Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Margo Bond Collins tells us about her latest book - Fairy, Texas

Writing Setting: It’s in the Details

Until I started writing fiction professionally, I had never heard the term “world-building.” But as soon as learned the term, it made perfect sense to me—world-building encompasses more than just “setting,” the term I had always used to cover everything that goes into the creation of a fictional world. For me, that has always meant the ways in which characters interact with their setting. I have never been terribly interested in long, detailed passages describing the surroundings in a book. As a reader, I tend to skim those passages—I’m much more interested in the people and the action of a story.

But as a writer, I’m having to learn how to give some of those details that I often skipped as a reader—a process that hasn’t always been easy! In order to make the settings relevant in my own work, I have made them an integral part of the stories. So far, that has meant placing characters in unfamiliar (to them, anyway) surroundings. In Waking Up Dead, Callie Taylor discovers that she is spending her afterlife in small-town Alabama. In the forthcoming Fairy, Texas, Laney Harris moves from her native Atlanta to a tiny town in Texas. Placing my narrators in settings that are new to them allows those characters to relay elements of the setting to the reader—it gives the narrators a reason to comment on the setting. And it’s often the tiny details that add up to a complete fictional world. In Fairy, Texas, Laney learns why ranchers hang dead coyotes on fences and comments that she can hear the coyotes howling at night. It’s a small comment, but it tells the reader something important about the rural western setting in which Laney finds herself. 


In the excerpt below, Laney faces her first day at Fairy High School—a new setting for her and for the reader!


Fairy High could have fit into one wing of my old school. The three-story, red brick building looked like it had been around for at least a century—it actually had carvings over two of the doorways that read “Men’s Entrance” and “Women’s Entrance.” I was glad to see that none of the kids paid any attention to those instructions. 
“Counselor’s office,” I muttered to myself. At least I wasn’t starting in the middle of a term—though given the fact that there were fewer than 500 students in the entire high school, I didn’t think I was going to be able to go unnoticed, even in the general bustle of the first day back from summer vacation.
I walked through the door marked “Men’s Entrance,” just be contrary, and faced a long hallway lined with heavy wooden doors. The spaces in between the doors were filled with lockers and marble staircases with ornate hand-rails flanked each end of the long hallway. Students poured in behind me, calling out greetings to each other and jostling me off to the side while I tried to get my bearings. None of the doors obviously led to a main office; I was going to have to walk the entire length of the hallway. And people were already starting to stare and whisper.
God. I hated being the new kid. 
I took a deep breath and stepped forward. I made it halfway down the hall without seeing anything informative—all the doors had numbers over them and many of them had name plaques, but neither of those things did me any good since I didn’t know the name or office number for the counselor. I was almost getting desperate enough to ask Kayla, but of course she was nowhere to be seen.
I turned back from scanning the halls for her and caught sight of the first adult I’d seen—and almost screamed. As it was, I gasped loudly enough for a guy walking past me to do a double take. The man standing in the open doorway was tall, over six feet, and way skinny—so emaciated that it looked like you ought to be able to see his ribs through his shirt, if his shirt didn’t hang so loosely on him. He had white hair that stuck out in tufts, thin lips, a sharp nose, and pale blue eyes that narrowed as he watched the kids walk past—and all the kids gave him a wide berth without even seeming to notice that they did so. He stood in an empty circle while students streamed around him in the crowded hallway.
But none of that was what made me almost scream.
For a moment, just as I’d turned toward him, I could have sworn that I’d seen the shadow of two huge, black, leathery wings stretched out behind him.


Fairy, Texas Blurb:

Fairy, Texas. A small town like any other.

Laney Harris didn't want to live there. When her mother remarried and moved them to a town where a date meant hanging out at the Sonic, Laney figured that "boring" would have a whole new meaning. A new stepsister who despised her and a high school where she was the only topic of gossip were bad enough. But when she met the school counselor (and his terminal bad breath), she grew suspicious. Especially since he had wings that only she could see. And then there were Josh and Mason, two gorgeous glimmering-eyed classmates whose interest in her might not be for the reasons she hoped. Not to mention that dead guy she nearly tripped over in gym class.

She was right. Boring took on an entirely new dimension in Fairy, Texas.


About the Author

Margo Bond Collins is the author of several novels, including Waking Up Dead; Fairy, Texas; and Legally Undead (forthcoming in 2014). She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.


Connect with Margo
Twitter: @MargoBondCollin
Goodreads Author Page:

Be sure to add Fairy, Texas to your Goodreads bookshelves:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jessica Walsh and Briana Lawrence stop by Penny's Tales

A Big Welcome to Jessica and Briana

1. Tell us all about yourself and what makes you tick and what do you like doing when you aren’t writing!

Jessica: I love to sew and be creative.  Sketching, drawing, coming up with ideas for future stories, anything that makes my muses wander and be happy.  I specifically love turning two dimensional characters (like Disney) into actual dresses we can both wear.

Briana:  Meanwhile, I like to draw and paint and woodburn, and I love playing video games.  Jessica usually watches me play.  We also watch anime together and other geeky things.  We also role play with each other online, creating different characters and stories.  It’s how “Seeking the Storyteller” was born, actually.

2.  Tell us about your family – married?   Kids?   Where you live!

Jessica: We live together, no kids but we have three cats.  We have our own house in the Twin Cities, in Minnesota.

Briana:  Of course we have parents and stuff, haha.  But yeah our house is us, our cats, and a bunch of figurines and manga and anime and movies and video games and fabric and... wait do those things count as family?

3.If you could travel anywhere in or out of this world, where would it be?

Jessica: I would love to go back to London again, or Japan… or pretty much anywhere with ancient ruins and a really rich culture you can just lose yourself in.

Briana:  I want to revisit London, too!  And I really want to revisit Paris (I was only there for a weekend during my college London trip).  Also Japan, and Italy, and... pretty much everywhere.  Even here in the U.S., there’s so many places I haven’t gone.

4. What is your favorite all time movie?

Jessica: Mine would have to be Labyrinth.  When I was growing up I remember a distinct lack of female main characters in movies, and Labyrinth was one of the few that had that and the fantasy element I’ve always loved.  I could (and have) watch it endlessly.

Briana:  Of all time?  That’s a hard question.  I feel like I can watch “Office Space” at the drop of a hat, or -- oddly enough -- the Mortal Kombat movie.  I don’t know what it is about that movie.  I really, really love the video games, and I was really excited to see the movie when I was a kid.   

5. What about weekly TV show?  Why?

Jessica: Currently loving Once Upon a Time.  Along with the fantasy element, I love seeing well known characters from my childhood reimagined in such interesting ways.  It’s like meeting them again for the first time and I love all the twists and turns.

Briana:  I have this weird fascination with some reality shows, like the cooking ones.  I can’t explain what it is about Chef Ramsey screaming, but I just do.  There’s also shows like “Pawn Stars” and “Deadly Women,” I dunno, I just enjoy them.  I also love game shows like “Price is Right” and “Family Feud.”  I also enjoy sitcoms, but they tend to be ones that are already over, like “King of Queens” and “Seinfeld” and things like that.  

There are a couple of shows we’ve watched together, especially with anime.  “Attack on Titan” and “Free! Iwatobi Swim Club,” we actually marathoned together.  Currently Jessica and I are going back and watching “Justice League” and I think we have a plan to watch the animated DC series?  Like “Batman Beyond” and “Teen Titans” and “Young Justice.”  We do marathons like that sometimes and it’s a lot of fun.

6. What is the scariest situation you have ever been in?

Jessica: Back in college, Briana lived in Iowa and I lived in Minnesota and I would drive down once a month to see her.  One month, in the winter, I drove down in the middle of a white out snow storm.  I could barely see the road and really only knew where I was going because of the car in front of me and the slight difference in shades of white around me.  I think I counted about 26 jack knifed semis on the way.  I almost made it there, but about half an hour away I finally pulled into a rest stop and spent the night in a locked rest stop bathroom because my nerves were so frayed I couldn’t drive anymore.  Made it there the next morning without incident, but I’m not a big fan of driving in heavy snow now because of it.

Briana:  One time, I think it was a year after I moved here to Minnesota, Jessica picked me up from work.  When we got home, all of the lights were on and our screen window was cut.  Someone had broken into our apartment.  They didn’t take much, but the fact that someone was in our place without our knowledge, going through our things was scary.  Our cat at the time, Isis, was hiding in the closet and she was so scared.  They had gone into our bedroom, for sure, because our pillow cases were gone and we think they were used to steal our things.  Some movies and games were taken along with our computers and one of our PS2s (we had two because we both had one in college).  

It’s ironic, because the robbery forced us to start over in our online role play because we needed to get new laptops.  By starting over, we ended up creating the Storyteller.  Now we have a book.

7. If you could have any fantasy, what would it be?

Jessica: I would love to have the ability to think something and then have it end up on paper.  This would make writing so much easier, especially with the really strange images that show up in my brain sometimes.

Briana:  That’s a really cool ability!  I think I’d like that too, please.

8. Now, Tell us about your book?

Jessica:  Seeking the Storyteller centers around the idea of this being called the Storyteller.  He lives in a library of books, where each book is a person’s story from beginning to end.  He’s not ever supposed to leave this library, but he has and that’s a lot of power to be walking around with.

Briana:  This power catches the attention of Alix Andre DeBenit.  Alix is a Hunter.  Hunters are sort of like a hidden police force of sorts.  They’re the ones who stop the demons and other supernatural creatures who roam around before we realize that they even exist.  Alix hates demons because of what happened to his family years ago, but with knowledge of the Storyteller, he has a chance to get the past rewritten.  He has a chance to get back what he lost.  He just has to decide if it’s worth working with the creatures he hates so much.

9. Where did you come up with the idea for your story?

Jessica: While we were long distance and living in two different states, we would spend every night chatting online.  The idea of the Storyteller and the characters around him all came from those chats, just evolving over time into who they are now.

Briana:  And then there was the robbery, which I mentioned before.  And we kept role playing with this Storyteller character.  Then, one day, Jessica sent me an idea for a first chapter.  Then we decided to keep going.  It was through NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) that the story came to life.

10. Where can people find you? (give all your links)

Author’s site:
Also on goodreads and a bunch of other sites.


11. Most important – where can we buy your story?

Seeking the Storyteller is available through Solstice Publishing and Amazon.

Please send a copy of the cover of your book and a picture of you (no bigger than 400 X 600 on both pictures please) if you would like.  You can send a book blurb and a short excerpt also.
If you have a question you want to add because you have a great answer for – add it on.  I’m kind of a crappy question asker!  

Friday, January 17, 2014

Stan Hampton talks about writing - a forgotten past time that means so much to many!

            Hello! And belated Happy New Year to you and yours!
            Today I would like to make a few comments about—writing. No surprise, right?
            Well, when was the last time that you wrote to someone? No, not send an e-mail or an IM, but actually sat down and put pen to paper? Or pen to card? No, not just scribble your name in nearly unrecognizable cursive in an otherwise preprinted card, but when was the last time you actually wrote a short message in a blank notecard?
            Not only does that sound old fashioned in the 21st century, but might it sound positively prehistoric?
            But you know, there are times when handwritten letters and cards are very much appreciated and even looked forward to.
            Way back in 2006-2007 I served in the Army National Guard, and I volunteered to deploy to Iraq. My unit, a company of Nevada and Maine volunteers within a Wisconsin battalion, deployed to a convoy support center a mile south of the Iraqi border on a SECFOR mission. Supply convoys coming up from southern Kuwait picked up escorting gun trucks at Navistar, and disappeared across the border for a day, two days, or a week or more. Sometimes we received word that the convoy was hit by IEDs, or that the gun trucks exchanged weapons fire with the insurgents. Sometimes nothing happened.
            When the Soldiers returned from a mission tired, dirty, and hungry (they usually returned at night after being on the road for hours), one of the first questions on their mind was, “Is there any mail?”
            The other two Soldiers and I in the Admin Section of the Company HQ also functioned as mail clerks. There was always a lot of mail coming in from family, relatives, friends, schools, and complete strangers; hand written letters, cards, and care packages (for example, when Valentine’s Day—hint hint—approached, the mail became a flood). We had a mail storage closet with shelves built on the front porch of Navistar, and posted the names of those who received mail every day.
            Though mail call hours were posted, day or night we opened the closet when the Soldiers returned. Sometimes they carried the mail to their tents, sometimes they sat at the big wooden conference table on the front porch where morning meetings were held.
            The Soldiers, some as young as 19 and as old as 59, wore big smiles as they opened their letters and cards. Sometimes they read the letters quickly, sometimes they re-read the letters; they studied photographs of their wives and girlfriends, their children, and passed the photographs around to each other. Sometimes they read a funny portion of the letter out loud to others. As soon as a package was opened and curious eyes looked, the Soldiers passed around the care packages so everyone could pick among the goodies.
            In the impersonal age of e-mail and IM, someone took the time to write—repeat, write—a letter to the Soldier. Someone took the time to pen a few words in a card. If the Soldier was lucky, the letter or card might even have a dash of perfume to it—old fashioned yes, but a very nice touch. Okay, okay. I will say it. Sexy and romantic.
            But someone took the time to make a communication very personal, through pen and paper, and that meant a lot to those Soldiers.
            Never underestimate the impact of a handwritten letter, especially when a loved one is on the other side of the world at war. Never underestimate the impact of a handwritten letter received by someone ill, or down in the dumps, or someone who is on top of the world. The letter does not have to be a masterpiece of prose. It can be a big “HI!” followed by a smiley face.
            So, who do you think you could write to, today?

BLURB: Sergeant Jerry Stanton is a young soldier serving in the War in Iraq. He is a gunner on a gun truck nicknamed “Lucky Bear,” one of those tireless workhorses that escort supply convoys from camps in Kuwait to destinations scattered throughout the war-torn country. In the early morning hours before a scheduled mission, a dust storm howls across his camp and threatens to bring convoy operations to a halt. Worse, the camp receives word that a gunner from his company was killed by an IED while on a convoy mission. Unlike most soldiers, Jerry doesn’t carry a lucky charm, but upon receiving news of the death of the gunner, he begins to mull over/ponder the merit/virtue of a good luck charm—only, what would work for him? Perhaps mail call will provide the answer.

EXCERPT: “People like a happy ending.”Sergeant Jerry Stanton, an M4 Carbine slung across his chest, glanced at the dark form that trudged alongside him in the hot, early morning darkness. It was all the darker for the dust storm howling across the small camp, a dusty and sandy convoy support center, CSC, a mile south of the Iraqi border. He placed his hand over the tall styrofoam coffee cup from the messhall that was open at all hours to serve those about to head out on a mission. He felt the itchy dust filtering down his back, along his arms, and coating his fingers.In spite of his short time deployed to Kuwait, he had learned that dust storms were worse than sand storms; they were hot and itchy while the sand storms stung exposed skin and chilled the air. Breakfast was good but tasted flat, more due to the question of whether their mission would be a go or no-go because of the storm that roared out of the midnight darkness hours before.“What?”“People like a happy ending,” the soldier repeated. He was a gunner from another gun truck as the squat, venerable M1114 HMMWVs, which were never meant to be combat vehicles, were called. He held up a rabbit foot that spun frantically in the wind and added, “I like a happy ending.  Especially now.”They rounded the corner of a small building, actually a renovated mobile home trailer with a covered wooden porch lit by a bare electric bulb. The gunner pointed to a small black flag, suspended from a log overhang, flapping furiously in the wind.“Oh shit.” Jerry sighed as a cold chill raced through him.“It’s been there for an hour or so,” the soldier said as he enclosed the rabbit’s foot within both hands and brought it up to his lips as if to kiss it. He glanced at Jerry. “I’m not superstitious, but still, I mean, there’s nothing wrong with having a lucky charm. You know?”“Yeah.” Jerry nodded as he watched the twisting flag. “I know.”The soldier looked once more at the black flag and then walked toward the shower and restroom trailers beyond which were the air-conditioned sleeping tents they called home…

Better Than a Rabbit’s Foot.” Ed. Joelle Walker. MuseItUp Publishing, June 2012.ISBN: 978-1-77127-078-6

SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, a published photographer and photojournalist, and a member of the Military Writers Society of America. He retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007). His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, MelangeBooks, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories inHorror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others. Second-career goals include becoming a painter and studying for a degree in photography and anthropology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology. After 12 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters. As of December 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hampton officially became a homeless Iraq War veteran.

Melange Books

Musa Publishinng

MuseItUp Publishing Author Page UK Author Page

Goodreads Author Page

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

99 cent MADNESS!!!

99 cent Madness!

This holiday weekend, Her Cracked Heart, will be on sale, along with a few other great authors’ books. There’s a genre for everyone and everything is only 99 cents!! Great deals for the avid reader. 
Hurry! Sale starts January 17th! 
Check these titles out:

 Her Cracked Heart:
Obstacles :

 Lost Through Time (sequel):

 Due Date:

 Yours, Mine, and Ours:

 September Wind:

 Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback:


 Nadia’s House:

Waking Up Dead:

 Hustle Henry and the Cue Ball Kid:

Sinking Ships:

A Pride of Lions:

The Four Kings:

 Take Chances:

  Tidal Surge:

 Eden’s Mark:

Monday, January 13, 2014

Jessica Tornese talks about her Linked Through Time Trilogy

The Linked Through Time series
By Jessica Tornese


                            Linked Through Time- the first of the Linked trilogy      

Join Kate Christenson as she
 battles a past that was never
 meant to be her own.
Linked Through Time-
Fifteen year old Kate Christenson is pretty sure she’s about to experience the worst possible summer at her grandparent’s farm in rural Baudette, Minnesota. Without cable, cell phones, or computers, Kate is headed for total isolation and six tedious weeks of boredom. Until the storm.
            A freak lightning accident has Kate waking up in 1960. But she is not herself. She is the aunt she never met, but has eerily resembled her entire life. Thrust into living a dirt poor, rural farm life, Kate struggles to make sense of her situation- a boyfriend with a dark side, a “townie” who steals her heart, and the knowledge that 1960 is the very summer her aunt drowns in the local river.
            Even with every precaution, Kate cannot stop fate, and an unexpected twist adds to her dilemma. To her horror, Kate finds out firsthand her aunt’s death was not an accident or a suicide, but something much, much worse.

Steering carefully into the gravel drive of the Rapid River parking lot, I swore under my breath as the bike’s rear wheel slid on loose gravel. Trying to right the bike too quickly, I ended up swerving sharply to the left and crashing into the brush at the side of the gravel lot. Flying over the handlebars, I landed in a patch of overgrown weeds, my knee striking a rock hidden in the ground. Pain radiated from my knee, paralyzing me for a moment. I lay sprawled face first in the grass, breathing in the smell of earth and dry grass, cursing myself and everything on the planet.
Emotions overwhelmed my frazzled, fragile mind and I let loose with a string of profanities that would have definitely earned me a whipping. Rubbing my throbbing knee, I groaned.
Lightning flashed and the breeze picked up as if on cue, sending the cattails above my head into an agitated dance.
With great effort, I stood and flexed my leg. I could feel the slightest trickle of blood dripping a warm path down my shin. Perfect, I grimaced. Can anything else possibly go wrong tonight?
My vision had adjusted slightly to the moonless night, but I still had to partly feel my way to the place Travis and I spent the evening. Pushing through the brush, I couldn’t help but sense that uneasy, creepy feeling that comes from wandering in the dark, as though eyes watched you and monster hands waited to grab at your feet. My heart pounded loudly in my ears, the tingling creep of fear working its way from my head down through my limbs. I forced myself to keep my eyes forward, ignoring the nagging feeling that someone or something watched me from the shadows of the rocky shore.
Limbs of the interlocking pines poked and prodded my bare arms as I threaded my way through the trees. The pounding of the rapids had increased with the coming of the storm; the wind tossed the water upon the rocks, sending spray high into the air.
When I broke through the tree line, I stood mesmerized by the awesome power of the roaring water. It looked as if the rapids were fighting to break free of their rocky channel, its watery fingers washing over the rocks, reaching far down the wall, only to withdraw and try again.
Above the churning waters, a simple two-lane bridge hung defiantly in the air, its thick concrete arches planted firmly around the dangerous rocks. Suddenly, a semi loaded with logs thundered across the bridge overhead; its headlights lighting up the darkness for a matter of seconds. I used the momentary help to break my gaze from the water and search the outer banks for my sweater.
A flicker of movement amidst the trees caught my line of sight, and I focused in on a ring of pines to my right; the very place Travis and I had been a few hours earlier.
“Travis?” I called out hopefully, thinking he had remembered to retrieve my sweater.

  Lost Through Time- the second in the series 
                                     Amazon and Barnes and Noble Bestseller!

Lost Through Time-
“There never was a body, you know.”
Such is the bizarre statement from Gran only weeks after Kate has returned from an accidental time traveling incident, surviving certain death…twice. Capturing Sarah’s killer seemed to be the reason for Kate’s disappearance, but Gran believes otherwise.
Learning of Kate’s power to time travel loosens memories and desires Gran has long since buried. Gran is set on finding Sarah, who she believes never died the night Dave Slater threw her in the river, but instead, went back in time through the Rapid River portal. With rudimentary research and analysis, Gran thinks she has unlocked the secrets to controlling the time traveling link that she and Kate share with their ancestors and she plans to use Kate to bring Sarah back.
            When Kate agrees, she is shocked to find out that in the more aggressive form of time travel, she doesn’t become Sarah, but trades places with her, sending Kate to Baudette, Minnesota in the year of 1910, and Sarah ahead to the year 2000.
Baudette’s catastrophic 1910 fire and typhoid epidemic are the least of Kate’s worries once she discovers what has happened. Her chances of a return trip are thwarted with the struggle just to survive, and Sarah, reliving her lost childhood in the ease of current day life, decides to never return to the past, leaving Kate to suffer the life she has left behind.
            Gran is torn- get rid of the daughter she has dreamed of finding for four decades, or rescue the precious granddaughter who risked everything for her selfish dream? And to what lengths will Sarah go to destroy any chances of Kate coming back? Will Sarah succeed in severing the link?

I felt the exact moment my heart stopped beating in my chest.
“Where’s Mary?” I said, trying to keep the alarm from rising in my voice. The group looked around, stunned.
Vivie handed Gracie to James. “She was just here. I swear it.”
Frantic, we strained to see across the wagon bridge into Spooner. The brilliant blond tresses of Mary’s head were nowhere to be seen.
Ruth spoke up. “That man took her to the depot.”
I stared hard at Ruth, trying to process the words, but not understanding. “What man?” I said, confused. There were dozens of people crossing the bridge rushing in all directions. Like ants on a collapsing anthill, the twin towns were alive with chaos, the people coming and going with what looked like little purpose. “What man?” I said again, the panic seizing my voice and pushing it another octave higher. I grasped Ruth’s arms in a painful, panicked grip.
Ruth shrank away, afraid I might lash out. “I don’t know. I was watching John. Aunt Vivie told me to watch John.” Her eyes welled with tears. “I had John,” she insisted again, afraid of taking the blame.
“What did the man look like? What was he doing?” I demanded.
“He was that man from the backyard. The big man who touched Mary’s hair. I heard him say he could help her run faster. For her to take his hand.”
Sickness heaved inside and I clenched my jaw.
“You were getting sick over the bridge,” Ruth accused. “You weren’t helping at all! Mary couldn’t keep up and she was crying!”
Vivie reached out and gripped my shoulders. Without saying a word, we stared hard into each other’s eyes, the truth of the situation passing between us as though we were speaking aloud. McGraw had bided his time, watched us from afar and waited for a weak moment. He
couldn’t possibly know the danger he faced. Was it a ploy? Would he really take Mary? Or was he just trying to get me alone to give chase and play his twisted game of revenge?
“I’ll go,” Vivie said, the sacrifice evident in the firm line of her mouth. “You can’t fall for his trap, Kate. He won’t do anything to me.”
“No,” I argued. “Too dangerous. If something happens to you, then Gran will never be born, and then, neither will I.”

Jessica Tornese's third and final in the “Linked”  trilogy is tentatively called Destroyed Through Time and should be out in 2014!

Q&A with Jessica Tornese

1.         The question that is always asked—what inspired you to write Linked Through Time, and Lost Through Time?
I grew up with a large family. My Dad was one of eleven children, so I have endless tales of cousins and extended family. My Dad’s stories always stuck with me because he grew up with nothing. Absolutely nothing! He did not have indoor plumbing until high school- in Northern Minnesota! I admire him and wanted to keep his stories alive. A lot of what happens to Kate in “Linked” are true events from my dad’s childhood. Lost Through Time mentions a disaster that actually occurred in my home town in 1910. I guess I just really like to keep the stories of our ancestors from dying out. They were true, hard core Americans fighting just to make a living.

2.         Your take on time travel is unique did you do any research to help you form the idea?
I love the idea of using something that had to do with the region. Of course, northern lights are not often seen as brilliantly as in Alaska or Canada, but they are amazing and kind of mysterious, so I thought they could be a believable reason!

3.         What challenges have you overcome in having such a unique take on time travel?
As with any book, I had to keep going back and forth to remember my rules and events to make things happen. Since I change the rules in the second book, I had to really sketch out why and how Kate could travel differently than other characters.

4.         You create a very realistic picture of farm life in the 1960’s—did you do research? If not, how did you create such a realistic picture without research?
I actually lived on the farm I am describing. For a few short months, I had to live with my grandparents in the very house my Dad grew up in . They were still doing the same chores and living the same kind of lifestyle- except with indoor plumbing of course! The chores were endless and I absolutely hate haying!

5.         Who is your favorite character and why?
I love Kate. She reminds me of myself. I was the snotty city girl that was taken out of the city and moved to a small northern MN town when I was fifteen. I thought my life was over! I learned a lot about myself as a person and learned how to work outside. I appreciate my Dad more, and am so glad to have been raised closer to his family. I love Kate’s growth and life lessons about boys. There are good boyfriends out there and bad…definitely something we have to learn!

6.         In book one you create sympathy for the character of Sarah, but in book two she’s quite evil. Was making a character that was originally likeable into a bad character hard?
Yes. It was actually my husband’s idea to make a villain. He basically said that the story will go nowhere without a villain, so we decided Sarah had the most to be angry and vengeful for! Once I started, it was really fun to write the villain part because I never get to act that way. It was a peek into the dark side 

7.         Kate matures a lot through book one, did you always plan this, or did she mature as you wrote the novel?
Kate was really a mirror of myself. I think I wanted to show that from day one- how she can go from a judgmental teenager focusing on her own needs, to learning about serving others. I think everyone makes this same transition at some point in their lives; it’s just a question of when.

8.         In Linked Through Time keeping track of so many brothers and sisters was hard for Sarah, how did you do it as an author?
I literally took my Dad’s family and just changed the names! He had 6 brothers and 5 sisters, and I just kept picturing them in my mind.

9.         In Linked Through Time who was your favorite brother or sister?
Probably a tie between Dean and Rodney. I identify with both of their personalities. My Dad had a little of each, so I brought out his tough military side in Rodney and his protective side in Dean.

10.       How did you evolve the story of Linked Through Time into Lost Through Time?
I didn’t want Kate’s story to be over. I knew I wanted to write about Baudette’s historic fire, so once I decided to bring Sarah back into the picture it all fell into place. I love history and am trying to decide how to connect with the final chapter in Kate’s and Sarah’s life in book three.

11.       We saw a very little bit of Travis’ son—will we see more of him?
T.J. will make an appearance in book three. I think we will see a bit more develop with him. I want Kate’s story to have something good in it for her. Though it is a little Jerry Springer, I think Kate deserves a good man and some closure in all the chaos she lives in.

12.       What is the name of the next book in the trilogy?
As of right now, Destroyed In Time, recommended to me by another Solstice author, Michael Thal.

13.       Is there a release date set?
Not yet. I am still in the early stages of defining the book. I have to be really careful on how I end this book.

14.       When did you start writing?
I didn’t really start writing books until a few years ago, but I have always loved writing and reading. They go hand in hand, I think.

15.       As an author, what is your biggest challenge and how do you overcome it?
Finding time to write. I have three kids and it is a constant tornado in the house. I try to take some time once a week to nail down some outline ideas.

16.       You are with an independent publisher, Solstice Publishing, how did you find them?
I submitted my work based on a newsletter I received called Children’s Writer. They give contact names and emails and it just happened to work out that Nik Morton liked the manuscript.

17.       What do you like best about being with a smaller press?
I like the camaraderie with the other authors. We have a daily interaction on line. Mostly we use it for questions or support, but it’s nice to have others in the same boat as yourself.

18.       What is the biggest challenge of being with a smaller press?
Marketing. There just isn’t enough time or money to get the word out. It has to be done over time, mostly own your own doing. But Solstice is trying hard to work with everyone and do what they can with their resources. I was just voted Solstice’s Author of the Year, so that was very exciting and proof that I do have fans out there that love the books.

19.       For budding authors out there, how much say do you think you have in the final product, from cover to the insides, to the marketing?
Depending on the publisher, you can have a lot of say in your product. I wouldn’t let someone change my work completely, especially if it was something I didn’t believe in. Stay true to your style and someone will come along that likes it!

20.       Other than writing, what are some things that you love to do?
I love volleyball and camping, and outdoor things in general. I love, love, love to read! A good book on the beach is my heaven!

Reviews from Readers:
5 *- Hannah-  This book was recommended to me by a friend, and I am very glad I bought it! As someone who grew up in Minnesota, I enjoyed the Midwestern nuances included in the author's style. The story line has the perfect amount of complexity to allow for an easy read with a plot that keeps you guessing and looking forward to reading. I will be referring my friends and family to this book, and am excited to read more by this author in the future.”
5*- Author Jennifer Comeaux-“ I haven't read many time travel stories, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one from Jessica Tornese. What I loved most about it were the rich details that put me back in the 1960's rural setting and the relationship between Kate and her father in the past. It was such a neat way to strengthen the bond between father and daughter - a bond that was very shaky in present day. The story kept me in suspense throughout as I wondered if Kate would be able to change the past, and the ending was definitely a surprise! I'll be looking out for more from Jessica Tornese in the future.”
5*-Author Nancy Wood-“ LINKED THROUGH TIME by Jessica Tornese tells the story of Kate Christenson, a self-absorbed 15-year-old who's forced to spend the summer at her grandparents' farm in rural Minnesota. There's no internet or cell service. No cable. And before Kate even makes it into the farmhouse, she accidentally smashes her iPod: a clean separation from the life she knew. Kate has issues with everyone, from her dad to grandparents to her mother. Nothing is made easier by the fact that Kate's a dead ringer for her Aunt Sarah, who committed suicide at age 15.
But when Kate is transported back to 1960, resurrected as Sarah, her once-burning issues begin to seem trivial in light of what she's facing. Life is so different than what Kate is used to, it's like a movie. Every member of the family works long, hard hours on the farm. There's Sarah's questionable relationship with intimidating boyfriend Dave Slator. There's a new love interest, Travis Kochevar, a townie. There's Sarah's siblings, Kate's dad, and other aunts and uncles. And there the secrets Sarah keeps, secrets that she doesn't even share with her closest sibling, Kate's dad. With Sarah's death looming, Kate has to figure out why she's there. Kate grows up during her stay in 1960. When she pops back into the year 2000, she's matured, much more compassionate, and much more aware of love, loyalty, and family.
This book drew me in and moved along flawlessly. There's something for every reader: the paranormal, romance, suspense, and a mystery with a twist. Jessica Tornese's deft writing will keep you turning the pages. I'm hoping for a sequel!”
5*- Jboy- “Jessica definitely delivers on her sequel to Linked Through Time. It takes a crazy twist at the beginning and it keeps your attention to the very end. I'm hoping there will be a third book since I really enjoy Jessica's writing style and story telling.”
5*-MN girl- “I think I liked this book even more than the first! I was surprised at the development of Sarah's character, and felt the suspense building throughout the book as well. Knowing what was supposed to happen, and waiting to see what WOULD happen just made the story fly by. The developments at the end of the book leave me feeling excited to see what this author has in store for the third installment of Kate's story!”

Author Bio, Links, and Contact
Jessica was recently voted Solstice Publishing’s 2012 Author of the Year!
Jessica Tornese’s debut novel, Linked Through Time, was inspired by her home town Baudette, MN. She graduated from high school there and continued her education at Minnesota State University – Moorhead where she earned a degree in education. She spent several years coaching in the Junior Olympic volleyball program in Minnesota as well as the junior varsity team for Lake of the Woods High School in 2010.
 Her favorite hobbies include reading, scrapbooking, playing volleyball, and extreme outdoor sports like caving, ziplining, and white water rafting. Jessica is also active in her church and has run several Vacation Bible School programs and Sunday school programs. She enjoys working with kids of all ages!
She hopes to finish her Linked trilogy soon, and continue writing. Recently, she self-published her first juvenile fiction book for kids online. (see M&M Twins)
Jessica is married and has three children. Her family recently relocated to a small town in south Florida.
Twitter- @jltornese