Monday, August 5, 2019

The Yin and Yang of Publishing: Good vs Bad Reviews

I've been hitting it pretty hard for the past nearly 7 years in the publishing world as far as books are concerned, and a question that often crosses my mind is this: are bad or mean reviews of an author's book worth reading or even analyzing? 

In the modern world, anyone, anywhere, can become a book critic by picking a username and logging into their Amazon account. Pick your product, give your stars, and state your opinion. Easy. 

Over the years, Amazon has had issues with people buying positive reviews to prop their own book sales up or worse: competitors paying others to post bad reviews on their rivals' books to damper sales. When it comes to publishing, it seems that some people can really get vicious. That being sad, there are many, many legitimate reviews out there, both positive and negative. 

But as an author, should we be reading the negative reviews people leave us about our books? My answer is yes, as long as you do so through the lens of someone who can take the criticism. Some reviews are genuine, in that the reader really didn't like the novel. It can be valuable to an author to know why, because it helps them tap into what types of elements readers like to see in a book. It can also be toxic, because sometimes, people are cruel and offensive in the commentary for no reason at all. They'll hate a book simply because they can, not because there is any logic in it. Because it makes them feel powerful, perhaps, to put someone else down on a public forum. Those are the reviews you have to skim, to realize that this has nothing to do with you as a writer - this is just Internet drivel, designed to upset you...so don't let yourself get upset. Just laugh about the absurdity of it all and move on! 

When I published my first book, I was always interested to see what people were saying about the writing on both the review sections of different selling platforms, along with discussion forums on the Internet. In the beginning of my novel-writing career, I would get pretty upset about negative commentary regarding my writing. People can be cruel. They don't care or understand that you have not only created a novel - but you have funded it financially, taken a gamble on it, worked your butt off for it, and practically ransomed your soul to bring it to life. So, yeah. Insults can be hurtful, and when I was younger, I would get upset. I remember crying sometimes, because people would say the most inane garbage online. One man chided me because he believed I should incorporate more graphic situations into my novels, or else he didn't buy the realism of my post-apocalyptic atmosphere (he disregarded the fact that the book he was reading was meant for young adult readers). Another one made fun of me because I was "young author", and yet another claimed that he found it hard to take a girl seriously when she was trying to write survival fiction (because apparently, girls aren't allowed to do that?). People can take the opportunity to give an honest review into a spitting match where they exert their egotism and arrogance on the online web, because there is no consequences for their actions. 

As authors, I believe we need to stay in touch with our audiences and read our reviews. We need to know how readers feel about our work. However, no author, no matter who they are, should dwell on negative reviews. Use constructive criticism wisely, because that will help you grow as a writer, but don't bother with the hateful commentary. Look beyond that. 

Are you an author? Do you read the reviews that people leave on your books? How does it affect you? I talk more about this topic in my book, Prolific: Writing A Hit Novel (available in the Kindle and Nook Store). Let me know! Drop me an email or leave a comment. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @writingbelle or Twitter @SummerEllenLane. 





Thursday, July 25, 2019

RESURRECTION: FALL OF MAN - RELEASE DAY!!


Title: Resurrection: Fall of Man 
Author: Summer Lane 
Series: Resurrection Series #4 

Synopsis 
EVIL HAS A NEW NAME, AND CASSIDY HART IS ABOUT TO FACE HIM DOWN.
Ares.
A single, chilling name. The new face of evil. 
Stranded in London with her team, President Cassidy Hart is faced with a new horror as a technological nanovirus begins to spread throughout the globe, driving survivors of the Great War to extreme violence and suicide. 

An offer presents itself: meet with Ares, the creator of a wave of technologically-created plagues, and attempt to negotiate for peace. 
But peace is only an illusion. Ares is out for blood. 

In Greece, Cassidy, Uriah, and their newly minted ally, Ayad, discover the truth about Ares' origins and his plan for the future of the world. The militias try one last time to fight back against the forces of evil...but is it too late? Will Cassidy and Chris reconcile? Can Cassidy forgive Uriah for his previous betrayal? Is there any hope left for the world in the face of this new, terrifying enemy who has sworn to bring about the final fall of man? 

Perhaps. The key to protecting the future...is in the past. 
The ancient world may hold the answers for Cassidy and her friends' salvation. 
Or it may bring the destruction. 

** 
The fourth installment in the bestselling Resurrection Series from Summer Lane, the #1 bestselling author of more than 20 hit titles. 

**

THE PRINT VERSION WILL BE AVAILABLE IN AUGUST 2019. THIS RELEASE MARKS THE DIGITAL LAUNCH ONLY. 

** 

Thank you so much for supporting my writing dreams and allowing me to continue to go on an adventure with Cassidy Hart and crew! This was a fun book to write, albeit a bit dark. It is longer than the previous installment, and it really digs into the reality of a post-apocalyptic world, and how, sometimes, you have to win some and lose some...before you can really win in the end. 

Have fun with this one, and I can't wait to share what I'm working on next with ya'll! 

Have a GREAT weekend, and happy reading!
Also a huge shoutout to my proofreaders, ARC reviewers, formatters, and publicity peeps who help me launch every novel. You guys are the BEST! And in case you didn't notice, my rockin' cover artist returned for this installment, and I'm so in love with this cover! 


***





Sunday, July 7, 2019

Reading Out Loud: Building Language Skills & Fostering Creativity in Children (+ Reading Recommendation List)

Here are the facts: I taught writing and grammar for six years. Over the course of those six years, I worked with kids ranging from kindergarten to high school. I specialized in teaching children how to take the imaginative ideas inside their heads and place them on paper in an organized and coherent fashion that both educated and entertained the reader. It was a blast, and I certainly plan to continue doing writing instruction on some level for the rest of my life. 

As a writing and grammar teacher, I emphasized the importance of reading above all else. Typically, I would have each of my students read one book per week during the school year (sometimes one book every two weeks if it was a particularly long-winded book), regardless of their age or reading level. If I had a younger student, naturally they would be reading a shorter book. Older students would read more "difficult" books. By the end of each semester, each student would always show a profound improvement in their vocabulary, sentence structure, and creativity. Reading, in many ways, did more for their writing skills than writing itself. Why? Because reading is a doorway to language skills. It's the doorway to structuring a cohesive form of communication. Reading ignites imagination, stimulates intellectual thought and reasoning, expands the reader's internal cache of terminology and wisdom, and best of all: it literally teaches you how to write. Through reading, we learn how to tell a story, and how to create characters who matter to our readers. 

Because of the integral part that I believe reading plays in educating children, I am a massive supporter of reading aloud to little ones, even babies. Especially babies, as a matter of fact. I have been reading to my daughter since the day I brought her home, when she was just three and a half days-old. I read everything aloud to her: poetry, board books, magazine articles. Her sharp, inquisitive mind is soaking it all in, and inside her rapidly growing brain, she is cataloging the language skills that reading brings to the table. She's already emulating many word tones and sounds, and although she may not understand what I'm saying to her quite yet, she will. Soon. 

I always encourage parents to read to their children. Try not to be offended, but I can't imagine anything worse than giving my child an iPad. Digital stimulation like that is not meant for little minds. Books, board games, fresh grass and basketballs is how a child should grow up, and storytelling is an imperative part of a healthy childhood. Stories relate ideas about the world around us in terms that a child can connect with. A book will not just entertain your kid...but it will educate them, as well. I'm firmly and unyieldingly against young children playing video games or having smart phones (this is my opinion, of course, so feel free to disagree, but I will happily debate this point), as I feel that the stimulation a child receives from the over-the-top graphics and animation of this age will only feed their future boredom. A kid who is only entertained by CGI and iPads is far less likely to be interested in a book than one who doesn't go to the computer for entertainment. 

This is all up for debate, of course. There are a lot of studies and articles out there that look at the effects of a modern, digitally saturated world on children (see this article on Psychology Today). In 2018, The Telegraph reported that "Fortnite and other addictive video games can have a similar effect on children's brains as drug abuse or alcoholism, MRI scans reveal." (See the full article HERE) This is a serious matter, friends, and it only makes reading all the more appealing, in my opinion. 

In conclusion, I want to encourage you to read to your children. Whether you're a parent or an aunt/uncle, a cousin, a friend, a godmother, a foster parent...whatever you are! Read to your children. Below, I have compiled a little list of my top favorite children's books (and by little, I mean I kept it under 50).

Questions or comments? Please feel free to share your thoughts via Twitter, by tweeting me @SummerEllenLane. Remember to keep your commentary kind and respectful. Thank you, and have a wonderful week! 

My Favorite Children's Books 

Biscuit, by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Click Clack Moo, Cows That Type, by Doreen Cronin 
Duck for President, by Doreen Cronin 
The Little House on the Prairie Series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Jamberry, by Bruce Degan
The Giant Jam Sandwich, by Janet Burroway and John Vernon Lord 
A Fly Went By, by Michael McClintock 
Harry The Dirty Dog, by Gene Zion 
Over In The Meadow, by David A. Carter
Corduroy, by Don Freeman 
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
Coat of Many Colors, by Dolly Parton 
If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, by Laura Numeroff
Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey 
Pete the Cat Series, by Eric Litwin and James Dean 
The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter (and all of Potter's works, of course, are beautiful and whimsical)
The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper 
The Cat In the Hat by Dr. Seuss (I was particularly fascinated by Wacky Wednesday, Horton Hears a Who, The Lorax, and Green Eggs and Ham, when I was a kid) 
Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman 
Big Dog, Little Dog, by P.D. Eastman 
The Gospel Story For Beginners, by Jared Kennedy 
Johnny Appleseed, by Reeve Lindbergh 

***

You can pick up all of these titles on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Simply visit their website to check out each title! 
(I am not being paid to promote any of these. I genuinely love each and every one of these books, and encourage you to add these amazing additions to your home library!) 








Saturday, June 22, 2019

PREORDER INFORMATION FOR CASSIDY HART'S NEWEST ADVENTURE (AND MORE!)

Greetings, readers. Can you believe that it's already almost JULY? This year is flying by, lost in a chaotic tumble of hectic work schedules, baby diapers, deadlines and manuscripts. I am so excited to share that Resurrection: Fall of Man will be available for preorder on JULY 12, 2019. I am still hammering out the rest of the manuscript for you guys, so be patient. I want to make sure that this installment is worth the wait! 

For those who haven't checked in for a while, here's the synopsis for this upcoming 4th installment of Cassidy Hart's post-apocalyptic adventures: 


Ares. 
A single, chilling name. The new face of evil. 
Stranded in London with her team, President Cassidy Hart is faced with a new horror as a technological nanovirus begins to spread throughout the globe, driving survivors of the Great War to extreme violence and suicide. 

An offer presents itself: meet with Ares, the creator of a wave of technologically-created plagues, and attempt to negotiate for peace. 
But peace is only an illusion. Ares is out for blood. 

In Greece, Cassidy, Uriah, and their newly minted ally, Ayad, discover the truth about Ares’ origins and his plan for the future of the world. The militias try one last time to fight back against the forces of evil…but is it too late? Will Cassidy and Chris reconcile? Can Cassidy forgive Uriah for his previous betrayal? Is there any hope left for the world in the face of this new, terrifying enemy who has sworn to bring about the final fall of man? 

Perhaps. The key to protecting the future…is in the past. 
The ancient world may hold the answers for Cassidy and her friends’ salvation. 
Or it may bring the destruction. 

**
In this fourth installment of the Resurrection Series, Cassidy Hart and company will take one last chance at preserving the future of humanity. Mankind may not survive this time.


This is not the last book in the series (I'm planning on capping this series at 6), but it's the final novel in which Cassidy and crew find themselves on the same continent at the same time. Things will change. There are a few shocks and surprises in store. Remember...there will be two more installments after this, so what happens in Fall of Man is not necessarily end game. Trust me. I KNOW I will be getting letters and emails after this one releases so I'm just putting that out there ahead of time! *double wink* 

New Projects
I am currently working on a project that is brand new and unlike anything I've written before. It's a science-fiction novel that will be set in the future. I can't wait to share the plotline with you, but I have to keep it a secret for now! The idea arose as my husband and I were having a conversation in the car on the way back from a camping trip. We looked at each other and he said, "There's your next book idea!" It's something that I'm slowly perusing and creating while I'm working on Cassidy's story. 

What about after Resurrection? 
I have a plan. The Collapse universe will continue, and Cassidy's legacy will continue to live on. How? You have to wait and see. I have the entire world mapped out, and I know exactly how everything will end, and who will end up where. One way or another, Cassidy and her friends have a destiny that is coming up fast! 

ARC Master List 
You have probably heard me talking about creating an ARC master list last year. I'm still in the process of doing so. I'll be collecting information prior to Fall of Man's release and cross-referencing that info with those who have reviewed with Writing Belle Publishing in the past. I have hired two more proofreaders this summer and I will be looking for a strong group of beta readers to read my new sci-fi novel, which will hopefully be ready for analysis over the winter at some point (no release date yet). 

In Summary
I'm pretty busy around here, so keep hitting me up with feature requests and I'll do my best to work you in! I can't wait to share my newest stories with  you and to keep Cassidy Hart's character alive in the fictional world! 

Now if you'll excuse me...I'm off to write and check on my napping 5-month-old! 





Saturday, May 25, 2019

DARK WINTER: A JAKE MAHEGAN NOVEL FROM ANTHONY J. TATA

Title: Dark Winter
Series: Jake Mahegan Novel #1
Author: Anthony J. Tata 
(U.S. Army Brigadier General Ret.)


Power and wealth could destroy the world in Tata’s latest thriller. Jake Mahegan and his team of operatives are the best of the best, but how do you battle an opponent with money, connections, and a team of professional hackers? With access to nuclear weapons and key people in various world governments, ComWar (Computer Optimized Warfare) is ready to launch nuclear missiles at Japan; then Russia will invade Europe, and the Middle East will explode in the aftermath. Mahegan must battle an enemy who seems to know his every move, and, worse, his plans are muddled by personal considerations: Will his heart get in the way of the mission? Tata has taken elements of the world’s political stage and mixed them brilliantly with a virtual treatise on cybersecurity. Throw in a charismatic villain steering the game, and you have all the elements in place for a classic, high-adventure technothriller. The open-ended conclusion will leave readers hanging, but that will only make them wish that Tata could please write faster. This is the best thriller yet by the former brigadier general. 

Get it HERE ON AMAZON! 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Brigadier General Anthony J. Tata, U.S. Army (Retired), is the national bestselling author of Dark Winter, Direct FireReaper Ghost Target,  Reaper: Threat Zero (Released May 21, 2019), Besieged (a Publishers Weekly Top 10 Best Mystery/Thriller of 2017), Three Minutes to MidnightForeign and Domestic, and the Threat series. During his active duty military career, he commanded combat units in the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions and the 10th Mountain Division. His last combat tour was in Afghanistan in 2007 where he earned the Combat Action Badge and the Bronze Star Medal. He is a frequent foreign policy guest commentator on Fox News, CNN, and One America News Network’s Tipping Point with Liz Wheeler. Previously, General Tata served as the Secretary of Transportation of North Carolina, Superintendent of Schools for Wake County Public School System, and Chief Operating Officer of Washington, DC, Public Schools.
 
Brigadier General Tata donates a portion of his earnings to the USO Metro DC, the North Carolina Heroes Fund, and the Michael Murphy Foundation.


Monday, May 13, 2019

THE 'AMANDA TRAVELS' SERIES FROM DELIGHTFUL AUTHOR DARLENE FOSTER (MIDDLE GRADE FICTION)

Amanda in Arabia - The Perfume Flask
Amanda Ross is an average twelve-year-old Canadian girl. So what is she doing thousands of kilometres from home in the United Arab Emirates? It's her own fault really, she wished for adventure and travel when she blew out those candles on her last birthday cake. Little did she know that a whole different world awaited her on the other side of the globe, one full of intrigue, mystery and folklore. A world with a beautiful princess, a dangerous desert and wonderful friends. Join Amanda on her first adventure as she discovers the secrets behind The Perfume Flask.

***
Amanda in Spain - The Girl in the Painting
Amanda Jane Ross is certainly becoming a world traveller; she's now in sunny Spain on vacation with her friend Leah. While there, she encounters a mysterious young girl who looks eerily like the girl in a famous painting she saw in a Madrid museum. Even weirder, the girl keeps showing up wherever Amanda finds herself - Madrid, the remote mountains of rural Spain, the beaches on the Mediterranean Sea, a lively fiesta and the busy streets of Barcelona. Amanda wants to help this sweet, young girl and her beloved pony escape the clutches of a mean horse-dealer. Come with Amanda on her next adventure as she attempts to unravel the mystery behind the Girl in the Painting while she treks across Spain - always one step ahead of danger!

***

Amanda in England - The MIssing Novel
Amanda Ross is visiting England and taking in all the sights. She gets lost in the maze at Hampton Court, does some shopping at Harrods, meets the ravens in the Tower of London, explores Windsor Castle, and rides the London Eye. When she discovers a vintage book is missing from a collection, she is determined to find out who stole it. Amanda befriends a pair of tough teenagers from the streets of London, an elderly bookshop owner, and a big, friendly, clever, Maine Coon cat named Rupert. Follow Amanda through cobblestone streets, medieval castles, and underground tunnels in her quest to find the missing novel!

***
Amanda in Alberta - The Writing on the Stone
Amanda is delighted to show Leah around Alberta during her visit from England. They take in the Calgary Stampede, go on a cattle drive, visit Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, spend time with the dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum and explore the crazy Hoodoos. When Amanda finds a stone with a unique mark on it, she doesn't think it's important until everyone seems to want it - including a very ornery cowboy. Is this stone worth ruining Leah’s holiday and placing them both in danger? Spend time with Amanda as she explores her own country while attempting to decipher the mysterious writing on the stone and keep it from those determined to take it from her.

***
Amanda on the Danube - The Sounds of Music
Twelve-year-old Amanda Ross finds herself on an elegant riverboat with her bestie, Leah, cruising down the beautiful Danube, passing medieval castles, luscious green valleys and charming villages. When she is entrusted with a valuable violin by a young, homeless musician during a stop in Germany, a mean boy immediately attempts to take it from her. Back on their cruise, Amanda struggles to keep the precious violin safe for the poor prodigy. Along the way, she encounters a mysterious monk, a Santa Claus look-alike, and the same nasty boy. Follow Amanda down the Danube, through Germany, Austria and Hungary, as she enjoys the enchanting sounds of music everywhere she goes. She remains on the lookout though, wondering just who she can trust.

***
Amanda in New Mexico - Ghosts in the Wind
Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit an ancient and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.

***
Amanda in Holland - Missing in Action
Amanda is in Holland to see the tulips with her best friend, Leah. She travels the canals of Amsterdam, visits Anne Frank House, checks out windmills and a wooden shoe factory, and takes pictures of the flowers of Keukenhof Gardens. She is keen to find out what happened to her great uncle who never returned from WWII and was declared missing in action. What she doesn't expect to find and fall in love with is Joey, an abandoned puppy. While trying to find a home for him, she meets Jan, a Dutch boy who offers to help, a suspicious gardener, a strange woman on a bicycle, and an overprotective goose named Gerald. Follow Amanda around the charming country of Holland, filled with colourful tulips, windmills, and more bicycles than she could have imagined. Once again, intrepid traveller Amanda encounters danger and intrigue as she tries to solve more than one mystery in a foreign country.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brought up in southern Alberta, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing stories, travelling the world and meeting interesting people. It’s no surprise that she’s now an award-winning author of the exciting Amanda Travels series featuring spunky 12-year-old Amanda Ross who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When she isn't travelling, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot. She believes everyone is capable of making their dreams come true.






To participate in this program, visit HERE! We'd love to have you! 
(Limited space available)




Friday, May 10, 2019

THE FORGOTTEN HEADLINE: SUMMERSVILLE SERIES FROM 15-YEAR-OLD MCCAID PAUL (EXCERPT AND AUTHOR INTERVIEW)



Title: The Forgotten Headline
Author: McCaid Paul
Release: Get it HERE! 

SYNOPSIS

NO ONE KNOWS what their last normal day will be like. 
For Mick Smith, the day that he goes hunting with his dad, turns out to be his. 
After a deer that his dad shoots runs on their neighbor’s property, he decides to retrieve it—without the neighbor, Mr. Welch, finding out. 
But once they cross the property line, Mr. Welch fires shots at them, making them leave the deer behind. 
Mick’s dad warns him it’s too dangerous to go back for the deer, but Mick doesn’t listen. Later the same day, he finds himself crossing the neighbor’s property line once again. 
And what he finds there WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING. 
Deciding not to tell his dad about his discovery, Mick makes up his mind to investigate on his own. 
Only with the help of his best friend, Billie, will he set out to solve the mystery, unearthing secrets about his discovery, his family, and one shocking secret about himself that threatens to destroy everything he’s ever known. 
Some secrets are dangerous and should remain forgotten. 

*** 

Title: Secret Trust
Series: The Summersville Series

Synopsis:

My name is Mick Johnson, and for eleven years, I was living a lie.

Five months have passed since Mick lived within the deep woods of Summersville, where a monster controlled his every move.
Now, with his only chance at a fresh start, Mick hopes to begin a new life free from his painful past.

Until a secret reveals itself, one that spans generations. When someone from his past returns, Mick must confront hidden truths, all the while risking everything for those he loves.

BILLIE is still dealing with the aftermath of being kidnapped, and having her best friend taken away. Ever since the incident in Richard Welch's home, her dad has been her only consolation.
When Billie makes a discovery that ties back to her mother, all she once knew is thrown into question. Could Billie's discovery hold the answer to why her mother disappeared all those years ago?
With both mysteries weighing upon them, Mick and Billie try to uncover the truth.
For everything they thought they knew was a lie.

***

SPECIAL EXCERPT FROM THE AUTHOR

PROLOGUE 
(from book one)

Prologue

The killer, as you should call him, was nervous. His adrenaline formed a tight knot in his stomach, making him feel queasy. His hands were shaking uncontrollably; beads of sweat broke out on his forehead, and he blinked rapidly. The gun was aimed at the back of the driver’s head. He tried to hold a firm grip on the gun, ready to squeeze the trigger if anything went wrong. 
“Drive faster,” the killer barked at the driver, strands of spit flying from his mouth.
The driver, a man, pushed his size ten foot down on the accelerator, exclaiming, “Look at what’s happened to my wife!”
 The killer sat between two girls in the backseat, one of whom held a baby in her arms. He constantly looked out the back of the car. He had to make sure no one was after them, especially the police.
The young, trembling girl on the left of him was crying as she stared at the gun aimed at her dad’s head. 
The teenage girl on his right side shook with fear as she cradled the baby. She replayed the events back in her head: the man jumping in the car just as her dad was driving off, the bullets flying through the windows, spraying glass into everyone’s lap; the killer ordering her dad to go at gunpoint. Two of the bullets had torn into her mom, sending a scream echoing through the car. She had watched as her mom’s neck went limp and how her head fell lopsided across her shoulder. She was dead. The girl knew the police hadn’t meant to do it; they were only trying to shoot the man who now held them as hostages.
The teenage girl squeezed the baby to her chest, snapping back into the present.
 “Don’t shoot him, please!” The teenage girl’s plea sent the baby into a crying fit.
The killer turned, face contorted in rage. “Shut the baby up, before I do!”
The young girl watched the strange man scream at her sister and became even more terrified. She tugged on the door handle, but it was locked. She wished she could escape; she didn’t want to be shot.
Before anything else happened, the car came to a stop. The killer pointed the gun at the teenage girl. “Don’t move or I’ll shoot!”
The teenager looked away, not wanting to see the man’s eyes. That was all she could see, the black ski mask covering everything but his eyes and lips.
She wondered what would happen. Would the man kill them? Would her dad save them? Her thoughts were frantic.
 The killer threw the little girl from the car and onto the ground, aiming his gun down at her. She heard her sister plead before a gunshot shattered the air. The teenager screamed with such ferocity that her face turned as red as blood. She sprang from the car, leaving the baby on the seat, and launched herself onto the killer’s back.
The driver opened the console and grabbed his own gun, the one he had in case of an emergency.
The teenage girl put up a fight, kneeing the man in the back, digging her teeth into his shoulder, and burying her fingernails into his neck.
The killer cried out, “Get off me!” He screamed and grunted several times before he shook her to the ground like a bug. He aimed his gun at her, ready to shoot.
A scream echoed off the trees louder than the gunshot itself as the killer fell onto his back, dropping his gun. The driver, still aiming the gun at the killer, ordered, “Stay down!”
 Blood poured through the killer’s fingers as he clutched his wounded shoulder. He got up, grabbing the gun and held his one free hand in the air.
The driver was helping his daughter up when it happened. The gunshot startled the teen, making her jump in alarm. She turned to face her dad only to see him on the ground, blood covering the leaves like a spilled drink.
The killer laughed, even through his excruciating pain. The knot in his stomach was gone and now only adrenaline fueled his excitement. He saw the explosion from the end of the gun and then the girl drop like a bowling pin. He wore his smile proudly as he remembered that he had only one thing left to do.
 He peered back into the car, searching for the baby. His smile faded into a frown.  There was nothing but an empty seat where the baby was supposed to be. He circled the car to see if the baby had fell onto the ground. After several minutes of intense searching, the baby was nowhere to be found. He threw the gun down and screamed. Several obscenities rolled off his tongue; hatred swelled up inside him like a balloon taking in helium.
The baby was gone. The only fragment left of this family. Where was the baby?


INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
Welcome to Writing Belle! Introduce yourself!

My name is McCaid Paul, I am 15 years old, and I live on a farm in a rural community in Norwest Florida. I am an avid reader and writer of crime fiction, and I enjoy hiking, traveling, and spending time with family. The Forgotten Headline and Secret Trust are my first two works of fiction.

Tell us a little about how you became interested in writing—and at such an early age! So impressive!
The dream started in the first grade, after I started journaling. After that, my dad began writing short stories to show me that I could do it. My mom was also an inspiration since she was a teacher. She played a huge part by keeping me on track, and helping me to develop a love of reading and writing at an early age. The teachers and staff of my elementary school, and authors such as Watt Key and Agatha Christie, were also an inspiration.

Tell us about your first book. How did you come up with the idea?
I got the idea for The Forgotten Headline in the fifth grade, after going squirrel hunting with my dad. We didn’t kill any squirrels, or even see one at that, but it did gain me the plot for what would be my first book.

How did the sequel come about?
I knew before writing The Forgotten Headline that it was going to be a part of a series. The sequel, Secret Trust, picks up where the first book leaves off (and yes, there’s a cliffhanger) and reveals more family secrets surrounding the two protagonists’ lives. It’s a darker, grittier, and, overall, more complex book than the first, deepening the relationships and the town of Summersville.

How long does it take you to write a book, from start to finish?
As far as writing goes, the first draft of The Forgotten Headline was completed in 3 weeks, but it took over two years to finalize it. Secret Trust took nine months to complete, and the third book in the Summersville series, Buried Truths, has taken me half a year. Since writing and publishing my first book, my writing process has drastically changed. All of my novels have taken a different amount of time to complete due to the overall length and subject matter. With my current book, I have set a deadline for five months completion time.

Who are some of your favorite authors/inspirations?
My favorite authors range from Agatha Christie, who was the first author to introduce me to the crime genre, Watt Key, a southern author who writes a blend of survival and coming-of-age fiction, and Kara Thomas, an author of dark, twisty YA mysteries I can’t get enough of!

If you had to choose just one book to take with you on a deserted island, what would it be and why? 

Either And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie or Fourmile by Watt Key. ATTWN because that twist gets me every single time (it’s also set on an island), and Fourmile, because it was the first book to connect with me on an emotional level. It also spawned my interest for character-driven stories.

Are you working on any more novels?
I am currently editing Buried Truths, the third book in The Summersville Series, and developing the fourth and final book. After this series, I am planning to write a standalone YA mystery/thriller, with my sights set on traditional publishing.

Any advice for fellow aspiring young authors?
I would say never give up, above everything else. Of course, there’s always the fear of failure, or the worry that people won’t like or accept the material you’re putting out in the world, but that is something every writer faces at some point.
And, don’t wait. Start now. Sometimes ‘later’ becomes ‘never’.

Where can readers check out your work online and connect with you?
My books are available on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, or you can get a signed, personalized copy at my website, mccaidpaulbooks.com! Readers can connect with me on Instagram @mccaidpaul, Twitter @MccaidP, or on Goodreads, where I will be happy to answer any questions you have!


****





To participate in this program, visit HERE! We'd love to have you! 
(Limited space available)