I'm excited to announce that Mystery at Camp Lakeside has been released!
It is the third and final book in my mystery series. My books are available at Main Street Books and Amazon. If you would like a signed copy, just email me and I'd be happy to get one to you for $10 plus postage.
I will also be doing a reading with my friend, Lauren-Kate at Main Street Books on July 16 at 4 p.m. Hope you can join us.
I know I haven't been active on here for a long time, but I wanted to give you all an update on my third book. I've been doing a lot of editing this last semester and I just have one more round of revisions to do before it is time to get my book ready for publication.
The title of this book is Mystery at Camp Lakeside. As you might be able to tell from the title, this book is a summer camp mystery that has lots of crazy camp adventures mixed in with the mystery. I would like to have some short blurbs/reviews for this book. So, if you're interested in reading my manuscript before it is published, I would greatly appreciate your help. (See a sneak peak of the first chapter below the cover art.) You can let me know if you'd like to write a review by emailing me at: email@example.com. Thanks in advance for your help!
Here is a sneak peek of my cover art and the first couple pages of my book:
Chapter 1: The Bus Ride
“Campers,” the bus driver said over the loud speaker, “we are approaching Camp Lakeside. Be sure to put all your stuff back into bags so you’ll be ready when we get there.”
Eleven-year-old Teresa glanced over at her nine-year-old brother Matt as she stuffed her book back into her backpack. “Are you excited, Matt?” she asked.
Matt grinned back at her. “This is going to be so cool, especially having Uncle Jack and Aunt Sally as the directors.”
“I do wish we could be in the same cabin,” Teresa said. Since she didn’t have a friend with her, Teresa was nervous about interacting with the other girls.
“Oh, it’ll be fine. It’s only for a week,” Matt replied, then changed the subject. “I wonder if Rusty can sleep with me.”
Rusty, Matt and Teresa’s one-year-old golden retriever, was coming to camp to be the camp dog. She was with the kids’ Aunt Sally who was driving her own car in front of the bus.
“I doubt it, Matt. Rusty’s mostly an outside dog anyway.”
Uncle Jack, the bus driver, rubbed his beard and repositioned his baseball cap as he turned onto a gravel road that led to the camp. One kid in the back of the bus yelled, “We’re here!”
Up ahead of the bus were two screened cabins, an office building where Aunt Sally, Uncle Jack and some of the volunteers worked and the dining hall. Past the buildings were all the camp activities like the zipline, a tall climbing tower, the head of a hiking trail and the pool. Even farther from the buildings were the tall mountains where the kids would hike.
The bus came to a halt and all at once kids hopped up from their seats and lined up at the door. Through the bus window, Teresa saw a pathway leading through a rose trellis going to the cabins. Vines filled with different shades of bright pink roses wound around the trellis. This is more beautiful than I remembered. I can’t wait for the fun to begin! Teresa thought.
She looked at her brother. “I guess I’ll see you at dinner. We can talk more there.”
“I can see you anytime, Teresa. I want to meet my cabin mates and make friends with them this week,” Matt said.
I guess I won’t be hanging out with Matt all week. Teresa thought as she looked around the bus. She saw pairs of girls everywhere chatting and laughing. I better start making some friends soon.
The bus doors opened and girls and boys ran, pulling their suitcases and carrying their duffle bags and pillows to the different cabins. Matt and Teresa separated to go claim their bunks.
“Hi, I’m Logan, one of your counselors. What’s your name?” said a lady with short blonde hair.
“Teresa Jones,” she replied.
“Nice to meet you. You’ll meet Vicki, my co-counselor, inside,” Logan said.
“Okay. Thanks!” Teresa mumbled shyly. She pulled the cabin door open and saw bunks beds lining the walls and girls on top of them talking. “Hello,” Teresa said quietly looking up at a group of girls on a bunk. She waited a minute, but no one seemed to hear her so, she turned to the corner bunk, climbed up the ladder and plopped her stuff on the top bunk. This is going to be a long week without a friend. I wish Allison or Maureen were here.
Let me know if you'd like to write a blurb. Thanks for reading!
Before I begin this blog post, I want to thank everyone who has inspired me. I have done a few blog posts about Sunny now and so I think it's time to talk about the people who have inspired me. If you know me, even in the slightest way, you may have inspired me by saying a few encouraging words. Or maybe you've been a large part of my writing process. These are just some of the people who have inspired me.
Gilda Syverson - Thank you for encouraging me from the get-go! You have really inspired me with all your encouraging words. You've given me art sets or books for my birthday and Christmas - both of which have helped me develop my reading skills and my art skills.
Lisa Kline - Thank you for editing both of my books for me and for all your encouragement! Your novels have also really inspired me. I have read them more times than I can count and I enjoy your interesting characters, the very exciting story lines and the animals that are involved in the Sisters in all Seasons series.
Jo Rissanen - Thank you for help with the cover of both my books and for your encouragement! I enjoyed taking your art classes even before I began to work on my books and then when I did start writing, you helped me greatly with the cover art.
My Writing Group (including Lauren-Kate Stewart, Makayla McMinn and my mom ) - Thank you for everything you have all done to help and encourage me! You've all given me many many suggestions and helped me talk out lots of plot issues. And you've been there for me when I need encouragement and anything else! Lauren-Kate, it's been so fun taking this journey together. Your writing right alongside me has inspired me tons and I always look forward to our playtime afterwards. You've been such a good friend. Thank you, Makayla, for all your good ideas about where to add Harry in (readers will find out more about Harry when my third book comes out:-) ) and thank you for your chapter title suggestions. Mom, thanks for everything you do, not just writing, but just being my mother.
And again, those are just a few of the people who have inspired me through this journey.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my blog post.
I was asked to write another story about my pets by my friend Makayla. If you have any ideas of any other typesof stories you want to hear about on the blog, please contact me. So, I will be writing the story of Sunny.
It all started when our next door neighbor, a dairy farmer, was borrowing our pasture for his horses. As a thank-you, he wanted to give us a border collie puppy because his dog was about to give birth. I begged my parents to take his offer up because I'd never had a dog before. My mom and dad said that maybe after a little more research, we could possibly get a puppy. But, we had to look into other breeds first. I learned about Golden Retrievers and decided that was the breed of dog I wanted because these dogs sounded like good family pets. My parents told me we could get one under one condition. That was that I would write a report about golden retrievers. I did so happily and after I completed it, we began to look into the options. A lady who used to board her horses at our barn told us about a vet that bred Golden Retrievers. I was so excited.
A couple months later, we went over to the vet's house, and we got to meet Sunny's mom. A few weeks later, late on Easter night, Sunny and her siblings were born. I had decided on the name Sunny a while ago and was looking forward to picking her out. At a week old, Sunny was small enough to fit into both hands.
When it was time to choose which puppy we wanted, I couldn't decide. I wanted a girl, but that was the only standard I had. My dad pointed to a sleeping puppy and said, "Let's get the sleepy one." I agreed because the puppy was a girl and I wouldn't have been able to decide otherwise. We didn't realize that all puppies take lots of naps.
We now joke that Sunny was just saving up her energy for when she went home with us.
At one point, before we could take Sunny home, she lost her collar. Luckily, we were able to figure out which one was her. On the day we took her home, she did a good job of whimpering when she needed to go to the bathroom as we were driving. The next nights were not great. We had to let her out three times during the night. My dad took the late night shift. My mom took the graveyard shift and I took the early shift. She did become better at potty training, but we had to learn to deal with her whimpering for the first few months.
Even though Sunny is no longer sleepy, we love her dearly.
So that's the story of Sunny. Does anyone have fun stories about how their pets came to their families? If so, I'd love to hear about them.
I was tagged by Eva Ridenhour, another young author, in The Writing Process: Blog Tour. Basically, when you're tagged, you answer a few questions and then tag someone else and it goes on. So here are my answers to the questions:
What am I working on?
I am working on the third book in The Matt and Teresa Mystery series. I don't have a title yet, although I've finished the first draft and have begun editing. It's set at a summer camp. While Matt faces a bully, Teresa tries to make friends with her bunk-mate. She accidentally catches a glimpse of some mysterious words in the girl's journal which sends the kids into another adventure.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
While a lot of mysteries just focus on the problem, I have tried to add a family layer to my books. The family dog, Rusty, who is a mischievous Golden Retriever, always plays a big role. Also, the main characters are homeschooled.
Why do I write what I do?
Before I began working on my books, I always loved mysteries. Although there were so many mysteries, there were only certain ones that I liked. Those were typically books that had more of a family angle to them and/or books that pets were involved with and I really wanted to write a book like that.
How does my writing process work?
I brainstorm a lot before I begin writing. Even though I always change something as I'm writing, I try to know where I'm going. I make notecards for every chapter and write a little bit about what will happen on each card. Then, I'll start writing. And I'll write, write, write until I finish my first draft. Then, I'll begin the editing. I will read through it a few times to myself; read it aloud to my writing group and I'll ask a couple people including my mom to read and make suggestions. That's basically my writing process.
Who’s Up NEXT Week (or so)?
I hope you enjoyed this blog post.
I've had a couple people who have asked me to write about a topic on my blog. I can always use more ideas so if there's something you'd like to hear about, fill out the form in the blog post below this one or contact me. Today, I'm going to give some tips on beginning a book - basically where to start.
Before starting a book, you'll need to have thought out the following things.
- What books do you like to read?
- Where the story takes place
- What person do you want this story in? 1st person? 2nd person? Or 3rd person?
Before beginning the brainstorming process, you have to think about a few things. What books do you like to read? What are the characteristics of a great book? What types of books do you like reading? Whatever you just answered above is probably the type of book you want to write about.
Now, think about characters. "Ask” your main character the following questions.
What is your name?
How old are you?
What do you look like? (Describe your hair, eyes, freckles? etc.)
Where do you live?
Who are your parents?
Do you have any siblings?
Where do you go to school?
Are you funny, serious etc.?
Are you big or small for your age?
Any unusual habits?
Are you shy or outgoing?
Do you have any special hobbies/activities/sports that you enjoy?
Who are your friends? How did you meet?
What are your interests and favorite things?
Do you have any hopes or dreams?
What would be a general description of yourself?
What’s your biggest secret?
Of course, you can ask any more questions that would help you but that is a list that will get you started if you are beginning the process of writing a book. I used Learn to Write the Novel Way when I first began my series and it was very helpful.
Where will your story take place? Some books have multiple settings and others just have one. The setting is always important to know about because of descriptions. Descriptions will bring readers into the story. So, think about the following questions for the setting of your book.
Where are the characters (at home, at the park, at the mall, at a friend’s house etc.)?
What do the characters see to the left of them? The right? Behind them? In front of them?
What stands out to them about where they are?
What do they feel? (Cold, hot, nervous, happy, sad etc.)
What do they hear? (the clock ticking, a car horn, etc.)
What do they smell? (cookies baking, the scent of tree bark, flowers, a garbage dump, smoke, etc.)
Any other descriptions.
What person will your story be in? It could be in first, second or third. First is good if you want to get inside a character's mind. You is used for books in second person and third person is from a narrator’s point of view. Choose whichever fits your story best.
The last thing is probably the largest. It’s the plot. I’m not going to go into it that much though because I did a blog post on it a few weeks ago called The Process of Writing a Book. But, you’ll need to know what type of book you want your story to be (an adventure novel, a fantasy, a mystery, a biography etc.) And you’ll also need to figure out what you want to happen. My tip for figuring that out is to use all the information you just got from your main character and apply it to the plot. If the main character really loves to play soccer, maybe the book could have some soccer scenes it it. If the main character loves pizza, there could be a restaurant scene, etc. Or if your main character really doesn't like traveling via airplane, the main character might have to go overseas.
If you start to have a brain freeze (it always happens) when you’re working on your plot, it’s good to talk it out. Find someone who’s interested in your writing and tell them about it. Even if they don’t give you a direct suggestion that you like, it might stimulate other ideas.
I would love to hear if anyone is working on a book or if you need someone to bounce your ideas off of, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me through this website.
I haven't given a update on my writing recently so I thought I'd do that. Although I've been busy with schoolwork and other activities, I have had a little bit of time to work on editing my book. I'm about one third of the way through the first edit. After I finish that edit, I hope to work on my plot edit. Speaking of writing, my mom who's also my writing teacher is having a book launch on April 26th. She'll be reading from her new book, Motherhood: Lost and Found. There will also be a Visual Guide - a slideshow that I helped her with:-).
I've been wondering if anyone has a topic or idea they'd like me to write about on this blog. It's hard to keep thinking of interesting things that everyone likes to read about. If you have an idea, please comment or fill out the form below.
I look forward to your comments and feedback.
Today I'm going to share a few of my top ten lists.
The first is: Top ten things that go through my mind before I finish my first draft:
10. I like writing more than editing.
9. Just keep writing.
8. Why won't the printer work?
7. What should I write next?
6. Was this really what I was going to write about?
5. ______________ more chapters to go before editing.
4. I really like this chapter, but not that one.
3. What do I want to happen in this chapter?
2. I need to crank out another chapter today.
1. When will I ever finish this?
The second is: Top ten things that I love about the whole writing process:
10. There's different stages to look forward to (brainstorming, writing, editing and marketing.)
9. I can use my dog (and cats) as models.
8. It's fun to share my writing in class with my friends and receive their feedback.
Today I’m going to write about my dog Sunny, who is a golden retriever. She was an inspiration for Rusty --, Matt and Teresa’s dog in my books. If you’ve read the Matt and Teresa Mystery Series, you’ll know of some of the crazy things that Rusty does (i.e. stealing Matt’s birthday gift and a purse, etc.)
Sunny is just as crazy. You can see some more pictures of her by clicking here. One of the main things Sunny is known for, as is Rusty, is her thievery. Sunny will steal gloves out of your pocket, a bag of fast food out of your car if your door is open, trash from a trashcan, a jacket from around your waist, shoes off your front porch, and I haven’t even begun. She will steal just about anything she can get her mouth on. One time, my dad left the garage door open by accident, and when we returned home his bag of golf balls and golf hats were spread all over the yard. Dad was not too happy. Once, Sunny ran off while we were walking her and when she came back she had a shoe in her mouth. We called our across-the-street neighbors and they said they weren’t missing a shoe. They called back a few days later saying, yes, actually they were.