School’s out for the summer and straight-talking Madison and her friend Cooper have big plans for the summer: working at the kennel, training service dogs and creating a dog-walking business—besides writing her dog-blog. Her stepdad has agreed to make Lilly, Madison’s foster puppy, a permanent member of the Morgan family, and Madison wants to make the adoption special.
When an injured dog is abandoned, Madison’s determined to discover the truth about the orphaned dog. To crack this crime she’ll have to sneak around some shady characters. It’ll be tricky since her dad isn’t happy about her animal detective activities. Her promise not to get into trouble won’t be easy. Madison convinces Cooper to strike out on their own, but Lilly is dognapped and Madison finds herself locked in a shed with no way out. She regrets her crime-fighting obsession and realizes her snooping has endangered everyone she cares about. Cooper rallies an unlikely group of rescuers to bust her out.
In the end Madison learns she can depend on her friends and her stepfather. And when it comes to people and dogs, relationships are never simple, and a dog is never—JUST a dog!
Pam Torres was born in Logan, Utah and did most of her growing up in Prairie Village, Kansas. Besides playing Dorothy during tornado weather and digging Peter Pan-like underground forts she also played piano and ran cross-country. She started her family early, and had five energetic and creative children, and returned to school when the last one was four. She has fond memories of reading and playing with her children in between hefty amounts of volunteering at church and their schools. Several of her favorite memories are doing writers’ workshop, updating the art docent program, recruiting volunteers, working as the parent liaison for the curriculum team, publishing articles in the newsletter and directing a very popular after-school art club.
Writing was the one constant in her life through all the struggles of single parenthood, stepparent issues and bringing a large family together. She continued to write her brains out in hopes of writing full-time one day. After five years in sales, she quit her well-paying job to write. Her supportive husband is her biggest cheerleader and she frequently acknowledges that she couldn’t have done it without him.
The Project Madison Series is her debut middle-grade series. She organized Project Madison around its release and is donating 10% of her proceeds to the ASPCA®, animal shelters and other programs to benefit homeless or abused animals.
What inspired you to want to become a writer? I’ve always been a writer. As a small child I loved to tell stories and would create my own books using pictures from greeting cards and magazines. I think I started doing it because at that time, reading was taught with “readers” that were very boring to me. Jane said run and Dick said go, didn’t keep my interest. Unfortunately, my active imagination didn’t help my reading skills and I soon fell behind. The negative feedback I received left a horrible taste in my mouth so reading became a chore and it would be many years later before I learned to read for enjoyment. During all that time I filled notebooks and journals with my words, stories and poems.
Writing has always been how I figure my world out and I’m still doing that.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? Own. Your. Journey. There is no right way to publish, especially now. What’s important is that you stay true to yourself and do what is right for you. If you aren’t enjoying the journey, it’s time to switch the road. I’m not talking about easy street. When you are truly immersed in what you love, you’ll push through anything, climb any obstacle and embrace the unknown, all because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be whole. I live so I can write, it is as much a part of me as my brown eyes.
How long do you generally let a story idea ‘marinate’ in your brain before you start the book?
My stories always start with a character that keeps popping up, while I’m reading, washing dishes, driving somewhere, just before I go to sleep or right before I wake up. Soon it becomes so real I have to sit down and write what I’m seeing and feeling. This can take anywhere from a month to a year, depending on what I have going on in my life, how busy I am. I don’t talk about my new character to anyone until after I have my first draft completed. I have a character and a story that has been marinating for years, I have scenes that I’ve played around with, written a couple of short stories. Because I know how much work that particular story is going to be I keep putting it off.
When a character gets persistent enough I sit down and begin seeing them in scenes, often in random order. Once I have several scenes down I begin to look at them and see what kind of story the character is trying to tell me. Through several revisions, I begin to see the whole story, it takes a lot of work to uncover the entire storyline. Often, there are many scenes that end up being removed because they’re simply back story. To me, novel writing is a very fluid process and take time to settle into it’s unique river bed.
What’s your biggest challenge as a writer? How did you overcome it, or how are you working to overcome it?
As a writer, I find creating balance to be the most difficult part of my job. There are many hats an author has to wear today, especially self-published authors. Publisher, marketer, PR representative, engagement scheduler, presenter, teacher, communicator are all important to the success of each book.
How does one balance them and still find time to write? Very carefully! I’m still learning and looking for tools to help me. Some tools I use are timers, calendars and alarms that remind me to do something. Often I’m quite successful and other times I get terribly overwhelmed and realize I’ve neglected something important. And sometimes I realize I just need a break, a spontaneous day in the sun, an all day read or a long walk by myself. If I listen to myself, I’m able to to do what I need to become grounded again and move forward.
Favorite ice-cream? Vanilla
Favorite book genre? Middle grade adventure/fantasy
Favorite candy bar? Milky-Way
Favorite kid show? I don’t know many of the current shows but I did love Scoopy Doo and Lost In Space, as a tween. I don’t think that these are “kid” shows necessarily but I’m a big fan of Dr. Who, Grimm and Once Upon A Time. And keep this on the down-low but I can’t wait for Walking Dead to return.
Grand Prize- Set of illustrations signed by the illustrators, set of bookmarks, official Netta recipe card with biscuit mold, full set of magnets, set of stickers, signed hard copies of both books in the series, and a dream catcher.
First Prize- 3 illustrations signed by the illustrators, bookmarks, official Netta recipe card with biscuit mold, full set of magnets, set of stickers, hard copies of both books in the series.
Second Prize- 2 illustrations signed by the illustrators, bookmarks, official Netta recipe card with biscuit mold, full set of magnets, set of stickers, signed hard copies of both books in the series.
Third Prize- 2 illustrations signed by the illustrators, official Netta recipe card with biscuit mold, bookmarks, magnets, stickers, signed hard copies of both books in the series.
Swag Packages- One 5×7 signed illustration, bookmarks, magnets, stickers, an ebook in the format of your choice.