Guest Post…MANfiction Dialogue

Is that so, Mister Chumley Warner?

Is that so, Mister Chumley Warner?

At the heart of any good novel is dialogue. Depending on the type of novel you are writing, and the type of reader you want to connect with, this will lead to how much dialogue you place in your novel, and where you place it. For the MANfiction author, you want authentic, masculine dialogue. You don’t need a lot of similes and metaphors. You need a few one-liners, and plenty of zingers, that hit with the force of a Mack truck slamming into a brick wall. Even if you have a neutral name, there should be no question in the reader’s mind that your character is all male.

 Extended scenes of dialogue are okay, as long as they serve a higher purpose, and move the story along. And don’t forget to tell your reader where the characters are, unless you have the character talking to himself, which creates a whole other set of issues. You don’t want to skip on the details of the other character in the scene, even when that character is female.

 Placing your main character in precarious situations and being forced to talk his way out of them is okay. But it needs to be believable. Just as too many scenes with your main character punching his way out, despite the level of his adversary, might seem a bit far-fetched. In MANfiction, your character needs to bleed, even if it’s only temporary. It brings out the human aspect that much more.

 Little idiosyncrasies in speech patterns go a long way to distinguishing your main character from every other in fiction. So don’t overdo it. Spend some time listening to men talk and interact. In the end, you’ll be glad you did, and your story will improve because of it.

Robert Downs is the author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator. A sample chapter of his MANfiction mystery debut, as well as other interesting information about the author, or his main character, can be located at his website http://RobertDowns.net
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Falling Immortality

Falling Immortality

 

Falling Immortality

Casey Holden, former cop, current PI in Virginia Beach, VA, screens his clients the way he screens his women, based on whichever drop-dead gorgeous woman happens to waltz through his door first and manages to hold his attention. So when Felicity Farren, widow-at-large, struts into his office asking him to solve the two-year-old murder of her husband Artis, she intrigues him. When Casey starts digging, he learns the murder isn’t what it seems to be and he doesn’t have a big enough shovel to unearth the truth. And to top it all off, his former rival at the police department, Greg Gilman, is determined to disrupt his investigation. Casey’s challenge is to learn what really happened to Artis, and why Gilman can’t seem to remove his head from his butt. And he’ll need all of his wits to complete the task.

 

Guest Post…The MANfiction Bromance

Friends or Bromance?

Friends or Bromance?

MANfiction is all about guys, so the main character will most likely be male. And when you have one, more than likely another one will be waiting in the wings, or will be central to the story, or your main character. In that case, you may have what is called a bromance. Is that such a bad thing?

In pursuit of a good story, I would argue that it’s not. Good stories can have two men working together, arguing together, and getting out of trouble together. In the end, it makes for a more realistic story. Take brothers. I fought with mine constantly, but in the end, I was a better person for being forced to fight my way out of trouble with my fists. And your main character will be as well.

So what do you need for the perfect bromance? You need the perfect complement to your main character. If your main character tends to take a step backward, you need a person that jumps in with both feet. If your main character has a mouth the size of Arkansas, you need a person that has lips sealed tighter than a man in the middle of Antarctica.

What does the bromance do? It gives your story heart, and it adds another dimension between all of the fight scenes. And your reader will certainly thank you.

Robert Downs is the author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator. A sample chapter of his MANfiction mystery debut, as well as other interesting information about the author, or his main character, can be located at his website http://RobertDowns.net
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Falling Immortality

Falling Immortality

 

Falling Immortality

Casey Holden, former cop, current PI in Virginia Beach, VA, screens his clients the way he screens his women, based on whichever drop-dead gorgeous woman happens to waltz through his door first and manages to hold his attention. So when Felicity Farren, widow-at-large, struts into his office asking him to solve the two-year-old murder of her husband Artis, she intrigues him. When Casey starts digging, he learns the murder isn’t what it seems to be and he doesn’t have a big enough shovel to unearth the truth. And to top it all off, his former rival at the police department, Greg Gilman, is determined to disrupt his investigation. Casey’s challenge is to learn what really happened to Artis, and why Gilman can’t seem to remove his head from his butt. And he’ll need all of his wits to complete the task.

 

 

Author Spotlight…Robert Downs

  Let’s meet this week’s spotlighted author Robert Downs…This is the first of a weekend of features we’re running with Robert – come back tomorrow and Monday to learn more about MANfiction in his guest posts! 

Robert aspired to be a writer before he realized how difficult the writing process was. Fortunately, he’d already fallen in love with the craft, otherwise Casey might never have seen print. Originally from West Virginia, he has lived in Virginia, Massachusetts, and now resides in New Mexico.

Despite his literary side, numbers are very much a part of his world, to the point that he has a business administration degree from West Virginia University as well as an MBA from Columbia College.

Falling Immortality is his first novel.

Falling Immortality

Falling Immortality

 

Falling Immortality

Casey Holden, former cop, current PI in Virginia Beach, VA, screens his clients the way he screens his women, based on whichever drop-dead gorgeous woman happens to waltz through his door first and manages to hold his attention. So when Felicity Farren, widow-at-large, struts into his office asking him to solve the two-year-old murder of her husband Artis, she intrigues him. When Casey starts digging, he learns the murder isn’t what it seems to be and he doesn’t have a big enough shovel to unearth the truth. And to top it all off, his former rival at the police department, Greg Gilman, is determined to disrupt his investigation. Casey’s challenge is to learn what really happened to Artis, and why Gilman can’t seem to remove his head from his butt. And he’ll need all of his wits to complete the task.

 

 

 

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Website: http://RobertDowns.net

Author Spotlight…Double Trouble!

 

 This week we have a twist on our author spotlight feature – as we have two authors with us! Christy Hall and Amanda Gerry wrote Phoenix Angel together…Let’s find out if two heads are better than one 😉 

Christy Hall has been addicted to the many realms of fantasy and science fiction all her life. She joined her first peer writers’ group in the sixth grade, joyfully sharing world building at a young age. A graduate of Southern Utah University, she now teaches at a local charter school. When she isn’t busy designing activities for her Mythology class or going on field trips with the Star Wars Club, she is spending time with her sister, A Gerry. C. Hall’s favorite authors include J.R.R Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and Tracy Hickman.

Amanda Gerry developed an interest in fantasy at a young age. In middle school, she fell in love with writing short stories and was thrilled when her sister proposed creating a series of novels together. Her fondness of writing comes from many sources, but the most prominent is her avid devotion to video games.  Some of her favorites include Mass Effect, The Elder Scrolls series, and anything that lets her shoot zombies. She received a Bachelor’s Degree from Southern Utah University and teaches at a local charter school.

Christy’s Interview

You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy? If I won one million dollars the first thing I would buy would be a Bumblebee Camaro that really transformed. Then when I parked it at Wal-Mart, I would have it turn in to a giant robot while I went to buy laundry detergent.

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be? If I could jump into any fictional world, I would definitely want to be an elf in Middle Earth. What’s not to love about living forever, wearing pretty dresses, and frolicking around Mirkwood with Legolas?

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? Right now we are working on the Shardwell magic series, book four. When complete it will be six novels. Book 2, Guardian of Time, is scheduled to be released in August of this year. After that, my sister and I have this amazing idea for a new series with dragons and prophecy.

If you could have any superpower what would you choose? Teleportation. Hands down. I hate driving!

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? Never give up. There is a story inside you that you want to share. No matter how hard it gets, perseverance is the way to succeed as a writer.

Amanda’s Interview

What is one book everyone should read? Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

What inspired you to want to become a writer? I have always loved books and creative writing. But most of all, I wanted to work on a set of books that I would want to read.  Our books contain all the elements of both story and characters that intrigue us.

Who are your favorite authors of all time? Jane Austen, R. A. Salvatore, Tracy Hickman, and Margaret Weis

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? Be patient and stick to what you believe. Remember that you are writing the book. Don’t change anything unless it makes sense for your characters.

How do you react to a bad review?  Not everyone likes the same type of book.  I think about what the bad review has to say but I don’t let it affect me or my writing.

What do you do in your free time? Play video games.

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Phoenix Angel

Phoenix Angel

 

What is happening to us?  I’ve asked this question a thousand times, but there is no answer.

I was a normal teenager, trudging my way through senior year with my best friend. Then a boy named Kyle Spencer came to Idaho Falls, and since then everything has fallen apart. Something mysterious has passed among the three of us. We’ve developed terrifying abilities—strange powers that separate us from normal people.

Even worse, someone—or something—has taken a deadly interest in us. We never know when they are going to strike, or how to protect ourselves. We don’t even know who they are.

All we know is that they want one of us alive, and we don’t know who. The others they want dead. Which will I be?

Want to know more? Check out their website!

Interview with…Author L S Murphy

 

 


  A few weeks ago we spotlighted L S Murphy’s book Reaper. Today she’s back with us for an interview, so we can find out more…. 
L.S. Murphy lives in the Greater St. Louis area where she watches Cardinals baseball, reads every book she can find, and weaves tales for teens and adults. When not doing all of the above, she tends to The Bean (aka her daughter), her husband and a menagerie of pets. Reaper is her debut young adult novel.She is a co-rep for the Southern Illinois region of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and a member of the St. Louis Writer’s Guild. Repped by Julia A. Weber of  J. A. Weber Literaturagentur.

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1. What is you favorite way to spend a rainy day? Reading of course.

2. What is something people would be surprised to know about you? That I used to be quite athletic.

3. What is the one book you think everyone should read? YA – Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas

4. How did you celebrate the sale of your first book? Dinner at my favorite restaurant.

5. Night owl or early bird? I used to be a night owl, but necessity converted me into an early bird. I’m usually up by 4am when I’m working on a new project.

6. Your most unusual or random habit? I am obsessed that the light switches go the same direction. I don’t know why, but it drives me batty. I’ll run all over the house to fix them all.

7. What are you working on at the moment – do you have any other books in the works? My romance novella, A Reason to Stay, was released on November 2 of this year. Since I sold Reaper, I signed with literary agent Julia A. Weber for a YA contemporary novel about a seventeen-year-old who decides to spend her summer vacation playing baseball instead of traveling to Europe with her friends. 🙂 I recently finished a first draft of a YA contemporary romance that centers around a high school football season.

8. If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world. which would it be? Vampire Academy. I’d make a badass dhampir.

9. Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book? I actually have a playlist for Reaper! Starting October 11th until the release date of January 7th, I list one song on my blog every Thursday that relates to the plotline in some vague way.

10. What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? Don’t let anyone else take away your dream by telling you that you aren’t good enough. It’s your dream. Follow it.

11. Can you see yourself in any of your characters? Quincy’s a little OCD about certain things like I am.

12. What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? Don’t stop. You’ll get there.

13. Cats or Dog? Both. I have three cats and a very guilty dog.

14. Facebook or Twitter? Twitter all the way. I’m completely addicted.

15. Text or Talk? TEXT! I hate talking on the phone. I sound like a chipmunk.

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Blog: http://lsmurphy.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LSMurphy

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LSMurphyAuthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5046440.L_S_Murphy

Author Spotlight…Leslie Deaton


Let’s meet this week’s spotlighted author: Leslie Deaton… 
I’m a full time thinker, doer, consultant, planner, part time baker, and overtime dreamer. Always a buckeye at heart, I was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio where I lived in a creepy old farm house with nothing better to do than read tons of books. After high school, I moved to Columbus where I studied English at the Ohio State University. I loved my time there. It opened a whole new world of opportunity to me. I spent my free time reading great books and writing in my journal. Grad school at George Mason University brought more of the same, until finally I dreamed up Lyla Mercer and created The Mercer Legacy series. Now I live outside of Washington DC, work as a consultant by day and author by night. My biggest fans are my husband, my three dachshunds and my family.

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Lyla Mercer is back, and this time she not only has to face the consequences of her actions the night of the battle, but she must learn to do it alone. A History Renewed (the sequel to A Marked Past) is now available. After Lyla discovers the truth about her family’s dark past, she knows her life will never be the same. Her move to Salem revealed a history plagued with secrets and a future full of danger. Lyla is a witch, and the Mercers aren’t the only witches living in the small town.

There are others, some allies, some enemies; and one unfathomably evil man who is hunting them all. Fearing their own extinction, the witches unite, ready to defend themselves, but when Lyla breaks the coven rules, she finds herself forced to face her hunter alone.

A History Renewed reveals the next journey in Lyla’s fight for survival; one in which she must master new powers, search for new allies, and find the courage to continue her fight to stay alive.

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What is your favourite way to spend a rainy day?

I love to spend rainy days curled up in a chair by the window with my laptop, a cup of hot tea, and nothing better to do than create a new chapter, dream up a new adventure, or even craft a new world. Rainy days are my most creative days.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Find the courage to write. Make some time write at least 3 days a week. Don’t set unrealistic goals, writing one well-crafted paragraph is better than 10 mediocre pages that you’ll have to rewrite later. Don’t make excuses for why you can’t write, just do it!

How do you react to a bad review?

I won’t lie it can be hard to take when a reviewer criticizes the work that you have slaved over for more than a year. But, I try to read every review with an eye for improvement. I have found that reading even the most offensive review can sometimes provide some advice to me on making improvements for the next book. So, I grit my teeth, take a deep breath, and try to learn from it.

Author Spotlight…R B Harkess

Let’s meet this week’s spotlighted author…R B Harkess

An exiled Bristolian currently living just outside London, Robert got back into writing three years ago. Since then he has had his first YA novel (Aphrodite’s Dawn) published by Proxima, and has had a half dozen short stories published in various e-zines and anthologies.

He blogs at http://www.rbharkess.com

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Garret’s world is six floors tall by five hundred people wide, and he despairs of ever being happy. When a voice in his head offers the 14-year old an escape from his boring life, he has no idea how apparently being offered everything he could want or need might change him. With his best friend Pitr in tow Garret seizes the opportunity, and their universe is thrown into confusion when they are told they are on an asteroid-sized sleeper-ship. The asteroid’s computer has been damaged, and cannot control the engines to deliver them to their new home. Garret is asked to take a message to the other end of the world. He has to travel through an ancient subway system and is captured by forest dwellers in a giant park. He finds a new friend, Alyssa, running from an arranged marriage and leads them across the parklands.

 

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What is your favorite way to spend a rainy day?

Somewhere like a summerhouse or a conservatory; somewhere I can open a window and listen. Even better if there’s thunder. Then sit in a nice comfy chair and dive into a really tempestuous fantasy with dramatic scenery and extravagant conflict. Something like ‘Before they Were Hung’ by Joe Abercrombie

 How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

I bounced up and down in my chair until I heard it make an alarming clunk, trying not to explode because there was nobody in the house for me to tell. I ended up phoning my Mum, then went out for a luscious meal with me wife in the evening

 What are you working on at the moment – do you have any other books in the works?

I have one novel wandering the ether looking for a home (might even have found one) and I’m deep into editing a third novel. Both Young Adult urban fantasy/steampunk mashups.

 If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world.. which would it be?

That’s actually a difficult one, because unless you are part of the story, the world of most books is probably pretty much ass humdrum as our own. There are usually far more underdogs than there are heroes or privileged classes. Easy to pick if you can also get to decide who you are. So I think it would probably have to be Narnia, but in a good time not a bad one. Or maybe living somewhere in the The Culture, from the brain of Ian. M. Banks

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why?

Joe Abercrombie: He’s younger than me, better looking than me, sells more books than me. And he can dance. In fact, skip the movie, can I just BE Joe Abercrombie? Please?

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

www.aphroditesdawn.com

Amazon.com

Interview with…author Kelly Walker

Author Biography

Kelly Walker is a full time novelist, wife, and an all the time dreamer. Her first promotion was 8 years ago and it came with the job title of ‘Mom’. Her second promotion came with no raise in pay but a huge jump in responsibility when she became ‘Mom of two’. It’s a rewarding career but the retirement plan sucks. She is a huge advocate of animal rescue and adoption and shares her Virginia home (and couch) with three dogs and two cats.

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If you could travel in a time machine would you go back to the past or into the future? The past. I’d much rather chose to go back, where at least I kind of know what to expect. The future is so uncertain and so unknown, and it scares me. It scares me for my children, and their children because I don’t know what type of world they are going to live in.

Night owl, or early bird? Night Owl.

Skittles or M&Ms?  M&M’s. I’m quite a chocoholic.

Any other books in the works? What are your goals for future projects?  Oh goodness, lots. Cornerstone is the first in a trilogy, and that only takes into account the main books of the story. Second Stone will be out in February of 2013. Broken Stone will hopefully follow in April of 2013. In addition to the three main books of the story, I’ve got a prequel planned that will tell the story of Emariya’s parents and their love and personal sacrifices. I’d like to do a few novellas as well-In particular I know I need to write the history of The Split. It’s pretty fascinating and adds an entire extra layer of richness to the world. Rink may find himself in a short story, too. And then, I have a few non Souls of the Stones related stories in my head. One will be an adult drama, the other will be a YA paranormal.

If you could jump into the pages of a book, and live in that world.. which would it be? Harry Potter. As long as I didn’t have to be a Muggle.

What is your dream cast for your book? Definitely Taylor Swift for Emariya. I just cannot picture anyone better for the role. For Torian – Probably Ian Somerhalder. Christopher Gorham could work as well though. I actually have a pinterest board that shows my ideal looks for each, as well as some of the world. I don’t know who all these people are though! One thing that really surprised me is that the actor who played Voldemort would be a perfect Oren. http://pinterest.com/dreamersmagic/cornerstone/

What was your favorite book when you were a child? I read as often as I breathed as a child. The first book I really remember reading was The Big Black Horse -http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?index=books&linkCode=qs&keywords=0375840354  It’s a younger child’s version of The Black Stallion. As I grew up, I still loved reading about horses and I eventually read the actual Black Stallion series. By the time I was a teen, I think my favorite book was The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. I loved what it said about breaking expectations.

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters? Taylor Swift – Eyes Open – The mood of it, and even many of the lyrics really fit Cornerstone.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? Just do it. Don’t waste time telling yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t or couldn’t. But, get help, get feedback and get advice from people who don’t know you. I run my writing through an online critique group (Critique Circle) and it is absolutely the most valuable thing a writer can do for themselves, their career and their self esteem. Yes, it may hurt when you realize you aren’t where you want to be, but the thrill of seeing yourself improve is worth it. Plus it helps build a great support network, which we need. Writing is a solitary profession, it’s great to have company.

If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why? Early Scotland. I’ve never been but pictures tell me it is beautiful. I think the people there/then had a lot of pride in their families, their heritage and their way of life. I think that is a good thing. Even though in some ways life then was harder, I think it was also simpler.

What is your favorite Quote? My favorite quote from a book is “Be Safe.” I think those two little words say so much, and I love the way it was delivered.

How did you know you should become an author? I’m still not so sure on the should part, but I don’t think I had any other choice. My main character, Emariya(Riya) lived in my head for three years, determined to get out. She really would not take no for an answer. So I wrote her story, or I’ve started to anyway. There is much more to tell.

Who are your favorite authors of all time? Stephanie Meyers – She created a book that will stick with me forever. Twilight and I are old pals. I re-read it each time my husband was deployed, and it was something that really got me through. Her characters are so memorable, and I really don’t know what it is, but they are. They just kind of stick with you. James Patterson – I’ve been reading his Cross series since I was a teen. I still love it. Elle Casey is a new favorite. She’s awesome and I love her kick-butt heroines. Diana Gabaldon – I love her Outlander series. Her words never cease to amaze me.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters? I think I’m more Jessa than Emariya.

What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year? Breaking Dawn. Is it here yet?

What do you do in your free time? I write in my free time. Being a Mom is my first job.

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be? Constantly Dreaming, Occasionally Achieving

What’s your favorite season? My favorite is fall. I love the plethora of colors, the refreshingly cooler weather, and pumpkins and apple cinnamon brooms! My husband was stationed in Arizona for four years and after being an east coast girl my entire life, spending four years with two seasons ( Hot and Hotter) and no real change to the landscape, I was thrilled to come home to the east coast and enjoy having seasons again. Each time the season changes I get a little thrill of excitement, but Fall is definitely my favorite of them all.

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

http://kellywalkerwrites.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/KellyWalkerAuthor
https://twitter.com/KWalkerWrites
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6546134.Kelly_Walker

Author Spotlight…L S Murphy

 


  Let’s meet this week’s spotlighted author… 
L.S. Murphy lives in the Greater St. Louis area where she watches Cardinals baseball, reads every book she can find, and weaves tales for teens and adults. When not doing all of the above, she tends to The Bean (aka her daughter), her husband and a menagerie of pets. Reaper is her debut young adult novel.She is a co-rep for the Southern Illinois region of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and a member of the St. Louis Writer’s Guild. Repped by Julia A. Weber of  J. A. Weber Literaturagentur.

 

Reaper

There’s no way sixteen year old Quincy Amarante will become the fifth grim reaper. None. Not over her shiny blue Mustang. Her Jimmy Choos. Or her dead body.
She’s supposed to enjoy her sophomore year, not learn about some freaky future Destiny says she has no choice but to fulfill.

It doesn’t take long for Quincy to realize the only way out of the game is to play along especially since Death can find her anyway, anywhere, anytime. And does. Like when she’s reassuring her friends she wants nothing to do with former best friend Ben Moorland, who’s returned from god-knows-where, and fails. Miserably.

Instead of maintaining her coveted popularity status, Quincy’s goes down like the Titanic. Maybe … just maybe … that’s okay. It seems, perhaps, becoming a grim reaper isn’t just about the dead but more about a much needed shift in Quincy’s priorities—from who she thinks she wants to be to who she really is.

 

Want to know more? Check out the links!

Blog: http://lsmurphy.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LSMurphy

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LSMurphyAuthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5046440.L_S_Murphy

Guest Post…from Deanna Proach

 Our guest post today – a piece told from her character’s perspective – is by Deanna Proach, author of Day of Revenge, a historical fiction set in revolutionary France, and To Be Maria, featured below. Aside from writing novels, Deanna is actively involved in her local theatre community as an actress and she’s learning the art of medieval sword fighting. You can find out more about her and her books at http://deannaswriting.wordpress.com.

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Seventeen-year-old Anya Preschnikov wants to become a famous actress but she’s faced with two problems. Her father ignores her and doesn’t have any money to support her. At school, she’s bullied on a daily basis, yet she believes that she will gain her stepping-stone to stardom if she’s accepted by her peers.

All of this changes when Maria Hernandez–an immigrant from Spain–comes to Peach Valley Senior High. Maria knows what it takes to fit in. She’s assertive, confident and she dresses suggestively, characteristics that all of the popular kids admire. Yet she sees in Anya what no one else sees: beauty and talent.

When Maria extends her hand of friendship, Anya is elated. Her rise to popularity is about to become a reality, but it ends at a house party when a boy’s rude comment sends her into a rage.

Desperate to belong somewhere, Anya and Maria seek new friends outside of school. They meet Alex and Marissa, a young couple who eagerly welcomes them into their world of parties and drugs. Anya and Maria soon find out that Alex is a drug dealer, but they are so lured by his wealth, good looks and aggressive confidence that they can’t resist his friendship. They don’t know that Alex’s gang is at war with a rival gang–one that’s run by Anya’s older brother, Adrik–until one incident puts their lives in danger’s path. To make matters worse, Alex won’t let Anya and Maria out of his sight. The two teens are forced to make a decision that’s a matter of life or death.

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Christmas Through The Eyes of Anya Preschnikov (MC in To be Maria).
It had been published on my blog last year, then in the July Issue of ‘Supporting Authors One Read at a Time’ emagazine. But since November is closer to Christmas, I think this will go well.
Christmas. As far as I can remember, no one in my supposed family has ever celebrated Christmas. I mean, my dad’s a chronic alcoholic. And a loser. He can’t even hold onto a job. I mean, I don’t think he can. He hardly even talks to me, so I don’t know anything about the latest job he works at.Sophia, my younger sister, apparently got invited to a friend’s place for a celebration on Christmas day. I didn’t think she had any good friends. She’s quite the bitch you know. So, when I heard that she was invited out, I was quite surprised. And jealous and hurt. Of course, Sophia had to tell me that she’s spending all of Christmas Eve with that friend’s family.

“I can’t wait to spend Christmas with my best friend,” she had to tell me.

I felt incredibly insulted by that comment, so I had to ask, “Well, what about your older sister? Am I not good enough to spend Christmas with? I’m your sister for god’s sake.”

You know how she responded? She cast me a side glance and said, “Dream on, Anya. You can’t give me what I want. Besides, I’d far rather be with my friend than with you, Dad and your stupid boyfriend.”

Boy did I lay into her. “Fine! Go! A very Merry Christmas to you too. I hope you choke on your friend’s turkey while you trip over a gift.” I still don’t regret saying that to her. Ever since she entered sixth grade, she’s been a self-serving, snot-nosed little bitch. I’m so sick of her shitty attitude. Now that I think about it, I’m glad I don’t have to see her over Christmas. Hopefully, she’ll stay with her friend for the entire holiday. I’d rather spend Christmas alone than with her.

At the beginning of November, Patrick told me that his family will be spending Christmas with his relatives in Ireland. Like I said earlier, I’ve never celebrated Christmas and frankly, I’ve never liked it, but I don’t want to be alone. I’ve spent Christmas with the O’Connell’s the last four years and we’ve always had a really good time, despite the fact I don’t like Christmas. They sure know how to celebrate. Their house is always decked out with bright lights that make the snow sparkle at night.

I really like the nativity scene that they put on display in their living room. I’m not a Christian, yet I get so drawn in by the baby Jesus and his father and mother. I’ve heard the Christmas story so many times, I always think about how tough their lives were in those days and I can relate to them. They were poor, like me. There was no room for them in the inn. They had no house, no family to take them in and then they had to run far away because, if they would have stayed in Bethlehem, King Herod would have killed their only son. Whenever I think about them, I don’t feel so bad.

When I first heard that Patrick won’t be here, I was really upset. I cried for several hours after I got home from school. I’ve been secretly hoping that they’d take me with them to Ireland, but Patrick hasn’t asked me and I don’t think it would be right to invite myself. Besides, his relatives don’t know me. It wouldn’t be the same. So, I guess I’ll have to do something to keep myself from going nuts. I could really use some steady income, so I think I’m going to get a job. I’m also going to get ready for my auditions.

We have to audition for Mr. Hawthorne’s–my acting teacher–advanced acting class. The auditions are in the middle of January. I want to be an actor so bad, so I have to get into this class. It means all the world to me. So, I better get ready for it, like now.

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