Hop … Hop … Hop–Right into the New Year!

It's that time again, when we authors and writers prepare for what we'll do in the new year. Oh, do I have some plans this year. Thanks to a stupendously great year in 2013, I have nothing to just edit and submit. I must begin all these stories that I've set up plot lines for, but haven't had time to write them out.

Before we go there, and answer these lovely questions I got, I'd like to introduce the person who invited me to do this year's Blog Hop. 

Francene Stanley found initial inspiration in poetry and songwriting but later turned to writing novels. Like her main characters, she expresses optimism, determination to succeed, and illustrates the principle of positive thinking combined with the trust that things will work out.
Born in South Australia, Francene married young. Retreating to the small fishing village of Robe, she ran a craft shop and tea room, welcoming tourists to the area. In the nineteen seventies, she and her husband travelled in a caravan with three children around Australia looking at various ways of alternative living.

After her divorce, Francene left Australia and moved to England, where she worked as a nanny, travelling around the world with the family she worked for. She met her present husband in London, worked in the catering business for 12 years, and travelled extensively. 

This is where you can find Francene: Blog 

And now (drum roll, please!) here are this year's questions. Boy, are they making me think about the answers. You'll have a look into what I'm currently working on, and perhaps where I plan to go next.

 What am I working on?
Never any one project – that's what anyone who knows me well will tell you. I won't disappoint anyone now. First up in the pike is a story for teenage boys. Well, it's probably for all teens, but I'm targeting the boys here. Inits is about 15 year old Alex Starkey. He lives in my town of Peach City, Georgia. His life consists of avoiding his older, much dumber, a whole lot cooler brother Roger's attempts to turn Alex into his favorite tackling dummy. Oh, there's the little of Alex's inits (initials for those not in the know – teens in Peach City have this thing about calling each other names made up of their initials!). See, his mom fell in love with a first and middle name combination. His dad kind of complicated things by laughing at her choice, which made Mom kind of mad, so Alex ends up with inits that basically get an extreme reaction from all around him. I mean, if you live in a town where everyone who is anyone goes by their inits, would you want to be named Alexander Steven … Starkey? This tongue in cheek book should be completed by mid-January.  

The Ghosties Take on Trouble, the precursor to the well-loved, tongue in cheek bunch of ghost hunters from The Ghost Catcher. The Ghosties are enjoying being well-loved in Landry, completely the opposite from how things are in The Ghost Catcher. They're in eighth grade, getting ready to graduate. Things are hopping, as they always are in Landry, until a very unusual ghost appears – one that's a demon actually – and it brings along a few thousand of its friends. To make matters worse, once the Ghosties do their thing and rid Landry of the fire demons, another demon pokes its ugly head out of the nearby lake. How does this end? You'll have to wait until I finish the editing on this to find out, but you can probably get a clue from things Hailey tells you about in The Ghost Catcher. 

A Ghastly Hallowe'en – This story comes after The Ghost Catcher, and is a new start for the Ghosties. They're reunited. They've finished high school. There is no other job in the world for them, but taking care of the many spirits now roaming Landry, thanks to a ban by Ghosties Worldwide, and the threat of trouble to the max from their hometown. Then Hailey and her crew get a mysterious visit one All Hallows Eve, and things just plain bust loose. They only have six hours to solve three very old ghost related mysteries. None of them have a clue what the prize is, and only Hailey suspects the identity of their visitor, but she can't believe that it really was him. 

1How does my work differ from others in my genre?
That's a pretty hard question. Mostly I write young adult and new adult coming of age stories. They might be historical, paranormal, or contemporary, but they are anything but the same as other stories out there. Firstly, my stories are always character driven. What happens is a result of what my characters do or don't do, and their actions often get them in hotter water than they're already in. 

  Why do I write what I do?
Again, a difficult question. I don't really think about this. I love writing for teens. Why? Because they are a discriminating group. They demand a compelling story , with lots of action, some current ways of speaking, and if there's a lesson in the story, make us like it. In other words, writing for teens challenges me. These are children on the cusp of becoming an adult. They are going through all those hormonal driven changes, and they're also questioning the status quo. They are given so many obstacles now to what most adults took for granted growing up, too. Most don't get outside much, as they're in an electronic world. While my characters are connected on social media, they game, they tweet, they even Facebook, but that's not what defines them. They also like getting out and being in groups. Their idea of a fun time can range from hiking to fishing to hanging out at a lake – no matter what the weather. My teens have no qualms about volunteering to assist an elderly neighbor they have known all their lives, or jumping in if there is an emergency, or visiting elderly in a care home. I write them this way to show the teens interested in my books there is more to life than a computer screen, the latest smart phone, or uploading pictures of you and your guy sharing a hot fudge sundae. 

1How does my writing process work?
Well, first is always an idea. It might be a word, or the title, or an opening paragraph. Rarely, a plot synopsis comes to mind, and I have to figure out just where I want to go with it. Next comes the research. Yes, research for fiction. My work always grounds itself in reality, to give teens a reason to keep coming back to it. Once I have enough research, I start on chapter 1, or the prologue. These first rumblings might be deleted or completely rewritten, but they are a beginning to what comes later, so they have to happen, even though I swear they're a waste of time. 

Once the book is moving along, it's not unusual for me to do fast research on clothes, jewelry, background, anything that seems thin. I'll write until the muse says "break time!" Then I'll leave off until the next day. Those sessions might be one chapter, half a chapter, of a couple dozen chapters. No telling, until the muse decides that I've done enough. The next session starts off with a quick review of what I've already done, and then it's off to the races again. 

KC Sprayberry started writing young, first as a diarist, and later through an interest in English and creative writing. Her first experience with publication came when she placed third in The Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge contest while in the Air Force, but her dedication to writing came after she had her youngest child, now in his senior year of high school.
Her family lives in Northwest Georgia where she spends her days creating stories about life in the south, and far beyond. More than a dozen of her short stories have appeared in several magazines. Five anthologies feature other short stories. She has four books that are Amazon best sellers: Softly Say Goodbye, Who Am I?, and Mama's Advice. Her other novels available are: Take Chances, The Ghost Catcher, Family Curse … Times Two, Secret From The Flames, Where U @, The Wrong One, and Grace.

Hop on over to these blogs next week: 

April Erwin: An old friend, a woman I've known for many years – and no, we're not telling how long! April recently released Dysfunction Junction. If you haven't read that, you really need
to get a copy. 

 The next two are new friends, and I'm just getting to know them!

Bryan Fields: By day, I’m a mild-mannered IT tech; by night, a writer who spends too much time in online games.  I grew up reading classical authors such as Verne, Burroughs, Wells, Haggard, and Lovecraft, often in conjunction with large doses of Monty Python, Wild Wild West, and Hee-Haw.  My current influences include Doctor Who, Girl Genius, and An Idiot Abroad.

I began writing professionally as a member of the content design team for the MMORPG Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted.  My first published short stories appeared in the anthologies The Mystical Cat and Gears and Levers III in 2012.

I live in Denver with my wife Noelle and daughter Alissa.  The three of us can often be found prowling around Istaria, Wizard City, and the wilds of Azeroth.  I also make occasional side jaunts to scavenge bits of ancient technology in the radioactive ruins of the Grand Canyon Province. 

 Christopher Mannino’s life is best described as an unending creative outlet.  He teaches high school theatre in Greenbelt, Maryland.  In addition to his daily drama classes, he runs several after-school performance/production drama groups.  He spends his summers writing and singing.  Mannino holds a Master of Arts in Theatre Education from Catholic University, and has studied mythology and literature both in America and at Oxford University.  His work with young people helped inspire him to write young adult fantasy, although it was his love of reading that truly brought his writing to life.  His first novel "School of Deaths" is scheduled for release this coming spring.

"School of Deaths" is a YA Fantasy novel, about a teenage girl who becomes the first female grim reaper.


April Erwin said…
The projects you've lined up this year look fantastic! Can't wait to read more. :) Thanks for inviting me to be a part of the blog hop and Happy New Year!