Neiko’s Action Adventure Saga Series by A. K. Taylor
Neiko’s Five Land Adventure (The Neiko Adventure Saga Book 1) by A. K. Taylor
Winner of the 2012 Indie Reader Approved Award.
Nominated as “A Great Book for Kids” by fantasy and science fiction reviewer CC Cole.
What if the fate of two worlds were in the hands of one person: you?
The childhood secret of a troubled teen warrior is used against her by her enemies. It turns out what Neiko imagined is real, and she becomes trapped in the same world she imagined by an otherworldly evil that is worse than the devil. Getting home is the least of her problems.
The Indians and the Crackedskulls are locked in the turmoil of a war that has raged for centuries, and it is presently in a stalemate. Her enemies, Raven and Bloodhawk, have come up with a scheme to take her down, but in doing so they inadvertently open the door to another universe and to an otherworldly evil. Neiko later finds out that a land she thought she had only imagined is actually real and the dark being is not a figment of her childhood imagination-he is terrifyingly real and she faces him for the first time. To make matters worse, it is now in her world and he has evil plans especially for her.
After several standoffs with the malevolent Ramses the Dark Pharaoh in Hawote, she is trapped in Qari by his strange and powerful magic. Trapped in another universe in a place that is not exactly the way she imagined it, and she must somehow find a way to teleport home. That is easier said than done; the odds are overwhelmingly against her and her scorpion-cobra companion as they must travel to find the answer and help but at the same time avoid Ramses’ allies, traps, and tricks. Can she come back home and turn the tables on her enemies?
Best for tweens and teens 12-17 and the young at heart adult!
If you love the hidden worlds and magic of Percy Jackson and Harry Potter, travel to other worlds like Warriors of Virtue and The Neverending Story, and a strong female protagonist with a bow like the Hunger Games, and the comic relief of the Big Bang Theory, you will love Neiko’s Five Land Adventure!
- Winner of the 2012 Indie Reader Approved Award
- Nominated as “A Great Book for Kids” by fantasy and science fiction reviewer CC Cole
This novel is surely going to be interesting for intermediate and senior school students.
The story is about a girl who lives in two worlds, the world of average people and the world of native inhabitants of the American continent, Indians. Amanda (the name of the main protagonist) cannot escape from her childish habits; she’s got a whole set of dolls, and she still plays them. In the world of average people, she is a normal eighteen-year-old girl who is up to attend college, but in the world of Indians she is the brave warrior Neiko Kidd by name. These two worlds are very close to each other, they snarl together, or maybe they exist one in the other. But one day a third world wedges into this huddle, a world which Neiko imagined for playing with her toys. The characters of her games come to life and steal her into this imaginary world. This novel is surely going to be interesting for intermediate and senior school students who like stories about super heroes and Harry Potter. The style is easy and nice to read and understand. I would gladly recommend this piece to the above-mentioned age group…
Book received from author. Reviewed by Vlad K. Once, UK author of One of Us, Chance Confession, and The Sigma Passion
A spine-chilling adventure-packed tale that will have you turning page after page. Once you open this book, there is no turning back.
Reviewed by Katie Holzman, author of Seven Ways to Kill Yourself with Shampoo
This book took me back to my childhood. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next in the story. A wonderful, action packed story that tweens and younger teens would enjoy.
Reviewed by Tom Clementson, Kindle Book Review Reviewer
Neiko’s Five Land Adventure: Neiko Adventure Saga Book One by A. K. Taylor has everything that young fantasy reader would want in a fantasy novel. The author dishes out everything from bird-like people to velociraptors and that is not even twentieth of what readers can look forward to finding along with Neiko Kidd in the Five Lands. I cannot help but chuckle when I think back to all of the names that Neiko has called Ramses the Dark Pharaoh, the main antagonist. Like the one and only Dr. Frankenstein, the author is nothing short of ingeniously inventive when it comes to her own fictional monstrosities. The author’s open-and-shut originality is certainly what will lure readers to invest in her series. I call this novel fantasy at its boldest.
Once Neiko and Quickstrike made it into the Five Lands, this book just got better and better…
Reviewed by Benjamin Ookami from Reader’s Favorite
“Plenty of action and inspired imagination.”
Reviewed by Wulfstan Top 100 Reviewer
“From the first word, Taylor delivers a fresh, vibrant tale of two different worlds.”
Reviewed by Steven Knight Book review and author of “Born of Blood”
“An imaginative journey that is that is much of an adventure for the reader as it is for Neiko.”
Reviewed by CC Cole Book Reviewer and author of the Gastar Series
“A great middle school or read to me book with tons of adventure and characters.”
Reviewed by Paper Mustang Book Reviewer
“A fantastical twist to the childhood game of Cowboys and Indians and a wonderful coming of age story.”
Reviewed by Indie Reader Reviewer
“Neiko’s Five Land Adventure is a gripping young adult fantasy tale. You get an exceptional feel for the protagonist, Neiko, as you travel through the rich worlds between reality and imaginary (well not really imaginary as Neiko soon finds out!) alongside her and her cohorts (I particularly liked Quickstrike)”
Reviewed by Michael Dadich, Award Winning Author of the Silver Sphere
Cold Coffee Review: I can’t begin to imagine A. K. Taylor as a young girl writing fascinating fantasy tales like Neiko’s Five Land Adventure (Neiko Adventure Saga Book One). Granted as an adult the author has revised this teen writing project and added the wisdom and balance of being a grown, educated and married woman.
Take a moment and think back to your childhood bedroom. Recall your favorite toys, the ones you played with the most and the ones that caused you some discomfort in the dark. Now imagine your bedroom transformed into a fantasy land where you were called upon to battle for the good and defeat evil between reality and imaginary. What if you found out those imaginary worlds and the people/creatures in it were real and you became trapped there? Some things you imagined were incorrect. What would you do?
Neiko’s has one foot in reality and the other where she is Captain Neiko Kidd, commanding officer of the Desert Storm Falcons a hidden world that coexists with the known one. These woodland warriors battle with the Crackedskulls and it has to be done before supper.
I always like to share a quote from each book that I review, not to spoil, but to engage. Now imagine yourself back as a teen trying to communicate with your mom and see if it would go something like this:
“Well, here goes nothing,” said Neiko as she walked down the hall. She was trying to measure up what to say to her mother about what happened. She sat down at the table and waited for her mom to hand her dinner. They prayed, and after they finished, Neiko began eating.
“I wonder where your daddy is,” her mom said, trying to break the silence.
“I don’t know, probably got held up at LP again,” Neiko replied with a mouth full of cabbage.
“Is there something on your mind? You’re awfully quiet.”
“Yeah, um—did you hear anything strange—like in my room… like metal hitting the wall or something?”
“I was just wondering because a couple of strange things happened a few minutes ago.”
“Well—like…um—I was playing with Ramses, and when he hit the wall he clanged, and then I tried to bring him in the toy box; I missed, and he hit the side and said ‘Ow’.”
“Who is Ramses?”
“One of my toys—the guy with the shiny armor.”
“Amanda,” she groaned in an aggravated manner, then said gently, “Oh—yeah— well… that’s nice, dear.”
“Mom, I ain’t makin’ this up. It really happened.”
“That’s really using your imagination. Did this happen during a battle?”
“No! This wasn’t pretend—this was real. Like in real life,” Neiko stammered.
“Oh, well, that’s a really nice joke—”
“I’m not joking—and I haven’t even laughed about it. If I was joking, then I would be laughing my head off.”
“Has he ever done this before?” “No.”
“Did he come with any special real-life sounds or anything?”
“No, he was just a plain toy. I’ve had him for a long time, and I’ve played with him a million times, and it’s never happened before—never mind, let’s talk about something else.”
The question begs to be answered, would your Mom believe you? What if your real or imaginary friends reveled in the fact that your Mom just didn’t understand.
I encourage teens and young adults to read ‘Neiko’s Five Land Adventure’ and learn from a peer that you must have courage and the strength to face the odds and fight for what you believe. Teens will enjoy this book and perhaps it will encourage them to write about their toys and action figures that seem to at times, take on a life of their own.
This book was winner of the ‘2012 Indie Reader Approved Award’ and this book was nominated as “A Great Book for Kids” by fantasy and science fiction reviewer CC Cole.
Author A. K. Taylor created the Map of Hawote/Georgia and the Map of Qari and has been writing and drawing since the age of sixteen. She worked with another artist to create the 23 black and white photos that help bring the story to life IN THE Sixty-five chapters. There are also letters and an amazing log titled “Neiko’s Log” at the end of this book which details, people, places and events. This log will help young readers as this series continues.
For parents: The author grew up in the backwoods of Georgia where she learned hunting and fishing, beekeeping, gardening, archery, shooting, hiking, and has various collections. She has her degree from University of Georgia with a biology degree. I think she is a good role model for teens and young adults.
I endorse Neiko’s Five Land Adventure (The Neiko Adventure Saga Book 1) by A. K. Taylor and encourage teens and young adults to read Neiko’s Five Land Adventure (Book One), Escape from Ancient Egypt (Book Two), The Newbie Author’s Survival Guide and her latest book title Bloody Klondike Gold. I purchased this book from Kindle. This review was completed on October 20, 2016.
Genre: Teen, Young Adult, Action & Adventure, Survival Stories, Fantasy
Escape From Ancient Egypt (The Neiko Adventure Saga Book 2) by A. K. Taylor
Winner of the Bronze Medal Award and Best in YA Historical Fantasy in the 2013 Wisebear Book Awards!
Winner of the UP Authors Approved Award for the 2013 Fiction Challenge!
When being stuck in the past has a whole new meaning…
What if your worst enemy sent you on a one-way ticket to the past? Worse, later he shows up and tries to play match-maker with a dominant historical figure while all of history and the future are on the line? Survival is just one problem, but then add your friends into the mix…
Following an intense battle between the Indians and the Crackedskulls, Neiko and her comrades enjoy victory while her enemies suffer a crushing defeat. Victory is short lived for Neiko when Francesco pays her a visit at her home and sends her away in order to collect on his threat of revenge. She is banished into the ancient world of ancient Egypt during the reign of Ramesses II the Great on a one-way ticket.
Lost and trapped in this ancient world, it doesn’t take very long for trouble to find her. Taken by a rich man, she is reunited with three of her friends that had been missing, and an eleven-year-old mystery is finally solved, but one of Neiko’s friends is still unaccounted for. After escaping from the rich man and journeying to Thebes, Neiko and her comrades have actually jumped from the pan and into the fire.
Things go horribly awry when Pharaoh finds out about Neiko and becomes infatuated with her. Francesco comes to Egypt on orders to bring her back, but he has other plans. Can Neiko and her friends thwart Francesco, return to the 21st century, and escape from the past and one of the greatest kings that ever lived?
Best for teens and tweens 12-17 and the young at heart adult!
If you love the action, adventure, and time travel intrigue of Back to the Future and Time Machine (except without the time machine) and modern 21st century Native Americans in ancient Egypt, but the story of the Ten Commandments and the Prince of Egypt in reverse with a battle of wills and the motives of passion from Pharaoh, and the comic relief of The Big Bang Theory, you’ll love Escape from Ancient Egypt!
For a Behind the Scenes backstory and the events of the story from Ramesses’ point of view go to: http://www.backwoodsauthor.com/2016/10/04/behind-scenes-exploring-backstory-escape-ancient-egypt/
- Finalist: Wisebear Digital Book Awards
- Winner of the Bronze Medal Award and Best in YA Historical Fantasy in the 2013 Wisebear Book Awards!
- Winner of the UP Authors Approved Award for the 2013 Fiction Challenge!
It has been three years since we last saw Neiko Kidd, the bane of the Crackedskulls, in A.K. Taylor’s Neiko’s Five Land Adventure, the first installment in the Neiko Adventure Saga. Now, in Escape from Ancient Egypt, we meet a twenty-one-year-old Neiko who is more mature, but still hasn’t kissed anyone yet. Someone has a bone to pick with her and that someone is Francesco, the Crackedskull spy that Neiko exposed three years ago. Francesco has created a crystal and with it, he sends Neiko back in time to ancient Egypt, ruled by a hotheaded Ramesses the Great. Escaping with her long-lost Indian friends from a cruel slave master is only one problem solved. When Ramesses first lays eyes on her, her real problems begin.
Yet again, Neiko’s beauty causes her some serious issues. This time, there are no demonic Georgians in heavy armor for Neiko to worry about as the only magic in this novel comes from the crystal that Francesco creates. Ramesses proved to be an extremely hilarious villain to read about, even though he is revered by all who dwell in his realm. I felt sorry for Neiko, because no matter how hard she tried, Ramesses always had the upper hand. The author certainly knows how to take things an entire level above interesting. A battle of epic proportions awaits the reader at the end, and everything that leads up to it makes it even more thrilling. It is a gratifying book that is suitable for readers as young as thirteen to read.
Reviewed by Reader’s Favorite Reviewer Benjamin Ookami
“Neiko has the potential for becoming a literary role model for young girls.”
Reviewed by Wisebear Books
“An exciting and action-packed book from start to finish. This is the story of a young girl who travels between different times and places, and leads a life in each. Neiko finds herself in some scary and challenging situations in each place, and the book has a good amount of suspense as the reader awaits her next move. The writing is fantastical and highly imaginative, without being too far-fetched that the reader will lose interest.”
Reviewed by Biblio Phanatic 5 Stars
“There is never a dull moment, and the book is punctuated with wonderful illustrations, which break up the chapters. It reminds me of those books you read as a kid where you had to choose the ending and second guess what was coming.
Reviewed by N Bookwitch 5 Stars
“The plot was incredibly original – Native Americans being sent back in time to Ancient Egypt as an act of revenge. How can that not spark the imagination? This fast-paced book kept me interested and intrigued from start to finish. Great writing style, great plot and great characters. It is a novel that I highly recommend for a rainy afternoon, with a big cup of tea.”
Reviewed by Lit Quest 5 Stars
Cold Coffee Review: Escape From Ancient Egypt by A. K. Taylor is book two in the Neiko Adventure series. Although penned as a series, each book stands alone with action adventure all its own. ‘Escape From Ancient Egypt’ is for those young adult readers who enjoy time travel to ancient Egypt with a Native American Indian twist.
The book starts out with a wonderful map drawing of Egypt Ca 1300 BC drawn by author. The seven photo illustrations were produced by a separate artist. Her book cover design is by Mallory Rock.
In chapter one, Neiko (main character) emerges from a portal and makes a log entry concerning Hawote, a “hidden land that coexisted with the United States, Canada, and Mexico”.
Forty-three chapters reveal realistic characters, imaginative fantasy with action suspense drama, easy to follow dialog that will keep the reader engaged anticipating the next carefully placed photo that brings visual enhancement to the story.
In order to give you the reader a feel for the author’s writing style, I quote a passage from chapter three and share a description of the illustration photo in this chapter.
“Neiko’s vision turned from the green light to the world spinning around her in dizzying speed. Neiko wasn’t moving, but she felt like she was in freefall—like someone had cut the cable from an elevator, and she was plummeting with it. Descending in what—space and time? The evergreen and colorful deciduous vegetation of the Hawote woodlands changed to a desert with a river with some greenery and palms nearby. The cool autumn air of Hawote in October transformed into stifling, searing, dry heat. Pyramids, sphinxes, and strange statues spun around her after her house, porch, and front yard disappeared within the vortex. It was nighttime in Hawote, but the sun rose and set as time flew by— from west to east—backwards. Beneath her bare feet the wood from her front porch turned to nothing then into hot, soft sand.
Neiko’s world stopped spinning, and the sun was high in the sky. Neiko watched the sun to be sure it didn’t move again. Wherever she ended up, she guessed the time must be about high noon there judging by the sun’s position in the sky after a few moments of observation. The heat was intense, and she discovered she must be somewhere far from home. “Where?” was the ultimate question.”
There is a photo of an Indian within this script. “The man chattered in a language she didn’t understand—God knows what he was saying to her. He thrust at her a fine scarab necklace. Neiko looked at him puzzled with her right eyebrow raised. The language didn’t sound like Arabic since she watched a lot of action movies. Neiko put up her hands and shook her head and signed “map” and “phone” and spoke the words in every language that she knew of but got nowhere.”
As you can see Neiko is far from home. You must become a detective yourself and read this book to find out how and why Neiko travels through time? What mystery involves Neiko and some of her friends? How does a Native American girl fit into ancient Egypt culture and what is a girl to do when the Pharaoh takes a romantic interest? What will it take to get Neiko out of the past and back home?
‘Escape From Ancient Egypt’ was the finalist in the ‘Wisebear Digital Book Awards’, winner of the ‘Bronze Medal Award’, ‘Best in YA Historical Fantasy in the 2013 Wisebear Book Awards’ and Winner of the ‘UP Authors Approved Award for the 2013 Fiction Challenge’.
I invite you to read the first book in this series titled ‘Neiko’s Five Land Adventure’ and ‘Escape From Ancient Egypt’ as both books stand alone with their own adventure.
I endorse Escape From Ancient Egypt (The Neiko Adventure Saga Book 2) by A. K. Taylor. I purchased this book from Kindle. The review was completed on September 8, 2016.
Genre: Teen, Young Adult, Action & Adventure, Survival Stories, Fantasy
Amazon Customer Reviews:
Stand Alone Books
Bloody Klondike Gold: A Randi Braveheart Mystery Short Story by A. K. Taylor
A summer trip to the Klondike can be deadly…
Randi and her friend go to the Mineral Creek mining claim in the Klondike to visit her father during the mining season. Sabotage, theft, and a death threat turn wilderness summer fun and normal mining operations into a fight for survival…
Bloody Klondike Gold is an introductory short story to the new Randi Braveheart Mystery Series by award winning Teen/YA author A.K. Taylor! Stay tuned for the first installment To Catch a Catfish coming in 2017.
Lovers of Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys mysteries will enjoy this new series with a gutsy, tomboy heroine from the bayous of Lousiana!
Cold Coffee Review: Short stories are to an avid reader like chocolate to sweet tooth. Bloody Klondike Gold by A. K. Taylor is a short Story introduction to the Randi Braveheart action suspense mystery thriller series.
Two teenage friends, Randi and Brittany drive the long 2, 700-mile trek from San Francisco to southeast Alaska. Randi’s father, William Wallace Braveheart was already on location as his reputation for finding gold at any location made him a valuable asset.
Mining communities are tight knit as the environment, equipment and the mining processes inherit dangers make mining for Gold a driving force with the claim crews but also a draw for the darker side of human nature.
The summer starts out as an adventurous vacation with Randi dreaming of fishing in cool streams to a mining community’s worst nightmare.
If you enjoyed Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys mysteries then I invite you to read ‘Bloody Klondike Gold’ to prepare for ‘To Catch A Catfish’ scheduled for release in 2017. If this short story is any indication of what is to come with ‘To Catch A Catfish’ then prepare yourself for an action packed, suspense mystery thriller.
I endorse Bloody Klondike Gold: A Randi Braveheart Mystery Short Story as the introduction to A. K. Taylor’s new action suspense mystery thriller series coming soon. I purchased this book from Kindle. This review was completed on September 23, 2016.
Genre: Teen & Young Adult, Action & Adventure, Survival Stories, Fantasy
The Newbie Author’s Survival Guide: How to Thrive in the Book Marketing Wilderness by A. K. Taylor
New and updated edition!
The first survival guide for new authors on a tiny budget.
New Author? Confused about social media and where to begin? Need a field guide or manual? Here it is! Pick up a copy today!
After crash landing into self-publishing with nothing but the clothes she had on, author AK Taylor fought for survival with trying to market her books on a small budget. After two years of trial and error, reworking, refining, and reaching out, she has created the first survival guide for book marketing compiled of great tools and resources that can be used by any author during the rough times.
Comparing the book marketing wilderness with the real wilderness is how Taylor viewed the publishing world around her. Growing up in the woods and learning survival skills has given her this unique viewpoint for a different kind of world. When she started her search for information, a book marketing survival guide didn’t exist–until now.
“The Newbie Author’s Survival Guide is a no-brainer at $2.99. Packed with tips on how to promote your book on Amazon, networking, and links to scores of author resource sites. It’s information that new authors need to know. Period.”
Reviewed by Mark Levine Author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing
“Wish I had picked up this survival guide MUCH SOONER! Easy to read, well organized. I find myself referring to it often, and I have no doubt it will help build the endurance a new writer needs in order to survive and flourish. Happy to highly recommend this one!”
Reviewed by Audrey Kane, first time author
“I found this book incredibly useful. I have been searching for a book to help me get my head around Google Adwords. In terms of the amount of support it gives others, it would be worthy of five stars.”
Reviewed by J. James Goodreads Reviewer and Indie Author
“What was the author’s purpose in writing this book? To help new authors find their way in an increasingly competitive world. Did this book remind you of anything? As a blogger, this book was very helpful to me where online networking and social media sites are concerned. The writing sites are also helpful because those allow me to be informed about what else is happening in self-publishing.”
Reviewed by The Author’s Friend
“Social media is new to many of us at the book club and we’ll definitely be using this book to help us along the way.”
Reviewed by The Reading Cat
“What I didn’t like. Nothing at all. She even makes it a point to highlight offline marketing which I think is very helpful for any writer or blogger. Did you find that the cover and title represented what the book was really about? Most definitely.”
Reviewed by Top Shelf Books
“What are some of the book’s themes? This book functions as an A to Z guide for authors who want to attempt self-publishing. The author provides links to other sites and examples of what needs to be done. Top 3 things I liked about the whole book. It was to the point. It can also function as a guide for book bloggers. My favourite chapter was networking.”
Reviewed by Next Big Book Thing
“Cover. This was spot on. Blogging, social media and self-publishing does feel like the wilderness.”
Reviewed by Book Connoisseur
Amazon Customer Reviews
Spotlight Interview With Author A. K. Taylor
At age 16 A.K. Taylor began writing her first action packed books fantasy/sci-fi adventure books The Neiko Saga. Fearless heroines that are also the underdogs take young readers on intense, original, and imaginative adventures that teach them to never give up and to fight for what they believe in no matter the odds.
From science fiction and fantasy to mysteries and thrillers, young readers will be taken on fast paced adventures and into rich worlds that will come alive when they open the book.
Currently, A.K. Taylor resides in the GA backwoods where she continues to write, blog, and enjoy the great outdoors with her husband and Dutch Shepherd.
Visit her http://www.backwoodsauthor.com to follow her on social media, join her newsletter, or join her Facebook reader group A.K.’s Tribe or her Review Team to get free books, participate in giveaways and get the goods before anyone else.
Why is it called this? There is more than one AK Taylor out there, but as far as she knows she’s the only one from the backwoods, and the backwoods makes up her life! Owner and CEO of Soaring Eagle Publications LLC
- Blog Coordinator for YAPC
- Owner and Publicist at Soaring Eagle Publicity
- CEO and Publisher at Soaring Eagle Books
- For savvy tips, tools, and resources for new and aspiring (sometimes established) authors, check out my other blog Newbie Authors Guide
- Blog Coordinator at Booklover’s Heaven
- T Book Reviewer and avid reader when I have time to read between it all. Not a fan of Romance but I love action!
Why is it called this? There is more than one AK Taylor out there, but as far as she knows she’s the only one from the backwoods, and the backwoods makes up her life!
What makes you proud to be a writer from White Plains, GA? White Plains, GA is out in the middle of nowhere. I am proud to be an author from the backwoods. Since there are a couple other AK Taylors out there, I appropriately named my site “backwoodsauthor”. I have lived most of my life in the rural and backwoods of Georgia. I am not originally from the town of White Plains and lived in other rural areas in the state. However, living in a remote area proposes some interesting challenges in book marketing like having to travel at least 30+ minutes to the nearest Barnes and Noble to do a book signing if I’m lucky. The world is really big compared to the one red light town I live close to but not in.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? I have enjoyed creative writing and using my imagination as far back as I can remember–well, I enjoyed creative writing when I learned how to write, lol. I have always had a vivid imagination. I also love reading, video games, role playing, movies, and even nature caused the spark. Becoming professional sort of happened.
As an experiment I decided to see if I could graduate from short stories and poems to novels at 16. I was successful, but then an entire series was born. My talent only grew from there.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? My environment, both good and bad, had a lot to do with why I started to write novels at such a young age (16) and influenced my creativity. Let’s start out with the good. Living far out in the woods provided me places to create adventures and new worlds, and I loved writing short stories for school when I could write what I wanted to. Being an only child with very few friends close to my age forced me to have other ways to occupy my time. I also grew up watching, playing, reading, and loving fantasy, science fiction, action and adventure, and mysteries. A lot of these things influence and find their way into the writing. Later in life, I have inspiration from dreams. Yes, you did read that right.
OK, the bad. I was bullied a lot just about the entire time I went to school, and it followed me into the workplace. I would write to escape and lose myself. I learned to hate reality due having to deal with that and because it was painful. The worst years of the bullying took place during the time I lived in the suburbs, so I couldn’t hide in the woods anymore. I was then at the age that playing was no longer allowed although I stuck it out as long as I could. This finds its way into the first installment of my teen/YA fantasy series where it finds controversy with the more grown-up readers. The strength of my female leads has been remarked upon by readers and when working with editors. The strength they have for their amazing adventures was the strength I had to have to survive the day for many years. Bullying finds its way into stories as well, but it’s taken more to the extreme than what might be found in high school.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? When I started writing I never intended to publish. I wrote my first full length novel when I was 16 as an experiment (I am also a scientist at heart). I taught myself how to do it. I never went to a writing class or a writer’s group. Even if there were, would they allow teens in there? I had no teachers or any mentors available to me. I don’t even know if they had them where I lived. Due to the chronic bullying, I felt that no one would ever want to read my stories and would think they were stupid, and they would laugh me to scorn. I never told anyone at school I wrote stories even my teachers; it was my top-secret project. The only reason why my parents knew was because I would keep them up all hours of the night hammering away at the keys since the computer was in their room at that time. They had to yank me off from the story, so they could play solitaire or get me to come to dinner. They did tell on me to other family members who later peeked. Then it leaked at church. The secret came out even when I didn’t want it to.
There was this time the computer messed up and had to be taken to the shop. The repairmen somehow came across those stories on the hard drive and started reading them. People I didn’t even know said I needed to get this published. Later I was invited with some people at my church to go to a writer’s conference in the mountains. I had been writing and drawing maps and characters for 5 years so then I was 21. I am advised to take something else I had written and leave those fantasy books at home. So I took some of my character sketches and maps. I had menial or nonexistent expectations from the other writers there or the instructors. I was the youngest person at that conference. People there said I need to get it published–the complete opposite of what I expected. They wished I had brought some samples of those books. Bummer.
At 21 I try to pitch to traditional publishers. Nothing ever happens, and it is a huge disappointment after the high I had, but then who was I kidding? They would laugh at something written by a kid anyway. Then it’s time to go off to college. I am not going to have time for this in college, so I put my publishing dreams aside. After I graduate, I find out about self-publishing. After dealing with a shady publisher, it deals a blow. I have no idea what to do next after I am able to republish the first book again. I have to figure it out on my own with no one to ask or teach me anything. OMG, what have I done? What have I just gotten myself into? Well, everything I had to learn the hard way became both a book and a blog which have been moderately successful.
After toil, frustration, tears, learning, ups and downs, and wondering if I have lost my ever-loving mind while fending off depression and PTSD, I have now become my own imprint and started a business. More series have come and the Neiko Saga continues to grow. I have many that need edits and publishing and more to write. I have epic dreams with a fishing line budget, but I am ever closer to one day achieving some of my more gigantic dreams someday.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? For me it has been about the exploration and discovery along the way. The discovery of new people, new worlds, and brave new adventures. The writing process holds for me what life does without bullies. My imagination went to new heights after laying down the action figures and picking up the pen (or the keyboard). I don’t know if I will try Dragon since it may not like my Southern drawl. I know the speaking app on the phone or automated answering computers don’t.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? After a few awards and mostly good reviews and support from readers on my books and my blogs, it is nice to know that it was worth it to take a risk and do it. I was able to find out that I truly did have a talent to share with the world even though I was reluctant and terrified. There have been the occasional few who didn’t, but that’s okay. No one is laughing and telling me to go hide somewhere.
How many published books do you have? I have 4.
Do you come up with your title(s) before or after you write the manuscript? I usually try to come up with a working title before writing the manuscript, but there could be tweaks made to it afterward and after I stew on it awhile to make sure I am happy with it. I rarely do not come up with anything at the beginning, and “then after the manuscript” is plan B.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? Well, as for genre, I am a genre crosser and a genre blender (like fantasy action adventure), but the common threads I follow are action adventure and tween/teen/young adult (this is an age group and not a genre, BTW), but fantasy and sci-fi are my first loves because I love to build worlds. I write for younger audiences because I don’t enjoy writing for grownups. Too many rules and limits besides what makes a fun, great story. I do also dabble into mystery, paranormal, supernatural, and horror but the age group and the action and adventure still apply.
Which book title would you like featured in this interview? Escape from Ancient Egypt
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book (one book) that you are seeking promotion for? Since I was 17 at the time let me think… I probably had just learned about Ramesses II in school in history class and saw a couple movies about him, so then a question of “what if” came along. I looked at some other kings, but they just didn’t have quite enough muscle to try to pin down Neiko, the right personality or I didn’t have enough information about them. This was the day of expensive dialup internet, so I didn’t have access to information that I have now. And, I always was a sucker for time travel.
And I just want to dive into the story now. I wrote this one shortly after my experiment novel Neiko’s Five Land Adventure (it was called something else then, but I am not going to share that embarrassing title). Amazingly, the story is the same as it was when I wrote the books just as it was when I was a teen, but with the polish of a professional edit of course. Not many first ever books make it to press, and I didn’t plan it that way, but it happened nonetheless. They are doing well for books written by a kid (the readers and awards say so, not just me).
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? You must believe in yourself and your talent and take calculated risks because no one else will. Always remember that you are your own worst critic. Getting that inner critic in check is tough at times, but it must be done.
Who is your favorite author and why? It’s a close tie between Brian Jacques and Terry Brooks, but I do read others. Mostly it’s the worlds and characters I have come to enjoy more than anything, and I like the adventure that goes along with it.
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