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If The Goonies Were Time Travelers

Adam Crozier Author Interview

Escaping the Future follows a group of friends on an adventure that leads to a time machine in a wrecked spaceship that sends them to the future. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I grew up on stories like The Goonies and Back to the Future. When I was thinking about ideas to pursue in my own writing, it wasn’t a big leap for me to ask myself, “What if the Goonies were time travelers?” Instead of hunting for a treasure, they could be searching through time for a way home. Instead of the Goonies, the friends from the story were loosely based on the friends from my own childhood. I imagined how my friends would have reacted if they were thrown into the future, and the shenanigans that would result from our choices in trying to get home.

Your characters were interesting and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I wanted to portray characters with the challenges that everyone feels as they are growing up. Whether struggling to make their own voice heard like Sophia, not living up to expectations of others or yourself like Tate, not fitting in like Zoe, or just how to gain the confidence you need to succeed like Nic. Everyone deals with these challenges in some degree at some point in their lives, and how they overcome these challenges is the heart of the person they become.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I wanted the reader to understand the idea of seeing things from others perspectives as well as your own, whether it is from strangers or someone as close as your family.  While Nic has to move away, he doesn’t see things from his parent’s point of view. Despite his disagreements with his family, he has to learn to not take for granted the time he has with them. We never know what changes might come in the future, family drama, moving away, or even your own alien situation. Understanding others point of view can help you work together and live in the moment.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am working on a middle grade story where the main character will travel from Earth into another world filled with magic. It is a fairytale about exploration and discovering your own true potential. I don’t have a working date for its release yet.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

The seconds are ticking away. If he can’t turn back the clock, the human race is doomed.

Nic Walker is devastated. Forced to leave behind his best friends because his parents are moving, the bright twelve-year-old is determined that they all have one final adventure. So when they come across a time machine in a wrecked spaceship, a trip to the future seems like the perfect plan… until they discover they can’t get back.

Alarmed to learn they can only move forward, Nic finds them all trapped centuries ahead in a world of jetpacks and flying cars. And with each failed attempt to locate a wormhole and return them to when they belong, the twenty-first-century tween hurtles towards a war that will end humanity.

Can Nic overcome aliens and bring everyone home?

Escaping the Future is a thrilling middle-grade time travel adventure. If you like puzzling mysteries, strong friendships, and eye-popping science fiction settings, then you’ll love Adam Crozier’s captivating quest.

The Ballpark Buster

The Ballpark Buster by Don Shearer tells the story of an average kid, Buster, who lives an ordinary life like everyone else, with just one difference: he’s well over six feet in height by the time he’s twelve years old. Buster strives to have a normal life, hanging out with friends, going to school, helping his parents at home, and playing sports, despite this unusual medical condition that rapidly speeds up his growth rate. Instead of focusing on the challenges of his record-breaking height, Buster Logan uses it to his advantage to become an athlete. He quickly learns how his size can work for him, not against his pursuits, transforming his life from ordinary to an extraordinary nationwide sports hero.

This fascinating story is set in the 1940’s, imbuing this sports fiction story a unique historical fiction feel. The story explores the golden era of major league baseball, a simpler life, and the nostalgia of this decade. Shearer writes a rousing story which feels like a classic with a clear and lighthearted tone throughout, making this an easy read. It’s a fun book for children and young adults. It conveys the importance of living your life to its fullest potential and using any attribute you have, including an unusual height, to your advantage.

Shearer adds creative and unique characteristics into a tale that could otherwise be considered ordinary. It’s a fantastic story for baseball fans as there are pictures of ballparks included, and the descriptions give the reader a decent visual of the author’s love of the game. It’s an inspirational and feel-good story that makes a great light read. I recommend The Ballpark Buster for its creativity and simple but profound writing that makes a fun story for all ages.

Pages: 287 | ASIN: B0B7QP7V9X

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Helping A Young Ghost

Author Interview
Jan Burns Author Interview

Ghost Boy follows a group of friends who set out to help a ghost in need and solve a curious mystery while facing a dangerous threat. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

When I was young I loved to read middle-grade mysteries that included adventures. I particularly liked the ones where the kids thought it out and talked to people who gave them helpful information. This enabled them eventually to solve the mystery, mostly without any adult help. These books had a few scary moments, but there was also kid fun to balance things out.

I like history a lot and wanted to include a look at the town’s past mining industry. This helped me to tie some elements of the story together.

Finally, to add another layer to the book, I thought kids might like to read a ghost story. That’s why I included this in the story. I tried to imagine how kids would react to helping a young ghost find peace.

The characters in your story are intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I worked on this book over about six years. I’d written eight nonfiction children’s books and hundreds of articles and stories, but this was my first fiction book. My characters changed a lot over that time. At first the dialogue I wrote for them didn’t sound realistic. So, I had my characters write journal entries about themselves and the mystery. I found this to be very helpful.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

When I was researching the historic element of the book I read a lot about the pioneers of this area. They had to be resilient. I tried to show this in the book’s characters. They encountered problems and sometimes made mistakes, but they didn’t give up.

I think this idea of not giving up is an important concept for kids today. Most kids encounter problems of various sorts in their lives. The important thing is for them to not give up on their dreams.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

From the start I wanted there to be three Ghost Boy books. The main characters would stay the same and the books would all feature adventure as well as a mystery.

I’m about halfway through the second Ghost Boy book. In The Secret of Cougar Pass the kids explore a cave that they later learn is said to be cursed. But they want to go back to help a young ghost connect with his long-dead parents.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

What will Tyler Scott do after he finds a boy’s skull and the boy’s ghost asks him for help?

After Tyler Scott finds the skull, he’s shocked when the ghost asks him to help find his dad, who has probably been dead for years. He and his friends Addy and David Jacobson set out on the seemingly impossible quest. They have to work hard to solve the mystery before whoever is watching them does more than just threaten.

In Ghost Boy, by Jan Burns, we see these children setting out on a seemingly impossible quest to help a young ghost. Will their friendship hold up after things become dangerous?

What Matters Most In Life Are Relationships

Donan Berg Author Interview

Lucia’s Fantasy World follows a young girl as she experiences coming-of-age moments and learns her full potential while trying to help a sick friend. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

In human life, struggle, anxiety, loneliness, and depression are too often inevitable, even more so for youth. This leads to and begs a question. What should be valued? Of the many moments in my life, a phrase and a first grade experience stand out.

The phrase comes from the Orient. It says: “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”

The first grade experience involved crayons. I’d spent six months with my mother and brother in Ireland visiting her relatives, well, mine, too. In doing so I’d missed kindergarten where each student received a new box of sixteen crayons to be used and carried into first grade. My first grade teacher removed a crayon discard box from a windowsill and gave it to me. Fellow students teased me for scribbling with broken and stubby crayons.

However, I was happy. My classmates had only one of each color. I had six reds, eight greens, etc. Lucia learns she has a special skill – drawing or sketching. I can’t draw or paint, but did win a national photography award. Upon learning of the honor, I had to give a speech. I used the Oriental quote above and the words of Mark Twain. To paraphrase, he was reported to have said, “When I was fourteen, I couldn’t stand to have the Old Man around. When I was eighteen, I was amazed at how much he had learned.”

As the question of “theme” appears below, I’ll skip a long answer to say that there’s a ripple throughout Lucia’s Fantasy World that what matters most in life are relationships, not material things, not a physical Christmas tree, but learning and living the spirit it embraces.

Lucia grows in this novel from a carefree child to one that realizes the world is bigger and has more challenges than she imagined. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I recall this quote from John Ciardi: “You don’t have to suffer to be a poet. Adolescence is enough suffering for anyone.”

Lucia, although her family is split, has basic needs fulfilled. There’s shelter, food, and clothing. Although she might not be a school “glamor” girl, she has fun snow sledding with Johnny. He shares his sled and doesn’t complain his leg is in a metal brace. Yet, in her own mind, Lucia longs for material things her Mother can’t afford, especially a Christmas tree. Friend Omar has access to multiple Christmas trees as a Boy Scout worker at a tree stand, yet, he can’t give a tree to Lucia.

Twelve novels ago in A Body To Bones, my first writing adventure, I coupled a whodunit mystery with the main character’s growth to be a person of strength after years of emotional suffering. Now after a debut fantasy, Find the Girl, A Fantasy Novel, that offered greater fantasy adventure than self-realization, I desired to explore an adolescent coming of age. This effort began a story, unrelated in style and concept, but nevertheless subconsciously tied in with my novel, Aria’s Bayou Child, where a mother is falsely imprisoned for killing her husband and desperately seeks to find her stolen child.

Although totally different in tone and circumstances, Lucia, like the adult Aria, learns determination, trust in her own ability, and the value of human relationships. Lucia doesn’t just feel good; she harnesses her ability to do better than good.

What were some themes that were important to explore in this book?

While I touched on theme in answer to the first question, I often take exception to the adage that a theme is so important to a novel that it can’t exist without one. All too often, theme is dumbed down to be “Love conquers all” or “Principle trumps greed.” Theme is thus treated as parallel to teaching a lesson. If the reader discovers it, the author receives an A.

The goal should be to create, and have empathy with, characters who make choices, take risks, and subject themselves to the consequences. My viewpoint strives to delve into virtue. It’s to understand morality or societal goodness and the individual’s journey of faith, hope, charity, justice, and, along the way, come to a realization of what’s important.

Did Lucia lack virtue because she yearned for a Christmas tree, a material object? No. Her obsession was natural in her teen world. Did it hinder her growth? No. But who’s to say it wasn’t required?

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Excuse me if I chuckle. Questions after book readings often include “How long did it take to write your first novel?” I answer: “thirty years.” When the puzzled expressions fade, I explain that as a journalism student it was taken as gospel that you would write the “Great American Novel.” I started, then everyday life intervened. Two children grew into adulthood before my wife died of cancer. I retrieved 54 typewritten pages from a file cabinet that represented my debut novel. I fully understood that putting onto paper the novel that had matured in my mind was a distraction to grief. When I finished, my publisher asked, “What’s your next book? We need an excerpt.”

Today, I ponder if I’m destined to write my 13th novel as a Halloween trip along Elm Street?

Absolutely not. Lucia’s Fantasy World offers an excerpt for a mystery/suspense, “Albert’s Deadly Fate.” It’s said to be available in 2024. The long lead time is because I’m working on a minor league hockey team romance, a third fantasy, another romantic mystery, and tinkering with expanding a short story highlighted by the Giant’s Causeway on Ireland’s Antrim Coast. Of course, completing a trip to the Scottish Highlands, delayed by COVID for two years, may upset all plans, although I’ve promised myself one story about Jamie and Clare and the Jacobin Rebellion is enough.

Thank you to Literary Titan and all my readers. It’s a joy to be able to express myself. How troubled we’d all be if one error caused us to begin again with a new rock.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Lucia McFate finds her life changed when sledding friend, Johnny, is stricken with a life-threatening infection. Discovering she has a rare, if dangerous gift, Lucia literally falls into a tunnel and her escape lands her in a far-off land many centuries in the past.Her challenges are many, but the most important is how to transport a spirited box found in the past to her real-world reality to save her friend.In superbly crafted writing that builds suspense, award-winning author Donan Berg gives us a most enduring fantasy fit for all ages.

Lucia’s Fantasy World

Lucia’s Fantasy World, by Donan Berg, is a captivating story about a courageous and caring young girl named Lucia. One day while sledding with her friend, Johnny, he is sent to the hospital due to immense pain in his leg related to an infection. Lucia, with the help of her friend Omar, goes on a journey to help heal Johnny. On this journey she finds out that there is something special about her and she just might be able to help her friend more than she thought.

This charming and intriguing story is the perfect read for a young adult or middlegrade audience. The tone is fairytale-esque and the author perfectly captures the innocence and imagination of the characters in the book.

The relationship between Omar and Lucia is one that young readers will easily be able to relate to. They set out on adventures together, get into mischief, and care for one another. I enjoyed reading about the fun Lucia had while playing with her friend Johnny, it brought back a nostalgic feeling and made me remember when I was a child.

Berg’s excellent use of description plays a big part in the book as Lucia and the reader is transported into a far-off land that is many centuries in the past. I also thought it was interesting to read about the moment Lucia grows up from calling her Mom, Mommy to Mother. I feel the author captured this transition perfectly as there is a moment in a child’s life where they decide they must grow up. Berg shows young readers that it is ok to want to help your friends and through Lucia’s story he helps readers cope with hard times.

Lucia’s Fantasy World, by Donan Berg is a magical story that will take you on a fascinating adventure with Lucia. Filled with child-like imagination, friendship, adventure, magic, and sorcery this book is the perfect fantasy book for middle aged children who are looking for an imaginative coming of age adventure.

Pages: 250 | ASIN: B09YCVQ4JD

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Time Travelers of the Caribbean

Time Travelers of the Caribbean is a fun time travel adventure story that combines sci-fi elements with historical fantasy. The book centers around two orphans, 12-year-old Johnny and 9-year-old Ella, living under the oppressive roof of Regina. The kids team up with Regina’s introverted brother Shawn, who happens to have built a time machine with a mind of its own. This tenacious team travels three centuries back to 1699, a period known as the golden age of piracy. Here, they encounter the most vicious of the pirates, Caine Karver. Armed with Ella’s bravery, Johnny’s wisdom, and Shawn’s handy inventions, the trio strive to navigate the ruthless world of pirates, making unlikely allies along the way.

Alan Frost certainly knows how to keep kids entertained. This lively fantasy novel is kid-appropriate and suitable for middle-grade children. However, parents and guardians should be mindful of mild explicit words that are not unexpected in a world of pirates. Beyond this, the book is quite enlightening. Kids and adults have so much to learn from the fascinating facts about ships, pirates’ attitudes, and rules. Alan Frost also shatters the myths surrounding pirates and their qualities.

I was surprised by how quickly this story flew by. I was swept away by the inherent adventure found within the story. The author keeps a consistently high level of intrigue throughout the story that will keep young readers coming back. There are also many lessons and historical facts to be learned throughout the story, which serves to educate as well as entertain readers.

Time Travelers of the Caribbean is a spirited adventure story that follows a spunky trio who are fun to follow. I look forward to more historical adventures the mysterious time machine has for the trio in the next edition of the Shawn From the Shed series.

Pages: 180 | ASIN: B09YSSS27Y

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Totally Out Of My Genre

Kevin James Breaux Author Interview

Young Davy Crockett: The Wild Frontier with Dinosaurs follows a young hunter that must find out what is happening to the missing hunters. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

A bunch of years ago, my mentor, Jonathan Maberry, sent me a message basically challenging me to write a middle grade horror book. This is something totally out of my genre. I normally write in epic fantasy, horror, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. I was like…write something for kids? I don’t write for kids! Yet, at the same time, I’m not one to back down from a challenge.

I like history. So, I brainstormed historical figures. Who could I write about in their younger years? The answer came quick. After some research (I love research), I found my character: Young Davy Crockett.

How much research did you need to do for this book?

I did a lot of reading about Davy. Turns out he had a lot of adventures in his youth, so I was not stretching the facts. Most kids back then had to learn skills and put them to use in the towns and on the farms. Davy was a hard worker and being such a popular American historical figure, it was easy to find information about him.

What has helped or hindered you most when writing a book?

I had to remind myself…over and over…that I was writing for MG. I had to tone things down. Remember the language. And remember that, although brave and a skilled outdoorsman at a young age, Davy had to speak to adults like a kid. Not on par with them.

This was hard for me at times.

When my editor first read the book, she told me it read like YA writing. I tried my best to fix it to a MG style. Since then, I have had readers and reviewers come back saying it is MG and others saying it is YA. I’m proud of it regardless of which age range it lands more prominently in.
I found that trying to imagine the book as a cartoon helped. Like an 80’s cartoon. Remember the ABC WEEKEND SPECIALS? It was a series that featured a different kid’s books each week. I tried to paint it as one of those episodes back then. 🙂

Has writing and publishing so many books changed the way you see yourself?

I guess I look at myself as the grizzled old veteran now. I fought hard. I’ve had amazing victories and terrible losses. But I keep at it. My motto is: Write Makes Might! It means a lot of things to different people. Basically, to me, it means writing brings you strength. It can be helpful and cathartic. Do it for yourself above all others.

I have written nine books. Most of which are around 100,000 words or more. I am working on book ten and I recall, with great clarity, when I was on my first book and would see people on their tenth. I remember thinking, wow, I will never finish ten books.

Well, guess what? It turns out I will.

At one point or another, every book I have written has been, or is, published. But it was a struggle. It’s a battlefield out there. I have had deals with shady publishers, I have had publishers print and sell my books only to suddenly stop paying me. I have had books get published multiple times by different publishers. I have had an agent. I have had movie deals sent my way and offers to write TV shows. I have been nominated for huge awards and won smaller ones. It spins my head when I think about it all.
A wise man once said, “Life is like a hurricane…” This is very true for authors and artists. 🙂

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

When young Davy Crockett returns home after a long absence, he finds that many of his town’s hunters have gone missing. Being a skilled hunter himself, Davy knows that the only time hunters disappear is when they are being hunted by something more skilled than them. Making it his responsibility to find out what’s happening, Davy searches the local forests, but what he discovers is something he has never encountered before: dinosaurs.

In YOUNG DAVY CROCKETT: THE WILD FRONTIER WITH DINOSAURS, a nearly fourteen-year-old Davy Crockett is tested by his angry and often drunk father, his brothers, the wilds, and some mysterious goings-on. Somehow, prehistoric beasts are appearing in the forests of Holston Valley, threatening Davy’s family and his way of life. Curious to a fault, Davy seeks answers and attempts to hunt them…a creature no hunter has ever faced before.

A Big Part Of My Own Story

Kendall T. Newell Author Interview

A Star Upon a Dream follows a discouraged young girl who tries to discover what her dream job is and finds renewed confidence from her father. What was the inspiration for your story?

The inspiration behind the story is connected with my own personal story. Children are like sponges; they soak up everything. The people they are surrounded with can make or break that child. Having strong adult figures in a child’s life really is powerful. I have a supportive family along with great teachers and coaches. Without them, I would have given up for sure.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

There were several themes I wanted to incorporate into this book. The most critical themes included school life and bullying because I know there are many other people out there that could probably relate to this story. I wanted to make wrestling present in this story because it was a big part of my own story. Wrestling is a great sport to correlate with real life situations. In wrestling, we can get taken down but you can always fight and get back up. This is the same concept we can apply to our own life. Sometimes, we get taken down in life but we have to fight and stand back up. 

What is one piece of advice someone gave you that changed your life?

Failure is something we all face in life. Failure does not define you. It’s how you deal with failure that makes you successful.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have another book in the development stage. My current focus is this book because it is my first book and the message is very important to me. If things work out then I hope to have it completed by 2024.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Do you have dreams? Like the stars, we are very similar but unique at the same time. We all twinkle with a light that shines in our own special way. That shine is the power that fuels our dreams and aspirations in life. Doubting and telling others that they are not good enough only diminish a person’s light. Eventually, that light will lose its shine, blacking out into the void, like the star never existed. We should be uplifting to one another and making one another shine brighter than ever before. We all may have different dreams, but we all share the same sky!
Follow Meleah Rowland, a third grade student whose dream is to become a zoologist someday. She quickly learns how it feels to be doubted, thus diminishing the light of this young girl. She learns a very important lesson from her father, Charles Rowland, through the story of his own past to becoming the shining star he is today.
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