Fiction

Teardrop Moons—Chapter 4

*This is not the final edited version. Story content may change before this book releases. Sign up for newsletter updates to get a message when Teardrop Moons (The Song of Everywhen, #2) becomes available.

A new thief is born.

Time travel objects are missing, and Chascadians are being blamed.
Silvie’s legacy and family reputation are at stake.
Will she be able to find and stop who’s responsible?
And will it be enough to convince the worlds?

4

Sloe sat in his bedroom, at his desk where there were piles of books, his mind focused on anything but the book in front of him.

“I need to get a job,” he muttered.

Studying was no longer enough to occupy his time. He’d been acing his exams, almost too easily. There was too much time; he wasn’t sure how to spend it all. When he confided in his mother about those problem, she’d laughed. When he told her he didn’t find it funny, she cracked a joke.

Sloe shook his head at the sheet hung across the opening to his bedroom. His father still hadn’t given him his bedroom portal back. Maybe it’s time for me to move out. Problem was, he didn’t know where else to go. Not without money.

He closed the book in front of him and sighed.

He’d messed things up so badly with Raven, he didn’t want it to happen again. Not with Silvie. But he wasn’t sure how to tell her that. Avoiding her attempts to comfort him wasn’t working. She was a healer, with an amazing amount of insight, so he had no doubt she knew something was wrong. It was only a matter of time before she knew what it was, or gave up trying to find out.

He felt bad that day—after Silvie had taken the time to visit him. He was happy to visit her, instead; she’d told him it was awkward to do anything date-like on Edgar, with Javis and her father around. And he hadn’t offered to go anywhere else—not after what happened with Raven, and the threat to her life. His days exploring the Clock Tower’s portals and the worlds where they led were over, for now. He didn’t want to put another person in danger.

He envied Silvie’s ability to keep herself gloriously busy at the hospital for the recovering Lost. Even though she worked both the early and late shifts, she had time to study and visit him at the end of the day—an arrangement they’d worked out to be able to be together. To give their relationship a chance. But it wasn’t working.

Yes, he needed a job. Something to keep his mind off things, and to feel useful. But what, and where? He wasn’t a healer like Silvie, and while he admired Javis, he wouldn’t want the type of job Javis had cleaning up after the hospital’s residents. He had enough trouble cleaning his own shower room, and that was with his mother reminding him every week.

He abandoned his desk and pulled open a file cabinet. He flipped through a roll of folders, stopping at one labeled, Test Results. He’d taken an aptitude test that was supposed to reveal which occupations would suit him. His high scores in categories relating to portals and traveling to other worlds confirmed he’d take over his father’s position as Time Keeper one day.

But he expected, and hoped, his father still had a long time to live. Travertine of Aboreal, now known as Nick of Time, had abandoned Aboreal, after the world abandoned him, so he didn’t know anyone from his father’s side of the family. There were aunts and uncles on his mother’s side, but he saw them so infrequently, they might as well have been abandoned, too.

Sloe needed something else to do in the meantime. He wasn’t sure how his travel talents would be useful for other work—something that would fill his time and pay the money needed for him to find a place of his own.

His room rattled. Stretchy rope bands fixed across shelves held his books in place, but a couple volumes he piled on his desk fell to the floor. He glanced at a timepiece mounted on the wall, surprised by how quickly time had passed just thinking about the possibility of a new job.

Moments later, there was a knock. Sloe threw open the sheet across his bedroom doorway and made his way to the Clock Tower’s front entrance. He opened the door.

Silvie smiled at him, her eyes bright. He didn’t feel he deserved how excited she seemed to be to see him. A smile reached his lips as he invited her inside.

“I know you don’t like the idea of hanging out with me on Edgar,” he said, “like on a date.”

Her painted brows twisted.

“But I have an idea,” he continued.

“Do you want to go somewhere else tonight?”

He shook his head. “I was thinking, maybe, tomorrow morning.”

“Tomorrow morning? But my early shift—” She shrugged. “Never mind, I can get someone to cover me. Where do you want to go?”

“You won’t have to miss your shift. I wanted to speak with your father, actually. To see if he has any work for me.”

* * *

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Read the beginning of Silvie’s story in Darker Stars (The Song of Everywhen, #1)

Read the beginning of Calla’s story in Travel Glasses (The Call to Search Everywhen, #1)

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Teardrop Moons—Chapter 3

*This is not the final edited version. Story content may change before this book releases. Sign up for newsletter updates to get a message when Teardrop Moons (The Song of Everywhen, #2) becomes available.

A new thief is born.

Time travel objects are missing, and Chascadians are being blamed.
Silvie’s legacy and family reputation are at stake.
Will she be able to find and stop who’s responsible?
And will it be enough to convince the worlds?

3

Family Matters

It was unusual for Father to take us out for a family dinner.

We had wonderful cooks at the hospital, and Javis was shaping up to be quite the chef at home. But I jumped at the chance, hoping we were in for a bigger surprise. Father wasn’t the type to do things on a whim. I expected he was taking us out to tell us news of some sort.

But I was surprised by his choice.

“Nakos Kitchen?” I said. “I didn’t think you were fond of Chascadian food.”

Father shrugged and pushed open the café door.

Javis and I exchanged a glance. His lips curled into a smile. I knew he was up for this. Chascadian was his favorite.

I whispered to my brother as we followed Father inside. “What did you do—achieve some extraordinary thing with your World Building talent?”

“I don’t think this is a reward for anything I did.” He glanced at the cloth napkins on the tables while we waited for Father to speak with the hostess.

“This is the type of place I’d expect Father to take us for a birthday celebration.” I said. “But it’s not any of our birthdays.”

Javis paled. “What if he brought us here to tell us he’s met someone?”

It was my turn to pale. I hadn’t thought of that. I shook my head. Father kept late hours every day at the hospital, and Mother’s picture still sat on his desk. I had trouble picturing him with anybody else.

“You mean like a girlfriend?” I said, finally.

Javis nodded.

“But who? Unless it’s someone at the hospital—”

I cleared my throat, and guiltily smiled up at Father who’d returned to tell us a waiter would be with us soon.

“What were the two of you discussing so animatedly?” he said.

I bit my lip.

“You never answered Silvie’s earlier question,” said Javis. I could have hugged him for how he’d jumped in like that.

The space between Father’s brows creased.

“Why did you pick a restaurant in Chascadia?” I reminded him. “Not that we don’t like it—”

Father grunted, then turned his attention to a waiter who was informing us our table was ready. After we’d been seated and our drink orders taken, Javis nudged me under the table.

I swallowed. “So, why did you bring us here?”

I expected Father to roll his eyes or show some other sign of impatience with us. But his face softened. He looked almost worried.

Oh no. Maybe he has met someone. My stomach filled with butterflies. But why would he bring us to Chascadia where his wife and Healer were from? Was this new person in his life also Chascadian? And why would this bother me so much? Surely, there worse things to happen in the worlds.

I wanted Father to be happy, didn’t I?

He frowned. “Our family is under attack.”

My heart crawled into my throat. I coughed, then looked around. Fortunately, our waiter had shown up with a tray of drinks. I gratefully accepted the tall glass of frothy iced chocolate.

But I was unable to return the waiter’s smile. His eyes and lips didn’t seem to be on the same page. I sensed distrust from him. I detected a shade of pain, with my healing talent.

I looked him up and down. He wore a tuxedo with a sash and cummerbund, similar to how the men were dressed at Grandpa Plaka’s funeral. His dark curls were tied back in a tail. Everything about him was clean, neat, and respectable.

“Thank you,” Father said.

“Are you ready to order?” The waiter spoke politely enough, but there was a tightness to his voice.

“Could we have a few minutes?” I’d barely had time to look at the menu.

The waiter nodded and moved on to another table.

I sighed through my teeth. “Father, what is going on?”

“I brought you to Chascadia because everyone of Chascadian descent is being watched carefully. I thought this would be a safe place to explain to you and Javis what’s happening.”

“Why couldn’t you have told us at home?” said Javis. The exasperation and frustration in his voice was notable. But Father didn’t seem to mind.

“I wanted to see for myself what the climate was like here,” Father calmly explained. “What the local citizens’ reactions would be…”

He sighed and lowered his voice. “There’s been a sudden rise in attacks on travelers who possess unofficial objects. At first, insiders at the TSTA were the most obvious suspects. Whoever is stealing them is doing a good job of hiding.”

“Okay, but what does that have to do with Chascadia?”

“The most recent travel object to be stolen was found here, in this restaurant. The man who was arrested is Chascadian.”

Involuntary shudders made their way from my neck down my arms.

“Since this is the first of the travel objects to be found, the Chascadian people’s reputation has been gravely harmed.”

Father sat back and cleared grit from his voice. The waiter had returned, and was looking at us expectantly.

“I’ll have the daily special,” I said, not knowing if such a thing existed at Nakos Kitchen. My menu sat there unread.

The waiter raised his eyebrows, not saying anything as he scribbled my order on a notepad.

“Um, I’ll have the same,” said Javis, his eyes focused on his tea. Steam had stopped rising from the teacup, so I guessed it had cooled to room temperature. He’d barely touched it.

Father gathered the menus into a pile and handed them to the waiter. “I’ll have the daily special as well. Three daily specials, please.”

“It will be our pleasure,” said the waiter, looking anything but pleased.

I smoothed my napkin across my lap, and frowned as the waiter marched off with our orders.

Stolen travel objects. My baglamas immediately came to mind. It was safe now, or so I’d thought.

Last I’d heard, Yannan and the cloaked men had been taken away. The TSTA escorted them to their headquarters. All three men had appeared for their hearings and were convicted. I didn’t know what their punishments had been, but I couldn’t imagine the TSTA let them walk freely to wreak havoc all across the worlds. But, then, the TSTA didn’t have the power it once had.

“Do you think Yannan has anything to do with the stolen travel objects?” I said. “I remember his fascination with the baglamas. He could be at it again.”

“The man who was arrested was from the family that owned this restaurant,” said Father. “He told the authorities of a young woman who masked her identity behind a hood.”

“That could be anyone,” said Javis. “But I still think this reeks of Yannan.”

Father frowned. “With so many objects stolen in such a short period of time, I doubt he’d be working alone. None of the descriptions match Yannan, or the cloaked men.”

“And the only person arrested so far was Chascadian?” I said.

“Yes.”

“So, the waiter…the distrust I’m sensing from him isn’t of me?”

“You and Javis are descendants of Chascadia, Silvie.” Father adjusted the dark glasses that concealed his eyes. “If there’s anyone for the waiter to distrust, it would be me.”

* * *

You saw it here first! Drop a line in the comments to let me know what you think.

Sign up for newsletter alerts to get an email when Teardrop Moons releases.

Read the beginning of Silvie’s story in Darker Stars (The Song of Everywhen, #1)

Read the beginning of Calla’s story in Travel Glasses (The Call to Search Everywhen, #1)

Teardrop Moons—Chapter 2

*This is not the final edited version. Story content may change before this book releases. Sign up for newsletter updates to get a message when Teardrop Moons (The Song of Everywhen, #2) becomes available.

A new thief is born.

Time travel objects are missing, and Chascadians are being blamed.
Silvie’s legacy and family reputation are at stake.
Will she be able to find and stop who’s responsible?
And will it be enough to convince the worlds?

2

Rose fabric whipped in the wind.

Feminine laughter cut through excited chatter and the tinkling of plates and glasses. A young man looked up from his plate of grape leaves stuffed with rice. Squinting, he wiped his fingers on a cloth napkin.

The voice had come from outside, through an open café window.

A figure wearing a hooded cloak waved, then walked closer. When near enough to peer inside the window, the figure smiled. The young man’s eyes widened at how the person’s plump, rounded lips curved at the edges. Her lips and chin, and overall stature were decidedly female.

But he couldn’t see her eyes. A hood draped well past her nose. He wondered how she’d seen him well enough to have waved.

The young man cleared his throat. “Do I know you?” he said, his words thick with the inflection of Chascadia.

When he received no answer, he swiped a hand across the side of his head, along hair smoothed back, ending in a tail that burst into a cascade of dark curls.

“Are you hungry?” he said.

The figure shook her head back and forth.

“Thirsty?”

No answer.

“Will you sit with me?”

Finally, a nod.

The young man waited while she walked through the entrance and appeared before his table, all the while wondering how she could see where she was going.

“Are you well?” he said, gesturing for her to sit down.

She pulled at a chair, and silently landed on its pillowed seat.

The young man cleared his throat. “I’m Julian. Welcome to my family’s restaurant.”

The figure smiled. “Julian Nakos?”

Despite the sweetness of her voice, he paled. “How did you know my name?”

Laughing, she pointed a finger at a menu on the table. In scripted letters across the top, it said Nakos Kitchen.

His cheeks colored for the faintest moment before he joined her laughter.

“Of course,” he said. “Have you been here before?”

She shook her head.

“You don’t say much, do you?”

Her lips twisted into a smirk.

Julian exhaled a shaky breath. His gaze flickered to his plate of half eaten food. “If you’re not hungry, is there some other business you have here?”

Another nod.

“How may I help?”

She exhaled, then placed a square package, wrapped in paper, on the tabletop.

“A delivery for the restaurant?”

When she shook her head, he pointed to himself. “For me?”

She gave him a wide smile, displaying a brilliant set of teeth.

With creased brow, he reached for the package and slid it toward himself. Given her lack of response so far, he didn’t bother asking what it was. Not knowing its contents, he was unsure whether he should express gratitude.

He squinted at the package, then slipped a finger inside a folded flap.

At the sound of her chair’s screech against the floor, he looked up again.

She was already at the door.

“Wait!” His own voice echoed in his ears, but she didn’t look back.

Frowning, Julian sliced through the wrapping paper, which held a wooden box. He lifted the clasp that connected the box’s lid to its base, then sucked in a breath.

A gemstone, the size of his fist, shone from inside a lining of black velvet. With trembling fingers, he pulled the gem free. Light blue, and shimmering, the object had been shaped like an anatomical heart.

Julian peered through the object, admiring its workmanship and its clarity. He could see through it perfectly. His lips wrinkled at how his fingers left prints, smudging the beauty of the object.

He lifted a clean napkin from the table and smeared the fingerprints. With the napkin as protection, he cradled the object in his hands. Why would anyone give me such a treasure?

He had no idea what it was. Or what it could do.

The café door slammed open.

Julian lifted his eyes from the gemstone. Two men, dressed in official garb, had entered the building and were barreling toward him. One had several medals attached to his sash, the other had eyes that were on fire. The man with the medals pointed to Julian’s hands.

“There it is—the object we’ve been looking for,” he growled. “Arrest him.”

Before Julian could react, the man with the fiery eyes had twisted Julian’s hands behind his back. Cold metal enclosed both wrists.

“It was a gift,” said Julian, his voice choked.  

A gift from someone I don’t know and who wouldn’t tell me her name. A sinking feeling seized his gut as he realized his foolishness. He shouldn’t have touched the object, accepted it from a stranger.

He’d been trapped.

“Gifts like this aren’t given to men like you. This is a disgrace to Chascadia.”

Julian paled. “What have I done?”

“You are in possession of stolen property, an unofficial travel object of time.”

* * *

You saw it here first! Drop a line in the comments to let me know what you think.

Sign up for newsletter alerts to get an email when Teardrop Moons releases.

Read the beginning of Silvie’s story in Darker Stars (The Song of Everywhen, #1)

Read the beginning of Calla’s story in Travel Glasses (The Call to Search Everywhen, #1)

Release Day! #DarkerStars

It’s finally here! This project began in November of 2016, but it never would have happened without the release of my first novel, Travel Glasses. An idea for a time travel short story turned into a series; and the next generation begins with Darker Stars.

A friend steals a gift for an enemy who wants to steal a legacy.

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?

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3 Days Until #DarkerStars—Excerpt!

Three. More. Days.

I can’t believe it.

Scroll down for an excerpt of the new book! I would love to hear what you think of it. Please let me know by leaving a comment.

Darker Stars Excerpt

I removed the travel glasses from my face to better see our surroundings. I couldn’t decipher any noise over the rumblings that announced our arrival. But by the time we’d finished grounding, a shriek erupted that made my skin crawl and tingle all over.

My gut reaction was to help someone who was in pain.

Javis held me back. “Silvie, no. Remember what the man in the tunic said about no one coming to visit him.”

“I know, but—”

“Let’s check it out, carefully. Maybe he’s out for a walk…” He frowned. “In the dark, with his creepy dog.”

“Then why would he be screaming?”

My question was answered a moment later when Javis and I stumbled upon the man and his dog. We’d been circling backward, staying covered behind trees and looking through them, instead of behind us. When we backed up, something caught my foot and I flew backward, landing on my butt.

The shrieking started again, only now it was directly in front of me.

Javis ran to my side and pulled me up and away from the man in the tunic who was lying on his back. He rocked back and forth and pushed at the ground with his arms, struggling to get up. His feet wobbled up and down in front of him, without bending at the knees.

Eurig, his dog, sat at his side. She turned to Javis and me, catching both of us with her glowing eyes, and whimpered.

Your earthquake made him fall. You should not have returned.

She broke eye contact with us more quickly than she had during our last visit. As soon as I regained my wits, I pulled Javis out to an open space where we could run.

“Our earthquake?” I mumbled. “She must mean the impact of our arrival.”

“Yup, let’s bail. We’ll come back at a better time, if such a thing exists.”

“Call for help, Eurig!” the man yelled. “Make sure someone catches them!”

I shuddered at the wolfish howl that followed—a deep growl that swelled an octave higher before scooping back down again.

“Okay, here,” I said, indicating an open space before us with plenty of room to gain momentum for travel.

I slipped on the travel glasses and squeezed Javis’s hand.

We made it three steps before a half dozen men wearing tunics closed in on us and pulled us to the ground. I clawed at them with my fingernails, kicking at them as they tied my hands behind my back. Pain flashed behind my eyes. They’d nearly dislocated my shoulders in the process.

Three of the men dragged me and three dragged Javis through the gate and into the house. Without the brightness of the world’s moon, it took me a moment to adjust to the lack of lighting inside the house. Flames from torches flickered along the walls, mingling with the light from above—chandeliers filled with lit candles.

The men said nothing to us the entire time, even when they dropped us on the floor in front of a chaise lounge. I wriggled my shoulders to relieve the stiffness that had set in since my hands had been tied. I looked up and scowled. The man in the tunic lifted his head from a pillow and rolled to his side, resting his weight on a propped up arm.

Eurig sat next to him, curled up in a sleeping position, her eyes closed.

Two more guards wearing tunics stood on either side of the chaise lounge. Their breath was labored. I wondered whether they’d carried the man in the tunic here while the other men dragged Javis and me.

“Thank you,” said the man in the tunic. “I have something to say to our visitors, and then you will move them to a cell.”

The men surrounding me and Javis grunted and stepped backward in a single file behind us, blocking the only exit I could find in the room.

A cell? I pulled at the binding around my hands, a material that had the silkiness of ribbon and the strength of metal.

The man in the tunic grinned at us. “My home has experienced unlikely weather conditions as of late. I felt the rumblings of an earthquake yesterday evening. Eurig and I went out for a walk this evening to be nearer, should the phenomenon repeat itself.” He grinned widely, showing us his full set of teeth. “And, sure enough, it did.”

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Last chance to enter the paperback giveaway on Goodreads!

One signed copy available!

 

7 Days Until #DarkerStars

Darker Stars releases in one week! I can’t wait to share this with you. 🙂

Pre-orders are live on Amazon & More.

Enter the paperback giveaway on Goodreadsends Dec. 30.

And keep your eyes on this blog! There will be an excerpt reveal three days before release day.

Darker Stars Paperback #Giveaway on Goodreads!

Darker Stars (The Song of Everywhen, #1) will release on Jan. 2. I can hardly wait! In the meantime, there’s a giveaway for a signed paperback copy on Goodreads.

Enter before it closes Dec. 31:

DARKER STARS GIVEAWAY

Keep your eyes on this blog. Mayhem Cover Creations is putting together Darker Stars teasers that I look forward to sharing with you soon!

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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Interview: Literary Classics Award Winner, D. G. Driver

D. G. Driver’s book, No One Needed to Knowwon Silver for Preteen Fiction in the 2017 Literary Classics Book Awards contest! Learn more about this author and her writing below.

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

I began writing very young as a hobby, creating my first picture book stories while still in elementary school. I started writing professionally a couple years after I graduated college, selling my first story to a magazine and having my first play produced in 1994.

What’s the target age group for your books?

I primarily write middle grade and young adult novels. The majority of my readers tend to be kids in middle school. No One Needed to Know is targeted at kids 8-13.

What inspired your award-winning book?

No One Needed to Know is based loosely on my own experience as a younger sibling of a brother with Developmental Disabilities. My brother is four years older than me and was starting high school when I was in 6th grade. He wasn’t diagnosed as Autistic, because that wasn’t a well-known disorder back then. We figured it out later on. Still, my brother and I were great friends and played together a lot. When I was reaching puberty, I became less interested in playing pretend or having adventures, and that’s when it dawned on me that my much older brother should have stopped wanting to play that way years earlier. I based the novel on this turning point in my life and also on the bullying that my brother and I both dealt with as kids.

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

“I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is” Forrest Gump – works a little for Donald, Heidi’s brother. He’s a true sweetheart.

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

I would like to do an audiobook, but I haven’t made any solid effort in that direction yet. I welcome all the suggestions.

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

I don’t really follow any audiobook narrators. If I were to find a studio here in Nashville to record it, I might hire my daughter who is 16 and a talented actress. I think she would sound great as Heidi.

Do you illustrate your own books?

My book isn’t illustrated, but I did the cover myself. I found an image from stock art for Heidi. Then I ran it through a program to make it look like a drawing instead of a photo. I used a background image of the iconic Autism puzzle pieces and changed the color to a more muted tone. The book takes place in the fall at school, so I wanted the puzzle pieces to appear a little like falling leaves. I put it all together on Canva.

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

I have many and the list grows. I have to admit I was inspired to write by Judy Blume and Louise Fitzhugh (Harriet the Spy – my favorite book in 6th grade). Current authors that blow me away consistently are my Nashville SCBWI friends: Tracy Barrett, Ruta Sepetys, Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, and Sharon Cameron, (among others).

Do you have any quirky writing habits?

Not really. When I’m really under a deadline, I have to get away from the internet, so sometimes I’ll drive somewhere and write at a park or in my car, so I don’t have the option of going online.

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

It’s very difficult. I have a full-time job as a teacher, and I’m a parent and wife. Writing time is precious. I tend to do promotion stuff on weeknight evenings after work (and sneak in a tweet or two during the day at work), and I do my writing in sprints on the weekends. For this reason I’m a little slower than most indie authors at getting new work out.

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

Congratulations to all the 2017 winners. It takes a lot of courage and determination to write a book and then just a smidge more to enter a contest. I think an award for a book is a nice validation for hard work and effort. I hope for readers, it is seen as a marker that these books are worth their time. For my part, I feel certain that if the issues of bullying and special needs are dear to your heart, you will enjoy the story and message of No One Needed to Know.

Author Bio

D. G. Driver likes to write about diverse people dealing with social or environmental issues, but she likes to include a touch of fantasy or fun, too. She primarily writes middle grade and young adult fiction. She is the award-winning author of the YA eco-fiction series The Juniper Sawfeather Novels, which includes Cry of the Sea, Whisper of the Woods, and Echo of the Cliffs. She has stories in a variety of anthologies, and her newest book is a middle grade story about bullying and Autism awareness called No One Needed to Know. When she isn’t writing, she is teaching, performing in a local community theater musical, or probably watching TV.

Connect with D. G. Driver on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon, Goodreads, and her website.

Award-Winning Book

Heidi was trying to keep a secret. Her brother, Donald, is 16 and Autistic. She has always loved playing with him, but now she’s 11 and her life is changing. She’s embarrassed to have Donald around and tries not to tell anyone about him. High school boys bully him. When the kids at her school find out about him, she starts getting bullied, too. It’s not fair. No one seems to understand what she’s going through.

But Heidi needs to understand, too. She can’t change her brother, but she can change how she feels about him, and she can get people to see why her brother is special.

“Author D.G. Driver’s No One Needed to Know touches on many of the issues encountered by siblings of special needs kids. A book which will appeal to a broad audience, readers of all ages will appreciate Heidi’s story.” Literary Classics Book Awards

This book is available on Amazon (print ed.) and the Schoolwide Inc. Zing! Digital Library (ebook ed.). Learn more at www.dgdriver.com/no-one-needed-to-know.html.

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

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Interview: Literary Classics Award Winner, Danielle A. Vann

Two of Vann’s novels won awards in the 2017 Literary Classics Book Awards contest! The Whizbang Machine, Book 1, won Silver in Preteen (11+), and Tunney’s Curse, Book 2, won Gold, also in Preteen.

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

I’ve been writing since I was a child—seriously! I was the kid that stayed up all night reading and writing. I started writing intensely in high school. I had an English teacher that pushed me to write more, be better, focus. She submitted one of my pieces to a contest called Wings of Freedom. It won and was displayed in the White House and then the later in the halls of Congress. It inspired me to keep writing. I selected journalism in college so that I could write daily. I knew that being an author was ultimately where I would finish my professional career. Roughly ten years ago I shifted my focus and started to write for the commercial market. Since then, I have five traditionally published books to my credit.

What’s the target age group for your books?

I’ve been very fortunate to not be stuck in a genre. I have two children’s picture books series, a non-fiction Christian book with friend and celebrity carpenter, Brandon Russell, and then the Young Adult series, The Whizbang Machine, book 1 and The Whizbang Machine, Tunney’s Curse, Book 2, that placed silver and gold in the CLC awards. I’m the mother of three children ranging in ages from 12 ½ to 5. I began to notice that my older daughters were struggling to find engaging, clean series for their age groups. I wrote The Whizbang series free of sexual content, extreme violence, etc. I wanted to give them a book they could read without being exposed to questionable behaviors. I too wanted it to be a series that children from ages 10 to college level could read as a part of classroom materials.

What inspired your award-winning books?

This is an easy one, and honestly something I like to refer to as serendipity.

One month before I was given the pleasure of signing my contract with the Waldorf Publishing team, my dear friend Erin snapped a photograph of an old Royal typewriter, seated in a beautiful tan and maroon case, which her family had been gifted. Knowing my affinity for antiques, especially those that deal with writing and literary works, she sent me a text one early Sunday morning with the words, “Look at what David’s father gave us.”

I hadn’t yet made my way out of bed as it was still very early. Hearing the familiar chime of my phone, I wondered who was texting me at that time. As the photo came through, with it came the idea for the first book. I sprang from bed and began outlining. Unbeknownst to Erin, that single photo became my muse. In honor of this gift, her oldest daughter became the basis for the character of Elizabeth Yale. The rest of the series has honestly taken on a life of its own. I write as it comes and once I start, it’s impossible to get the characters to stop finding their through my fingertips.

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

Oh, I’m cringing but it’s true: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!” HA!

Elizabeth Yale tries to get out of the drama, but well, sadly, she’s a drama magnet.

Do you have plans to, or have you already, released audio editions of your book(s)?

I’m very lucky to have had Audible buy into the rights for Book 1 and Book 2 very early in the game. In fact, they were sold before book 2 was nothing more than a single chapter. The Whizbang Machine is available on Audible.com and it is also can be purchased in physical copy through Audible, Barnes and Noble, Target, and other select retailers. We are hopeful that Audible will continue supporting the Whizbang series and buy into book 3 and 4 soon.

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

Bailey Carr is my voice actor for book 1 and book 2. She is an INCREDIBLE! She has many award-winning books to her credit. Working with her is easy and pleasurable. The exciting part is both Whizbang books are full of Dutch words as they are set in Leiden, the Netherlands. She has been amazing to make sure she brings to the table all she can in the way of correct pronunciation and inflection. Truly, Bailey is a star in her own right.

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

One of my favorite writers is Garth Stein. He is amazing. He brings a simplicity to the page that I would be so lucky to employ. I can’t help but marvel at his talent. My favorite book of his is called, The Art of Racing in the Rain. I loved the fact that they moved it over into YA and republished it. The minute they did I purchased a copy for my oldest daughter and forced her to read it. I’m happy to say she loved it as much I do and did.

Clearly, there are so many other masters of the craft such as J.K. Rowling. I love that she refuses to back down from long, somewhat complicated text and gives it her all. Readers, whether reluctant or not, are pulled into her spell. That, to me, is her true gift of magic.

Lastly, I’m a fan of Ridley Pearson. His Kingdom Keepers series is something I’ve read with my children. They eat up everything he writes. He, too, works to keep the scenes clean and accessible to the young and old. That is something we need more these days. I’m no prude, mind you, but I do believe in the magical time of childhood. There is plenty of time to muck it up later, both in life and in fiction.

Do you have any quirky writing habits?

Actually no. I don’t think so. I am a straight from the book kind of girl. I work from a detailed outline. I stick to deadlines. I love quiet and no music while writing. If I am not feeling it, I walk away and come back. End of story. Kind of boring if you ask me. The scene is all the noise I need. Oh, I guess I do bounce my legs like I’m running a timed marathon when the action is happening. That’s quirky, I guess.

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

Oh boy, this is the million dollar questions, isn’t it?! Well, since I’m traditionally published the weight of promotion doesn’t fall directly on my shoulders. I have a wonderful team that backs what I do. Don’t get me wrong, I do a ton of my own. I write in the morning between 5 a.m. and roughly 10 a.m. every single day except for Sunday. I work for a publisher as the marketing specialist so I do my day job after that, and make sure I’m available to my family when and where they need me. That is, if I’m not traveling. However, they have been very lucky to travel with me as well.

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

Absolutely! To the readers, thank you! I truly know that without someone to read my work what I do is meaningless. Truly, it is. I am always thrilled to hear from readers. I love it when they attend my events and speak about different scenes or even about the impact one of my books had on them. That truly is amazing to me. Oftentimes I feel that they know my work better than I know it! And for that, I’m so grateful. I welcome anyone to reach out through my social media sites and open a productive and positive conversation.

To my fellow award-winning authors, CONGRATS! Congrats! I recently was in Paris at another awards ceremony and while I was speaking I was able to say something that I truly believe in. And that is, writing is the intersection of determination and passion. I didn’t say talent and luck. I said determination and passion. Because, you see, I believe that once you have placed your intention and goals on what you love, passion sparks talent and luck is nothing but hard work in the making.

Author Bio and Award-Winning Books

Danielle A. Vann started her career as a television news writer at the tender age of 18. With a passion for writing Vann committed to learning every aspect of the newsroom as she worked her way up to reporter and anchor within two short years. After graduating from the University of Central Oklahoma she took an anchor position in Louisiana. Her career as a reporter and anchor earned her an Associate Press Award. Her book genres span a wide-range from children’s books with two highly reviewed series, award-winning YA fiction, and five star non-fiction title. Danielle lives in Texas with her husband and three children.

Connect with Vann on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.

After years of running from his tragic past, Jack Yale books a flight home. With him is a typewriter that is intended to be a gift for his granddaughter, Elizabeth. The minute Elizabeth’s fingers cradle the large black and cream keys the machine responses: popping, sizzling, and roaring to life with a Whiz-Whiz-BANG!

Elizabeth quickly discovers the typewriter has powers beyond anything she has ever seen. The more she types, the more the machine spells out guarded secrets. Each secret leads them deeper into a haunted past. Each secret must be revealed in order to set history straight and remove a curse that has been on their family for centuries.

To solve the mystery, Elizabeth Yale, alongside Jack, will have to crack the code of the Whizbang Machine. What they find challenges their most basic assumptions of their family, the history of the typewriter, and even Elizabeth’s father’s death. The ultimate goal is to remove the curse. The question is: will Jack and Elizabeth be able to carry out their mission?

“The Whizbang Machine is an incredibly suspenseful book which will have readers of all ages eagerly turning pages with enthusiasm as they wait to see what will become of Elizabeth and her eccentric grandfather, Jack.” Literary Classics Book Awards

Amazon ~ Target ~ Barnes&Noble

“The Whizbang Machine, Tunney’s Curse” finds Elizabeth Yale clinging to life. Her plan to save the Whizbang machine has backfired. As her grandfather, Jack, feverishly works to save her, the Whizbang factory begins to topple down around them. Narrowly escaping, the pair realizes the Whizbang machine is missing. Jack and Elizabeth must follow the clues Elizabeth’s deceased father, Jesse, left behind to unravel the secrets of Tunney’s Curse and stop it once and for all. This must be done before Elizabeth’s mother’s 40th birthday—which is mere days away. As they dig, they are sent on a wild chase into the dark underbelly of the Netherlands, into the city’s canals looking for a sunken ship, and through the private chambers of a Queen. Each new secret exposed only deepens the mystery of Jack and Elizabeth’s family’s past. The ultimate questions remain: will they gather the clues and stop the curse in time? Or will someone fall to the curse once and for all?

“Recommended for home and school libraries, The Whizbang Machine: Tunney’s Curse is a dynamic fantasy adventure with mystery, action, suspense and intrigue.” Literary Classics Book Awards

Amazon ~ Target ~ Barnes&Noble

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