Wednesday 29 May 2019

High Sierra

When Jasmine Fuentes finds herself thousands of miles from home, forced to hike around in the wilderness of California with a bunch of juvenile delinquents, she’s convinced she doesn’t belong. 

Forage for food, build shelter, make fire—Jasmine sets out to learn what she needs to do to ace the program so she can go home and salvage her summer vacation. But the more she tries to prove she doesn’t need wilderness therapy, the more desperate her situation becomes. Confronted with life and death, she comes face to face with her past and her imperfections. Will Jasmine ask for help before it’s too late? 

Adrienne Quintana is the author of Eruption as well as several children's books. When she isn't writing, Adrienne enjoys running, hiking, and matchmaking (Are you single? She probably knows someone perfect for you.) 

She lives in Arizona with her husband and four children, who give her love, support, and plenty of good material for Instagram.   

Author Interview

1.     What is your writing drive? The power that keeps you going when your writing gets difficult?

I'm a runner, and running is a lot like writing. When you're running a marathon and it gets hard, you don't stop. You just keep putting one foot in front of the other. It's all about facing the right direction and moving forward.

2.     How did you come up with the title?

The trail we hiked in Yosemite is on the High Sierra Loop. During brainstorming, I bounced around several title ideas with my husband and kids. We were kind of joking that it's a genre trope to have the character's name be a play on words in the title. Wilderness therapy. Drug addiction. They wanted me to name the protagonist Sierra. That would have been funny.

Okay, maybe not. But I liked the title. My main character's name is Jasmine and she's not a pothead.

3.     Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family member?

I rely on my friends to beta read for me. Different friends read High Sierra at various stages...some of them very rough, and gave helpful feedback, encouragement, and support.

4.     If you could travel anywhere in the world for thirty days and just kick back and relax, where would you go, would you take anyone with you and why would you chose this vacation spot to go?

I'd go explore South America with my husband...Amazing Race style in a tiny car on the back roads. We love to experience every aspect of a country and culture, and we're a great traveling team. He drives and navigates, and I nap. It's very relaxing.

5.     What is your favorite late night snack?

If you've read the book, you'll be expecting me to say Doritos. That absolutely would have been true several years ago, but I struggle with food addiction and thus avoid snacking at night altogether.

6.     Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

Still writing, still publishing, still running. Still doing the mom thing and possibly the grandma thing. Hopefully all with my original knees and teeth.

7.     Tell us 5 random things about yourself.

1. I hate cooking.
2. I kill plants, usually accidentally.
3. My big toes are enormous.
4. I get motion sickness at amusement parks. Moaning Myrtle has seen things in her bathroom at Harry Potterland that no ghost should have to see.
5. I'm terrible with numbers.

8.     What was the most surprising part of writing this book?
That I cried at the end. It was such a long haul, I thought I'd want to celebrate. But I love these characters and this story. It was always inspiring to sit down with them and work out that next bend in the path. I felt something special each time. I hope to be inspired to write something like this again soon.

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Monday 20 May 2019

Mrs Murray's Hidden Treasure

There is a hidden treasure in the grand old mansion on Piccadilly Street, in a place called London, but not the real London of English fame. There’s also a lot of mystery and a murder that’s been unsolved for decades. But it’s the treasure that captures Mary’s interest. 

Mary lives in this house along with her family, her Brownie friends and a ghost. When the ghost reveals her secret about the hidden treasure, there’s no stopping Mary, her Brownie friends, or her enemies from searching for this treasure. 

Why the intrigue? Apparently there’s a little bit of magic connected to this treasure. And so the adventure begins. Who will find the treasure first?

Emily-Jane Hills Orford is an award-winning author of several books, including Gerlinda (CFA 2016) which received an Honorable Mention in the 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, To Be a Duke (CFA 2014) which was named Finalist and Silver Medalist in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and received an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. She writes about the extra-ordinary in life and her books, short stories, and articles are receiving considerable attention. For more information on the author, check out her website at:

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But this treasure alluded her. She knew it was here, in this house, somewhere. The question was, where? And Mrs. Murray wasn’t being any help. Not one bit.
Mary let out a deeply pent up sigh. “You must remember something! When was the last time you held the jewellery in your hands? Did you ever wear the ring? Or the necklace? Or both?”
“Oh yes!” Mrs. Murray beamed, if a ghost could beam through its shimmering effervescence. Even her eyes glistened, sparkled really, as the memories started to wash over her. “I wore it as a teenager. Only briefly. My grandmother gave it to me when I turned sixteen. She said it was very special, full of magic. I didn’t believe her then. I didn’t believe in magic. You see, I hadn’t met Brunny and Pelly yet. They were connected to my grandmother until she died, which was only days after she gave me the jewels. Very sad. She was so strong and healthy. It was as if some horrible curse took her away. That’s what Brunny said when he first appeared to me. Both my grandmother and Brunny insisted I take special care of the jewels. And certainly not wear them around for the world to see. Such a shame, really. They are beautiful. Were beautiful. Are beautiful. I don’t know which, past or present. Do they even still exist? I don’t remember the last time I saw the necklace. It must have been before I left Scotland. Perhaps it is still there. Perhaps I misplaced it. I don’t really know. But the ring is here. Somewhere. If it still exists.”
“Oh, it exists all right.” Mary dropped her legs over the side of the bed. “Maybe if we wander the house together, you might remember and I might sense something.”
“What if we wake your family?”
“I’ll pretend I’m sleepwalking,” Mary chuckled softly. “I do that enough anyway. They’ll believe it. Besides. Everyone’s exhausted. They’re out for the night. Like Dad will say in the morning, sleeping like a log.
“If you insist.”
“I do.”
“Where are the Brownies? I hope Elizabeth hasn’t poisoned them again.”
“In which case, we shall be extra vigilant as she may be watching our every move.” Mary didn’t say it out loud, but she had decided it might be best to just sense a location of the treasure and then go looking for it in daylight, at a time when she was sure Elizabeth wasn’t snooping.

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