Sunday, December 29, 2013

Interview: Christine Haggerty

            I’ve known Christine for a little more than a year now, but it feels like we’ve been friends my entire life. She’s one of my kindred spirits—feisty, and unafraid to share her opinion. Standing at barely 5’1” she proves to me once and for all that great things come in small packages. The reason I think the bonded between us has formed so quickly is because we’ve faced many of the same obstacles. Just like me, Christine grew up in poverty, and married an amazing man who showed her another world. We are both signed authors with Fox Hollow publications, belong to Heber Valley Writers and chose Midway to be our home. We each have three children, and our oldest and middle are the same age. Even though are babies are raised in an entirely different environment than we were, we still struggle with equal challenges in raising them. Indeed, we have a lot in common, and I’m very glad to be taking this journey with her.

A: Speaking of journeys, the first book in The Plague Legacy; Acquisitions also takes Cameron Landry on a trip.  Can you tell me how you decided his means of travel?

C: Deciding on the means of travel had a lot to do with where I was trying to get Cam. Before I even conceived of his character I had the story based on the concept of orphans being transported from our side of the world to the Mediterranean to fight as gladiators. That obviously meant a ship, and I came up with what I thought would be most accessible. The train seemed better than a bus for transporting numbers across land since I assume tracks are easier to maintain than roads, but I’ve also see a lot of good old trucks still hauling down the road.

A: Transportation would be a difficult if society collapsed, among other horrors. There were many things I found to be traumatizing in Acquisitions. You placed me in scenes I would rather not think about, let alone have to ever experience in real life. We’ve had lots of discussions about unhealthy attachments to works of fiction, and I know Acquisitions is not your baby, but I just have to ask. Did you lose any sleep after killing the puppies?

C: I didn’t lose sleep over the puppies. I think most people would cringe at that, and I would probably cry if I saw I it in a movie, but it wasn’t really that hard to write. Maybe lessons from my own childhood, but I’ve had to kill ‘cute’ helpless animals when it was either the kindest thing to do for them, or when it was necessary for my family’s survival.

A: Your own experiences ring through very strongly in your writing. I feel that fiction is more believable when it mimics the actual. Two of your characters even resemble real people. Cam brings your son to mind and Maya carries your spunk. Was it your intention to mold them this way, and are there other people in your life represented in fiction?

C: Cam was initially modeled after my oldest son, but as the story progressed and as I’ve written the second book, Cam has become his own entity. I think my personality might be a combination of Myla and Tara, but Myla was actually modeled after a friend of my son’s—not in appearance, but in personality.

A: The characters have a life-like quality for sure, and so does Acquisitions, which is why I found it so unsettling. But one thing’s for sure, if there is ever a zombie apocalypse, you are definitely on my team. I’ll bring my tomahawks. What will be your weapon of choice, and why?

C: I have several weapons, but I think my favorite for taking heads off would be a baseball bat. In Cam’s future, you will see some interesting weapons.

A: I can’t wait to see the flaming monkey fists! Did I mention that Christine spins fire as well as stories, holds a black-belt in karate, and an English degree? With all of these other accomplishments, when did you first realize you would be a writer?

C: I think I’m still a little far from realizing that I am a writer. I’ve always had the dream, but it took me a few years to have the discipline to finish a full-length novel and commit to a series of three. Not yet used to the idea that this is my career, but I’m pretty stoked about it.

A: As you should be. Do you have any advice for someone who is just starting out?

C: Anything is something. If you seem to always be too busy for a full-length novel, work on short stories and novelettes so that you get the practice and the feel for finishing. Nothing is ever a waste of time. Also, find friends who support your dream and go to lunch with them regularly.

A: I agree that the support system is crucial to making it in this career. I know you have a love for the classics, but is there anything new you would recommend?

C: Hmmm, I really liked Beatrysel by Johnny Worthen and I’m looking forward to reading your Copper Descent. I also liked Gifts and Consequences by Daniel Coleman, maybe because I read it just before Christmas and the theme of the book gelled well with the holiday. I’m so far behind on ‘modern’ literature that I’m just getting through the Harry Potter series. I have some books that I’ve collected even though I haven’t had time to read them yet, but I’d be happy to take suggestions from your readers.

Isn’t she amazing, folks? Here are the links to learn more about Christine Haggerty and buy her book:


The Plague Legacy: Acquisitions (Book 1)


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Review: Acquisitions


by Christine Haggerty 

Fox Hollow launches their first release Friday, December 7th. Acquisitions is the first volume of The Plague Legacy, a trilogy placed a desolate Earth riddled with plague, mutants, and many other dangers a dying world brings. The series opener takes you across the United States and Atlantic Ocean to the orphan Cam’s new home—Salvation.

In a dystopian world decimated by a bio-enhanced plague, military scouts are acquisitioning a new supply of exports—slaves.

When he is selected for shipment to a civilization called Salvation, sixteen-year-old Cameron Landry suddenly has nowhere to run from his worst enemy. Devon is a mutant, stronger and faster and his hatred for Cam grows with each passing day. As Cam makes friends, and finds a surprising ally in Devon’s twin sister, Tara, he learns a secret that could save mankind.

But Devon is on the hunt, and Cam is running out of places to hide…

Christine masterfully paints a very ugly picture of the terrors of biological warfare. If you love Dystopian, Acquisitions hits home on all the right places. Filled with hopelessness, and desolation, this YA novel walks you through the real life horror of an existence surrounded by death and social distrust. It is reminiscent of Lord of the Flies, mixed with The Stand, and The Hunger Games

Acquisitions will be available through Amazon starting Friday!

For more information on Christine Haggerty, I encourage you to visit her, and for updates on the series like The Plague Legacy on Facebook:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Review: Up in the Air

Up in the Air
          by Ann Marie Meyers          

          Ever since she can remember, ten-year-old Melody has always wanted to fly.

          And when she leaps off a swing in the park one day and lands in the mystical realm of Chimeroan, her dream finally comes true. She is given a pair of wings. She can fly! Life cannot be any better.

          Yet, dreams do come with a price. Even with wings, Melody realizes she cannot outfly the memories of her past. The car accident that has left her father paralyzed, and her unscarred, still plagues her with guilt—she believes that it was entirely her fault.

          In Chimeroan, Melody is forced to come to terms with her part in her father's accident. She must choose between the two things that have become the world to her: keeping her wings or healing her father...

          One of my favorite aspects of reading is the journey of a character. I’m not talking their walk from point A to point B. What I’m talking about is the voyage of the soul, the transformation of a single constitution written on the pages of a book. Melody, in Up in the Air follows this precise rite of passage.

          I found myself not liking the girl very much in the beginning pages. Melody was whinny, and had a distorted sense of accountability. Still, I could tell there were some underlined reasons why she acted this way, so I gave Melody a chance to grow. I’m really glad I gave her that opportunity, because she didn’t disappoint me.

          Ann Marie Meyers builds a breathtaking world when Melody jumps to Chimeroan, and gives her wings to fly. This middle-grade reader is full of all types of mystical creatures, and tied together with a remarkable coming of age story that is guaranteed to raise your spirits.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Book Review: On Shark, No Swim

The Niuhi Shark Saga
One Shark, No Swim
by Lehua Parker

There’s something bugging adopted Zader Westin, something more troubling than his water allergies where one drop on his skin burns like hot lava. It’s bigger than his new obsession with knives, designing the new murals for the pavilion with Mr. Halpert, or dealing with Char Siu’s Lauele Girlz scotch tape makeover. Zader can’t stop thinking about a dream, the dream that might not have been a dream where Lē‘ia called him brother then jumped into the ocean and turned into a shark.

Zader’s got a lot of questions, not the least being why he’s hungry all the time, restless at night, and why he feels a constant itch on the back of his neck. It’s making him feel like teri chicken on a pūpū platter, but Zader doesn’t want to think about chicken, not with his growing compulsion to slip it down his throat—raw.

With Jay busy at surf camp and Uncle Kahana pretending nothing’s happening, Zader’s left alone to figure things out, including why someone—something—is stalking him before it’s too late.

Summer in Lauele Town, Hawaii just got a little more interesting…

The weather turned a little colder this week, and I needed a vacation, so I decided to spend the weekend in my mind at least. Lehua Parker's second book, One Shark, No Swim, in The Niuhi Shark Saga just came out, and I thought it was a good excuse to curl up on the couch with my son and a warm blanket to see what Zader, Jay, and Uncle Kahana are up to.

Let me tell you why I love this series. For me, the greatest part is Lehua’s connection to not only the Hawaii culture, but the twelve-year-old boy experience. Sure, Zader’s a Niuhi god, but he still has to deal with the same growing pains as all boys, like impressing his art teacher, always being hungry, deciding if he likes make-up on girls, and how to be a bully blocker without becoming too aggressive himself.

I have a son who is close to Zader’s age, and I find it difficult to find good literature both appealing to this middle-grade boy market and a mom’s sensibilities. This book does! My son loves the sharks and the supernatural element. I love the cultural diversity and Lehua’s witty, wry humor. If you like to read with your kids, it’s a win for everyone.
One Boy, No Water can be purchased at bookstores and via:            

One Shark, No Swim can be purchased at bookstores and via:         

Connect with Lehua Parker:
Blog & Free Short Stories:
All things Niuhi Shark Saga:
Twitter: @LehuaParker

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Book Review - Beatrysel

For the past two days, I’ve been haunted by a demon.  She has consumed my every waking moment, either with deep thoughts or tentative looks over my shoulder to see if there was more to the shadow lurking in the hallway.  Her name—Beatrysel. 
Even as I cleanse my house with incense and holy water, I’m struck with the mastery in which this story was delivered.  I’ve never actually read a novel where the premise was written in present tense third person before, and I must admit the style threw me for a loop at first.  But once I got the hang of the delivery (about three chapters in), I realized it was brilliant.  The pacing gave a sense of urgency to Julian’s plight all the way to the last page.
The plot was terrifying in a way that only possession can be.  Mr. Worthen obviously has a vast knowledge of the occult arts, and his descriptions of this secretive society could place even a novice into the sense of a practitioner’s rites and rituals.  This awareness of course adds an extra layer of fear to an already emotionally charged tale, leaving the reader jumping at every little bump in the night and questioning reality.  So, grab a bag of chocolate, your favorite talisman (believe me, you’re going to need it), and allow Julian to introduce you to his creation.  She’s beautiful, she’s deadly, and her love for her maker knows no bounds.  Don’t speak her name, don’t even think it.  Forget you've ever heard of Beatrysel.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Pot of Gold

 I wrote this piece for my daughter to perform at a Debate competition.  She never used it, but I fell in love with the piece and wanted to share it:


         When I was a child, I always looked up, searching the sky for a double rainbow and the happier days finding one would certainly bring.  Daddy once told me a pot of gold sat in between the identical bands right at the base and it was mine for the taking.
“If you can just imagine it, lassie,” He’d say and I was convinced I would be the one to change our luck.  Our family was unfortunate in the luck department, but I was going to change all that.  We would never want for anything and our heartache would be replaced with a contented feeling swallowing up the empty spaces.  
Momma called the idea ridiculous, but she was too busy looking at the rain falling over her head to ever notice hope.  She didn’t like living in a shabby trailer in the middle of a pile of garbage.  The ugliness blinded her.  She never saw the flash when clouds would separate—how the light filtered through the grey, coloring away the drab, if only temporarily.  In those sacred moments, something stirred within me.  The colors were magnificent—a divine gift restoring my faith that anything was possible.
Yes, I believed in the pot of gold.  Daddy was the only one who understood why—I believed because I was born with a dreamer’s heart. 
Once upon a time, Daddy had been a dreamer too.  Maybe that’s why Momma pursed her lips whenever I showed any signs of sky-gazing, but it wasn’t always so.  There were old photos of their younger days hidden inside a chest.  Sometimes, I would sneak into their room to steal a glance when Momma was busy frowning at clouds.  When Daddy and Momma were first married, his head tilted upwards.  Staring at the heavens, he was waiting for his big chance, but with each passing year, disappointment had his eyes lowering ever so slightly.  Until one day, he barely managed to look past the soles of his shoes.  All of his aspirations were lost, torn away by the storm inside of Momma.  My eyes had seen firsthand, just how destructive she could be.
“You’re dreams will never amount to anything.  You’re a loser, just like your father was before you!” she would scream at him, pointing at an empty refrigerator, or waived past due notices under his nose.
He never stood up to her, just stared at the ground as the tears ran down his cheeks.  It’s hard to raise your head when someone is always pulling you down with expectations you will never live up to. 
“Why do you love her?” I once asked.
“Your mother is my rock,” he replied—like the word “rock” explained everything.  The answer made me angry.  He wanted me to chase rainbows, but he wasn’t strong enough to weather the storm.
He started drinking when I was ten and I wanted blame him for checking out, but Momma did enough finger-pointing for both of us.  Funny, how her contentment grew as the lines of despair creased into his leathered face, like his unhappiness fed her storm.  Didn’t she notice the way he was suffocating under all her pressure?  Daddy was a bird, broken and lost.  He was meant to soar, but Momma’s turbulence had torn his wings.  He had survived, but he would never fly again.
Time went by, and I watched daddy sink a little lower each day.  One day I found him lying in the street.  It was raining but there were no rainbows in sight.  He was sick and miserable and I wondered if dreaming would bring me the same fate.  I started to doubt in the pot of gold.  What if momma was right and thoughts of more contented days were silly?  What if daddy’s aspirations really were his downfall?  The thought made my dreamer’s heart heavy with disappointment.  Suddenly, my head started pulling down under the weight of my feelings, and momma was happy.  Of course she was happy.  My mind was growing more sensible, more like her.  Daddy became even gaunter with illness and I hated him!  I hated him for making me believe in rainbows!  I hated him for lying to me!  I hated him for dreaming, but most of all, I hated him for leaving me…
  I was only sixteen.  Certainly not old enough to weather the storm.
After daddy died, I never even looked to the sky.  What was the point?  There was no pot of gold waiting for me or any other form of hope.  My dreams weren’t special and even if I found my double rainbow, I’d never find my heart’s desire waiting for me.  The darkness descended in the form of rainclouds pouring misery over my hanging head. 
Years went by.  I married and had a child of my own. I forgot about rainbows and thoughts of better days.  Much to my dismay, I found my daughter to be foolhardy.  Her dreamer’s heart refused to be sensible.  I wanted her to be more like me—a practical woman who was constantly planning a way to weather the inevitable clouds.  
One day I went outside and my daughter was standing in the rain again, staring up at the sky in wonder.  I stalked after her and started to drag her in.
“You’re ridiculous, gawking at the sky in the middle of a storm!” I yelled at her, but she wouldn’t budge.  Frowning, I glared at her then up at the clouds in accusation. 
In that moment, something amazing happened and everything changed. 
The darkness separated ever so slightly, allowing a silver light to shine through, and there it was!  A double rainbow—shining over the crown of my daughter’s golden head.  My treasure sat in front of me for all those years, and I only had to gaze up. 
Finally, I saw her for the precious gift she was.  Laughing at myself, I grabbed her hands, spinning her around.  We giggled and danced as the droplets sprinkled our cheeks, masking my tears of happiness.  After a while I sat down on a blanket of wet grass.   I noticed it was green as I held her close, happy the storm had came and the rain had fallen.

“You see that double rainbow right there?” I whispered into her ear.  I thought of the day I learned about rainbows.  Thinking of my daddy, I shared my dreamer’s heart.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Jenny Webber

Jenny Webber

In my eyes, Jenny Webber is the most tragic figure in Copper Descent.  Not only does she die too young, but she is also forced to live under the fanatical control of her father, Reverend Webber for her short life. Her mother died of suicide when Jenny was a small child, leaving her to face her father’s iron-fist rule of control alone.  Forced away from her best friend, Nina, Jenny acts out in any way to gain her father’s notice.  This also draws the attention of Sinclair, who recognizes a link to the one he’s been searching for.

After death, Jenny’s true nature shines when she helps Nina escape Sinclair on several different occasions.  Their friendship transcends time and space, and Jenny becomes Nina’s protector on the other side.  In the end, this sassy redhead is rewarded for her efforts.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Sinclair Devereux

Sinclair Devereux

What can I say about Sinclair Devereux without giving too much away?  When I created him, I wanted Nina to encounter the embodiment of 100% undiluted sex appeal.  She needed to resist the irresistible.   A rock star, dark and dangerous with the devastatingly beautiful voice of an angel, she soon discovers there is much more to Sinclair than even she realizes.

The antagonist throughout the entire series, Copper Descent lays the groundwork for Sinclair.  He is a very complex character.  One thought drives him forward in this novel—possessing Nina.  She is the key to exacting revenge against his greatest enemy, mankind, but he never considered the change their meeting causes in him. 

Exiled from his own race, he’s forgotten what it means to have companionship.  Because of Nina's compassion, they share the briefest moment of understanding, and Sinclair remembers his previous existence before evil consumed him.  Where will this lead?  I’m not even sure, but I’m pretty excited to find out.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Nate Phillips

Nate Phillips

Haunted by the past, Nate Phillips comes to grips with an age-old question in Copper Descent.  What makes us who we are: nature or nurture?  Nate certainly has flaws.  An explosive temper and far too charming, he’s left a trail of broken hearts chasing his obsession for Nina.  He doesn't really see the other women in his life, including Shannon.  This mistake backfires in a big way, and keeps coming back to bite him several times throughout the series. 

I think every woman wants to be loved the way Nate loves Nina—so much that time stands still without her.  His philosophy on life and care-free attitude compliment her serious demeanor beautifully.   The way he sees her is remarkable.  Nina is damaged in so many ways, but he looks past her broken pieces to the woman she can be.  Because he sees her in such a way, she wants to be the image he reflects.

What I like most about Nate is he knows his limits, and he’s smart enough to not push past his breaking point.  Even when he’s confronted with the darkest aspects of his character, he discovers he alone has the power to choose.  He will always have a soft place in my heart.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Nina Douglas

Last week, I signed a book contract with Fox Hollow Publications, as many of you probably already know (insert happy dance here). My debut novel, Copper Descent, will be released later this year.  First round of edits are due back any day now, and I’m so excited to share this series with all of you!  As a precursor, I've decided to provide some insights into one of my characters each week until my release date, starting with Nina Douglas:

 Nina Douglas

Everything begins and ends with Nina.  She is the catalyst force throughout The Sentient Chronicles, and her decisions in Copper Descent not only affect all of humanity, but the outcome of every race.  

I loved the complexity involved in developing Nina's character.  Writing her felt like unsheathing an ear of corn—a layer would be peeled away, and I'd think, "That's interesting," but I kept finding more pieces underneath.  I'm still not 100% sure the kernels have been reached.  She starts out so broken and grows into this fierce woman who would take on the devil himself to protect her loved ones.  

The same questions are posed to Nina time and again.  Can she trust her feelings for Nate or does the shadowy figure tormenting her dreams carry too strong of a hold? Is she resilient enough to defy her mother’s prophecy, or was she right about changing fate?

Imagine being told by your mother you will be the reason the Earth falls into darkness.  Hard to wrap my mind around, but not really an uncommon concept.  All new adults face a similar hurdle when they break away from the expectations of their parents to follow the paths they have decided.  In Copper Descent, Nina becomes the ultimate coming of age character, putting aside her insecurities and choosing to do what she believes is right instead of falling into her mother's mold.  Through her trials, she becomes stronger, and even garnishes a deeper understanding of the woman she believed so cruel. This is crucial later, when Nina faces the other side of parenting in book four (Mercury Ascending).

I hope you enjoy reading Nina as much as I loved creating her.