Is Teen Fiction Loyal to Teens?

By Travis Luedke

[Travis Luedke]As an author, I write both teen and adult fiction. Though there are many similarities between the two styles and novels, there is one major difference that seems to be missing from some of today’s teen fiction: teenage life and issues.

Teens live in a world dominated by school, peer pressure, raging hormonal drives, bossy adults (parents?) and on many occasions, a highly dysfunctional family setting. Teens are mostly dependent on these family members who may not be very trustworthy or dependable. Teens have all the thoughts, feelings and urges of adults, but they haven’t quite adjusted to that world yet.

Their existence is a purgatory floating between childish carefree abandon and the weight of responsibility and freedoms of adulthood.

These young adults are told to behave, as though children, and yet, at the same time, they are expected to tackle adult tasks like college applications, job hunting, dating, driving, and all the pressures of the real world. It’s no wonder they seem schizophrenic at times. The constant mixed signals are enough to confuse anyone.

Do we expect them to act like adults while treating them as children? Yes, we do.

In the world of teen fiction, there are many novels today that seem to have forgotten what it means to be a teenager.

So, as you scour the shelves for YA/teen novels, ask yourself, how many books have you found that are loyal to teens and the challenges they face? Many of these books are simply a platform for some adult to talk down to teenagers in an attempt to preach adult values and morals.

In writing for teens, please remember that acne-ridden, awkward, voice-breaking, hair-growing time in life when very little made sense, especially if it was coming from a math teacher, but somehow, someway, we survived to adulthood. Remember how it felt when some adult started preaching about making choices and taking on responsibilities, and growing up, and then proceeded to tell you that you cannot have the shoes you want, and you cannot go out past 10:00 p.m., and if your hands ever touch that girl’s ass again, they will be hacked off with a blunt instrument.

In writing my first ever YA novel, I endeavored to craft a story about teens, for teens, a snapshot of that insane, difficult time in our lives when nothing makes sense, but we are expected to understand it all anyway.

About The Shepherd
“Skate punks, kleptomaniacs, clairvoyant visions and reincarnation…”

“…THE SHEPHERD is unlike any other Young Adult novel you have ever read.”

Mike Evans here. Sixteen year old skate punk squatting in a white-trash trailer park with my loser drunk Dad. Seems I lost most of my friends when Dad lost our home in foreclosure. Only Anita stuck by me. Worse, I keep having strange clairvoyant visions of things that always come true.

Then I almost ran over Nadia in my Geo. A passing truck finished the job – left a crumpled heap of skin and bone on the road. I fixed her. Me.

Now this fourteen year old girl won’t leave me alone. I sorta let her sneak in my window when she needs a place to crash.

I have a double life: daytime at school, Anita, skating, and then my nights with Nadia. She’s my secret friend, gives me money and listens to my problems when nobody else will.

My world is spinning out of control. Old friends have turned enemy, my grisly visions of death won’t quit, and Anita’s intentions make my head spin. Even with all that, I’ve got bigger stuff to worry about.

Nadia’s hiding something.

[The Shepherd Cover]

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About the Author
Travis Luedke is a husband, father, and author of Urban Fantasy Thriller, Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction, and Sci-fi. He is currently catching a 3rd degree sunburn in San Antonio, Texas, and loving every minute of it.

As the author of the Nightlife Series novels, Travis lives very vicariously through his writings. He invites you to enjoy his macabre flights of fancy, but be warned: The Nightlife Series is violent, sexy, and occasionally violently sexy.

You can find Travis at, on Facebook, on Goodreads and on Twitter.

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Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again

By Simon Okill

[Simon Okill]Rambunctious teen, Duane Dexter, thinks he has it all, money, the hearts of Big Beaver’s women, hero-worshiped by every kid in town and The Elders have chosen him to be Guardian of the Forest. The tall blond aliens known as The Elders must protect their pets—Bigfoot—in so doing they have chosen The Guardian to take on this massive task.

But becoming The Phantom Bigfoot has its perks for this notorious prankster, scallywag, and local celebrity. Duane lets off steam by inflicting ludicrous pranks on the local Beaverites as Phantom Bigfoot, leaving curious evidence of Bigfoot in local bathrooms.

To his dismay, a teenager with the same prankish ways disappears, rumoured to have been taken by Bigfoot. Can Duane keep the Tribe of Bigfoot a secret and protect the forest as the authorities search for the missing teenager? Or will the alien Elders come to regret their choice of Protector and banish Duane from the forest forever?

Welcome to Big Beaver, home of the Phantom Bigfoot Bather and his many crazy teenage friends. Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again is a ludicrously different take on Bigfoot and his habits. It quickly dispels the Hollywood b-movie version of a cannibalistic female-ravaging monster. Big Beaver’s tribe of Bigfoot are so peace-loving they sadly make easy targets for hunters.

This is where Duane-o the no-brain-o comes in. At the age of 18 his father revealed the truth of their hermit-like existence in the woods of the Shasta Cascade surrounding Big Beaver. Duane is now The Guardian, genetically altered by The Elders, tall Swedish-looking aliens from the planet Abba.

And now for one whole year, Duane has lived the life he was always meant to live—free of normal drag-me-downs that every other teenager has to endure. He has the ability to see and hear what his close friends are doing, no matter how far away they may be. He can heal with the touch of his hands, and uses this ability many times to save injured animals and the reason for his existence—Bigfoot.

But most of all, Duane loves being a WereBigfoot, to run free in the dark forest at night, play with the animals and have such fun—until that dumbass Beau Bruger, a teenage friend of his goes missing.

Things get real tricky for our superhero, Duane-o, when Zola, a teenage female Bigfoot abducts Beau, the plumber’s seventeen year old son. The FBI are called in after two days, but most Beaverites still think he’s up to one of his usual Bigfoot abduction pranks.

Now Duane-o has to keep the FBI and Sheriff Lou from discovering his secret. So he must find Beau first and keep him from revealing the truth of Bigfoot. But what Duane does find is so mind-bogglingly dumb, even he can’t fix the problem.

So Duane must rely on dumb luck and the wisdom of The Elders to keep his secret a secret or he will be stripped of his superpowers and remain in Big Beaver a normal human being like every other Beaverite. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen!

[Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again Cover]

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About the Author
Simon Okill lives in a South Wales coastal town with his wife where he writes about the crazy adventures of Phantom Bigfoot and his tribe of Bigfoot Babes. Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again is book one of a YA adventure series, soon to be followed by Phantom Bigfoot & The Vampires From Venus. Book 3 is a secret, so secret it hasn’t been written yet. Simon has also written several other books, all available on Amazon.

Works in Progress
Phantom Bigfoot Episode 2 – Phantom Bigfoot & The Vampires from Venus is due out in January and follows more hilarious adventures of the Phantom Bigfoot.

Phantom Bigfoot Episode 3—Phantom Bigfoot & The Haunted House is due out in Spring.

You can find Simon at Amazon, on Facebook, on Goodreads and on Twitter.

‘Vampires’ Movie Review

By Danielle DeVor

[Danielle DeVor]First of all, I’d like to thank Steven for letting me guest on his blog. His love of horror is something to be admired.

Now, onto the scary bits. Well, actually not that scary. More like weird, but we’ll get to that in a moment. I am one of those people who tend to try to find the strangest movies to watch, not unlike Norman Reedus’s character in ‘John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns’ (2005). And, yes, I would totally watch a movie that supposedly caused everyone who watched it to go maddeningly insane, but that’s beside the point.

For today’s viewing pleasure, I offer up an odd little film simply entitled ‘Vampires’ (2010). It was directed and co-written by Vincent Lannoo.

[Vampires Poster]

Publicized as the ‘This is Spinal Tap’ of the vampire generation, you get the idea early on that the film is not just going to be a little weird, but odd. We are introduced to a vampire family who has agreed to let a film crew follow them around for a while to see what living as a vampire is like. The father is kind of an old-guard sort of guy. Reminds you of Bela Lugosi a little. The mother is an odd sex-crazed woman who laughs. A lot. Their children… well, that’s another issue entirely. The girl has a huge desire to be human again. The boy is probably the nerdiest vampire I have ever seen, and yet somehow, he sleeps with the wife of the local coven-master.

This is sort of a horror-comedy, but I would classify it as an odd horror film. Again, one that isn’t scary, but more of the type that makes you think in an odd way, so I would say that it does definitely get a reaction. It actually has very little comedy, and what is sort of comedic is very dry. Not to say that I didn’t like the film. People who have hunted down films like ‘Vampire Trailer Park’ (1991) will likely enjoy it as much as I do, but if you are looking for the slick Hollywood type of horror film, this is not the film for you. In fact, I would venture to say this is one of those movies that you either love or hate. There is no in between.

The one thing that stuck with me, and I think was the deciding point that I really loved the movie, is the scene where the vampire girl who wishes to be human simply walks away. The cinematic effect of that scene is striking and poignant.

I give it 4 Stars.

About the Author
Danielle DeVor spent her early years fantasizing about vampires and watching ‘Salem’s Lot’ way too many times. After living briefly in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she moved back to her hometown to write. When not writing and reading about weird things, you will find her hanging out at the nearest coffee shop, enjoying a Mocha Frappuccino. She is also the “Fearless Blogger” for author Tina Moss’s blog.

Her books are available at Amazon:
Tail of the Devil
Constructing Marcus
Sorrow’s Point

You can find Danielle at, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Where Love Takes You

[Rebecca Scarberry]By Rebecca Scarberry

Where Love Takes You is the sequel to Messages from Henry, and it’s a standalone romance novel, full of adventure and good old-fashioned fun. Henry, the hero pigeon, continues to grab the heartstrings of the readers. It was originally entitled The Prince of Pigeons.

Evelyn and Tammy, two American women, meet two handsome Englishmen at a ceremony in Oregon. The ceremony is to present Henry, the hero pigeon, with an award and a brief romance ensues, cut short when the men return to Britain. However, an offer from a developer to buy the women’s farms gives the two women the chance to travel, and Henry the chance to race in England. You’ll find yourselves caring about the birds just as much as the other characters.

If you love romance, birds, and England, this is the novel for you.

[Where Love Takes You Cover]

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About the Author
Rebecca Scarberry was born and raised on the southern coast of California. She retired as a claims analyst for an HMO in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prior to that she had 3 other careers: Buyer for Hughes Aircraft, legal secretary/paralegal, and manager for a builder/developer in Palm Springs, California.

She published Messages from Henry in June 2012. It was written for young adults, but adults are finding it very entertaining. She released the sequel, Where Love Takes You, on August 9, 2013 (previously published under a different title, Henry and Cecilia go to England!).

Rebecca lives on a very secluded non-working farm in the Boston Mountains of Arkansas with her husband and five cats. She has devoted the last five years to her love of writing fiction.

On December 10, 2012, she published a short story called Rag Doll. This very short story is for adults only. It’s a spicy crime drama, and many readers were taken by surprise with the twist at the end. She’s being called Miss O. Henry now.

She published a children’s picture book on July 29, 2013. It has wonderful illustrations. The book is entitled, Jumper. So many children love this book. Book two for this series will be published in January 2014.

You can find her at, on Facebook and on Twitter.

How I Pick the Names of My Characters

By Maria Grazia Swan

[Maria Grazia Swan]No doubt it’s a fun task for a native author. By native I mean US born. I was born in Italy. I lived in five countries before settling in the United States, and I find American names very confusing. The last thing I want to do as an author is to have my readers confused by my characters’ names. They’ll have plenty of chances to get confused without worrying about names.

Before you judge me and think I’m a whiner, let me provide an example or two.

Take Pat for example. Is it short for Patricia or Patrick? How can you tell? Then there are Toni and Tony. Yes, for a native that’s simple. For me, it is a little more difficult.

After a friend explained that the letter i works for the female version and “y” for the male as a nickname for Anthony, I feel like I have Anthony under control.

But what about Miki, Mickey, or Micky? Where did the “y” come from in this case? What about Sam? And Blair, Morgan, Jaime, Marion, and dare I ask? Paris. Are these boy’s or girl’s names?

Then you have last names that are really first names. How confusing is that? There’s Lynn David, Andrew Lawrence, April Rose, Kim Lindsay, Tom Arnold, Ricky Martin, Tina Louise, Marc Anthony, Marc Grace, Darryl Hannah, Dave Barry. I bet you could add a dozen more to this list.

Okay, I think I made my case, so that’s why I keep my names simple, I try to pick the ones easy to pronounce both in English and Italian, like Mina or Margo.

Anyway, the best way for you to find out if I’m speaking the truth is to read my books. Here is Bosom Bodies, Mina’s second adventure. The eBook will be free for Kindle on January 3rd, 4th and 5th. Go ahead, what have you got to lose? And let me know what you think about the names and a few more choice Italian words. See? You get to practice Italian…for free.

Bosom Bodies is FREE at Amazon from January 3–5, 2014.

 [“Bosom Bodies” at Amazon]

About the Author
Maria Grazia Swan has written short stories for anthologies, articles for high profile magazines and numerous blogs tackling love and life. She engaged her editorial and nonfiction skills for Boomer Babes: Tales of Love and Lust in the Later Years. You can find her at, on Facebook and on Twitter.