free book, Free book giveaway, Uncategorized

It’s a Tag Party – And You’re It!

Happy Monday! This week we’re starting off with a fun way to support your favorite authors from the site – A Tag Party. All you have to do is follow the links below to each book. Be sure to sign in with your amazon account before you go any farther. Scroll down to where it says, “Tags Customers Associate with This Product.” Now you have an option to “Agree with all tags” or to add your own. Try to think of all the words or phrases you might use to describe the book or to search for it. This will help others find the book when they are looking for a “teen fantasy” or a book about “teen secret agents.” Even if you haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, you can still hit “Agree with all tags”.

How does this help the authors? It gets their book moved up higher on search lists. This helps them to sell more books. It’s an easy way to make a big difference for an author you love. So, now that you know the game, get busy tagging because YOU’RE IT!

Heather Sutherlin    A Light In The Darkness (Light Series Book 1)

Joshua Unruh          TEEN Agents in The Plundered Parent Protocol 

Jessie Sanders          Into The Flames (Grover Cleveland Academy Book 1)

Keith Robinson       Island of Fog (Book 1)

S.M. Boyce              The Grimoire: Lichgates

Roger Eschbacher    Dragonfriend (Leonard the Great)

Brian Clopper          Graham the Gargoyle (Cascade)

Christine Locke       Open Door (The Legacy Series)

S.R. Johannes          Untraceable (The Nature of Grace, Book 1)

 

And since it’s a party, there must be treats, right? So, to celebrate our first Tag Party, I’m giving away a free ebook! You can choose either A Light In the Darkness or its sequel which is coming soon (I still haven’t released its name!) To win, tag all the books on the list and leave me a comment here letting me know you’re a Tag Party pro. Bonus points if you tweet about it or give us a shout out on facebook. Don’t forget to include the link when you share, that way your friends can find us and I’ll know who to watch for the win!  The more taggers we have playing, the easier it will be for our friends to find these fabulous books on Amazon next time they’re hunting for a great book. I will choose one winner at the end of the week. Let the games begin!

Brian Clopper, elementary, Friday, Indie Authors, inspiration, writing exercise, writing games

Brainstorming Tips with author Brian Clopper

I was delighted to discover Brian Clopper, an author I shared with you earlier this week in my review of his book, Graham the Gargoyle.  Brian astounds me with his clever writing, but my kids are even more impressed with his artwork.  Brian is also a teacher and I bet his 5th grade students are just about the luckiest kids I know.  How cool to have a teacher who is also a writer and comic book artist!  Today, Brian shares with us some fun tips and tricks for creating new story ideas.  Enjoy!

* * * * * * *

Coming up with story ideas has never been a problem for me. There are three techniques I teach my students to help them gain confidence in brainstorming. All three are quick, fun and easy to do.

Odd Pairings: Take two or three ideas that are wildly different from each other and put them together. For example, I created MONSTERS IN BOXERS, a book about kids who put on magical boxer shorts and transform into superhuman monsters ready to do battle with evil, by pairing monsters with boxers. How can you go wrong with that?

Here are other examples:
MY BIG TOE TALKS TO ME
MY SOAP, THE COMEDIAN
SNOWMAN SHOPPING TRIP
THE CAFETERIA COW
UNDERGROUND ASTRONAUT

Changing Expectations: this technique has some overlap with Odd Pairings. When brainstorming Changing Expectations, you use animal, professions, and objects and think of where you’d expect to find them or how they would act and turn the expectation upside down. Most of us assume an elephant would be large, clumsy and prone to stampeding first and asking questions second. But what if you change the expectation and imagine an elephant that is graceful and delicate. You have yourself an elephant ballerina and world of story possibilities.

Here are some more:
A gargoyle afraid of heights (sorry, already taken in my series GRAHAM THE GARGOYLE)
A noisy Bigfoot
An angry butterfly
A very well-spoken caveman
A vampire who wants to be a lifeguard (Sorry again, already used that in NORTON THE VAMPIRE)
A mummy who flies

The final idea generator is Randomizing. This was shared with me by a couple of cartoonists who like to get together and use Pictionary cards to help them generate story ideas. That’s exactly what you do. You randomly draw three Pictionary cards and select three or four ideas and string them together to form a story. It’s a lot of fun and is actually another use for Pictionary at parties, especially among the younger set who really love this.

Here’s how it works:
I select scarecrow, race cars and trophy from the Pictionary cards in front of me. Inspiration strikes and I whip up the story of a scarecrow that races cars, but has a natural problem in that when the car goes too fast, he loses his straw due to the excessive winds. He has to win back a trophy to save his farm from going belly up. All the other farm animals don’t have faith in him, and he must dig deep to solve his dilemma.

You can see changing expectations and odd pairings at work in the summary of my word play novel written to inspire young writers, STOMPER REX.

WITH THE OPENING OF A HATCH that appears on his ceiling, a troubled mortal boy, Stomper, is enlisted to save the fractured land of Crawlspace and reunite the magic. Trouble comes from all directions once he sets foot in the magical world of the written word. If Stomper can master alliterations, homophones, rhymes, similes and idioms before they do him in, Crawlspace might just have a fighting chance.

STOMPER REX is a romp through a magical world of dangerous word play. In the vein of THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH, this whimsical fantasy is a tale with lethal homophones, alliteration gone acutely awry and a host of hideous puns let loose that will disgust and confound.

Brian Clopper is a 5th grade teacher who dreams of a day when he too can set foot on a magic ladder and ride his way into a world where when hens fly to turn back time, skewer cougars hunt for unsuspecting children to shish kabob and boxing slugs engage in the rowdy gentleman’s sport of slimy fisticuffs.

Skewer cougars and boxing slugs are odd pairings, while when hens are a changing expectation. Who would think that riding atop a flock of harmless-looking birds would allow you to travel back in time? It’s all part of the magic that makes the world of Crawlspace come alive.

Odd pairings, Changing Expectations and randomizing are excellent ways to fill up your idea journal with tons of story possibilities. So what are you waiting for, get off your tuckus and get creating. There’s a zebra plumber or an ornery unicorn waiting for you to bring them to life.

Just so you know, I loaded a new book, STOMPER REX, onto the Kindle and Nook. It’s a perfect book to engage young writers with how to improve their writing using a variety of narrative techniques. Piers Anthony sung its praises, as he has all five books I’ve sent him over the years, in his most recent newsletter. I’m so proud of what he said, I just feel compelled to share it with you.

“I read Stomper Rex, by Brian Clopper. Bradford, nicknamed Stomper, is a fifth grader who has issues at school. He lives with his mother, his father having walked out. His mother is understanding but firm about his need to shape up. She gets him a tutor, Wanda, a teen girl he has a crush on, so he does pay attention as she reviews the material. This setting is competent, as the author is a fifth grade teacher; the secondary characters are well rounded. Then two odd men descend from his bedroom ceiling to take him to a fantasy land where he is needed. They are Ruffloon and Strivelwunk, who put him on a ladder which then flies into the land of Crawlspace, where there are many monsters, and much of the magic is made by figures of speech. Yes, the very thing he is having trouble with in school. I suspect this novel was a female dog to write, because coming up with relevant figures of speech when you need them can be a challenge, as I have found in my own writing. For example, when he is threatened by multiple snakes, he says “Fake snake!” and they merge into one pretend snake. That’s pretty simple, but others aren’t, such as “Try knocking loose those lox.” That’s homophone magic to make locks give way. It seems he has been summoned to defeat the cruel mistress of this realm, Stigma, a girl who visited but then decided to stay and rule, and they need to be rid of her. They have many adventures, requiring different figures of speech. Naturally there’s a climactic showdown, and strange things happen as they fight with whatever figures of speech they can think of under pressure. This novel represents a kind of course in figures of speech, and fifth graders who read it will surely develop a better understanding and possibly become better students. That may be the hidden agenda. This author continues to be a writer who deserves better attention in the literary world; this novel is anything but mindless.”

 

book reviews, Brian Clopper, elementary, fantasy, Indie Authors, you gotta read

You Gotta Read: Graham The Gargoyle

Graham the Gargoyle by Brian Clopper

Graham is a young Gargoyle living in the land of Cascade, home to many magical and mythological creatures who abandoned Earth when humans stopped believing in magic.  Poor Graham has a lot on his plate.  First of all, there’s Blord and his gang of bullies who pick on Graham for being small and for befriending a troll, Graham’s best friend, Ot.  Then, there’s the fact that Graham is supposed to have his first flight in front of all the village on Friday and he hasn’t even gotten up the nerve to practice yet.  But, worst of all, is the fact that his grandfather is getting close to his Crossover, the time when an elderly gargoyle goes back to earth, climbs a church, and solidifies into stone as its protector for eternity.  Graham doesn’t want to say goodbye.  So, he decides to go with his grandfather to Earth.  After all, what does he have to live for anyway?  

My Thoughts
What an incredible story Brian Clopper has crafted for us.  It made me want to scoop up my children and snuggle up for a good old-fashioned story time.  I think this book would make a wonderful read aloud.   At first glance, I thought it would be a good book for second or third grade as it is so small, written as a short chapter book.  But, in the end, I believe it would be a wonderful tool for instruction in 4th-6th grade as well.  It has some very good vocabulary to introduce and the way it covers such powerful topics as bullying, overcoming fears and death is nothing short of brilliant.  A short read, this one packs a punch.

Where to Get It
Just click on the format of your choice

Amazon Kindle

B&N Nook 

Lulu Print 

 

Want More?

Come back Friday to hear what Brian Clopper, author of Graham the Gargoyle, has to say to about brainstorming new ideas for stories.  Some of them are pretty fun and crazy.  So, don’t forget to tell a friend to come back and check it out.  Then, you can have some brainstorming fun together.  See you then!

~ Heather