Thursday, July 29, 2010

Win a Book Set in Florida

Florida’s Islands are this week’s subject, and I’m excited to begin by announcing a newly released book from Port Yonder Press, written by an author who specializes in books for boys. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy.

Lost Island Smugglers is the first book in a series of Sam Cooper adventures geared toward boys ages 8-13, written by veteran author Max Elliot Anderson. It is set in a fictional Florida town where three boys go deep sea diving and face a ferocious tropical storm which leads them to uncover a drug smuggling ring. Max is the author of 35 books, including Terror at Wolf Lake, Mountain Cabin Mystery, Newspaper Caper, Legend of the White Wolf and Northwoods Poachers.

Q. Max, since Taste the World readers are interested in travel, tell us more about the setting of your story and if it is similar to someplace you have visited or lived.

A. Through more than forty years of film, video, and TV commercials production, I’ve had the privilege of traveling across the US, Canada, and throughout the world. I have to confess that a number of the locations where I’ve visited do tend to find their way into my stories. Big Rig Rustlers takes place on a 50,000 acre ranch, in Wyoming, where I shot a film. Northwoods Poachers is set in a remote area of northern Saskatchewan where I shot two films.

Lost Island Smugglers is probably a compilation of a number of trips that I took to Florida with my family as our children were growing up. My wife’s mother still lives there. But the island is fictional, and represents a kind of classic story of what it would be like to be stranded on a remote island.

Q. What are a couple of the adventures the boys experience?

A. They have to find the basics of food, water and shelter. Their shelter and fire building are detailed in the story. When they locate a damaged cabin cruiser, Sam’s the one who swims out to investigate. He can’t enter through the hole in the side, so he has to go under water and swim in through the cabin door. There he’s faced with an upside down, underwater world where the floor is the ceiling and the ceiling is the floor, along with a few more surprises.

When they hike through the jungle, to investigate the other side of the island, they encounter men in jet powered speedboats with sharks teeth and blood painted on the sides. That’s when the real fireworks begin.

Q. Why do you write primarily for boys?

A. My father published over 70 books during his lifetime. Yet, I never read any of them because I grew up hating to read. After considerable research into this, I decided to try to write the kinds of stories that I would have read as a boy. The reason I like to write books for boys is because, in reality, I’m still writing to myself as that child.

A second reason is that I noticed something while working on dramatic films for children. I learned that girls enjoyed action-adventure and mystery stories with a boy as the main character, but boys wouldn’t go near a girl’s story. That’s the template I used when I began writing about nine years ago, and I find that same principle to be true with books. There are plenty of books for girls, but I still see the need for more books for boys.

My books are middle grade, for readers 8 – 13. After that age, the interest in reading, on the part of boys, drops off significantly.

Q. What are some of the key ingredients for keeping a tween or teen interested in a book from beginning to end?

A. The main ingredients I use include believable characters, a fast pace, humor, lots of dialog, along with heart-pounding action and excitement. I don’t use toilet humor, which has become more prevalent recently. Kids tell me that reading one of my books is like “being in” an exciting or scary movie. And though my stories are frightening at times, it’s a good scary that isn’t dark. Most of my chapters end with a cliffhanger, often compelling the reader to continue.

Q. How can we purchase Lost Island Smugglers?

A. The book has distribution through Ingram, so it can be ordered from any bookstore. It is available from, Barnes & Noble online, and others. I also offer to sign copies, which can be good for birthdays or Christmas. Anyone interested in details should email me at Additional information about the books coming next is available at Author Web Site and Books For Boys Blog

There are two other books written in the Sam Cooper Adventure Series; Captain Jack’s Treasure, and River Rampage. A second publisher will release Barney and the Runaway this fall, followed by republishing my previous 7 titles. Additional, new titles will follow next year.

Thank you, Max. Lost Island Smugglers sounds like an exciting book and I can’t wait to receive the copies I’ve ordered!

Comment on Max’s interview, the recipe that follows, or anything related to this blog to be entered into a drawing for a copy of Lost Island Smugglers. Your son, grandson, nephew or neighbor kid is sure to love this book. (And by the way…girls can read it too!)

Florida’s Famous Pie
Time for a recipe, and nothing says Florida like Key Lime Pie. This is the real deal, so please don’t add green food coloring or use regular lime juice. Authentic key lime pie is pale yellow and flavored with the juice of Florida’s famous key limes. It’s a bit tangy, so be sure to add a nice dollop of whipped cream. Here’s my favorite recipe from the back of the bottle of Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice.

Nellie & Joe's Key Lime Pie

9" graham cracker pie crust
14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks (whites not used)
½ cup Nellie & Joe's Key West Lime Juice

Combine milk, egg yolks and lime juice. Blend until smooth. Pour filling into pie crust and bake at 350º for 15 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes before refrigerating. Just before serving, top with freshly whipped cream or meringue, and garnish with lime slices.


  1. Hey, girl! Missing you!

    Love the sounds of this book and this EASY recipe. But do I have to separate out the yolks?

    Stop by my place! I'm featuring a giveaway, too!
    Hey, will you be at ACFW? With Patt?

  2. Miss you too, Patti. It's been way too long. YES, Patt and I will make our annual trek to the ACFW conference. YES, you HAVE to separate the yolks! And YES, I stopped by your wonderful blog and enjoyed Cynthia Ruchti's interview. Can't wait to read her book.

  3. My brothers loved to read growing up (and still do)--probably because my parents were avid readers, too. But Max is right. I read some of the Hardy Boys mysteries, but my brothers wouldn't come near Nancy Drew. Tell Max to keep writing those books that boys want to read.

  4. Terrific interview! I really love Max's reason for writing boys' books.

    Thanks for posting this, Susan, and for letting me know you did!


  5. Hi, Susan! Yes, thanks for the interview / posting. Max's books are a great addition to the current cache of available books for middlers. We're pretty excited over here about this new release and the ones to follow.

    Thank you again,
    Maggie Woychik,
    Mng. Ed., Publisher, Port Yonder Press

  6. Max - you are on a roll! Congrats on your success with this wonderful (and much-needed) series for boys! This book is too young for my son but I'd love to win a copy for my nephew (his birthday is coming up and I know he'd love it!).

    Susan - love the recipe. It sounds easy enough even for me! :-)

  7. Thank you all for the comments so far. I'm enjoying them.


  8. I'd love to be included in the drawing. Fascinating interview. I guess I was one of those "weird" boys; I didn't mind reading my sister's Nancy Drew books after I ran out of Hardy Boys. I'm interested in these adventure books for boys. So glad you don't use toilet humor, Max. I don't think that's honoring to the Lord, and many of us don't want our kids reading it, regardless of the publishing trends. Congrats on a new book!

    Adam Blumer
    Novelist, Fatal Illusions:
    Freelance editing: