Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Something Awesome About Being a Teen Author

On Long Beach Island, the beach my family has been going to as far back as I–and even my mom—can remember, there’s a free newspaper called the Sand Paper. (Ha. Yes. I get it.) This publication has a ton of coupons for awesome beachy places like the ice cream parlor one block from the beach house, Bay Village Pizza (the best pizza I’ve ever had), and the Chowda Hut, where my favorite New England Clam Chowda is made.

So when I got a call from someone who introduced himself as a reporter from the Sand Paper, I knew what he meant. He asked me some questions about my writing and my book and my upcoming visit at the LBI library. This was about a week before we left for the beach, and in the days leading up to it, I couldn’t find any article on the Sand Paper’s site that mentioned me, so I didn’t know if it had run. In fact, by the time we arrived on the island, I’d forgotten there was even the possibility of a story.

The second night we were in LBI, after the library talk Monday and a good day shopping Tuesday, my family was walking back from the beach (which is about one and a half blocks from the beach house. Love). My sister and I decided to go and get ice cream, like always, and my mom told us to get a Sand paper from the free bin beside us and see if they had a coupon.

I sat next to my mom on the nearby bench. She was flipping through it, and I was watching over her shoulder. All of a sudden I put out a hand to stop her from turning the page.

“You found it?” she asked.

“Um, no, but, was that me?” I pointed to the top square of the page. It was me. It was my READ poster from Bookfest PA, so I was staring back at myself from behind pink sunglasses. The pink sunglasses I happened to be wearing at that moment, which was, admittedly, very weird.

The picture was part of a short, really awesome article about me and my visit at the library, which hadn’t happened at the time of the publication. Needless to say, my mom got extra copies and kept them (but not after my sister and I tore out the ice cream coupons). That has to be one of the most bizarre, but also one of the most awesome experiences I’ve had as an author.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Clowns - Evil or Funny?

The Magic Medallion (Book Two) of my 'Tween, time-travel series, Cynthia's Attic, has best friends, Cynthia and Gus, spending a lot of time at a 1914 circus. At first glance, they are thrilled to be there. What twelve-year-old wouldn't have fun at a circus?

Ah, but after the cotton candy, the circus acts and mid-way games, they run into an evil, bad-breathed (always has a cigar in his mouth) clown named Blackie who, apparently, missed the "Making People Laugh" session at clown-school. Seems it's his life's work to harrass, stalk and generally make everyone around him, miserable.

From my research, the polls are split about 50/50. You either love clowns or hate them. After The Magic Medallion was released, I ran into a reviewer who was deathly afraid of clowns and wrote a rather negative review about The Magic Medallion. I was given the choice to nix the review or use it, warts and all. I chose the former and have regretted it ever since.

Imagine the debate that could've started over my book! "Clowns-Love 'em or hate 'em."

Okay, so maybe it wouldn't stand up to current debates raging today, such as, does Lindsay Lohan deserve 90 days in jail, but I still regret that decision.

An early 1900's circus coming to town

So, where do you stand? Do you love clowns? Do you hate them or are you downright afraid of them? Before making your decision, read The Magic Medallion! I promise you won't be able to stay neutral. Not when it comes to Blackie.

I'm the author of the four-book (soon to be five!) 'Tween time-travel series, Cynthia's Attic.

Download the series on Kindle today!

Mary Cunningham Books
Quake/Echelon Press

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Girl Scout Camp

I loved Girl Scout Camp so much that I devoted a whole chapter to it in my upcoming novel, Back to Bailey's Chase. The readers get to go to camp with Sparky and Grey Bailey for a week.
Trying my best to remember the camp activities, I conjured up a week of adventures, hoping my readers would enjoy the camp experience as much as I did.
Of course, no magic was involved when I went to camp, but Sparky and Grey have those super powers that come into play when needed. And they are needed....when the camp bully targets Lulu Thompson. I hope my readers will laugh as they read Chapter Seven and find out how the girls turn the table on the mean girl, Ellie.
If you haven't read the first book about Sparky and Grey, The Secret of Bailey's Chase, you can read the prologue on my web site: www.marlisday.com In this book, which is available as an eBook or at www.quakeme.com or on www.amazon.com the girls slip into the scout camp when it's locked for the winter. They have a harrowing adventure there with a bully and a vicious dog. It only seemed fitting to take them back during their summer vacation to enjoy a real fun-filled week of camp. If you check out my blog at http://wwwmarlisday.blogspot.com you can see the cover of the sequel, Back to Bailey's Chase, which should be available soon.
Excuse me, I have a sudden craving for a s'more!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Animal Cliches in Stories & Movies

SUDDEN CAT! - These little critters just love to pop out of nowhere in horror movies, startling one of the characters (and giving the audience a cheap scare). This usually happens just before a psycho/alien/monster jumps out to kill the character.

THAT BELOVED DYING DOG - As Gordon Korman once wrote, “check any book in the library with a dog and an award sticker on the cover, trust me, that dog’s going down.” (Examples: Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, Marley & Me, Sounder)

THE IMPOSSIBLY SMART HORSE - A staple of westerns since the genre was created, these creatures have uncanny intelligence at least equal to the bad guys, and have some sort of sixth sense to always be where their owner needs them to be in a time of crisis. Bonus cliché: the closer the horse is to his master, the more likely he is to die.

MISUNDERSTOOD WOLF - Replacing the old cliché that all wolves are inherently evil, wolves in modern stories are now noble, maligned creatures, unfairly persecuted and hunted down by angry farmers.

SHARKS - No matter the story or film, when a shark appears, the animal has an insatiable taste for human blood and will eat far more people than it can physically stomach.

BEAUTY IS ONLY SKIN DEEP - If the animal is fuzzy, it is a loveable hero. If it isn’t, it’s a horrifying monster, bent on killing people, especially if it is a reptile or insect.

SPIDERS - In stories and movies, all spiders are aggressive and deadly. Even tarantulas, who in real life sleep for days at a time, are lightning quick and attack without provocation. Then again, who wants to read a story or see a movie about a friendly spider? (Exception: Charlotte’s Web).

AMOROUS CANINE - Telling a story and want a cheap laugh? Have a tiny dog hump a character’s leg.

CHOICE OF PETS - Heroes own dogs. Villains (especially evil geniuses) own cats.

MONKEYS - Almost always depicted as endearingly cute, especially when they ape (no pun intended) human activity. Hey, this things fling their poo when angry! Then again, if we actually did that to voice our displeasure over something, most arguments would end before they began.

MONKEYS, PART 2 - Actually, the image of a poo flinging monkey is a cliché, too.

YOU GONNA EAT THAT? - Whenever a character is lost (on an island, in the desert, in the mountains, etc), he or she will inevitably be forced to eating an animal most of us would call an exterminator to get rid of.

SUPER-VILLAIN FISH TANK - If a super villain owns a fish tank, it is filled with piranhas. If he owns a pond, it is also filled with piranhas, only this time he feeds them a henchman who failed or betrayed him.

CATS - Unless the story is about them, most cat characters are generally evil…and always hungry.

BEARS - Bears love to show up at campsites, especially if the campers are city folks not used to the great outdoors. Hilarity ensues.

INCREDIBLE JOURNEYS - No matter the animal or breed, when abandoned, they will set off on a trek to find their masters, and somehow always succeed. And, of course, even though the master left without any regard for their pets, cry tears of joy whenever old Rex appears over the horizon. The heart-wrenching exception to this cliché is Richard Adams’ The Plague Dogs.

GENETICALLY ENHANCED SUPER BEAST - Scientists love to inject a normally docile animal with some weird concoction which turns it into a killing machine. What science stems to gain from such an experiment is not really understood.

D.M. Anderson

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I remember being five. Six. Seven. And eight and nine and ten. And candy was such a treat to have. Usually it had to have chocolate because fruity candies and me? Yeah. It was not love at first sight.

I so looked forward to eating my twix. Because those were love at first sight.

And even though the years have gone by and my love for candy has dwindled, I still look forward to eating a few types of candy - twix being one of them. Because even as an adult, I still love biting into the crunchy goodness.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Candy Thief

Candy made me a thief.


I must have been seven or eight. I was in a Ben Franklin Five and Dime ... Why, I don't know, I didn't have any money.

And then my eyes spied it.

A York Peppermint Pattie.

Dark chocolately goodness melted around a gooey peppermint center.


But my pockets were empty.

Well, not empty. I had my lucky rock ... not worth money... not that I would have bartered it anyway. I had my pet pillbug (tied to a string) and probably some other small trinkets I picked up off the ground, but valued like rare jewels.

The York Peppermint Pattie whispered my name.

"Norm. Noorrrmmmmm.... Eat me!"

"But, Pattie," I replied. "I don't have any money."

"No one's looking. Just take me!"

"I couldn't do that. That's stealing!"

"But I'm yours. I belong to you. You would just be taking what is yours."

The sugary voice was just so compelling. So I did it. With Pattie keeping watch for me, I reached out, put my trembling sugar-anticipatory hands on her sweet roundness.

And in a flash, she was in my pocket.

With nerves atrembly, I stole out of the store with my beloved, hopped on my bike, and pedaled furiously away to find a secluded spot to rendezvous with my secret dark lover.

I found a woody area, devoid of people, and settled onto a leafy spot behind a big tree. Pattie came from my pocket, her allure almost too tempting. But anticipation is part of the joy of this relationship, so with nervous restraint, I gently unfolded her tinfoily wrapper, and allowed myself the first swaying of desire at the flash of her tasty skin.

My mouth watered as I ...

... gobbled down the sweet confection.

Nope, I just couldn't savor this over time. Like the owl in the Tootsie Roll Pop commercial, I just can't let saliva do the work. My love of candy is a frenzied, drool-and-chomp-it-down affair - not a take your time and let it melt in your mouth insanity.

Anyway, it's good to get this dark secret out in the open.

I feel better.

And, now that I'm older, I usually have enough money for candy.

That's a good thing.

(No,Norm, don't do it)

Shut up, cavities!



(where you can read The Guy'd Book for free! And three short stories! And excerpts of my other three books! Do you hear me! Free stuff!)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Candy through the ages...hmm. I know that I've lived in two different decades, centuries, and millennia, but really, the only thing coming to mind right now about candy through the ages is that I remember a time when there were just regular Reece's cups, and Reece's buddies Dark Chocolate, Inside Out, Big Cup, and Pieces hadn't been announced to the public yet.

Oh, one other candy that I do remember from my days as a kindergardener is the candy necklace. You know, the one with the sugary beads that you gnaw on until one breaks off in your mouth and coats your tongue and by the time you're done with half of the beads, the necklace itself is so slobbery and fuzz-covered that your mom makes you throw it away?

Well, I haven't seen many of those around lately. But I figure that it's probably not the candy that's aged out of style, it's me that's aged out of the urge to tug on my mom's arm and beg for a candy necklace while she's consumed with comparing pasta sauces.

Not that the thought doesn't cross my mind once in a while...


Sweet tooths & Sour gummy worms

I've always had a sweet tooth.

I like chocolate. I like Jolly Ranchers. I like bubble gum (the bubble gum flavored kind), ice cream, jelly beans, licorice (the fruit flavored kind), peppermints....

But my favorite?

Sour gummy worms.
(Cue heavenly music)

I don't know what it is about them, but I *love* sour gummy worms. I love the fruity colors they come in, I love how the sour crystals linger on my tongue, leaving a strange sort of 'freshness' to everything for a while after. They're just... gooooood.

What's your favorite type of candy?


Heather S. Ingemar has loved to play with words since she was little, and it wasn’t long until she started writing her own stories. Termed “a little odd” by her peers, she took great delight in exploring tales with a gothic flair, and to this day, Edgar Allan Poe continues to be her literary hero. To learn more, please visit: http://ingemarwrites.wordpress.com/ or follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/heatheringemar

Buy a story (or two or three): http://amzn.to/dlAKwt