Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Special Interview with Boo the Cat—from THE ASTONISHING THING by Sandi Ward

“A unique and poignant tale of a family’s struggle as witnessed by someone who sees everything...a triumphant debut for Sandi Ward.”

— Helen Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Cleo

Today I have a very special interview with Boo, a cat and point of view character in Sandi Ward’s debut novel, THE ASTONISHING THING.

Welcome Boo. Could you tell us a little about yourself?

Hello and meow! I’m the cat who lives with the Sullivan family.

I have long, luxurious fur. Humans love to admire me, and they think I’m very amusing. They have many nicknames for me, like Sweetie, Cutie and Fat Fat.

There’s another creature who lives here who is Not A Cat. I can’t talk to him. He barks and runs around in circles a lot. Boring! I prefer cuddling with my humans.

Can you tell me what your story is about?

It’s about the search for my human mother. She leaves the house one day, and doesn’t come back. It’s the worst thing that ever happens to me in my entire life. I am heartbroken, and don’t know how to survive without her.

What is it like living with the Sullivan family?

Well, life is never boring! There is always something going on that needs straightening out. There are two teenagers, and they’re always busy—making food, bringing friends over, throwing parties and causing trouble.

Then there’s the baby, named Finn. He yowls a lot, but he’s pretty cute. I knew from the time he was born that there was something a little different about him. Turns out I was right! But I won’t tell you what it is. You will have to read my story to find out.

Is it true you aren’t allowed outside?

It is. I’m completely housebound. But you know what? I love our old house. There are plenty of rooms to explore and spaces where I can hide. My favorite spot is in front of the warm fireplace.

One time, I darted out the back door. It was dark and terrifying. I know there are raccoons out there in the woods! And the snow on my paws felt cold and strange. Thank goodness my family found me. I have no desire to go outside ever again.

What’s your favorite food?

Tuna—fresh! We live near the ocean, and I know that’s where tuna comes from. But in a pinch, I’ll accept it out of a can. I can’t prepare my own food, so I have to take whatever I can get.

Thank you so much, Boo. It’s been great chatting with you.


In her inventive, sometimes bittersweet, ultimately uplifting debut, Sandi Ward draws readers into one extraordinary cat’s quest to make sense of her world, illuminating the limits and mysterious depths of love . . .

Pet owners know that a cat’s loyalty is not easily earned. Boo, a resourceful young feline with a keen eye and inquiring mind, has nonetheless grown intensely devoted to her human companion, Carrie. Several days ago, Carrie—or Mother, as Boo calls her—suddenly went away, leaving her family, including Boo, in disarray. Carrie’s husband, Tommy, is distant and distracted even as he does his best to care for Boo’s human siblings, especially baby Finn.
Boo worries about who will fill her food dish, and provide a warm lap to nestle into. More pressing still, she’s trying to uncover the complicated truth about why Carrie left. Though frequently mystified by human behavior, Boo is sure that Carrie once cared passionately for Tommy and adores her children, even the non-feline ones. But she also sees it may not be enough to make things right. Perhaps only a cat—a wise, observant, very determined cat—can do that . . .
Wonderfully tender and insightful, THE ASTONISHING THING explores the intricacies of marriage and family through an unforgettable perspective at the center of it all.



Sandi Ward grew up in Manchester-By-The-Sea, Massachusetts. She attended Tufts University, and received her MA in Creative Writing at New York University, where she studied with E.L. Doctorow. She now lives on the Jersey Shore with her husband, teenagers, dog and a big black cat named Winnie. Sandi is a medical writer at an ad agency in New Jersey, specializing in psychiatry and pain management.
Her first novel for Kensington Books is titled THE ASTONISHING THING. Her second novel is titled SOMETHING WORTH SAVING (November 2018).


                     Learn more at: www.sandiwardbooks.com                                    

Saturday, October 28, 2017

My yard zombies wanted to let you know 
FRAGMENTS OF DARKNESS is on sale for 99 cents 
Now through Halloween Eve
Buy it here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Guest Post: Wendy Nikel ~ Dr. NaNoWriMo: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Novel

Dr. NaNoWriMo: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Novel
by Wendy Nikel

I first participated in National Novel Writing Month in 2012, and that is the date that I count from when people ask me how long I've been writing. Sure, you could dig through my old school papers and find some short stories written for local contests, and even a chapter book co-written by my third-grade best friends. On my hard drive, you'd find a couple children's books and 28,000-word time travel novel that never quite got off its feet. I even have 5" floppy discs with files written in PFS First Choice (for DOS!) of an epic fantasy novel and a mystery novel.

But that first NaNoWriMo marked a turning point for me, when I finally finished a novel-length work and started seeing myself as a "real" writer.
Writing a novel can be an intimidating process, but when I first read about NaNoWriMo — an online event that takes place each November, which challenges writers to write 50,000 new words in one month — I knew it was the type of challenge for me. Why?
·      Specific Goals - Before, when sitting down to write, I never really had specific goals in mind. I'd have a story I wanted to tell, and when I got bored telling it, I'd move on to something else. NaNoWriMo provides not only the specific goal of 50,000 words in one month, but also breaks it down into a manageable 1,666-word chunk per day. And there's charts! Who doesn't love charts?

·      Consistency - What happened to those previous, unfinished novels? Life got in the way. With NaNoWriMo, I go into the month knowing what I want to accomplish and that day-to-day consistency helps push me through, even on those days when I don't really feel like writing.
·      Support - Writing is a solitary pursuit, but that doesn't mean you have to go at it alone. Many of my early beta readers and first writer friends were people I met through NaNoWriMo. Not only are there message boards, but there's also local write-ins where you can meet other writers in person.
But if I had to choose one single element of NaNoWriMo that really helped me break through my own mental blocks and finally finish a novel, it would be the reminder given throughout the event that this is only a first draft.
I've always been a bit of a perfectionist, and realizing that these 50,000 words I write each November don't have to be perfect — in fact, aren't going to be! — helped me change my writing mindset.
I love the metaphor used by author Shannon Hale: "I'm writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles." By challenging myself to write 1,666 words a day for 30 days, there isn't time for agonizing about word choices or going back and rewriting parts that don't work. To complete the goal, you have to keep moving forward, keep shoveling sand into your box so that later, there's plenty to work with. And this, I believe, is the greatest value of NaNoWriMo: to help you get the words on the page so that later, you can craft them into something wonderful!

Elise Morley is an expert on the past who's about to get a crash course in the future.

For years, Elise has been donning corsets, sneaking into castles, and lying through her teeth to enforce the Place in Time Travel Agency's ten essential rules of time travel. Someone has to ensure that travel to the past isn't abused, and most days she welcomes the challenge of tracking down and retrieving clients who have run into trouble on their historical vacations.

But when a dangerous secret organization kidnaps her and coerces her into jumping to the future on a high-stakes assignment, she's got more to worry about than just the time-space continuum. For the first time ever, she's the one out-of-date, out of place, and quickly running out of time.


Wendy Nikel is a speculative fiction author with a degree in elementary education, a fondness for road trips, and a terrible habit of forgetting where she's left her cup of tea. Her short fiction has been published by Fantastic Stories of the ImaginationDaily Science FictionNature: Futures, and elsewhere. For more info, visit wendynikel.com or sign up for her newsletter HERE and receive a FREE short story ebook.

As of October 25, 2017, THE CONTINUUM is available for  PRE-ORDER