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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Book Giveaway to Celebrate "The Secrets of the Moonstone Heir"!

So have you been wondering what I've been hinting at you these past few weeks? Not only do you get a chance to find out before JordanCon next week (April 22-24 at the Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center), but you might even win a free e-book!
In celebration of "The Secrets of the Moonstone Heir" book launch at JordanCon, there is an e-book giveaway going on at Amazon now through April 27! You can be one of 10 lucky winners - or, if you don't want to wait, it's only $0.99 to buy! So get your e-book of this new fantasy series today!


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Dahlonega Literary Festival This Weekend!!

Who all is going to the Dahlonega Literary Festival this weekend, March 12-13, at St. Luke's in downtown Dahlonega, Georgia? 

I'd love to see you there! I'll be selling copies of "The Scholar and the Sphinx" series, and I'll be on the discussion panel "Regional Writers: Using Fantasy Elements" along with local authors Carolyn O’Neal, Shelley Pickens, Debra Webb Rogers and Tom Winton. Come to room 106 in St. Luke's at 10:15 a.m. to ask any and all your fantasy book related questions!

This is a fun event for book lovers in northeast Georgia, and will feature famous authors like Joshilyn Jackson, Cherie Priest, Delilah S. Dawson and Karen Abbott. For the full schedule and list of author guests, go to

See you there!!

Monday, January 25, 2016

L.R.W. Lee Talks about Newly Released "Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Andy Smithson, Book 5"

A while back, author L.R.W. Lee was kind enough to feature me in one of her episodes of Book Nerd Paradise on YouTube. With the new release of her fifth book in her Andy Smithson fantasy series, “Vision of the Griffin’s Heart,” it’s time we get to learn more about her and her writing!

The story continues the quest of young Andy Smithson, who is collecting elements for a potion to break a 500 year-old curse on the land of Oomaladee. This time he must gather the talon of a griffin – if he can do so without falling prey to hostile griffins, herewolves and therewolves, and other enemies in this magical tale of wonder, friendship and courage.

The book has garnered great reviews on Amazon and from fellow authors (check out Lee’s website at to find out more), but let’s hear from the author herself!

1. How did you come up with your main character, Andy Smithson? Did he just pop into your imagination or did you specifically develop him?

LEE: Andy is patterned after my son. After our first child who was what I would call compliant and seemed to need little to no correction, our son arrived on the scene. As with most 2nd children, he was polar opposite and provided much fodder for an engaging main character.

2. How did your experience with building a business help with your writing?

LEE: It has been invaluable for I understand that writing is only 50% of the writer’s success equation. Unlike Field of Dreams, with so many good books available today, just launching it, even on a well trafficked platform like Amazon, does not get recognition. Because of my corporate background, from day one I began working to build a platform – Twitter and Facebook primarily and now also Book Nerd Paradise. As well, I understand the importance of the author community, for no author can succeed these days without the support of fellow authors. My background has also helped in understanding the need to optimize my books to rank well on the variety of sites they are listed on. There’s much more, but those are the biggest helps I would say.

3. Was there any particular book or author whom you feel had the most influence on your work?

LEE: I have to say JK Rowling. The imagination she revealed, the strength of her characters, the world building, the depth of plot over multiple books…she definitely shaped how I think about writing.

4. What do you love the most about writing for young people?

LEE: Young people are moldable. My passion for writing is to share with readers principles that from my experience can help them live more peaceful lives. A few of these principles include overcoming fear, frustration and impatience as well as understanding that true success in life is not from riches, fame or power, but rather responsibility, diligence and dignity. If they can finish any of my books closer to understanding these principles, I feel very fulfilled.

5. Which part of the creative process is your favorite? Least favorite?

LEE: Designing the story arc is my favorite part of the creative process for you can take a story anywhere your imagination can go. My least favorite part is editing and revising. Even though I know the narrative gets much stronger as a result, it’s still my least favorite part.

6. How long does it usually take you to write one of your stories from when you get the idea to when it’s finished?

LEE: Usually about 6 months.

7. I know that most authors love all their characters but which of your many “children” is your favorite (besides Andy) and why?

LEE: I have to say Mermin, the kindly old wizard who speaks with a lisp. I love him most after Andy because he’s so warm, humble and approachable. He’s fallible and he knows it, which is why he doesn’t apologize for his mistakes, rather he is comfortable in his own skin.

8. Do you ever plan to branch out into other genres besides middle grade/young adult fantasy?

LEE: Funny you should ask. Yes, I’m actually noodling with a story arc of a YA Sci Fi story.

9. How do you feel your writing has evolved since your first novel?

LEE: I can see how much I’ve changed and improved in showing rather than telling my readers what’s happening. I want them to engage and to show – providing sight, sounds, touch, smell, and taste cues is a big part of that. I was particularly thrilled when my editor came back a full week sooner than expected with this current book because I had improved so much between book three and four. My pocketbook also appreciated that.

Visit to learn more about the Andy Smithson series, or visit L.R.W. Lee at her Facebook or Twitter pages.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Happy Holidays from The Scholar and the Sphinx!

Whether you'll be traveling on the road or by air, or just staying at home to spend time with your loved ones, I hope you have a safe and joyful holiday season. Plus, the wintry weather is the best time to curl up with a good book!

And more importantly, to gift good books! Want to give the avid reader in your life something special? How about not just a new book, but a signed book from the author? I am more than happy to send folks signed books at their request, or a signed book plate (a sticker you can paste inside the book cover). Feel free to send me an e-mail at if you have a book you'd like me to sign!
Stay tuned, as the official release date for Book Three, "The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Threads of Fate" should be announced soon!

I'd love to see you at one of my upcoming author events after the new year. I'm hoping to be at Con Nooga in Chattahoochee, TN, from Feb. 19-21, but nothing has been confirmed yet. But I will be at the following events:

Dahlonega Literary Festival
March 12-13, 2016
Dahlonega, GA

For more information visit

JordanCon 2016

April 22-24
Atlanta Marriott at the Perimeter Center
Atlanta, GA

For more information and the panel schedule, visit

You may always visit my author website to see the most updated news and events about the series, or follow me on Facebook or Twitter if you want to chat! 

And remember...the best way you can show authors that you love their work and appreciate the time and dedication they put into writing it is to leave a review! It can be on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, or even on your own blog or favorite social media site! It only takes a few minutes to share a couple sentences, and it's the greatest gift you could give an author.

Have a very harmonious holiday full of love, family, friends, and happiness that will last through the new year!

Seasons Greetings!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Is “Ahh!! Real Monsters!” an Alternate Universe of Harry Potter?

Since it was Halloween recently, I was thinking back on some of my favorite Halloween/monster cartoons from when I was a kid. One that immediately came to mind was Nickelodeon’s “Ahh!! Real Monsters!”, a cartoon produced by Klasky Csupco (who also did “Rugrats” and “Wild Thornberrys,” to name a few) that ran from 1994-1997. The show was about three kid monsters who attend an institute under a city dump in New York (hidden from humans, who must never know monsters truly exist) to learn how to frighten humans in a variety of paranormal ways (including shape-shifting, growing to giant size, and pulling their guts out of their mouths. Seriously.)

Wait a minute…three kids – two boys, one girl – who attend a special school in a secret location apart from human society, to learn how to use their extraordinary, arguably “magical” talents? Why does that sound familiar?

Okay, so before you start telling me I’m seeing parallels that aren’t really there*, keep in mind that themes and ideas often are recycled in new, inventive ways. While both “Ahh!! Real Monsters!” and the Harry Potter series have their own distinctive universes, some of the similarities are pretty uncanny.

*Remember, this theory is just for fun. Not to be taken as a serious aspect about the Harry Potter canon.

Ickis = Harry 
     So he may not sport a lightning-shaped scar or iconic round glasses (although in the pilot episode and Monsters, Get Real!, he does wear glasses), Ickis shares a couple things in common with the infamous boy wizard. For one, he comes from a family line of great “scarers,” and his father Slickis was the greatest scarer that Monster Academy ever had (hmm…kind of like the greatest “Seeker” Hogwarts ever had?) So there’s a lot of pressure on Ickis to live up to the family name. He also proves to be exceptional among his monster peers, being the only student able to hear the Pool of Elders (just as Harry only hears the basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets). Ickis most frequently faces the reoccurring antagonist of the series, Simon, who routinely threatens all of monster society (we’ll get to him later). There is even an episode where Ickis literally becomes trapped in Simon’s head…not quite like a piece of Voldemort being trapped inside of Harry, but the “protagonist and antagonist sharing the same body” theme is eerie in both cases.

Oblina = Hermoine  

The top of her class at Monster Academy, Oblina not only shares Hermonie’s class status but several aspects of her personality as well. She’s the brains of the group and a bit of a know-it-all, and doesn’t miss a moment to point out when her fellow students are breaking the rules or being inept.  But she’s also kind to her friends, playing a sort of big-sisterly role at times. Oblina’s specialty includes shape-shifting, which is a factor that Hermoine brings into play in “Chamber of Secrets” with the polyjuice potion. Both Oblina and Hermoine love to read, and are the most practical of their friendship trios.

Krumm = Ron    

At first glance, there doesn’t seem like a whole lot of similarities between Ron Weasley and Krumm – Krumm is a monster who must carry his eyeballs around in his hands as he has no head, and his signature scaring method is his horrible stench. Ron doesn’t possess either of these traits (as far as we know), however both are best friend to the main protagonist, as well as having a tendency to bumble. Krumm routinely loses at least one of his eyes in a mishap and has to retrieve it, while Ron has chronic wand-breaking problems and trouble executing magic in the way he intends. But both are fiercely loyal, no matter what trouble their friends get them into, and do their best to cheer them up when they are down. And while he never ends up in a romantic relationship with Oblina (as Hermoine does with Ron), in episode 43, “Krumm is dumbfounded when he believes that Oblina likes him as more than a friend.”

The Gromble = Dumbledore / Prof. McGonagall

The Gromble seems to possess traits from both Hogwart’s headmaster and its Transfiguration professor.  No, neither Dumbledore or McGonagall are as intimidating to their students as The Gromble (nor have either of them eaten their students on occasion), but the Gromble does want the best for his students and tries to keep his school safe from invasive forces in the outside world (much like Dumbledore). His no-nonsense, tough-love attitude keeps his students in line (like McGonagall) and he tends to target Ickis and Krumm the most often to keep them from causing too much trouble.

In episode 50, the Gromble gives the perpetually late Ickis a clock that can control time. Remember when McGonagall gave Hermoine the time turner?

In Episode 39, the Gromble is threatened to be displaced as headmaster of Monster Academy because his superior doesn’t find his teaching acceptable – just as Dumbledore was going to be displaced as headmaster. But both in the end retain their positions.

Also, doesn’t “Gromble” sound a bit like “Dumbeldore” and “McGonagall” smushed together?
Simon = Voldemort  
Simon actually looks like he could be a much older version of Harry, having thick round black-rimmed glasses and gray-black hair (that you could figure as a kid was black). However his intentions a truly more Lord Voldemort-worthy – to expose the monster world for his own personal gain, and to gain control over all monsters. Not a monster himself (not in the biological sense,
anyway), his reasons for villainy are different from Voldemort, but he is the main antagonist and often employs more na├»ve, weak-minded characters to do his bidding, including other monster hunters and even children. He is also thwarted most often by Ickis, and as mentioned before the two characters even shared bodies for one episode. However Simon gets a much happier ending - meaning, not dying – and is more of a comical villain than the spine-tinglingly wicked Voldemort.

The Snorch = Hagrid / Argus Filch

The Snorch is a big guy, arguably the largest monster working at the Monster Academy. He is also much smarter than he looks – everyone underestimates the big guys, right, Hagrid? – as proven in an episode where he learns that Oblina is tired of not having anyone to intellectually converse with, so the Scorch reveals for the first time how eloquent he can be. 

But the Snorch’s primary role is to “discipline” students who break the rules. That’s a job that would seem a perfect fit for Hogwarts caretaker Argus Filch – “It's just a pity they let the old punishments die out… hang you by your wrists from the ceiling for a few days, I've got the chains still in my office, keep 'em well-oiled in case they're ever needed… “ 

Of course, the Snorch resorts to more “monster-specific” forms of punishment, like square-dancing and forcing students to frolic through a field of flowers. On top of having pint-sized companions who acts as a second pair of “eyes” around the school, Filch and the Snorch could be the best of buddies.

Zimbo = Miss Norris

The Snorch has a small assistant named Zimbo who sits on his head most of the time, and because Zimbo can fly, he often darts around the halls of the school spying on the monster students. Miss Norris likes to keep an eye on students as well, drawing Filch to any misbehavior that might be happening, although thankfully she
cannot talk. Zimbo likes to harass and insult the students of Monster Academy, particularly Ickis and Krumm, figuring he is untouchable because he is “protected” by those in superior positions– a touch of Draco there, perhaps?

So what do you think? Do you think there’s a bit of something more monstrous in Harry Potter than we first thought?