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20 July 2011

Brinda Berry - Guest Post, 'The Waiting Booth and a Contest

It's my great pleasure today to welcome fellow author and dog lover, Brinda Berry.

Welcome to my blog, Brinda, have a glass of something blue, delicious and bubbly (totally harmless and calorie free)

Brinda's debut Young Adult novel 'THE WAITING BOOTH' was released on 15th July, details to follow later in this post.  In the meantime, I'll leave it to Brinda to tell us about another of my personal interests - caves! Over to you, Brinda.




The Fountain of Inspiration

I've often been asked, "How do you think of a new story?" It's not an easy question to answer. Inspiration comes from many sources for most writers.  Some writers dream up tales totally outside their personal experience.  Others may use an occurrence from daily life to expand upon creatively.


My imagination runs wild constantly. I will see an interesting person or situation and wonder about the details. I ask myself, "What if..." This overactive analysis running rampant in my brain occurred just this week. I took my parents and a visiting uncle on a day trip.  We had planned to travel to a state park and cave during the afternoon. As plans usually go, we were running behind schedule.

Instead of driving several hours to perhaps miss the last tour of the day through a well-known cave, I decided at the last second to change the plan. I saw a rather large billboard sign for a cave tour. I immediately pulled the car over and said, "Change of plan. Let's do this one instead!"

Trusting souls that they are, my parents and uncle agreed to the new plan, and we were off.  The ticket station for the cave tour was located a couple of miles from the highway. We paid cash for the tickets and waited for the tour to begin. There was no sign-in sheet or appointment book. Within fifteen minutes, a tour guide with two tourists exited the mouth of the cave, and we were next. 
The tour guide was friendly enough and handed us small flashlights to carry into the cave. This should have been our first clue about what to expect.
Inside the entrance of the  cave, there were a few lights strategically placed along the way.  The lighting decreased the further we traveled. The passages were extremely narrow, and I was last in the group.  I periodically flashed my small light behind me to ensure that I didn't have someone or something behind me. This caused me to nearly hit my head on an overhang every ten feet.

Mr. Tour Guide entertained us with stories while pointing out interesting features along the walls and ceiling. I dutifully pointed my camera and took photos while hoping that I captured something. Anything. My digital camera view screen displayed only a black rectangle. At one point mid-cave tour, we saw a small rowboat tethered in a cove. We were told it was used for the longer, wilder tour. He said there was "swimming involved". I replied, "You're kidding."  He answered with a straight face, "No."

Frequently during the one-hour tour, I imagined the ease of killing us.  We were undocumented guests. I had meant to text my sister to let her know the change of plans.  My parents and uncle are older and therefore less physically able to ward off a madman. My mom wore some idiotic slip-on shoes that made running nearly impossible. The tour guide mentioned the death of his mother whereon my overactive mind produced a Hitchcock scene from Psycho. He showed us the spot where he discovered some human bones.  There were nooks and crannies for hiding bodies EVERYWHERE.

At the point when I thought I might internally combust from stress, I realized the tour was over. We had returned to the mouth of the cave for exiting. Returning my flashlight, I happily thanked the guide and wished him a great day. I had survived. Now my husband wants to see it and do the longer tour (involving the boat and swimming).  I imagine that I'll survive that one, too. Maybe, I'll even write a story about it.

Phew, that's some story, Brinda, and quite scary.  As I said, I am fascinated by caves myself, and have used them as part of the settings in a couple of my own books. I also have vivid memories of visiting Dan Yr Ogof caves in Wales, very beautiful with stalagmites and stalagtites, and I can still remember how cold it was.

Anyway, we've kept the readers waiting long enough, lets hear all about your Debut YA novel, released on 15th July:  THE WAITING BOOTH!


BLURB: 
Mia Taylor's older brother has been missing for over a year, and someone knows the truth. When Mia's science project reveals a portal into another dimension, she learns that travelers are moving in and out of her woods in the most alarming way. Regulus and Arizona are two agents from the IIA on a mission to save this world from viral contamination. The mysterious Regulus intrigues Mia with his aloof nature and secretive manner. But for Mia, it's bad timing for a crush. When Regulus reveals the secrets that he knows about her, Mia's not sure what his motives really are.


EXCERPT


“Hi, Mr. Taylor. Mia here?” Austin entered without waiting to be invited in.

My dad stepped aside and looked up at me expectantly as I was taking the last few steps. I hoped that Austin wouldn’t breathe a word about what was on the pictures. I sure didn’t want my dad to be paranoid about leaving me alone during the week while he worked out of town.

“Dad, Austin’s helping me with my science project. Come on up.”

My dad had always liked Austin. If he ever found out that Austin had hit on me, that would change in a heartbeat. For crying out loud, I even thought about Austin like he was a brother. That he’d tried to kiss me sent the ick factor into the stratosphere.

We bounded up the stairs as quickly as possible without alerting my dad to some urgency in the air. I closed the door behind Austin and proceeded to move my computer mouse to bring the screen back in view.

Austin looked at the picture as he sat at my desk chair. “And this was the one at the end of your driveway?”

“Yeah,” I answered, hoping he would tell me he knew the guy, and he wasn’t some ax murderer roaming my woods.

“Pretty good pic,” Austin muttered. He clicked to zoom in on the face. “Still…it’s hard to make him out.”

“Do you recognize him or not?”

“Nope. Can’t say I know him. It’s not like I know everybody. It’s a big school. And he might not even be a college student. I can barely tell anything about the second person.” Austin clicked the forward and back buttons in the photo software program. “Why are they only in one frame?”

“I guess they’re really fast. I have the timer set to take a picture every six seconds after motion activation.”

He nodded. “Let’s go down and take a gander. Maybe they dropped something. Or maybe we can figure out why they were down there.”

Austin led the way out of my room while I covertly studied him. If I tried to forget that he was like a brother to me, I could see that he was good-looking. He was a little on the lanky side, and that made him look younger to most people. His dark hair always hung into his eyes, which made him seem a little derelict. His new sword tattoo covered about two inches of his right forearm. I had tried to talk him out of it, but he had grinned and said that I’d want one exactly like it.

He looked back at me as I stood there and smiled a I just caught you checking me out grin. I wasn’t really looking at him like that, but I felt myself blush and quickly found something else to focus on as I followed him out the door.

We left the house and took Austin’s car to the waiting booth. He drove an old black Jeep that was still minus the shell since the weather was warm enough. We jumped out to examine the area. On the same side of the drive as the wooden structure, saplings tangled with briars and brush as far as the eye could see. In the years before I was able to drive myself to school, my dad had kept the area fairly clean and bare with the aid of a tractor. Now, this area had become overgrown and weedy.

In the middle of the stalks of high grass, a circle of flattened brush marked where the people in the photo had been standing. “Holy cow, you’d really have to be dragging something heavy to make this dent in the ground.” I gasped, suspecting that the marks were new and the people in the photo had created them.

Austin walked around the flattened circle. “This is too weird. See how the grass swirls in a pattern? Maybe that dude had set something down here.”

“He wasn’t dragging anything in the picture. Maybe I need to look at it again.” I estimated the diameter of the circle to be about five feet across. I caught my breath as I felt a reverberating tickle pluck my spine like a tightly wound cello string. Avoiding the circle, I walked into the brush past it to see if I could find more evidence of the intruders. Nothing.

The weather had been fairly dry with no rain this month, but I bent to look for footprints. I started feeling silly, because even if I found footprints, I wouldn’t be able to tell anything from them. I shivered, trying to rid myself of the willies.

Publisher: Etopia Press
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal


PURCHASE LINKS AND MORE INFO from:
  
ETOPIA


AMAZON kindle



BIO:
Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family and two spunky cairn terriers. She has a BSE in English and French and a MEd in Learning Systems Technology. She's terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality.  She doesn't mind being called a geek or “crazy dog lady”. When she's not working the day job or writing a novel, she's guilty of surfing the internet for no good reason. 


She can be found at:
www.brindaberry.com
www.twitter.com/brin145
www.Facebook.com/BrindaBerryAuthor

and finally - Brinda wants to tell you about her

CONTEST!

Want to have some fun? Follow me on my summer blog tour. I'm celebrating the  release of The Waiting Booth with some prizes. Readers can win multiple prizes and enter at each blog stop.  I'll be adding some more tour dates and places soon!

Here are the rules: 

  • I'll be giving away an ebook at each tour stop. You may enter at each site by leaving a comment on my guest post. Unless noted by the blog/site owner, selection will be made within seven days of the day I visit.
  • The first five commenters at each stop will win a romance trading card. Aren't collecting them yet? They are absolutely cool.
  • If you like me on Facebook, tweet my site, or subscribe to my blog, I'll add your name in additional times for connecting with me (up to 3). You must let me know in the comments about your tweet, Facebook like, and/or blog subscription. 
  • There's a grand prize at the end of the blog tour, August 30th.  I'll put all the commenters from the stops in random.org for selection of the winner for the grand prize. Grand prize is a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.
  • Winners may be listed at the site I visit if the blog/site owner chooses. Winners of all prizes will be listed on my blog.