About My Book

Learn more about my first book, Six Pack: Emergence.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Twenty Questions With Melody Delgado

My guest this week for Twenty Questions is Melody Delgado, whose latest release, Royally Entitled, came out May 16. If you drop by her website, you can learn more about how to enter a drawing for a free copy of the book.

Melody has another release out as well, Oops A Daisy. Again, you may visit her website to learn more.

If you are interested in participating in Twenty Questions, here are the details.

Now let's hear from Melody about her writing.

1. How did you get interested in writing?

I was teaching music and needed to keep my certification by continuing my education. I asked if I could take some other classes in the arts besides music, and the answer was positive. So I took a writing course, wrote an article, got it published, and I was hooked.

2. What inspired you to come up with this story?

I am a lover of history and a lover of all things royal. I was reading about some of the history of European royals and came across an interesting tidbit. Royals would sometimes marry another royal they had never met, based merely upon a miniature portrait of them. I thought I might have the nugget of an interesting historical story when I read that piece of information. 

3. Tell me about the main character, Anika Pembrie, and what inspired you to create her.

I knew I wanted to write a story with a strong female protagonist with a heart for people. She would have to have access to royalty, even if she was not royal herself. So I had her mother be the daughter of an Earl, and had the Pembrie family home be located next door to the palace. Even though Anika did not go to school with him, Prince Valdemar would then be ‘the boy next door’. Literally. I didn’t want to create a shallow character that would only be interested in the fact that he bore a title. I wanted to create a person of depth who would see past that and have a heart that would look for ways she could help him and not vice-versa.

4. What characters, other than Anika, did you find enjoyable to write as you progressed with the book?

I love writing stories featuring pesky little children and the stable boy, Finn, certainly knows how to get under people’s skin. Prince Valdemar is carefree, friendly and a bit naïve, considering his station. So he was a fun character to flesh out. Creating characters is kind of like predicting the weather. You take an educated guess as to how they will react when put in a particular situation and then you cross your fingers and hope their actions are believable. Trying to dig deep into their psyche is what makes any character fun to write.

5. What are some of the themes you explored in writing the novel?

The idea of making your own way in life, regardless of what others think of you or expect from you was probably the main theme, at least in my mind. Also, the idea of having goals and striving to reach them, even if they are difficult to reach. The value of loyalty, friendship, family and a strong faith in God and how they can all help us deal with adversity, was another idea I hope comes across in the story.

6. What did you learn along the way as you wrote and edited the book?

The characters won’t always be completely fleshed out in the first draft. Several of the characters weren’t fully formed in my mind until the final draft. Also, to keep track of the subplots and make sure they all get tied up at the end.  As my books have gotten edited by others I’ve seen that what is in my head doesn’t always make it to the page. I’ll leave information and events out, assuming the reader will put two and two together, but they can’t always do that if I haven’t provided them with enough information to do that.

7. I see you have written another book, Oops-a-Daisy. Tell me a little more about that book.

Oops-a-Daisy is a quirky story set in modern day Miami and features a twelve-year-old protagonist named Daisy De La Cruz. She attends a school with a focus on the arts, where she hopes to learn all she can in order to become the next acting and singing sensation. Her nurturing music teacher leaves and is replaced by a stiff, no-nonsense, former opera singer. So the story is about Daisy trying to impress him, but getting embarrassed by her dog and her quirky family members who keep ending up in embarrassing situations that the professor ends up witnessing. 

8. How did the experiences writing Royally Entitled and Oops-a-Daisy compare?

ROYALLY ENTITLED was inspired by research. OOPS-A-DAISY sprang more from my experiences of performing, teaching music and living in Florida. It is also a quirky, comedy, where ROYALLY ENTITLED has a few light moments, but is more of a romance, mystery. I spent two months researching European traditions that occurred during the Renaissance and wrote pages and pages of notes in order to write ROYALLY ENTITLED. For OOPS-A-DAISY, I visited an arts magnet school, had lunch with faculty members who teach there, did a bit of research about child performers and spent a few days in Miami. Because it is set in modern times, I didn’t have to include so many details about place and setting, so I found myself free to really focus on the characters, how they interact with each other and felt free to think up zany, crazy situations to put them all in.

9. What do you find is the right environment for you to write? 

I need quiet, quiet, quiet with few distractions. I write while my son is in school and my husband is at work. I have to be able to think and speak my character’s lines out loud without anyone feeling like they have to call the people in white jackets.  ;)

10. Are there specific programs or tools you find useful to help you with the writing process? 

I really need to have a good idea of the major plot points in a story before I sit down to write. I spend a good bit of time plotting and planning by hand, using a notebook, before I sit down to type anything. Too many scenes end up in the dumpster when I don’t plan ahead. I use the nine box method to help me stay on track. When I feel lost in a story or I’m not sure about the order of events, I go back to what is supposed to happen in each box, and that will usually clear up any confusion about what needs to happen when, but not always. I also depend upon my critique group to give me honest feedback and tell me when something is not working. And while I do plan ahead, I don’t feel boxed in by expectations of any certain genre. Many romance novels have the love interest marked out very clearly through the story. Life isn’t so predictable, so I try to have my stories not be easily predictable or formulaic either. While ROYALLY ENTITLED is a romance, there is also a bit of mystery and who Anika will end up with is not a foregone conclusion. In OOPS-A-DAISY my main character succeeding is also not a foregone conclusion either. Both of my main characters experience some major setbacks to their plans.

11. What have you found to be useful methods for promoting your writing? 

We’ve yet to see if my methods prove useful! With my first novel just being released, I am still in the learning phase myself. But I used to be shy about telling people I was a writer. Now I let it be known to my family and friends. I am active on twitter. I carry bookmarks of my book cover with me. I’m hosting a book giveaway on my website. I’ll probably host others also.

12. What are some of the famous books or authors you have enjoyed or inspired you? 

Old books full of heart like Anne of Green Gables and Little Women are still my favorites. They pulled me in to read and then inspired me to write. 

13. Any aspiring or independent authors whose books you’ve read that you liked and want to mention to others to check out? 

I read STIM by Kevin Berry and while some of the humor was not to my taste, some of it was laugh-out-loud funny. It was well-written and inspiring since it was written by someone with Aspergers, so hats off to him. Bravo to any independent author who has the energy to run the entire show. There is so much work involved in launching a book, so anyone who can do it all certainly has my respect.

14. What advice would you give to those who want to write a novel before they actually get started? 

I hate to state the obvious, but you’ve got to be a reader before you can be a writer. Don’t read just any book. Read well-written books. Get in touch with what topics interest you. When you set out to write a novel, you will be in that world with those characters for a long time. The genre and topic of the novel has to be something that interests you. Don’t write about something you don’t want to think about every single day, because those characters and that setting will be with you every day you’re writing.

15. Tell me more about your work in music, vocal studies and the concerts in which you have performed. 

I started singing in a pop group in college while I studied classical voice from Yvonne Ciannella and Thomas Palmer, who were both opera singers. Florida State has a wonderful music program. I studied with D’anna Fortunato at New England Conservatory. I’ve done concerts at universities featuring modern music by modern composers. A lot of these concerts have been called Festivals of New Music because the music is avante-garde. You know, a pianist plucking the piano strings instead of playing the keys. Violinists plucking the strings instead of using their bows. Time signatures that constantly change, that sort of thing. Stuff that is really unusual. I also sing Gospel so I have sung at conferences and different churches. I’ve also written gospel songs, some of which have been performed in church. I was really trying my hand at different things in music, so I’ve done a lot of things all across the board.

16. What were some of the charity events you have organized? 

Anything that has been initiated has been done along with my husband. Our main thing a few years back was to go into inner-city neighborhoods and distribute toys on Christmas Eve, bringing along Santa and his horse-driven sleigh, and letting kids get a ride with Santa. I’ve got many photos of this, but they are dark because this happened at night, so I haven’t been able to post any on my website.

17. What are some of the specific Middle East projects you have been involved with?

Along with a group of about fifteen other volunteers we went to a place in Bethany in Israel, called ‘The Sisters of Mercy’. It is a combination hospital, orphanage etc. We painted murals, visited with patients and brought toys to the children and tried to interact with them. They had absolutely nothing to play with and would just sit idle in their cribs. That’s the unbelievable type of poverty that we saw.

18. One I noticed in particular at your website was your visit to the Spafford House in Jerusalem. What was that experience like? 

The kids and staff were absolutely wonderful. Warm and caring. We did puppet shows for them. I sang with the children and performed with them. It was more just being there for them and interacting with them since they had no families to speak of.

19. What can you tell me about your experiences as a public speaker? 

I’ve been a lay speaker for years in churches and at retreats. I speak on women’s issues and try to use women in the bible like Ruth, Naomi, Abigail and Hannah to serve as examples for the types of women we should be like today. I’ve also spoken at events for writers where I discuss things such as how to start your novel, flesh out your characters and find your personal writing niche.

20. Who would win a battle of superhero skills: Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman?

Wonder Woman, because Girl Power always rocks! Look out, boys!! 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Reflections On Five Seasons Of Arrow

Having become a fan of the “Arrowverse” on the CW Network and catching up on the five seasons of Arrow – the show that started the flood of DC superhero shows on CW – I thought I’d sit down and consider how Arrow has come along after its first five seasons.

The first five seasons have followed the journey of Oliver Queen from his return home after being separated from his family for five years, much of that time (thought not all of it) spent on Lian Yu. For the first five seasons, the majority of episodes focused on Oliver’s path taken in Starling City (later Star City) with flashbacks detailing Oliver’s five years away from his hometown.

Season Five ended this week with what I thought was one of the strongest episodes the show has ever produced, but before I get to that, let’s run down the past few seasons to see what has worked and hasn’t worked as the show’s writers and producers told the tale of Oliver’s journey.

WARNING: Spoilers for the Season 5 finale appear down toward the end, so either don’t look beyond the link or stop when you get to Season 4.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Book Review: B.E.V.

Having gained more interest in dystopian fiction and how authors either build their worlds or examine the circumstances people face, I ran across Arthur Butt's B.E.V.

The story is told through the viewpoint of Hunter, a teenage boy who has difficult walking as a result of an alien attack that has left Earth devastated. He and his friend Kat find themselves in the middle of an assault on their hometown and run across a sentient war machine called B.E.V. (which stands for Battle Evasive Vehicle). The two take the vehicle to rescue Hunter's father and defend their hometown.

The concept of a sentient war machine was interesting. I liked how that played out throughout the novel -- it was a fun take on artificial intelligence, as B.E.V. not only shows intelligence but has a distinct personality. I liked the interplay between Hunter and Kat, though the author teases a romantic relationship but doesn't really pay it off. The world building is good for the most part and the author does a good job building tension, though at times I thought the aliens came off as one-dimensional.

B.E.V. is a book that I think most science fiction fans would enjoy, though readers who are looking for a more in-depth portrayal of the antagonist may not like it as much. You may buy the book on Amazon.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Book Review: Insurrection (And A New Release Plug)

A few weeks ago, I chatted with Kadee Carter about her first book, Insurrection, and my interest was piqued, so I bought it. Turned out I was in for a fun ride.

The story follows 16-year-old Saylor, who grows up in an orphanage, only to escape with her three friends in a boat. They find themselves caught in a storm on the high seas and, later, on a Carribbean island on which a military base is located. It's here that Saylor learns of a new threat to the human race and must step into a role she never expected to be in, not only to save her friends but humanity itself.

I really loved Saylor -- she is a sassy yet kind girl who grows through the course of events, evolving from somebody who wants to question why she has to do anything, to somebody who accepts her role and what she is destined to, but never loses her heart or her desire to learn more.

Carder did a good job researching military life and its structure, and you can tell from the writing that she is a softball fan! She created a simple yet interesting technological threat that Saylor must overcome. And I thought the pacing was good overall, in which Carder breaks up the action scenes with some slower parts that focus on character development.

The prologue to the book might be considered an info dump to some, but once you get past it, you go right into the story about who Saylor is and her life experiences -- and from there, the action picks up and there are more spots in which it's difficult to put the book down.

Insurrection is a recommended read... and it just so happens that the second two books have already been released. In fact, Carder's third book in the series is out now. Here's details about the third book and, below, you can find links to purchase all the books in the series. I know I'll have the second book on my to-read list in the near future!


We humans have to be stronger than we ever imagine, love ourselves in the process, and dig in when the ground seems to sink. We not only relish adventures, we create them. That’s the basis of Saylor’s story in Kadee Carder’s young adult science fiction trilogy, Insurrection. Volume One, Insurrection, and Volume Two, Incomplete, is now available on iTunes, Amazon Kindle, and Barnes & Noble Nook, and Volume Three, Indelible, will be available May 9th! Scintillating gadgetry, crackling romance, and endless riddles fill the pages of this trilogy, in a fresh adventure for the restless reader.
Beneath the façade of covert laboratories and military exploits, Saylor’s story twists further in this thrilling final installment of the Insurrection trilogy. Concealed identities. Puzzling truths. Cryptic alliances. Amid hasty exits and curious arrivals, Saylor pursues the answers haunting her conscience.
Dealing with the consequences of her decisions, will Saylor find herself invincible, or drawn even closer to Breame’s conniving promises? And with humanity’s existence at stake, will Saylor advance toward the brimming war, or succumb to the battle bubbling in her blood?
Saylor must decide.
Humanity will always be worth fighting for.

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Purchase Insurrection, Incomplete, or Indelible for only $4.99 each:
Insurrection (Book 1) on Amazon:

Incomplete (Book 2) on Amazon:

Indelible (Book 3) on Amazon:

Purchase on Nook/Barnes&Noble:

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Review: Betrayal (Kings of Renown Book #1)

Through conversations with my fellow Clean Reads authors, I had the chance to read Julie Fugate's Betrayal, the first book in the Kings of Renown series. I didn't know what to expect when I started the book, but came away quite impressed with the characters.

The story follows three teens, high school outcast Tara Cox, the daughter of a man involved with criminal activity; Inara Mason, a young girl who believes her father controls her too much; and Leo Price, a former juvenile delinquent trying to follow a better path. Their lives become entwined, each finding a connection through a seraphim angel, and eventually come together to untangle a bigger mystery about why the three teens are all connected to one another.

The book does a great job of mixing drama, romance and spiritual theme with a dose of the paranormal. Though it takes a while to build to events that show how the three teens are connected to one another, the character development keeps you drawn in. Julie does a great job making Tara, Inara and Leo sympathetic characters, the type of people that younger folks, and even older folks, can relate to.

The book does follow Christian themes but it doesn't engage in preaching. Rather, they are mixed into the story and focus more on the fellowship between people rather than heavy-handed talk about morals. The focus on fellowship allows for the relationships between the characters to be the emphasis of the narrative.

Though it's billed as the first book in a series, the events in Betrayal are wrapped up well and hardly any loose ends remain.

Those who aren't big fans of romance or spiritual books may not be interested in Betrayal, but anyone who enjoys a good story with strong characters will like this one. It's the characters, by far, that make this book work.

Recommended read.