Anna Questerly

Anna Questerly
Bookseller and bibliophile turned author, Anna Questerly writes medieval fiction and fairy tales for smart kids and young hearts. For adults, she creates Utopian fantasy as A.J. Questerly.

Friday, March 27, 2015

It's Meet My Friends Friday! This week's guest is Alan Black

Happy Friday, my friends!

I'm so excited to introduce you to one of my best buddies, Mr. Alan Black. Alan is not only a friend, but is also one of my beta readers and has given me so much help with my writing, I can't thank him enough.

I snapped this picture when we were at the Tucson Book Festival two weeks ago. I think it captures his fun and quirky personality pretty well. He is, as they say, a card. Which card, you ask?  The joker, of course. By the way, Alan and I will be signing at the Book Vault in Mesa Saturday 3/28/15 from noon til 4:00 along with Kris Tualla, Deena Remiel, and Gini Koch. If you haven't met them yet, try to stop by if you're in the area. It's a great store.  If you're not in Arizona, I'm sure I'll get them on here one Friday soon, so you can meet them, too.

If you have a sense of humor, I'm sure you'll find his books to your liking.

Take it away, Alan!

I've been writing novels since 1997 when I started Eye on The Prize. My writing tastes are as eclectic as my reading preferences. I admit that I love writing much more than editing and the whole publishing process. Marketing of my work leaves me as baffled as the whole string theory thing.

I was born in central Kansas and grew up in Gladstone, Missouri. I graduated from Oak Park Senior High School and eventually earned a liberal arts degree from Longview Community college. I spent most of my adult life in the Kansas City area. The exception came at the orders from the U.S. Air Force when I was stationed in Texas, California, Maryland, and Japan. My wife and I were married in the late 70s and moved back to Independence, Missouri, but now we live in sunny Arizona. The dry desert air stimulates my creativity more than the juicy air in Missouri (pronounced here as 'misery') and I've yet to shovel sunshine out of the driveway.

My desire to write started in the second grade. I was given an assignment to write a short story about Greek mythology. My teacher took the time to call my parents and express her appreciation of the story. Although neither of my patents remembered the incident, it had an impact on me, eventually leading me to write Eye On The Prize, taking two years to complete. I've gotten faster since then completing a recent manuscript in three weeks

One of the things I was most exited about was becoming a #1 bestselling author on Amazon and Kindle for Metal Boxes, a young adult, science fiction, military, action adventure. I have published eight. I'm a self-published multi-genre writer. One writer friend called me 'timeless' because I wrote historical books, novels based in the present and tales of the future. My main goal is to write story driven novels with scifi novels that are more character and action driven than focused on science, story driven historical that are not history lessons and entertainment based literary fiction.

My vision statement: "I want my readers amazed they missed sleep because they could not put down one of my books. I want my readers amazed I made them laugh on one page and cry on the next. I want to give my readers a pleasurable respite from the cares of the world for a few hours. I want to offer stories I would want to read."

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments or connect with me at

Friday, March 20, 2015

Meet My Friends Friday with Lauren Lynne

I first met Lauren on Twitter, and with both of us writing for young adults, we soon became fast friends on Twitter and on Goodreads. I can't wait to meet her in person some day. Maybe even hold a signing for her at Dog-Eared Pages!

Anyway, her series is intriguing and I wanted to know what motivated her to write it. So I asked. Here's what she says:

I work in low-income (Title 1) schools as a substitute teacher. I was moved by male reluctant readers. I have a personal love of underdogs and the characters Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and Alex Rider. I wanted to reach out and engage young and sometimes troubled youths and to connect them with a character that struggles everyday to do the right thing and make the most of his situation. My protagonist never claims to be perfect and often doubts himself. Some people see him as a troublemaker and others as a hero.

My young adult novels teach about living with consequences, talking things out, trusting in yourself as well as thinking of others and not just yourself. There are also underlying themes of anti-bullying and anti-gang.

I gave Owen, the protagonist, the special ability to be able to sense bad things that had happened to people. He is then driven to make them right, or at least better. He develops a genuine desire to help others. It is both Owen’s nature and destiny to be “good”, to fight against people who hurt others.

I hope that helps.
Thank you for your interest and if you would like to know more… please visit my website.

Don't you just love her covers? :)

You can touch base with her on Twitter at @LaurenLynneYA or on Goodreads or Facebook. Stop by and tell her, "Hi!" when you get a chance. She'd love to hear from you.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Meet My Friend, Karen Cafarella!

Happy Friday! Today, I want to introduce you to my friend and fellow book-lover, Karen Cafarella. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask her for a photo, so I'll try to give you a glimpse of her. I secretly believe she's a sprite. Really! She's just a slip of a woman with a pixie hair cut, sparkling eyes, and a wide, welcoming smile. As soon as you meet her, you know you're going to like her. Like I said, she's a sprite!

I've known Karen since we opened Dog-Eared Pages. She was one of our very first customers and has always been supportive of our author events and our store in general. She paints, writes, and teaches yoga. As a matter of fact, when she first began teaching yoga, I was part of her 'practice class' and we held classes in the bookstore before we opened until she received her license.

She's also an organizing guru, so I asked her to write a bit about that since we probably all need a bit of help there.

Take it away, Karen!

Writing and Organizing! ! ! by Karen Cafarella

I am an Organizer by heart. For as long as I can remember I loved to keep things in
order. I understand not everyone is that way but you can be organized and feel at ease
with these few tips.

When people think about organizing, they think about getting the closet in order or the
kitchen, bathroom and garage in order; but what they don’t think about is the computer.

With most of us using our computers for just about everything we do from grocery lists
to writing poems or short stories or novels; our computer can get disorganized. So here
are a few tips to help:

If you are like me and still enjoy writing in a notebook, since they are much easier to
carry around; and you only keep a few pages in that notebook either transfer it to your
computer or scan directly onto a USB drive. As much as I love to write, my organizing
brain says I don’t need to keep all those notebooks and lets face it they can be hard to
store. Scanning is one of the easiest ways. It keeps all your writing in one place.

At times I do keep poems or stories on my computer for entering a contest. This way
they are readily available. In that case I set up folders. Instead of all your writing in
one folder separate by categories, short stories, poems & haikus and novels. If you
have a novel started but never finished and decided to work on another one, keep those
folders separate. Name them so it will be easy to locate when you want to work on
them. You can also keep a folder just with ideas in them.

Other parts of your computer can get cluttered at well. E-mail, go through daily if you
can and only save what is important. What needs to be saved for future reference put
in drafts, this way the messages don’t get deleted by accident. Favorites, go through
those every few months. We put so many sites on our computer to look at but most
times forget or never get around to it. By looking at them every few months it helps
keep the computer clean and organized.

Remember whatever you are organizing a little bit at a time goes a long way.

If you're interested in checking out Karen's book, you can pick up a signed copy at Dog-Eared Pages in Phoenix or on Amazon


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

We Have a Goodreads Giveaway Winner!

Hi, everyone and thanks for entering the Goodreads Giveaway for Pangaea.

The contest is now over, and we have a winner! Congratulations to Jeremy Martin!

I've signed your book and it's on it's way, Jeremy.  Enjoy.

If anyone else would like a signed copy of Pangaea or any of my other books, they are available through my bookstore at

Thanks again for entering and happy reading to all!



Friday, March 6, 2015

Meet My Friends Friday Today's Guest is Sharon Moore

Happy Friday, my friends! I've been so excited to begin introducing you to some of my friends and today, I get to start with a wonderful woman and a fantastic writer, Sharon Moore.  Although her photo is lovely, it doesn't begin to show how sweet Sharon is. In person, she's an absolute doll and hilarious. Whenever we've been at a signing together, she's had me and everyone else around her ROFL.

I know she looks quite innocent, doesn't she?  Don't let her fool you, this lady has a wild side, too. (more on that later).

For now, I'll let Sharon tell you a bit about herself. If you like what you read, reach out to her, and say "Hi!" She's a fun friend to have.

“Cooking Up a Mystery with 13 Elements”

I am thrilled to be the first guest post on Anna Questerly’s blog. I have admired Anna for a while now and have happily hosted her on one of my blogs. You might want to check her “Dash of Romance” at

I write a wide-range of genres, but today I am talking about cozy mysteries, as sub-genre in the mystery realm. I write culinary mysteries, a sub-genre of cozy mysteries.

One of the oddities of the cozy is that were it true that so many crimes and murders occurred in the same small town, no one could afford the insurance rates to live there! The reader is willing to suspend disbelief in order to see what their favorite cozy mystery sleuth will get into this time. But in real life, no one would encounter so much mayhem.

At root, mysteries are puzzles to be solved. Some are gritty and hard-boiled, but if you are interested in writing a cozy mystery, either culinary or bookstore or knitting or gardening---or some other hobby or interest--there are some specific elements you will need to include.

1) Cozy mysteries are most often set in a small town or rural setting so you get to know residents across books. That’s called a “closed circle” mystery. Strangers don’t “do the deed” very often.
2) Almost all cozy mysteries are part of a series that usually has a theme/occupation/hobby to tie it together.
3) Cozy mysteries often have punny titles tied to the theme/occupation/hobby of the series. My culinary mysteries for example have titles of Mission ImpastablePrime Rib and PunishmentPotluckCooks in the Can, and Ancient Grease.
4) Whereas cozies are generally G-Rated, they have evolved to where there may be mild cursing and the mention of sex “off stage”.
5) Cozies often have humorous components and/or quirky characters.
6) The reader has access to all clues the sleuth has but they are obscured with red herrings and false leads.
7) Most cozy mysteries feature a murder but it could be some other serious crime.
8) Typically the victim is not an admirable person, so the crime, while not justifiable, may be understandable.
9) Often the murder (or other significant crime) occurs near the beginning. But not always. Cozies can introduce the murder well into the story.
10) Murders take place “off stage” so there is little or no explicit violence or gore described. Often those details are cloaked or even omitted.
11) Cozy mysteries use plot devices (like false identities, hidden motives, camouflaged murder weapon or locked room) to further the confusion of clues, suspects, and timelines.
12) The amateur sleuth is reluctant and uses common sense to solve the mystery. The sleuth is drawn into solving the crime by unavoidable circumstances.
13) The clever villain is never as clever or smart as the amateur sleuth.

 Cozy mysteries are very popular with readers, but it is also quite a crowded field for publishing. Readers tend to gravitate to particular authors who might have several series and/or to cozies in an area of interest to them, like cats.

When choosing the focus for your reluctant sleuth, begin with a passion of your own and then imagine what might cause you to get involved in solving a crime. Would you take it on if your reputation or freedom were at stake? Would you search for a missing child you love? What if your best friend or mother might go to jail?

Cozy crime solvers would much rather get back to cooking--or whatever--but if they don’t step up, they believe the crime will go unsolved. After it’s over, life goes back to normal. Until the next dust-up.

After 39 years as an educator, Sharon Arthur Moore "transitioned" to the life of full-time fiction writer. She's an intrepid cook, game-player, and miniatures lover.

She writes culinary mysteries, women's fiction, historical fiction, short stories, plays, paranormals/fantasy/science fiction (as River Glynn), and erotic romance (as Angelica French).

You can follow Sharon on:

Blog: “Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time” at

Twitter: @Good2Tweat

Facebook: Sharon Arthur Moore Fan Page

Thank you so much, Sharon for coming onto my blog!  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Goodreads Giveaway


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        Pangaea by A.J. Questerly




          by A.J. Questerly


            Giveaway ends March 10, 2015.
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.

      Enter to win