Places that inspired the world of the Midnight Guardian

Hurricane-Sandy-flavored-ice-cream-at-Magic-Fountain (1)Because the Midnight Guardian series is based in southern Ohio and because I actually live in southern Ohio, I’m often asked about places that I write. Everyone wants to know the same thing. “That place in the book seems so familiar,” they say, “what place is it really?”

The answer isn’t easy. I don’t write about a specific place and just change the name. My settings are often compilations of multiple locales with a dash of artistic flair mixed in.

I’m most asked about the Dairy Dog, a seasonal ice cream/hotdog stand in the series. These summer-only shops are part of the landscape in southern Ohio. You’ll find one in every town and village.

I took most of my inspiration from Briskers Dairy Bar (formerly in Oak Hill, Ohio) and the Dairy Boy in Crown City, Ohio. I also drew on my memories of the Jumbo (formerly in Rio Grande, Ohio) and Swirly Top (Jackson, Ohio). To those inspirations I added a much coveted strawberry shake, a gazebo with honeysuckle and twinkling lights, and in Shadows Rising I added live music.

For pics that inspire and remind me of Keira’s world, check out my ALL THINGS MOGDOC board on pinterest.

Do word counts count?


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There are surprisingly few articles on the subject of word and page counts in novel writing. Yet, it is something that perplexes many indie authors.

According to Colleen Lindsay, associate director for marketing, social media and reader experience for NAL/Berkley and former book agent, the rule of thumb on word count for mainstream YA fiction novels is between 45 and 80 thousand words. She goes on to say that YA paranormal and fantasy average word counts tend to run a little higher with the top of the range at 120 thousand. She notes that many publishers try to stay below 100 thousand to keep production costs low.

Continue reading “Do word counts count?”