Thursday, April 2, 2020

Squint is Rocking it!

Mustaches for Maddie

Did you know that Mustaches for Maddie has it's very own website?


On the site you can see:

Cool Videos

Educators Teaching Guide/Helps

Printable Posters and Cards (at the bottom of page)

FAQ from Maddie and the authors

So pop on over and take a look around. See you over there!

Willa and the Whale trailer

Feather Stars

Oh how we fell in love with feather stars when writing Willa and the Whale.

Willa's mother is a marine biologist, and one of the world's experts on feather stars. She studies the fossils but is particularly interested in the living specimens. Because of her fascination with this beautiful marine animal, Willa can't help being drawn to them as well.

Feather stars are part of the crinoid family. Crinoids are 200-million-year-old marine invertebrates who look like plants. In fact they look so much like plants that people thought they were plants until fairly recently (I'm counting in hundreds of years). When they figured out that feather stars moved they observed them slowly crawling across the ocean floor. They decided that they were animals that walked. But to their great surprise they later they found out that they can swim!

And they are so beautiful when they swim.

There are 600 different living species of crinoids and bunches and bunch of fossils. They come in so many stunning colors and seem to be thriving even as the ocean keeps getting warmer.

What does the Hydra and feather stars have in common?
They regrow legs that have been eaten off, fallen off, or cut off. They can grow up to 150-200 legs, though most have far fewer than that.

Hopefully some of those fun facts will get you looking up
more about our friend the feather star.

And for more information about Willa and the Whale check out

The Purpose of this Blog

Years ago we wrote for this blog to entertain other authors, like ourselves, and to share tips and tricks with them. It was never meant to be a platform for our children's books.

Through a mistake this blog was included with some of our promotional material, sending children to this odd location.

If you find yourself here because of that: WELCOME! You are always welcome anywhere we go, are going, and have been.

We will try to give our readers some fun tidbits in the next few blog posts, but the archives to this blog was written for adult writers.

Our best to you and yours!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

DEAD INDEED, MG horror comedy


Tiffany Hart expected seventh grade to be the year she became popular, not a ghost-seer.

She’s determined to be class president at any cost until a near death experience bestows Tiffany with an unwanted gift. Now three small spirit children cling to her, disrupting everything she holds sacred like sleeping and her Michael Jackson mugs. Even worse, trying to pretend they don’t exist is making Tiffany act like a freakshow in front of her classmates. The only person who can help is her neighbor and the weirdest boy at school, Justin Henderson, a.k.a. The Casper Kid.

Justin has seen ghosts since he was nine, a creepy claim that has earned him the privilege of eating lunch by himself for years. When his long-time crush, Tiffany, begs his help with her ghoulish problem, he’s there in the click of an electromagnetic field detector.

Tiffany and Justin begin to unravel a mystery filled with murder, orphans, plagues, and skeletons that leads them to a backyard burial ground. The only thing standing between Tiffany and normalcy is the dark-hearted apparition who guards the graves and isn’t afraid of hurting children, dead or alive. In order to survive, they must face their own demons first. For Tiffany, it’s her pride. For Justin, it’s far more literal.
DEAD INDEED is a middle grade stand-alone horror with series potential. The horror and heart of Black's DOLL BONES and the humor of Savage's CASE FILES, complete at 53,000 words. 


To the Slaughter House

We were so far away from civilization that howling banshees with machine guns could’ve murdered us and nobody would’ve heard a thing.

Letting Kori Henderson, the girl with the million braids done so tight I was sure it messed with her brain, drive me anywhere was mistake enough. Letting her drive me to a spot of serious paranormal activity was pure stupidity.

I blame Justin.


That nutcase was the reason I was in that junky minivan, bouncing down a country road in the middle of the night. Sure it was his sister, Kori, who invited all of us twelve-year-olds to join her friends on that spook hunt, and, yes, it was my best friend, Jessica, who actually convinced me to get in the van, but Justin Henderson was always behind all supernatural weirdness. He couldn’t help it.

Resting my forehead on the cool window I searched the moonlit hill for shadows behind the scrub trees. The hair on my arms stood on end just thinking about some old man with a bucket and a gun that Justin described as a local ghost legend.

How did I let Jessica bribe me with a slurpee? No amount of sugar could compensate for the way that fear was digging tiny holes in my stomach.

I couldn’t even watch Scooby Doo all by myself.

Outside air whooshed in the windows. Scents like dirt and pine, that were lovely during the day, smelled like a horror film at night.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

At FanX This Weekend!

I'll be at FanX in Salt Lake City, Thurs. Fri., and Sat! Here's my schedule. Come catch a panel, stop by a book signing, and see if you can guess who I'm dressed up as. (I really only have three costumes: Bruce Willis's younger brother, a really weak Vin Diesel, or Voldemort with a nose job in casual clothes.)

4/17 6:00 pm: Vader to Voldemort to Loki: Writers Discuss What Makes a Great Villain
4/17 7:00 pm-8:00: Book Signing at the Deseret Book booth.
4/18 12:00 pm: Writing Humor
4/18 3:00-4:00 pm: Book Signing at the Deseret Book booth.
4/18 6:00 pm: The Power of Imagination: Writing for Kids and the Kid at Heart in Today’s Market
4/19 1:00 pm: Writing Children’s Books
4/19 3:00 pm: Amping up Your Novel or Screenplay with Killer Characters
4/4:00-5:00 pm: Book Signing at the Deseret Book booth.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Cover Reveal with Cassie Mae and a few Nerds, Geeks, and Bookworms

My good friend Cassie Mae writes deliciously funny romances and fortunately for all of us, she's PROLIFIC! So here is some of her newest stuff from Swoon Romance.
(As a Middle Grade writer, I should probably let you know these are not Middle Grade material.)

How to Seduce a Band Geek (How To #2)
Release Date: 05/06/14
Swoon Romance

Summary from Goodreads:

Sierra Livingston’s got it bad for her sister’s best friend, Levi Mason—the boy who carries his drumsticks in his pocket, marches with the school’s band, and taps his feet to whatever beat runs through his head. Sierra racks her brain for ways to impress the sexy drummer, but the short skirts and bursting cleavage don’t seem to cut it.

When Sierra gets paired with Levi’s sister, Brea, for a mentorship program, they strike a deal. In exchange for Sierra keeping her mouth shut about Brea ditching the program, Brea lets Sierra dig for more info on Levi to help get the guy of her dreams.

But when Sierra discovers Levi no longer plays the drums, his family has moved into a trailer, and he’s traded in his Range Rover for a baby blue moped, Sierra’s not sure if she can go through with violating his privacy. She’ll have to find the courage to ask him straight out—if he’s willing to let her in—and explore other ways to seduce the school’s band geek.

How to Hook a Bookworm (How To #3)
Release Date: TBD

Swoon Romance

Summary from Goodreads:

It’s Brea Mason’s sixteenth birthday, and she has three wishes. 1. Be magically eighteen like the rest of her friends. 2. Grow a money tree for her family whose financial problems are well known about town.  3. Overcome her test anxiety before she flunks out of every class.

But one day later, she's still sixteen, her family's money worries abound, and she's no closer to passing than she was the day before!

Then a very sexy transfer student—with gobs of cash—shows up. Brea figures she has a better chance of burping up glitter than attracting the new guy, but he seems extremely interested in her.

Just when Brea thinks things are looking up, her report card arrives marked with four giant F’s. Enter resident bookworm and Brea's loyal friend, Adam Silver. If he can't help Brea pass, no one can.

Even with Adam's help, Brea can't handle the mounting pressure, and finds an escape with the new student who knows little about her problems. 

But spending oodles of time with her boyfriend strains the friendship with Adam she relies so heavily on. Faced with losing the only real comfort and support she has ever had, Brea starts to wonder if she can hook a bookworm before it's too late. 

Link to book one:
(cover linked to Goodreads)

About the Author

Amazon multi-category and international bestselling author of HOW TO DATE A NERD, HOW TO SEDUCE A BAND GEEK and HOW TO HOOK A BOOKWORM

Cassie Mae is a nerd to the core from Utah, who likes to write about other nerds who find love. Her angel children and perfect husband fan her and feed her grapes while she clacks away on the keyboard. Then she wakes up from that dream world and manages to get a few words on the computer while the house explodes around her. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with the youth in her community as a volleyball and basketball coach, or searching the house desperately for chocolate.

Cassie Mae is an bestselling author of the teen contemporary romance novel REASONS I FELL FOR THE FUNNY FAT FRIEND, which she self-published. In addition to publishing with Swoon Romance, she is published by Random House Flirt.

Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Gathering by Randy Lindsay

by Shelly Brown

Let me introduce you to one of my first writing friends,
Randy Lindsay

To say that Randy Lindsay is a great support is an understatement.
He's not only a support to me but to many, 
many others in the writing community.
He's honest,
and smart.
And the guy can write!

His writing is easy to read and his stories are gripping.

I wasn't surprised when his book was picked up for publication.
So when I was invited to participate in his blog tour for his debut novel I jumped at the chance.

Not only do I get to read 
(reread, actually. Beta buddy!)
 but I get to blog


That's right, today's the day. 
So congrats Papa Lindsay on such a beautiful new book!

Love the color and the simplicity of the cover.

The Gathering is about the end of times and what could happen on both the familial and governmental levels. It follows the Williams family as they deal with scarcity, relationships, church duties, security, and survival. It also follows the Secretary of State, Calvin McCord, as he deals with global intrigues, divisive parties, and ethics in politics. The stakes are higher than my writing is able to imply. Lindsay's writing is solid and the story is a page turner. Recommended to fans of The Great and the Terrible series. I agree with Elana Johnson when she says that it's a "fantastic addition to the LDS genre."

You can buy the book HERE and HERE
And learn more about Randy HERE and HERE

Sunday, November 10, 2013

DEFY by Sara Larsen

by Chad Morris

Alright, World. I read an ARC of Defy, by Sara Larsen. It comes out January of 2014, and I’m going to ramble about it. But first, here’s the cover and the back cover copy. (I don’t like writing the query/back cover for my own books, so I’m definitely not writing it for someone else’s.) 

A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and heart-racing romance.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?
Now, when “Writing with Shelly and Chad” volunteered to read the ARC, I thought the Shelly half of this blog would be doing the reading. It’s more up her alley—the whole romance thing (This book is more than a romance, it's an adventurous ride, but romance is still a huge part of the story). I write books about middle school kids in the future who have time machines and robot monkeys and have to deal with an evil mastermind. Surprise, surprise; I don’t read many romances. Like none. Well, Shelly and I used to take turns picking a book and reading it together. And she picked Pride and Prejudice. Yes, I’m a good husband. Yes, I read it with her. Though Shelly was disappointed in my inability to squeal during certain reveals of the book, I walked away tipping my hat to Jane Austen. She writes very well. But beside that, I can’t think of a romance I’ve read. But the way our schedules worked out, Shelly couldn’t work it in, so I jumped in.

My overall opinion: Defy is an engaging, well-developed story that should thrill YA fans. Sara worked some good magic.
Now, before I continue, I do need to shoot out a disclaimer. You see I’m a middle-grade author. I write especially for kids between the ages of 8-14. Some people may be looking for my recommendations for that age group. Defy is not a middle grade book, and I wouldn’t recommend it for those ages. It is a true young adult book, with more intense sequences and more mature subject matter. For example, the book includes a breeding house where orphan girls are abused to produce future soldiers. Sara Larsen shows the tragedy while still using a healthy dose of tact, but I feel I need to be clear about audience.

The story has a cast of intriguing characters in a troubled kingdom, and being the prince’s guard is a dangerous place to be. It also takes the reader through nice twists and turns, leaving him or her guessing, or feeling smart for picking up on the well-placed clues. Some tropes, like a girl disguised as a boy, have been used many times over, but the story feels new, full, and real.

I will admit to losing a little of my reading momentum in the middle with some of the love triangle, but again, I refer you to the fact that I’m not the target audience. I could picture many squealing readers through those pages. But again, Defy is an engaging, well-developed story. You'll get lost in it. It's a great ride.  

Oh, and the guy who seems to be in second place by the end of the book, is totally going to make a comeback. Yep. You’ll see.
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