40 Odd Things About Me . . .

It’s NaNoWriMo time and as I’ve got my daily word count in I decided to reward myself with a little bit of fun. A friend of mine on Facebook posted this thingy and invited others to join it, but it seemed too much fun to just use as a throwaway FB post so I decided to make a blog post for it instead. So here are …

40 odd things about me . . .

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1. Do you like mustard?

Don’t hate it, but prefer mayo.

2. Choice of carbonated beverage?

Seltzer in citrus flavors – I’m picky. Also I haven’t liked soda since I gave it up when I was pregnant with my daughter.

3. Do you own a gun?

Absolutely not – hate guns and even avoid them in my fiction if I can. Would rather have a wand for defense! 

4. What’s your favorite music?

Lots and lots – I have very eclectic taste in music from rock and punk to Gilbert and Sullivan opera and show tunes! 

5. Hot dogs or Cheeseburgers?

Veggie burgers – and in particular Impossible Burgers from Burger King.

6. Favorite Type Of Food?

Cheesecake.

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7. Do you believe in ghosts?

Nope – but they’re fun to write about.

8. What do you drink in the morning?

Tea – hot, strong and with milk.

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9. Can you do a 100 Pushups?

NOOOOO!!!! Not ever!

10. Summer, Winter, Spring, Or Fall?

Spring.

11. Favorite things to do?

Read, write, do puzzles, play board and card games, go to concerts with my daughter.

12. Tattoos?

No – I’m scared of needles. Though if I wasn’t I’d get a black kitty or a pawprint.

13. Do you wear glasses?

Yes.

14. Phobia?

Heights – in particular when there’s a chance I could fall. I have a bad sense of balance.

15. Nickname?

The kids call me “Person”.

16. Three drinks you drink?

Tea, Beer and Seltzer.

17. Biggest downfall?

Have fallen quite a bit (see the balance thing)

18. Rain or Snow?

Neither!

19. Piercings?

Nope, same reason as the tattoos.

20. Age?

Old enough to know better

23. Number of children?

2 plus 2 furry children!

24. Favorite color?

Purple

25. Employed?

Self-employed – writer, puzzler, and editor.

26. Can you whistle?

A little.

27. Where were you born?

London

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28. Brothers or sisters?

Nope.

29. Ever Been Arrested?

No.

30. Surgeries?

Quite a few

31. Religious?

No. Agnostic Jew.

32. Shower or Bath?

Shower – don’t remember the last time I took a bath.

33. Like gambling?

Nah.

34. Are You Loyal?

Very much so.

35. Broken bones?

Thankfully no.

36. How many TVs in your house?

2 that work.

37. Worst pain ever?

The prep for my breast cancer surgery. It was actually a worse pain than childbirth.

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38. Do you like to dance?

Yeah, especially at concerts where I embarrass my daughter!

39. Are your parents still alive?

No, my dad died in 2011 and my mum at the end of last year.

40. Do you like camping?

Didn’t mind when I was a kid. Nowadays I prefer a nice hotel!

 

So that’s me!

 

Meet Bob Morris

Today on Paws 4 Thought we welcome sci-fi author Bob Morris.

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  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Bob.

I was born in Texas but grew up in Colorado. I have written for small-town newspapers for 20-plus years and held jobs in Rocky Ford, Colo., Raton, N.M., and Duncan, Okla., before settling into my current job in Kingman, Kan. Along with newspaper writing and novel writing, I write for the Denver Broncos website, Mile High Huddle and do other creative writing in my spare time – as you can tell, I love writing! Other than that, I volunteer at the Kingman County Humane Society, collect (American) football cards and do a lot of reading. I’m also a comic book geek and my fandom there includes the Arrowverse shows on the CW Network, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a bunch of graphic novels.

  1. When did you first start writing?

Regarding writing novels, I first started with an idea that popped into my head a few years back for a group of teenage superheroes, but was lacking a premise for how they came together. The idea came from watching the TV series, Young Justice. As I mulled over my idea, I ran across The Hunger Games series and loved it. That’s when I asked myself the question, “What if a group of teenage superheroes emerged in a dystopian world?” And that’s what led to the inspiration for The Six Pack Series.

I started writing the first draft of the first book back in the spring of 2015. From there, I came across the Kansas Writers Association and got useful tips about writing and editing. I read a couple of books about writing from there, did more research, got feedback on my drafts and it took off from there.

My first book, Six Pack: Emergence, was released in March of 2018. The second book, Six Pack: Gyration, will be released May 22.

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  1. Who are your favorite authors?

I’ve loved Suzanne Collins’ work – she’s so good at character development and building tension. I’ve read a lot more books by Stephen King in recent years. Brad Meltzer is another author I enjoy. I also like S.E. Hinton and Douglas Adams.

  1. What inspires you to write?

What usually inspires me are current events or topics and how they could be twisted into a unique story. Also, some TV shows have inspired me to think about what they might look like if there was a different twist to them. And I do get inspiration for characters from people I have met in real life.

  1. Tell us a little bit about your upcoming new release.

Six Pack: Gyration is the second book in The Six Pack Series. It follows up on the events in the first book, in which our group of teenage superheroes is adjusting to a new life, but Tyler Ward, the main character, is worried for the safety of the people they left behind. When he learns that his professor from secondary school is in trouble, he encourages his friends to rescue him – but his decision has bigger consequences than he realizes.

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  1. What attracts to writing sci-fi?

Sci-fi allows you to explore different possibilities for what worlds may look like, how technology could advance and how people may interact with one another. It lets you use your imagination to think about what could be. Though some research is necessary, you don’t have to be as exact as with, say, historical fiction. The ability to think of your own ideas, so long as you keep them grounded in the worlds you build, gives you a chance to be more creative.

Also, I have an overactive imagination, so sci-fi is the best way to use that to my advantage!

  1. What are you currently working on?

I am completing the third novel in The Six Pack Series – it’s going through beta reading and final edits. I hope to have it released next year. I’m also doing a creative writing project on my blog called the Arrowverse, “Other World” in which I look at alternative versions of the characters in the four CW series. I have other novel ideas in mind, but just need to decide which one to pursue next! (This is what happens when you have an overactive imagination!)

  1. What do you like to do to relax?

I’m either reading or watching DVDs. And volunteering at the humane society is another way to relax – what could be better than spending some time with dogs, walking them, feeding them and caring for them.

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I also like to hang out with my parents dog, Ginger. She’s a good friend of mine.

  1. If you could have any superpower what would choose?

Oh, that’s a good question! I think I would go with mental telepathy, because I can imagine the possibilities that would bring. No more guessing whether or not a politician is being honest with you!

Seriously, the possibilities with mental telepathy could go beyond mind reading. I think it would be interesting to see how far that power could go.

  1. How can readers connect with you?

They may find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bwmorrisauthor. I’m on Twitter at twitter.com/sixpackwriter. I am currently building a new website at bwmorrisauthor.com. I hope to get that website launched in June to kick off a launch party for my newest novel. Until that website is launched, readers may visit my current blog at relaxingwithsixpack.blogspot.com. They may also contact me at bwmorris at mail dot com. And I am working to get a newsletter and mailing list started.

THE SIX PACK SERIES

By B.W. Morris

It all started with a drink – a drink that gave Tyler Ward and five of his friends superpowers. Now they must figure out how their new powers can change society.

But who can they trust?

Who has their best interests in mind and who has a bigger agenda?

And what cost comes with change?

The young adult, science fiction/dystopian series is published by Clean Reads.

SIX PACK: EMERGENCE

Available on Amazon Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

Just weeks before Tyler Ward is to graduate from secondary school, he learns the truth about Novusordo and how a drink controls the population. After sharing this information with his five friends, they visit a professor’s house, take another drink and gain strange powers. It leads to them learning more about how the government controls people and the discovery of a movement against the government. Calling themselves the Six Pack, Tyler and his friends must learn how their powers can change society. But they first must learn to trust this movement… and even each other.

SIX PACK: GYRATION

To be released May 22, 2018

Months after the Six Pack has fled City 37N104W, Tyler Ward wonders how much longer the Underground Network can afford to wait to make its next move against the Novusordo government. The disappearance of five more students from Monroe Secondary School pushes his desire to take action. And when he learns that Professor Roger Woods may be in trouble, he is convinced he and the Six Pack must take matters into their own hands, even if it means defying the Network. But actions have consequences, and the decisions Tyler and his friends make will impact everyone they encounter — including themselves.

SIX PACK: UPRISING

In editing stages, targeted release in 2019. More info to be announced.

Need something more to read in the meantime. Check out the P.A.W.S. Saga box set (Books 1-3) – Just 4.99 for a limited time.

Meet Harsha Sheelam

Today on Paws 4 Thought I’m happy to introduce children’s and YA author, Harsha Sheelam. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Harsha.

 Author

I am children’s book author from Hyderabad, India. I fell in love with writing at an early age thanks to my mother. I have three books to my credit, one young adult novel, and two short stories books. My articles have been featured in magazines, newspapers, and blogs. When I am not writing, I am either playing my sitar or studying business administration.

When did you first start writing?

 I first started writing when I was in high school, but I only began to do it professionally in 2016 when I started working with a Hyderabad based magazine. In about six months I was multi-tasking writing for three companies. I debuted in 2017 with my first book.

Who are your favorite authors?

Rabindranath Tagore, Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, Graham Greene, Shakespeare, Frances Hodgson Burnett, to name a few.

(That’s a really eclectic list – I like it! DMK)

What inspires you to write?

 Writing helps me to escape from reality and takes me into this private space where I can do and think what I want without anyone to judge me. The peace, humbleness, and simplicity that writing gives me, is what inspires me to write.

  1. Which is your favorite book you have written?

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I can’t decide a favorite book. I’ve always said that it is like answering the question, “Who is your favorite child?” The learning, experiences, and memories that I have with each of them are so significant. The hard work and perseverance that I put into each can’t help me determine my favorites.

Did you illustrate yourself, or did you hire an illustrator? If an illustrator – tell us a little about them.

 I have hired the illustrator in the past. But, I will myself for my next poetry book, which is about healing and is suitable for adults.

What are you working on?

 I have finished working on a collection of short stories named ‘Poppydown Pals’. It should hopefully be out mid-year. I am currently working on my poetry book, which are four-line couplets. All those who love R.H Sin, Faraway Poetry, Atticus, will hopefully love these.

If you had a superpower what would it be?

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I’d like to read and fix the minds of people who think ‘Girls shouldn’t wear short clothes, be out late, drink, smoke, have tattoos, show skin, have short hair, be dark-skinned, be a housewife, and god forbid if she is dating,  she is a gold digger.” The world will be a better place with a superwoman who can change these perspectives for the empowerment of other women.

(Really awesome answer here! Here’s to all the superwomen out there! DMK)

 Tell us something unusual about the place you live.

I can’t tell if I’m the only one surrounded by such people or if it is in the rest of the world. Narrow-mindedness, prejudice, judgments, valuing the useless and ornamental, is something very unusual. The world is evolving, evolve your mind too.

(Sadly yes, there are narrow-minded people here in the States too. Agree that we should all evolve. DMK)

Thank you for hanging out with us Harsha. How can readers connect with you and where can we buy your books?

 I’m available on online portals of my website, Instagram, Facebook, and Amazon author page.

www.sheelamharsha.com

www.instagram.com/harshasheelam/

www.facebook.com/harshasheelamm/

https://www.amazon.com/author/harshasheelam

 

 

A Conversation with A.F. Stewart

Today on Paws 4 Thought another of our occasional author interviews. A.F. Stewart recently released the first of a new series, Ghosts of the Sea Moon.

Horror Author

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Well, I’m Anita and I write fantasy and horror under the name A. F. Stewart. I live in Nova Scotia, Canada, I’m a huge fantasy and sci-fi geek, and I love reading and movies. I’m a minor history buff and adore mythology and folklore.

 When did you first start writing?

I started writing as a child. I’d scribble poems, stories; I even tried songwriting. All the strange things in my head conjured by my imagination needed to come out. And still do, I suppose.

 Who are your favorite authors?

An easy one. Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman and Guy Gavriel Kay. They all have a lyrical quality to their writing that captures my interest.

What inspires you to write?

I honestly cannot define it to one thing. It’s a bit like inscribing bits of my mind and soul onto paper whenever some thought hits me. For instance, recently I was staring out a window at a grey sky and boom:  an idea popped into my head.  I guess maybe it’s all about emotional being for me.

Tell us a little bit about Ghosts of the Sea Moon.

Ghosts of the Sea Moon is a sea-faring, epic fantasy novel that I expanded from a flash fiction story I wrote. It was inspired by tales of ghost ships and Greek myth, and follows the adventures of Captain Rafe Morrow and the crew of the otherworldly ship Celestial Jewel as they defend the Outer Islands. They are up against a mad Goddess, sea monsters, and a mysterious dark enemy who is pulling strings. The book has roguish sailors, dysfunctional gods and goddesses, magic battles, some murder, a brief appearance by a Kraken, and yes, ghosts.

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Who is your favorite character you have written?

My newest main character, Captain Rafe Morrow, a charming seafarer who is far more than he seems, is definitely one of my favourites, as is my sociopathic demon, Balthazar, who hunts souls escaped from Hell. However, I think my number one favourite would be Nimue, my immortal witch from the Camelot Immortals short stories and upcoming series.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on final revisions for the second book in my Saga of the Outer Islands series, Souls of the Dark Sea. After that, I’ll be working on book three in the series, Renegades of the Lost Sea, and a series history reference to keep all the backstory and my dysfunctional gods straight. I’m also trying to sneak in some writing on the first book of my Camelot Immortals series, Past Legends.

What do you like to do to relax?

I haven’t had too much of that lately, but I like to read, watch TV, or do art projects. And play the Word Cookie game on my tablet.

If you could have any superpower what would choose?

I’d definitely want to be able to fly. There’s a certain appealing freedom, I think, to that particular superpower.

How can readers connect with you?

The best way is through my website, as I have most all my social media set up there: https://afallonblog.wordpress.com/

You can also find me most frequently on

Twitter: https://twitter.com/scribe77

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/afstewartauthor/

Or in my Facebook fan group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/348788975590362/

Ghosts of the Sea Moon is on sale for just 99 cents on Kindle.

Come set sail with ghosts, gods and sea monsters.

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Want to read a sample? Sure you do:

Captain Rafe Morrow paced the quarterdeck of his ship, Celestial Jewel, the signs of an oncoming squall setting him on edge. Blustering wind rattled the sails and the crew’s nerves, their usual jaunty hubbub reduced to grumbling and snipes. Trouble travelled on that wind. Rafe could smell it woven in the air, and his blood prickled with a sense of worry. The ship trembled as if with warning. He glared at the sky and its darkening clouds painted amber and crimson from the setting sun. A storm sky coming ahead of a full moon meant dark magic and sea monsters would prowl the waves this night.

The Moon Goddess will hold sway tonight.

A trickle of blue energy raced across the back of his hand at the thought.

Damn her…and her beasts.

On the breath of a sigh, he whirled to face his crew. “Storm’s coming, boys. Doesn’t bode well, not with the moonrise tonight.”

“How long, Captain? Will we be in the thick of the weather or just what comes after?” A rough-edged sailor, Pinky Jasper, spoke up, but all ears of the deck crew listened for an answer.

“It’s coming within an hour or two, out from Raven Rock, by my reckoning. After nightfall by certain. We’re heading in, boys, but we’ll likely hit the edge of it.” He heaved a breath, exhaling. “It’ll be a bad one even for this crew so expect trouble.”

A shiver of tension settled over the deck. Some of the crew cast worried glances at the sea and each other. Others shivered, and a few more whispered prayers. Storms brought bad memories and nervous anticipation to the sailors of this ship.

“Which port then, Captain?” The mariner at the ship’s wheel chimed in. “Might make Abersythe if we head north.”

“We might, Anders. But we head east. We’ll race the edge of the tempest, but it’s closer and the ship will find better shelter anchored at Crickwell Island.”

“Aye, sir. Laying in course to Crickwell Island.” One-Eyed Anders turned the wheel and the ship’s bones groaned. Others of the crew adjusted the sails, and the Celestial Jewel leaned into her new bearing headed east.

 

Instafreebie preview (download the first four chapters free): https://www.instafreebie.com/free/cu9nx 

Or pick up your copy today – did I mention it was 99 cents?

Books2Read link (all non-Amazon retailers): https://www.books2read.com/u/ml5GvM

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078MS397S

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37648721-ghosts-of-the-sea-moon

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Ghosts-Moon-Saga-Outer-Islands/dp/1981802223/

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Meet Stephanie Barr

Hi everyone today on Paws 4 Thought we’re pleased to introduce fantasy author, rocket scientist and cat lover, Stephanie Barr.

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1) Which of your characters are you most like?

Most of my protagonist characters, including several side characters, are based on aspects of my own personality either gifted with traits I lack, taking that aspect to a much greater degree or both. Sometimes the aspects I lack are provided by people I know (a few exceptions like Lofar (short story) and Dante da Silv (Tarot Queen), both more based on my husband of the time).

Two in particular were focused on my being unusually bright (which does not get you friends) and my social awkwardness (not shyness) that makes me incredibly unpopular even today except among a few discerning folks. That’s Dylan Chroz of Saving Tessa and Nayna from the forthcoming Ideal Insurgent.

However, I’m probably most like Darma from Nine Lives. I know my own strengths, I’m smart, I’m not afraid to show it, but I’m also a dabbler, pushy, capable of quick changes of temper with moments of insecurity. And exceptionally protective.

2) What is important to you in your character building?

Strengths and weaknesses. Relatability. Depth. Growth. Sheesh so many things. Intelligence. Most of my characters are smart and I generally use brains over brawn to solve problems. Sarcasm is pretty popular, too.HUMOR! Too many books just aren’t funny enough.

I like characters that challenge stereotypes, that force readers to reexamine their preconceived notions or open them to new perspectives.

3) How much do you know about your characters ahead of time?

Before I put even one word to paper, I usually have a very good sense of who the character is, how they’d react, what shaped them, where they need to grow. Not what they look like. That’s rarely a key factor for me and I’ve had to be reminded a few times to even mention that.

I might not know everything consciously, but my subconscious will have it in my head and cough key details rationales, mindsets in the story that solidify my original thought. I’m a total pantser when writing a story, but not the characters; they’re always true to my original vision.

4) What genre do you admire but not write?

Truly well-researched historical fiction. Some of my favorite books are from this category (Hawaii, Shogun, etc) I’m a perfectionist and I’d have to have it exactly right, and I love research, but the amount of research to get every detail correct takes a lot of time and organization, two things I rarely have. It’s not that I couldn’t do it if I was really compelled, but, at least so far, I haven’t felt more compelled than I am for my speculative fiction that requires relatively little research.

5) What haven’t you tackled yet but plan to?

I’m a single mother with three kids–two at home and on the autistic spectrum. More than one person has encouraged me to take some of the little vignettes I’ve written on facebook and compile them into a book to encourage other parents of autistic kids, not only that they’re not alone for the challenging pieces but to really steep themselves in the joy of the fun and unique pieces.

Check out some of Stephanie’s books:

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Also Stephanie has an awesome story in Sins of the Gods – the most recent release of my Sins of Time anthology group.

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Cap’n Rex – New picture book from Henry L. Herz

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I was excited to receive this glorious new picture book from Henry L. Herz. Henry’s books are always a delight and this one is no different. I mean it has dinosaurs and pirates – what’s not to love!

In fact the dinosaurs are pirates on a quest to find treasure (but of course) steered by the wily Cap’n Rex they overcome a host of almost disasters and each crew member has their own special skill that helps along the way. My favorite of the dinosaurs was Pat, a long-necked dino of the kind I’ve always loved.

The story is delightful with an important message about sharing and Benjamin Schipper’s illustrations are first rate. There’s even a little pirate glossary at the end. Highly recommended for young children and the parents and educators who enjoy reading to them. Aaarrrrrrr.

Pick up your copy of CAP’N REX today in hardback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or your local bookstore or request a copy at your local library.

I was privileged to get to ask Henry a few questions about this and some upcoming books in the pipeline:

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Tell me about your new book.

I’m very excited about my new picture book, CAP’N REX & HIS CLEVER CREW, coming out in August from Sterling (the publishing arm of Barnes & Noble). Captain Rex and his dinosaur pirates sail the seven seas in search of buried treasure. But whenever they hit an obstacle like a giant shark or pea-soup fog the crew members are quick to say they can’t overcome. To this, Captain Rex always glares with teeth bared and says, CAN’T YE?And, somehow, the crew always comes up with a clever solution. The book has already received positive reviews from Kirkus and Booklist.

Tell me about any future books in the pipeline.

Well, there are three picture books my agent is shopping around right now:

TOP OF THE HEAP – Barnyard animals debate who is the best animal on the farm. Each makes their claim, even Dung Beetle. In response to the others’ laughter, Dung Beetle takes a vacation. Eventually, they all recognize even tiny Dung Beetle’s important contribution. That’s how he rolls.

NEVER FEED A YETI SPAGHETTI – Two young goblin siblings throw their mom a monstrous birthday party. Despite their best efforts, things go further and further awry, thanks to the yetis. One should never feed them spaghetti.

(That one sounds oodles of noodly fun – DMK) 

ALLEN & ALIEN – Like many boys, Allen doesn’t like to eat his veggies, pick up his toys, or take baths. But he loves playing with his alien toys. When an indefatigably inquisitive alien drops in to study humans, the alien’s enthusiasm (even for the mundane) is infectious. Allen learns an important lesson about appreciating one’s blessings, while his parents are pleasantly surprised at their son’s new alien behavior.

And these three books are scheduled to be published next year:

HOW THE SQUID GOT TWO LONG ARMS (Pelican Publishing) – Ever wonder why two of a squid’s ten arms are longer than the others? A selfish squid is cold, so he swipes other animals’ clothing. Will he learn it’s wrong to steal in the end? This modern fable demonstrates you reap what you sow. It’s Kipling’s HOW THE RHINOCEROS GOT HIS SKIN meets Klassen’s THIS IS NOT MY HAT.

GOOD EGG & BAD APPLE (Schiffer Publishing) – Not all the foods in the refrigerator get along like peas in a pod. Bad Apple and Second Banana are at the root of the problem. The vegetables are steamed. Good Egg suggests his friends try different responses to the bullies, but his tactics don’t bear fruit, at first. Only by using his noodle does Good Egg save their bacon.

ALICE’S MAGIC GARDEN (Familius) – Alice lives in the dreariest boarding school in England. She pours her love and attention into caring for her little garden and its denizens. Unknown to her, these include a large caterpillar, gryphon, and a talking white rabbit. When Alice is in trouble, the magical creatures come to her aid. Love, it turns out, is magical. GARDEN FAE is A SICK DAY FOR AMOS MCGEE meets ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

(I look forward to this one. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was my favorite childhood read and I love any new spin on Alice. DMK)

Where can we learn more about your books?

At my website at www.henryherz.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/henry.herz/