Saturday, December 21, 2013

Book Signing Event in Clare, Michigan

Hello Everyone,
I will be at the Rooftop Landing Reindeer Farm on December 22nd starting at 11am and will be there for most of the day signing copies of my picture book What Would You Do If You Were Left At The  Zoo? for anyone looking for last minute gifts. I will also be signing copies of my other books as well.

This is an amazing farm with lots of unique and interesting features. The reindeer have been featured in movies and have been involved in many other events. Guests can also get pictures of with the reindeer as well. Ohhh what fun!

Here is the location:

Rooftop Landing Reindeer Farm
2706 E. Stevenson Lake Rd.
Clare, MI 48617

Hope to see everyone there. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Interview for Butterflies in Autumn by Charles Strong



Come and join me as I talk with author Charles Strong about his book Butterflies in Autumn on Stories From Unknown Authors at 1 pm EST today.


Pages: 144
Audience Level: Youth, adult
ISBN: 978-1-60920-028-2
Release Date: December 1

Genres: Young Adult
Keywords: justice, slavery, emancipation, relationships, honor,


WINNER of 2012 Ben Franklin Award
A coming-of-age story about a 10 year old boy, and his family, as they attempt to hide run-away slaves in the days prior to the Underground Railroad.
Imagine yourself cold, tired, and hungry. Imagine having to run for your life under the cover of darkness, all because someone else owned you. Now imagine that you have been caught and are severely beaten, perhaps even killed.
On the other hand, what would you do if this were going to happen to somebody else? Would you go out of your way to help them... even if it meant breaking the law? What if it meant going to jail, or losing everything you owned? Which would you chose—helping somebody else in their hour of greatest need, or self-preservation?
Meet a ten-year-old boy on a journey of self-discovery and self-awareness as he ponders these questions. Watch him face incredible odds as he searches his heart for the 'right thing' to do. The author brings this tension to life as the characters become wrapped up in what would eventually become an iconic moment in American History.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Interview with Cheryl Malandrinos for A Christmas Kindness

Come and join me as I talk with author Cheryl Malandrinos about her children's book A Christmas Kindness on Stories From Unknown Authors at 1 pm EST today.

  • File Size: 1445 KB
  • Print Length: 17 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: 4RV Publishing; 1 edition (October 18, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00G09WXLE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled

  • Summary:
    Eight-year-old Robert is eager to share his wish list with Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve. When he meets Glenn, who only has one request for Santa, Robert is confused about what he should do. Can he cast aside what he wants and ask Santa to bring his new friend a special gift?

    Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer, children’s author and editor. Her first children’s book, Little Shepherd, was released in August 2010 by Guardian Angel Publishing. She is a member of the SCBWI, a book reviewer, and blogger. Cheryl also writes under the name of C. C. Gevry. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She also has a son who is married.

    Thursday, December 12, 2013

    Interview for The Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats by Constance Corcoran Wilson

    Come and join me as I talk with author Constance Corcoran Wilson about her children's book The Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats on Stories From Unknown Authors at 1 pm EST today.


  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Quad City Press (October 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982444869
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982444863 
  • Summary:
  • The Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats is a Seuss-ical tale for young children which builds upon the moral of the first Christmas Cats book to once again teach children a valuable life lesson. In this second Christmas Cats adventure the lesson to be learned is: In life, always keep an open mind. Don’t accept stereotypes as true or let the unfounded opinions of others prevent you from finding out the truth for yourself. We all need to act without prejudice and learn to accept each other as individuals. The Christmas Cats learn that rats, too, should be judged as individuals. Another message: all of us should try to help others. Written for the author’s four-year-old granddaughters, Ava and Elise Wilson, with the assistance of talented professional illustrator Gary McCluskey, The Christmas Cats continue to have adventures while attired in their familiar silly hats from Book One (The Christmas Cats in Silly Hats). Learning to accept others in a non-judgmental, open-minded fashion is a lesson we all must learn. If children can internalize this behavior while young, learning to help others and to do good works, the world will be a better place.


    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

    Interview with Charline Ratcliff for The Princess, The Toad, & The Whale


    Come and join me as I talk with author Charline Ratcliff about her children's book The Princess, The Toad, and The Whale on Stories From Unknown Authors at 1 pm EST today.

  • Paperback: 38 pages
  • Publisher: Outskirts Press (November 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 147871672X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1478716723

  • Summary:

    The Princess, The Toad, & The Whale is a lovable, cute story for young children that features three of the most unlikely friends and traveling companions. The Princess, The Toad, & The Whale is the first book in what will become a series of adventures and further adventures. In The Princess, The
    Toad, & The Whale, the reader is introduced to each adorable character. The reader will also get to experience a "mini" first adventure. Not only will children enjoy this book, its story, and the fun illustrations, but they will also learn that friends come in different colors, shapes, and sizes. They will even see that when a situation seems scary, they might discover that there is nothing to be fearful of, if they give it a chance. The Princess, The Toad, & The Whale will be a great bonding experience for parents who like to read to their children. It will also be a fun story for the child who is learning to read, or for one that has already mastered reading.


    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

    Interview with Laura Ceville for My Dog, Jack

    Come and join me as I talk with author Laura Ceville about her children's book My Dog, Jack on Stories From Unknown Authors at 1 pm EST today.


    • Paperback: 24 pages
    • Publisher: Gypsy Publications (August 16, 2013)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1938768256
    • ISBN-13: 978-1938768255

    Book Summary:

    Dad just brought home a puppy for his son. How exciting! Now they just have to decide what to call him. Follow along as the young boy gets to know his pet and tries to find just the right name for his new best friend.


    My Dog, Jack is a cute story about a family who hasn't quite come up with the right name for their new puppy. As the puppy does different things its name changes but with it comes name confusion. He doesn't quite know who he is. Until the one day when the name for him sticks.

    This is a cute simple 28 page story that many families who have puppies, and have gone through different names for it, will be able to relate to and laugh. The illustrations are colorful and fun, giving the puppy a chance to pull at the readers heart strings. Who couldn't love a puppy like that? 

    More About the Author


    Laura Ceville was born in Panama City, Panama. She came to the United States at a very young age and fell in love with the English language. She majored in English at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado and graduated in 2002 as a Second Lieutenant. Her first and only duty station was Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio. She separated from the Air Force in 2006 as a Captain and still resides in Ohio with her husband and two mischievous mutts--Jack and Deuce.

    Since she was a child she always dreamed of having a children's book on the market that she had both written and illustrated and she was blessed to have this dream come true in August of 2013 with My Dog, Jack.

    Tuesday, December 3, 2013

    Review of Elena Amato's A Visit To The Dentist and other books

    Book Summary:

    Join Sammy as he visits the dentist and learns all about keeping his teeth healthy. Sammy was a little worried about going to the Dentist, but he soon realized that going to the dentist is actually fun; an excellent book for any boy or girl that is visiting the dentist for the first time or was a little frightened at their last visit to the dentist.

         Publisher: Piccolo Medico Inc. (April 9, 2013)

  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988198614
  • ISBN-13: 978-0988198616 

  • Bio:

    Works as a physician assistant with a masters in science and lives in Macomb, Michigan. She has had a passion for reading and writing since she was a child. Elena enjoys working in the medical field and her goal is to increase education about healthy living and disease management. Elena also enjoys dancing, and spending time with her family, friends, and dogs Dolce and Racco.


    This book is a great way to educate your child about what going to the dentist is all about. Unlike other books that are out there, Miss Amato has updated the equipment and expectations current doctors are going to be talking about during the office visit. With colorful pages and fun characters, parents will love the great messages the story provides. Children will adore the simply told story while it helps them get over their fears of going to the doctors.

    Thursday, November 28, 2013

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

    I am thankful for many things, one of which is for my fans of The Crypto-Caper and Joe-Joe Nut Series and the rest of my books, but also for all of my fans of my radio show Stories From Unknown Authors. We have had much success this year on all of my books and on my radio show and it is because of all of you. Thank you for your support throughout the year. It is much appreciated!

    Enjoy your holiday with family and be safe!

    Thursday, November 21, 2013

    Interview with Barbara Pietron for Thunderstone

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Scribe Publishing Company (November 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 194036891X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1940368917

  • Summary:

    Sneaking out at night, driving without a license, and falling for a guy weren't things fifteen-year-old Jeni expected to do while visiting Lake Itasca, Minnesota with her family. The guy, Ice, turns out to be the local medicine man's apprentice, and when he tells Jeni she's connected to the spirit world, her first instinct is to run. But after Ice's stories of a mythical underwater monster - that Jeni allegedly released - prove true, she realizes it's up to her to contain the beast. Jeni must first convince herself that she's able, and then save the locals, Ice, and ultimately herself.

    Friday, November 15, 2013

    Interview with Norma Jean Lutz for her Classic Collection Series

    Latina Harmen knew she was going to hate Missouri. “There’s nothing in Missouri!” she had told her father when he announced they were to spend the summer there. And now she knew she had been one hundred and ten percent right.
            Latina had taken for granted that she would enjoy another happy summer vacation with her friends at the beach at Periwinkle Cove. But no! Instead she’ll be stuck in a hick town with no one around but her boring parents and bratty brother.
            How could she have guessed the beauty that lay waiting for her in those dark, brooding hills? How was she to know that she would meet Tully, whose friendship would forever change her heart?

    The Norma Jean Lutz Classic Collection is a collection of re-released titles of my previously-published novels for teens.
    I hear from parents and teens alike who are searching for clean, lighthearted, novels. Paranormal is fine for a while, but much like gorging on too much ice cream, after a while it can become tedious and dull. This is why I made the decision to bring back the novels that I authored in the 80s and 90s. Reading audiences deserve a choice and I want to give them that choice.
    These story plots are timeless; such stories never grow out of style in spite of the fact they were penned several decades ago.

  • File Size: 854 KB
  • Print Length: 113 pages
  • Publisher: NUWSLink, Inc. Publishing; 1 edition (October 17, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English


    Amazon promo going on this weekend. Free kindle books and books for .99


    Thursday, November 14, 2013

    Interview with Tom Wehrman for Grandpa's A Martian

    Come and join me as I talk with author Tom Wehrman about his children's book Grandpa's a Martian on Stories From Unknown Authors at 1 pm EST today.

  • Paperback: 28 pages
  • Publisher: Gypsy Publications (September 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938768272
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938768279

  • Summary:

    Nicholas is a seven-year-old boy who loves his Grandpa Albert, who is almost 90 and lives in a nursing home. Grandpa has a secret, but no one believes him except Nicholas. Can Nicholas convince his parents to help him use the secret to save his grandpa?


    Tom Wehrman lives in Coldwater, Ohio, with his wife of ten years, Janelle, and their 7-year-old son Nicholas. He is a graduate of Minster Local High School and has a degree from Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio. He enjoys spending time with family and attending University of Dayton basketball games. Tom works in the dairy industry and has written for his company’s internal website. While he enjoys telling stories to his son, this is his first children’s book.

    Guest Post by Sarah Renee Saderia for The Tiger Series

    Let's Make Reading Fun Again! 

    About 1/5 of children would find it embarrassing to be seen reading a book, according to a study done by the National Literacy Trust in 2012. I think that study should worry all of us. 

    Reading has always been an important aspect of my life. As a child, I loved reading more than anything. Reading captured my imagination unlike anything else. Hollywood could never live up to what I pictured when I was reading (hence why the books are always better than the movies!). In fact, my love of reading is probably what made me into an author. I couldn’t get enough of books, so I wrote my own. 

    When I was 10 years old, I came up with a story idea that combined two of my favorite things – animals and royalty. Two years later, when I was 12, I wrote the final draft of that story. That story was The Tiger Princess, a fantasy adventure novel about a 10-year-old tiger Princess named Saderia who struggles to solve the mystery of how her royal parents disappeared. The Tiger Princess became the first book in a series geared toward children around ages 8-12 when I published it at the age of 13.   

    Reading is what made me into an author, so it worries me that so many kids seem to dislike reading. They’re missing out on a great experience! So how can we make reading cool again? Well, I can’t speak for all kids, but I can tell you what made me a lifelong reader and what might get some kids to love reading, too. 

    1. Being read to. 

    My mom read to me every day for as long as I can remember. For years, we picked out a book and read together for about an hour each night. This was a big reason why I loved reading.

    2. Find books in genres they like. 

    This is a no-brainer, but it’s important. When I was a kid, I wouldn’t touch realistic fiction, but I adored fantasy books. Try giving kids books in a variety of genres and see what they like.  

    3. Go to a library. 

    I loved going to the library as a kid and browsing through the books. I think letting a child pick books on their own encourages them to read by letting them choose something they know they’re interested in. 

    Extra: Try an e-reader. 

    This one might be controversial, but for some, it might encourage reading. E-readers might encourage kids to read because: 1. It’s a new experience. 2. It makes it easier to carry books everywhere. And 3. It’s cool. Kids are always on top of new technology and might find it ‘cool’ to have an e-reader to show off, instead of feeling embarrassed to be found reading. Also, e-books are usually inexpensive (for instance, The Tiger Princess is currently free for the Kindle!), so kids can read more for less. It might not be for everyone, but I’ve found I read more now with an e-reader, and some kids might feel the same way.

    Thank you for hosting me, Renee, and thanks to everyone for reading and checking out The Tiger Princess! If you were a voracious reader as a kid, what started your love of books?

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    Interview with Sheri Haymore for A Higher Voice

    Come and join me as I talk with author Kristen Kerns about her children's book Tommy Fakes the Flu on Stories From Unknown Authors at 1 pm EST today.

    Legendary rock singer Britt Jordan is at the pinnacle of his career—at least as far as the world knows. But Britt’s voice is failing and a terrible event in his past haunts him every moment. He thinks that his life is a hopeless shipwreck…until the night he is stopped dead in his tracks by a woman’s smile. With the same determination that propelled him to stardom, he begins to create a new life with Dena and her daughter, Bonnie. Britt’s presence in Dena’s life brings more than paparazzi, however. His baggage includes a brother who wants to destroy him and a stalker intent on killing his wife. Willing to sacrifice any price to save his family, he finally must find a higher plane on which to face his past and his future.

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Sheri Haymore (June 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098918210X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0989182102

  • Bio:

    Sheri Haymore grew up in Mt. Airy, NC and lives thereabouts with her husband. Together they run a couple of small businesses and are always dreaming up their next vacation. A graduate of High Point University, she settled into her first job as a writer at a marketing firm and she’s been scribbling ever since.


    A Higher Voice is a suspense novel that captures a part of every person. Britt is a rock star who is dealing with the  pressures of his career while fighting the truth that he is losing his voice. He meets Dena, a local reporter for the paper, whom he feels will solve his problems. Though with their love comes more complications that will test their new bond. Readers will be sucked into the story from the very beginning as they follow this couples journey. With each new complication is the faith to overcome it. Dena's faith and love in her husband helps them work through the hardest of times but will unite them together forever.

    A wonderful 445 page novel that will take the reader on a ride of emotions up to the very end keeping the reader guessing the outcome. A powerful story that teaches a lesson that will impact all. It's not that you have fallen that determines the kind of person you are, because in life everyone must fall, but it is how you get up after you have fallen. It is this that will define us in the end.  


    Thursday, November 7, 2013

    Interview with Kristen Kerns for Tommy Fakes the Flu

    Come and join me as I talk with author Kristen Kerns about her children's book Tommy Fakes the Flu on Stories From Unknown Authors at 1 pm EST today.


  • Paperback: 24 pages
  • Publisher: Gypsy Publications (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938768280
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938768286

  • Summary:

    Tommy P. White will do anything to stay home from school. With his off-the-wall creativity, Tommy cleverly tries to trick his mother. Will he be able to fool her and have a day of fun and games? Or will he find that the flu is no fun?


    Kristen Kerns currently resides in Celina, Ohio with Seth, her husband of seven years, and her two sons, Ian and Logan. She is a graduate of Celina High School and has a Business Degree from Wright State University. Kristen’s boys are her inspiration for writing but her drive and passion come from the opportunity to do what she loves – write.

    Thursday, October 31, 2013

    Interview with Alma Burkhart for Little Witnesses. A book about faith.

    Come and join me as I talk with author Alma Burkhart about her children's book  on Stories From Unknown Authors at 1 pm EST today.

  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Gypsy Publications (August 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938768248
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938768248

  • Summary:

    "Little Witnesses," are Endearing stories, full of understanding and faith. These refreshing fictional tales share religious experiences during a child's journey in life. However, not all experiences are easy. Jesus Christ is known for incredible doings, but teaching faith is a hefty task.

    Alma Burkhart has been married for 58 years. She has served as a pastor’s wife for 39 of those years, mothering one child, and has taught Sunday school for 43 years. She finds passion in religion, and wants to express it in her life and work. Her children’s book reflects this ideology. Alma resides in Troy, Ohio.

    Tuesday, October 29, 2013

    Book Review for Why? Answers to Everyday Scientific Questions

    Why? Answers to Everyday Scientific Questions by Joel Levy
    Zest Books
    October 29th, 2013
    ISBN-10: 0982732295
    ISBN-13: 978-0982732298
    Ages 12 and up
    192 Pages
    Young Adult Nonfiction    Science & Nature  General

    Reviewer: Renee Hand

    Many people wonder about answers to some of life’s most basic questions, such as “Why the sky is blue?”, which can be answered from textbooks and in science classrooms and seem geared to younger, middle grade readers. Yet there are many more basic yet complicated questions like, “Why does time only move forward?”, which need more of an in-depth explanation for understanding.  

    Why? Answers to Everyday Scientific Questions is an interesting book. It covers a range of topics from geology and psychology, to cosmology and chemistry from the mundane to the esoteric. Readers will find just as interesting as the questions how the author has decided to answer them—by using several layers of explanation to build comprehension bit by bit.  

    Each answer begins with a one-line explanation before giving more detail and, in some instances, challenging the basic premise of the question. Some answers also incorporate illuminating and fun trivia to help with understanding. There are also pictures and graphs where needed.   

    This 192-page book is for young adults. Readers who are curious and open-minded will enjoy reading, learning, and sharing the answers to many of these questions. Though the book certainly doesn’t cover every possible question and though some explanations are proximate, it does incorporate a variety of captivating information. If this book does nothing else it will encourage readers to ask the question “Why?” more often.

    Wednesday, October 23, 2013

    Guest Post by Joe Sergi author of Sky Girl and the Superheroic Adventures

    Rules of the Superhero Genre


    By Joe Sergi, author of Sky Girl and the Superheroic Adventures


    I would to thank you for allowing to come on your site and ramble about my favorite genre—superheroes. I am the author of Sky Girl and the Superheroic Adventures. The book is the sequel to Sky Girl and the Superheroic Legacy. The first book introduced DeDe Christopher, an ordinary teen with an extraordinary destiny to become Sky Girl. Being a teenage girl is hard enough, but for DeDe, it is proving impossible. In addition to cliques, books, and boys, she has to worry about capes, apes, and aliens. When we last left DeDe, she had just adopted the mantle of Sky Girl at the end of her sophomore year of high school. In this book, DeDe must learn what it means to be a heroine as Sky Girl faces the all too real enemies and allies of SkyBoy, including the clever Quizmaster, the beautiful Penny Pound, the enigmatic Jersey Devil, and the magical MissTick. DeDe must also face personal challenges as she discovers the secrets of her late father and his connection to SkyBoy--secrets that will affect Sky Girl’s destiny.

    Sky Girl and the Superheroic Adventures is technically classified as young adult. However, this book more correctly fits into what is known as the superhero genre. There are certainly challenges to writing in this genre. Traditionally, the superhero genre was limited to the comic book medium. Sadly, while the superhero genre has had great success expanding into movies and television, superhero prose fiction is a hard platform to sell. I find it amazing that while comics has gained exposure as a medium and is no longer limited to the superheroes genre, the superhero genre, itself, hasn't really been able to expand into novels or short stories. And while characters like Superman and Spider-Man tend to do well, original characters are a hard sell. But, I think it’s a great genre and believe it deserves a chance to thrive beyond licensed properties.

    When I was shopping Sky Girl around, several publishers were interested in the book but ultimately decided that the target audience for prose superhero fiction was too small. I do not believe that and hope that I can prove them wrong with my books. I do not believe that comic fans will avoid my book because it doesn’t have pictures in it. Similarly, I don’t think young adult, fantasy, and science fiction readers will avoid the book because it is about a superhero. There is a market for fun superhero stories and it does not matter what medium they are presented in, whether it be film, comics or novels. Someday, I hope I am remembered for trying to challenge industry norms in an effort to reach new readers and dispel these misconceptions. I hope Sky Girl is remembered for helping me succeed in that challenge.

    So what is the Superhero genre?

    Robert McKee, in his great book about screenwriting called Story points out that when writing genre fiction, there are certain rules that must be followed for each genre. For example, a mystery story must always have clues and a solution and, when writing a comedy, the cardinal rule is that the main characters can’t really get hurt. In the words of Mel Brooks, “tragedy is when I stub my toe; comedy is when you fall into an open manhole and die.” Similarly, superhero fiction has basic rules that apply and that make the superhero fiction genre unique.


    A superheroine needs an origin that begins in tragedy. Superman’s planet exploded, Batman’s parents were murdered before his eyes and Uncle Ben was killed through Peter Parker’s inaction. Very rarely does someone wake up and decide, “I have a well-adjusted life, I think I will put on a colorful costume and become a scourge of the underworld.” The catalyst of Sky Girl is featured in Chapter 0 of the first book, which sets up the main mystery for the remainder of the series. “What happened to SkyBoy?” The fate of DeDe’s father fits directly into that. Does this mean that DeDe is psychologically imbalanced? Of course not. I mean, Clark Kent grew up just fine despite being the last survivor of Krypton (if you exclude Supergirl, the Phantom Zone criminals, the city of Candor, Krypto and . . .well, you get the idea).


    Second, superheroes wear costumes. Generally, good guys wear primary colors and bad guys wear purples, green and black. Of course the primary reason for this is that in the early days of publishing, the printing process was not very good. So, it helped if the reader knew that the little red and blue blur was Superman and the purple and green one was Lex Luthor. In my book, Sky Girl’s costume is based on her male counterpart SkyBoy and is purple and black. That costume, and the color scheme, was a deliberate choice. Then again, the Phantom, one of the original pulp heroes, wore purple and black, so it could be an homage to him. Plus, the Hulk, himself, is green with black hair and wears purple pants and he’s a hero . . . Isn’t he?


    Superheroes have powers. Firemen, policemen and teachers are all heroes--but, they are not superheroes. This is because they do not possess that metahuman gene that gives them powers. (Except for my sixth grade English teacher, Mrs. Lucas--that woman had eyes in the back of her head!) Some, like Batman, get their powers the old fashioned way, through study exercise; but he is still the world’s greatest detective. Others get them through birth (the X-men), environment (Superman), radiation (Hulk and Spider-Man), or drugs (if you think about it, Captain America is the poster child for steroids). And of course, Batman and Iron Man have the greatest superpower of all time: more money than they know what to do with. Sky Girl has several powers, including flight, invulnerability, a skypulse, and sky vision, which she discovers throughout Sky Girl and the Superheroic Legacy, the first book. In the second book, Sky Girl and the Superheroic Adventures, she discovers and trains to use even more of her powers. The mysterious origin of her ever-growing list of fantastic powers will be explored in the third book of the series.


    Superheroines also need a mentor. In The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell explains the hero’s journey. Part of that journey involves a wise mentor who helps the hero with her destiny. Luke has Obi Wan (and later Yoda). Daredevil has Stick. Clark had Pa Kent. Billy Batson, on the Saturday morning show Shazam, had Mentor (Saturday morning shows aren’t very subtle). Over the course of the story, Sky Girl meets several potential mentors. Some have her best interest at heart, and others have selfish motives. Part of her journey is to determine who to learn from.


                A superhero must also overcome overwhelming obstacles. If someone overcomes adversity and defeats the villain, they are a hero. But, to be a superhero, a person must face super overwhelming odds to defeat a supervillain. Batman would just be a man in tights without the Joker. Stan Lee, in the early days of Marvel Comics, added to this by having Spider-Man not only face off against the Green Goblin, but he also needed to make enough money to buy medicine for his Aunt May. Sky Girl is no different. In the first book, she faced off against the villainous Commander Chimp and his Gorilla Army. The new book greatly expands her rouge’s gallery of villains. There is also personal challenge for a teenage girl growing up, such as whether to use her powers for personal gain or whether to accept her mother’s new boyfriend.


                Related to that, a hero is only as good as his or her villains. With a few exceptions (like Venom), Spider-Man’s major villains were all introduced in the first year of the book. They still plague him to this day. Batman consistently faces the same insane criminals month after month (as if Arkham Asylum has a revolving door). In fact, the Flash’s enemies actually refer to themselves as The Rogues. In Sky Girl and the Superheroic Legacy, we saw that Sky Boy has his own rogues gallery called the Retallion Battalion, which Sky Girl inherits. These are some pretty tough characters and Sky Girl faces off against nearly a dozen of them in the second book. Each of these characters plays a large role in the overall Sky Girl story.


    Another aspect of the superhero genre is the existence of a confidant/sidekick. Batman has Robin, but what many people don’t seem to realize is that he also has Alfred. The Hulk had Rick Jones. Captain America had Rick Jones. Captain Marvel had Rick Jones. Rom had Rick Jones. (Wow! That Rick Jones gets around). Superman had Ma and Pa Kent, and then Lois, and then not Lois, and now only Ma Kent. Sky Girl has Jason, her comic geek friend. He helps her in her hero’s quest and would be proud to be known as her faithful sidekick. In the new book, he also gets a chance to shine.


    Although the ten-year-old me would never admit it, love plays a special role in the superhero genre, especially unrequited love. “If only I could tell Nurse Jane Foster how I feel, but I can’t because I am also the Mighty Thor.” This theme permeates almost all the silver age books, especially in early Marvel Comics. Daredevil loved Karen Page; Spidey loved Liz and then Mary Jane; Clark Kent loved Lois Lane who loved Superman and then they didn’t. I think DeDe (Sky Girl) is a little young for love, but she is certainly interested in Adam Berg, the star quarterback. Unfortunately, he is involved with Nicole Debis, DeDe’s rival in every way. The ante is upped when DeDe gets super powers. Given the change in modern heroic fiction, perhaps there is hope for DeDe to find true love. This is especially true after the pair get to spend so much time together in the second book. After all, Superman finally married his Lois Lane and Spider-Man eventually married Mary Jane. And then they didn’t.


    Another trope of the superhero genre is a superheroic code-name. “Look, up in the sky; it’s a bird, it’s a plane; it’s Clark Kent.” That just doesn’t have the same oomph. Much the way that criminals would not cower in fear from the Bruce Wayne symbol (even if they are a superstitious and cowardly lot). DeDe’s best friend, Jason, spends a lot of effort deciding what the right name should be for DeDe. In the end, there can only be one. In the second book, one of my favorite chapters to write is when Jason tries to teach someone the importance (and copyright ramifications) of a super villain code name.


    A super hero needs witty banter. Spider-Man is clearly the master of this. And then he wasn’t. But, every hero is responsible for learning how to crack wise in the face of danger. Perhaps these jokes provide a psychological advantage, throwing their adversaries off guard by making them angry. Maybe, the humor is their only weapon against the dark world of evil they inhabit. I did a panel at Balticon about humor in paranormal romance, and someone mentioned that humor is a subtle way to show the strength of the hero—so perhaps that is the reason. Sky Girl is still relatively new to the proper way to converse with the enemy. When the second book opens, DeDe has had the whole summer to practice and train with Jason. She’s actually gotten quite good at being a costumed adventurer—except for her banter. She still stumbles through quips causing her opponents to wince. Luckily, Jason is there to show her the ropes and help her with the comic timing. Hopefully, as her confidence improves, so will Sky Girl’s banter.


    Every superhero needs a catch phrase. Everyone knows that Wolverine is the best at what he does (even if what he does isn’t very nice). People know that “it’s clobbering time” when the Thing cocks his fist. Perhaps fewer are aware that Psylocke’s psychic knife is “the focused totality of her psychic powers” (even though Chris Claremont had her say it every five minutes in Uncanny X-Men). SkyBoy’s catch phrase is, “Good golly!” Sky Girl doesn’t have one yet, but Jason is working on it and will know it when he finds it. After all, GI Joe fans are aware that “knowing is half the battle.” (What they may not know is that the other half is comprised of equal percentages of red and blue lasers).


    Most importantly, good heroes always triumph over evil villains in superhero fiction. It is the never ending battle. Everyone who looks forward to their weekly Wednesday comic book delivery knows exactly who is going to win that battle. And no matter how dark the reign gets or even in the blackest of night, the heroes will fight the siege of that final crisis and ensure that they will have their brightest day and enter a heroic age. Things look pretty bleak for the world of SkyBoy at the beginning of Sky Girl and the Superheroic Legacy. Hopefully, Sky Girl can save the day. Who am I kidding? Of course, she can. Can’t she?


    I hope this discussion has helped flesh out the world of superheroes in general, and Sky Girl in specific. Did I miss anything? Please let me know. And thank you for allowing me to come on and talk about a topic that I love.