Cover Reveal! The House on Blister Hill

blisterhill_finalBeautiful cover art by the fabulous Veronica Jones! Find more at her website VVJones.com

The House on Blister Hill, coming in October 2015. Click here to request an advanced reader copy!

In the summer of 1949, twelve-year old Neddy Puddy’s only concern is settling a score with Delores Shrumm, her former best friend. But one summer night, a strange snow falls over Heaven’s Peak, North Carolina, leaving blisters on anyone it touches.

Grandpa Joe dons his bowler hat the next morning and sets out with Old Jim Flint to solve the mystery, only to end up dead. To make matters worse, all the adults in Heaven’s Peak have come down with the floating flu, and an evil carnival has risen on Blister Hill. When the carnival owner threatens to eliminate each and every bugsnot kid west of the Dismal Swamp, Neddy knows that everyone she loves might disappear with the last fold of the carnival’s tents.

With a posse of misfit kids and Old Jim Flint by her side, Neddy will have to face her worst fears in the middle of her worst heartache. But will she live to tell the tale?

KT Gannon was born in Queens, New York. She studied writing at Columbia University and then received her MSW from New York University. KT worked with victims of violent crime in New York City for years before returning to writing. Now she lives in Arlington, VA with her stuntman-turned-lawyer husband and her three amazing daughters: Ava, Cate and Syd. When KT isn’t writing she can be found in the bleachers at Ava’s softball game, answering (inadequately) Cate’s questions regarding human existence, and reveling in Syd’s quiet triumphs.

Find out more about the author by visiting her author page.

If you’d like to request an ARC, please use the reviewer form on our website.

http://spencerhillmiddlegrade.com/for-reviewers/.

 

 

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Go Ahead Punk, Make My Day– The inspiration behind Little Miss Evil

LittleMissEvil-cover.indd

Go Ahead Punk, Make My Day

The girl with the flamethrower you’re looking at? That’s Fiona Ng, the protagonist of our debut adventure/thriller LITTLE MISS EVIL, coming out in March 2015. She hurls fire, she hurls insults, and is generally someone you don’t want to mess with. She was also a TON of fun to write.

I have to admit. We love villains. Every time we watch a movie or TV shows, it’s always the villains that mesmerize us. Whenever we go back and re-watch our favorite movie, we constantly find ourselves fast-forwarding over the scenes where the hero is doing good-guy stuff to get back to the scenes where the villain is stealing the show.

The thing is, most heroes share the same traits: bravery, selflessness, and always standing up for what they believe in. But what makes a good villain is completely different from character to character. There’s no pattern. And that’s what makes them so interesting.

For example, Prince Zuko, from Avatar starts off as a single-minded assassin with an inexplicable hatred of Ang. But as you learn more about him, you realize he’s just a broken, battered kid trying to earn his Father’s love. And then you find yourself almost rooting for him, something you totally weren’t expecting.

And then there’s Elsa from Frozen. The cool (pun intended) thing about her is that she becomes the film’s villain unintentionally. She imprisons herself in an ice castle because she’s afraid of hurting anyone, so her intentions were good. But then in the process she nearly kills the entire town.

And finally, there’s our personal favorite villain—Joker from The Dark Knight. He’s so unpredictable that the entire time you’re watching him you’re on the edge of your seat wondering what he’ll do next.

Betcha weren’t expecting THESE three to show up in one place, INTERNET.

Betcha weren’t expecting THESE three to show up in one place, INTERNET.

In short, we just love a good villain.

But the other half of Fiona comes from us. They say write what you know, and a big part of our character comes from our upbringing. We’re both Asians who grew up in stereotypical Asian households. You know, the whole “Get straight A’s or get disowned thing.”

highexpects

Incidentally, we’re both engineers in real life. Yeah…

So we thought “how cool would it be to twist this Asian parent thing on its head?” What if the protagonist was Asian and already wants to be a doctor, but then the Dad wants them to be an evil super-villain instead?

From there, we created this girl who lives in a volcano, rides to school in a helicopter, and her Dad’s a cackling super-villain who wants her to take over the family business, so to speak, while she just desperately wants to be normal. This created a really wacky dynamic where the Dad is constantly trying to strap weapons onto her and she’s like “Dad! I have to go to school!!!”

But then when her Dad goes missing, she’s forced to take over her family’s evil empire, and she gets shoved into a world she’s been trying so hard to avoid. But what really shocks her is when she finds out that she’s terrifyingly good at it!

So that’s the story behind the creation of Fiona Ng, reluctant super-villain extraordinaire. Again, you can see her in LITTLE MISS EVIL, coming out in March 2015. She was so much fun to write, and we hope you love her as much as we do.

Just remember not to get on her bad side.

KBphoto(2)Bryce and Kristy are a tag-team writing duo with way too many voices in their heads. As engineers living in Toronto, they can’t be safely contained by mere cubicle walls, and therefore must spend every other waking moment writing to keep the crazy from leaking out at the office. When not writing or working, they spend their time parachuting into volcanoes and riding polar bears while tossing dynamite at rabid kangaroos. Yup, that’s right. Sometimes they can’t even believe how awesome their lives are.

You can pre-order Little Miss Evil from :Amazon, B&N, and any fine bookseller near you!

D.M. Cunningham, finding inspiration in a traffic jam

For writers, inspiration usually comes from a store in Los Angeles. You can buy it at a place called the Writer’s Store. They sell it in this nice tiny box…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, that’s not really where it comes from. But if you did believe me, I’ve got this car for sale that travels to the future and back. I’ll give you a good deal.

 

 

niles_final_tAll kidding aside. My first book, Niles Wormwart: Accidental Villain, came from everyday inspiration. It also happens to take place in the very city I live. Like several other millions of people in the city of angels I sit in traffic daily and poke along at the break-neck speed of 15mph (if I’m lucky). A lot of people do their makeup, eat their breakfast, and make phone calls. I have even seen a woman curl her hair and get dressed behind the wheel. Because I prefer to gets dressed before I leave the house, I use my time in the car to brainstorm.

But let’s back up a bit.

I was searching for a kid lit writer’s group to join. I needed that shot of inspiration and other like-minded folk to read and share material with. I eventually found them at an agent writer meet up at a local bookstore. We shared a laugh that the agent had no idea who Nikola Tesla was and why I was talking about him in my book for children. I was horrified that the agent didn’t know who Telsa was, but that’s how us nerdy types react when others don’t know all the cool things we do. All you nerds are shaking your heads right now because you know exactly what I’m talking about.

All that driving and thinking and meeting with a writer’s group spawned a story of a kid who was sent to a villain camp on accident. It started as a short chapter. Not a very good one, I might add. It had some funny moments, but that was it. How was I going to turn this chapter into a full book? Of course, many times in my life I have gravitated toward stories that everyone else in the Universe seems to be thinking about as well. The only comfort we have as writers is that we might have the same ideas – but none of us are going to tell that story the same way. The writer’s group challenged me, I kept working on the chapter and they kept giving me notes. Eventually I had to set out like Skywalker and face the challenge on my own. I could have written that chapter a million times over. You just have to know when to move on in your writing and that’s what I set out to do.

My love for 80s movies and comic books started to blend and ignite a larger kernel of story. I could actually hear Niles talking and see him doing things that I thought were funny. He wasn’t just a person but a personality. He had quirks that were coming to life each time I sat at the computer to write. I rarely outline (sometimes this is a huge detriment as I have learned in my writing career) and I let the story go. For me, I almost channel the story spirit and it just goes through my fingers. Yeah, okay, that sounds a bit corny. But that’s kinda how it works for me. I’m one of those writers that vomits out the first draft and then I go back and clean it up. Sometimes I go back and throw out gobs of writing. The whole point is to let inspiration awaken. Don’t put a governor on it, no brakes, hit the gas, downhill on roller skates… I think you get the point.

So there I was. Niles erupted.

Part Ferris Bueller,

part Bruce Wayne,

and part me. A half a dozen messy drafts later I had something. And the rest they say, is history… let’s save the road to publishing for another day.

Right now. I’m still sitting in traffic. Niles is just months away from his book birthday and I’m wondering if he will find his way into the world.

Will he be able to pull in some of those reluctant readers?

Will he inspire?

I hope so.

Pre-order the book on Amazon, B&N, BAM or any local retailer near you!

D.M. Cunningham is a film and television writer, director and producer who has worked with several of Hollywood’s top production companies such as Disney, MTV, NBC, History Channel, Cartoon Network, and Lionsgate. His short stories can be found in STORIES FOR CHILDREN, UNDERNEATH THE JUNIPER TREE, AND CROW TOES QUARTERLY. He is a writer and columnist for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND magazine where he interviews the top talent in the horror and science fiction industries.

D.M. Cunningham’s Spencer Hill Middle Grade Books: Niles Wormwort, Accidental Villain

Visit The author online : Website,Facebook, Instagram, follow on Twitter: @LiteraryAsylum

 

 

Cover Reveal! Little Miss Evil

LittleMissEvil-finalcoverforwebLittle Miss Evil, coming in March 2015. Click here for an advanced reader copy!

When you live in a volcano, ride to school in a helicopter, and regularly see your dad on the news with the caption “EVIL GENIUS” underneath his picture, it takes a lot to rattle you.

Until you get a message that says: We have your father. Deliver the NOVA in 24 hours or we will kill him.

What’s a NOVA, you ask? It’s a nuclear bomb capable of turning the city into a radioactive mushroom cloud, and ever since Fiona’s dad built it, it’s caused nothing but grief. But telling him to stop building weapons is like telling Michelangelo to stop painting.

And that’s why thirteen-year-old Fiona has a flamethrower strapped to her arm. After all, who’d mess with a girl who can throw fireballs?

About the authors:

Bryce and Kristy are a tag-team writing duo with way too many voices in their heads. As engineers living in Toronto, they can’t be safely contained by mere cubicle walls, and therefore must spend every other waking moment writing to keep the crazy from leaking out at the office. When not writing or working, they spend their time parachuting into volcanoes and riding polar bears while tossing dynamite at rabid kangaroos. Yup, that’s right. Sometimes they can’t even believe how awesome their lives are.

ISBN 978-1-939392-09-1 Paperback

ISBN 978-1-939392-10-7 Ebook

Release Date March 10, 2015

Formats: Paper, e-book

 

If you’d like to request an ARC, please use the reviewer form.

Find out more about the authors by visiting their author page.

 

Cover Reveal! Niles Wormwort, Accidental Villian

niles_final_tNiles Wormwort, Accidental Villian, coming in November 2014. Click here for an advanced reader copy!

In the science fair world of ketchup-spewing volcanoes and potato clocks, one boy, Niles Wormwart, plans to alter the history of science fairs with his time travel wristwatch based on Nicola Tesla’s work. Unfortunately, history has different plans for Niles.

After Niles blows up his school’s science wing with his project, his father, deciding his son needs to man up, make some friends, and take a break from his constant experiments, sends unsuspecting Niles off to the mysterious Camp Mayhem.

The only problem is that Niles’ father thinks it’s a role-playing camp. Well, it’s not.

Headed up by the ominous Red Czechmark, Camp Mayhem is ground zero for training the future villains of today. A place for real kids to realize the real villain inside them. Niles sharpens his focus on escaping the camp while everyone inside wants him to sharpen his focus on discovering his own dark powers. There’s a sinister plot brewing, and Niles is dead in the middle of it.
Thrust into a world he only thought existed in comic books. Niles discovers his true potential inside the walls of Camp Mayhem-the potential to become the darkest of evils or stay true to his good-hearted roots.

Find out more about the author by visiting his author page.

Pre-order the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or BAM!

Welcome to the team!

Screenshot 2014-01-30 22.32.43The Spencer Hill Middle Grade team is excited to announce a new team member, D.M. Cunningham, author of  Niles Wormwort, Accidental Villain.

In the science fair world of ketchup-spewing volcanoes and potato clocks, one boy, Niles Wormwart, plans to alter the history of science fairs with his time travel wristwatch based on Nicola Tesla’s work. Unfortunately, history has different plans for Niles.

After Niles blows up his school’s science wing with his project, his father, deciding his son needs to man up, make some friends, and take a break from his constant experiments, sends unsuspecting Niles off to the mysterious Camp Mayhem.

The only problem is that Niles’ father thinks it’s a role-playing camp. Well, it’s not.

Headed up by the ominous Red Czechmark, Camp Mayhem is ground zero for training the future villains of today. A place for real kids to realize the real villain inside them. Niles sharpens his focus on escaping the camp while everyone inside wants him to sharpen his focus on discovering his own dark powers. There’s a sinister plot brewing, and Niles is dead in the middle of it.
Thrust into a world he only thought existed in comic books. Niles discovers his true potential inside the walls of Camp Mayhem-the potential to become the darkest of evils or stay true to his good-hearted roots.

Get to know the author by visiting his author page.

Look for Blister Hill in November 2015!