Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Last night I had a row of sorts with my family. They are jealous. And while I didn't help matters I take issue with a great deal of what they said. My dad is especially caustic and nasty these days. When one does not eat to their emotions everything comes out. Including the anger. I made the mistake of admitting I loved my pet more than I loved any one person in my life. But to be fair, I have trouble connecting with people. In the past people have consistently let me down, including the family of which I speak. But they don't see it that way. However, there is one thing I care more about more than anything and that is my writing. So while they remind me of why I choose my adopted family of friends over them on a consistent basis, let me express why THEY mean the world to me.

Missy, the one who is, while not perfect, is my rock as my best friend. She believes in me, she gets me, and she understands why I am the way the way I am. If she were Daniel Craig she would be perfect for me. Unfortunately she's not, so I'll settle for the friendship.

Carla, the Spike personalited, youtubing, genre movie watching, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings fan. I can cut loose with her often enough to get relief from the dysfunction of my family to appreciate that they really do love me in spite of the inability to understand me as a person.

Fellow author Pamela Turner, where do I begin. It wasn't that long ago that the culture of the publishing industry was unkind to epub authors, and a certain element still is. But seeing your success with Death Sword gave me the courage to take the leap at digicon which I would have never found had it not been for you. I know the road is hard. And it wasn't that long ago that I felt the sting that you do, but I believe in you. I know it can happen. You are there for me in ways my family perpetually fails at. And for that I am grateful.

Elise, my writer friend I found at Adrian's Angels, my best long distance friend. You indeed are an Angel. And one day your ship will come in.

And of course Daniel Craig, Adrian Paul, Kate Winslet, Maurice Benard, Russell Crowe...too many Angels to count. The dream continues and I am grateful to you all.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Here's Hydra Author Michael Turner!

Story of an Author  Writer  a Scribbler

Dear Sanity,
A few things happened while you were out.

My name is Michael Turner, and most of what will follow, is not a lie.  The other little bit however, is very much so.  That being said, where shall we start?  Maybe we should start at the beginning, or maybe… at the end.  No… the beginning might be best, since the end has not yet found us.  It would probably just depress you anyways.  Endings always do.

So let it be known that I relate what follows, only because I believe that some of you have gone through pretty much the same.  That is correct.  I firmly believe that some of your minds are almost as warped as mine… from experience, circumstance…, and life in general.  Now strap in boys and girls, it’s going to be a bumpy ride… or maybe not.  So where was I…?  Ah… yes, the beginning.  That is where we should begin, for that will not be a lie.

I was born, (Men cheered, woman fainted, and children waved multi-colored flags. –lie, but sounds good with a British accent.) and some other things happened after that.  Then for the better part of seven years, my life was more or less, lived in a cubicle of a certain size.  Not a small one, but also not a very big one.  For most of eight hours a day, five days a week, and sometimes longer in hours and days, I sat in that cubicle.  Do you know how much solitaire and minesweeper one can play in all that time?  I found out, and it would only frighten you to know. (lie… I didn’t count) 

Most days the work did not fill the time but I still had to be there.  At least the pay was good, though the boredom of days that never seemed to end weighed heavily against the good feelings of monetary gain.  I liked to read before, but in this job, I really had the opportunity to truly devour some books.  Imagine taking four years and having the chance to just tear through almost a book a week, occasionally in less time.  I’m sure a few speed-readers out there are saying, “I do that already.”  Well I’ve never understood speed reading, and have never been able to do it.  I actually like to read things slow.  I savor every last word and syllable.  A book is like that old quote about a journey.  It’s not about getting there.   It’s about everything along the way.  I know speedy.  That’s just crazy talk.   So where were we?

The books unfortunately only kept my mind occupied for so long.  Did I mention that I get bored easily?  Well… I do.  After awhile the boredom and I think a bit of insanity was digging its way through my brain.  This job was not a good place for my mind to be, so it had to eventually go someplace else.  That place was a world of my own creation.  It was safer there than in the office.  While it was gone, I did somehow kill my boss’s cactus.  She never asked me to watch another plant for her.

I was probably not there no more than three weeks when I first picked up the pen.  It’s interesting that when your boss walks by, and you are scribbling on a notepad, I believe you actually look busier than when you’re playing solitaire or minesweeper.  I also believe your boss knows exactly what you’re doing on that computer.  Those of you with your minds in the gutter, please install the helmet. 

What I started to write was definitely not Shakespeare.  In fact I believe most writers would have swatted my nose with a rolled up newspaper, for some of the things I dropped out of my pen.  I’m sure there are still plenty who would do the same for what I am currently writing.  That didn’t matter though.  Those were my worlds, my creations.  No one had to visit if they didn’t want too, but sometimes they did.  All I asked was for them wipe their feet first.

Seven years I read books and scribbled on my notepads.  Then something entirely expected happened.  I was fired. (lie) Truthfully the whole company was downsized.  Still this was a problem.  After one attempt and many short stories, my second attempt at writing a book wasn’t quite done.  I still had ten chapters to handwrite, and that was just the first draft.
-not the end…….  (This is not a lie.)

My name is Michael L. Turner.  I am the Author of the “Kings and Dragons” series.
This winter I invite you to enter my world.  (Please wipe your feet)
Also Check Out:  http://www.hydrapublications.com/michael-l-turner/

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Welcome Hydra Author Raven Bower!

Hi Amy and thanks for hosting me today for the Hydra Publications Blog Hop.

You asked who my hero was – it’s my husband Lain. Like my favorite heroes in fiction, he goes above and beyond the norm, exceeding what’s expected and bringing entirely new dimensions to our relationship, family and career. He works full time and often over time, yet when he gets home he’s right at work – whether it be helping the kids with math or fixing the lawn mower or cutting wood to keep us warm. He’s often my co-author and always the first to read and make suggestions to our stories. He creates stellar, deep worlds rife with conflict and chaos – currently he’s been hard at work developing our shared-world of Andronia for Hydra Games. As if all that wasn’t enough, he is following his passion in electronics and taking on the challenge of fixing and upgrading Carver amplifiers as a side job.

Yet, within all of that, he manages to find time for gardening, playing video games and RPGs, reading and creating invaluable memories with us.

It’s a great blessing to have found Lain and be able to live, work and play together with him.

About the Author:

Raven is the author of the Supernatural suspense series, Apparitions (optioned as a feature film), the Vengeance urban fantasy series, Nymph’s Lair, the Draekyn Spears adventure fantasy series and the Weeping Dark: Bleeding Edge epic fantasy series. She’s the Lead Designer and Head of Hydra Games – creating RPG mods, manuals and shared-world novels.

When she’s not writing, Raven spends her time with her husband and co-author Lain and their four kids, their two hell hounds and chaos cats. She’s an avid reader, organic gardener, addicted to movies and Star Trek. Her current pet project is building a cemetery in their yard.

For more about Raven visit her website at: http://www.ravenbower.com/blog
Twitter: @ravenbower

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Say Hello to Hydra Author Blaine Lee Pardoe!

The long road to getting published - Virginia Creeper.
Eight years ago I began to write the story of the events portrayed in my book, Virginia Creeper, and a few years after that began to market the idea. I had to wait, out of the request of one of the parties involved with my 'research' for the book. (When you read the book, you'll understand…) My agent shopped it around and we actually got a few very enthusiastic responses. Editors liked the fact that the book had its roots in real events and locations. Oddly enough, that was what caused them to back off.
Two of the publishers wondered if the book might generate the kind of response that came from The Blair Witch Project - where suddenly people flocked to Burkittsville Maryland causing a great deal of strife with the local community. There was apparently a lot of backlash from the movie claiming it was filmed in Burkittsville, and nervous publishers backed away from that kind of controversy at the time.
Editors are funny people. I wasn't worried about people driving up to Pignut Mountain looking for the Fitzwater cabin. I saw that as potentially good media. Besides, I didn't have an ego that assumed that millions were going to read my book. Those risks seemed minimal.
The other publisher said some of the images were disturbing. Yes, they were. He had some ideas for altering the plot, the characters etc.. Publishers do this from time to time, and generally I go along with them. After all, they allegedly know the business. But I saw that these changes were altering the fundamental parts of the story that drove the plot. I couldn't change those things - and you'll understand if you read the book, why.
Slowly the book became shelved for other projects that were moving forward. Every so often I pulled it out though, added more to it polished some of it up, played with how I wanted to tell the story of the events that unfolded in 1998 in Fauquier and Culpeper County Virginia. I sent it out now and then to a publisher but responses were lukewarm. One suggested adding zombies to the story. Talk about succumbing to the latest trend? I couldn't do that. First off it wasn't true to the events in the story, secondly, it was pretty blatant pandering. When I want to do a zombie book - I'll do it in a fictional piece where it fits my needs and desires. (And, for those of you curious, that will be next year!)
Last year I pulled the book out again. My wife told me it was time to finish it. She knew the story intimately and believed in it enough to prod me forward. I surveyed the landscape of publishers. I wanted to find a newer one, one that wouldn't attempt to change the story at all but recognize it for what it was. Some queries to authors and folks I know in the business pointed to Hydra Publishing. They loved the story for what it was and we arrived at good terms. Now that the book is out I get emails from people telling me how it frightened them, kept them up at night, caused nightmares. I love it! I did my job as a storyteller if that is result. More importantly, the story is finally out there and people like it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Welcome Hydra Author Rachel Rawlings

First of all, I would like to thank Amy for allowing me to visit her blog.  This is only my second posting, so I am still searching for ways to express my thoughts.  That said, I have really enjoyed doing the blog tour and reading up on the other Hydra authors who participated. 
Amy asked who, if anyone, I saw as my hero and why.  Traditionally, the hero of the book would be the leading man who sweeps in and saves the heroine from a fate worse than death.  In my book, Dearly Departed while the leading man is intriguing, it is the heroine that saves the day.  The hero has been lead into a different existence, a world that lingers just outside of our consciousness, a world of endings and spirits.  The heroine finds him and must figure out what has happened to him and what must be done to bring him back to his true life.  While he is the one with the special gift, she is the one who saves him from what could truly be an eternal sleep.

Dearly Departed
Grave Reminders Series

I returned to the cemetery as the darkness moved in.  I sat by the stone on the cool ground, feeling the damp of the earth soaking into the seat of my jeans.  Eli came just as the sun melted behind the trees, vaulting over the stone wall, but walking directly to me instead of taking his usual route.  He had known I was waiting there.  I controlled myself with an effort, keeping my eyes on him and away from the stone.
                "You knew," I said softly, my voice sounding rusty in the quiet.  "You knew I was here."
                "Yes, I just felt it.  And I know why you were here.  It just came in my head, and I knew I needed to be here.  I am so sorry for lying to you about my name.  I knew you would be furious, but I needed a name."
                I felt my throat close and stood slowly, every suspicion being fulfilled in his words.  "Why couldn't you have just given me your name?"
                He sighed and slid down next to me, his legs folding neatly under him.  "I don't have a name to give you."
                I know I looked disbelieving.  My face had always been easy to read.  The furious words that I had rehearsed in my head seemed to catch in my throat.
                "Thea, I don't remember my name."
                I shook my head numbly and clamored to my feet.  I wanted to refuse him, to ignore him and call him a liar and march away from him in a self-righteous huff.  As I stood, looking down on his pale face, my anger passed and I wanted to cry.  "What is going on?" I asked softly.
                He stood as well, both of us standing in the shadow of my home.  He looked at me in the darkness, his features harder to see now that I was looking up at him.
                "I can't tell you what is going on.  I wish that I could.  And I am hoping that soon I will understand so I can tell you.  But for now, I just don't want you to give up on me."  He bent closer, his hand cupping my cheek.  He hesitated a moment, the green gold of his eyes catching the light.  His lips met mine, firm and warm and real.  I could feel his breath.  I could smell his skin.  I knew that he was there, holding me.  But when he pulled away, he immediately backed away a few steps, his expression unreadable.  "I think I have to go." One long fingered hand swept to his forehead and he winced. "I think someone is here."
                I fearfully looked away from him, my eyes scanning the rows of stones, the monuments.  It was still, even the wind frozen into submission. I looked around in confusion and shook my head.  When I turned back toward where he had been standing, he was gone.  Just gone.

The second in this series from Grave Reminders will continue the story of my characters from Dearly Departed.  I hope to explore a little further the line between here and there, the life and the afterlife.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

GLADIATOR Gratitude Giveaway!

I'm big on thanking those who came before me. On those who inspire me. On those who helped me get to where I'm at. Gratitude is a big component of what I do. Pamela Turner, Elise VanCise, and many, many others know, or at least should know by now just how much I think of them and care about them, not just as fellow writers, but as friends. But the one I'm most grateful for is Missy.

Things aren't always perfect and there are those who've had it easier seemingly, and I always joke about those youthful overnight successes. But I don't bear them any ill will. Not really. I don't know their whole story. Maybe their personal life up until them has been massively difficult. It's not for me to judge. And their success is no reflection on my failings or talents. I have my heroes, and even in the face of some pretty stiff opposition I've succeeded.

Was I was a snob where it comes to e-publishing, well, yeah. But I'm no fool. And when I saw a friend (Pam) have her success with it I was inspired to take the leap. She lead the way for me. Up until February of 2011 it seemed like I would never publish and that I would always swim in the kiddie pool so to speak. And while this last year and a half has been something of a whirlwind with contracts and awards it did not happen overnight and I worked incredibly hard to get it. I won't apologize for it.

BUT I am extremely grateful for those who got me here because I certainly didn't do it by myself. So Pam, Elise, Missy, Tanja, Lea, Carla, Frank Hall, and even though I don't have the need to where my faith like a top hat and tails I am grateful for my Higher Power. What that is for everyone else is not for me to judge. But  for everyone who leaves a comment they get a chance at a three pack of my ebooks No Ordinary Love, Another Way to Die, and Set Fire to the Rain. GLADIATOR, my newest book is available exclusively at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Gladiator-The-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B0094JN30M/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1347207747&sr=1-1&keywords=gladiator+kate+lynd and a second winner will receive and ecopy of GLADIATOR.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Welcome Mike Arsuaga

Interview with Cynthia May
Mike: Today I have with me, Cynthia May, the lead character from “Lagrange Point”, book five of the Subspecies series.
The attractive lean woman in a black military-like uniform trimmed in gold lights up the room with her presence.
Mike:  Cynthia, tell us something about yourself and the books you appear in.
Cynthia: (Smiles) I’m Commander Cynthia May, deep space explorer, granddaughter of Cynthia Meadows, and Great granddaughter of Samantha and Jim White. As a main character in “Lagrange Point” I explored space, helped colonize Mars, traveled in time, and through Gran Cynthia learned the place of our subspecies in Creation’s plan.
Mike: (Pats Cynthia’s long pale fingers folded in a slim lap.) You weren’t always at peace with the memory of your illustrious Grandmother. Tell us about it.
Cynthia: Well, all my life on Earth I lived in her shadow. She was successful and on any list of the most beautiful women who ever lived. After Mom passed away, I made up my mind to move to the Mars colonies. I thought it was important to show the Subspecies I was more than an extension of my Gran, but no matter what I did or how hard I tried it seemed everyone looked upon me as Cynthia Meadow’s granddaughter. I came to resent her terribly.
Mike: But you had a brilliant career as an explorer.
Cynthia: So I’ve heard, but nothing I did set me apart. (Smiles whimsically before continuing) Except for the change of hair color I made with each mission, that is. Anyway, this was my frustration until I met her in person as the result of entering a Lagrange point.
Mike: Lagrange points are where the gravitational fields between two or more heavenly bodies cancel out. They were discovered by the French mathematician Joseph Lagrange.
Cynthia: That’s right. By chance, we discovered while in a minor one between Earth and Mars our mental abilities expanded. I could, for example, speak ancient Greek. Others spontaneously played Mozart. Things like that. The scientists wondered what might happen inside the Prime Lagrange, where the gravities of all the bodies in the solar system canceled.
Mike: That’s where you met her.
Cynthia: Yes but before that I encountered ancestors from the Trojan War and even Great-mom Samantha White as a child. That’s when things became complicated.
Mike: We’ll get to that. Tell us about your other books.
Cynthia: “The Tenth Legion” is my only other appearance. I was younger then and satisfied with being window dressing for Subspecies, Inc. our corporation.  Only after the Subspecies faced and defeated extinction and I learned of the importance of the Martian colonies did my attitude change.  My cousin, vampire Ed White was the CEO of Subspecies, Inc. Lorna, his mate was and is my dear friend. I’m the godmother of their children
Mike: You forgot about your cameo in “Children of Subspecies”.
Cynthia: (Frowns) You wouldn’t give me any lines so I don’t count it. That was the episode of the visit with Gran Cynthia through the Prime Point. I delivered the news of her coming pregnancy, which was her fondest wish, but left out the price she’d pay.
Mike: The reason why I made you the main character in “Lagrange Point”.
Cynthia: Yes, and you permitted me to tell my version of the events.
Mike: Since Leo’s not here, why don’t you talk about him?
Cynthia: I knew him practically from the minute I landed on Mars. Our friendship stayed uncomplicated by sex. He liked boys and I preferred girls. For years I looked at him but didn’t see him, if you know what I mean. Only when placed in the most desperate situation did I recognize his worth.
Mike: Now you can talk about your adventures in time.
Cynthia: (Sighs) Where do I begin? I met Great-mom as a neglected, downtrodden child in France. When I told the one of my time, she asked me to give her younger self a letter spelling out her future. To give her hope, I supposed. On another trip, I was about to when Leo appears from nowhere. We hesitated, deciding to learn more. Bottom line, presenting the letter creates two time lines. In one, Sam and Jim suffer but Cynthia lives a long and fulfilling life. In the line I know, my gran dies of the plague and my great grandparents prosper. The timelines differ in many other, less  profound ways. The decision I must make whether or not to deliver the letter affects world history.
Mike: Don’t forget what else went on in the middle of this.
Cynthia: Oh yeah, on the voyage to the Prime Point, we solved the last mystery of the plague of 2026 that killed a sixth of the world’s population.  This was the disease that took Sam and Jim’s second litter and Gran Cynthia in “Children of Subspecies.” Someone attempted to kill me. Leo got shot and God had a last laugh on the whole matter.
Mike: Okay my pretty, what’s next for you?
Cynthia: You’re the writer but if I had a choice, I’d write about the rendezvous Leo and I had during the time of King Arthur, or what we discovered on Saturn’s moons.
Mike: Those are good ideas, but I see from the clock on the wall our time is up. I want you to know I’m proud of the character you became and believe your mother and grandmother would be too.
Cynthia: (With a twinkle of eye.) They are.
Subspecies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1YLeM8v99U
Subspecies, Inc.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-S7pUQwUC4
Children of Subspecies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mt0ASmEAL24
The Tenth Legion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3Hm7Lkky3c&feature=email
Lagrange Point: http://youtu.be/LAvIiKfgK88

Buy Links:
Lagrange Point: http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=493&category_id=40&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1&vmcchk=1&Itemid=1

Mike Arsuaga Bio:
Raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, I completed careers in the United States Navy Submarine Force and the Transportation Security Administration.  I live in Orlando Florida with wife and Editor in Chief Cynthia, daughter Jennifer, seven year old granddaughter Larrna and partner in crime Thumper, a Yorkshire terrier.
My extensive travels in the Navy took me throughout the US, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Middle East, providing accurate and vivid settings for all stories. Although Mars figures prominently in at least one installment of The Subspecies series, I haven’t been there yet. The trip is prominent on my “bucket” list.
Subspecies, Subspecies, Inc., and Children of Subspecies are released. Tenth Legion and Lagrange Point are scheduled for release in February and May 2012, all from Muse It Hot Publishing. Sam and Jim along with their growing family refuse to go away. Presently I’m working on an anthology of short stories, designed to fill in the back stories of the important characters.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Meet Kathy Rygg

ANIMAL ANDY book description:

Ten-year-old Andy Ohman is spending his summer working at the Aksarben City Zoo where his dad is curator. There are rumors that the city might close the zoo due to budget cuts. An anonymous donor has given the zoo an antique animal carousel, and Andy’s dad is hopeful it will help boost attendance. Andy’s doubtful that an old kiddie ride will make a difference. He doesn’t see what’s so special about it. But when he takes it for a spin, he unlocks the magic that will help save the zoo.

Andy is here today to tell you about himself and his adventures at Aksarben City Zoo. Welcome, Andy!

Thanks! My dad has been a zoo keeper forever. The last couple of summers he’d bring me to work with him and I’d get to ride around and watch him take care of the animals. He taught me a lot, and it was really cool spending all that time with him.

Then over the winter he got promoted to curator, which means he’s not as hands-on with the animals. Now he has lots of meetings and paperwork and stuff to do. I still get to be at the zoo this summer, but I don’t get to work with my dad. Instead, I have to clean out the hoofstock barn and wash windows in the giraffe exhibit. It’s still fun, but I miss working with him.

What can you tell us about the rumors that the city might close the zoo?

My dad said the city has to make budget cuts, and since our zoo is small, the city is considering closing it. My dad is doing everything he can to make sure that won’t happen. That’s why he was so excited when someone donated the old carousel to the zoo. He thought it’d bring in more visitors.

And did the carousel help do that?

It did way more than help bring in visitors! The carousel is called the Magical Menagerie, and it’s definitely magical! I found that out the first time I snuck on and rode it by myself. One minute I’m sitting on the carousel’s zebra, and the next thing I know I had actually become a zebra! It totally freaked me out!

That’s unbelievable! What did you do?

Luckily, one of the zoo’s peacocks, Philippe, saw me right away and helped me stay undercover. He’s kind of a snob, but he knew what to do. Liza—she’s one of the real zebras—she was super nice and helped me, too. But the head of the antelope herd was a real bully. His name is Big Mack. He almost made me get caught.

What happened?
I hid out in the hoofstock barn and accidentally fell asleep. The hoofstock supervisor found me in there, but I had turned back into a person before he saw me. That’s part of the carousel’s magic—it decides when to turn you into an animal and when to turn you back.

How does the carousel’s magic work?

The guy who donated the carousel tried explaining it to me. His name is Zeb. He said the carousel has been around for a really long time. It senses when a zoo and its animals are in trouble and waits for the right person to come along who can help. I guess I’m that person.

How did you help the zoo?

Every time one of the animals needed help, I rode the carousel and turned into that animal. That way, I could talk to them and find out what was wrong. It’s so cool being an animal. But it got me into a lot of trouble, too. Especially with my dad. And it’s not like I could tell him what was really going on. He’d never believe me. It was bad enough when one of my friends saw me as a cheetah. After that, I swore I was never going to ride the carousel again, but then something awful happened at the zoo.

What was it?

One of the elephants attacked its keeper, and she got hurt really bad. It didn’t make any sense. Raj, the elephant, would never hurt anybody. I had to find out the truth, but when I went to ride the carousel, its magic was gone. Zeb said I had to use my human instincts to figure out what happened. If I didn’t, the city would close the zoo for sure.

Who do you think will like to read ANIMAL ANDY?

Kathy Rygg, the author, wrote it for kids ages 6-10, but anyone who loves animals and likes stories with some magic in it will enjoy it. All of the books she writes are magical realism, which makes them a lot of fun.

Where can readers find ANIMAL ANDY?

The ebook is published by Muse It Up Publishing and is available online at the Muse Bookstore. A print version will be available soon on Amazon. Here’s a neat video trailer for it, too.

Kathy Rygg has a children’s chapter book that is also available both as an ebook and in print on Amazon called TALL TALES WITH MR. K and it’s about a magical teacher who takes his students on fun adventures in the one place they least expect—the teacher’s lounge.

Kathy Rygg’s blog site is http://ksrwriter.blogspot.com
Follow her on Facebook under KSR Writer
Follow her on Twitter @kathyrygg

Thanks for having me! This was really cool!

About the Author:
Kathy Sattem Rygg is an author, freelance writer, and editor. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Iowa State University and has worked in corporate marketing for several Fortune 500 companies. Additionally, she worked at the McGraw-Hill Companies’ Business Publications Division in New York City and was the Editor in Chief of Women’s Edition magazine in Denver, CO. She is currently the Editor in Chief of the children’s online magazine knowonder! and lives in Omaha, NE., with her husband and two children.

Book Excerpt:
A huge, circular carousel with gold-framed mirrors around the top filled the grounds between the petting corral and the picnic area. Red and white painted stripes colored its pointed canopy above the mirrors. Small, clear light bulbs covered the carousel’s ceiling. Long, brass poles placed in the wooden floor were attached to large animal figures. But not just horses. Each pole was attached to a different zoo animal. Curvy, gold lettering painted in between the mirrors read Magical Menagerie.
 Andy slid between the short barricades surrounding the carousel to get a closer look. Other than a few areas of chipped paint, the animals looked brand new. He thought his dad had said it was really old.
 “Isn’t she grand?”      
 Andy jerked. He hadn’t heard anyone come up behind him. A gray-haired man with tiny, round glasses perched on the bridge of his nose appeared next to him.
 “Yeah, I guess. I’ve never seen one with gorillas and rhinos on it though.”
 "It's called a menagerie carousel because it has more than just horses. It's also why I thought it belonged in a zoo." The man stared at the carousel.
 “You donated it?” Andy turned toward him.
 “Indeed. The name’s Zeb." He bowed his head. "My family owned a zoo in Europe, and this carousel was a part of it. When I was about your age we moved to America. The carousel has been stored in an outbuilding at our family farm all these years, and I thought it was time to bring it out. The animals were getting restless.” He winked.
 “Are you sure it still works?” Andy said, spotting a broken light bulb.
“Oh, it works when it needs to."
 “Why did you give it to this zoo?” Andy thought it seemed more like something one of the larger zoos would have.
 “Because I think your zoo really needs it.” Zeb started walking away. “Make sure you take it for a spin when you get the chance. The zebra’s nice and smooth.”
 Andy glanced at the frozen zebra in front of him. He turned to ask Zeb another question, but he was gone, as if vanished into thin air. Goosebumps prickled Andy’s arms. He rubbed them away and turned back toward the carousel.
 He stepped up onto its worn, wooden platform and walked around the edge. As he passed each animal, he ran his hand over its glossy back. Their saddles were smooth and firm, like the old-fashioned rocking horse at his grandparent's house.
 Pausing in front of the zebra, he placed one hand on the brass pole that ran up through the black mane on its neck. He admired the painted bright blue and green saddle. Making sure no one was around, he placed one foot in the stirrup and threw his leg over the other side. The curved seat was a perfect fit. Maybe Benny was right. The carousel didn’t seem so bad.
 Andy relaxed in the saddle when, all of the sudden, every light bulb in the ceiling blinked to life. Blaring carnival music spilled from hidden speakers. The platform began to turn, and his body rose upward. He tried placing his foot in the stirrup to get down, but it was like his arms and legs were glued in place.
 Confused, he glanced around. Had Zeb turned it on? He didn’t see anyone. The carousel picked up speed. Fear rose inside him as the zebra rotated up and down on the center pole.
 Everything blurred as he continued to spin, so he focused on the zebra’s black stripes. When that didn’t help, he closed his eyes. The tighter he squeezed them, the less his stomach churned.
 The carousel slowed down and came to a complete stop. The carnival music shut off, leaving an abrupt silence. Andy exhaled and opened his eyes. The whirling in his head faded. Then he heard a fast, high-pitched braying sound, like a donkey. Had it come from the nearby petting corral? The zoo didn’t have a donkey. The sound came again.
He was horrified to realize this time it sounded like it came from his own mouth!