The Frog Blog

J.R. Sparlin discusses things

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Frog Blog Interview with E M McIntyre

Today is the FROG BLOG INTERVIEW with E M McIntyre! Native to Minnesota, she immersed herself in the worlds of Xanth and Narnia as a child and dreamed of one day creating her own magical world for others to enjoy. After receiving a Master's degree in Biology, E M decided the time was right to pursue her true passion of authorship. Her debut YA fantasy novel, The Phantom of Faerie Mountain, is the first of three in the Red King Trilogy. She is currently working on the second installment, The Secret of Berry Brae Circle. When not daydreaming of magic, mystery, and mischievous characters, E M enjoys gardening and spending time with her crazy pack of five Italian greyhounds. She’s also a fellow SCBWI Book Launch Partyer. Visit her website at

THE FROG BLOG especially enjoyed the Scottish setting of The Phantom of Faerie Mountain. THE FROG BLOG proudly descends from several Scottish clans, one of which appears as the, er, bad guys in this story. (To find out which one, you’ll have to read the book, ha ha!)  However, despite their differences, E M and THE FROG BLOG have decided they can still be friends.

What made you want to be a writer?

As a child, I was an avid reader of adventure, mystery, and most of all, fantasy. I lost myself to the likes of Nancy Drew, Pippi Longstocking, and The Hardy Boys, and withdrew into the worlds of Narnia and Xanth. I recall early on thinking how "neat" it would be to write a story of my own that would sweep others away to another place.

I was an average student in English throughout my general education; it was not my favorite of required curriculum. I was most interested Biology, which held true through my college career and beyond. However, when given the opportunity to take a creative writing class in high school, I excelled and a dormant seed was planted. Our final project of the course was to hand-make a book and read it to a class of kindergartners. What a terrifying prospect – reading to 6-year-olds! Despite my stage fright, I pushed through and created my first book: Slick the Cool Cat Counts to Ten. The teacher even kept my creation to use as an example for future classes.

Fast forward twenty-some years, a good friend at the time turned me on to a distance-learning writing class through the Institute of Children’s Literature (ICL). It was time for my tucked away seed to finally sprout and The Phantom of Faerie Mountain was born.

(THE FROG BLOG also loves Nancy Drew!)

How did you become interested in Scotland and its folklore?  How did you get the idea for this story?  What kind of research did you do?

I was fortunate to spend eleven days in central Scotland during the summer of 2001. I fell instantly in love with the Highlands and, well, everything about that land so far from my home. I didn’t know it then, but a day-trip I made to climb Ben A’an (a popular miniature mountain) would shape my future goals.

The final assignment for my writing class at the ICL allowed me to begin a novel. There was no thinking about it; my story, my life-long dream, would take place in Scotland. A YA fantasy, aimed toward younger individuals in the spectrum was my goal. I knew I wanted my protagonist to be strong, intelligent, and perhaps a bit stubborn, but she would need an indigenous side-kick as well as a mythical companion.

My research consisted of studying maps of Scotland online and reading about mythical creatures. It was important that the setting include a mountain. I came across one near Kinloch-Rannoch called Schiehallion, or, "Fairy Hill of the Caledonians." When coupled with my discovery of the Cu Sith, a mythical hound inhabiting Scotland, The Phantom of Faerie Mountain planted its feet.

Schiehallion. Photo credit

You're working on the second installment in the Red King Trilogy. How is that going? Do you have an approximate release date?

The second installment, The Secret of Berry Brae Circle, is still in its infancy, but I hope to have a completed draft before the end of 2016. Please hold me to this!

(E M is holding a contest on her website to name one of the characters in The Secret of Berry Brae Circle. Go to to vote! THE FROG BLOG did!)

Do you have ideas for where you might go as a writer after the Red King Trilogy, or are you thinking that far ahead?

I’ve considered how I might create stand-alone stories that branch off from the Red King Trilogy; lately I’ve felt that perhaps I’ve pigeonholed myself by deeming it a trilogy! The third, and yet unnamed installment, will require 100% world-building. Because of this, there should be plenty of potential for expanding storylines.

What advice do you have for other writers?

Find what works best for you in terms of when you write, where you write, and how you write, and stick with it. For me, I do my best work early in the morning on the weekends (after waking and feeding my belly). I prefer a quite household (all 5 of my Italian greyhounds must be doing what they do best – sleep) and my writing software of choice is Scrivener.

Last , and most importantly: if you were a frog, what kind of frog would you be?
A red-eyed tree frog because they’re just so stinkin’ cute, or, if I was feeling sinister, a blue poison dart frog!     

Thanks E M, and we look forward to hearing about all your future endeavors! The Phantom of Faerie Mountain is available at Amazon and Smashwords.

A telepathic dog. An ancient prophecy. Two devious faeries. 14 yr old Abby Fletcher must unravel their connection when she is thrown into a world of unknowns after receiving a mysterious message from a frightening beast: The Red King must set me free. Determined to discover the meaning of this puzzling phrase, Abby sets off to explore a nearby Scottish mountainside in search of clues. What Abby doesn't realize, however, is that it's not a matter of where she will find her answers but when. Whisked back to the early 14th century, Abby must find the courage to solve the mystery of the Red King and save not only herself but a group of powerless captives wrapped up in a faerie plot.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Derek In the News!

My husband, Derek Richardson, is in the news for being such a huge Star Wars fan! The article was in the Arts and Leisure section of the Sunday Wichita Eagle, or it's online here, complete with video of Derek! Force still strong with local ‘Star Wars’ fans (+video)

A picture of Derek from the article!

smile emoticon

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Let the Party Begin!

You're invited! The first ever Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators online Book Launch Party is underway! The Court Wizard is there, mingling with many other fine books by SCBWI authors. I've already read one, The Phantom of Fairie Mountain by E M McIntyre, and really enjoyed it. Several other titles look so interesting that I will be forced to purchase them. I will also be giving away one FREE copy of The Court Wizard -- details at the Party! Here's the link: SCBWI Book Launch Party for The Court Wizard. The Party lasts from December 1, 2015, to April 1, 2016! 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Next Week - Book Launch Party!

On December 1, the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators will be launching its first-ever online BOOK LAUNCH PARTY! The Court Wizard will be there, along with many other fine books by SCBWI authors! Details next week!

Friday, September 25, 2015

5 Stars!

The Court Review got a five-star review on Goodreads! I'm very excited! Read it here: Goodreads Review of The Court Wizard

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Kid Power

My friend Bruce from college is doing good in the world. He put his theatrical gifts to good use by creating a stage show that teaches kids about good nutrition. Now he's creating a comic book and making the electronic version FREE for everyone, for kids to read, for teachers to use in classrooms, and for parents to inspire. Here's the link to download the Kid Power Comic Activity Book!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Court Wizard, now available for Nook, with Fun Fonts!

The Court Wizard is now also available in print or for Nook at! I had some fun with the Nook edition, because I was able to use some interior coloring. For example, the print edition chapter headings look like this:

Chapter One

The Apothecary’s Shop

I wanted to use some colors, but it would have made the print book very expensive and I couldn't have used the trim size (size of book) I wanted. When I converted the file for Kindle, I lost the font and it looks like this:

Chapter One

The Apothecary’s Shop

I'm sure there's a way to do fancy things with Kindle, but I don't know how. I can barely turn the computer on. But with Nook, I could use colors and fonts, although I was afraid to use bigger fonts because things might get weird if people increase the font size. So the chapter headings look like this:

Chapter One

The Apothecary’s Shop

Cool, huh? It's not much, but it's fun. :)

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Court Wizard Available for Kindle!

It has taken me a long, frustrating time, but The Court Wizard is now available from Amazon in both print and Kindle editions. Nook coming soon!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"The New Red" Published in Every Day Fiction!

My short story, "The New Red," is today's offering in Every Day Fiction! This is a FREE online magazine that publishes one story every day. If you're reading this after February 17, it's still there, just scroll down.

This is an odd little science fiction story. If you're wondering why I've used this terribly clashing red font -- well, it's a hint! :)

If you'd like to read it, here it is:  "The New Red" in Every Day Fiction

Friday, February 6, 2015

"The New Red" To Be Published!

My short story, "The New Red," will be published on February 17 in Every Day Fiction! This is a free Internet magazine that publishes one short-short story every day (as its name implies). This is a humorous science fiction story; they publish all genres. I'll post the link that day!

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Court Wizard Now Available!

Now available in print from Amazon! The Court Wizard is a fantasy adventure for ages 12 and up. (Don't want to ruin the story -- but it does have a court and a wizard!) It will also be available soon for Kindle and Nook.

Winnifred lives a quiet life in Sedonia with her aunt. But all that changes when the old apothecary’s shop explodes and she pulls him from the rubble. Together they flee Sedonia and embark on a dangerous path, joined by a mysterious and handsome stranger, Beldon. And finally, Winnifred learns the secret of her true destiny, and must decide whether to embrace it.