Writing outside the plot box… #writingtips

We’ve all heard the term, “Think outside the box”, what about writing outside the plot box?

Here’s the thing, there’s a sense of safety by staying within the structure of a pre-determined plot. You’ve done your pre-writing work, you have your characters, their motivations, their history, you’ve got your first third, second third, and last third of your plot set, you know where the darkest moment exists, and how your protag triumphs and grows. You are now ready to rock this story…

Until the unthinkable happens…the story goes off the rails.

Wails of agony and gnashing of teeth ensues. You may even toss the computer you so loved a few weeks/months earlier out the nearest window, uncaring of the replacement costs. How dare your story do this! The path was clear, this was NOT SUPPOSE TO HAPPEN.

Now what is the poor, beleaguered  writer to do?

Go with it, follow those rails and see where they lead. You might discover the shiny rock you thought was the diamond, is nothing but cubic zirconia.  The real story diamond was hiding down on the left, just past the avalanche of sub-plots and hidden character motivations. That teasing sparkle, that’s the one that’s going to take your story to a new level, and maybe, just maybe take the writer along with it. That one niggling thing that wasn’t quite working, it now all makes sense. That gnarly knot keeping things murky and hollow, you’ve found that one move that lays it out in a beautiful complex pattern.

One of the best things about being a writer, is finding these hidden traps in your own writing. The journey to escape them adds layers to your writing, and who can complain about a story with unexpected depths?

*whispering behind my hand* I don’t think any of your readers will.

Viva imagination, honor those unexpected paths and let your characters led you, you might like what’s at the end.


Why Outlining is Not in my Future… #writingtips

unanswered questions - brainstorming concept

Previously I did a post regarding writing rules and I mentioned they were not my friends. Let me introduce you to the one that drives me the most crazy, the one I’ve had to part ways with if I want to remain a partially sane writer–the outline.

Now, there are many, many writers who swear by this medival torture device, but you won’t find me joining in. I started my writing career as a pantser, someone who writes by the seat of their pants. By the third book of the Kyn (Shadow’s Moon) I realized I’d need a map of sorts to keep my world structure stable. I decided to outline.

Um yeah, that worked…kind of. I could give myself some help direction wise, as long as I have the major story points identified, I’m good. But if I take it deeper and begin to outline chapter by chapter I found I’d write myself into dead ends and get frustrated.

I can hear you all now, why? Outlines should help your story just roll along.

*shakes head sadly* Not for me, unfortunately. Instead of helping me, an outline tends to kill those unexpected creative sparks that send my characters in a direction I never expected, or my story down roads I didn’t even know existed.  For some odd reason, if I plot out the major player moves, I become bored. And let’s be honest, if the writer is bored, the reader isn’t even going to get through page 2.

Instead I focus on my characters and what’s motivating them. I need to know, why these characters, why their story now? What is going on in their lives right now that makes their story the one I have to write? An outline won’t help me with that.

In quiet desperation I’ve had to go back and admit I must stay a pantser. So now working on the second PSY-IV Team book, I’ve nixed the outline I had all pretty and ordered from early last year and just started where it works for me–with a general idea of my characters and what challenges they’ll face.

Freed from the restrictions of a pre-determined outline, now my story can take me to the unexpected places, the ones where a truly intriguing story is born.

For those asking what my post’s point is, it’s this–if you’re a writer, don’t feel like you have to follow a rule that doesn’t work for you. We have tons of rules to pick from. Pick the ones that work, disregard the rest. Part of what makes creativity work is the ability to forget the rules and follow that spark to see where it takes not just you, but your audience as well.

New Release: SHADOW’S CURSE hits shelves Jan. 17th! #UF #newread

It’s here! SHADOW’S CURSE is now available, and if you haven’t picked up your copy, go…go…go!

This is the fourth installment in my Kyn Kronicles from Black Opal Books, so if you’re looking for an edge of the seat ride, hop on in and hang on…

Shadows Curse Cover


Beauty is a treacherous bitch, and her name is Natasha.

Death and chaos can devastate even the best-laid plans…

As the leader of the Amanusa, Natasha Bertoi thrives on chaos, but when tragedy strikes the Northwest Kyn, leaving bodies and betrayal in its wake, not even she is prepared for the fallout. With Northwest houses in an uproar and the Wraiths hungry for blood, all her carefully laid plans are put to the test as she wards off the greedy clutches of the ruling Kyn Council. Her plans and pawns are moving along nicely, until he joins the game.

Whispers of treachery draw Darius Abazi to the Northwest in search of justice honed with vengeance. After years of protecting the Council and its secrets he harbors no illusions on how lies can be twisted into truth. As death stalks the Northwest Kyn, he faces off with the beautiful, but manipulative Natasha to uncover the mastermind behind it all.


Available January 17th in eBook and Print at:  AMAZON / BARNES AND NOBLE / BLACK OPAL BOOKS / iBOOKS


Present Day, Deep in the Taurus Mountains in Turkey…

Darkness spread its opaque cloak over the cobbled paths winding between the stone buildings while silence crouched and waited. In this small corner, goats walked streets too narrow for cars, and the human inhabitants were tucked inside their humble homes. Inside the inky confines of a rustic alley, a figure slipped from the shadows and through the unlocked wooden door of one of the homes.

“You’re late, Darius.” The sharp greeting came from the man lounging with casual elegance among the jewel festooned pillows on one of the low-slung couches.

“And you’re in a pisser of a mood, Zayn.” Unfazed by the rude welcome, Darius snagged an olive from the table. Popping it into his mouth, he grabbed an empty cup and poured a drink. Taking a handful of olives and his cup, he walked across the lush, overlapping rugs and sprawled on the other sofa. He studied Zayn as he chewed, taking in the overly long white shirt paired with sand-colored linen pants. Despite his sun-streaked blond hair and the small abode’s rich haven of comfort, Zayn still managed to convey a Middle Eastern flare.

“Until we find out who is behind Mulcahy’s death, I don’t see that changing.” Zayn lifted his own cup, his sleeve fluttering with the movement. “What did you find out?”

Darius chased the olives’ lingering salty tartness away with a quick sip and wiped his fingers against the dark denim covering his thigh, before answering. “We were right to question the account received from the Northwest Kyn. There is more to the story than they are sharing.” And he intended to uncover just what that ‘more’ entailed.

Zayn’s lips twisted into a grimace. “No surprise there. No way would Natasha cough up the whole story.”

No, the little demon queen was too intelligent to show her hand to the Council. It didn’t stop the whispers though. “There are rumors she could be behind his death.” And if the rumors were true, Darius would ensure she’d be facing someone much more dangerous than the Kyn’s Council.

“I thought they shared a history.”

Darius gave his companion a dark frown and shrugged his shoulders. “Shared history doesn’t mean shit when power is on the line. Mulcahy’s death created some damn explosive opportunities. She’s grabbing as many as she can. What does that tell you?”

“She’s an intelligent woman?”

Zayn’s quip drew a snort from Darius. “Of that, I have no doubt. She didn’t get to her current position on looks alone.”

“No, she’s not one to let emotional attachments get in the way of her plans.” His tone as dry as the winds of summer, Zayn advised, “Be careful that she doesn’t return you and your ego in nice, bloody pieces.”

Leaning back, Darius stretched his arms across the back of the couch, confident in his appeal to the fairer sex. He’d been described as a study of shadows. From his olive-toned skin to his dark, shoulder-length hair and closely trimmed goatee, the description was warranted. The only unsettling bit of color was his eyes—ice-cold blue ringed in fiery red. A deep chuckle escaped. “Would you miss me?”

“You?” Zayn shrugged. “Not so much. But there might be few others with a different opinion.” Humor bled away, a startling seriousness taking its place. “This change. It’s been hundreds of years in the making. Unfortunately, Mulcahy’s death has accelerated things. If they aren’t handled correctly, the outcome could be extremely detrimental to our goals.”

“I haven’t forgotten.” Hard to forget when the line they walked was razor thin.

A small nod. “We won’t be welcomed.”

Darius’s smile was anything but friendly. “Their welcome is not my worry. Nor should it be yours.”

“Don’t underestimate them. Ryan Mulcahy was not the only reason the Northwest Kyn have become who they are.”

“Yet, he’s the one who held them together.” A fact that someone out there knew all too well, or Mulcahy wouldn’t be dead. Darius’s hand tightened into a fist, his knuckles showing white through his skin as he fought back the grim wave of fury and grief.

“Perhaps. But he hasn’t done it alone.” Zayn paused. “Do they know about you?”

They could apply to so many—the Council, the Northwest Kyn, the one’s behind Mulcahy’s death—but in this instance Darius knew which they was implied. They were the Northwest’s Wraiths, a shadowy group of warriors, standing between the American public and the nightmares haunting the dark. “No. They know only what they need to.” And until he discovered who was playing for whom, it would remain that way.

Zayn rubbed a hand over his clean-shaven chin. “The potential for a shitstorm is tremendous.”

“There’s no ‘potential’ about it.” Too much was at stake to walk delicately now. “Mulcahy’s death changed the game. Without him, there is no one left to bridge the emerging division of the Council. Sides will be picked. We need to stack the odds in our favor.” Odds that had shifted with one violent act.

Zayn raised his cup in silent agreement. For a few minutes, quiet reigned. He broke it with, “Did DiMarcco give you your orders?” When Darius remained mute, Zayn gave a small smile of acknowledgement. “Our esteemed leader won’t admit to worry. Instead, he and the rest of the Council will couch it in false concern and empty platitudes. Yet they are watching and waiting. Will Mulcahy’s Kyn will rise or fall?” He slowly rolled the cup cradled in his hands. “Of course, it would not surprise me if some are trying to assist their desired outcome.”

Council maneuverings were a given, especially as current events threatened to tear the last threads from the fragile veil hiding the Kyn from mortal view. Some on the Council weren’t opposed to the impending revelation, so long as their agenda succeeded. “Dissension is an insidious ploy. It can turn on a whim. Many are unprepared for what they wrought.” A lesson Darius had watched more than one learn the hard way. “I don’t think the outcome will be what anyone expects.”

“Still, tread carefully. The path isn’t as clear as it once was, and I would not put it past the high-and-mighty Council to offer you up should a scapegoat be needed.”

“Or you,” Darius drawled.

Zayn sighed then raised his cup in a silent toast. “I’m going to miss the bastard. He was bloody brilliant. His people should prove interesting.”

“If nothing else, they will make our visit all the more entertaining.” A predatory grin broke across Darius’s face, while anticipation hummed under his words.


Available in eBook and Print now at:  AMAZON / BARNES AND NOBLE / BLACK OPAL BOOKS / iBOOKS


Jami Gray Small

Jami Gray is the award winning, multi-published author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, and the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams.  She is surrounded by Star Wars obsessed males and a male lab, who masquerades as a floor rug as she plays with the voices in her head.

Come stalk Jami at any of these fine locations:

Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter  /  Goodreads  /  Google+  /  Amazon


When To Dump Those Writing Rules #writing #breaktherules

Everything we do has rules, right? And writing has a PLETHORA of rules.  Write what you know. Do your research. You must have an outline. Your characters must have depth. You must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Don’t headhop. Don’t…don’t…do…do…

A writer could get lost in the rules. Hell, the rules can wrap your muse in tight bonds and drag them down in the deep dark abyss of rules, leaving the writer questioning every word they write.

I will never claim to be an expert on writing. I basically take the stories running around creating havoc in my head and put them to paper, hoping my readers will get lost in my weird worlds. Yet I was chatting with another writer friend of mine and came to a startling realization–the rules and I must part ways.

I do writer conferences to learn new things, things other authors have found successful, things that maybe I can mimic for my own success. But, I’ve had to admit, some rules just aren’t for me.

I’ve been making up stories forever, and I never once paid attention, consciously, to any writing rules. Not until I started putting things into print. At first, the rules helped keep me from dropping off into the deep end of the writing world. These basic rules helped me refine my stories, polishing them until they were presentable for readers.

Now, when I’m working on my sixth full length novel, I’ve realized the rules are starting to dull my muse. They’re luring me into a cookie cutter formula for writing, and that is a death knell for any writer. No writer worth their ink wants to become predictable. So what to do?

I’ve had to drown out the lingering voices of “do this, don’t do this” and replace it with “let the story tell itself” or “let your characters be free”, which is harder than it sounds. It’s easy to get lost in the clamor of what to do to be a great writer, just hang on to why you sat down in the first place, let your heart’s ink bleed on to paper, and tell your story….

The Almost Kiss, part of the Almost Kiss, No Kiss blogfest #nokissblogest #shadowscurse


Let’s start the new year off right. Today we’re taking part in the Almost Kiss, No Kiss blog fest.  You know what I’m talking about…that scene you read that gets your pulse racing, anticipation firing numerous warning shots, but instead of the expected follow through, the scene veres to left or right or a completely unknown path. That’s what we’re celebrating and you can join by clicking on the picture above to find more heart pounding near kisses, or the link here:

No Kiss Blog Fest

As January 17th is almost around the corner, I thought I’d share a peek into the fourth Kyn installment, SHADOW’S CURSE before it debuts. May I give you Natasha and Darius….

Shadows Curse CoverNatasha stopped in front of the fire and the minor question disappeared like smoke. Those slim shoulders dropped, and she dragged a hand through her white-blonde curtain of hair, leaving it a tumbled mess. One his fingers itched to dive into. She turned her head, the firelight lining her profile with dancing shadows. Unexpected lust spiraled through Darius, his body hardening.

Her lips held a soft curl. “Are you going to watch me all night?”

He blinked as her question sank in. Releasing his hold on the concealing shadows, he faced her. “How long?”

Those blue eyes deepened into an inky mystery as they traveled over his loose, low-slung pants and bare chest. He reacted to the caress of her gaze as if it was a physical touch. His blood running hot and thick, need coming up on point. When their stares finally locked, he found an answering desire flickering in her depths. Her pink tongue swept out over her bottom lip. A nervous tic or deliberate provocation? Did it really matter?

“Before I dialed Rio.” Her voice was a husky rasp.

It took his brain a second to catch up. He gave himself a metaphoric head slap. Get your head in the game, ass! He prowled closer until he stood inches from her. She held her position, her face in profile above her shoulder, watching him from under those thick, dark lashes. Her unique fragrance of night blooming jasmine laced with feminine heat drifted to him. Keeping his hands at his side, he dipped his head and drew the scent deep into his lungs. His mark lay like a faint bruise against her alabaster skin, a temptation he choose not to ignore. He pressed the lightest of kisses to it, inordinately pleased with the rapid rise and fall of her chest. Lifting his head, he held her bemused gaze. “You didn’t give him my name.”

Her throat worked as she swallowed. “Rumors fly faster than light, he may find you out soon.”

“Perhaps.” He searched her face, taking in the light rose under her cheeks, the widening of her eyes and the small pants as she fought for air. He’d like to capture those lips and plunder until she could only breathe what he shared with her. The overly possessive urge had him straightening with a jerk and stepping back. The attraction between them was…uncomfortable.

Under his skin, his demon hissed and clawed, furious at what the man was denying them both. He shook his head sharply. No, fucking this woman would only complicate an already difficult situation. Needing to regain control, he struck out, using the tools at his disposal. “Do you think seducing me will keep you safe?”

She stiffened, then deliberately turned fully towards him with haughty grace. Her rising signs of desire disappeared under a cold, mocking mask, her eyes flashing as her lips curled in contempt. “May I remind you, you invaded my bedroom, Mr. Abazi.” Ice dripped from her words. “Is that normal for one of the Order? Do you normally whore yourself out for the Council?”

Her vicious implication shredded his tenuous control. Before he could rethink the wisdom of his actions, he had her curvy body plastered against his front. Those red tipped nails bit against the skin of his chest, his erection cradled against her stomach while his hand tangled in the platinum mass as he held her captive. “No more than you’d whore yourself for your precious houses,” he growled, before taking her mouth with a barely leashed savagery. No gentleness, only pure lust and need swirling in a savage storm. He ravaged with punishing intent, small bites and rapacious tongue, unwilling to give her room to escape. She met him with equal heat and passion. Hunger began to edge out his fury, allowing him to fill the sting of her nails as they raked against his chest. He loosened his grip, allowing her to yank out of his hold.

He looked down, unsurprised to find bloody gouges scoring his skin. His animalistic side took satisfaction in the sight. He lifted his head in time to catch the tail end of her wiping the back of her hand over her swollen mouth. The wavering image of her demon hovered around her like a barely remembered dream.

She faced him, her hands fisted at her side, chest heaving. “Touch me again, Abazi and I’ll shred your balls into confetti,” she hissed.

He smiled and crossed his arms over his chest, ignoring his still seeping wounds. “Challenging me isn’t in your best interests, darling, but you’re welcome to try.”

Those lips thinned and the feral hiss was all that escaped. His smile widened. Rendering her speechless was quite rewarding, but it didn’t last long. Regrettably, she pulled herself together much faster than he liked, the revealing mirage of her demon whisked away, leaving the controlled corporate maven behind. “I have no intention of challenging you.”

He raised an unbelieving eyebrow. “What intentions do you harbor?”

She studied him, her thoughts well shielded. “I intend to uncover who’s setting me up, regardless of who’s pulling the strings.”

“And then?”

Her smile was all predator. “Then, I’ll remind them of what happens to those who go against me.”

“Even if it brings you and yours unwanted attention?” he pushed.

Her chin lifted. “It’s never smart to rattled the cage of a beast you can’t handle. Something someone’s forgotten.”

He titled his head in wry acknowledgement.

She strolled to the door and pulled it open. “Get out.” A tremor ran through the low words. Fury or fear, he wasn’t sure.

Knowing if he pushed her any further, one or both of them would pay for it. Perhaps in flesh and blood. He strolled to the door, only to stop in front of her. He raised a finger and drew it down her pale jaw, impressed when she didn’t visibly react. “You asked Rio a question.”

Stiff and unbending, she held her tongue.

“Would you like an answer?” He caught the flicker of unease she tried to hide. “You are being hunted, Natasha.”

Hope I managed to snag your interest! You can get all of Natasha and Darius’s story January 17th when SHADOW’S CURSE hits shelves.  Until then, go forth and enjoy some really intriguing reads with the Almost Kiss, No Kiss blog fest...


2015 is coming…. #newyear #goals

I’m watching 2014 disappear on the horizon with a huge sigh of….relief? frustration? melancholy?  Maybe all three? Yeah, probably all three. 2014 was a tough year all around for our clan. Lots of change, heart breaking loss, and ending the year celebrating a joyful marriage of two beautiful souls. A roller coaster ride for sure.

So before 2015 steps on stage, I’m taking stock and prepping for the new year. While the last few months have taken a toll on my writing (yes, I’m behind on where I’d hoped to be on the second book of the PSY-IV series), it’s time to get back in the saddle and pony up.  Like many out there, the arrival of the new year means it’s time for me to set new goals, with a renewed sense of purpose.

First up, focus more on writing, and try marketing wisely–not everywhere all the time, but where it may do the most good. Of course, I’m not the best on marketing, but I’ll keep working on it. However, the best marketing I can do is to write the next book. So here’s to sticking to my two books a year plan.

Finding that delicate balance between work/family/writing that every writer struggles with. Wouldn’t it be great if that famous magic wand really existed? Much easier to swish that balance into being, than constantly readjusting my balance. It’s those little things life throws at you, that tend to tip the scales to much one way.

Taking time to just enjoy time with my family.  This is huge, for all of us. That old saying about time flying by, it’s spot on. My Prankster Duo will both be in high school this year and the countdown until they start their own journeys is starting to drown out all others.  I want to create memories we can all carry through the years.

So do you have your goals set? Are you ready when 2015 comes knocking? I’m hoping to be able to offer 2015 tea and crumpets (whatever those are, but I think we have some Oreos around here) and start the year off right.

By the way, you have to come back on Jan. 2nd because we are taking part in the Almost Kiss, No Kiss Blog fest. You don’t want to miss out, plus start the year off write with some great reads!

Why Reading Romance does more than increase your heart rate…

Guest post…


It’s no secret that reading offers some amazing benefits. According to Reader’s Digest, a love of books can help protect your brain from Alzheimer’s disease, encourage positive thinking, fortify friendships, and even boost your workout. But romance novels can provide all that, and then some.

We know what you’re probably thinking: aren’t romance novels just cheesy, clichéd, unrealistic stories for a reader who’s looking for a way to pass the time? If so, you’re not alone in your assumptions. As Woman’s Day points out, romance novels are often accused of generating false expectations among readers. But when it comes down to it, that’s simply not the case at all. So before you bash your bestie for reading yet another steamy paperback, check out these reasons why you should be reading more romance.

Improved Sex Life>

Despite what the naysayers tell you, reading romance can actually lead to an improved sex life. It’s not difficult to see why. These novels are full of hot love scenes that go on for pages and pages. Halfway through the book and we’ll bet you’ll be inspired to try out some sexy scenarios of your own. As Adam & Eve writes, whether you’re single or in a relationship (or somewhere in between), reading erotica is a great way to focus your mind on the sexual and give your libido a boost. Who couldn’t benefit from that?

The situations that play out between the characters in your book can provide endless ideas for you to explore, allowing you to linger on desires and fantasies you may have never fully realized before. After all, life can get busy, leaving little time for “you” time. Between working, errand-running, family obligations— whatever it may be that fills up your schedule on a daily basis—the fact of the matter is our needs can often get lost in the shuffle. Romance novels can get you back in touch with your sensual side, providing the perfect opportunity to rediscover what makes you feel in the mood.

Increased Empathy

A recent study shows that readers of romance may be more empathetic than those who aren’t lovers of the genre. ABC News reports that the research, conducted by psychologist Katrina Fong, is based on a group of (mostly) women who were asked if they recognized the names of various romance authors. They were then shown pictures of actors and asked to guess each one’s emotional state.

As it turns out, the women who recognized more authors were also better at identifying the actors’ emotions. While there are certainly a lot of factors at play in a study such as this, the correlation between reading romance novels and empathy may have to do with the way relationships are often portrayed in the romance genre.

A large chunk of a romance novel is spent developing deep, intimate connections between characters, and that important fictional relationship teaches genuine expressions of affection towards others. In a genre that focuses on interpersonal relationships, it makes sense that an avid reader of romance would garner some skills that benefit their real-life bonds. The more you read romance, the more you see relationships develop and grow, and the more empathy you show in your own relationships, whether they are romantic in nature or not.

Reduced Stress

As we mentioned before, romance novels are often cited as being unrealistic, in that they revolve around storylines that are unlikely to happen to the average reader. While this is usually seen as a bad thing, the opposite tends to be true. It’s this departure from realism that makes romance novels so appealing—and so beneficial for your emotional health. According to Kumon, a 2009 study found that reading for just six minutes can reduce stress levels by up to 68 percent. While it’s true this applies to any fiction novel, the level of escapism a book provides is even greater in the romance genre.

Romance novels provide an outlet from reality and the everyday stresses that come with it. The content of these stories is often so removed from what is happening in our real lives that our worries are forgotten as we read. Nothing against the classics, but doesn’t delving into pages filled with sexy love scenes and flirtatious banter sound more relaxing than reading about the struggles of a 19th century orphan living on the streets? If it’s stress relief we’re going for, dick wins out over Dickens any day.

It’s no secret that reading offers some amazing benefits. According to Reader’s Digest, a love of books can help protect your brain from Alzheimer’s disease, encourage positive thinking, fortify friendships, and even boost your workout. But romance novels can provide all that, and then some.

We know what you’re probably thinking: aren’t romance novels just cheesy, clichéd, unrealistic stories for a reader who’s looking for a way to pass the time? If so, you’re not alone in your assumptions. As Woman’s Day points out, romance novels are often accused of generating false expectations among readers. But when it comes down to it, that’s simply not the case at all. So before you bash your bestie for reading yet another steamy paperback, check out these reasons why you should be reading more romance.


SONS OF THE SPHINX: Love or Destiny? Meet Cheryl Carpinello to find out #YA #Paranormal #awardwinning #newreads

It’s been a while since we’ve had a guest, but today we have the lovely Cheryl Carpinello, the creative mind behind SONS OF THE SPHINX, 2014 Literary Classics Silver Medal winner Preteen/YA. Plus, she’s offer to give two random commenters an e-copy of her TUTANKHAMEN SPEAKS. So don’t be shy, share your favorite read as a kid, the one that still makes you smile, and your email, and you could be one of our winners! 

For me? Ohhh…Anne McCafferty’s Dragonriders of Pern (White Dragon) or even before that, Trixie Belden…

Without further ado, I give you Cheryl Carpinello…

If you were to hold a dinner party for six, who would you invite and share at least one question you would have for each.

My first guest would be Walt Disney. I would like to ask him how he ever came up with the idea of Disneyland and all of the rides. I would also ask him if he aware that he was creating such a magical world for kids and adults!

My second guest would be Plato. My question to him: Did you really visit Atlantis, and if so, would you tell me where it’s location was?

My third guest would be Bond, James Bond! I would like to ask him what has happened to all the Bond Girls he discarded. I would also ask him how one goes about getting to be a Bond Girl.

My fourth guest would be Elvis Presley. I would ask him to sing one song to me—“I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.”

My fifth guest would be JRR Tolkien. My questions would be how did he come up with the different characters in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I would also like to know how much his homeland of England contributed to his setting.

My sixth guest would be a double with Christopher Robin and Pooh. My question: Just how much fun was the 100-Acre Wood?

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten. What did you want to be? 

I always wanted to be a teacher. I remember playing school in my bedroom. I would line up all my stuffed animals and dolls on the bed. Then I would pass out papers and books. It was later in life that I found the stories in my head that I write about now.

Many writers have that first novel which will never see the light of day. Out of curiosity, do you have one stashed somewhere?

Yes, I do. I was probably about 30, and I had been reading Harlequin Romances. I decided that I would try and write one. The title is Castles in the Sky. It is about a female war correspondent who sees her husband die in Beruit. She retreats to the Colorado Rockies and there, true to Harlequin themes, finds her next love.

What’s the one genre you won’t ever try and why?

That would be erotica. I can’t read it and really don’t want to. I know I can’t write it.


Now because Cheryl agreed to come visit, even she can’t escape our Bullet List. Ready? 1…2…3…go!

Blades, guns, fists, or feet?

Guns. I watched a lot of Westerns growing up at home.

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Sleeping Beauty. It sounded so romantic.

Three titles/authors sitting on your nightstand waiting to be read.

Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas

The Nile by Toby Wilkinson

The Shadow of Camelot by Wendy Leighton-Porter

Greatest one-liner of all time?

Sept. 19, 2014. After driving around the UK for 3 weeks on the wrong (sorry those of you who live there) side of the road and wondering why my husband and I were still alive every night, the day we drive back to London I say to him, “I think I could even drive in London!”

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness, or Geeky disdain?

Sarcastic witticism

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

Toys, toys, and more toys belonging to our two grandsons, 6 and 1 1/2.

Favorite supernatural creature?

A dragon like Pete’s Dragon.

Now that we have you glued to your seat, ready to see why Cheryl’s story won the 2014 Literary Classics Silver Award?

Sons of the Sphinx, a time travel adventure 


Armed with what she considers her grandmother’s curse, 15-year-old Rosa agrees to help the ghost of King Tut find his lost queen Hesena. Though Hesena’s ba inhabits part of Rosa, finding the whole spirit of Hesena so that she and Tut can be together for the first time in over 3300 years proves to be a harder task than Rosa first thinks. Thrust back into Ancient Egypt with Tut, Rosa discovers that finding Hesena is not all she must do. She must keep out of the reach of the living Horemheb—who crosses mortal boundaries using Seth’s evil magic—if she is to stay alive to make it back home.

Sons of the Sphinx Buy Links:

Amazon                Smashwords              Nook               iBookstore

Author Links





Amazon Author Page

Author Sites

         Beyond Today Educator

         The Quest Books




Other Books by Cheryl Carpinello

Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend – Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0025KUJ36

Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom – MuseItUp Publishing book page: http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/museityoung/action-adventure/the-king-s-ransom-detail 

Tutankhamen Speaks – Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E18KH46

 Author Picture 300dpi copy

Author Bio

I love the Ancient and Medieval Worlds! As a retired English teacher, I hope to inspire young readers to read more through my Quest Books. Please follow me on this adventure. Hook up with me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Google.

Also please visit my other sites: Carpinello’s Writing Pages where I interview childrens/MG/Tween/YA authors; my home website Beyond Today Educator, and The Quest Books where I’ve teamed up with Fiona Ingram from South Africa and Wendy Leighton-Porter of England/France/Abu Dhabi to enable readers to find all of our Ancient and Medieval quest books in one place.

 Don’t forget to leave your name, email, and which book was your favorite as a kid in our comments, because you know you want a copy of Cheryl’s Tutankhamen Speaks!

Life’s Nasty Curve Balls #family #coping #writing


Our story opens with our heroine nervously waiting for a phone call. A phone call that will alter her future because the job she’s been doing for the last sixteen plus years is playing Russian Roulette against a corporate budget, leaving her telecommuting position dangling by a thread.

The call comes. The job is hers. But now she faces re-entering the world of cubicles, braving the wild roads of bumper-to-bumper metal, and the need for something besides jeans and *gasp* t-shirts.

Three weeks after starting the new job, our plucky heroine faces a new challenge. Her beloved father-in-law is rapidly losing his battle with the dreaded marauders of cancer. While her devoted Knight, the gangly Prankster Duo, and ever-present fur-rug stand uselessly by, Mr. Garden Gnome tries varies defensive moves. Alas, it doesn’t work. Instead, the battle, hard fought and tear drenched, comes to a bitter end. Mr. Gnome makes his way to the Eternal Gardens, leaving the rest of the gathered behind.

Our heroine, Knight, Prankster Duo and fur-rug decide it’s time to move on to a new abode. One where Mr. Gnome’s shadow doesn’t peek out at the most disconcerting times.

Fortune smiles, a new abode is discovered, and cautious excitement ensues. A beam of light in the gray fog for our little clan.

But one member in particular is very broken hearted, even as he tries to carry on. Instead, three weeks to the day of Mr. Gnome’s departure, our heroine’s furry ball of never-ending love, chooses to follow the Eternal Garden path as well.

Hearts break anew, this time a little more deeper than before.

Just in case our heroine wasn’t paying attention, Life throws one more nasty ass curve ball–during a homeward trek, Knight and his metal mount are viciously attacked on the roadways, leaving the mount a gnarled ball of tangled wreckage, and Knight with a temporary limp.

Sound like something a writer would throw at a character to “challenge” them?

Guess again.

This is my life for the last two months. It hasn’t been easy. There have been some really rough days (and nights). I actually had to make myself count my blessings (new job, new home, Knight walked away from the accident, the Duo is doing well, my Herbal Witch (sis-in-law) is getting married…). Not something I normally have to force myself to do.

And my writing? Well, there hasn’t been room for the Muse lately.

But now, two months later, the roughest patches have been traversed and I’m standing, quite a bit winded and battered, on the other side, so it’s time to get back to it. And by “it”, I mean Life.

Every writer hits patches like these, where the idea of writing is so far fetched because everything else is right there demanding attention. Yet we soldier through, and when we emerge, we take all of those emotions (anger, grief, rage, tears, quiet joy, simmering sorrow) and put it to our writing. Our characters suddenly take on new depths and our plots carve out richer niches. All because life threw a series of sucker punches and we had a choice–stay down or get up and hit back.

And as those who’ve followed me for a while now know, I’ll always get back up and hit back.