Junior FBI Agents Solve Mysteries

20 12 2013

Fallen Prey    CoverIt’s always exciting to announce new releases from other Carolinas SCBWI members. And today, I’m lucky enough to have mystery writer Ann Eisenstein here to talk about her new release, Fallen Prey. Not all mystery writers have Ann’s background, so I’ll let her share about herself and her qualifications.

I grew up on a farm in Sidney, Ohio, where weekly trips to the library made it possible to explore and dream about the world beyond. I attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, graduating with a BS degree in Education, with an English and Journalism minor.

I taught elementary school in Ohio and California before obtaining my M.Ed. in School Psychology from Wright State University, Fairborn, OH. As a psychologist, I served in school systems in Texas, California, Michigan, and South Carolina, in adolescent psychiatric treatment facilities, in private practice, and for the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice. I taught college level Psychology in Columbia, SC, where I currently reside.Ann E Eisenstein

I continue to volunteer and mentor with Richland County Schools, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

My first juvenile fiction, Hiding Carly, was published in 2012. Fallen Prey, book two of the three-part Sean Gray, Junior Special Agent Mystery series, was released in November, 2013.

A lot of people have asked me why I wrote Hiding Carly. Where did I get the idea, the inspiration, and the mystery? None of my persona operates in isolation. I was mentoring a fifth grade boy at the time. I work a lot with kids in that community on various skills from school problems to social skills and problem and conflict solving. He was not much of a talker. And struggled academically. He was from an extremely low social-economic stratum.

Sean Gray JSA BadgeAlong with his fifth grade peers, he was engaged in a unique program offered by the FBI, the Junior Special Agent Program. I witnessed a growing interest in what this program had to offer. He was genuinely interested in something! It was exciting – and gave us something to talk about! (Besides his baseball games – which I loved watching!)

An idea crept into my head about a Junior Special Agent protagonist! I struck up a conversation with the Special Agent in charge of this program, relaying how much my mentee was learning and benefiting from it. And I mentioned “the book”! The agent agreed to an interview! A seed. A kernel. A beginning.

And from that seed the series began. Hiding Carly was the first book and the latest is Fallen Prey.

ABOUT FALLEN PREY

Twelve-year-old Junior Special Agent Sean Gray is in a race against time.

Could there be a connection between his testimony in the trial of an international child kidnapping ring and his mysterious accident?
While the sheriff’s department and the FBI are investigating, his new friend, Gabby, gets caught in the web of an online predator and disappears. She’s been missing for more than 48 hours, and the authorities have not been able to find her. Sean goes undercover to bait the mysterious hunter. But when he becomes the prey, how will he rescue her?

To find out more about Ann and the Junior Special Agent Sean Gray series as well as her other books, you can visit her website. And if you’d like to win an autographed copy of Fallen Prey, just leave a comment any time up until January 2, 2014. We’ll pick one lucky winner in the New Year.





Free and Bargain E-books

30 03 2012

Pass it on… Some great bargains for lovers of YA books are available this month:

FREE, yep, that’s right, FREE for the next few days (for Amazon prime members). It will be only 99 cents from April 1 to May 1:

Island Sting Check out Island Sting at Amazon.

Spirited Anthology by Maria V. Snyder

Anthology by authors Maria V. Snyder, Candace Havens, Shannon Delany, Jill Williamson, Judith Graves, Kitty Keswick, Dawn Dalton, Linda Joy Singleton, and others...

Spirited available on Amazon for 99 cents!! It has augmented reality by Karl Gee.

Under My Skin

Under My Skin regularly $4.99, available for 99 cents on Amazon for a limited time.

And for adults, check out Dancing with the Devil, by Cate Masters, FREE on Amazon for a limited time. For other great bargains, check out the Leap Books site on April 1, 2012, for some great bargains.

And for a blog about FREE and BARGAIN BOOKS, see Downtown YA.





What If You Were Cloned?

15 01 2012

Replication by Jill WilliamsonWhoot!! So excited! Got a copy of Jill Williamson‘s latest book from Zondervan. It came when I had stacks of work to do, including major writing deadlines, so my plan was to read the first page or two, then save it for later. OK, so I read the first chapter, and the second, and… I’m sure you get the picture. Several hours later I’d read the whole book and still can’t get it out of my mind.

I’ve included a synopsis below, but that doesn’t do the book justice. So much of the heart-pounding excitement is left out. And it doesn’t capture the humor or the poignancy. I don’t want to include any spoilers here, but suppose you were a clone who had been isolated in an underground facility and had never experienced life? And what if you escaped for a brief time? Wouldn’t you have a lot of questions? So does Martyr (or J:3:3). And his naïveté leads to many humorous situations.

So often Martyr’s innocent questions leave you torn between wanting to laugh and cry. Williamson is a master at defusing sadness with deft touches of humor. But the humor never detracted from the more serious message: Do clones have souls?

Kudos to Zondervan for being willing to tackle the cloning issue from a totally different point of view. Not whether cloning is right or wrong, but what would happen in the future if cloning humans becomes a reality. Williamson has dealt with this topic in a fun-to-read thriller that raises many thought-provoking questions. Questions that are sure to haunt you–the same way her carefully drawn characters will–long after the book covers are closed.

If you aren’t already a Williamson fan, after reading Replication, dip into her award-winning Blood of Kings trilogy (Marcher Lord Press), which has been compared to Tolkien. She also has stories in the anthologies, Spirited (Leap Books) and Ether Ore (MLP). All well worth reading!

BOOK BLURB

Martyr—otherwise known as Jason 3:3—is one of hundreds of clones kept in a remote facility called Jason Farms. Told that he has been created to save humanity, Martyr has just one wish before he is scheduled to ‘expire’ in less than a month. To see the sky. Abby Goyer may have just moved to Alaska, but she has a feeling something strange is going on at the farm where her father works. But even this smart, confident girl could never have imagined what lies beneath a simple barn. Or what would happen when a mysterious boy shows up at her door, asking about the stars. As the reality of the Jason Experiment comes to light, Martyr is caught between two futures—the one for which he was produced and the one Abby believes God created him to have. Time is running out, and Martyr must decide if a life with Abby is worth leaving everything he’s ever known.

LINK TO SAMPLE CHAPTER

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jill Williamson is a novelist, dreamer, and believer. Growing up in Alaska led to a love of books, and in 2010 her first novel, By Darkness Hid, won the Christy Award. She loves working with teenagers and gives writing workshops at libraries, schools, camps, and churches. Jill lives in Oregon with her husband and two children. Visit Jill online at www.jillwilliamson.com.





Crime Doesn’t Pay, Or Does It?

17 08 2010

So as I head off to Killer Nashville, where a horde of potential killers and criminals gather–or should I say writers who write about such things (let’s hope it’s all done vicariously)–I’m looking forward to meeting like-minded individuals.

I wonder if those of us who read and write mysteries do so to get rid of, or to fuel, our aggressive and antisocial tendencies. Where else can you find a better, law-abiding way to torture your enemies or an irritating spouse than in the pages of a book? Ah, the imagination runs wild.

Your boss fires you? You’ll make him pay. He’ll become a victim in your next crime novel. Wife driving you crazy? You can plot lots of great ways to do away with her. Lots of possibilities there to work out your negative feelings and revenge is sweet. It’s even sweeter if you make a profit on it. And this is one time that crime definitely DOES PAY.





Killer Nashville

13 08 2010

Well, I’ll soon be off to Killer Nashville, the great crime writing conference. Looking for tips on how to bump off pesky characters, pull off a heist, or escape a jail sentence? You’ve come to the right place. Where else could you sit down to dinner with tablemates who are all interested in discussing the best way to poison people so it’s undectable. Sort of makes me a bit paranoid. I find myself curling my arm around my plate to protect my food, but who knows if that would help. One of these would-be writers might have experimented with their poisons in the kitchen.

So what turns people crazy enough to write about sneaky ways to kill other human beings, or to read these books by the dozens? Not sure I want to delve into the psychology behind it, but I once heard that crime writers are often perfectionists who love to solve puzzles. Perfectionists do tend to get themselves all worked up over small details & threaten to kill people who mess up their orderly lives. So I’d suggest you steer clear of perfectionists when you’re choosing a spouse or a friend. You never know when they might knife you in the back.

Here’s a schedule if you’re interested in attending. Keynote speaker is Jeffery Deaver; find out more about him on his website. Agent and editor pitch sessions are included in the registration price. Conference runs from Thursday evening, August 19, to Sunday afternoon, August 22, 2010. Hope to see you there.





Live in California?

19 06 2010

If you’re anywhere near Turlock, CA, this weekend, be sure to stop by the Borders in Turlock to meet paranormal author Kitty Keswick:





Savvy Authors

17 05 2010

Does everyone know about SavvyAuthors? SavvyAuthors is a one-stop resource for all your writing needs regardless of your stage in your career. They offer everything from workshops to promotion and marketing help.

They have lots of great classes for a low price. It costs $30 to join, which gives you access to free classes and a reduced rate on class prices. Or you can take classes without joining. With classes costing $10-25, most people can easily afford it. And they have some terrific teachers.

Here’s a sampling for the next two months:

May 2010 Events

2

Fairies and Other Magic Folk (Workshop)
Instructor: Sharron Gunn. Walt Disney would have you believe that fairies are sweet little creatures with wings and wands. Helpful entities like Tinkerbell and the Tooth Fairy. Walt was wrong. In Celtic lands people believe it’s not wise to go about your business in…
Duration: 27 days Craft, Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

3

Steamed Up: The Anatomy of Writing Steampunk (Workshop)
Instructor: Beth Daniels aka Nied Darnell. Toss another shovel full of coal on the fire, it’s time to get steamed up with steam punk, one of the newest “societies” around. What qualifies it as a society? Let’s see, there are graphic novels, jewelry, apparel, home accessories, mu…
Duration: 28 days Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

3

Who ARE All These People? The Role of Secondary Characters in Romance (Workshop)
Instructor: Jen Safrey. You have your hero. You are in love with him, and you’re sure your readers will be too. He’s sexy, smart, rugged, shy, daring, protective, whatever. You have your heroine. You have put a little of yourself into her, and you’re sure your rea…
Duration: 28 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

10

Todd Stone Presents – Character(s) and Conflict–More is More and More is Better (Workshop)
Six lessons, four weeks Presenter: Todd Stone, the Novelist’s Boot Camp guy Ever hear an editor say “Sorry, your story has too much conflict?” Didn’t think so. And you probably won’t, either. In this workshop we’ll provide you wit…
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

10

Edge of your Seat: How to add Suspense to your Writing (Workshop)
Instructor: Fleur Bradley. Do you ever wonder what makes that book such a page-turner? Wish you could keep a reader at the edge of your seat with your writing? This workshop teaches you how to write riveting fiction, and how to write chapters that keep your …
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

10

Inside the Criminal Mind (Workshop)
Instructor: Lucinda Schroeder. Inside the Criminal Mind gives writers the information they’ll need to characterize their deviate story people. This course covers criminal motivation, mind-set, self-talk and why deviants expect their crimes to go undetected. Devi…
Duration: 27 days Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

16

Creating Your Own Book Trailer **FULL** (Workshop)
Instructor: Kris Tualla. Book Trailers are 60-to-90-second presentations that describe your book in the same way a movie trailer describes a movie. They are teasers, meant to make people want to read your books. Book trailer companies charge fees beginning around $…
Duration: 11 days Promo, Technology Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

17

The Four Point Critique: Making your critiques positive, constructive, specific and honest. **FULL** (Workshop)
Instructor: Teresa Bodwell. The Four Point Critique: Making your critiques positive, constructive, specific and honest. The workshops will help you refine your critiquing skills through lecture, discussion and hands on critiquing. Topics include: Tips for great fee…
Duration: 20 days Craft Members: $25

31

Creating an Effective Book Business Plan (Workshop)
Presented by Deborah Magnus. One of the most productive things an author can do is write a Book Business Plan. It’s a required exercise for non-fiction book proposals and easily as important as actually writing the book, whether non-fiction or fiction. Why? 1) Writ…
Duration: 4 days Publishing, Promo, Industry Members: $10
Non-Members: $15

31

The Power of the Right Question (Workshop)
Instructor: Susan Meier. Ever wonder why some authors books seem to be head and shoulders above the rest? In The Power of the Right Question, Susan Meier discusses Story Question, Chapter Question and development of Questions for Lists of Twenty and shows you how t…
Duration: 28 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

June 2010 Events

3

Ignite Your Fiction (Workshop)
Instructor: Sally Walker. Learn how to examine and WRITE succinct, vivid examples of Exposition, Description, Narration/Summary, and Action-Dialogue. Experienced writers will learn to “think” in revision and New writers will work on the habit of purpose from the ver…
Duration: 25 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

7

Make a Scene (Workshop)
Instructor: June Diehl. Make a Scene explores the elements that go into structuring a scene, how to decide how to begin and end a scene, and the types of scenes and when to use them. We will also touch on setting, point of view, and character and plot development …
Duration: 14 days Craft Members: $10
Non-Members: $15

7

Weapons, Violence and Reality (Workshop)
Instructor: Rory Miller. Conflict is the essence of story-telling. Violence is the rawest and most visceral form of conflict. Rory Miller, former Corrections Officer, Tactical Team leader and Contractor/Advisor in Iraq will help you get the details right. The cla…
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

7

Completing Your Mystery (Workshop)
Instructor: Jacqueline Corcoran. Like many writers, you may have a library of books on writing craft, but have you used them? Learn my step-by-step method for applying exercises to develop your craft and complete your mystery. In this hands-on class with lots of “homewo…
Duration: 14 days Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

13

Creating Your Own Book Trailer **FULL** (Workshop)
Instructor: Kris Tualla. Book Trailers are 60-to-90-second presentations that describe your book in the same way a movie trailer describes a movie. They are teasers, meant to make people want to read your books. Book trailer companies charge fees beginning around $…
Duration: 11 days Promo, Technology Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

14

Show Don’t Tell (Workshop)
Instructor: Flo Fitzpatrick. Are your characters spending too much time explaining, telling, thinking, feeling, musing, wondering or debating? Let’s turn those “tell” sentences into “showstoppers!” Join Flo Fitzpatrick for a fun workshop that will rev up your writin…
Duration: 19 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

15

Romantic Suspense 19 SPOTS LEFT (Workshop)
Instructor: Dee Lloyd. To keep the reader eagerly turning pages from the first word to the last, a Romantic Suspense novel needs engaging characters, a believable and complicated plot and fast-moving pace. This workshop will give you some of the tools necessar…
Duration: 20 days Craft, Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

20

Flash Fiction: What is it? How do I write it? Why should I bother? 19 SPOTS LEFT (Workshop)
Instructor: Jim Harrington. This workshop is aimed at writers who are new to flash fiction. The topics covered include: Session 1 – 6/21 – What is flash fiction? Session 2 – 6/23 – Choosing a story to write Session 3 – 6/25 – That’s a story? Session 4 – 6/28 – T…
Duration: 13 days Craft, Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

20

Everyone Needs a Name, a guide to character naming (Workshop)
Instructor: Kathy Frost. Finding the perfect name for your main character can be difficult enough, but most stories need a supporting cast. You’ll need names for all your characters, from the lead and their love interest to the neighborhood grocer. For many write…
Duration: 6 days Craft Members: FREE
Non-Members: $5

20

The Dirty Little Secrets of Character Development (Workshop)
Instructor: Keena Kincaid. Do you know the secret to character development? We all keep secrets from each other—and sometimes from ourselves. Three-dimensional characters are no different, and it’s the author’s job to reveal those deep, dark secrets and desires t…
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $10
Non-Members: $20

21

Silencing Your Inner Saboteur (Workshop)
Instructor: Sherry Peters. In this workshop, writers will identify the voice of your saboteur, recognize the tricks it uses to keep you from achieving your goals, and how to win the battle against it. The lessons will cover: Introduction of the class and the In…
Duration: 20 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

28

The Heroine’s Journey: Adapting Four-Act Structure to the Character-Driven Story (Workshop)
Instructor: Wendy Lyn Watson. Christopher Vogler’s Hero’s Journey is a basic “four act” mythic story structure that can be used to describe everything from the legend of King Arthur to Alien. There’s something about this narrative structure that resonates with us on an…
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

28

Using Writer’s Block As A Building Block For Ideas (Workshop)
Instructor: Raquel Rodriguez. Using Writer’s Block As A Building Block For Ideas Want to just write? Stop fighting your Muse! Dry spells can indicate the dreaded writer’s block, a rough wall to hurtle. Teacher and writer, Raquel Rodriguez, can help you understand t…
Duration: 27 days Craft, Writing Life Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

28

The ‘W’ Plot…Or the Other White Meat for Plotters (Workshop)
Instructor: Karen Docter. One of the staples of any writers group conversations is the plot. It’s integral to every novel, holds everything together. It’s the vehicle that carries readers from page one to “The End”. It’s one of the scariest things an author faces …
Duration: 25 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

Check them out. You’ll be glad you did.
savvyauthors.com – Writers Helping Writers

http://www.savvyauthors.com/workshops.cfm