Inspiring teachers to inspire their students at ORA


Inspiring teachers to inspire their students at the Oregon Reading Association’s (ORA) Winter Institute!12687987_1059233604138705_2485724614047673039_n

The Winter Institute included workshops and author talks.


CbCUOKDXEAEoWzpWhat an honor to connect with teachers from all over the state!


Winter Institute: Ziemke, Probst, Beers at Embassy Suites PDX

Coming Soon – The Recalcitrant Project


Coming Soon! The Recalcitrant Project

NEWS!  Between now and April 1, 2016 The Recalcitrant Project is available for beta readers.  If you are interested, let me know.  Happy reading!!!

I am thrilled to announce that in the spring of 2016 you can expect a new novel. I am venturing into the world of dystopia!  Please join me on my latest adventure. If you like The Hunger Games… give this a try!

Re·cal·ci·trant, adjective: having an obstinately uncooperative attitude toward authority or discipline. Recalcitrant, noun: a person with an obstinately uncooperative attitude.


They’re not sure who I am. They think I’m an outlier – someone who lies outside the norm. So why haven’t they killed me yet? Perhaps they hope to reprogram me because they need me to put the finishing touches on their deadly game. They are desperate to know what is in my head and how I can outsmart computers but I will never tell.

My name is Elise Andrak and I live in the new North. I come from a sparkling city that everyone believes is perfect, but I know otherwise. I know things I should not know. I’ve seen things I was never meant to see or understand. I’m seventeen years old and I’m wanted… dead or alive by my own government. This is my story – believe it and be assured that it’s true. Don’t allow yourself to be blinded by their lies anymore. Save yourself before it’s too late. Only you can free yourself from this, but you have to have the courage to try. I hope I have the courage to escape The Recalcitrant Project.

Elise and her classmates are up for their final trial before graduation except that something goes horribly wrong. As they enter their trial, Elise comes to realize she’s seen it all before, but how? In a dream? In a message? In a computer game? Yes, the computer game she’d been beta testing. The question remains… why her? And what does it all mean?

Our history books tell us that after the third world war everything changed. Our government, in an effort to protect those of us who remained, took away nearly all of our personal rights and freedoms. A universal way of living was established for the populace, supposedly for our safety. At the time the citizens agreed it was for the best, but as always, there were a few who were unafraid to speak out. Dissenters were made an example of and many simply disappeared. During that time a legend was born and even though the government tried to kill the idea, it lives on: It says that one will come who will break the system and save us from our crushing government. Personally, I don’t care about all that. My life is normal, but then I’ve never known any different. I know it is best to just go on, do your job and not cause any trouble. The latest news confirms this.
“As a result of the civil unrest that has broken out among our citizenry, new laws are being enforced. Those who do not conform to the lot they are given and choose to defy our great nation shall be reconditioned, so on this day, February 26, 2066, we the government, will begin a new system of eradication of those citizens we find to be obstinately uncooperative in their attitude toward authority and discipline.”
…And so begins the Recalcitrant Project.10904257_10204410664321597_1706411817_n

Destiny – Owen’s Final Adventure.


Destiny – Owen’s Final Adventure.

We come to the end of a series and… as readers and writers, many of us are filled with joy and sadness.  We have fallen in love with these characters and it is difficult to let them go.  We want to know what happens next.  These characters have become our friends.  We have to know if they are happy and well.  We miss the way they have made us laugh and cry – the way they have touched our hearts.  Perhaps more than anyone I will miss Owen, Lucie, Marlo, and the others.  Owen was my first protagonist and like a first boyfriend he will always have a special place in my heart.


Want to know more about Owen?  AMAZON | BookBaby | B&N | iTunes | Goodreads | More Options

Congratulations to Author L.R.W. Lee of the Andy Smithson Series! Book 5 Release.

51ZaOpiysjL._UY250_Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Andy Smithson, Book 5
Four years ago, Andy Smithson discovered he is the Chosen one to break a 500-yr-old curse plaguing the land of Oomaldee when he unexpectedly and mysteriously found himself there. To do so, he must collect ingredients for a magical potion. Thus far he has gathered the scale of a red dragon, venom from a giant serpent, a unicorn’s horn, and the tail feather of a phoenix. Now he must ask a griffin for one of its talons. There’s just one problem…humans have poached griffin treasure, causing these mythical creatures to attack on sight.Complicating matters, the evil Abaddon, sovereign of Oomaldee’s northern neighbor, is turning more and more citizens into zolt in his ongoing campaign of terror as he sets in motion the final steps of his plan to conquer the land. Things really start to heat up in book five!If you loved Harry Potter, you’ll love the Andy Smithson series chalk full of mythical creatures, newly invented animals like zolt, herewolves, and therewolves, a complex plot with evolving characters, and positive themes including responsibility, diligence, dignity, friendship and more.Purchase Kindle and PaperbackTHE BUZZ
5 Stars! – “A marvelous book in a great series!” – Erik Weibel (Age 14) This Kid Reviews Books Blog
“Readers of this series have come to anticipate a host of challenges, intense battles, and on an epic scale. In Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, you won’t be disappointed. For lovers of fantasy, I consider it a must read.” – Richard Weatherly, Author
“One of the admirable qualities I like about the entire series is seeing Andy’s growth from a self-absorbed kid to a more thoughtful teen as he learns how to deal with the various crises which face him, all the while knowing that the future may hold unpleasant consequences. The watchword for Vision of the Griffin’s Heart is “courage.” – Wayne Walker, Home School Book Review


51imkVP5J1L._UY250_Blast of the Dragon’s Fury (Andy Smithson, Book One) ebook is FREE. Download a copy at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Google, B&N.
Listen to the FREE podcast of Book 1 by L. R. W. Lee on Podiobooks.
Book one is also available in paperback.


51xpyCjG-9L._UY250_Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning (Andy Smithson, Book Two) is available in Kindle and Paperback.
Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon
It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook first…Savings of $16!


51PwH8k6NYL._UY250_Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor (Andy Smithson, Book Three) is available in Kindle and Paperback.



51K14SFbmZL._UY250_Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace (Andy Smithson, Book Four) is available in Kindle and Paperback.



51Sc1CnMOGL._UY250_Power of the Heir’s Passion (Andy Smithson, Prequel Novella) ebook is FREE. Pick up a copy at Amazon, Google, B&N, Smashwords. It’s also available in paperback.
Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon
It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook for $.99 first…Savings of $1!



L. R. W. Lee credits her love of fantasy with her introduction to C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of 7bcfc1_8a24bc7f0b474b758ec4a0ea0e375d1a.jpgNarnia. Later on, she enjoyed the complex world of Middle Earth brought to life by J. R. R. Tolkien in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The multiple dimensions of the worlds mixed with a layer of meaning, captivated her and made her desire to invent Young Adult Fantasy and Epic Fantasy worlds others could get lost in, but also take meaning away from. More recently, L. R. W. Lee has found inspiration from J. K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series as well as Brandon Mull and his best selling Fablehaven, Beyonders and Five Kingdoms series.

L. R. W. Lee writes to teach her readers principles that can transform their lives – overcoming frustration, impatience, fear and more. She also shows why responsibility, diligence and dignity are the keys to true success in life. She lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband. Their daughter is a Computer Engineer for Microsoft and their son serves in the Air Force.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Email

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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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/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?
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?
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?
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?
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 J

7bcfc1_9b703397b828493f95af0b1e9326dfdfTHE DEPTH OF THE ANDY SMITHSON SERIES
If you’re an adult looking for a clean series you can sink your teeth into, Andy Smithson is definitely it! In it I develop four layers simultaneously: 1) Andy Smithson in Lakehills, TX 2) Andy in Oomaldee 3) the Afterlife 4) a meaning layer. A few examples to demonstrate the depth…
Symbolism is used extensively (a couple examples):
• The fog of the curse symbolizes blindness and oppression.
• The magic key unlocks doors, brings stone statues to life, as well as revives. Put another way, it symbolizes bringing forth, opening up, and revealing (aka taking responsibility).
• Methuselah is not only a weapon and helper, but also represents justice as it divides good and evil. Consistent with life, justice requires diligence to uphold.

Names are also important in this series (a few examples):
• Andy means brave or courageous.
• Alden means helper.
• Hannah means favor or grace.
• Imogenia means blameless.

Alchemy used throughout the series (a few examples):
• Alchemy played a significant role in the development of modern science. Alchemists sought to transform base metals into the gold or silver and/or develop an elixir of life which would confer youth and longevity and even immortality.
• In the series, the first instance of alchemy begins with the gold weavers, Max, Oscar, and Henry, spinning straw into gold to manufacture the wealth of the kingdom.
• The four elementals: air, earth, fire, and water are then seen on Methuselah’s hilt.

The titles of the books manifest yet another layer of meaning and reveal Imogenia’s evolution.
• Beginning with Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, Imogenia is furious at what has happened to her and she fuels her emotional hurt.
• In Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Imogenia turns venomous (or spiteful) and cunning in seeking ways to continually punish her brother.
• Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor has Imogenia act in a manner disgraceful to the honor of royalty.
• In Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace we see Imogenia’s grace reborn as she begins to reflect.
• In Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Imogenia realizes she is gripped by hatred and distrust she has harbored for so long. Unlike griffins who choose to trust others, Imogenia cannot yet make that leap when it comes to her brother.


Destiny, The Secret Watchers, book five Cover!


Destiny, The Secret Watchers, book five. Owen’s final adventure!

Destiny Cover!

AKL5258 Digest-Soft-Cover(1)_Destiny Final_small









Watch for the roll-out at all retailers!


Join me at The Red Mitten Bazaar!


If you’re local… Please join me at The Red Mitten Christmas Bazaar in Canby Oregon!  The bazaar runs from Dec. 2nd until the 13th.

Wednesday preview from 5 – 8 pm (a small donation goes to local charities)

Thursdays from 10am to 6pm

Fridays from 10am to 6pm

Saturdays from 9am to 7pm

Sundays from noon until 5pm

Author signings – local artisans, artists and craftspeople – amazing desserts and soup at lunch time!

 Learn more here –

Warner Grange Hall – 10100 S. New Era Rd. (Just north of Canby – 1/4 mile off of 99E.)

See you there!

Meet D.C. and Michael McGannon, Monster Guys and Friends

Meet D.C. and Michael McGannon, Monster Guys and Friends
First a note from D.C.

We began this journey together, as father and son, with the goal of writing a story that DCMcGannonbwphotoheadshots1-300x300spoke to friendship, overcoming obstacles (and the ultimate evils in our world), and of the power of working together to face the biggest challenges in our lives. Yes, it’s full of monsters, peril, and steeped in exciting mythology and folklore, but it centers around the powerful bonds formed between an unlikely group of friends as they face a unique set of challenges. We wanted to write a story that we would be proud to read aloud to our then newborn son/baby brother (who now, years later, has read them through twice more). It has turned into the adventure of a lifetime as we are meeting people from all over the world who are falling in love with Charlie Sullivan, Darcy Witherington, Nash Stormstepper, and the twins Lisa & Liev Vadinknov – along with a wild, often humorous, and mysterious cast of humans and monsters alike.

WitchMoonCoverCharlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters: Witch Moon is the next adventure in the series, which takes us across the ocean to the Old Country, then on to Book 3: Council of the Hunters, where the group’s character and loyalty face the ultimate tests when they meet a surprising and spooky new cast of characters. The Dragon Gate (Book 4) will be released soon, and there will be a total of 6 books in the series!

There is also a table-top card game that has been developed based on the books. We have tested the game with several groups nationwide and it is currently in production. Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters is a labor of love, and one that we’re proud of. We’ve put so much into the series and developing new games, art, and stories based on the characters, and we hope to touch as many lives as we can with these adventurous stories. We will also be launching a podcast this month dedicated to the characters and worlds found in the books, and we are most excited about that venture.
Ultimately, we will stop at nothing to connect with readers and fans and consider it a privilege to do so. We travel to a lot of conventions supporting the books, and in doing so we also have the opportunity to address some very important issues to us as authors: bullying and child literacy. Our goal is to give back to the communities we visit, through schools, libraries, and special events and help foster reading appreciation among children and teens. We also teach and train teachers, parents, and any group of adults influencing young adults on effective ways of addressing the pervasive problem of bullying in our society. Our young adult books address the theme of bullying through story, and it’s a difficult issue to address, but we hope to bring some redeeming value to it all by the end of the sixth book. We truly believe that, together, we can make a difference with this problem, but it’s going to take an ongoing commitment to asking and answering the hard questions.
Again, it’s a privilege to be able to write these stories and we appreciate our readers and those who purchase our books.
Thanks for having us as guests on your blog. You are a dear friend and we appreciate everything you do! I can’t wait for the day some big wig in Hollywood makes movies of both our series and then we can walk the red carpet together with thousands of readers, young and old alike, and have a huge week-long Monster Hunters and Secret Watchers party! What do you say?
What could I say? Of course – I’m in!!!
For a limited time YOU can get your copy of Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters part one, The Varcolac’s Diary on Amazon

Welcome to my interview with novelists, C. Michael McGannon and D.C. McGannon, co-authors of Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters (YA); KAOS Obsidere: The Nightmare Has Begun (Adult, Horror) an interconnected short story horror collection.

Okay guys, What is your favorite junk food vice?
Michael: Oh, that’s a hard one. What are we calling junk food? (Chocolate can be good for 16091606you, right!?) Probably have to go with cheeseburgers. Any time I go to a new place to eat, I have to test out their cheeseburger. If they have a good burger, then I’m happy.

Any movies that you really want to see?
D.C.: I am really looking forward to Crimson Peak out this October. I’m really due for something gothic, dark, and spooky, and I love Guillermo del Torro! Also, the Peanuts movie! Yay!!

Do you have a favorite book or film?
Michael: Yes! Multiple! I’ll just throw two at you. Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere is my favorite fun, gritty, and imaginative novel ever. Of all time. But I would be amiss not to mention Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy, which quite literally kept me up at night and had me chomping at the bit to finish Alek and Deryn’s story.

What’s on your reading list right now?
D.C.: Three books actually. Survive the Night by Danielle Vega; I, Ripper by Stephen Hunter; and the Three Investigators series by Alfred Hitchcock. We were gifted with a whole set of the Three Investigators recently after doing a library event, and our whole family is so excited to have these gems!

When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head to first?
Michael: Oh dear. Comic books and graphic novels section. There are so many lovely, twisted stories in there!

Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do?
D.C.: Drinking coffee, hiking, or a night of board games with the family. Is there anything else really? Hehe.

What do you do when you are not writing?
Michael: Usually scribbling notes for another project (in the most disorganized way I can manage), doodling up some weird chimerical beasts, or spending time with my family and my friends.

What do you listen to when you write? Do you find one type of music over another that inspires you to write?
D.C.: I have to listen to instrumental music. I can’t have any words singing in my headphones or I get distracted. So, if I’m writing young adult, it’s high energy dance music. If it’s horror, it’s usually really epic movie soundtracks, or very ethereal, moody music.

KAOS1CoverFrontWhat was the hardest part of writing your book?
Michael: Every book has its own challenge. Strictly speaking about our newest title, KAOS Obsidere, getting into the mindset of the characters and letting that loose in the writing. For instance, I had to learn the process of how you would turn human skin into a canvas, and then I had to put myself in the shoes of someone carrying out that process. It’s a small piece in the final draft, but it was enough to make me shudder as I got into that dude’s head.

Which is your favorite character in your book and why?
D.C.: In Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters, it’s Charlie. Lisa would be a close second. Because they’re both leaders in an unassuming way. Quietly courageous, yet willing to do what it takes for their friends. Charlie is a quiet storm and Lisa is an intelligent girl, who is bold and loyal. I love those attributes about each of them.

The next two questions are for Michael:
What else do you have in the pipeline?
Without dropping titles, there are a few projects that we are working on alongside the Charlie Sullivan series and the KAOS stories. The one I’m looking forward to the most has been on the backburner since we started writing Charlie Sullivan and is something that I would consider a blend of gothic horror, steampunk, and dark fantasy.

What genre do you consider your book(s)?
The Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters series is definitely young adult dark fantasy. KAOS Obsidere is the first dark fiction/horror title to be released under Dark Waters Press, our new imprint, and I would consider some of the stories within to be weird fiction.

Back to you D.C.:

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
For Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters, yes! Stick together and work together, and CounciloftheHuntersCoverlearn to overcome differences. If we can do this, the world will be a stronger and healthier place to live! No bullying!
For KAOS, I think, even though it’s horror, it’s about looking at the world differently. Realizing there are very ugly things going on around us, but there is also hope. There is love. And we need to hold on to those things. It’s a brutal set of stories to be sure, but if you make it through and read the author notes, you’ll really be able to hear our hearts through the stories.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
For the Charlie Sullivan series, it is a constant challenge to stay true to our target audience. It’s real easy to try to write for everybody. That’s not successful writing. We constantly have to remind ourselves that we are writing for “this” person and stay on target. I think that makes a stronger story.
For KAOS, it was an emotional and spiritual drain. So much of the stories are a very spiritual and emotional experience and I had to come up for air quite a bit while writing those. They are important stories though, so I had to get through them and then take a break from writing and ease back into it.

C.Michael McGannon, authorMichael, tell us about your approach to the writing craft:
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Pretty early on, between fourth and fifth grade. I’ve always told stories. As a kid, I was constantly drawing characters and monsters, and each one had a backstory, a mission, a personality… I wanted to turn them into movies. But around that gradeschool time, I realized that I enjoyed telling the story on my own, introverted as I was. Writing words on a page sounded a lot easier than trying to become a director.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hahaha, my obsession with chaos and order. In my creative cycle, I usually am trying to drive myself a little crazy, and that involves destroying my room, playing the absolute weirdest music I can manage to find at that moment, or creating fun and cryptic mindmaps for brainstorming. Then I try to exist in that state until the writing is finished. Afterward, I clean the heck out of the apocalyptic wasteland that is my room.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?
All the time. I try to never allow it to stop me, though. Even if what I write in the midst of that block is utter bullcrap, I’m still writing, getting the ideas out of my head and onto paper. Later on, I go back and scrap what I had written before and do it again, better, or if it’s usable then I can just refine what’s already there. Work through the struggle!

Do you have any advice for other writers?
If writing is truly what you want your career to be…don’t ever stop. Writing is not for everyone. This is not easy, it isn’t always fun (although most of the time it’s a crazy blast!), and just like any other career there will be days when you feel like a failure and want to throw in the towel. Don’t give up. Write with everything you have. Getting that story into a person’s hands is worth it, every time.

How about you D.C., what are your thoughts on the writing craft?
Did you have any teachers in school that encouraged you to write? What was their advice?
My fourth grade teacher encouraged me to write, but I don’t remember any specific advice beyond just do it. I mean, what are you going to tell a fourth grade boy. Haha!
My high school theatre teacher and chorus teacher were perhaps the most influential people in my academic life. Dani Dilks and Doc (Brian) Lanier. Those two will never know the impact they’ve had on me, though I’ll try to repay that. Both of them were rocks of encouragement for me, especially through some difficult storms in high school, and were always pushing me to dig deep creatively and live that out. Not just on stage, but in life. I appreciate their resolve and patience more than words can describe.

What inspired you to write your first book?
My children. And the opportunity that I had to write my first book with my oldest son. It’s been such a privilege as a father to get to do this!
Why do you write?
Because I love it, and I believe the art of the story is perhaps the most important gift to the human race. Sometimes, I feel we’ve lost the ability to share our stories, caught up with all the negativity in the world. But there’s so much good too, so I have hope. One day I hope it becomes a norm again that families and friends sit around the campfire or the evening dinner table and share their hearts, their stories, with each other.Do you have anything that you want to say to your readers?
I love you and thank you! Your words, meeting you, your reviews, your tears and laughter about these stories, are what keep my fires burning. It’s a privilege to write and I thank you for being that person who picks up one of our books and takes the time to read it. You are a hero!

Thanks Monster Guys! You’re the best!

Links for D.C.
Where can people learn more about you and your work?