Meet Gary Westmorland (a character sketch – Gary and Collin vs. The Interdimensional Aliens)

When you live in a town as small as Smithville, sometimes your last name means people don’t give you much of a chance.

Gary Westmorland is a good kid who tries to avoid trouble (though there was that fire alarm incident). The problem is, everyone knows his dad is Bryce Westmorland, a man who can’t seem to stay out of trouble. When people look at 10-year-old Gary, instead of seeing a boy who tries his best, they see trouble waiting to happen.

Everything is about to change, though, when an alien named Martin shows up and asks Gary the question: ā€œCome on, kid. You want to save the world or not?ā€

Adventure follows as Gary, his cousin Collin, and their new friend Martin set out to stop Mavis, an evil alien from another dimension, and her hoard of dragons. Gary will soon learn that he is the only one who can wield the weapon that will stop Mavis from taking over our universe, but fear and self-doubt threaten to stop him.

Gary and Collin vs. The Interdimensional Aliens is a story of overcoming fear and finding strength in reliance on others. You can sample the first chapter by clicking here, or purchase the book on Amazon for Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, or Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08J3TDVX1.

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Q&A: What authors influenced you as a child?

Thinking back, there are three who come easily to mind.

Vicki Grove. She is a local author near my hometown. We read some of her books in class. She would also visit our elementary school and talk about life as an author.

Gary Paulsen. Hatchet, of course, is a classic. I also remember reading The River, Canyons, and Dogsong among others. He knew how to capture a boy’s sense of adventure.

Finally, Louis Sachar. His Wayside books have always stuck with me in their quirky humor. In fact, I’ve loved being able to read them with some of the foster kids we’ve had, and even sing along: “I’ve got one sock, looking for the other. One sock, looking for it’s brother…”

The thing that really struck me about Sachar was the interaction he would take with his fans. In the fifth grade, I believe, we had to write a letter to one of our favorite authors and I chose him. He wrote back, a very nice handwritten letter. Sometime later, I sent him another letter and talked about wanting to be an author. Again, he sent back a letter that was quite encouraging.

Those are the three that came quickly to mind.

If you have a question about writing, my books, or me as an author, I’d love to hear it. Please include it in a comment!

Meet Callum Martindale (a character sketch – The Secret Baker)

Ten-year-old Callum is good at mazes and video games and, well, not much else. His dad was a star high school baseball player, and his mom and sister are pretty good at basketball. Ask Callum about sports and he’ll tell you, “I’m as athletic as a sloth.” People expect him to be good at more, but since it’s not sports, he’s not sure what that’s supposed to be.

Until one day, he has to stay home from school sick. He ends up watching a baking show with his mom, decides to try baking, and discovers that he is actually pretty good at it.

Callum gets the idea to secretly leave surprise treats around his school with the help of his best friend, Ryan, even calling himself Captian Cookie! The Secret Baker! But when the school bully finds out, will his secret remain a secret?

The Secret Baker is a story for kids ages 8-12ish about learning to be yourself and embrace what you’re good at, no matter what other people think. Read Chapter 1 for free by clicking here (PDF).

You can find the book on Amazon for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited and in paperback.