Launch Day!

The highly anticipated follow up to award-winning Boy on Hold, BOY RELEASED, is finally available for purchase at your favorite online bookstore!

Already, it’s getting rave reviews. 9 out of 10 ARC reviewers have given FIVE STAR reviews on Goodreads. The best part? It can absolutely be enjoyed as a standalone if you haven’t gotten to Boy on Hold yet!

Some Q&A about launch day

What happens on launch day?

Basically, on launch day, the book is available for purchase on Amazon or wherever you buy your books. The date is set by my awesome publisher, Immortal Works. And although the book has been ready for a few months now, gearing up for launch day includes plans for marketing and publicity to help make a splash at launch.

There may also be live launch events where you can meet the author and get your book signed. This is usually a separate date from the official launch day.

Are there any launch events planned for BOY RELEASED?

Yes! Mark your calendars:

August 12 8pm virtual launch party – sign up via FB

August 14 3pm – launch party at The Book Cabin in Lake George on the Bolton Road

August 26 5pm – book reading and signing at Mountain Gallery in downtown Glens Falls

How to best buy your book?

The other day, my friend asked me, “Where should I buy your book so that it benefits you MOST?”

This is such a good question! The answer? Buy the book TODAY on release day. Ideally, the Kindle version from Amazon. If the book takes off with a good sales rank on the first day, Amazon will continue to push the product.

Is there anything else we readers could do to help?

Why, yes! Posting a review helps an author more than you could ever know. Reviews are GOLD. And it doesn’t have to be a five-star. It’s the amount of reviews that matter. For instance, a book with 30+ reviews within a month or so of launch will continue to be pushed by Amazon.

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I’m so excited to continue the Trout family saga with you — ten years after tragedy uprooted their lives. And the setting? Right smack in the village of Lake George, where I went to school and worked my first job and spent every weekend of my teenage life.

I promise it will not disappoint. Here’s a bit about the story:

Official blurb

In a popular resort town in the Adirondacks, the busy summer season has just begun when an unwelcome visitor arrives at Marcella Trout’s new venture—Blue Palms Motel.

Tyler alone witnesses her brutal attack. Soon, he becomes the only suspect. As the investigation tries to unlock the secrets tangled in Tyler’s troubled mind, the Trouts must confront the disturbing reality of his mental illness. Is Tyler once again a criminal, or will he become a hero?

In this thrilling follow up to award-winning Boy on Hold, ten years have passed since the horrific murder of Sally Hubbard. Tyler is released from psychiatric rehab and Hen, now seventeen, will soon inherit the wealthy Hubbard estate. But just as the Trouts look toward a brighter future, tragedy knocks on their door…

Cover Reveal–Boy Released

The long-awaited sequel to BOY ON HOLD drops August 3, 2021. BOY RELEASED follows the story of the Trout family, ten years after tragedy changed their lives forever–when Tyler is released from rehab and Hen is about to inherit millions from Miss Sally’s estate.

A thrilling mystery that definitely can be enjoyed on its own, I started writing the sequel six months after Boy on Hold launched. I can’t wait to share this story with you!

I tell students when I visit schools that before books become books, they’re just really long documents. Like, a big stack of paper. Seeing cover art for the first time always makes it feel real. And closer to that gratifying feeling of holding that book in my hands.

For this book, I tried something different for its cover reveal. In hopes to generate excitement, I phased out posts to engage my readers in a fun way.

First, people guessed what color the cover would be.

BLACK got the most votes by far, with BLUE a close second.

But the winning color is RED.
Hmmmm. That made me wonder.
Do readers hope it’s black?
Is red too aggressive?

Next, I posted various “puzzle pieces” of the cover, giving a teaser sneak peek. Did it work or just annoy people, who knows?

Okay, okay. Enough nonsense. It’s only fun until it’s not anymore. Here’s the whole shebang, folks. Hope it was worth the wait. (I, for one, am psyched about the design!)

BOY RELEASED by JD Spero launches August 3!

OFFICIAL BLURB

In a popular resort town in the Adirondacks, the busy summer season has just begun when an unwelcome visitor arrives at Marcella Trout’s new venture—Blue Palms Motel.

Tyler alone witnesses her brutal attack. Soon, he becomes the only suspect. As the investigation tries to unlock the secrets tangled in Tyler’s troubled mind, the Trouts must confront the disturbing reality of his mental illness. Is Tyler once again a criminal, or will he become a hero?

In this thrilling follow up to award-winning Boy on Hold, ten years have passed since the horrific murder of Sally Hubbard. Tyler is released from psychiatric rehab and Hen, now seventeen, will soon inherit the wealthy Hubbard estate. But just as the Trouts look toward a brighter future, tragedy knocks on their door…

Spirit Animal GIVEAWAY!

What’s your spirit animal?

Do you feel a strong connection to a certain animal? Do you feel that a type of animal represents your unique essence?

I’m not sure I have a spirit animal, although hedgehogs will always have a soft spot in my heart.

This little prickly critter helped inspire BOY ON HOLD, after all. Did you know, I’m also an illustrator? Here’s my super-realistic hedgehog drawing that appears on the back cover of BOH and also at every chapter heading.

In honor of my birthday this year, I’m hosting a HEDGEHOG GIVEAWAY!

No, not an actual, live hedgehog, silly. I’m talking SOCKS! Adorable, hedgehog socks!

Here’s how to play:

  • Post a selfie with BOY ON HOLD on any social media platform (kindle or phone image ok!)
  • Tag me and one other hedgehog-loving friend who’d want a chance to win.
  • On May 16–my bday—my kids will randomly pick 4 lucky winners!

Post as many times as you’d like to increase your chances! (Now thru 5/16!.US & Canada only…)

Killer Blonde: Author Q&A

Today I’m talking with a fellow Immortal Works author, Allan Evans, about his brand new release, a crime thriller titled KILLER BLONDE.

Every serial killer has a type.
But what if that type is part of a larger, more dangerous agenda?

This tagline alone hints at layers and complexities beyond the typical crime thriller. I, for one, am super excited to read it. Let’s hear what Allan has to say about it.

Your new thriller, Killer Blonde, is a departure from your debut genre. How was writing an adult thriller different from your middle grade horror, Abnormally Abbey

It may have been easier, actually. I’ve grown up reading thrillers and I find the pacing and plotting to be a lot of fun. There’s a perverse sense of satisfaction pitting your main character against a killer who’s either unable or unwilling to follow society’s rules—and knowing their struggle pulls the hero uncomfortably close to crossing the line.

When plotting a thriller, do you complete a full outline beforehand or do you let the characters take you on a surprise journey?

I’m a hybrid. I create a rough outline of where I want the story to go, but at times the characters have their own say! Especially when I’m writing dialogue, things can so often head in different directions. 

You’re a fan of John Sanford, Stephen King, and Orson Scott Card. Who is your favorite character created by these greats? 

Who doesn’t love Ender Wiggan! What a great character from Ender’s Game. For Stephen King, forget Pennywise the clown, it has to be the characters of the Loser’s Club from It: Beverly Marsh, Bill Denbrough, Ben Hanscom, Stanley Uris and Richie Tozier, Eddie Kaspbrak and Mike Hanlon. King detailed their younger and older lives so well; you couldn’t help but care for them. Author John Sandford has created a character of such depth and likability in Lucas Davenport that I will never miss one of his Prey series—even after 31 books.

In your opinion, what makes a successful thriller — a twisty plot, a shocking ending, or unreliable characters?

There are several things that make for a great thriller: It’s the counterpoint between unreliable characters and the reliable ones. Also, an epic ending never hurts either. But, for me, it’s the breakneck speed of the twisty plot as protagonist and antagonist race to thwart each other that is so vital. Unlike a mystery, thrillers are not about solving a puzzle, but rather about the pressure of high-stakes scenarios as good and evil battle it out. A thriller like Killer Blonde works because of the sense of dread as the killer searches for his next victim while Cade Dawkins races to stop him. In this case, the serial killer has a thing for knockout blondes.

What skills as a copywriter have translated into your novel writing? 

Copywriting has taught me to write memorable copy that reaches out and grabs the reader. It’s knowing who your audience is, so you craft a message that resonates with them. It’s also taught me that writing that incorporates emotion and humor captivates people more than simply trying to be clever or informative. Using those skills in novel writing has made my writing stand out.

More about Killer Blonde

Every serial killer has a type. But what if that type is part of a larger, more dangerous agenda?
With virtually identical women being murdered in Minnesota, panic is causing huge political pressure to get the killer off the streets. Celebrated investigator Cade Dawkins is given the hot potato case and hopes to get it wrapped up before the governor has his head. But the killer has his own agenda—one that goes beyond simply murdering knockout blondes. As it becomes a cat and mouse game between killer and investigator, Dawkins begins to realize he just may be the mouse.

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About Allan Evans

Although Allan Evans has made his career as an advertising copywriter, he’s been finding publishing success as of late. His debut YA novel, ABNORMALLY ABBEY, was published in September. A short story, SILENT NIGHT, is in the Haunted Yuletide anthology published in December and a serial killer thriller set in the Twin Cities, KILLER BLONDE, is publishing in early 2021. All are from Immortal Works Press. Evans lives in the Twin Cities of Minnesota with his family and unusually cute puppy, Tucker.

Gold Key

Poetry is finally getting some limelight, thanks to National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman and her inspirational inaugural poem. We have some news that’s closer to home yet equally inspiring. Our 13 y/o son Adam is also a poet. Yesterday, he won a GOLD KEY from the 2021 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards!

Adam’s been writing poetry since second grade. Some have been school assignments but most he writes on his own, following moments of inspiration. Some are funny, like the Suess-like MONKEYGIRAFFE or the romantic parody CACTUS AND BALLOON. Others are poignant and heartbreaking, like THE WOLF. His most recent, a horror titled GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN, gave us chills.

One night two years ago, we had a fire going in the living room, and Adam (at age 11) was inspired to write FIRE SNAKES. Here’s the opening:

A simple log fire is like

A hundred writhing snakes

Hissing and sputtering

Flickering their fiery tongues

Later that spring after he turned 12, I noticed him lying under the big tree in our front yard for a long while. Later that night, he shared his poem BY THE TREE. Here are a few lines:

I’m still, as I lay

 Like a simple, unblown leaf

 Un-touched by the wind,

 Nature’s ever sweeping thief

Adam keeps his poems in a Google doc he continually updates, which he’s shared with us. But we are so blown away by his poetry, we’ve been eager to share them on a bigger scale. Only this year in seventh grade, he’s been eligible to enter competitions.

This fall, we entered a collection of three poems to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Yesterday, an email came in from Adam’s ELA teacher with the subject line WHOOOOOOO! HOOOOOOOO!

Adam won a GOLD KEY for his poetry collection titled NATURE’S PEAK, including the poems Snake Island, Song of the Creek, and By the Tree. As the Congrats letter states, Adam’s in good company.

Since 1923 the Scholastic Awards have recognized some of America’s most celebrated artists when they were teenagers, including Andy Warhol, Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates

All Gold Key winners receive a gold key pin and are automatically entered into the national level! So stay tuned, we’ll find out mid-March whether Adam has won any national medals. Regardless, we are immensely proud of our boy.

For nostalgia’s sake, here is the first poem Adam ever wrote at age 8. He even illustrated it.

Doves are soaring.

A sea of roses.

The wind is blowing, the flowers away.

Past that, a storm of petals.

But I love you more.

No, Adam. We love YOU more. And we are so proud.

Signed the sequel!

I’m thrilled to announce, this week I signed a publishing contract for BOY RELEASED, the thrilling follow up to Boy on Hold.

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What’s it about? Well, no spoilers allowed. But here is a teaser.

Ten years after the horrific murder of Sally Hubbard, Tyler Trout is released from psychiatric rehab and Hen, now seventeen, will soon inherit the wealthy Hubbard estate. But all the money in the world won’t fix the Trout family problems. As Marcella continues to fight blindly for her children, Bernie has to calm his own inner demons in order to accept Tyler into his home.

While Tyler struggles to reintegrate into the community, he becomes entangled in another violent crime—this one hitting closer to home. Marcella seems to be the target and, although initial evidence points to Tyler, the true culprit is exposed in the most astonishing way.

Aren’t you dying to know what happens?

Boy on Hold was meant to be a stand-alone book. A complete story in itself, I never thought it could have a part two. Yet, on Christmas Eve 2019, nearly five months after its release, an idea came to me in the middle of the night for a sequel. It hit like a bolt of lightning!

Knowing the next morning would be chock-full of merry-making with the family, I hopped out of bed at 3am and furiously sketched out a rough outline in my journal. A few weeks later, I reached out to Immortal Works to feel out whether they liked the concept. After getting an enthusiastic thumbs up, I put aside my current WIP and started writing on January 20, 2020.

I completed the first draft at the end of April. (Yes, in only 3 months. And yes, quarantine helped my writing productivity.)

After two months of revision, I sent it off to Immortal Works and crossed my fingers they’d like it. Not only did they like it, they “adored” it. And thought it was “beautiful.”

I’m SO excited. In some ways, the sequel is even better than the first. I can’t wait to share it with you all.

Look for it in 2021!

IPPY Gold Winner!

In May, I got word that Boy on Hold won IPPY Gold for Best Mystery/Thriller ebook!

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A rare and prestigious honor, IPPY typically holds a gala in NYC for their award-winners. But alas, with all other public events in the spring of 2020, it went virtual. And though I planned to do a red carpet vlog in heels with my husband popping champagne by my side, summer came and the sunshine ate up all my grand plans. Now, with July in full swing and with it all my boys’ birthdays, I wanted to post before too much time passed.

JD Spero wins IPPY gold

An at-home celebration in lieu of the NYC gala. Still an honor!

Press Release from IPPY

(May 13, 2020 – Traverse City, MI)  – Jenkins Group and IndependentPublisher.com are proud to announce the medalists in the 24th Annual Independent Publisher Book Awards. Conducted each year to honor the year’s best independently published books, the “IPPY” Awards recognize excellence in a broad range of styles and subjects. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the gala award ceremony in New York is cancelled. Winners will instead use #IPPY2020 to post acceptance speeches and related award content.

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From last year’s IPPY gala in NYC. Sad it had to be cancelled in 2020.

All 419 of this year’s IPPY Award gold, silver and bronze medal-winning books have something to offer readers. This year’s contest drew 4,750 entries, and medals will go to independent authors and publishers from 44 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and Guam, 7 Canadian provinces, and 15 countries overseas.

“A book is a lifeline that can help us through all kinds of difficulties,” says Jim Barnes, director of the Awards. “These medal-winning books epitomize how we humans share our stories and help each other solve problems. Each new book you open offers the promise of a new day with new possibilities.”

Congratulations to all this year’s IPPY Award medalists for their independent spirit and dedication to making the world a better place! See the official award listing here.

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A bit about IPPY

The Independent Publisher Book Awards were conceived in 1996 as a broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry. The awards are intended to bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and self-published titles produced each year, and reward those who exhibit the courage, innovation, and creativity to bring about change in the world of publishing.

Audiobook released!

I’m thrilled to announce that Boy on Hold is now available on Audible!

Might be a good time to share a bit about VOICE.

By definition, voice in literature is the distinctive style in which the author writes — conveying a tone and feel. Kind of like the “personality” of a book.

BOH is written in multiple POVs — a troubled teen struggling with mental illness, a single mom trying to figure it out, and most prominently, a sweet and precocious young boy.

The story was inspired by my middle son who — at the age of 6 — was obsessed with nocturnal animals and pleaded to go out at night to catch one for a pet. I channeled my son’s voice to write those scenes, though he was 12 by the time the book published. He’s been a guest reader on multiple launch events, reading the powerful opening scene.

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Roy Bullard, the California-based voice actor who narrates Boy on Hold, is both talented and kind — but was first a fan! After his chapter-one audition, he downloaded & read the book on his own. He then reached out to me directly, praising the story and asking if he could be considered for the job. How cool is that!?

It’s imperative that the narrator “gets” the author’s voice — or in my case, voices. Throughout the process, Roy and I traded lots of emails. He asked in-depth questions about the characters — even minor ones. He sent me audio samples to approve, etc. The process was a first for me, and I’m thrilled with the outcome. He nailed it — on point with all the different voices — male and female, young and old. Not an easy feat!

But part of me wishes the world could hear my boy reading Hen’s voice. Well, maybe there is a way…

 

Intel of Magic – !

I’m happy to introduce a newly minted book by my friend, MK Wiseman, titled MAGICAL INTELLIGENCE. I was lucky enough to be a beta reader for this gem many moons ago, and I’m thrilled to see it finally out in the world. And here’s this, the MC is an empath. And if there’s anything we need more in the world today, it’s empathy. Let’s see how it plays out in a magical realm…

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Here’s the blurb

When you are a member of Britain’s first team of wizard spies, every mission might be your last. But as the dawning of the 20th century draws ever nearer, magic grows weak. Violectric Dampening, the clash of man-made electricity with the Gifts of magekind, threatens M.I.’s existence. And if that isn’t enough, they’ve now been discharged from their own government. Obsolete. Distrusted.

And now hunted by one of their own.

Myra Wetherby has always feared her so-called fits, strange visions of people and places that she cannot explain. It is the emotional manipulation, however, a strange empathic connection to those around her, which threatens her very sanity. A danger to her family, Myra runs away, falling straight into the hands of the newly ousted Magical Intelligence team. Who just so happen to need an ability like hers.

Which makes Myra one of them . . . whether she likes it or not.

How to buy & review!

 

About the author

M. K. Wiseman has degrees in animation/video and library science – both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Today, her office is a clutter of storyboards and half-catalogued collections of too, too many books. (But, really, is there such a thing as too many books?) When she’s not mucking about with stories, she’s off playing brač or lying in a hammock in the backyard of her Wisconsin home that she shares with her endlessly patient husband.

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Book Excellence Winner!

I am incredibly excited to announce that I have been recognized as a Book Excellence Award Winner for my book, BOY ON HOLD in the THRILLER Category.

Out of hundreds of books that were entered into the Book Excellence Awards competition, my book was selected for its high quality writing, design and overall market appeal.

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Released in August 2019. The book is perfect for anyone high school age and up, especially boys! Here’s the blurb:

Cabbage Night, 1991. The traditional night of pranks takes a disturbing turn when a violent crime rocks a small Adirondack town. Even more so when the only witness is a seven-year-old boy. Hen Trout, who had hoped to catch a pet hedgehog that night, instead sees his beloved Miss Sally become a victim.

Single mom Marcella Trout is blindsided when Tyler, her seventeen-year-old, is arrested for the very crime Hen witnessed. Now Tyler’s eerie mood swings seem dark and frightening and rooted in a family history Marcella has desperately tried to bury. As the criminal investigation churns on, the tenuous fabric of the Trout family begins to unravel…and even Hen begins to question the truth.

Want to get a copy? Click here.