Saturday, December 14, 2013


I've been a busy girl.
I have articles in two magazines and one newspaper, all in one week.
Unfortunately, now I've set a precedent for myself:  can I do this again?

But for now, let's just enjoy the three articles listed below.

1) Don't forget your pets during this upcoming holiday season. Here's an article to help keep them safe:

2) Worried about putting on those holiday pounds? Here's an article to help you stay healthy while running, entitled RUNNER, HEAL THYSELF for RUNMINNESOTA magazine:

3) By far the most personal is the story I wrote for the WAGAZINE about my father and his dog, Melon Head. (entitled MELON HEAD, RESCUING A DOG WHO RESCUED MY DAD)

(If you click on the cover of the magazine at this site, it will allow you to read the magazine. My article is on pgs. 24-25)

I hope you enjoy what I've written. Currently, I'm finishing up first round edits for HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS for publication next summer. Please wish me luck and have a nice weekend!

- Ann

Monday, December 9, 2013


Truthfully, I'm better at Geometry than Geography.
The only time maps excite me is when they're found in a novel.
(Think THE PRINCESS BRIDE or the NARNIA series)

Imagine the thrill of having a map of your very own for a novel you wrote yourself!

I'm pleased to participate in the map reveal for K.A. Last's IMMAGICA, a Young Adult Fantasy set for publication January 2014.

Lawrence Mann


Where anything is possible.

Enter at your own risk.

The night before her fifteenth birthday, Rosaline Clayton uncovers a deep family secret. She receives an amulet from her deranged father, and he tells her she must find the book in order to save him. Rosaline is used to her dad not making any sense, so she dismisses their conversation as another of his crazy rants.

When Rosaline’s brother, Elliot, drags her to their Nana’s attic to explore, they find the old leather-bound book tucked away in a chest. It sucks them into its pages, transporting them to a magical world. Along the way Rosaline and Elliot are separated, and the only thing she wants is to find her brother and go home.

The creatures of Immagica have other ideas. After years of war their land lies in ruin. Using the amulet’s power, they want Rosaline to defeat the dragon and restore Immagica to its former glory. But Rosaline is bound to Immagica in ways she doesn’t understand, and when she discovers the truth about her family, she must follow her heart to save them all.

Curious about the world of IMMAGICA? Here is the map:

Lawrence Mann

Here's an excerpt from the book:

A breeze whipped my hair over my face. I batted it away as I turned in every direction, searching for my little brother.

“Elliot,” I called across the wasteland. “Elliot!” I screamed.


The book blew open and the pages fluttered in the breeze. I scurried over to snatch it up, not wanting to let it out of my sight. This place scared me. Losing Elliot scared me, and I was unsure what to do. If the book could spit me out into a desolate wasteland, it may also be able to take me home. I slipped my fingernail under the edge of the amulet and tried to prise it off the cover, but it wouldn’t budge. The emerald pulsed in a steady rhythm. After a few minutes I gave up and tucked the book into the back of my jeans.

If I decided to walk anywhere, it was going to be tough with no shoes, but I was glad I’d fallen asleep in my clothes the night before. Imagine if I’d ended up in this god-forsaken place in my nightie! Elliot was probably roaming around somewhere in his PJs. The thought made me laugh, but then sadness engulfed me. Elliot. My heart broke thinking about him. I’d lost my little brother. Where was I supposed to start looking for him? Already I missed the way his dark hair flopped across his forehead. The way he’d look at me so seriously with his grey eyes. And how he had a talent for making me smile when it was the last thing I wanted to do.

I stared at my feet and wished I had my favourite pair of Converse to slip on. I sighed and started to walk. Rocks dug into my skin, making me wince with every step. After a few minutes the pain subsided and the walking got easier. I thought I’d lost the feeling in my feet, but when I looked down again I was wearing a pair of black Converse All Stars.

My mouth dropped open and I stopped. “How…?”

It was still just me in the middle of nowhere. The shoes felt real enough, but I gave my toes a little wriggle to make sure it wasn’t an illusion. I even blinked a couple of times to test my eyes were working properly. Yep, the shoes were definitely real, and I was a little more freaked than I’d been when I first arrived.

I continued walking. Where I was walking to was a mystery. How could I know where I was going, if I didn’t even know where I was in the first place? I wished Elliot was with me. Or that I had someone to talk to; someone who could tell me where I was.

“Where am I?” I asked the breeze.

“You know, talking to yourself is the first sign of craziness,” a girl said from behind me.

I spun around to face the most unusual girl I’d ever seen. She held a bronze spear in her right hand. It was fancy like a sceptre, with a decorative head that housed a big emerald. What was it with all the emeralds? Maybe I was in Oz. The eye-shaped stone stared at me and I shuddered. Above all the fanciness was a silver point that could probably slice me in half in one-second flat.

Frantically, I looked around for something to use to defend myself if I needed to. My only option was to brain her with a rock—if I needed to.

“I wasn’t talking to myself,” I said. I totally was talking to myself. “I just wanted someone to talk to.”

The girl laughed. “You should be careful what you wish for in a place like this.”

She looked a little older than me, with pale blue eyes, high cheekbones, and an olive complexion. Silver streaked her long, black hair, and it had several small braids through it.

“And where is this exactly?”

The girl simply stared at me, her mouth all pouty, as if I should know the answer. I wasn’t sure if she would hurt me or take me to meet her equally weird looking friends. She wore a pair of ripped denim shorts, and a strange cream top that looked handmade with lacing up each side and an uneven neckline. Shin-high, chunky hiking boots encased her long legs, and she had a small leather satchel flung across her body. The spear totally completed the outfit.

“Not quite like Dorothy is it,” she finally said, grinning. “She was greeted by munchkins, but you got me instead.”

“You’ve read The Wizard of Oz?”

“Of course.” The girl laughed. “And Alice in Wonderland, The Neverending Story, and Narnia. All the greats.”

Somehow, I found it hard to believe. Where the hell was the library?

“Who are you?” I asked, putting my hands on my hips. I could play smart, too, but I hoped I appeared more confident than I felt.

“So many questions. Which one do I answer first? I hope you know who you are.”

“Never mind,” I said, turning away. She’d done her best to annoy me, and I’d only known her for twenty seconds.

“Don’t take it personally.” The girl fell into step beside me. “You’re not the only one that’s ended up here when they first arrived. Not everyone can expect to land in the thick of things.”

“What are you talking about?” I stopped to face her.

“I’m Brynn.” She stuck out her hand. I hesitated but eventually took it. She pumped my arm up and down a few times before letting go. “So, where’s the book?”

“How do you know about the book?” I frowned.

“You usually can’t get here without the book.”

“Where’s here?”

“Isn’t it obvious?”

“No, not really. Why do you want the book?” I asked.

“I don’t want the book.”

“Then why did you ask about the book?”

“You’ll need the book,” Brynn said. “The book is very important.”

I sighed. “Of course it is.” I pulled it from the waistband of my jeans, but I didn’t hand it over.

“You don’t trust me, do you?” Brynn asked.

“If you were me, would you trust you?”

“I’m very trustworthy.” She smiled and raised her eyebrows.

“But how do I know that!”

She shrugged. “You don’t.”

“Okay, this place is just weird,” I said.

Arguing with the strange girl was wasting time. I needed to find Elliot. Brynn was the only person, besides me, in this terrible place, so what option did I have? I’d have to ask for help.

“I’ve lost my little brother,” I blurted out. “He was with me, I felt him beside me when … and then he wasn’t there, and I was here, and I hate this place!”

The emerald in the amulet pulsed.

Brynn looked at me as if she couldn’t care less about Elliot. Why would she? She didn’t know him. But I cared. And I was damn well going to make her care!

“You’ll need to get the amulet off the cover if you want to find him,” she said. “Push the emerald.”

Sure, why not. Nothing else in my life made sense anymore. I did as she’d said and pushed it with my thumb. Something clicked and the golden glow shone under the amulet. It popped off the cover and the book healed itself, returning to normal. I ran my fingers over the embossed image on the cover before unravelling the chain and hanging the amulet around my neck. It gave me an odd feeling of security, like I could do anything, or go anywhere.

“Hey! Where are you going,” I called to Brynn. She’d walked off while I was doing weird stuff.

“You can come if you like.” She stopped and waited for me to catch up. “You’re a Clayton. What’s your first name?”

“Rosaline,” I replied. “How do you know my last name?”

“The amulet has been in your family for generations. Your ancestors had a hand in creating this place.”

“My family made this horrid wasteland? What on earth for?”

“You mean you haven’t been told?”

“Told what?” I asked. “No one tells me anything.”

“You don’t know anything about magic?”

“Are you related to my dad? Because he’s all kinds of weird as well,” I said.

About the Author:

Last summer, K.A. Last was my mentor for the Pitcharama contest sponsored by  I can't begin to tell you how nice and helpful she was to me, giving advice and helping me tweak my pitch.  I wish her, and her imaginary worlds, the best of luck.

Here is her blog: (she even has a CONTEST with GREAT PRIZES to celebrate!)

Here is her Facebook author page:!/KALastBooks

Here is the goodreads page for IMMAGICA: