Thank you!

Thank you for all the support you've given the Climbing Rose Young Adult line of The Wild Rose Press. Our stories are still available on The Wild Rose Press website, however, since we aren't publishing new stories, our blog is no longer active. We thank you again for the time you spent with us and invite you to visit our Climbing Rose bookstore.

12 Horses Prancing

Two days before Christmas, seventeen year-old Melinda Kent is bound for New York when a prankster hits her home, the Lucky Lake Ranch. Soon the welcome sign reads ‘ucky ake Ranch’ and other signs have been tampered with, including the ‘adies room’, the ‘riding trai s’, and the ‘stab es’, thus dubbing the thief, "the No-L Bandit".

This crook doesn't just steal ‘L's, but the spirit of the holidays. Melinda, with the help of the stable hand, Kyle, is on a quest to find who is responsible.

If only their attraction for each other didn’t get in the way...

The Noel Bandit by Sydney Shay, available from Climbing Rose of The Wild Rose Press.

What happened after their first kiss on New Years Eve?

The ‘L’s were restored, but romance keeps Lucky Lake from returning to normal. Natalie and Russ grow closer everyday, but while she looks out for their future, he only thinks of the ranch, which might close by the end of summer.

Russ's decision may be made for him. His father has given Natalie two weeks notice, placing her last day right after her birthday! Does Russ love her more than Lucky Lake? Will the loss of her job end their relationship forever?

Saddle Up, Sweetheart by Sydney Shay, available from Climbing Rose of The Wild Rose Press

11 Family Dramas

While camping in the Cuyamaca Mountains above San Diego, shy Melena Harrison meets surfer Dylan Hart and is floored that an attractive man would actually fall for her. Especially since she hasn’t had a date since, well, birth.

They share a romantic late night hike, trips to the beach and chemistry that can’t be bottled—everything is going great. That is until Cassi, Melena’s spoiled sister, falls for Dylan, too. And what Cassi wants, she usually gets. Manipulation, sordid tricks and revealing clothing—Cassi will do whatever it takes to get her man. Even if Melena is left heart broken.

Can Dylan and Melena’s budding relationship survive Cassi’s vindictive meddling?

Love Thy Sister, Guard Thy Man [The Russell Family Series Book 1] by Kimberlee R. Mendoza available from Climbing Rose of The Wild Rose Press

Being a teenager is hard enough without a sister trying to control one’s life.

Sixteen year old Nick Russell falls in love with high school outcast Sherry Park. After losing her in a tragic car accident, he decides to never love again. But when an unlikely foe captures his heart, he begins to change his mind. When his sister Melena finds out her brother is hanging out with her professor’s wild child, she puts on the breaks. Can Nick find happiness despite his sisters encumbering efforts? Will his heart ever heal?

Oh Brother, You’re Not My Keeper [The Russell Family Series Book 2] by Kimberlee R. Mendoza available from Climbing Rose of The Wild Rose Press

Excited about running with the popular crowd and dating older guys, Cassi Russell can’t wait to start high school. But when her friend, Beth, blackballs her from the in-crowd, Cassi decides to get even. She sets her sights on Beth’s boyfriend, Kip Bryant, the quarterback. Her plan works beautifully, but not without a problem. Cassi never intended on falling for film geek, Neil Rosenberg; the first guy to ever see beyond her physical appearance. Now she must decide what is more important - revenge and popularity, or losing Neil’s friendship and love forever.

Seek Ye First My Heart [The Russell Family Series Book 3] by Kimberlee R. Mendoza available from Climbing Rose of The Wild Rose Press
Living in a divorce situation has never been easy on any of the Russells, but lately Kevin feels like the invisible sibling. Things only get worse when Melena, the only one in his family he can count on, decides to get married and move out of state. So when gorgeous Janessa Blackington shows interest, he's hooked. But dating the wild girl will come at a high price that could cost him his dreams and possibly his life. Is he willing to take that risk just to feel loved? Or could there be something better right under his nose that will only cost him his heart?

Fried, Scrambled And Unequally Yoked [Russell Family Series 4] by Kimberlee R. Mendoza available from Climbing Rose of The Wild Rose Press

Laura James froze in her tracks.

Good heavens, was that Brett Mitchell in the gazebo? Back in high school, every girl in Crystal Falls had a crush on him. He graduated a year ahead of her, in her sister's class, and had left for college.

Handsome as ever in a uniform shirt and jeans, he wolfed down a sandwich. Laura hadn’t expected him to return to Crystal Falls, especially not with a father like his.

She heard a noise behind her, and a sudden, sharp pain pinched her behind. With a shout, she leapt into the air and whirled around.

An open back beak jabbed at her.

"Ahhhh!” She flailed her arms at the oversized bird. It headed for her sandwich. Laura swung her purse at a wing. The swan dodged flying makeup and keys.

“Awwwk!” With beady eyes aimed for attack, its long white neck thrust toward her.

Laura threw her purse at the bird and turned to run. The swan bit her butt again. She yelped and ran, looking back as it nipped at her heels.

Suddenly she hit a wall of hard flesh. Strong arms lifted her off the ground. She spun around and landed with Brett Mitchell between her and the swan.

His nearness took her breath away.

10 Scavengers Hunting

Sarah Bradley has wanted to hang with the popular kids since her freshman year, and now she has the chance. All she has to do is survive a Halloween scavenger hunt with the "in" crowd. When the girls lock her in a haunted mansion, she feels the trick is on her. Then she meets Matt and begins to believe that maybe she got a treat after all. But what if "love" is part of the game?
Trick to Treat by Kimberlee R. Mendoza, available from Climbing Rose of The Wild Rose Press.

9 Haunting Spirits

Twelve-year-old Hannah Barnes is just like all the other girls in her small Georgia town, except for one little detail. Hannah’s best friend—make that her only friend—is a ghost. When the annual Sweet Pea Festival arrives, Hannah discovers the secret to freeing Lilah from her earthly bondage. Hannah has a decision to make. Will she help Lilah move on, or will she hold on to her best friend?

Corn Maze by Deb Logan, available from Climbing Rose of The Wild Rose Press.

Excerpt from Corn Maze:

My best friend is a ghost, but sometimes I forget she's dead.

I discovered Lilah at the end of June when my family moved into this old mansion on the remains of a Georgia cotton plantation. It's not as grand as it sounds. The house is practically falling down around us and the live oaks, lining the drive, drip with grey-green moss. Very creepy.

The owner, Bill Richardson, lives in Oklahoma. He hadn't been able to keep a tenant for more than a month in the ten years he'd owned it. I bet that's because of Lilah.

I keep trying to guess when Lilah lived, but it's hard to tell. She looks like a pretty normal girl, except she's all silvery-white, so I have to guess at colors. Her hair is dark, like frosted coal, and she wears it in two long braids, the kind where each braid starts right at her forehead and ends in a little ribbon bow. She wears loose fitting jeans and a short-sleeve plaid shirt. My jeans aren't baggy and rolled up at the ankles, but I have a shirt that looks just like hers. Her shoes are the biggest clue. I described them to Mom who said they were called saddle shoes, because the darker piece of leather that runs across the middle looks like a saddle. I don't know anyone who wears shoes like that.

She's really a very nice girl, but most folks aren't too keen on chatting with the dead. Me, I'm used to it. Mom says I'm psychic and, since not every twelve-year-old talks to dead people, that I should keep this stuff to myself.

My name is Hannah Barnes and my family's been here in Fraser, Georgia about six weeks. Before that, we lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Dad met Mr. Richardson when he did some repairs on the guy's office. Richardson liked Dad's work and offered him this gig. A free place to live if Dad would make the needed repairs to keep the place standing. He forgot to mention the ghost.

Dad's making good progress restoring the mansion to its former glory while Mom works in town as a legal secretary. She tried helping Dad with the restoration, but the mansion makes her jumpy. She says the only way she can live here is to escape for forty hours each week.

Lilah and I try to help Dad as much as possible, but he gets jittery whenever Lilah hands him a tool. I guess it's 'cause he can't see her. Maybe flying nail guns would freak me, too. Anyway, he asked me to keep her away from his work area, said it wasn't safe for little girls to play with power tools. Right. He never had a problem with me helping him in Tulsa.

So, until school starts, I've got nothing to do but shoot the breeze with Lilah. Killing time with a ghost has its ups and downs. Lilah's shown me all the house's secrets from the priest hole behind the cellar wall to the loose floor board in the attic where an ancestor kept her diary. She's even shown me cool stuff on the grounds, like the secret spot under the roots of the huge, live oak by the river. The only thing she won't do is go beyond the big iron gate that separates the driveway from the road.

8 Ghostly E-mails

A GIRL: Traci Nettleton is in seventh heaven when Brad Davidson, the gorgeous quarterback on the football team asks her out. Then she gets a mysterious e-mail that threatens to ruin everything.

A GUY: Brad loves hanging out with Traci. She’s cute, smart, and funny. But she seems a little jumpy around him lately. Is she hiding something?

A GHOST: How can Traci be getting e-mails from her best friend who died two years ago? Is someone playing a cruel joke, or does Corky really need her help? Traci plans to find out – her new romance with Brad depends on it.

A Girl, A Guy, And A Ghost, by Sherrie Kelley, available from Climbing Rose of The Wild Rose Press.

“Shut the door, Bobcat.”

Traci choked on a scream. “Wh…what?” It had been Corky's voice, or someone who could sound exactly like him.

“Shut the door, will you? I don't think Mom could stand the strain, do you? She doesn't look so good.”

Corky again. His voice…but where was he?

Scanning the room with bulging eyes, Traci slowly shut the door. She didn't want to but she also didn't want Mrs. Evans to hear her…or him. If there was indeed a him. “Where…where are you?” She'd play along with the full knowledge this was an elaborate, not-very-funny hoax. Nevertheless, she kept her voice slightly above a whisper.

“Over here, on the bed. I haven't figured out how to make myself visible yet. I can make a few sparks, but that's about it.”

Traci swayed where she stood. She stuck her hands behind her to brace herself against the door. Her heart had lodged somewhere between her tonsils and her voice box.

“Come on, Trace! You've never been a coward. Don't start wimping out of me now. I thought you'd never come over.”

Coward? Her? Absolutely, and she wasn't ashamed of the fact. “You…you…” It was no use. She wasn't getting much past the heart in her throat. She tried unsuccessfully to swallow it. Corky was a ghost, yet he was talking to her as if he'd never died.

“Man, I see you've lost most of your baby fat. Guess chasing boys will do
that to you.”

It was Corky all right. He'd always had the knack for ruffling her feathers. She licked her dry-as-a-bone lips and tried to talk again. “You…” Okay, so she had a voice, but it sounded like it belonged to someone else. “Is…is that really you?”

7 Hornets Buzzing

When the internet connection fails at their grandparent’s cottage, Theresa and her book smart brother Bobby are forced outside. Disturbing a hornet’s nest, the teens fall into a cenote and time travel to an Ojibwa encampment where Theresa finds love and Bobby aids their new friends.

When the two venture where they shouldn’t and interfere with fur trading, they put their lives in danger as well as those of the Native Americans. The teens need to use their twenty-first century smarts in order to return to safety.

Vortex to the Ojibwa, by Jane Greenhill, available from Climbing Rose of The Wild Rose Press.

6 Moonlight Dances

Charlie Mitchell has always been able to hear lingering whispers of long-ago conversations. In her aunt’s farmhouse in Saskatchewan, her unusual abilities draw her into a heartbreaking romance that took place many years ago. In the town dance hall, Charlie meets Harm, the ghost of a ranch hand from the past. Harm comes to the hall every time there is a full moon to see the ghost of the woman he was to marry—but she can’t see him.

Charlie finds romance of her own with Kyle from next door, and she tells him about meeting Harm. A practical rancher, Kyle cannot accept the presence of a ghost. His reaction to her abilities leaves Charlie no choice but to help Harm find his true love without Kyle’s help.
Join Charlie and Kyle as their relationship swings from the highs of new love to the dark despair of shattered dreams.

Moonlight Dancer by Mona Ingram, available from Climbing Rose of The Wild Rose Press.

Excerpt from Moonlight Dancer:

“Hello again.” She stilled. Could it possibly be him again? Still holding the broom in one hand, she turned slowly. He was there, a faint smile playing around the corners of his lips. “I was hoping to see you here today.”

She studied him openly. It was easy to see why Charlotte had fallen in love with this man. He was confidently masculine, and yet the aching vulnerability in his eyes showed how deeply he’d loved her namesake.

“I was wondering if I’d imagined you,” Charlie said finally. “It’s not every day a person talks to a ghost, you know.”

He nodded. “I’m as surprised as you are.”


“Yes. Nobody has ever been able to see me before.” He looked at her curiously. “You’re the only one." The light caught the gold flecks in his eyes. "Do you mind?"

Five Secret Whispers

After shedding 30 pounds of baby fat, chubby Sophie Sinora has grown into a pretty, but insecure, teen in bloom. To make her life more complicated, Sophie can sometimes read minds.

Sophie’s BFFs, AJ and Krysta, are also ‘gifted’ with paranormal abilities. Keeping their gifts secret proves difficult, as their powers are strengthening, making them feel more and more like freaks. When Sophie falls for Jacob, she hopes he’ll ask her out to the Freshman Formal. But when she’s forced to cheat and lie for him, she wonders how far she’ll have to go to make him like her. Add to her growing list of problems - her teacher’s suicidal thoughts, a locker bully who wants to kick her butt, the totally hot school flirt who won’t stop teasing her, her pregnant sister who boots Sophie out of her room, and the growing tension between Sophie and her best friends.

Sophie’s got issues. Hopefully, she can fix them in time to save her teacher’s life and her social life.

Raised under the shadow of her popular and spoiled brother, AJ Dawson struggles to get any kind of compliment from her mother. She can’t escape her troubled home-life at school, when she is forced to deal with a lot of the same issues. Her immature coach is determined to turn the team against her, her teammates are bent on losing every game, and the rest of the school population cowers in her presence. AJ’s mounting frustration could turn her into a ticking time bomb, and she knows the first step to solving her problems is to gain acceptance from her mother. Easier said than done.

Her relationship with her mother goes from bad to worse when AJ’s new green-haired boyfriend knocks on the door. She knows she’ll have to clean up her guy if she wants to earn Mom’s respect. But AJ’s secret ability to foretell the future is driving her and her mom further apart, and if she doesn’t tell her mom about her horrible vision soon, her brother will die.

Sophie's Secret and Don't Tell Mother, Books 1 & 2 of the Whispers series by Tara West, available from Climbing Rose of The Wild Rose Press.

Excerpt from Sophie's Secret:

Opening the door to room five-o-five, Freshman English, I slid in quietly and scurried to my seat at the far side of the room. Although I didn’t see Mrs. Warren, I could hear her movement from behind a big pile of books that sat atop her desk. Maybe she hadn’t taken roll yet. I received only a few evil glares as my fellow classmates caught me sneaking in late, but they didn’t dog me. They didn’t want extra homework, either.

“You’re late, Sophie!” Frankie Salas, who sat directly across from me, announced this to the entire class.

I felt every muscle in my body tense.

Frankie turned to me with a grin.

I couldn’t speak, couldn’t move, couldn’t unstiffen my frozen face if I tried. All I could do was stare at my tormentor and think, “Why?”

“Wh…what was that? Someone came in late?” The teacher’s balding head popped up from behind a pile of books in the corner of the room. It took a moment to register it wasn’t Mrs. Warren talking.

Substitute teacher, Mr. Dallin, or as we so fondly called him, Mr. Pick-N-Flick, had been teaching since the beginning of time and he hadn’t earned his booger picking reputation for no reason. He was my oldest sister’s math teacher. She told me he left crusties on her papers at least once a week. He was our sub for three weeks in my seventh grade geography class. On two occasions, I’d caught him digging for buried treasure. He was one reason I carried antibacterial hand lotion in my backpack.

Another one of Dallin’s shortcomings, he had blessedly horrible hearing and eyesight. My lucky day.

“No, no, Mr. Dallin. I said you look great, Sophie.” Frankie winked. “Doesn’t she look great, Mr. Dallin?”

I felt the heat rise from my chest into my cheeks.

Four Wheels a-Screeching

While behind the wheel during driver’s ed, high school sophomore Kate Sterns inadvertently foils an escaped convict’s getaway. When her heroic actions land her face on the front page of the Wainscott Gazette, she thinks her life is over, and it is, at least her life as an ordinary anyway. Overnight she is plucked from the ordinaries and plopped into the “in crowd.” At first Kate is in denial of her status change, but then she likes it, that is until she’s labeled a snob, her locker gets trashed and one other minor thing-- she’s being stalked.

Ordinary Me by June Sproat, available from Climbing Rose of The Wild Rose Press

Excerpt from Ordinary Me:

I gripped harder trying to keep my sweaty hands from slipping off the steering wheel. I hit the gas andpulled the wheel hard to the left, instead of the right. Coach totally did not expect this, since he told me to go right. It seemed like it took forever for this to register in the Coach’s brain, which gave me enough time to hit the gas again—hard.

Coach was slamming that extra brake on the passenger side that’s installed on Driver’s Ed cars; and our car started skidding.

I jerked the wheel back the other way, still sliding across the wet pavement like we were on ice, and stopped directly in the line of the police cars. Oh yeah, we also did a complete 360. This was actually kind of cool, except that is for the sirens and the cops.

I couldn’t help but think this day couldn’t get any worse. I was losing control of the car, my mind, and I guess, my mouth, too. I started babbling about Chemistry and Mums, and, oh yeah, the cute guy in the backseat, who doesn’t even know I’m alive. It really doesn’t matter because I’ll probably be dead soon anyway!

Three Angels Singing

Twelve-year-old Deanne Lawyer has a beautiful voice and a problem—her choir director, Mrs. Davis, just reassigned her descant solo to Sucky Susie Emerson! Deanne will have to use all the wiles her life as the little sister of five brothers has given her to reclaim her rights in time to wow the director of the adult choir for the annual Easter Cantata. Better watch out, Susie. Deanne is on a mission!

Angelic Voices by Deb Logan, available from Climbing Rose of The Wild Rose Press

Excerpt from Angelic Voices:

Susie Emerson sucks. I can't believe I ever admired her. Mrs. Davis gave that descant solo to me. My voice was supposed to lilt over the rest of the choir, float to the rafters above the sanctuary, maybe even soar right up to heaven and please God with its sweetness. Until Mrs. Davis reassigned the descant to Susie.

If Susie's mother wasn't the Director of Music at Valley Christian Church, I'd trap Susie in the alley and tear her hair out. Actually, I'd be doing her a favor. That fine, white-blonde, wispy stuff hardly qualifies as hair. If I pulled it all out by the roots, some decent, dark, thick curls might have a chance to grow.

Yeah, I know. Violence is never the answer, but it sure felt good to think about.

"Deanne Lawyer!" Mrs. Davis' voice cracked over my head like a whip and forced my thoughts away from Susie's destruction.

"Yes, ma'am?"

"I asked you to trade places with Susie. I want you to lead the soprano section." She turned to face the other girls as I switched seats with Susie. Mrs. Davis missed the smirk Susie aimed at me, but I didn't.

You are SO toast. I settled into her vacated chair. Your own mother won't recognize you when I'm finished.

I plotted as I sang the melody line to our portion of the Easter cantata. Honestly, the soprano part was so predictable, even the eight-year-olds should be able to sing it without sheet music or my strong voice to lead. In spite of the ease of the part, I still heard Heidi waver off-key, so I turned my head and aimed my clear, perfect-pitch voice in her direction. She pulled into the key and held her own.

What to do about Susie? I wanted my descant back, but couldn't fault her execution of that soaring counterpoint. If only I'd had some warning about her backstabbing. I could've held my own in a fair fight, but when Susie Emerson, my fourteen-year-old idol, pulled in close to me and sang right in my ear…well…it'd take a stronger vocalist than I was at the moment to stand up to Susie's voice and sight read at the same time.

Unfortunately, the same tactics wouldn't work for me. My voice could blow the wax out of your ears, but Susie wasn't sight reading. Like I said, her mom was the Director of Music. Susie had been studying that piece since before Mrs. Davis settled on it. She might've even talked her mom into insisting Mrs. Davis choose it. Score one for 'Sucky' Susie.

Two Writers Collaborating

When Jessie's Mother gets a job at an expensive private high school, Jessie can attend for free. Trying to fit in with a group of stuck-up rich kids, she denies even knowing the lowly school secretary – her very own mother. Is being part of the in-crowd worth denying the one person who genuinely cares about her?

Poor Me, by the Mother/Daughter writing team of Dara Edmondson and Raina Edmondson, available from Climbing Rose of The Wild Rose Press.

Excerpt from Poor Me:

Ma's hands were fisted at her sides and she looked ready to burst. "I'm so excited," she said. "It's at that school in Coconut Grove. Remember? I applied over a month ago."

I tried to recall the help wanted ads she'd read me, the ones she'd said sounded promising. There were always so many. "Is that the secretary one?"

"Administrative Assistant, they call it now. Let's go in and I'll tell you all about it." She ushered me inside our tiny apartment.

It took my eyes a moment to adjust to the dim light. Sitting on a plastic kitchen chair, I gave her my full attention. "The expensive private school, right?"

Her head bobbed up and down. "And you'll never guess what they've offered." She pursed her lips and arched her dark eyebrows.

A steady paycheck would be good. Knowing we won't be evicted again, at least not for a while, that would be wonderful. "What?"

"Free tuition." She crossed the room and hugged me. "You can attend Worthington Academy, Jessie. And they don't have lockdowns because someone's brought a gun to school, or graffiti on the walls, or gangs." She stepped away and drew a deep breath, let it out slowly. "It's so scary to send you where I don't know if you'll be safe. This way, you'll get a terrific education and I'll rest easy. And we can carpool."

I swallowed hard. Go to a private high school in Coconut Grove? With a bunch of rich kids? "But all my friends–"

"You'll make more, I promise. Starting at the beginning of the school year, there'll be other new kids." She shrugged. "And it's not like you can’t stay in touch with Brianne and Nicole. You just won't see them every day, that's all."

I thought about what it would be like, going to a different school, a private school. Girls like me never had opportunities like that. Feeling safe in the classrooms would be nice. Learning something, instead of listening to the teachers yell at the disruptive kids.

It wasn't like I hadn't started over at new schools before. I'd done that loads of times. Every time we had to move too far for me to stay in the same district. No big deal. Standing, I hugged my mother.

"Congratulations. This'll be the one, Ma. The job that'll work. I know it."

The 12 YAs of Christmas - One boat a-sailing

Sail away from winter blues with the magic of a Wild Rose Press short story: Periwinkle Way. Join sisters Robin and Rue on (and off) the beaches of Captiva Island, Florida. Dolphins dance along the horizon, shells dot the sugar-soft sand... and just off the coast, one uncaring captain is ruining the environment for everyone. This fast paced read is guaranteed to let you escape the winter chill!

Check out this 4-book review by Verbena at Long and Short Reviews!

Moonlight Dancer

Mona Ingram, author of Moonlight Dancer, is here to chat about being a finalist in the Eppie awards. (What's an Eppie? An award for excellence in electronic publishing, of course! Read about it here.)

So, an Eppie finalist! You must be pretty excited--how did you find out? And what did you do when you heard the good news?

I was informed by an e-mail from the Eppie people. I was thrilled, of course, and the first thing I did was share the news with Jill Williamson, who edited Moonlight Dancer. Where would we be without our editors?
Tell me about Moonlight Dancer.

Moonlight Dancer is set on the Canadian Prairie, where Charlie Mitchell, city girl, clashes with Kyle Fleming, a young man whose future is irrevocably tied to the land he farms with his father. Charlie’s unusual abilities include being able to sense the dreams and emotions of people who have gone before. In her aunt’s farmhouse, she discovers that her ancestor Charlotte had been desperately in love with a handsome ranch hand, Harm. Even though Harm was killed in a rodeo accident before the couple could elope, Charlotte went to the dance hall where they met every time there was a full moon, until she dies of a broken heart.

Alone in the dance hall one day, Charlie meets Harm’s ghost and agrees to help him try to contact Charlotte. When she tries to explain all this to Kyle, who’s a straightforward kind of guy, he can’t quite grasp that Charlie talks to ghosts, and she wonders if their relationship will survive the emotional roller coaster that ensues.

How did you get the idea for Moonlight Dancer?

I was traveling in Saskatchewan and saw an old dance hall on the edge of a lake. Built back in the depression years, people would drive for miles to meet and dance there. And believe it or not, it’s still going strong! Maybe I’m a bit like Charlie, but I just knew that there was a ghost in there with a romantic story.

Are you drawn to paranormal stories?

You know, I didn’t think so, as I mainly write contemporary adult romance. But writing Moonlight Dancer has led me down an entirely new avenue. What I like about writing for Young Adults is that they are so accepting of the paranormal…so open-minded.

Are you inspired by any particular music? What's on your playlist when you're writing?

I don’t listen to music when I write, because I’m in the scene I’m writing. But if I did, it would be Andrea Bocelli. I have no idea what he’s saying, but who cares? It’s music to fall in love by.

What was your favorite book when you were a teenager?

I read absolutely everything, but I do remember reading a lot by an author called Sax Rohmer. The main character in the books I read was an oriental gentleman called Fu Manchu. If I recall correctly, they were very violent and gory, but I loved them.

Any other books coming out soon that Climbing Rose readers will love?

My stories percolate around in my head for a long time before I sit down to
write them, and I have one bubbling away, but I’m committed to a couple of other
books just now, so I’ll have to say no.
How about an excerpt from Moonlight Dancer?

Mona, thanks so much for stopping by! And good luck in the Eppie Awards!

Werewolves, Vampires and Twilight Weekend

The Wolfy Chicks, Judith Graves and Kitty Keswick, have stopped by to discuss YA paranormal--including their own awesome Climbing Rose novels--and the big Twilight weekend.

Judith Graves writes about vamps, werewolves and other folklore beasties. Her YA novel, Under My Skin, the first in the SKINNED trilogy, will soon be available from Climbing Rose.

Kitty Keswick creates worlds…fun, fantasy worlds that dabble in the paranormal, where anything can happen...and does. Her debut novel, Freaksville, is also coming soon to Climbing Rose.

Welcome, ladies! So, let's get the big Twilight question out of the way: Team Edward or Team Jacob?

Kitty: Well it's Edward for me...until New Moon that is. In Twilight I think Jacob was still a little boyish. But, as you may or may not know I have a thing for werewolves... In my series Freaksville, it's all about the fur & fangs. No Vamps there.

Judith: As a “root for the under-dog” kind of girl – hey, I write werewolf tales – I love Jacob’s character (especially as it develops over the course of the books), but have to admit, he’s the nice guy who, unfortunately, doesn’t get the girl and just can’t compete with Edward’s restrained passion and beauty.

Jacob for me. Sigh. He’s totally hot, (mostly) human, and loves Bella so completely. What did you like about the movie? What didn't you like?

Kitty: I'm really excited about the movie. In fact, I was planning to drive 5 hours over a huge mountain range to see it. My BFF lives ten hours away we were going to do the meet halfway thing. Until I woke up this morning and there was nothing but white outside my window. Snow. So, I'm going tonight.

Judith: I enjoyed the baseball scene, possibly the only time in the movie I actually felt Bella was in any danger. The protectiveness of the entire Cullen family was fab to see. The dance at the end. Ouch – I’m sorry, no matter how horribly Bella dances - I think a musician/composer like Edward would have enough rhythm for both of them. The actors looked uncomfortable in each other’s arms.

I liked the actress who played Bella and the actors who played her friends at school were great. But, I gotta say, some of the special effects made me want to laugh. Did you think the movie captured the essence of the book?

Judith: Yes and no. The basics of the story were there. However – and this might freak out the die-hard fans – I think the script should have been altered so that it didn’t follow the book as closely. It needed its own stage to strut upon. What I’m getting at is – you can’t have a movie built on longing looks between characters and hope the audience is getting the subtext.

I totally agree. The movie never added anything of its own--it was just a lesser version of the book. I was disappointed in that, but it was still fun to see it brought to life. If your book were made into a movie, who would you want to play your hero?

Kitty: OMG! Have you seen my booktrailer? It's totally like a movie. I want a British actor to play Josh, of course. He's my Lycan/werewolf /hero, jet-black hair, bright blue eyes, a major hottie. It would be a tall order to find an actor to play him...but if there was movie rights...oh a girl could dream.

British actors! Can I put in a vote for Dominic Cooper? Yum!

Judith: Sigh. A movie – wowza, wouldn’t that be cool? I wouldn’t care how much fans like me slagged it either. J I’m a fan of the obscure, so I’d want a total unknown to play my hero, Alec Delacroix. Like Jacob, Alec (a human werewolf huntyr) is aboriginal – Métis, of French and Plains Cree ancestry….but if I had to pick an actor, I’d go for a young Adam Beach.

Why do you write paranormal?

Kitty: I can't write anything else. Even when I try not to write paranormal it always turns into one. I love the supernatural. I sorta live in a haunted house...shhh don't tell. Our ghosts have been quiet for a few things moving. So you see, I can't escape the paranormal. You know that saying if you can't beat them join them.... In Freaksville, my heroine, Kasey sees ghosts. She also has visions. Oh and there's a HUGE paranormal skeleton in her family closet. But I'm not'll have to read the book. Just like the Twilight series, my series Freaksville, dives deeper and deeper into the paranormal as it goes along.

Judith: I’ve always loved the danger/horror/romance triple threat of paranormal fiction. I also love folklore and mythologies from different countries – amazing that many of them have similar themes. To me, modern paranormal fiction – vamps and weres and otherworldly creatures are extensions of century old stories. They’re still popular for a reason. Great conflict. Great love.

Stephenie Meyer cites Linkin Park and Muse as inspiration when she's writing--who's on your soundtrack?

Kitty: When I'm writing I need silence. BUT, I do listen to music when I'm plotting. I like Coldplay, The Fray, and a lot of British bands- no shock there, huh? Like, Kasey, I'm a huge anglophile, a lover of all things British. I love Depeche Mode, Echo and the Bunnyman...etc. Check out my tunes that inspired me on my myspace page. I just re-did the background, so stop by and tell me what you think.

Judith: As a musician/singer/songwriter, when I first started writing fiction I needed silence. If I tried to listen to a song with lyrics, I’d hum along in harmony or envy a wicked bass line. But back then I wasn’t as focused on my craft. Now that I’m writing everyday, I’m able to enjoy the benefits of writing to music. Nothin’ like a little Death Cab for Cutie to put me in an angst filled, love torn mood. “I Will Follow You into the Dark” was THE song for Alec’s character. I’m also loving Tegan and Sara right now as inspiration for a new project. I’ve been listening to “Dark Come Soon” and “Walking with a Ghost”.

What inspired your paranormal story?

Kitty: Freaksville is ultimately a love story. Just like Twilight. But mystery is a huge part of it...the haunted theater. I spent a lot of hours in theaters when I was around Kasey's age. Every theater I've been in was haunted. Ghosts and that creative energy seem to go hand in hand. I wanted to tell a ghost story with a twist. The characters came first for me. Josh then, Kasey and her best friend Gillie. Günter, Josh's best friend was an inspiration. I wanted another foreign exchange student. I picked Germany. I know where my head was at the my heart. My husband was born in Germany....but that's all he and the G-man have in common.

Judith: Years ago I picked up a book on a Cree mythological creature called Windigo. The idea of a Northern, man-eating creature with a heart of ice stuck with me (Hello, living in a small Northern Alberta town here!). After reading many vamp and werewolf tales, I wondered what it would be like if our winter-loving Windigo and other mythological beasties of the North were to suddenly come face to face with European based vamp and werewolf myths. Who would win? Who would prove stronger? And what would happen to humans caught in the fray? What if they could be saved by a handful of mixed-blooded teens – part norm (human) and part paranorm? And so Under My Skin was born.

What do you think the buzz for Twilight will do for YA in general and YA paranormal particularly?

Kitty: I hadn't read the Twilight series until a few days ago. (Usually, I don't read the same genre I'm writing in, but since Freaksville is done...) Then in a span of two days I read Twilight and New Moon. I'm on Eclipse now. And these aren't small books like, Freaksville. They're huge! I'm hoping it will help the already expanding YA market. I'm being selfish. I want readers to fall in love with Freaksville, just as much as I love writing it. I'm hoping, like Twilight, Freaksville will cross the age and gender gap. That teens and adults of both ages will read it.

Judith: Having read a ton of adult paranormal fiction, I honestly feel YA is finally catching on to the trend. Twilight is the first to reach global teen proportions, but many will follow in its wake.
Twilight, published in 2005, is also, no matter how “new” it seems to teen readers, simply working within the paranormal genre. I can’t help but compare it to the Sookie Stackhouse series written by Charlaine Harris – the first of which was published in 2001 (now a show on HBO, Trueblood). Although the characters in the Stackhouse books are a bit older, and the content more mature (especially in Trueblood – whoa – very mature), if you compare plots, you’ll see Twilight is not unique – it is following the general themes of the genre – as I mentioned before, retelling an old story. But this time the characters are in high school. And I guess that has made all the difference.

Ladies, thanks so much for stopping by and talking weres and vamps with me. Can’t wait to read Freaksville and Under My Skin! And also your upcoming Rose Petals (available for free from The Wild Rose Press) Kitty's My Prom Date's a Vampire and Judith's Old Flames Die Hard.

Interview with Kimberlee R. Mendoza

Hi, Kimberlee! Thanks for stopping by the blog! I'm totally in love with the Russell family series, so tell me about it. Why did you want to write a series?

I originally wrote, Love thy Sister, Guard thy Man--the first book in the series--in high school. It was the first novel I ever wrote. It's about a young girl who falls in love, only to have her sister rip him away from her. When I turned it in to The Wild Rose Press, the editor loved it, but at the time, they didn't have a young adult line, so she rejected it. A few months later, she contacted me and said they wanted to launch a YA line with "Sister." After that, my editor asked me if I would consider writing a sequel. The idea came to me to write each story from the point-of-view of each sibling. So, each book focuses on one of the Russell family siblings.
Is there a real-life Russell family?

No, though a lot of me is in these books. I am a child of divorce and could identify with their pain and struggles. I would say I'm most like Melena. Thank goodness, I'm NOT Cassi :) (For those who haven't read the books, Cassi is the evil sister in book one. Her story is in book three, Seek Ye First My Heart. And I promise, you'll like her by the end.)
What was your road to publishing?

I started writing when I was 12 years old. Finished my first novel by 16. Tried to get published for 15 years. Published a few poems here and there, and then a play in 2000. But it wasn't until I joined a critique group that the winds changed. My first novel was published by Booklocker within months of joining, and then The Wild Rose Press picked up my book, Reveille of the Heart, a few months later. Since then I've published 10 novels, 4 e-books, 1 non-fiction book, and 6 plays. I also have several in the works. I highly recommend critique groups to anyone interested in publishing. My own 12 year old son has just joined mine. So, maybe he won't have to wait 15 years to get published.
Why do you write YA?

No matter how hard I try, I write young. I direct a youth drama team and a lot of my good friends are under the age of 20. (Or maybe I'm must immature.) I adore teens and the way they view the world. I like to help them any way I can. Each of my Russell Family books deals with issues that teens deal with.
What's going on around you when you write?

Peace. No distractions. Boys are asleep or I'm at work in a closed office.
Do you like to read YA? Any YA books that you love?

Yes! Janette Rallison is my favorite YA author. Love her book, Fame,
Glory, and Other Things on My To-Do List
What books do you have coming out in the future?

Fried, Scrambled & Unequally Yoked (the fourth in the Russell Series) comes out in print this January. I just turned in a short story called, Wish Upon A Rock Star that is being considered for an anthology called, Summer Lovin'. And I have a book coming out called, Taps to the Soul. (A sequel to Reveille of the Heart.)
Thanks for letting me babble on about myself. It's been fun. Have a wonderful day :)

Thanks, Kimberlee! And, hey, if you want to check out Kimberlee's stuff, look for her free download, The After School Question, available from The Wild Rose Press or check out Kimberlee's website!

Seek Ye First--Now Available in Print

The Russell Family - Book 3 - Now available from Climbing Rose

Excited about running with the popular crowd and dating older guys, Cassi Russell can’t wait to start high school. But when her friend, Beth, blackballs her from the in-crowd, Cassi decides to get even. She sets her sights on Beth’s boyfriend, Kip Bryant, the quarterback. Her plan works beautifully, but not without a problem. Cassi never intended on falling for film geek, Neil Rosenberg; the first guy to ever see beyond her physical appearance. Now she must decide what is more important - revenge and popularity, or losing Neil’s friendship and love forever.

Deidre's Secret

When Deidre Roux has premonitions of danger, watch out! Faced with thwarting bank robbers and protecting others from the high school bully, she must reveal her secret to her new friend, Mark Cummings. Can she convince him that she truly sees a world of imminent danger headed their way before it's too late? Not only must Mark deal with Deidre's premonitions, which he has a hard time believing, but his convicted uncle has returned home. Humor, suspense, and conflict rule the day as Deidre's crazy aunt tries to do a true crime story on Mark's uncle. Deidre attempts to keep her aunt out of it before she gets mixed up in the much darker business of robberies and murder—her own, if she's not careful.

Look for it March 4, 2009 from Climbing Rose