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2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Winner


The winner of the April 2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is Muddy Waters by Sara O. Thompson from Curiosity Quills Press with 43% of the votes. The cover art is by Eugene Teplitsky.


Muddy Waters
Otherwhere 1
Curiosity Quills Press, April 4, 2017
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Winner
Twenty years ago, the boundary between worlds dropped. It will be a while before the political, social, and religious upheaval settles down but the good news is: now you can book a vacation to Valhalla as easily as you can go to Las Vegas. Your real estate agent might be a Wood Sprite. Your mechanic might be a Minotaur. For better or for worse, Supernormals are part of Earth life.

Five years ago, Tessa Reddick was convicted of killing her entire family: 37 Witches from one of the most powerful covens in history. She’s been locked up at Lakeland Psychiatric hospital, still grieving but mad as hell at whoever-or whatever-put her there.

Half an hour ago, a handsome FBI agent showed up to spring Tessa from the joint
-but there’s a price. A series of murders is picking off Supernormals and the feds need the help of the last known Reddick Witch.

Determined to learn who set her up for the fall, help solve the FBI crimes, and maybe get closer to her mysterious (and seriously hot) Dark Elf partner, Tessa is more than willing to play Witchy Nancy Drew.

But Tessa has few friends left and something is coming for her, too - maybe it’s the one who framed her and killed her coven, or perhaps a new foe with a taste for Witch’s blood.

Solving crimes, doing magic, drinking bourbon. It’s dirty work, but somebody has to do it.




The Results
2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Winner




The April 2017 Debuts
2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Winner

Interview with Sara O. Thompson, author of Muddy Waters


Please welcome Sara O. Thompson to The Qwillery as part of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Muddy Waters (Otherwhere 1) was published on April 4th by Curiosity Quills Press.



Interview with Sara O. Thompson, author of Muddy Waters




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Sara:  I think the very first thing I sat down to write was a play. I was about 10 and I wrote it on a yellow legal pad. It was about a pair of sister princesses. I got my first diary when I was 11 and I journaled until my late twenties. And I started my first novel around 12. It was a shameless rip off of Lord of the Flies. It’s posted on my website somewhere. It’s like…there’s a plane crash, then four pages of description of every single character and focuses heavily on their social classes.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Sara:  Hybrid. I used to scoff at plotters, thinking they were taking the fun out of discovery and creativity. But last year, I wrote a synopsis of Muddy Waters for my publisher and I ended up churning out an outline of the whole dang series, which is supposed to be 10 books. The thing was over 70 pages long. I got a little carried away, I think. But I give myself a lot of room to work within the confines of an outline. I’ve been doing improv for almost seven years and it’s taught me the value of using a scaffold (like an outline) as a springboard to creation.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Sara:  I find different things challenging at different times. For a while it was, ‘how can I find time to write?’ Then I got that worked out at it was, ‘how do I resist editing as I write?’ The process is ever-evolving as and I grow and learn, the challenges change with me. Which is, I suppose, both encouraging and disheartening. Right now, I’m trying to write the second book while dealing with the release of the first one.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Sara:  I have a master’s degree in literature and I really thought I would be writing literary fiction or essays. Boy, was I wrong! But I think some of what I read, thought about, and talked about during my graduate studies has shaped my work. Academia left its mark on my voice, I think. But the real answer is: I steal like a crow with a basket of shiny things. My eyes and ears are always open for bits and pieces I can use, whether it be a line of dialogue, a folk tale, or a mysterious location.



TQDescribe Muddy Waters in 140 characters or less.

Sara:  She’s the FBI’s newest supernormal investigator. Solving crimes. Doing magic. Drinking bourbon. Welcome to Otherwhere.



TQWhat inspired you to write Muddy Waters? What appealed to you about writing Urban Fantasy?

Sara:  In my late 20’s, I found myself getting away from reading so much literary fiction. Part of that is my husband’s fault. He kept handing me fantasy and science fiction to read, so I ended up writing the urban fantasy novel I wanted to read. I like the ability to ask what might happen if, in the case of my book, we found out that supernatural beings are real, heaven is real, and so on. Not only that, but what would that do to the religions and politics of the world?



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Muddy Waters?

Sara:  I have no problem throwing myself down the rabbit hole of research while I’m writing. I’ll stop mid-paragraph to look up the religious practices of pre-Christian Egyptians, or find obscure Chinese folk tales, and then two hours later, I’ll have three pages of scribbled notes to incorporate into the book. Wikipedia and the History channel were both a great help.



TQPlease tell us about Muddy Waters' cover.

Sara:  One of the reasons I wanted to work with my publisher, Curiosity Quills, was Eugene Teplitsky’s amazing artwork. I was so impressed with the library of covers they’d already done and I was excited to see what they’d come up with for me. I was not disappointed. Here’s a story about the cover: Eugene sent it to me and I was totally in love and I was showing it to a few close friends. Over the course of about a month, I’d shown maybe a dozen people this jpeg on my phone. I went to lunch with my friend Tricia who looks at it and says, “That’s so cool that there’s a map of Louisville on the cover.” It didn’t register to me until later that she was right. And it was another two weeks before I confessed to her that, until she had said something, I had not noticed that yes, the cover of the book features a map of the city.



TQIn Muddy Waters who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Sara:  Maybe the leader of the religious movement in the series was the hardest. I had a hard time trying to get inside the head of someone who might be seen as a zealot, or a cult leader. I find those people fascinating and complicated. Incidentally, I just started watching the series The Path, which is about a cult and it's great research for future characters.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in Muddy Waters?

Sara:  I absolutely wanted to include social issues in the book. What would happen to religion and politics if we discovered that the gods of myth and creatures of folklore are real? It’s not the explicit focus of the book, because that’s not what my main character is really focused on (yet…there are nine more books in the series so that could change….), but as a writer I was very interested in those questions. In this world, the revelation of the existence of Otherwhere ends up condensing religion into just a few major groups, chief among them is the Church of the Earth, whose philosophy is sort of, “Humans only, and we worship the one true God. Everybody else should go back to wherever they came from and your religions are blasphemy.” The world’s governments are fast approaching a New World Order: a whole-planet Earth-based government. In general, I’m very interested in how religion functions in a fantasy novel so I wanted to explore that in the book.



TQWhich question about Muddy Waters do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Sara:  Besides, “Can I purchase 10,000 copies of your book?” (The answer is yes.) I don’t really know…



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Muddy Waters.

Sara:  I’m a fan of, “Athena’s tits, Tessa, you could talk the paper off the walls.”



TQWhat's next?

Sara:  I’ve developed a workshop that show people how to use the rules of improv to write. I’ve been doing improv comedy for about 7 years and it’s had a tremendous effect on my writing.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Sara:  Thank you so much for having me. It’s been my pleasure.





Muddy Waters
Otherwhere 1
Curiosity Quills Press, April 4, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook

Interview with Sara O. Thompson, author of Muddy Waters
Twenty years ago, the boundary between worlds dropped. It will be a while before the political, social, and religious upheaval settles down but the good news is: now you can book a vacation to Valhalla as easily as you can go to Las Vegas. Your real estate agent might be a Wood Sprite. Your mechanic might be a Minotaur. For better or for worse, Supernormals are part of Earth life.

Five years ago, Tessa Reddick was convicted of killing her entire family: 37 Witches from one of the most powerful covens in history. She’s been locked up at Lakeland Psychiatric hospital, still grieving but mad as hell at whoever-or whatever-put her there.

Half an hour ago, a handsome FBI agent showed up to spring Tessa from the joint
-but there’s a price. A series of murders is picking off Supernormals and the feds need the help of the last known Reddick Witch.

Determined to learn who set her up for the fall, help solve the FBI crimes, and maybe get closer to her mysterious (and seriously hot) Dark Elf partner, Tessa is more than willing to play Witchy Nancy Drew.

But Tessa has few friends left and something is coming for her, too - maybe it’s the one who framed her and killed her coven, or perhaps a new foe with a taste for Witch’s blood.

Solving crimes, doing magic, drinking bourbon. It’s dirty work, but somebody has to do it.





About Sara

Interview with Sara O. Thompson, author of Muddy Waters
Sara O. Thompson’s first attempt at a book was prepared on a Remington typewriter and bore a suspicious resemblance to a famous novel whose title rhymes with ‘Gourd of the Spies.’ Since then, she’s written diaries, advertising copy, and a lot of poetry, besides short and long fiction. Her accolades are so minor they bear no mention here, except to say that she once received five sessions with a life coach as a prize for winning an essay contest. In her spare time, she performs improv comedy, occasionally tells stories on stage, and loves ballroom dancing. Sara lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband (who is an ICU nurse) and their twin sons. Muddy Waters is her debut novel.

Website  ~  Facebook
Twitter @ThWritingSpider

Melanie's Week in Review - April 26, 2015




I was finally quite productive this week both with reading and with writing reviews. I was starting to get worried that I had lost my reading and review writing mojo but its back. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - April 26, 2015

I started the week with a debut novel that the lovely Qwill sent to me. Revision by Andrea Phillips is the very first novel to be published by Fireside Fiction Company and will be released on May 5th. I will be writing a full review of this book so keep your eye on the blog next week to find out what I thought about it.


I turned to my Amazon recommendations (again...very bad) and found that the next book in the Seven series by Dannika Dark had been released. It wasn't long before Three Hours was on my Kindle. I have mixed views of this series. I liked book 1 Seven Years, thought book 2 Six Months was OK, did not like book 3 Five Weeks and back to another OK review for book 4 Four Days. Part of me wants to continue reading this story just so I can find out if Dark can get her characters to fall in love in a matter of seconds. There are 2 more books in this series. It's going to have to be love at first sight by the time we get to book 7!

Melanie's Week in Review - April 26, 2015
This instalment starts a few years after the end of book 4 with Lexi and Austin still in love, Izzy and Jericho and Ivy and Lorenzo both have young children and Lexi's human sister Maizy is a tweeny. The story is told mainly from Naya's POV. Naya has appeared in most of the novels as she is Lexi's friend and former neighbour. Naya is an exotic dancer and secret panther shifter. Panthers are feared for being too violent so she has kept her shifter identity secret. When young women start to go missing from her strip club Naya approaches the wolf Alpha Austin for help. He assigns the tattooed Wheeler to be her bodyguard. Naya and Wheeler do not get along and the fireworks start when they are forced to spend more time in each others company. Hiding secrets is the theme in Three Hours as Naya isn't the only one who is keeping secrets. Wheeler has almost as many secrets as he has tattoos and Naya is determined to find out each and every one of them. The other sub-plot is the shifter cage fighting and the seedy underworld that Naya and Wheeler find themselves reluctantly involved in.

This book gets another 'OK' for me. Unlike some of the other female characters Naya is a bit more complex and more developed. She is obviously the most noble and well centered stripper in town who helps out her local animal shelter and came to Lexi's aid more than once. I had a hard time imagining what Wheeler was like besides being covered in tattoos. He also kept saying 'preciate ya' and talked about 'his woman' which I found annoying and misogynistic. I can't understand why the female characters in this series are so objectified and are always getting into trouble when not shaking their 'booty'. I was fully expecting the one book of the series that involved a stripper to have the most hot and steamy but it really didn't. Yes, there is a smoking hot sex scene but really only the one. This is quite refreshing as there is more romance in this PNR.


Melanie's Week in Review - April 26, 2015
My final book for this week was a little bit different. The good people at Curiosity Quills Press rescued my copy of I Kissed a Ghoul by Michael McCarty. I had received a copy from NetGalley in a format I couldn't open, I forgot I had it and then when I went back to sort it out the book had been archived. I apologised for not reading it in time and within an hour the publisher was sending me another copy in a different format. Hurrah!

If you are looking for a light hearted read look no further than McCarty's I Kissed a Ghoul. The 'big boned' teenager Tommy has been desperate to lose his virginity and every time he thinks he is going to get lucky he is thwarted by one of the many supernaturals in his small town. This book is a mere 120 something pages of Tommy's desperate attempts to seduce almost every female in town while fighting off vampires, werewolves and cannibals. Tommy doesn't seem to think that any of these supernatural encounters are anything out of the ordinary which makes it all the more amusing. One particularly funny scene occurs when Tommy's parents go on vacation leaving him home alone. He watches Tom Cruise in Risky Business and with the help of his father's credit card decides to re-enact the movie. This had me chuckling all the way through. Tommy isn't especially likeable and does seem to be either incredibly naive or incredibly dim but even so, you can't help but feel a bit sorry for him. He is just an overweight teenager looking for love (or a desperate girlfriend who wants to have a lot of sex). If you are looking for something different, a few laughs and a quick read then this is the book for you.


That is it for me for this week. I hope you have a great week ahead and Happy Reading.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2015 Winner


The winner of the January 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is The Mussorgsky Riddle by Darin Kennedy with 38% of all votes. The Mussorgsky Riddle is published by Curiosity Quills Press.



2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2015 Winner




The Final Results

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2015 Winner




The January 2015 Debut Covers

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2015 Winner




Thank you to everyone who voted, Tweeted, and participated. The 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will continue with voting on the February Debut covers starting on February 15, 2015. Look for the list of Februarys Debuts on February 1st.

Interview with Darin Kennedy, author of The Mussorgsky Riddle - January 12, 2015


Please welcome Darin Kennedy to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews! The Mussorgsky Riddle is published by Curiosity Quills Press on January 12, 2015. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Darin a very Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Darin Kennedy, author of The Mussorgsky Riddle - January 12, 2015




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Darin:  It was summer, 2003. I was stuck in a MIG hangar in northern Iraq during Operation: Iraqi Freedom with nothing to do but eat, sleep, keep our soldiers in good shape (I was an Army Doc - think Hawkeye from MASH with a little bit of Winchester), and work out. I had always wanted to write a book, so I did.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Darin:  I'm a plantser. I always map out the plot of my story in my head, but I don't write it down until I'm well into the story and I need to make sure the dates and days don't get messed up. Honestly, discovery writing is one of the most fun parts of the whole thing.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Darin:  Finding the time to do it. Being a family practice doctor is 50+ hours a week and pretty mentally exhausting. I write when I have the time and energy.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Darin:  I grew up on Tolkien, love Stephen King (Dark Tower, especially), want to be Neil Gaiman.



TQ:  Describe The Mussorgsky Riddle in 140 characters or less.

Darin:  It's about a 13 year old boy who is lost inside his own mind and the psychic that's got to go in there and find him.



TQ:  Tell us something about The Mussorgsky Riddle that is not in the book description.

Darin:  It contains elements of two of my favorite classical pieces, Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky and Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov.



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Mussorgsky Riddle?

Darin:  Honestly, I was reading the back of the CD case of Pictures at an Exhibition, looked at the titles of the various movements and thought simply, "Hey. Those are chapter titles..."



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Mussorgsky Riddle?

Darin:  I scoured the internet for information on Modest Mussorgsky, his inspiration Viktor Hartmann, Pictures at an Exhibition in all its incarnations, Scheherazade, as well as many other more mundane things to establish appropriate verisimilitude.



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Darin:  The easiest? Baba Yaga. She is so delightfully wicked that I had fun generating every word that came out of her iron-toothed mouth. As for the hardest, likely Mira herself. The whole book is done in first person present tense POV from Mira's point of view. I often wondered if I was pulling off an authentic female voice. I've been assured by many female friends who have read it that I succeeded, but I sweated that issue often as I wrote this book.



TQ:  Which question about your novel do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Darin:  I have been advised by my attorney not to answer this question as I may incriminate myself, or introduce a spoiler into this fine interview. ;-)



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Mussorgsky Riddle.

Darin:
"Before I can complete the thought a maelstrom of color envelopes me. Vivid and bright, muted and pastel, light and dark, the entire spectrum flies at me, a tidal wave of prismatic light. If there’s a place rainbows go when they die, it’s here. Everything and everyone fades away in the flood of color and I am alone."


TQ:  What's next?

Darin:  Up until a couple of weeks ago, I thought this story was over, had even started writing another book, when it suddenly hit me what happens next. To anyone who falls in love with Mira, I have just started new for you. Now, let's see what happens...



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Darin:  Thank you for having me! This was a blast!





The Mussorgsky Riddle
Curiosity Quills Press, January 12, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 350 pages

Interview with Darin Kennedy, author of The Mussorgsky Riddle - January 12, 2015
Psychic Mira Tejedor possesses unique talents that enable her to find anything and anyone, but now she must find a comatose boy wandering lost inside the labyrinth of his own mind. Thirteen-year-old Anthony Faircloth hasn’t spoken a word in almost a month and with each passing day, his near catatonic state worsens. No doctor, test, or scan can tell Anthony’s distraught mother what has happened to her already troubled son. In desperation, she turns to Mira for answers, hoping her unique abilities might succeed where science has failed.

At their first encounter, Mira is pulled into Anthony’s mind and finds the child’s psyche shattered into the various movements of Modest Mussorgsky’s classical music suite, Pictures at an Exhibition. As she navigates this magical dreamscape drawn from Anthony’s twin loves of Russian composers and classical mythology, Mira must contend with gnomes, troubadours, and witches in her search for the truth behind Anthony’s mysterious malady.

The real world, however, holds its own dangers. The onset of Anthony’s condition coincides with the disappearance of his older brother’s girlfriend, a missing persons case that threatens to tear the city apart. Mira discovers that in order to save Anthony, she will have to catch a murderer who will stop at nothing to keep the secrets contained in Anthony’s unique mind from ever seeing the light.





About Darin

Interview with Darin Kennedy, author of The Mussorgsky Riddle - January 12, 2015
Darin Kennedy, born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Bowman Gray School of Medicine. After completing family medicine residency in the mountains of Virginia, he served eight years as a United States Army physician and wrote his first novel in 2003 in the sands of northern Iraq.

His debut novel, The Mussorgsky Riddle, was born from a fusion of two of his lifelong loves: classical music and world mythology. His short stories can be found in various publications and he is currently hard at work on his next novel.

Doctor by day and novelist by night, he writes and practices medicine in Charlotte, North Carolina. When not engaged in either of the above activities, he has been known to strum the guitar, enjoy a bite of sushi, and rumor has it he even sleeps on occasion.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @DarinKennedy

Guest Blog by Darin Kennedy, author of The Mussorgsky Riddle - December 27, 2014


Please welcome Darin Kennedy to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs! The Mussorgsky Riddle will be published by Curiosity Quills Press on January 12, 2015.



Guest Blog by Darin Kennedy, author of The Mussorgsky Riddle - December 27, 2014




A big thank you to Sally ‘Qwill” Janin for inviting me to guest blog on The Qwillery site and also for inviting me to be a part of The Qwillery 2015 Debut Author Challenge. It is one minute to midnight on Christmas Day as I begin to write, and if I’m a little punchy, know that Steven Moffat has just run me through the emotional roller coaster of “Last Christmas” followed by a rerun of “The Time of the Doctor” – many of you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, you’re missing out.

A quick introduction: I’m Darin Kennedy and my debut novel, The Mussorgsky Riddle, is due out January 12th, 2015 from Curiosity Quills Press. The last nine months have been a whirlwind of activity since my acceptance at this awesome press (CQ treats its authors very well and produces a quality book) with the various revisions from three different editors, the long process of cover design and redesign, the inspection of final layouts and proofs, the initiation of the book’s marketing plan, and the scheduling of various conventions / signings / conferences / interviews. And the funny thing? That’s the condensed version. And now, we’re less than three weeks from the launch of my very first novel. Pretty exciting times. But it took a long time to get here.

Growing up, I always heard about mountaintop experiences. Many times, this metaphor was something I heard about in church, but as I’ve gotten older, it’s actually become a pretty apt metaphor for life in general. Right now, with a book coming out, interviews being done, signings being scheduled, etc. – this is a mountaintop experience. I’m at the top of Mt. Mitchell and looking east as the sun rises through the fog on a crisp September morning. This does not change the fact that I hiked for hours to get to this point, froze my butt off through the rainy night, and wore a blister on my left heel. Right now, it’s all about the view. It won’t last forever, so I should enjoy it while I can. And then what? Time to hike again.

To all the writers out there. You’re not always going to be on the mountaintop. Many times you’re down in the valley of agent rejection or climbing the hill of “Why can’t I make this chapter work?” Sometimes it seems like you’ll never see the sky again, much less the horizon, on your little walk through the woods. The pack can get heavy, your feet sore, your back tired.

My advice? Keep hiking. If you have a story to tell, tell it. If you don’t know enough about writing to tell it the way you want to, learn. If the first agent / editor / publisher doesn’t bite, send it to another one. If the first book doesn’t sell, write another one. When my first book never found a home despite the fact that book was the one that landed me an agent, it would have been easy to pack up and go home, but a very smart writer (who specializes in YA zombie novels) told me five years ago that the people who don’t succeed in this business are the ones who stop trying. So, to all you aspiring writers out there: Keep trying. Keep learning. Keep getting better until you’re the best writer you can be. And most importantly, keep writing!





The Mussorgsky Riddle
Curiosity Quills Press, January 12, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 350 pages

Guest Blog by Darin Kennedy, author of The Mussorgsky Riddle - December 27, 2014
Psychic Mira Tejedor possesses unique talents that enable her to find anything and anyone, but now she must find a comatose boy wandering lost inside the labyrinth of his own mind. Thirteen-year-old Anthony Faircloth hasn’t spoken a word in almost a month and with each passing day, his near catatonic state worsens. No doctor, test, or scan can tell Anthony’s distraught mother what has happened to her already troubled son. In desperation, she turns to Mira for answers, hoping her unique abilities might succeed where science has failed.

At their first encounter, Mira is pulled into Anthony’s mind and finds the child’s psyche shattered into the various movements of Modest Mussorgsky’s classical music suite, Pictures at an Exhibition. As she navigates this magical dreamscape drawn from Anthony’s twin loves of Russian composers and classical mythology, Mira must contend with gnomes, troubadours, and witches in her search for the truth behind Anthony’s mysterious malady.

The real world, however, holds its own dangers. The onset of Anthony’s condition coincides with the disappearance of his older brother’s girlfriend, a missing persons case that threatens to tear the city apart. Mira discovers that in order to save Anthony, she will have to catch a murderer who will stop at nothing to keep the secrets contained in Anthony’s unique mind from ever seeing the light.





About Darin

Guest Blog by Darin Kennedy, author of The Mussorgsky Riddle - December 27, 2014
Darin Kennedy, born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Bowman Gray School of Medicine. After completing family medicine residency in the mountains of Virginia, he served eight years as a United States Army physician and wrote his first novel in 2003 in the sands of northern Iraq.

His debut novel, The Mussorgsky Riddle, was born from a fusion of two of his lifelong loves: classical music and world mythology. His short stories can be found in various publications and he is currently hard at work on his next novel.

Doctor by day and novelist by night, he writes and practices medicine in Charlotte, North Carolina. When not engaged in either of the above activities, he has been known to strum the guitar, enjoy a bite of sushi, and rumor has it he even sleeps on occasion.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @DarinKennedy


Guest Blog by Nina Post - My Five Influences from 1978 - October 3, 2013


Please welcome Nina Post to The Qwillery. Nina is the author of several novels including her most recent, the YA mystery/adventure Extra Credit Epidemic.



Guest Blog by Nina Post - My Five Influences from 1978 - October 3, 2013




My Five Influences from 1978

In honor of The Qwillery's fifth anniversary, and with Halloween coming up in a few weeks, here are five of my influences from 1978.
Just because.

1) Halloween Horror from A&M Records

This record was actually released in 1977. Side A was a ghost story about a young man who inherited an antebellum mansion called Elm Hall. Side B was spooky sound effects. The artwork on the album was just as moody and atmospheric as the well-narrated story. See artwork and a
great piece about the album here:
http://brandedinthe80s.com/6766/halloween-horrors.

2) The World According to Garp by John Irving

''In the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases." This bestselling book, Irving's fourth, was published in 1978 when the author was 36. It was dark, violent, mordantly funny, and to an 11-year-old, an unsettling glimpse into adulthood. The protagonist was a writer, and this fascinated me. Garp seared an Irving-shaped brand into my mind, marking a clear demarcation between life-before and life-after.

3) Red Cross First Aid book

This was in the family bookshelf, and I must have read it at least fifty times when I was a kid, which might have had something to do with my tendency to take bloody wounds in stride. It had stylized yet gruesome images of various wounds, burns, frostbite, bone injuries, etc. Imagine if an airline safety card depicted what happens to people who don't use the slide properly. As startling as the images were, they didn't compare to the physical atrocities (the eye, the castration, the tongues) suffered by the characters in Garp.

4) Night Shift by Stephen King

"Let's talk, you and I. Let's talk about fear," King writes in his first foreword, in his first collection of stories. The volume includes Sometimes They Come Back, Children of the Corn, The Last Rung on the Ladder, The Woman in the Room, and Night Surf, which mentions the virus Captain Trips (from The Stand, also published in 1978).

5) Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby, Jr.

I read Requiem years after it was published, then I watched the movie, which is something you only want to see once. As Selby told The Guardian back in 2001, "Sara, Harry, Tyrone, Marion, do not stand out in a crowd, they are simply one of many who do the best they can to get through a day, trying to find a little happiness without hurting anyone." The humanity and the gradual downfall of Sara, the lonely widow, is particularly poignant. Requiem shows the "images of the Great American Dream, and how its seeking and attainment will destroy you."






Extra Credit Epidemic

Extra Credit Epidemic
Curiosity Quills Press, July 1, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 214 pages

Guest Blog by Nina Post - My Five Influences from 1978 - October 3, 2013
Taffy Snackerge is a high school senior who likes doing things her way. Gifted in science, she'd rather analyze infectious diseases and pick up a girl for the occasional fling than deal with her boring schoolwork or the high school social scene. When she notices a surprising number of cases of food poisoning in the area, she's eager to dig in and find the cause.

To help with the investigation, Taffy approaches the only teacher she's ever liked and respected, Van Brenner. As a former state epidemiologist, Van is uniquely qualified to help Taffy get the data and insights that she needs. However, Van has one condition: Taffy needs to work with two other students on the case, and she doesn't get to pick them.

As the cases start to multiply and the underfunded state health department continues to drag their feet, Taffy knows that it's up to her to find out what's making so many people sick. But can she learn to work with her two teammates -- including a beautiful, hyper-organized girl who's president of the Young Attachés Club and an emotional overeater who can't go out in public without his lucha libre mask -- while still retaining her autonomy? Can the team fend off a snooping assistant principal and step up when the adults let them down? And can they locate the source of the outbreak before it reaches epidemic proportions?





About Nina

Guest Blog by Nina Post - My Five Influences from 1978 - October 3, 2013
Nina Post is a fiction writer who lives in Seattle. She is the author of DANGER IN CAT WORLD, EXTRA CREDIT EPIDEMIC, THE LAST CONDO BOARD OF THE APOCALYPSE, THE LAST DONUT SHOP OF THE APOCALYPSE, and ONE GHOST PER SERVING.

Website  ~  Twitter @ninapost  ~  Goodreads  ~  Pinterest





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