Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Guest Post and Giveaway Finn Finnegan (The Adventures of Finn MacCullen #1) by Darby Karchut


Finnegan MacCullen: a thirteen-year-old apprentice with the famous Irish temperament.
Gideon Lir: a legendary Celtic warrior with a bit of a temper of his own.

Secretly, these blue-collar warriors battle the hobgoblins infesting their suburban neighborhood…when they are not battling each other.

Finn (not bleedin’ Finnegan) MacCullen is eager to begin his apprenticeship. He soon discovers the ups and downs of hunting monsters in a suburban neighborhood under the demanding tutelage of the Knight, Gideon Lir. Both master and apprentice are descendents of the Tuatha De Danaan, a magical race of warriors from Ireland. Scattered long ago to the four corners of the world, the De Danaan wage a two thousand year old clandestine battle with their ancient enemy, the Amandán, a breed of goblin-like creatures.

Now with the beasts concentrating their attacks on Finn, he and his master must race to locate the lost Spear of the Tuatha De Danaan, the only weapon that can destroy the Amandán, all the while hiding his true identity from his new friends, Rafe and Savannah, twins whose South African roots may hold a key to Finn’s survival.

Armed with a bronze dagger, some ancient Celtic magic, and a hair-trigger temper, Finn is about to show his enemies the true meaning of “fighting Irish.”

Writing Books for Teen Boys

Have you ever dreamed of writing a book? Maybe a book for boys and teen boys? Well, this coming year will be your year to write some magic.

Publishers are always looking for the next Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson and the Last Olympians), John Flanagan (The Rangers Apprentice), R.L. Stine (Goosebumps) or J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter).

Having written five novels for tween and teen boys, I thought I would share some of the elements that go into writing a “boy book.” I have created this list through reading hundreds of books, all with male protagonists, and through eleven years of teaching and observing 7th and 8th grade boys at Cheyenne Mountain Junior High School.

Elements to think about when writing a boy book:
  • Have a male protagonist (of course!)
    • Duel protagonists are popular right now
    • m/m or m/f; teen/adult
    • Side kicks
  • Make sure “boy” questions are asked and answered
    • How do I position myself with other boys?
    • How do I become a man, whom do I model myself after?
    • What do I aspire to do and to be?
  • Include action, but not action for action’s sake
    • Internal
    • External
  • Write up, not down (honor their intelligence)
  • Use smart humor: body fluids/sounds can only go so far
    • Appeal to their sense of mischief
    • Make them laugh, especially after an intense scene
  • Explore life-expanding appeal (ideas worth discussing/arguing/defending
    • What is real power?
    • How do you do the right thing even when it’s hard?
    • Does good always overcome evil?
    • What makes a real hero?
  • Weave in the ups and downs of relationships with friends, parents, siblings, girls
    • Explore the jockeying for position in various peer groups
    • Pulling away from parental figures, especially father-figures
    • Awkward scenes with girls should be balanced with more positive scenes with members of the opposite sex
  • Have your character ask himself:
    • Whom do I trust with my feelings?
    • Whom do I trust with my hide?
  • Always include at least of the two of the senses on every page:
    • Smell, taste, sound, sight, touch
    • But also temperature and/or dizziness/balance 
  • Emphasize physical reactions to emotions
    • his gut clenched, sweat broke out on his face, etc.
    • I always start at the top of the head and work my way down, then choose an area of the body
    • Remember: boys act and talk side-by-side, girls face-to-face
When people ask me for writing advice, I always encourage them to do three things: First, read a lot. Read hundreds of books, both within the genre you wish to write and outside of it. Second, write the sort of books you enjoy reading—do not chase what is popular right now. By the time your book is published, that particular fad will have faded away. Third, write every day. Train yourself to pound that keyboard or scribble in that notebook anytime you have a fifteen minute window. Since I still teach full time, that is the only way I have managed to keep up with my publishing schedule. If you can write even a page a day, then by year’s end, you will have written a book. Now, there’s magic for you!

About the author:
All her life, the archetypal hero and his journey have enthralled Darby Karchut. A native of New Mexico, Darby grew up in a family that venerated books and she spent her childhood devouring one fantasy novel after another. Fascinated by mythologies from around the world, she attended the University of New Mexico, graduating with a degree in anthropology. After moving to Colorado, she then earned a Master’s in education and became a social studies teacher.

Drawing from her extensive knowledge of world cultures, she blends ancient myths with modern urban life to write stories that relate to young teens today.

Darby is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Pikes Peak Writers Guild. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband, where she still teaches social studies at a local junior high school. She enjoys running, biking, and skiing the Rocky Mountains in all types of weather.

Her debut middle grade book, Finn Finnegan, released March 2013 (Spencer Hill Press). The next book in the series, Gideon's Spear (Spencer Hill Press), will be released February 2014. Her YA books include Griffin Rising (2011 Sharp Writ YA Book of the Year), Griffin's Fire, and Griffin's Storm.

Author's Giveaway
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