Thursday, April 19, 2012

Please Welcome Karen Mueller Bryson author of One Last Class and Twyla's Last Trip

Karen Mueller Bryson is the author of One Last Class and Twyla's Last Trip.

Karen will be giving away a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenters during the tour and to the host whose post has the most comments (excluding Karen's and the hosts).

The only way you can win is to leave a comment. So please don't lurk all you have to do is say hi, nothing profound.

Follow Karen on her Goddessfish tour.


In the romantic comedy, One Last Class, thirty-two year old, Zak Spencer, is a washed-up teen idol, who decides to rebuild his life by returning to college in Arizona. Trouble ensues when Zak falls in love with the young professor, Amy Campbell, who teaches the one class he needs to complete his degree. 

In the romantic comedy, Twyla’s Last Trip, twenty eight-year old, Lucinda Starr is an uptight research psychologist, whose deadline to complete her doctoral dissertation is completely derailed by her estranged mother, Twyla Starr's sudden death. Lucinda must take her mother's ashes on a road trip on Route 66, in order to fulfill the requirements of her will and inherit her fortune. To make matters worse, Lucinda finds herself forced to travel across the country with her mother's easygoing country lawyer, T.J. Yates, who drives her crazy, and his drooling bloodhound, Dakota, who Lucinda finds revolting.

Excerpt from “Twyla’s Last Trip:

Lucinda peered intently into her microscope until Bunny's voice blared from the intercom—again. “I'm sorry to bother you, Lucinda, but Mr. Yates is on the phone. He says he won't hang up until he speaks with you personally.”

Lucinda took a deep breath, stood and exited the lab. She marched over to the reception desk and ripped the phone from Bunny's grasp.

“Lucinda Starr,” she growled into the phone. “How may I help you?”

Thirty-year old T.J. Yates, the epitome of all things country, spoke to Lucinda from his cell phone. “Miss Starr,” he said. “I know we've never met but I've been your mom's attorney now for nearly a decade.”

“Will you please get to the point?” Lucinda interrupted. “I'm in the middle of an extremely important experiment.”

“I hate to be the bearer of bad news but your mom has passed away.”

Lucinda flinched slightly but then it was back to business. “And what does this have to do with me?” she asked.

“Well, Miss Starr, you are the sole beneficiary of your mom's estate.”

“Estate?” Lucinda snorted. “My mother was a cat lady, who lived in a trailer.” 

“Miss Starr,” T.J. continued. “I don't think you understand.”

Before T.J. could finish, Lucinda slammed the phone into the receiver and hurried away.

T.J. looked at his cell phone dumbfounded. People never hung up on him, especially women.

Dakota, his two-year old bloodhound, glanced up from her doggie pillow and gave her head a tilt.

“I think this requires a little trip up to Chicago,” T.J. said.

Dakota just yawned and plopped her head back down on her bed. 

Excerpt from “One Last Class”

Thirty-two year old, Zak Spencer was sound asleep in his tousled bed, naked, except for the thin white sheet that covered the lower half of his body. Zak had been aged by recent disappointments but remnants of his boyish good looks were still visible. Elvis, Zak’s two-year old basset hound, snored on the floor next him.

Mindy, a 40-something cougar, slowly rose from the bed trying not to wake Zak. She carefully removed her clothes from the floor then snuck over to a corner chair and grabbed her purse for a quick escape. 

But when Mindy tripped over Elvis and he let out a yelp, she crashed to the floor. 

Zak awakened and noticed Mindy was no longer next to him. He scanned the room but didn’t see her anywhere. “Mindy?” he called. 

“I'm down here.”

Zak peeked over the end of the bed and saw Mindy on the floor clutching her clothes and purse.

“What are you doing down there?” he asked.

“I tripped over your dog.”

Elvis wagged his tail.

As Zak rubbed the sleep from his eyes, he said, “You're leaving already?”

Mindy pushed herself up from the ground and tried to cover her nearly naked body.

“But it’s so early,” Zak continued. 

“I've got a lot to do today,” Mindy lied. “I'll call you. I promise,” she blurted as she hurried out of the bedroom.

Zak jumped out of bed and pulled the sheet as a covering as he tried to catch Mindy. But she was quick. She had already made her way through the apartment and grabbed a jacket from a hanger next to the door before Zak caught up to her.  Zak was now tangled in the sheet as he tripped up to Mindy and said, “You don't have my number.”

As Zak scrambled for something to write with, Mindy admitted, “I'm not really going to call you.”

Zak was genuinely hurt. “Why?” he managed to get out.

“This was fun and everything but I really don't want to date a former Malibu Boy.  It's so last decade.”

“But…” Zak searched for something more to say.

“I've got to go,” Mindy shouted as she bolted out the door.


Learn more about Karen

1. What or who inspired you to start writing?

My mother taught me to read when I was four and I immediately wanted to “write” a book! My mom helped me “write” my first novel, which was titled, My Family. That was forty years ago and I’m still writing! My love of books and creating stories has never waned. 

2. How did you come up with your idea for Twyla's Last Trip and One Last class?

When one of my best friends died of cancer two years ago, her husband and daughter took her ashes on a road trip along Route 66. The trip was something my friend wanted to do but she never got the chance before she passed away. I decided to use Route 66 road-trip concept to create, Twyla’s Last Trip, about a young woman, Lucinda Starr, who must take her estranged mother’s ashes on a road trip along Route 66, to fulfill the terms of her mother’s will. I decided to make the story a romantic comedy by adding a male lead, her mother’s lawyer, who must go on the trip with Lucinda. And I added a bloodhound on the trip for comedic effect (which works well because Lucinda does not like pets).

I love reading those “What ever happened to…” stories about teen celebrities, who are no longer in the public eye. It’s interesting to see how their lives change after their celebrity fades. Over the last few years, I’ve read about several celebrities, who returned to school to complete their college degrees, so I thought it would be interesting if a “washed-up” teen idol, Zak Spencer, who was no longer relevant in Hollywood, and couldn’t get an acting job, decided to go back to his hometown and return to college to complete the degree he never finished. I wanted to complicate his life, and also add romance, so I decided to have him fall in love with the young professor, who teaches the one last class he needs to graduate. 

3 & 4. What expertise did you bring to your writing? What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio?

Working as a counselor and as a university psychology professor, has provide me the opportunity to interact with so many different types of people over the years, and I have learned a lot about motivation, desire and human nature. I hope these experiences have made me a better writer. I get a lot of complements on my dialogue. People often say my dialogue is realistic. I attribute that, in part, to my counseling skills and my ability to really listen to what people say. I think the study of psychology can be a great enhancement for writers. Someday, I may even develop a course called, Psychology for Writers. 

5. As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?

My next Short on Time Books release is a young adult romantic comedy called Retro Geeks, which is about two 80s obsessed BFFs, who decide to prove to their classmates that they are not complete losers by getting super-hot dates to senior prom.

I have also been hired to write Hell on Wheels: The Incredible Story of Rookie Roller Queen Cindy McCoy, which is a biography of the sports legend. 
I am also working on the release of a graphic novel version of my tween time-travel adventure, The Incredibly Awesome Adventures of Puggie Liddell.
6. Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing?

I work full time as a university professor and I spend nearly all of my free time writing and marketing my work. Unfortunately, it leaves very little time for engaging in critique groups. I have been involved in critique groups in the past and I found some of them more helpful than others. The best feedback I’ve gotten is from writers with whom I have exchanged critiques individually. 

7. When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?

Oddly, I never had the idea that submitting my work as anything more than a natural step in the writing process, so I never conceptualized it as a “big step.” My first submission was to a kid’s magazine when I was in 5th grade. Looking back, I’m sure the publishers thought it was funny to receive a handwritten query from an 11-year old! I received my first (extremely encouraging) rejection letter before I hit puberty. 

8. Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I am the founder of Short on Time Books, which are all fast-paced and fun novels based on screenplays. My processes is to write a brief screenplay outline, develop the idea into a screenplay then novelize the screenplay. I believe this process makes story development easier. Additionally, I think working back and forth between the novel and the screenplay makes both products stronger. I also benefit from having two products (a novel and a screenplay) to sell for each story I develop. 

9. How do you maintain your creativity?

I have the opposite problem. I have too many stories to tell and not enough time to write all of them! Lack of creativity has never been an issue for me. Stories are always rolling around in my head, day and night. Of course, insomnia tends to be a problem!

10. Who is your favorite character in the book. Can you tell us why?

My favorite character in One Last Class is Chay Robinson, the lead character’s best friend. Chay was also a teen idol and starred opposite Zak Spencer on their hit series, The Malibu Boys. Chay is the fun-loving best friend, who never grew up. Even though he’s now in his early 30s, Chay is still very child-like and he always tries to get Zak into trouble by luring him back into the party-life of their heyday.    

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Karen Mueller Bryson is an award-winning screenwriter, produced playwright and published novelist. She has been writing since she learned to read and fell in love with books! Karen is the creator of Short on Time Books, a series of fast-paced and fun novels for readers on the go. When she’s not at her computer creating new stories, Karen enjoys spending time with her husband and their bloodhounds.

Short on Time Books:



Karen will be giving away a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenters during the tour and to the host whose post has the most comments (excluding Karen's and the hosts).


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting Karen today.

Karen Mueller Bryson said...

Thank you so much for hosting me! I appreciate it!

MomJane said...

Fascinating to write a screenplay first then the book. It usually works the other way around.

Like the idea of good stories that can be read at lunch time. These both sound excellent.

Christine Young said...

Karen, my humblest apologies. The post was set for 6:30 ish PM. Forgot to set it for 12:01 AM. Then of all days I was called to sub at the high school so I didn't get the message until I came home from work.

I hope your tour goes well and you sell loads of books.

(I would be happy to repost for a different day)

bas1chs said...

Glad to hear you already have other books in the works! Best wishes!
bas1chsemail at gmail dot com

Renald said...

A puppy named Elvis, cute. Makes one think of the song,( he ain't nothing but a hound dog.) :) Deb P

marybelle said...

Wonderful excerpts thank you. I'm so glad you have lots of stories to tell.


Catherine Lee said...

Lucinda Starr is such a great name for a character. Karen - What process do you use for choosing your names?
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com