Thursday, August 27, 2015

Book Review: Whistle Beans... Another Sugar Paw Adventure

Whistle Beans...Another Sugar Paw Adventure
Author: VS Grenier
Illustrations: Kevin Collier
ISBN: 13: 978-1-61244-367-6
Halo Publishing

Sugar Paw is at it again. Not only does he not eat vegetables, he was baby-sitting Cesar the parrot for Bonnie Whiskers and Cesar flew away.
The adventures of Sugar Paw start in the garden with Papa Bear who tries to explain the need for vegetables and Sugar Paw wants none of it. But when trying to find Cesar, he learns some valuable lessons on just why we need vegetables and how they can come in pretty handy. Can a bean help you whistle for instance?

Award winning author, VS Grenier does a great job of helping Sugar Paw learn about vegetables with her delightful text which is enhanced by the talents of illustrator Kevin Collier. Children and adults alike will be engaged in the adventures of Sugar Paw as they enjoy the bright illustrations. Young readers will want to come to the garden again and again to experience this exciting adventure. And along the way they may just pick up the secret to how to whistle.

About the Author: VS Grenier is an award-winning children’s author and a Mom’s Choice Honoree, who loves spinning tales from her childhood into adventures in the World of Ink. When she isn’t busy writing, playing dress-up or having tea parties with her girls, she takes long hikes in the desert with her miniature schnauzer, Taz. You can learn more about the VS Grenier at

About the Illustrator: Kevin Scott Collier is a commercial artist/ designer by profession as well as an author and illustrator of over 130 children’s books. He lives in beautiful Grand Haven, a quaint port city along the Lake Michigan shoreline with his wife, Kristen and son, Jarod. You can learn more about Kevin Scott Collier at

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Pubslush... Author Dorit Sasson Explains

PUBSLUSH.. what is it and why as authors do we need it? Please welcome award winning author and teacher Dorit Sasson to the blog today to explain.

Why Authors Need to Plan for a Pubslush Campaign

I'm sure you've heard the well-known saying by Sir Winston Churchill, "he who fails to plan is planning to fail," and this principle applies to everything in life including a Pubslush campaign.

Crowdfunding for authors is a hot topic these days and many authors like myself are not overlooking its importance to help build a name for oneself. Pubslush is a global crowdfunding platform that works specifically with authors to help gather pre-orders, build a readership community, and raise funds for everything from marketing to research and travel.

Although it's probably the fastest way to get funds, it takes a great deal of work to make it a successful experience. Let's see what goes into the planning phase.

Writing the Book

This may seem obvious, but writing the book is often overlooked. Although you can raise funds and build an engaging community of readers with a manuscript in progress, your supporters will want to feel they're investing in your book. If you offer a published copy of your book as a reward too long down the road, your book might be off their radar.

Planning the Rewards

You'll want to offer incentives that are enticing at each reward level. This requires some thinking. If you come up with fun, fantastic rewards for your crowdfunding crowd, you'll be amazed at how a campaign can take off.

Reaching out to an initial group of supporters

Amanda Barbara, co-founder of Pubslush, advised me to gather at least 5-10 supporters who could support the book. That way, the campaign wouldn't start with just zero which would initially give others a good impression about the campaign. Already I'm learning who is on my side and who isn't. It's truly an eye-opening experience!

I reached out personally to those I intuitively felt would be my closest cheerleaders. It's good practice to nurture relationships and support your fellow colleagues. This is one way to build a supportive collaborative community. 

Making a comprehensive list of potential supporters

When I queried traditional publishers, I created a non-fiction book proposal which included a hefty twenty page publicity and media section.  Over the years I've built my platform and a following based on connections I've made at in-person events and on Facebook. I've gotten to know people who've reached out to me from blog posts and relationships I've forged by guest blogging. I've interviewed several authors for my global radio show Giving Voice to Your Story over the last few years.

On a Word document, I wrote the name of every person with whom I felt I had a relationship with and came up with a few hundred friends, family and acquaintances from groups and other Jewish organizations including the National Council of Jewish Women, teachers I've worked with over the years both in Israel and the United States, the Facebook page of my graduating class, and colleagues I met at online and offline writing workshops and conferences.

I also intend to use the power of LinkedIn specifically to help gather attention to my campaign and to reach out specifically to professionals in my network. There is great power coming up with numbers of people in your tribe knowing that you can reach out to them.


Just Putting Myself Out There

1.I asked my network if bloggers would want to host me during the month of July as a resource for writers. I would blog about my Pubslush experience and what goes into a successful campaign. These posts like the one you’re reading now, would be resources for authors who may be potentially interested in starting their own Pubslush campaign. So far, six bloggers stepped up to my call.

2. I reached out to several local libraries and I've sent out Facebook invites to the members of the Pittsburgh community for a reading of my chapter at my home. If you're in Pittsburgh during July 6th, please connect with me. I'd love to see you at my reading.

3. I'm in the process of putting the news of my campaign in my newsletter and in various newsletters where crowdfunding for authors is relevant.

Word of mouth marketing is the most powerful tool authors have these days. It can sell anything!

As you can see, there's a lot that goes into pre-planning a Pubslush to ensure its success. Success doesn't just happen by only posting the news of your campaign online. You need to connect with people and put yourself out there in the most creative way possible.

Have you ever done a Pubslush campaign? How did you plan for it? Do you have any fun or interesting suggestions to help make it a success?


Dorit Sasson writes for a wide range of print and online publications including The Huffington Post and speaks at conferences, libraries, and community centers. She is the author of the compelling memoir Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces. Read a complimentary first chapter over at her Pubslush campaign and learn some very cool rewards  and how you can become a supporter. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and two children. She can also be reached at:


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Time is Now...

The time is now... to make the time to write, to follow my dreams of being a writer, to be successful at designing fabric, to combine my passions with my desire to share life on the page, and to make my writing pay in both satisfaction and monetary rewards. Note that I didn't say anything about fame.

Fame is not my goal. Writing and writing well, writing to the hearts of my readers, and writing to help supplement my those are some goals. I have dabbled, studied, dreamed, and even published 2 books and more than a hundred articles for sites and blogs but two things are missing.

1. Personal satisfaction
2. Money

The personal satisfaction is not fulfilled because I can do more, I can do better, and I need to push myself to put those words out there to the audience. The money is self explanatory... it isn't coming in on a regular basis. So what is my plan?

  • Set more specific goals
  • Start planning action steps to meet those goals.
  • Write
It may sound simple but as a working nurse, business owner, wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, and the list goes on... it takes more than a dream to get where I want to go. I have spent money and time on courses but unless I want to be known as a permanent student of writing instead of a writer then I must move forward.

One of the first action steps I will be taking will be to share right here on this blog some of the struggles I experience as I keep at the writing, at finding the right audience, and in finding the right niche. for those of you who feel the same maybe I will hit a chord with you and be encouraging.  To keep from boring you silly with my plan, I will be featuring new and award winning authors, book reviews, and product reviews on what works for serious writers and what doesn't. So stay tuned for some hard truths, honest encouragement, and hopefully some inspiration. Isn't it time for you to get more serious with your life goals?

And join me July 2 for award winning author Dorit Sasson as she talks about her writing success.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Great Books by Author Arnold Rudnick

​Arnold Rudnick has a gift for creating fascinating stories to challenge children toward self-improvement and self esteem. In LITTLE GREEN he introduces a little green frog (beautifully realized by illustrator Marcelo Goreman) who has big dreams to be special.

ISBN: 0981587976
Publisher Paraphrase, LLC


​E.S. Pete: Sixth Grade Sense is about the perils of a paranormal preteen.

Pete knew there would be a lot more homework in Sixth Grade, but he didn't plan on the reading list including the minds of his teachers and classmates. Knowing what they think can be helpful sometimes, but it also gets complicated -- ESPecially when Pete thinks the substitute teacher is planning a big robbery.

ISBN: 0981587909
Publisher: Paraphrase, LLC
About the Author: ARNOLD RUDNICK has written for many television shows, including THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR, STAR TREK: VOYAGER and THE NEW ADDAMS FAMILY.
My take on this is you better grab these books while you can. Both books are age appropriate,  engage the reader both in the picture book for younger readers and the chapter book for older elementary readers. Both stories serve to entertain and inspire kids to think outside the box and to read for fun.  Author Arnold Rudnick knows how to tap into what kids want to learn, what they have questions about, and he does it in these two different books answering questions that he understands kids want to know. Great choices for your library collection or classroom that will also encourages readers in the areas of self esteem and character development. Kudos to this author for his work.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Book Review: Sir Licksalot and The Bay Fools

 Sir Licksalot & The Bay Fools

Author: D.L.Carroll

Illustrations: Teri Cuneo

ISBN: 9781634481533

Publisher: American Star Books 2014

This is such a great adventure. Bobby and his sister along with their friends and of course the dog, Sir Licksalot are ready to enjoy the summer. Despite the fact that mom hires a babysitter, the group still has the magic fountain where all their adventures and travel begin. The Bay of Fools adventure finds them separated in the bubble fog and experiencing San Francisco..... who lands in Alcatraz and who of the group has fun at Pier 39.

The reader is carried on a fun and mysterious trail riding the famous cable cars of San Francisco along with visiting the famous chocolate factory where Ghiradelli chocolate is made. The mystery of the famous prison on Alcatraz island is explored and there is even a circus. The reader is never bored on this adventure and D. L. Carroll does a fabulous job of engaging the reader from the very first page.

This is just one of the books in a series where the friends and Sir Licksalot travel through the magic of the fountain to explore real places. The author weaves history and fun facts throughout the text to keep even reluctant readers interested. This would make a great addition to any classroom or home book collection and kids will love following the same characters on every adventure.

D.L. Carroll, Author of the Sir Licksalot Series, Receives a Prestigious Award and Makes a Guest Appearance!

Photo: Author DL Carroll
Mon, 23 Mar 2015, 14:03:13 EDT
SANTA CLARA, Calif., March 23, 2015 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) -- Family Review Center honors D.L. Carroll, author of the "Sir Licksalot" children's book series, with the Star Award. The Star Award is to recognize outstanding companies and business owners.

Family Review Center Editor, Rita Brenke said, "I have followed and reviewed for this author for the entire series of Sir Licksalot books. I think they are absolutely fantastic. Now that I have an avid reader at home, these chapter books are honestly her favorite. She does not read them just once, she reads them multiple times and she is not short on books in her personal library. I am honored to be able to offer reviews of such a wonderful series, and I encourage you to CHECK them out." 

An interview with Star Award winner, D.L. Carroll is published in the 2015 Awards Edition of the Family Review Center's Magazine.

Family Review Center has been serving families and businesses since 2000. It is our goal, purpose and passion to connect our viewers with the latest and greatest products to hit the market. If a product is family friendly and worthy of attention and consideration for purchase, we will do our best to feature it within the Review Center.

"I am humbled to have been chosen for this prestigious Star Award, said D.L. Carroll. "Having the knowledge that the company's editor shared my books with her loved one, is the ultimate reward."

Author D.L. Carroll and illustrator Teri Cuneo made a guest appearance at Briarwood Elementary School on Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss's Birthday). Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participated by bringing together students and books. Principal, Mrs. Jezyk remarked, "We here at Briarwood are excited and honored to have D.L. Carroll, author of the 'Sir Licksalot' Series, visit our school to help us celebrate. Ms. Carroll will be meeting with small groups to read a little from her books, discuss her creative process, talk about the publishing process, and answer student questions."

In a statement made by Author D.L. Carroll, "This has been one really exciting year and it just started. We were absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to share the 'Sir Licksalot' books in person with the 380 students. As I read the first couple of chapters from the first book, Teri drew the scene. The students were engaged and full of questions during the Q&A session. This is what life is all about - writing to ignite a child's desire to read, putting smiles on faces, leaving paw PRINTS on hearts, and encouraging the next generation to achieve their dreams."

Each book in the series is a fast paced thrilling adventure. The characters have very distinctive personalities and behaviors that mirror readers and their friends. The stories all have a magical destination and include friendship, conflict, mystery, imagination, and most importantly relatable language. 

The books are written for reluctant and hi-low readers. What is special about this series is that the language is simple. THE READER doesn't have to re-read the sentence a couple of times to comprehend it. The chapters are short so the reader can retain what has been read. In addition, each book has a message. Readers find themselves learning new things without even realizing they are being taught.

- "Sir Licksalot & The Maverick Fools" (ISBN 1604749172) explores the ocean. 
- "Sir Licksalot & The Island Fools" (ISBN 9781462680924) explores culture and respect. 
- "Sir Licksalot & The Arctic Fools" (ISBN 9781629076713) explores global warming. 
- "Sir Licksalot & The Bay Fools" (ISBN 9781634481533) explores landmarks and kindness.

Books in the "Sir Licksalot" Series have received numerous awards, including:
Best of the Year 2012, Best of the Year 2013, Best of The Year 2014, Gold Award, Editor's Choice, Seal of Approval, Recommended, Bronze Award, 5 Star Review Seals, and Pre-Release Endorsements.

FOR MORE INFORMATION about the "Sir Licksalot" Series, and author D.L. Carroll, please visit


Monday, March 2, 2015

Book Review: Cinderella's Secret Slipper

Cinderella's Secret Slipper

Author: Alinka Rutkowska

Illustrations: Konrad Checinski


ISBN: 978-0983154754

Picture Book: Fairy Tale with a twist

From the Back:
Cinderella’s Secret Slipper is a story of our favorite princess who more than anything else wants to wear her famous glass slippers to her son’s birthday party. But she can’t because her four-year-old smashed one of them in an attempt at killing a mosquito on the wall. Where is she going to get a glass slipper now?

About the Author :
Alinka Rutkowska lives in a castle with her family and dragon just like Cinderella and writes picture books for children like you. She has written over 20 books and she received many awards for her work. She is the winner of the prestigious International Readers’ Favorite Book Award Contest and her book series received the acclaimed Mom’s Choice Award.

Visit: for more stories.

MY REVIEW: This is an absolutely brilliant picture book set years into Cinderella's later life when she needs her glass slippers to attend her son's birthday party. But one of the glass slippers gets broken and no one makes those types of slippers anymore. Cinderella runs into her fairy godmother and she has the answer. But guess who else had a fairy godmother? Maybe the Prince?

This book will be a favorite and it includes a summary of the story of Cinderella that we all remember and love. The twist to this new story will keep the reader engaged and the illustrations enhance the wonderful text. It also includes several questions at the end of the story for discussion and to assess the reader's comprehension making this a great book to add to the classroom for young readers. This award winning author has done it again with Cinderella's Secret Slipper.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hey, I''m Here.....

laptop-in-the-grass.jpg I have been missing in action since the first week in January when it comes to writing and blogging for several reasons. Not all reasons for not writing are excusable for sure, procrastination is not a good reason. But broken ribs, a leg injury, along with  pain and swelling kept me slightly immobile.

 I know what you're thinking,,, if I was sitting with my leg up why wasn't I writing. If the leg were the only thing wrong I would totally agree but those broken ribs were much more than I bargained for. I couldn't even change my own clothes for the first few days.

However, my imagination and note taking continued. And reading time was good. I have tried to keep up with my emails, social media, and working on some samples for my quilt shop. All in all, I'm ready to get some book reviews posted this month and get busy joining 12 X 12. I am taking an art class for inspiration with my fabric design and pattern designs. And the ribs are on the mend, recheck is tomorrow.

So stay tuned. More is yet to come in this writing life.


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