The search is on…

Hello fellow bloggers and readers.  Today begins my quest for the perfect blog title.

For those of you who didn’t read yesterday’s post, I’ll sum it up here.  I’m going to be changing my WordPress Blog to a more interactive play site centered around my epic YA Fantasy novel, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING, slated for release in Fall 2016.  BUT, it’s only the first in the Chronicles of Fallhollow Trilogy, so, I will need a title that can encompass the entire series.

What is the theme of the books?  Think dual dimensions, magic portals, dragons, kings, knights, spunky teens, mystery, murder, strange beings.

My plans for the new blog are to introduce everyone to the fantasy world of Fallhollow and its surrounding kingdoms.  This means you’ll get to read interviews with some pretty awesome characters. You’ll get the behind the scene tour with characters not in the books but make up the settings.  You might even get to meet a real dragonologist!

Anyway, all of this is still in the design stage but I’d at least like to have a name for my blog, so put your thinking hats on.  Dive into the fantasy part of you where hobbits and mystical beings reside, and see what fabulous name you can come up with.

You can comment below and all suggestions will be taken under consideration.  The winner will will a digital copy of your choice of

Reading Glasses

This is a collection of some of the most awesome, spell-binding speculative fiction short stories I have ever read.  Truly fantastic. It also includes my short story, The Passing of Millie Hudson, but that’s neither here nor there.  All of these stories are fabulously written and any fan of speculative fiction will fall in love.  Click the book to find out more.

The contest will remain open until December 1, 2014.

Thank you for all your help, and I can’t wait to see what you all come up with.

13 reasons why you need Reading Glasses

In two days, my speculative short story, THE PASSING OF MILLIE HUDSON, will appear alongside 12 other speculative short stories in the anthology, #READINGGLASSES. Take a look below at the thirteen reasons why you absolutely, have to have READING GLASSES:


From the publishers of the popular Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey comes a mesmerizing compilation of new fiction. Suspenseful and mysterious, with a touch of ironic humor, Reading Glasses will transport you to the very edge of reality. From life on a space station to tales that orbit a little too close to home, Reading Glasses is a compelling, fantastical departure from the familiar.

1.  THE MALOCCHIO by Bruce Capoferri

A young man in old Italy falls victim to a devil in a blue dress in an original fairy tale, based on the legends of “the evil eye.”

2.  The Icarus Option by John Farquhar

An old man with a terminal illness, who feels he got life all wrong, wants to make sure that at least he gets death right. Joe Hill is tired of this life, where modern gadgets have removed all real fun, familiar buildings are crumbling, and art and tradition all but forgotten. The answer he is looking for may lie in an old painting, The Fall of Icarus, and a popular new business called Thanatos. It’s a comedy, but probably shouldn’t be.

3.  Starstruck by Gregg Feistmann

While living on a space station to try to forget the past, Aaron Kramer encounters an exotic woman determined to be a part of his future.  She offers him the opportunity of a lifetime – several lifetimes – in exchange for a seemingly simple promise.

4.  The Passing of Mille Hudson by J. Keller Ford

When elderly spinster, Millie Hudson, returns to her childhood home to attend her sister’s funeral, she encounters touching memories and ghosts from her past. It’s not until the family vultures descend to lay claim to the estate that Millie decides to teach them a valuable lesson:  sometimes it is the way we leave this life that matters more than how we live it.

5.  The Beach House by Christine L. Hardy

Under the threat of international warfare, a woman coming to terms with the death of dear friends learns that their disappearance was not as permanent as it appeared.

6.  Fox and the Rose  by Amy Holiday

A struggling musician has fended off his father’s calls to join his wealthy family’s business for years, and facing 30 with an uncertain financial future, it’s starting to look like a good idea. But an ancestor with an axe to grind against the “all work and no play” philosophy has other plans.

7.  The Highborn by K.A. Magrowski

A highborn priestess’ faith is tested when she learns that even those she trusts the most can betray everything she believes in. Will the Goddess answer her prayers or will the virgin priestess fall prey to the evil designs others have planned?

8.  Sifkin’s Fence by Ray Rebmann

A man seeking escape from mistakes he’s made in his personal life, happens upon a dried up bayside settlement that has unfinished business with its own tragic past. In seeking to unlock the secret behind the sorrowful condition of Shellbank, the man is shown a possible way to resolve his own problems.

9.  Mason, On His Way Home by Randy Ribay

A teenage boy’s family drama is no secret, and the judgment of outsiders is painful. One terrible day he rescues a tiny turtle, and soon discovers that a hard exterior isn’t the solution.

10.  The Hearing of Memory’s Voice by J.J. Steinfeld

“The Hearing of Memory’s Voice” is the story of Jack Zwick, an 81-year-old former Yiddish Theatre actor recovering from a stroke, who shares a room in a neurological ward in 1979 Toronto with two other men: a middle-aged computer salesman recovering from a blow to the head by his wife, and an amnesiac in his early twenties who has been severely beaten. The old actor, who can remember lines from only one play—Ansky’s The Dybbuk—of his long acting career, and the amnesiac develop a friendship as the old actor attempts to prepare the amnesiac for a role in The Dybbuk and doctors attempt to find out who he is.

11. Mrs. Rabinski by Richard Voza

After a terminal diagnosis, grumpy old Mrs. Rabinski spends her final days plotting revenge. And everything goes to plan, until a reversal of fortune finds her last wishes may not be as final as she had hoped.

12. Unquiet Mind by Jessica A. Walsh

Incapable of sleep and forced to hide her condition, a young woman wonders tirelessly about her past while yearning for the comfort of a life left behind.

13.  Reading Glasses by Neal Wooten

In a dystopian future where reading and writing are against the law, a lowly fringe dweller named Mat discovers a pair of glasses that proves that the publishing world is alive and well… and incognito. He is determined to become a professional author — even if it kills him.

Book reviewers are more than welcome.

You don’t have to be a professional book reviewer. All we want are avid book readers to read the anthology and leave your comments on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. If you are interested in reviewing the anthology, please contact:

Amy Hollinger | (609) 204.7078 |

Purchase Links

Reading Glasses will be available September 24, 2014 in eBook and Paperback through, Smashwords, and CreateSpace. I will provide links as they become available.

Launch Party

As I live in Florida, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to attend the Launch Party, but I am trying to get there. For those of you in the South New Jersey area, you may wish to attend for a spectacular night of reading, mingling and eating the best chocolate chip cookies in all South Jersey.

When:   October 24, 2014
Time:    7:00 PM
Where:  Victorian Savories Bakery Cafe, Voorhees Town Center, Voorhees, NJ

Featuring: #Giveaways, readings, meet-the-authors, behind-the-scenes, South Jersey Writers’ Group member’s books, and of course, the cookies.

Hope you guys can be there. If not, at least please pick up your copy of READING GLASSES and snuggle in to a night of awesome speculative fiction reading.

My Top 10 MG Speculative Fiction Picks for 2014, Part 2

Yesterday, I posted the first five books on my list of must read Middle Grade upcoming releases.  These books cater to the young fantasy/sci fi reader, and there is a lot to choose from.  Below is the last half of that list.  I hope you find them as enticing as I do.

Expected Publication date:  April 22, 2014 by Harper Collins

Back cover:  In this riveting fantasy adventure, thirteen-year-old Jax Aubrey discovers a secret eighth day with roots tracing back to Arthurian legend. Fans of Percy Jackson will devour this first book in a new series that combines exciting magic and pulse-pounding suspense.

When Jax wakes up to a world without any people in it, he assumes it’s the zombie apocalypse. But when he runs into his eighteen-year-old guardian, Riley Pendare, he learns that he’s really in the eighth day—an extra day sandwiched between Wednesday and Thursday. Some people—like Jax and Riley—are Transitioners, able to live in all eight days, while others, including Evangeline, the elusive teenage girl who’s been hiding in the house next door, exist only on this special day.

And there’s a reason Evangeline’s hiding. She is a descendant of the powerful wizard Merlin, and there is a group of people who wish to use her in order to destroy the normal seven-day world and all who live in it. Torn between protecting his new friend and saving the entire human race from complete destruction, Jax is faced with an impossible choice. Even with an eighth day, time is running out.

Stay tuned for The Inquisitor’s Mark, the spellbinding second novel in the Eighth Day series.

Expected Publication date:  April 22, 2014 by Waldon Pond Press

Back cover:  A young orphan searches for his family and the meaning in his grandfather’s book of lost fairy tales in this stunningly original coming-of-age middle-grade fantasy

Vince Elgin is an orphan, having lost his mother and his father in a fire when he was young, but beyond that, his life hasn’t been much of a fairy tale. With only a senile grandfather he barely knows to call family, Vince was remanded to a group home, where he spun fantastical stories, dreaming of the possibility that his father, whose body was never found, might one day return for him. But it’s been a long time since the fire, a long time since Vince has told himself a story worth believing in.

That’s when a letter arrives, telling Vince his grandfather has passed away. Vince cannot explain it, but he’s convinced that if his father is somehow still alive, he’ll find him at the funeral. He strikes out for his grandfather’s small hometown of Dyerville carrying only one thing with him: his grandfather’s journal. The journal tells a story that could not possibly be true, a story of his grandfather’s young life involving witches, giants, magical books, and evil spirits. But as Vince reads on and gets closer to Dyerville, fact and fiction begin to intertwine, and Vince finds that his very real adventure may have more in common with his grandfather’s than he ever could have known.

M. P. Kozlowsky, the author of Juniper Berry, has crafted a powerfully imaginative novel of the spaces in life where fantasy and reality intersect, a touching story of the things we give up to recover the things we’ve lost.

Expected Publication date:  May 6, 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books

Back cover:  Hand in hand, the witch’s children walked down the empty road.

When Kara Westfall was six years old, her mother was convicted of the worst of all crimes: witchcraft. Years later, Kara and her little brother, Taff, are still shunned by the people of their village, who believe that nothing is more evil than magic . . . except, perhaps, the mysterious forest that covers nearly the entire island. It has many names, this place. Sometimes it is called the Dark Wood, or Sordyr’s Realm. But mostly it’s called the Thickety.

The black-leaved trees swayed toward Kara and then away, as though beckoning her.

The villagers live in fear of the Thickety and the terrible creatures that live there. But when an unusual bird lures Kara into the forbidden forest, she discovers a strange book with unspeakable powers. A book that might have belonged to her mother.

And that is just the beginning of the story.

The Thickety: A Path Begins is the start of a thrilling and spellbinding tale about a girl, the Thickety, and the power of magic.

Expected Publication date: April 22, 2014 by Simon & Schuster for Young Readers

Back cover:  All aboard for an action-packed escapade from the internationally bestselling author of Airborne and the Silverwing trilogy.

The Boundless, the greatest train ever built, is on its maiden voyage across the country, and first-class passenger Will Everett is about to embark on the adventure of his life!

When Will ends up in possession of the key to a train car containing priceless treasures, he becomes the target of sinister figures from his past.

In order to survive, Will must join a traveling circus, enlisting the aid of Mr. Dorian, the ringmaster and leader of the troupe, and Maren, a girl his age who is an expert escape artist. With villains fast on their heels, can Will and Maren reach Will’s father and save The Boundless before someone winds up dead?

Expected Publication date:  April 29, 2014 by Harper Collins

Back cover:  The Luck Uglies is the first in a tween fantasy-adventure trilogy brimming with legends come to life, a charming wit, and a fantastic cast of characters-and is imbued throughout with the magic of storytelling.

Strange things are happening in Village Drowning, and a terrifying encounter has Rye O’Chanter convinced that the monstrous, supposedly extinct Bog Noblins have returned.
Now Rye’s only hope is an exiled secret society so notorious its name can’t be spoken aloud: the Luck Uglies. As Rye dives into Village Drowning’s maze of secrets, rules, and lies, she’ll discover the truth behind the village’s legends of outlaws and beasts…and that it may take a villain to save them from the monsters.

The first in a series, The Luck Uglies is an altogether irresistible cross of Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain, Stefan Bachmann’s The Peculiar, and Chris Healy’s The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, overflowing with adventure, secrets, friendship, and magic.


There is also one more book that I want to mention here as the #1 book I have my eye on.  The reason I didn’t post it here is because the cover and the blurb have not yet been released.  What is this MG book?  It’s Shannon Messenger’s, EVERBLAZE, the third installment in her Keeper of the Lost Cities series.  I am hooked on this series and highly recommend the first two to anyone who loves reading MG/YA novels full of magic and adventure.  The first two in the series are:


Goodreads has an awesome list of Middle Grade Novels for 2014 that span many genres.  You can find that list by clicking here.  No matter what your 8-13 year old likes to read, he or she is bound to find something on this list to excite the mind.



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YA 101: Steampunk

Hi folks.  Sorry I’ve been away from my normal every day posts.  I’ve been in editing hell for the past few weeks and was trying to focus on that.  I still am not out of the dungeon but at least I’ve clawed my way through the bricks and mortar and can see the light seeping through the hazy windows.

I am going to wrap up my YA 101 series today and tomorrow as well as give you the results of a survey I did among readers ages 13 – 20.

I was going to devote a whole post to speculative fiction but decided not to because really, all speculative fiction is is an umbrella that covers fantastical fiction such as horror, dystopian, fantasy, weird fiction, supernatural, paranormal, etc.  So, if you write anything like that, your story will fall under the ‘speculative fiction’ category.  One of the newer and upcoming sub-categories of speculative fiction is Steampunk.  I didn’t think I’d like this genre, but let me tell you, it’s becoming one of my favorites.

What is steampunk?  First, it’s a sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy.  Settings almost always include Victorian fashions, 1900 technology (think gears, rivets, steam-power machines), and social issues.  And like most YA novels possess, there must be a level of rebellion.  Great thing about this is steampunk can take place on earth or on another planet.  Cool, huh?

Steampunk is a fashion statement.  Take Victorian clothing and add gadgets and goggles (always, always have the goggles!), you’ve got the style.  For women, throw on a corset and a Victorian hat with some functioning robotic gizmos and gadgets and walk your four-legged, gear-driven pet, you’re on your way to some steampunk seriousness.  I have to admit, I find steampunk hot, edgy, thrilling and super futuristic.

I think to write good steampunk, there have to be certain elements involved:

  • Research the Victorian era.  Know your time period.
  • Know your machines.  As machinery and technology are huge components of steampunk, you’ll need an understanding of the technology of the early 1900’s and invent your own gadgets to hold your reader’s interest and be relevant to your plot.
  • After reading a lot of interviews with steampunk authors, planning and devising a plot ahead of time is very important.  If you’re plotter, this genre might be up your ally.  Many authors suggest coming up with the plot first and then figure out how to incorporate the technology aspect.
  • Don’t have your characters speak like Charles Dickens.  In fact, move to the opposite extreme.  Steampunk is futuristic with a Victorian flare.  In other words, know your era, know the clothing, know the social norms…and then rebel against it, taking the best of the time and putting a huge twist on it.  Keep your characters, and their mannerisms original to your time.

What are some of my favorite Steampunk YA novels?


Have you read any steampunk?  If so, what are your favorites?

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