Friday, December 17, 2010
How long have you been writing?
It's about 30 years now. A friend asked me to help her write a book she was working on. I did and went we were done with it, I started writing one of my own. Once in a while I would stop for a few months and then get back to it.
What is a typical writing day like for you?
I write and paint my children's books so some of my days can be spent between writng and the artwork. I spend about 2 to 4 hours a day doing one or the other,or both.
Is your family supportive of your writing?
Yes. They didn't always, but it's been going on so long now that it is now a way of life for us all.
Do you consider yourself a born writer?
No, but I was conditioned by watching my father write his stories and typing away on his typewriter every weekend all my childhood.
What was the first thing you ever had published?
I sure can. It was short story basic on a loved neighbor of mine who had to decide if she could stay in her own home once she she could not take care of it by herself. In the story a new feline friend and some of her human friends make it an easy discussion. The short story was called, 'Where The Heart Is,' and it was publishing in a literary magazine called Legacy in 1992.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
The accomplishment I feel after completing all I set out to do in a story.
What is the best writing advice you ever received?
That would be, Edit, Edit and Edit. A writer must learn to do it mostly themselves or find or hire an editor to do it for them. It is not only important to catch spelling and grammar errors but you can clean up story problems as well that could stand in the way of a great story.
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
That I was probably dyslexic as a child. I don't believe they knew about it. For many years writing and spelling were difficult. In school reading was a major problem. I found, early on, that if I listened in class and could remember then I could pass a test. I could not pass a test with studying at home or just reading chapters.
What tips can you give writing parents with children at home to help them see publication?
Use what writing time they have wisely. In those moments when they are "alone" on occasion, they should spend some of it researching their market and the publishing route they should take.
I appreciate having had the opportunity to post part of this interview here for J.D.Holiday. What a wonderful author and friend I have made. I hope you have followed her tour and learned more about her writing process and why her books for kids are a great addition to their collection.
Monday, December 13, 2010
About the Book: The Lucky Baseball: My Story in a Japanese-American Internment Camp
To learn more about me and my books, please visit my author website at http://www.suzannelieurance.com/. If you'd like to have me visit your school or speak to your homeschooling group, or present at a writer's conference, you can see the various presentations I offer. You'll also find that I offer free 15-minute Introductory author visits via Skype.
Besides writing for children, I'm also a fulltime freelance writer and the Working Writer's Coach (which means I help other writers turn their love of writing into a career). You can find out more about my coaching, plus read articles about writing and the business of freelance writing, at http://www.workingwriterscoach.com/. I love to help other people learn to write for children and I get to do that as coaching coordinator and one of the instructors for the Children's Writer's Coaching Club. Be sure to learn more about the club if you're interested in becoming a children's book author yourself.
Every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday afternoon I host Book Bites for Kids, a talk show about children's books on blogtalkradio. To become a fan of my show, just go to http://www.bookbitesforkids.com/. You can even put a player on your site that will play the replays of my shows, so I hope you'll become a fan of the show.
Here are some of the social marketing sites where you can follow me:
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/writerscoach
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/SuzanneLieu#!/profile.php?id=670396752
Jacketflap - http://www.jacketflap.com/profile.asp?member=SuzanneLi
Thanks so much for stopping by here today! Happy holidays!
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Become a Fan of Children's Author George W. Everett
Welcome to Day 6 of this virtual tour for my new book G.W. Frog and the Circus Lion. I hope you will become a fan of this book and the entire series. I am in the process of creating a web-page for G.W. Frog and company at G.W.Frog.com. It is not completed yet, but hopefully will be by the end of the year. I will have “frog games” and other interesting things on this site. I can be reached on Facebook and e-mails at email@example.com. At the present, three of the five books in the series of G.W. Frog have been published, and two more will be by February 2011.
Here is some information about the published books in the series:
G. W. Frog and the Circus Lion:
Larry the Lion is distraught. His looks have changed over the years as he became an old lion. Losing his teeh was a big blog to his eog and inner courage. Along comes an unsuspected friend in the form of a very caring Frog. Along with some other critters from Frog Holler, and some creative genus, they fix up the old lion, restore his courage, and save the day!
G.W. Frog and the Haunted House in Misty Meadows
Join with the critters from Frog Holler to unravel the mysteries of the old mansion perched on a hill in the swamp-land of Misty Meadows. Things aren't always as they first seem, and remember good will always prevail over evil.
G. W. Frog and the Pumpkin Patch Bandit
Someone was stealing Farmer Brown's prize pumpkins. Old Scarecrow was deeply concerned because it was his job to protect them, but he was old and unable to stay awake when he needed to. He was in a jam until G.W. Frog came to the rescue.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Welcome to the tour for Dawn and Heath. What a fun book and one I am sure kids will enjoy. Here we have a short bio for each of the authors and links to their websites. Check it out and follow the tour.
And you still have time to order this book and the other books in the series for your favorite child this holiday. Check out the links below for easy shopping. These authors are must haves for the kids on your list.
Become a Fan of Dawn Menge and Heath Rhodes
Heath Rhoades is the Astronomy Team Leader at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Table Mountain Observatory and specializes in software and technology for the optical telescope systems. Mr. Rhoades participates in asteroid and comet astrometry and is conducting research in asteroid light curve studies, as well as training and assisting visiting scientist. Dawn Menge has Masters and Clear Credential in special Education. She has worked with the severely handicapped population for over a decade. She is currently working towards her PHD in Curriculum and Instruction. Together, they wrote the third book inthe Queen Vernita series. It's called Queen Vernita Meets Sir HeathyBean the Astronomer.
Dawn and Heath invite you to become a fan of the book and to visit any of their websites
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Welcome to the tour for Author Marsha Cook. I am so glad you stopped by.
Author Marsha Cook is someone you should know. Whether you are a parent or grandparent wanting to find the perfect book for your child or a writer wanting to learn from other writers, Marsha Cook has it all.
Author of The Busy Bus, Snack Attack, and The Magical Leaping Lizard Potion just to name a few, Marsha also runs a literary agency and media company which promotes other writers. She also supports numerous charities and helps to find publishers for the writers she promotes. Visit http://www.michiganavenuemedia.com/about_marsha.html for more information about this wonderful author.
Visit here for a book trailer on her book Snack Attack.
Go to http://thewritingmama.blogspot.com/ for the next stop on the tour and to read more great information about Marsha Cook. See you there.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Check it out if you are a writer for children as well because it covers a variety of topics of interest to parents and kids.
SFC Blog: Families Matter: Review of Gulliver's Travels: "Review By David Broughton Title: Gulliver's TravelsISBN: 978-0-14-311911-1Published by Penguin GroupSuggested Retail: $14 USD $19 CAN290 pag..."
Friday, November 26, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
I’ve read many columns by writers describing how they organize their days, often writing in the wee hours before waking the kids for school, during lunch hour at work, or late into the night when the kids are in bed. They set attainable goals. How I admire these writers! But I am from a different planet.
Like theirs, my world is a balancing act. I juggle my writing life with family life, a “real” job (social work), my small business as a children’s entertainer (aliases include Tickles the Clown and Mother Goof Storyteller), and volunteering with my local rescue squad. My organizational skills are limited to making lists, which I promptly misplace or forget I’ve even made. Bottom line: I’m a poor role model for organization or balancing life.
My writing life, I’m afraid, has somewhat of a bipolar quality. There are times I can’t tear myself away from the computer. I stagger down the stairs and log on to my computer even before coffee or a shower, writing furiously. I make trips to the library and book store to research my subject matter. I study books of a similar genre to what I’m working on. I submit drafts to my writing groups, and work on revisions the minute the critiques arrive in my inbox. I go to bed with story-on-the-brain insomnia. During this “manic” phase, which can last weeks or even months, I can churn out two or three picture book manuscripts, while my house gets messier and dinner is chronically late.
Then I crash. This is the “depression” phase of the cycle. I’m not actually depressed, but the hurricane of creativity sort of dies out—the calm after the storm, as it were. Inspiration disappears as quickly as it came, and my writing world is limited to critiquing others’ work, staying involved in the online writing community, and keeping my Resources website current (*). I panic, wondering if my muse has abandoned me forever. (The silver lining is that, during these dry spells, my house is clean and dinner is on time.) Then one day, a writing contest, or perhaps a fascinating news article that screams to me, “STORY IDEA!” will prompt me to start something new. Then I’m back in the saddle (or office chair) again.
Check out day 3 of the tour here:
Friday, November 19, 2010
Klutzy Kantor is fun and the illustrations are adorable. Read about how Children's author J.Aday Kennedy goes about her writing to create great books like her new book about Klutzy.
Day 2 The Writer's Life with Author J. Aday Kennedy
I spend my days writing unless I have a speaking engagement or book signing. A typical day begins at 7:00 am. I’m a quadriplegic and on a ventilator.
My caregiver, Jackie, arrives and feeds me through a feeding tube in my stomach. When that task is completed I am bathed and my lung therapy and physical therapy are conducted. During these times I listen to children’s books on tape.
Frequently a writing idea will come to me and Jackie will write them down for me so that I do not forget. It’s extremely frustrating when writing ideas are churning in my mind in the middle of the night, and I have to wait to write the stories.
I am very impatient and hate waiting. Yet, daily I spend the first five hours waiting for the time my “real life” can begin (therapy ends).
Around 11:30 or 12:00 my therapy ends. Some days I sit in my wheelchair and must dress and don a pair of tight hose and a tight band around my waist to maintain my blood pressure. Many days I stay in bed. My desk rolls over my bed and the height can be adjusted as necessary. Around the perimeter of my computer monitor I have my goals, motivational slogans and a list of traits I felt were indicative of me or that I hope to be in the future. Before I begin writing I read my goals aloud ten times. Then I read my confidence boosters ten times. I call this my daily brainwashing.
My next step is my thirty minute to one hour bible study. Currently I’m studying Corinthians 2. After I pray and thank God for the blessings in my life, it is time to get down to business. I’m a scatter brain and have to follow a structure or I am going in a hundred directions at once. I write a list of the things I need to accomplish. I pick and choose what to do first. As the day progresses I check them off. Whatever I don’t accomplish is transferred to the next day’s list.
The most challenging part of the day is writing and typo hunting. My stroke causes my hand-eye-coordination to be off. For every sentence I type, I expect at least four typos. I’m legally blind which makes them difficult to find.
If the muse strikes I ignore the list and write. I force myself to work on my current book project. On the days my mind is a blank I still write, but in my journal. I interview a character, brainstorm or write about my frustration over not being able to write. No matter how I feel or how awful my prose is, I write. Writer’s block is not a good enough excuse not to write.
I end the day with email around 11:30pm.
Be sure to follow day 3 of the tour for J. Aday Kennedy at the blog of author Nicole Weaver.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Welcome Nancy I. Sanders. Nancy is a wonderful children's author but she also has much to offer new writers. You can read more about Nancy at Blogzone.
Day 2 of the Tour The Writer’s Life with Author Nancy I. Sanders
Q: What projects are you currently working on?
A: This past summer I signed the contract to write another book in the same series as America’s Black Founders. Its focus will be on the Civil War era. For the first time, ever, my husband and I were able to take a photo research tour and acquire images we took ourselves. For two weeks we traveled through Baltimore, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston, visiting key historic sites and taking over 1500 photographs for the new book. It was a fantastic experience! The hard part will be trying to narrow our photographs down to 50-100 photographs that will actually make it into the book itself, but I’m hoping to use many of the extra ones to build a website about the book after it’s release in 2012.
I’m also working on a couple of other book and article deadlines right now, and you’ll always find me working on some stage of a picture book. I love writing picture books and am constantly working on creating new stories to bring delight to children’s hearts.
To learn more about the books I write, please visit my site:
Q: Describe a typical writing day.
A: Since I’ve been writing now for over 20 years, my writing day has changed with the stages and ages of my children as they grew. Typically when our two sons, Dan and Ben, headed off to school, I headed off to my computer to type. When they came home, I set my writing aside. Now that we’re empty nesters and our sons have moved away, these past two years I’ve been able to write full time from August to June while Jeff is at work. Since he’s a teacher, I take the summer months off from this heavy writing schedule when he’s home from work. This is a great time of refreshment.
Right now, however, I can get up at 7:00 in the morning and write until 5:00 in the evening when I start cooking dinner. I don’t sit at the computer for eight hours straight, however. That would result in eyestrain and backaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. Instead, I break my days up into chunks so that I’m only sitting at the computer for about an hour at a time. I schedule fifteen minute to half hour breaks into my day with specific purposes. I brainstorm while I do housework so I get moving around with lots of energy after sitting for so long at my desk. I sit in a comfy chair and read books for research for the next section I plan to write. And about once each week, I attend a different writer’s group (I belong to four writers groups) and run errands such as pick up library books I’ve ordered in for research.
Search Amazon.com for Nancy I Sanders
Check out day 3 of the tour for Nancy I. Sanders here:
See you there. Don't forget to check the links here for all the books that Nancy I. Sanders writes. They will make great gifts for the kids, teachers, or writers on your Christmas list.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Day 2- The Writer's Life with Children's Author Pat McCarthy
Since all my published books have been nonfiction, a great deal of my time is spent on research. That can include reading books and taking notes, surfing the Internet, or going places to check on information. The research takes a lot more time than the writing.
I do all my note-taking on the computer. I open a folder for each chapter and take notes directly into it from books or computer printouts. It's much easier to find reliable information on the computer than it was ten years ago. When I was writing the pioneer book, I found all kinds of primary material online-material that was generated during the time period I was writing about. There are any number of journals available. You can find the full text of Lewis & Clark's journals online, including journals written by several other members of the expedition. I also found lots of journals and diaries written by pioneer children, which makes my book much more interesting for kids. There are also copies of many letters written back home by pioneers.
It's hard to know when to stop researching, but when you start seeing the same information over and over and not coming across anything new, the time has probably come to stop. I do a very complete outline before I start writing a chapter. Yes, I hated doing outlines when I was in school, but now they're my best friend. Because my material is all organized in a logical order before I start writing, I seldom have to do any revision on the structure of a chapter. In fact, once I have the outline in place, I can usually write a chapter in a couple of hours. Because of the outline, my revisions usually consist of cutting something that's too long, proofreading, finding a better way to say something, replacing a repeated word, etc. I always read it out loud. That's the best way to make sure the writing flows and that the reader won't stumble.
I try to work all morning on days when I'm writing. I'm definitely NOT an afternoon person. I just run out of steam about 2:00 (all those years of teaching took their toll!) so I take a nap in the afternoon. I often write in the evening, sometimes as late as midnight. I'm a night owl.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Please join me in welcoming Sean Noonan to our site today in day 2 of his virtual book tour. Check out his books for fun and unexpected surprises that kids will be sure to enjoy.
Day 2 The Writer's Life with Children's Author Sean Noonan
"I have always loved to read and lose myself in the wonder of stories. I find it incredible and very privileged that I may be able to instil that same sense of wonder in others."
Writing is a pleasure. It is hard work but, when all is said and done, it is a pleasure. I am very fortunate to find myself, at this point in my life, being able to type on a computer just as fast as I can write by hand. The best part of which is that people can actually read what I write on the keyboard, whereas my hand writing leaves a lot to be desired.
I remember, in the last year of primary school, that I won an award for my writing because it was so much like spiders had stepped in the ink and walked across the page. Not the best way to encourage children, though it just goes to show that anyone can overcome any challenge. If I can do it, anyone can.
Most of the adventures I have written so far were actually typed on airplanes, in airport lounges and in hotel rooms. I have a little ritual when I intend to write, particularly when I am flying. As we taxi down the runway I close my eyes and relax. I just drift off into the Land of Dreams and visualize the plot and scene. Then when I am ready to write (and the pilot switches off the "fasten your seatbelts" light) I pull out my computer and let the characters loose across the pages.
Grumphspawn's grumpiness, Elannah's elegance, Sam's bravery, Pokey the Hedgehog's sense of humour are all very real to me and are as much a part of my success as the story lines themselves.
These stories are products of all of the families imaginations. What better way to write for children than to have them actively involved in the story's creation. Some of the plot twists and characters names come from my kids and we have fun talking about what will happen next. Children have such wonderful and unexpected imaginations.
When I think of the 'Adventures' and what I will write next, I often let my thoughts drift off into another world. I visualize the story. What will happen, and where the tale takes place, become images in my mind that I write down. The characters are fun and so I let them play in this virtual story land. They become real to me so much that they sometimes even hijack the story down routes that I didn't originally intend. Elannah's character can be quite persuasive and she often leads me off into new thoughts. Sam's character is adventurous and brave and he will cause the story to change more in the directions that he wants. All in all, we have fun together crafting the adventures and we just hope that our readers love the stories as much as we do.
I have noticed something that has changed since I started writing; the way I read. I still love books, of course, but I can't help but look at what an author has done and how they have achieved the effects that the stories invoke. It is essential to read if you want to write. Broaden your horizons and expand your perceptions. Life is learning and when the lessons learnt allow us to be better individuals then life is rich.
I choose to write in a very positive way and even though the adventures are thrilling I keep them encouraging and focussed. Our imaginations are powerful tools. It is best to nurture them for good reasons.
PLEASE check out day 3 of the tour for Sean Noonan here:
At the blog of children's author Nicole Weaver. See you there.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
SFC Blog: Families Matter: Frankie Stein Book Review: " Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE ..."
Sunday, November 7, 2010
What does a writer do? Keep writing. Change the subject matter, find a new project for the time being, use a writing prompt, listen to music, bake a cake... you name it there is a world of things to do when you are stumped. What works for you may not work for the next writer. Writing is what the end product needs to be...words on a page. Finding the things that spark your creativity is one of the joys of being a writer...so go forth and write.
Here is a prompt for you. Take a look at this picture and what do you see? Do you see a peaceful walk in a park that your character and her lover take or do you see your character running frantically down the path tripping over what appears to be a hand reaching out of the wet leaves?
Set the timer and write for 5 minutes. Write whatever comes to mind as it relates to this picture. It may just jumpstart a great story.
Email to share your story idea here. The best entries will be compiled into a project I am working on for the blog which will include your bio and some exposure to your writing. See you on the page.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
How do we as authors, keep connecting to children of all ages when we write?
The technology is far out reaching my expectations as I see kids so much more focused on computers, hand-held games, IPods, and cell phones then on reading a good book. Writing must step it up to keep kids wanting to read instead of only looking and listening to sounds and graphics of their latest game.
So how do we do it?
1.Characters... well developed characters. It doesn't matter if the character has a few flaws, so much the better. Kids are not perfect and they don't want to read about perfect kids either.
2. Theme: the theme or subject matter has to matter to the reader. Make the theme of your story resonate with what is happening in a child's real life world. Kids will read about stuff that they care about or that they can relate to.
3. Conflict: conflicts need to be edge of your seat kind of stuff, the stuff that kids worry about and think about. They want to read about it and relate to it but here is the key. It has to be believable, even if the story is a Harry Potter take off with wizards and supernatural happenings, the rise and fall of conflict and resolution must be believable for the world you have created.
4. Endings matter: the ending to your story needs to be satisfactory. That doesn't mean it has to be a happy ending every time. Life doesn't work like that...bad stuff happens to good people or in this case characters. But the ending needs to be a natural consequence of the story line. Example: Character A has done drugs and refuses help and thinks he doesn't need help from outsiders so makes no change throughout the story. Now Character A dies in the alley with a syringe in his hand. For a teen or young adult reader... that is real. It may not be happy but it is the natural consequence of the actions laid out in the story.
Age appropriateness of the story line and the ending are important when you are trying to attract a readership. It is also important to keep the conflicts age appropriate in most cases. Picture book characters wouldn't settle an argument with a peer with a gun for instance, however a young adult theme that includes gangs and gang violence may have more graphic conflicts as the natural consequence of the characters and their actions. Not always goody goody, but definitely hooks a young adult reader.
Look at your story and identify the characters, the theme, the conflicts, and the natural consequences of the actions in your story. Can you tighten anything, change anything, or add something that will hook your reader away from the techie game or music they are currently into? If you answer yes, you've captured what your reader needs and wants, and now maybe you will be the next author he downloads to his Kindle.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Utah Children's Writers: Act and Dress the Part with VS Grenier-Part I: " Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE ..."
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
SFC Blog: Families Matter: Try This Reading and Writing Activity with Your Ch...: "Do you want to include a fun reading activity with a twist during family night this week? Here is an idea. Take this easy reader story and c..."
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Stories for Children Magazine
a trademark of Stories for Children Publishing, LLC
An Ezine for Children (3 to 12)
M E D I A R E L E A S E
CONTACT: VS Grenier
Founder & Owner, Stories for Children Magazine
For Immediate Release
Stories for Children Magazine Reopens Its Doors!
The exciting growth and changes continue to occur at Stories for Children Magazine and we are pleased to announce its reopening! This award-winning Ezine shut down for a short hiatus as their Founder, Owner and Editor-in-Chief VS Grenier gave birth to a wonderful baby girl.
"Being a mother takes a lot out of you, but now that my little girl is old enough to play in my office and my other kids are back in school . . . it's time to reopen Stories for Children Magazine," states VS Grenier. "I've really missed working with our great list of authors and illustrators. In addition, I am looking forward to working with the new SFC Team. We have a few of our old team members back, but we've added a lot of new faces as well."
Stories for Children Magazine's first issue is planned for April 2011. They are open to submissions and are looking for fiction, nonfiction, poems, crafts, activities, puzzles and youth submissions to fill their April, May and Summer 2011 issues. You can find their guidelines at http://storiesforchildrenmagazine.org under the contributors section.
Even though the relaunch issue is not until April 2011, you can still visit this fun, family friendly Ezine each month. "We'll be posting book reviews, crafts, coloring pages and more for FREE each month," states Grenier.
Stories for Children Magazine placed in the Top Ten for Best Magazine in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry in the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2008. So come take an adventure in the World of Ink with Stories for Children Magazine – http://storiesforchildrenmagazine.org.
Learn more about Stories for Children Magazine at http://storiesforchildrenmagazine.org
Full Media Kit, Magazine Cover Art and more are available upon request electronically.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I have to have the hook. Knowing what the hook is that will make my story stand out from a hundred other stories is a new concept for me. Somehow I thought the hook would develop as the characters, plot, and storyline came together. Make the hook the first item to complete before everything else in the story no matter who the character is, no matter the setting, ask yourself what will be the hook that makes the reader want to know the rest.
Deciding on the hook of your story before writing the query will show the editor that you have something new and different. Trust that your story will follow. Try it and let me know what you think about the process. Now I am off to find my hook for my next story idea.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
This process for plotting is a "Meet in the Middle" process and is a great way to get an overview of how your idea looks from beginning to end and back. Check out the article at http://mayrassecretbookcase.blogspot.com and let me know what you find.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Cooper and Me is a series of children’s picture books that was inspired by my eleven-year-old daughter’s passion for art and her love for animals. Since Alexa could hold a pencil in her hand she would draw. Her love for art started when she was very young and grew stronger as her talent developed. Alexa has always loved to share stories about the things she is passionate about. Her wonderful imagination and her love to share stories about animals developed into a love for writing. The main character, Cooper, is our family dog, a black Labrador retriever. When Alexa first decided to write and illustrate a book, she came up with a theme of a little girl’s first day of school and how her mother helps her to overcome her jitters. Through the love of a mother and the family dog, “Cooper and Me” makes a little girl’s fear of the first day of school okay. I helped Alexa with the story and am happy to say that I became Alexa’s co-author.
There are currently four books in the series that include the original Cooper and Me, Cooper and Me and the First Halloween, Cooper and Me and the Military, and Cooper and Me and the Winter Adventure. Each book also includes a CD with a narration of the book and original musical scores.
The theme for each book was inspired by something personal to Alexa. In Cooper and Me and the First Halloween, the story tells the tale about Cooper and his best friend Trooper, a German Shepard, who are excited to experience their first trick-or-treat. The mischievous duo is up to some Halloween antics. But our smaller dog, a Morkie named Bella, summons up some magical powers and does not let them get away with their tricks so easily. Bella decides to teach the two bigger dogs a lesson and turns them into unicorns! Will Bella use her magic wand to turn them back? You’ll have to read the story to see.
Follow the tour to day 2 at http://kristibernard.wordpress.com/ for more fun.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
My writing career is due, in part, to two Nancys.
I’ve loved books since I was first able to hold one. In about the third grade it occurred to me that somebody had to write those books I loved. I decided that one day, one of those somebodies would be me. Writing books didn’t seem too lofty a goal for my nine-year-old self. My parents had taught me that I could do anything I set my mind to. Plus I had a secret weapon: Nancy Drew.
My mom loved Nancy when she was a girl, so one year for Christmas, Santa brought me The Hidden Staircase and The Bungalow Mystery. I was hooked. I devoured Nancy Drew books as fast as I could get them. This was during the late sixties and early seventies, a time when girls were still being told they couldn’t do the same things boys could. But I knew better—I had Nancy.
Nancy could do anything better than anyone, including the detectives on the River Heights police force. If Nancy took an art course, she was the best artist in the class. If Nancy enrolled in karate, she’d be taking down the instructor after only a couple lessons. If Nancy wrote a book, it would be an immediate bestseller and instant classic. And if Nancy could do it, I could do it.
I wrote stories all through grade school, and in high school actually had a short story published. I went to college, earned a degree in art, and started working and raising a family. I still dreamed of being a writer, but I wasn’t sure how to start. That’s when I ran headlong into the second Nancy: Nancy Weston, Patricia Wettig’s character on the TV show “thirtysomething.”
Nancy Weston was an artist who wrote and illustrated a picture book and got it published. This really cheesed me off. This Nancy, this character on a TV show, was stealing my dream! (Okay, she also had to battle cancer and deal with a philandering husband. Still.) It was just the kick in the pants I needed. I bought writing books. I went to writing conferences. I got a subscription to Writer’s Digest. I was a writer, dadgummit. It was time I started acting like one.
I was fortunate; my stories soon began being published in children’s magazines. In the years since, I’ve written hundreds of short stories and poems, twelve nonfiction books, three ghostwritten series books, and several novels.
My newest book is Nocturne, a younger YA fantasy. The publisher, Mirrorstone, published a hugely successful series of Practical Guides, such as A Practical Guide to Wizardy, A Practical Guide to Dragons, A Practical Guide to Monsters. They’re mock nonfiction, tongue-in-cheek guidebooks that teach you how to cast spells, ride dragons, and defend yourself from various fantasy creatures. When Mirrorstone began publishing companion novels, they asked me to write the companion to A Practical Guide to Vampires.
I started with setting: a cobblestone street in a Victorian London-ish city. I created my main character, fifteen-year-old Flannery Lane, an intrepid, resourceful girl (not unlike Nancy Drew) who possesses remarkable magical powers. As a baby, Flan is found on the doorstep of a wizard and raised as his neice in the rooms above his bookshop. Because her powers are so strong, they attract evil, so she is forbidden from using them. Now, if you possessed powerful magic but were forbidden from using it, what would you do? That’s exactly what Flan does. She secretly practices her magic and of course attracts unspeakable evil: a vampire, who terrorizes the city and kidnaps her uncle.
Nocturne is my first fantasy novel, and I hope readers enjoy it. If so, they have two Nancys to thank.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Meet Author Mieke Blommestein- her story about how she began writing stories is facinating.
If some one would have asked me a year ago if I was going to be an Author or writer one day, I would have said: I don't think so.
It all began a couple of years ago. As a long-term care Aid my life was pretty busy, and my mind was full of chatter at the end of the day. I started to practice meditation, to still the mind. Every morning and evening I would close my eyes and meditate for 20 or 30 minutes. After a couple of years it became part of my routine just like eating and sleeping. Then one morning during a meditation I saw a vision of a monk. He called him self-Emanuel and said he was a storyteller. In my vision he invited me to sit with him in a beautiful garden, and asked me to pick up a pen and piece of paper. And as I listened to the words coming in my mind I wrote the stories down. I never knew when this vision of the monk would come to me, but when it did, I knew to pick up my pen and I would listen to the story. Over the past few years I have accumulated many stories, tucked away in a binder, collecting dust. Then one morning in 2008 the vision of the Monk Emanuel appeared again, this time I only heard: What are you going to do with these stories. Are you going to leave them on the shelf, accumulating dust? I knew then that I had to send these stories out in the world.
With the support of my Husband, family and Friends I started to do some research. First I bought the book" Self Publishing in Canada from Suzanne Anderson", and read it from beginning to end. I followed all the necessary steps, and before I knew it my, first self-published book arrived at my doorstep. It was like giving birth all over again, just in a different way. The story: The tale of Miss Spider who spun her web was the first story that I received during my morning meditation. I listened to the words that I received during this meditation. It is a story about a Spider that has two voices in her head. One voice is kind and loving, the other is loud and angry. It is for all of us to recognize the kind and loving voice inside our head, instead of listening to our loud and angry voice. This story is a wonderful teaching tool for parents, and it will inspire and help children to listen to their own soft, loving and kind inner voices.
Diane Perruzzi did the illustrations. She is an amazing artist, and I am thankful for her wonderful work that made Miss Spider come alive. Diane lives in Sacramento (California) and her website is www.DianePerruzzi.com
THE NEXT STORY I RECEIVED DURING A MEDITATION IS CALLED: THE TALE OF CHARLIE THE TOAD, AND THIS WILL BE PUBLISHED IN 2011. DIANE PERRUZZI IS WORKING ON THE ILLUSTRATIONS.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Meet Author Suzanne Marion- What a great story this author came up with. Enjoy learning about Suzanne and follow her on the rest of her book/blog tour.
One day about two years ago my granddaughter Christina, who is now nine years old, called me with a dilemma of major proportions. She said, “Grandma, I don’t know which tutu to wear to my ballet class today. I have TONS of tutus in my closet.”
I said, “Christina, you mean you have too too many tutus?” At that point we dissolved in laughter, and an idea was born! I wrote a story for her about her problem, suggesting a solution, after due consideration. By a serendipitous twist of fate, the first violinist in my weekly chamber music group asked to read my latest tale. She then asked me if she could show it to her mother, and of course I said, “Of course.” Her mother turned out to be marvelous artist Marj Hales, who began to create gorgeous watercolors of little girls in ballet costumes of different shades. They were too beautiful to remain hidden, so the next step was to self-publish our book, ‘Too Too Many Tutus.’ It has been well-received, and we have enjoyed seeing little girls and their parents enjoying it.
Within a year it became apparent that the little boys of our acquaintance deserved a tale also. Not every little boy enjoys tales of tutus. My grandson Evan was at the time a fan of dragons, and his sister Margarita favored unicorns. The morality tale of Donner the Western Dragon and his best friend, Una the Unicorn, was written. Marj’s watercolors of dragons and unicorns are unparalleled, so we knew we had to publish this book also. Once again, the children enjoy it, and we are gratified.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Meet Author Mayra Calvani- This book is a must for those wanting to be in the know about writing and book reviewing. Read about this children's author and follow the tour.
I never thought I’d become a children’s book author. Yes, I started writing fiction when I was about 12, but, back then, I wrote paranormal suspense. I guess all those movies in black & white about werewolves, vampires and witches must have had a strong effect on me. This taste for the supernatural continued throughout my teens, twenties and early thirties. It wasn’t until I had my second child that, somehow, I got bitten by the children’s story bug. Reading all those picture books to my kids at night must have been a big influence. So, one day, I decided to sit down and write a children’s story. That first story eventually became my first published children’s book, Crash! I’ve been writing for children since that day, and I’ve never looked back. I’ve always compared writing for children as walking on a rainbow. It’s a world full of color, full of possibilities. There’s so much room for exaggeration and the ridiculous, the more you let your imagination run wild, the better you’ll be.
I still write fiction and nonfiction for adults, but I have to admit that children’s literature is my new passion. I’m not talking only about picture books, but middle grade and young adult fiction as well.
My latest book, How to Turn Your Book Club into a Spectacular Event, is my first nonfiction book for kids. Unlike my earlier picture books, which are geared toward 3 to 8 year olds, this one is for middle graders ages 9 to 12. The book (actually, it is more of a booklet, only 45 pages long), is based on an article I wrote a couple of years ago. The article was aimed at grownups but I thought it would be a great idea to write a similar version for kids. I searched on Amazon to see if there were similar books, and I wasn’t able to find many. I think there was one or two, if I remember it correctly. So I approached my publisher, Lida Quillen of Twilight Times Books, with the idea and she liked it enough to offer me a contract based on the proposal, which was basically the table of contents and a sample chapter.
Like the antisocial little rodent in my picture book, Humberto the Bookworm Hamster, I’ve had my nose stuck in a book my whole life, and I know I would have loved the idea of starting my own book club if only I’d had the right advice. The more we can instil a love of literature in young people, the better. I know this is self serving, but my book would make a lovely Christmas gift to any girl who loves books.
In How to Turn Your Book Club into a Spectacular Event, using simple steps and examples, I go through the whole process of starting and managing a book club, as well as turning it into a fun, exciting social event. At the end of most sections there’s space for note taking where readers can make lists and write down ideas such as possible members, club names, etc. There’s also a section where I explain the different genres and a list of popular middle-grade authors with links to their websites.
My goal was to encourage young people to enjoy books and reading and to create a short, practical, quick reference guide for them to use. To read reviews and an excerpt of How to Turn Your Book Club into a Spectacular Event, please visit: http://mayrassecretbookcase.com/Middle_Grade.html
Follow Mayra to day 2 of her tour here:
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Meet Author Nicole Weaver- I am happy to share with you this information regarding a fine author who writes for children. Check this out.
I decided to write for children because I see a tremendous need for good quality books that portray children of color in a positive light. Additionally, I want to write books that can expose all children to a foreign language at an early age.
I lived near the beach in Haiti. There was a nesting site for sea turtles near my home; consequently sea turtles came ashore all the time to lay their eggs. My father frequently ordered the maid to make stew out of the turtles. I remember vividly how that devastated me. One day I came across a sea turtle while collecting sea shells, I wanted so badly to return the turtle back to the ocean, but much to my dismay I was not strong enough. My father and his brothers carried the sea turtle to the kitchen and had the maid make stew out of it. That memory propelled me to write a story about what happened on the beach so many years ago.
Monday, October 4, 2010
You will find the tour schedule, learn about free drawings and give aways, and learn what the site offers to new and experienced writers.
Meet Author Karen Cioffi- I am so glad to introduce you to a wonderful children's author. Read all about her here:
I’ve loved to write and draw since grade school, In my teen years I wrote a lot of poetry, but I never thought of writing as a career. Instead, I went into accounting. I was working as an assistant controller for a manufacturing company when I was diagnosed with MS in 2000.
Around this time, my younger daughter, Robyn, was going to college for her teaching degree, majoring in children’s literature. I’d read her school papers and sometimes help her with research, and it rekindled my interest in writing.
Then my first grandson was born and we sang a family lullaby to him at bedtime and nap time. He loved it and it seemed to soothe him and ease him into sleep.
I wrote the lullaby over 30 years ago because my firstborn didn't like sleeping. I sang it to her as I paced the hallway carrying her in my arms to get her to sleep, and again when she'd wake in the middle of the night. I did the same thing with my second daughter, and it became a family lullaby.
Having the lullaby reintroduced into the family through my grandson, Robyn thought it would make a wonderful bedtime story. At first I wasn’t interested in turning it into a book, but she truly believed in it. So, we collaborated and came up with picture book that has the sheet music to the lullaby at the end of the story.
We wondered what publishing route we should take, and I did submit it around for several months to traditional publishers, but, uncertain of what the MS would bring at the time, I decided to self-publish. So, the second round of work began, researching POD companies.
I created a spreadsheet and did a comparison of a few companies, and ended up going with BookSurge (now with CreateSpace). I have to say they were great; they were helpful and professional.
So, that’s how Day’s End Lullaby the bedtime picture came to be. Next on the agenda was the promotion. Promotion is the really tough part of getting a book published. And, before it was released in October 2008, I joined the Children’s Writers Coaching Club in June of 2008. I wish I joined a year earlier, but better late than never. Suzanne taught me so many things I didn’t know about writing for children, and there are things I still have to learn, but I’m taking the steps necessary to continue to hone my craft.
I also joined in the Muse Online Writers Conference in October 2008. I learned a great deal about promotion there. The most useful marketing workshop was one give by Denise Cassino. She explained a number of marketing strategies and suggested the workshop attendees form a virtual book touring group – and that’s what some of us did. In a pitch in the Muse Online Writers Conference in October 2009, I pitched a children’s fantasy chapter book to 4RV Publishing, and it was accepted.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
I will be featuring an author a day for the next week. It will be a Meet the Author launch to a week long tour for each of the featured children's authors. More information can be found at Author Showcase at the National Writing for Children Center... join the fun.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Also click on book reviews at the top of the page to read my review of the book The Middle of Somewhere by children's author J.B. Cheaney. The book is so good and a great example of drawing the reader into a story from the very first line.
Make comments at the site, sign up for the free emails, and look around the site. It has some wonderful resources for writers.
I will be featuring some of the authors here during their blog tours in the coming months. Check back often. There are some great surprises coming to this blog and you won't want to miss them. Happy writing.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
She has some wonderful information at her website for children's writers along with information on the great books for kids that she has written over the years.
Let me know what you think. Visit http://ellenjackson.net/ and get some great tips and encouraging words for those of us who love to write for kids.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
After much thought, some discussion with my husband, and some soul searching on my part this is what I have discovered.
1. It isn't the end of the world. It hurts, but I will continue to write and I will reach my goals.
2. I still have several other paying writing assignments. ( These assignments bring in much more than the very small fee I was getting for these articles and life will go on.)
3. I learned some very helpful information from these editors including writing tighter so there are positives to the experience.
4. It was not the kind of material I really had my heart in. Maybe that did show up on the page.
5. It wasn't personal, it was a business decision. ( I couldn't get the number of key words right to please the sponsors and the search engines because a) it made the article sound fake and b) it made the article sound fake.
6. I want to write for children. I want to write for children. I want to write for children.
When you experience any form of rejection concerning your writing, take a minute to feel the hurt. Step back and re-evaluate your writing goals but get right back in the saddle ( butt in chair) and begin writing something new. Remind yourself that you are a writer, and a good one. You're not perfect, but you are learning so go forth and write. And make sure to let me know how you do.