“Where’s My Dinner?” is now available!

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Hot Diggity Dog! My 1950s zombie novel is now available on Amazon. I wrote the first draft right after I moved from Maryland to California. I was living with my in-laws, hadn’t started my new job yet, and didn’t really know what to do with all my free time. I figured I had two choices: I could sit on the couch while watching TV and stuffing my face with chips, or I could write a book. After two days of couch-sitting-TV-watching-chip-eating bliss, I decided to write a book. Unlike my first novel, I didn’t have an outline for Where’s My Dinner?, but the ideas started flowing and I couldn’t stop writing.

http://www.amazon.com/Wheres-My-Dinner-Cornell-Michel/dp/1940938457/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

After I finished my first draft, which wasn’t particularly good, I revised several times, and then I enlisted my trusty group of beta readers. A big thank you to Lynne, Kenric, Ian, Alison, Anne, Linda, Cristiane, and Scott for their invaluable feedback. I also received tons of helpful advice from my fabulous editors, Edward M. Wolfe and Amy Eye. They are two of the most talented editors I’ve ever worked with. And of course I owe a big thank you to my publisher, Line by Lion Publications. I met the owner of Line by Lion at Fandomfest in 2013. My mother bought her book, Hunter the Horrible, and Amanda bought my first novel, Jordan’s Brains. I was thrilled when she emailed me a few months later and offered me a publishing contract for my next book.

My wonderful mother (and best friend) was kind enough to edit Where’s My Dinner? three times, and she vastly improved the story. I dedicated this book to her because she was my ultimate editor. She wrote middle grade novels, picture books, and she was a voracious reader. She passed away six weeks ago at the young age of fifty-nine. My heart is shattered, but I’m trying to focus on all the good times we had together (there were so many). Mom always told me there were way too many wonderful books in the world to read in her lifetime – I’m hoping she has a full bookshelf in heaven.

**Deep breath**

I’m not sure when I’ll start writing my next novel. I have a seven-month-old baby whom I read to every day, and I’ve fallen in love with children’s picture books, so I’ve started writing my own. I have four finished manuscripts, and I’m working on an idea for a fifth book. After I had my baby, I was afraid I wouldn’t have any time to write, but I’m able to scribble notes on post-its and steal ten minutes here and there to fix my drafts. I’m grateful I still find time to write, and I’m so happy my mother finally published her book, Annie Blue-Eyes, last year. Now my daughter will be able to “know” her nana by reading her book. As Meg Rosoff said, “Your writing voice is the deepest possible reflection of who you are. The job of your voice is not to seduce or flatter or make well-shaped sentences. In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul.”

Mom reading to me and my brother:

momreading

Me reading to my baby girl:

mereading1

Books for Grown Ups

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readingwithFi

My reading habits have changed quite a bit since I had a baby six months ago. I used to read at least one zombie book a week, but after my little nugget came along I didn’t have much time for novels. I started reading children’s books to my baby girl when she was five days old, and since then I’ve fallen madly in love with picture books. I’ve had to limit myself to buying only one children’s book per week, otherwise I wouldn’t have any money to pay my mortgage. Picture books are surprisingly addictive. To get my fix, I often spend my lunch hours in the children’s section of the Chronicle bookstore near my office. My favorites are Little Pea, Hippos Go Berserk, and The Boss Baby.

Despite my recent addiction to children’s book, I’ve had time to read three “grown up” books over the past couple months. It’s nice to indulge in novels when I have a few moments to spare. My baby is napping right now, so I’m using these valuable minutes to post reviews of the “grown up” books I’ve been able to enjoy recently.

Rage and Ruin: Zombie Fighter Jango #3 by Cedric Nye

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P7SB4BY/ref=pdp_new_dp_review

Zombiefighter Jango is by far the most unique character in any zombie book I’ve ever read. There are thousands of zombie books out there, and too many of them have flat characters. That’s not the case with this book. Jango is the ultimate zombie fighting machine. After being abused as a child, whenever Jango comes across an abuser he goes on a killing rampage. Being inside Jango’s head is so very fascinating because he has Dissociative Identity Disorder. You never know which one of Jango’s personalities will come through.

Aside from having a captivating protagonist, Rage and Ruin has the perfect balance of action and description. I felt like I was right alongside Jango as he was singlehandedly battling a horde of a thousand zombies. Cedric Nye’s writing style is so fluid that you forget you’re reading a book and you get pulled into the story. I wish there were more books out there like this one.

Children of the Mark by Michael W. Garza

http://www.amazon.com/Children-The-Mark-Michael-Garza-ebook/dp/B00TVLFQP8/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

Children of the Mark is a horror story, but it’s perfect for teenagers because it’s scary but not overly gory. The story follows three high school students who stumble upon a spine-chilling ritual performed by the Cult of the Elder. The main character, AJ Scott, is attacked by a demon during the ritual, and then he starts having eerie visions. He digs deeper to find out more about the cult and quickly realizes he’s in way over his head.

The ending is exciting and satisfying, but it also leaves room for a sequel. I hope this becomes a series because I’m dying to find out what kind of trouble AJ gets into next. I highly recommend Children of the Mark to teenagers (and adults) who are into horror.

Time of Death: Induction by Shana Festa

http://www.amazon.com/Time-Death-Induction-Volume-1/dp/1618682725/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

The main character, Emma Rossi, is perfectly flawed in a way that makes her endearing to readers. You can’t help but root for the clumsy protagonist and her yappy dog, Daphne. I must say that I can’t stand zombie stories that kill dogs (I’m pointing my finger at I am Legend – shame, shame). I’ll try not to include any spoilers in my review, so I won’t give away what happens to the dog, but I will admit there are several nail-biting (paw-biting?) moments in the book.

The writing is solid and the plot moves along quickly. Emma is a strong character with a snarky attitude but is determined to find the silver lining in the darkest of times. Zombie books rarely have happy endings, but there was a bit of hope at the conclusion of Time of Death, leaving room for the sequel. The second book in the series, Time of Death: Asylum, was published in December of 2014. I’m looking forward to cracking open the next book. If you’re a fan of action-packed yet character-driven zombie tales, then I highly recommend you read the Time of Death books.

That’s all for now, folks. Maybe I’ll have time to read three more novels in the next three months. Uh-oh, my baby is waking up, which means it’s time to read Little Pea again!