we succeeded.”

Your book is a memoir, but you met some interesting and well-known people in your life. Who would be among the most memorable characters that you discuss in your book?

“I had the privilege of meeting, and in some cases, working with Douglas MacArthur, Mother Theresa and David Rockefeller—not to mention some of the most brilliant corporate and military minds of their generation. I hope young readers will discover and learn something about these amazing people, and the remarkable times I lived through.”

Do you have plans to, or have you already, released an audio edition of your book?

“Yes! It was produced by Tom `T.C.’ Czajczynski, and we’ve got some original music on it. I’m very proud of it. We hope to have it available for sale at the Great American Book Festival in Rapid City.”

Who are some of your favorite YA and/or children’s book authors?

“I can’t say that I have too many at my age. But I did see `The Lion King’ five times! It was one of the most beautiful and meaningful productions I’ve ever seen.”

What did you learn about the writing process from doing your book?

“It takes discipline, concentration… and the right attitude. And it helps to have a good memory, if you’re doing a memoir!”

Do you have anything special you’d like to say to your readers or fellow award-winning authors?

“First of all, I’d like to congratulate my fellow authors and award-winners. Second, as I am probably the oldest in this group, I’d like to offer a little advice to anyone reading this. It’s never too late to start. I was 90 when I made the decision to write this memoir. If you want to write a book, or compose a song, or paint a picture or build a business, don’t let anything stand in your way. You have to be obsessed, in a positive way. That’s really the secret. There are always going to be up’s and down’s in life. Having that positive attitude is what keeps you moving forward—or backwards or whatever direction you want to go.”

Co-Writer Bios

Walter J. Scherr

New York native Walter J. Scherr was a founding board member and executive officer of four international companies and chairman of three charitable foundations. Walter’s many ventures, which include the production of a Hollywood film, “Whatever It Takes” (1986) took him to 42 countries over the course of his career. He has been profiled in Fortune and the Wall Street Journal. In 2005, he was honored by the United States Congress with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition for his outstanding and invaluable service to the community.

John Hanc

John, the author/co-author of 16 books, is also a long-time contributing writer to the New York Times, Smithsonian, Newsday and Runner’s World magazine. He teaches memoir writing at the annual Harvard Medical School Writing, Publishing and Social Media course and is an associate professor of communications at New York Institute of Technology.

Deborah Chiel

A writer, editor, and collaborator who began her publishing career at Simon & Schuster over 30 years ago, Deb has written or co-written sixteen fiction and nonfiction books.

Award-Winning Book

Part autobiography and part history lesson, Walter Scherr’s memoir WALTER’S WAY is a tale full of adventure and excitement as well as disappointment and heartache. Scherr’s new book tells the story of how a Depression-era boy from Queens, New York overcame a life-threatening illness to live an adventurous life as a globe-trotting executive who witnessed and helped foster the post-World War II economic boom. The lessons he shares about business, leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and family are priceless. While imparting Scherr’s unique perspectives on business, success, risk, love, and life, WALTER’S WAY will also inspire the power of philanthropy and the value of caring for others, a spirit that shines through the pages of the book. All proceeds from the sale of the book are being donated to The Center for Discovery.

 “This a compelling story that will encourage and inspire readers of all ages.” Literary Classics Book Awards

Follow Walter’s Way on Facebook, Twitter, and Walter Scherr’s website. For additional information on the Center for Discovery (charitable partner of Walter’s Way), please visit http://www.thecenterfordiscovery.org/.

Many congratulations to Mr. Scherr and his writing team! Read about more Literary Classics Book Awards winners on my Interviews page and the Literary Classics website.

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Interview: Literary Classics Award Winner, Lynne Stringer

Stringer’s novel, Once Confronted, won Silver in College Fiction in the 2017 Literary Classics Book Awards contest! Learn more about this author and her award-winning book below.

Congratulations on your achievement! When did you first start writing?

I started writing when I was about eight, penning a little book called Goldie the Pony. It was written in felt-tip pen and I remember loving the experience of writing a book. I tried to write a few novels in my teens but didn’t manage to complete a full-length manuscript until I was in my twenties. Interestingly, the book that became Once Confronted was the third full-length original story I ever wrote.

What’s the target age group for your books?

Seventeen years and up, although I think teens of any age would enjoy it and I know many adults have!

What inspired your award-winning book?

Once Confronted was first written seven years after I was the victim of an armed robbery. I’d been exploring the storyline in my head for some time, and I think it came from the desire to be more like my protagonist, Madison Craig. She’s far braver than me and I wished I had that kind of bravery myself.

Describe one of your characters with a cliché or a famous quote.

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.

Do you have plans to, or have you already, released an audio edition of your book?

I’d like to but considering the level of quality I’d want I daresay I wouldn’t be able to afford it!

Who would you cast as the voice actor for your main character?

Emilie de Ravin, especially since she’s Australian. She wouldn’t have trouble with the accent. 🙂

Who are some of your favorite YA and/or children’s book authors?

Enid Blyton inspired me to write as a child. I’ve also loved LM Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, Veronica Rossi and Stephenie Meyer.

Do you have any quirky writing habits?

I differ from many other authors in the fact that I hate writing outlines and refuse to use them. The only outline I have is in my head and often the characters take control once I start writing.

How do you balance writing with book promotion and everything else there is to do in life?

It’s hard to find a balance, that’s for sure, especially since I need to have a job that earns money and writing doesn’t often do that! Fortunately, I work as a professional editor so that keeps my writing skills honed.

Do you have anything special you’d like to say to your readers or fellow award-winning authors?

Never give up.

Author Bio

Lynne Stringer has been passionate about writing all her life. She was the editor of a small newspaper (later magazine) for seven years, and currently works as a professional editor and proofreader.

Lynne wrote her debut novel, The Heir (Verindon #1), in 2010. It was quickly followed by two sequels to complete the Verindon trilogy, a YA sci-fi romance series. Her latest book, Once Confronted, is a contemporary drama set in Australia and was released in October 2016.

For more information on Lynne, her books and her writing, visit her website: www.lynnestringer.com. You can also connect with her on Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, YouTube, and Pinterest.

Award-Winning Book

After a normal day turns disastrous, Madison Craig tries to put her life back together. She’s jumping at shadows and finds even familiar places terrifying. Can she forgive the men who hurt her? Her friend Evan Mansfield sees no need to do anything but hate their assailants. He struggles with bitterness, but Maddy wants to move on. What will she do when one of the men asks for forgiveness?

“Once Confronted is a moving story that sheds light on the trauma experienced by victims of assault.  Author Lynne Stringer has crafted a powerful book with an important message of healing and forgiveness.” Literary Classics Book Awards

This book is available on Amazon.

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Cover Reveal for Torch (Lantern, #3)

Paper and Sage Design has done it again. ❤ This cover is swoon-worthy, and I can’t wait to share my new Lantern story with you.

What’s Torch about?

Evelyn moves to Pennsylvania where she attends her first lakeside Halloween party. But she misses her brothers and is disturbed by a lantern on the pier that’s burned out.

Graham’s dreams come true in Havenbrim where he is Machin’s newest apprentice. Until he finds himself repeatedly disappointing his master.

Is the solution to their happiness in her world, or in his? Who will light the way to pull the other through?

Don’t miss the release of the last of the Lantern novellas! Sign up for my newsletter to get an email when Torch is available!

Frabbles collection now available!

Guess what I did? I released an ebook collection of all my Frabbles, eleven tiny tales I hope you’ll enjoy.

Frabbles are fables written in the style of 100-word drabbles. Each piece is exactly 100 words long.

Get a copy for you or a friend for Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, and more!