Saturday, March 5, 2011

Vote for Golden Healer, Dark Enchantress

My ebook, Golden Healer, Dark Enchantress, has been nominated at Romance Reviews for best Fantasy Romance of 2010! Please stop by at the following link to vote for my book:

Winners receive a free promotional package for their book!

Thanks and God bless to all contestants!

~ Christine E. Schulze

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Featured Novel: Pepe, a new sci-fi adventure for young adults

Author: Robby Charters

Genre: YA sci-fi

Read a free sample:

Publisher's blurb: The year is 2040. We have people living on Mars, but haven't sorted out life on earth yet. To the boy washing windscreens at the traffic signal, it could just as well be 1940. The boy is Pepe. He doesn't know who his real parents are. His 'grandma' dies in a slum fire, and he is left to fend for himself and his grandma's biological granddaughter, Po, whom he treats like a real sister. They live in an abandoned construction site with other homeless children. With help from a young computer hacker named Raul and a mystical old man named Atsuko, Pepe discovers his true identity.

The villain
: General Don Juan Clemente, who seized power from the king ten years ago, and installed himself as president for life. The General has a degenerative disease that is paralysing him. However, his brain has been linked to a computer network that enables him to control the country and destroy any threat to his

A Review from Fallen Angels Reviews

by Robby Charters is a young adult action/suspense story.

The Republic of Cardovia's government was overthrown by General Don Juan Clemente ten years ago leaving the lower class in dire straits. The rich became richer leaving the working class to fend for themselves. On the surface, the new government appears to support their people, but the underclass knows another story. Pepe cleans windshields to get enough money for him and his sister Po. The work is difficult, but what else could a young child do except join a gang, but that has its own problems. While Pepe was cleaning an old Asian man's Atsuko's window the police arrive, but he is saved when Atsuko tells him to get in his car. Later the man tells Pepe to come to him if he has any problems. Things were quiet for a year until Pepe and Po barely escaped from their home, but their grandmother was never found, leaving them homeless.

Atsuko and Rosa Maria, his daughter, have been looking for Pepe ever since the fire, but he is no where to be found. Atsuko goes to visit Carlo Primavera, a friend and high ranking member of the government. Atsuko tries to get him to take another look at what is going on in Cardovia, but Carlo remains loyal to the core. Rosa Maria visits with Raul, Carlo's son, who is into computers and robotics. Atsuko tells Rose Maria they had to go before Raul makes a big discovery. Father Antonio runs a home called Mercy house that takes in street children, and is having difficulties from his superiors who don't agree with the way he runs the home. Pepe knows of Mercy House, but refuses to trust anyone until fate takes a hand and Atsuko comes to the rescue again. Who is Atsuko and how is it that he is always there when Pepe needs him? Who will stand up for the downtrodden of Cardovia?

Mr. Charters has created a futuristic society very much like our own. The class system that separates the well-to-do from the poor is very sad. Raul's father Carlo is like many people who only see what they want until they are forced to see the truth. Pepe may have a difficult life, but he loves his sister very much and tries to take care of her as best as he can. It was scary to see how the children on the streets had to not only fend for themselves, but hide from others who would exploit them. The mystery surrounding Atsuko brings a whole new dimension and excitement to the story line. I was fascinated by how Atsuko seemed to know what was about to happen, but to say anything more would give away the surprise to this story. This is the first book by Mr. Charters I have, read and it won't be the last!

Reviewed by: Teresa

A review from Readers Favourites

Pepe and Po live on the streets after a fire destroys their apartment building. They find shelter in an abandoned building along with other street kids. Jose is a drug addict. Raquel and her twin brothers also live there. They make friends with Raul, a rich kid and computer whiz. He realizes Pepe is in grave danger and tries to help him.

Danger lies ahead for Pepe when he faces corrupt government, killer robots and his true identity. This is a futurist book. It is action packed and held my attention to the last page. The characters interact well with each other. Fans of science fiction will enjoy Pepe.

A blurb from Robby Charters himself

If you see my name on the cover, I'm Robby Charters, but if you meet me inside the story itself, I'm Boz. My appearances reflect my actual history, as it coincides with the narrative -- well, I never lived in Cardovia, that's a fictional country. But I got various ideas for it from Bangkok, where I have lived for much of my life. At this time in our lives, we're back and forth a lot between Thailand and Ireland. "We" -- meaning myself, my wife Bless and son, Abie. The experience for Pepe was gained in Thailand, the writing of it, in Northern Ireland, and it was published when I was in Thailand again. Now we're back in Ireland.

is a cyberpunk novel -- perhaps a bit of crossover to fantasy -- set in 2040 (I wanted to begin it in 2020, but the publisher thought that some of the elements were a bit too futuristic -- especially the effects of global warming and all, so I went with her suggestion).

Pepe is a homeless street
boy who doesn't know his true identity. In the course of the story, he lives in places you'd typically find them: before the fire, in a vast slum community named the Dockyards (which is one of the central locations); later, an abandoned multi story construction site with other homeless kids; and then, a shelter for homeless children, Mercy House, which I've based on an actual place where I worked for a year. More about that in a bit. Everywhere he lives, he has his sister, Po, with him. She's two years younger, she's not his biological sister, but he knows he's gotta take care of her. I've described the life of street kids as closely as I can without making the story dreary and dismal. There's every type: Pepe's and Po's "grandma" died when their home was burnt in a slum fire; there's Jose, the drug addict, who ran away from an abusive dad; and Raquel and her six-year-old twin brothers, Pierre and Michele (don't worry -- no tiresome comedies-of-errors). Their mother abandoned them after their dad went to prison. They are French/African. Raquel is a colourful character. I loved doing her.

Mercy House
was inspired by Father Joe Maier's Mercy Centre (Human Development Foundation) in Bangkok. I described it as closely as possible without sounding like a publicity brochure. The real-world Mercy Centre also includes an AIDS hospice for terminal victims of that disease, and a slum kindergarten. I had the privilege of working with Fr. Joe for one year. It's in that capacity that I make my appearance as a minor character. In real life, I did what Boz did in the story, which was to translate case histories and supervise some of the children's art projects.

I've also had other contact with homeless children previous to that. For one week, once, I befriended a boy who had been sleeping on the grounds of a house I had started to rent. He won my heart, then ran away again...

Some of the settings were inspired by various parts of Bangkok, especially the slum community where HDF is located (also near the docks). Kids cleaning people's windscreens at intersections, is a common sight there. However, some aspects of the political and social situation (especially with regard to homeless children) were inspired by situations in Colombia and Brazil. The actual setting, Cardovia, is fictional -- the Southern European nation of Cardovia, with a history that goes back thousands of years. Cardo, the founder and first king of the dynasty, once paid a visit to King Solomon and received a special gift from him. This, and the character of Atsuko, the aged Japanese mystic, give the story its fantasy edge.

It's Cyberpunk
: The blurb for the story told you that the General's brain had been wired to a network of computers and robots. You'll see that that can definitely have its disadvantages. Unbeknownst to his dad, Raul is a hacker. His dad is an army colonel, one of the General's top commanders. Their family is typical upper-crust -- the opposite end of the spectrum from Pepe and Po. Things get precarious when Raul hacks into the Generals computer system and realises what kind of person he really is.

Rich kid meets poor kid
: We see the typical attitude of rich kids towards "low-lifers", but things happen. A relationship slowly develops until Raul, Pepe and Po are the closest of friends. He enters their world as one of them. At the same time, in front of his computer terminal and VR set, sometimes accompanied by Pepe, he makes discovery after amazing discovery. Puzzle pieces begin to fit together, until suddenly he realises the danger Pepe is in. In fact, it might be too late...I'll stop here. I'm giving too much away.

There are no superheroes
. Everyone's thoroughly human. Perhaps the closest thing to a superhero is Atsuko, but even he has his limitations. But, everyone does what it takes to give the story an ending that should be thoroughly satisfying. I think you'll like it.

Well -- (doing a Mr. Bean) --
I like it anyway...

Thanks so much to Robby Charters for sharing with us about your fascinated sci-fi book for young adults!

To my readers, be sure to watch for a future interview with Robby.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Driven: Shellie Neumeier Discusses Her Debut Novel

Driven blurb:

Robyn can’t help but notice the handsome new guy at her school. She ignores, however, the arrival of another being at Brookfield Central High School—a demon assigned to destroy her…

Robyn loves her friends, enjoys her youth group, and looks forward to meeting cute Caleb Montague. But when a caustic news reporter challenges her school’s prayer team, Robyn must choose: defend their right to meet on campus and pray for whomever they wish or back down at the principal’s request.

Now she must learn what God wants her to do. And she had better learn fast, because there’s a supernatural enemy in town whose sole mission is to stop her—no matter the cost.

Today I have with me Shellie Neumeier, author of the young adult Christian novel, Driven. Below, she discusses her debut book as well as a bit of her writing life.

1. This is your YA debut; what compelled you to write a YA Christian novel?

I still think like a kid. Always have. Besides, young adult fiction contains a world of possibilities. YA readers are willing to go places others may not so it makes the adventure more unpredictable. And since God is the director of my life, it had to be Christian. One way or another, He was in.

2. Where did you get the inspiration to write this story? Do the spiritual battles found within relate to some experience in your own life?

What inspired me to write this book was the desire to encourage the next generation. To let them know that God does have a plan for them and it’s a good one, even if it doesn’t seem that way right now. This generation of young adults has amazing access to their world with the ease of travel and the internet. They also have the opportunity to change the world unlike any previous generation, but they’re also bombarded with harsh realism and even harsher dramatized “realism.” It would be very easy to forget that they have a purpose which comes from God.

As for the spiritual aspect, I believe there are battles fought which we don’t see. Warring factions fighting for our faith and dedication, not to mention our souls, are frequently mentioned in the Bible. If Jesus believed in them, well that’s good enough for me.

3. Authors often relate to their characters; in this book, which character do you relate most to and why?

Robyn. She’s tough on herself, oftentimes expecting near perfection which frustrates her…and drives her. Plus the poor girl gets gum tossed in her hair. Been there…done that.

4. What kind of setting do you most enjoy writing in?

I love to write in Panera’s or Starbucks. Free WiFi and unlimited (well limited by my wallet) caffeine rocks. Of course the fact that my children and my dogs can’t interrupt while I write in both spots counts as bonus points.

5. Just out of curiosity: Caleb's last name is "Montague". Any purposeful connection to "Romeo and Juliet"?

Only if you count the fact that I love “Romeo and Juliet.” Then again, if this becomes a series…well, there are fabulous possibilities, aren’t there? :D.

6. Are there any new projects you are currently working on?

Yes. I just signed a mid-grade chapter book to be released in 2/2012 (MuseItYoung Publishing) entitled The Wishing Ring. My twelve and nine year-old helped develop the plot, which makes the story one wild and imaginative ride. I’ve also teamed up with Lisa Lickel in writing a romance novel. I enjoyed writing the young adult sections. But my favorite project is another YA novel written about a young boy with special needs. After a fit of rage, he finds himself struggling to survive life in a treatment center. It’s been eye-opening writing that piece.

7. What do you hope readers will get from reading your book?

Hopefully my readers will come away with a renewed sense of power. A sense of I-can-do-that, whatever “that” may be in their lives. And of course I hope they come away having enjoyed a great ride from the story.

8. Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?

My deepest gratitude for reading Driven. There’s no higher praise to an author than to have readers read their work and then share their work with others. For that, I am truly thankful. I also want to encourage them to persevere. If they are in the midst of a difficult or trying time, take heart. Perhaps it’s the sign of amazing things to come. Just don’t give up!

Driven Trailer

Visit Shellie here

Thanks so much, Shellie! It has been a pleasure to meet you and other authors like myself on the blog thus far. I too plan to always be young at heart; I've dabbled in other genres but almost always must come back to young adult. It offers such a wide array of possibilities, and as a young adult myself, I write what I would love to read. It's been great too to meet authors who also like to incorporate their faith into their books.

God bless, thanks again to Shellie, and to my readers as well!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Shortcomings: An Interview With Debut YA Author, Ginger Simpson


High School is hard enough without the cold stares from classmates that remind you every day how different you are.

Our shortcomings don't define who we are, unless we let them. Cindy Johnson needs to learn that. Born with one leg shorter than the other, she has no self-esteem because of the cruel comments and cold stares she receives from her classmates. When Cory Neil, the football quarterback asks her to Homecoming, she's quite sure he's asked her on a dare and refuses. It takes more than just her mother's assurances that Cindy's beautiful before she realizes she may have made a mistake in turning him down.

Sounds like a beautiful story, Ginger! Thanks for the honor of interviewing you, and welcome to the YA world. Now, let the interview begin!

1. Though you've published other works, this is your first YA book; what compelled you to try out this new genre?

As I've told everyone before, my stories are character-driven. Despite the fact that I lean toward western historical romance, Cindy showed up in my head one day with the plot and characters lined up for me. I couldn't say no because I wanted to see where her story, Shortcomings, went. I truly loved connecting with memories of my younger self and relating to her issues.

2. How did you get the idea to create a story with a character with Cindy's physical challenge?

Cindy limped into my head with her physical challenged displayed. I simply let her tell the story while I typed it.

3. Authors often relate to their characters; in this book, which character do you relate most to and why?

Cindy, of course. I sympathized and empthasized, although I don't have a physical defect per se, I've battled the bulge most of my life, so I know what it feels like to have low self-esteem. I can't count the number of times I've been told what a "pretty face" I have. Cindy is truly beautiful and I loved the moment she realized it.

4. What is a favorite scene from one of your books?

I'd have to say that my favorite scene is in Sparta Rose, where Ellie takes Ty up on a shooting match. He's so cocky and she's so feisty, they are the perfect match.

5. What is your writing routine like?

I write when I find time and when my character is talking to me. I've never plotted a book because it doesn't work for me. Right now, I'm getting a little ticked off at Hattie, from my WIP, Hattie's Hero. She's been very stubborn and delaying my completion of her story.

6. Are there any new projects you are currently working on?

Hattie's Hero, but unless she starts talking soon, I'm moving on to On the Rebound.

7. What message do you hope readers will glean from this inspirational story?

I hope to convey the importance of treating one another with kindness and respect. Shortcomings has a study plan that is available with each purchase. I hope to take Cindy's story and the plan to my local schools and hopefully garner interest in speaking with students about bullying, why they do it, how it makes them feel, and how to stop it. It's a big dream, but if I can save one child from feeling worthless, then I will have made a difference.

8. Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?

There is a message in every book I write. My characters have stories to share and I hope I do them justice in the SHOWING. At the end of each book, I pray readers will walk away glad that they read my work.

I'd like to thank my hostess for allowing me to take up space on her blog today. I also invite everyone to come by my website at where I have all my work on display with teasers for each.

Also, my blog, Dishin' It Out, seems to attract a few people, so please stop by and say hello (

Thanks so much to Ginger for stopping by and giving us an intriguing glimpse of her new work!

Broken and Black Lace: the makings of

In order to complete the work begun with Bloodmaiden: a fantasy anthology, I've decided to create a trilogy of anthologies. The others will be called Broken and Black Lace. Filled with fantasy--some dark, some light--suspense, romance, horror, and adventure, these last two collections will be published with Rebecca J. Vickery, the publisher who published the Bloodmaiden anthology with her Victory Tales Press.

Here you'll find a collection of pictures, including coverart for the books, followed by my recent photo shoot to create the cover of Black Lace, the latest and last to be written into the three-book collection.

In some of the photos, you will notice artwork depicting ravens. Though I did not use any of the artwork depicted in the photos for my cover, I would still like to give credit to the inspiration of the artists, Karen Bondarchuk, Josh Rowan and Teresa Wang, and their collection entitled Evermore. Special thanks to Southwestern Illinois College's Schmidt Art Center for allowing us to shoot photos, especially around that darling little piano. Also, thanks to SWIC's theatre...even though they didn't know we were in there, filming away. ^_^

Thanks also to the lovely, red-headed Kayla, whom I like to call my "posing director and consultant"; my curly-headed sweetheart and photographer, Jonathan; and the most wonderfully cynical Phil, who seems to be in denial in his photo about his involvement with anything (perhaps because his sole purpose was to distract me and make me laugh while being photographed).

All that said, do enjoy the photos, and look for the books' release, hopefully in the next several months or so!

~ Christine E. Schulze

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Interview with YA Christian Author, Ronica Stromberg

I am pleased to have with me today Ronica Stromberg, a writer of young adult Christian fiction. She joins me today for the blog's first, honorary interview.

1. Why do you write Christian young adult literature?

I decided I wanted to be an author at age 8. Books were almost magical to me, taking me to another world. I suppose I envisioned myself writing children's books because that's what I was reading. At the same time, my faith was also affecting my life profoundly. I had read the Bible through twice by the time I was in eighth grade. I don't think there's any way my faith couldn't influence what I write. The young adult literature draws me because I can explore more complex problems, such as struggles in faith, than I can in books for younger children.

2. Where did you draw inspiration from for your YA books, A Shadow in
the Dark
and Living It Up And Down?

The idea for the plot of A Shadow in the Dark was triggered by a childhood memory. While I was visiting my grandmother in Minnesota during the summer, she warned me to stay away from a neighbor's house because a girl lived there but never came outside. I couldn't get my grandmother to tell me more, and thus, this girl and the house she lived in became mysterious to me. Years later, when I discovered the truth about the girl and the house she lived in, her story never left me. It served as the starting point for my book.

Living It Up to Live It Down was inspired by the words, "Living it up to live it down." That phrase just popped into my head one day, and I was intrigued by it. I wondered what it might mean. Slowly, I came to realize the phrase was a title for a book about a young teen who is living it up at school and in her community to live down the fact that she's a pastor's daughter. I am not a pastor's daughter, but some of my friends are, and their experiences informed this book.

3. Authors often relate to their characters; in these books, which
character do you relate most to and why?

My characters are an amalgamation of bits and pieces of myself, other people I know, and my imagination. No one character is me or anyone else I know. I think readers sometimes make the mistake of thinking that if an author draws a character well that character must be the author. I don't know how many people who read Living It Up to Live It Down said stuff to me like, "I didn't know you were a pastor's daughter!" I wasn't and never will be. My father is a former Marine and an agnostic. But even though I can't relate perfectly to Sarah, the pastor's daughter, her story interests me. I relate to bits and pieces of her and all of the characters and, honestly, probably like Cal, the son of the tavern owner, best.

4. What is a favorite scene from one of your books?

I like humor, so probably my favorite scene is the one in Living It Up to Live It Down in which Cal tries to worm out of Sarah who her latest crush is.

5. Do you have a favorite place to write?

I prefer to write longhand, when I have the luxury of time. I'll sit either on the couch or my favorite recliner. I like to be alone when I write.

6. Are there any genres you have not written yet but might like to
experiment with?

Not really. While writing for children, I've been able to try so many genres: mystery, adventure, romance, inspirational, humor, multicultural, and literary. I've even written a western and four poems! Most of my writing includes elements of mystery, humor, and inspiration. That's what I come back to most.

7. What are you currently working on?

I have an idea for a nonfiction picture book, but it's going to involve a lot of research, so I'm not saying much about it yet.

8. Is there anything else you'd like to share with readers?

I enjoy hearing from teens who have read my YA books. I also keep a blog for people who are interested in life as a children's author, This blog answers basic questions about the writing life.

For anyone interested in Ms. Stromberg's books, my readers can order A Shadow in the Dark and Living It Up to Live It Down directly from the publisher, Royal Fireworks Press, at

Thanks so much, Ronica, for sharing about yourself and your books!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bloodmaiden Blog Tour

Until other authors start bombarding me with their promotion requests, I'd like to take this chance to promote one of my YA fantasy novel, Bloodmaiden. Though my blog tour is nearly at an end, you can still catch up, follow along, and enter to win a free copy at five different blogs!

You can click the link below to check out the different blog posts, interviews, reviews, give aways, etc. Please consider leaving a comment on one of those things; I'd appreciate it!

~ Christine E. Schulze

Go to:

The Teen Book Scene