Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas Friends

Merry Christmas

May you have a wonderful holiday with family and friends and find some time to curl up with a good book too.

Thanks for being a follower here and watch for fun and exciting things here for writers in 2012.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Ideas for 2012

This is the rig my son works on but the one for traveling fieldtrips will have a reading logo.

I have so many ideas for 2012 that my poor head is spinning. The 30 picture book ideas are swirling around and some of those will be good ideas and some of those will blend into the major ideas I have for a traveling fieldtrip to promote health, wellness, and literacy for elementary students.

I also have some great ideas to help boost your writing and help you to find your own product to promote. Listen to your heart over the holidays and get a feel for what it is you want to do in 2012. Let's work together to make it happen.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Book Review: Darla Jade and the Balance of the Universe

Darla Jade and the Balance of the Universe

Author: D.L.Reynolds

ISBN: Hardcover 978-1-4628-8763-7

           E-Book 978-1-4628-8764-4

Darla Jade was yanked from her coffin. Little did she know that she would be an intricate part in an epic battle of good and evil in a supernatural world created by the author.

The fate of the world lies in her hands and the hands of the Guardians. This unique world of mystery, intrigue, magic, angels, and demons will keep young adult readers interested from the first pages.

This is the first in a series of 7 adventures with a Christian thread. The story line takes the reader to Heaven and beyond in a Peter Pan kind of way, with a sense that it is all to conquer evil and spread good on Earth like it is in Heaven with the help of the Guardians for course. Angels in disguise or demons? Is Striker who claims to be the Grim Reaper's assistant as bad as he wants the reader to think or is he even worse?

The reader will find a well crafted story with all the emotional tension needed to interest even the most reluctant reader as Darla Jade is thrown into the realms of revenge, betrayal, love and forgiveness. This book is available through in hardback, paperback, or E-book additions.

Read more about this adventure and the books in the series at

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Doll Violinist

Author: Mayra Calvani

Illustrations: Amy Moreno

ISBN: Hardcover 978-1-61633-185-6

E-book 978-1-61633-187-0

Guardian Angel Publishing, INC

Ages 4-8

It is days before Christmas and a young girl falls in love with a beautiful doll in the shop window. The doll holds a tiny violin, just like the one her mama played before she passed away. Every day the child watches in the window and every day another doll is packed away in a pretty Christmas box. What if the doll with the violin gets taken?

The shop keeper has lost a child.. She isn't very friendly and yet the young girl comes everyday to look at the beautiful doll in the window. If only she had a doll like that, and she dreams on and on.

This is an enchanting story of loneliness, loss, beauty, dreams, and love all wrapped up in the perfect Christmas story for young readers. Little girls will love the idea of a beautiful doll and the magic of dreams.

And the heartfelt ending leaves the reader knowing that there was divine intervention bringing the shop keeper, the young girl, and the beautiful doll together at Christmas.

The author has done an excellent job writing this charming tale and the illustrations are the perfect addition to the text. This is a must have for your collection, one that will be read and enjoyed over and over again.

Visit the author at or the publisher at for more information about the author, her books, or other great books published by GAP.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Spoonfuls of Hope: Restored

A great new blog for encouragement from a writer from the publisher of The Cancer Prayer Book, at

Check it out.

Spoonfuls of Hope: Restored: Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NISB Are there days when the responsibilities and ...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I Have 30 Picture Book Ideas

I have been working on one picture book idea everyday for the month of November just as many of you have been. Why?
  • I love picture books
  • I think they are an important way for young children to learn and be entertained
  • I love the illustrations that accompany picture book text
  • I love the challenge of writing depth for kids with few words
  • I love a challenge
  • I need the encouragement this challenge brought this month
Will all my ideas turn out as published works? I am certain not. But I am going to work hard at developing at least a few of the ideas because they are good ones, they are original and I like them.

Visit to sign up for next year and to find links to helpful information for those who write picture books. It is NOT a dying art. Children will always need picture books. So writers, keep writing.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

December Challenge .....

I creating my own challenge for December and you are welcome to come along.

I challenge myself and anyone who joins me to do one thing for someone else everyday in December and to do one thing for myself to move my writing along for a bang up start to 2012.

I am hoping as I open myself up to giving or doing for others every single day, it will spark my own creativity and help me to get my writing organized for the new year. Here is a list of what I want to accomplish in December.

1. I want to get my blog posts organized so that I know well ahead of time what I will be posting. For example, Mondays might be book reviews, Wednesdays writing articles, etc. Each blog may need a different theme list or I may decide that I don't need as many blogs as I have. In organizing the blogs, I hope to also seek out the target audience that I am trying to reach and do something for them.

2. I want to narrow my passion list down to a doable list for 2012. I am so passionate about so many things that I find I loose focus. Then I want to be more active towards others using my passion. One of my passions is for kids with cancer, a place in dire need of volunteer effort, monetary effort, and maybe a place to start doing for others in a more passionate way.

3. I want to link my passions with my writing and with the goal of producing products that my target audience will want and need. In doing this, again I will be working towards doing for others. I have three specific book series I am working on the will fit this bill, but the ideas need to go from my head to paper and on to a finished draft for critique.

So to clarify my December challenge for myself....

Write daily
Do something for someone else daily
Focus my passions towards writing, producing something the will benefit others, and working on it everyday.

Pass it on, manage it up, give it away...... this is going to be the best December yet.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Welcome Author Jewel Kats

Thanksgiving food is made, laundry is done, and I'm off to work the holiday night shift but before I go, please help me welcome Jewel Kats, a wonderful author for children. May all of you have a blessed Thanksgiving day.

Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary and also how you got the idea for this book.

I’ve always loved the story of, “Cinderella.” I’ve literally read every version out there—many with unique multicultural twists. However, I never came across a story that I could completely relate to. Up until now, there has never been a re-told version of “Cinderella” featuring a protagonist with a disability. Hence, I decided to fill this void. I thought it was about time there be a Princess on a wheelchair! High-time, actually!!!  

As for the synopsis, “Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair” is a modern-day tale that takes place in a Kingdom far, far away. Cinderella is forced to work like a mule for Stepmother and her twin stepsisters. One day, an invitation arrives. It’s from the Palace. A Royal costume party is being held! Stepmother promises Cinderella she can attend. The catch? She has to make jewelry for the twins. Cinderella keeps her word. Whereas, Stepmother doesn’t. Magic ensues. And, I’ll leave the rest to your imagination…

What is a typical writing day like for you?

First of all, I hardly sleep! Seriously. It’s hard for me to shut down and catch some zzzzz’s. My mind is always running about. I currently write full-time, and for this I’m very grateful. Why? I have the luxury to write either in the afternoon; or if an idea strikes me at night. I usually work about six solid hours per day on some writing related project. I’m usually doing a few things at once. More often than not, I end up working more.

 What do you enjoy most about writing?

I absolutely love the process of getting into my character. I often read what they’d like. Sometimes, I even dress like them! I really try to immerse myself into their brain. I’ve nicknamed this technique: “method writing.” I also enjoy the process of imagining new environments and new worlds.

What is the most difficult part of writing?

Sometimes, I struggle to write. Well, I still manage to write in a literal sense—but I don’t like anything that I record! I call them my “backspace days.” I’ve learned to get through this by telling myself something is better than an empty page. Moreover, I regurgitate maybe my version of “junk” is another person’s form of “art.” I’ve often been told that I’m too hard on myself—both personally and professionally. Read: I’m only human.

 Is there any book that, when you read it, you thought, "I wish I had written that!"?

I really admire books from other genres—specifically, Harlequin Romances. It’s always been my dream to write one. I’ve gone as far as writing a story outline, and character sketches. However, something keeps holding me back. Perhaps, it’s fear? Deep down, I wonder if I have what it takes to write fiction for women. Thus far, much of my success has come from writing for folks under 30. My career as a journalist is a whole other story.  

Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL. If not, where can readers go online to learn more about your book(s) and to order?

What are you working on right now?

We recently bought a poodle puppy named, Bambi. She will be coming home to us on Nov. 6th. Anyhoooo, I got this wacky idea to host a real-life “puppy shower” for her. Through this thought, a children’s chapter book idea sprouted. The “what-ifs” started, and soon enough a grade one student named, Beatrice, formed. She’s a hilarious kid who orchestrates a puppy shower to show-off to her arch enemy.

What is your best tip for aspiring authors?

Please don’t ever give up! Rejection letters are a part of the book authoring process. Also, remember to be open to critiquing. Stories can always improve!

What advice would you give children and teens as they prepare for life?

Keep repeating this: “There is a silver lining around each dark cloud.” Learn to find positives in negatives. Learn to turn your frown into a smile. Learn to laugh through rain.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Author Spotlight : Jan Britland and The Rodger Dodger Series

Welcome author Jan Britland to the blog today in the form of an author spotlight. Reading her post about how she developed her brand, self-published her books, and has made a wonderful name for herself and Rodger Dodger Dog is an amazing story and one that should inspire all the writers reading this blog.  Without further ado, please enjoy this author spotlight.

The story of Rodger Dodger Dog.

In 1986 I had to drive my children to a new town to start school at their new school. It was a 45 minute drive, which can become boring. On our drive we would pass a beagle type dog chained to a huge Magnolia tree. On some days we would see the chain hanging down from the tree. I think we just assumed the dog was in the house until one day we realized he was up in the tree. From that day on Rodger Dodger Dog as we called him became a favorite. As we passed him every day I would start telling a story about Rodger Dodger's  adventures up the tree and beyond. Because I am so dyslexic the stories had to rhyme so I could remember them from day to day. They also started the same to get me going.

Years passed and we would often talk about Rodger Dodger Dog and recall his stories. One day in 2008,1 received a phone call from my daughter Kelly who had young children of her own. She was complaining her son Dalton brought home a book from pre-school that didn't make sense to him or her. She wanted me to write down the Rodger Dodger Dog stories so she could share them with her children. I of course immediately sat down and started writing. Thank goodness the stories had been in rhyme. I sent the finished copy to my daughter and waited to get the phone call that would tell me how much my grandchildren loved my stories. It never came. When I called her to ask her, she told me she was embarrassed to call me. Her children were so small they really needed to see illustrations to keep their interest. So being the good Gammy that I am I set out to find an illustrator.

Since the stories were called The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog, I wanted to have action in my illustrations. I found just what I was looking for on line in the form of Mike Swaim... a wonderful cartoonist. We connected right away, Rodger Dodger Dog was born. When Mike was done with the illustrations I made up a book to re-send to my grandchildren. Needless to say they loved it. They took it to school and the teachers loved it. They shared it with other friends and they loved it. Dalton's teacher told my daughter to tell me to get them published. I of course wasn't too sure. I thought they were cute and I loved the illustrations but publish?? I wasn't convinced. I had 20 stories and it had been so many years since I had been in school I thought I should at least try and re-learn punctuation. I signed up at an Edison college for a workshop through the local writers association. That night I was the only person who showed up for the workshop... It was great. Professor Hoeck sat down with me and went through my stories with me. After we were done he said I should get them published.   I told him it wasn't in my plans, but he told me to do it anyway.

January of 2009,1 am now a member of SCBWI and The Peace River Center for Writers. I have the Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Market in front of me. I research editors, I send out manuscripts to a select few, only to find out when I get my SCBWI updated magazine the editors I have sent to are gone, downsized, no longer in the publishing business. I was shocked. In some cases even their imprints were no longer in print. I showed my husband what was happening and he urged me to self-publish, which is exactly what I did.

Since my decision to self-publish I haven't looked back. I have four books out with six stories in print. I have a Super-sized Rodger Dodger Dog that travels with me to school appearances.   I have three smaller Rodger Dodgers who travel around the world promoting reading. They get shipped to host families who in turn take pictures of him and write in his journal. They post the pictures on his Facebook fan page. Rodger has been across the U.S., to the Great Wall of China and Costa Rica. He will be leaving for Lochlelly Scotland shortly.   Rodger Dodger Dog is the mascot for The Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County, Florida. He has his own theme song and he was invited up to Best Friends Pet Care at Walt Disney World to shoot a YouTube video for them. They actually read his books to their guests!

What is next for Rodger? Because the stories run like movies in my head I have written two screenplays for The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog TV Cartoon series. With 20 stories and counting, I can certainly fill at least one season or more.

I of course plan on publishing several more books.

When other writers tell me I have done everything wrong, self-publishing, getting an illustrator, etc. I just smile and tell them I know but it's how I get things done. I would still be sitting here with a box of manuscripts instead of a heart filled with wonderful memories.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Spotlight Natasha and Gretchen: World of Ink Tours

Welcome to the Author Spotlight for my guests, Natasha Yim and Gretchen Maurer. Read a few tidbits about these children's authors and what life is like to be a writer.

It's rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a day job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you've had in your life? Have they influenced/inspired your writing?

Natasha: My day job is being a full-time Mom. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to be home with my kids. Now that they’re in school at least part of the time (My son is in a half-day kindergarten), I can have larger chunks of writing time. But prior to kids, I worked as a counselor/social worker in group homes, foster homes, residential treatment centers, and finally with child protective services. Because I worked with kids, it gave me an insight into how kids thought and felt. The way kids perceive the world, their imaginations and creativity is always an inspiration. One of these days, I’d like to write either a book about the life of a social worker or foster kids and what they have to go through.

Gretchen: My main job is taking care of my family, and I’m glad I get to do it. I have 3 kids at 3 different schools rignt now, and life gets busy! Up until a few years ago, when I started to give more time to my writing, I also held various jobs in education: high school and college English teacher and teacher mentor. I worked full-time outside the home before my kids were born, and after that, part-time … and now instead of working part-time outside the home, I write most mornings. I feel thankful I have my family’s support and that we can swing it, at least for now. Teaching English has definitely helped my writing, because it’s forced me think about what makes good writing effective—what works, and why.

Can you share some writing experiences with us?

Natasha: The path to publication can be agonizingly long and the road from Point A to Point B is often NOT a straight line. My first book, Otto’s Rainy Day, was fairly straightforward. I submitted the manuscript unsolicited to Charlesbridge Publishing. It was the one and only house I submitted this story to. They took a year to make a decision on it, but decided to acquire the manuscript. We had to wait a year to sign the illustrator as she was busy with other contracts. It was finally published 3 years after I signed the contract. A long road, but a fairly positive experience. Charlesbridge Publishing just offered me a contract on my picture book, Goldy Luck and the Three Chans. This one took quite a torturous and circuitous route to publishing. I had submitted the manuscript unsolicited to Tricycle Press in 1996. It went through 3 editors, as the editors kept leaving the company. There were long lapses when I had no communication whatsoever—the last editor who had the manuscript went on emergency maternity leave and the manuscript was left in limbo; it was lost once, and I had to send another copy. Finally, in Aug. 2010, after 3 and a half years with Tricycle, the editor gave me the good news that they wanted to acquire it. I wasn’t represented by an agent then, so I had to do a lot of research into publishing contracts and negotiated my own contract. A few days after I signed it and sent it back, Tricycle Press’ parent organization, Random House, decided to close Tricycle. Most of the books on their list, including mine, were sadly orphaned. It was very discouraging. I sent the book back out to my former publisher, Charlesbridge Publishing. They don’t do a lot of folk tales or fairy tales, so I wasn’t holding out much hope that it’d find success there. My former editor Yolanda Scott had encouraged me to send it to her though because she thought the multi-cultural aspect interesting. In March 2011, I received an email from editor Alyssa Pusey. She really liked the story. Several rounds of revisions later, it was taken to acquisitions, but the Marketing Department wasn’t sure whether Charlesbridge should publish a fractured fairy tale as it would be a departure from what they normally publish. They decided to table any decisions on Goldy Luck till the fall. Yet another delay! But at least it wasn’t a rejection. By this time, I had an agent, Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary Agency. Over the summer, we re-submitted the manuscript to several other publishers. It garnered 2 rejections, and we did not hear back from the others. Finally, in October 2011 (specifically, Oct. 5 at 8:30 am.—you tend to remember these things!), Karen called me and said Charlesbridge is offering me a contract on Goldy Luck and the Three Chans. It has been a very long road for this story, and I’d like to tell those writing and aspiring to publish: Never Give up. Keep working on your manuscript and your craft, and your manuscript will find a home.

Gretchen: I attended college between 1984 & 1988. I was thinking the other day after Steve Jobs passed away how strange it is to think that I didn’t use a computer the first two years of college. No one I knew had a laptop, and even though my university probably had a computer lab, I don’t remember using it until my junior year. My parents gave me an electric typewriter for high school graduation, and I though it was just the coolest thing. (It has built in eraser tape! Check it out!) When I’d draft a paper, I’d use scissors to literally cut chunks of my paper out, move things around, and tape or paste the chunks onto other parts: I needed more than the eraser tape, that’s for sure. It ended up looking like a crazy snowflake. The last two years of college I used the computer lab, but in order to cut and paste and move text around, I had to key in F-commands, which was clumsy. So you can’t imagine how excited I was when, three years out of college, I brought my first Apple II E home. (My own little writing robot! It cuts and pastes like magic!) And then along came the internet …

Tell us briefly about your book and what you feel is the most important topic/sub-message you share.

Natasha: Cixi, The Dragon Empress is one of six books (all written by different authors) in Goosebottom Books’ series, The Thinking Girl’s Treasury of Dastardly Dames. The series profiles six women in history who have earned dastardly reputations. Cixi was the last empress of China who rose from the ranks of a lowly concubine to become ruler of a nation. As with all the dastardly dames, she was a woman who wielded great power at a time when women had very little say at all. She was vilified for many things from stealing funds from the imperial navy to support her extravagant tastes to poisoining rivals. But was she truly evil or merely misunderstood? Would she still have attained this reputation if she had been a man? In addition to telling her fascinating story, the book (as are all the books in the series) is filled with cultural and historical details of the time in which Cixi lived. And it poses the question: did she deserve her dastardly nickname? And begs kids to consider the long-lasting effects and consequences of name-calling.

Gretchen: I was happy to get my first choice, Mary Tudor, the first reigning queen of England, out of the 6 dames the publisher of Goosebottom Books planned to feature in her series, The Thinking Girl’s Treasury of Dastardly Dames. I chose Mary Tudor because to me her nickname, “Bloody Mary”, was the most brutal-sounding out of the 6, and I wanted to find out more about why and how she earned it, and whether or not she deserved it. I wanted to know if she did anything good, too, what her childhood ws like, and who she was as a person. I dug into my research and wrote a boiled down version of the fascinating stuff I learned, which, once edited and put into book form, became Mary Tudor “Bloody Mary”. It’s definitely a book that makes you think. I believe it’s important for girls to read books about powerful women in history, books that really flesh out their lives and explore the social/political times in which they lived. A lot of children’s books have been published about influential men in history, but not as many about women.

Like all authors you have had your fair share of rejection letters. You obviously did not let the letters deter you. How did you keep your determination without getting discouraged?

Natasha: I’ve been at the writing and publishing business for awhile, and what you learn along the way is that it’s okay to feel the sting of rejection—it’s part of the process—but if you let it derail you from your goal or vision, publishing that manuscript becomes so much harder. So let yourself grief briefly, and then pick your ego back up, and re-submit that manuscript elsewhere. And realize that it’s not personal. Editors have different tastes, just as writers and readers do. It’s a very subjective business. Goldy Luck and the Three Chans received countless rejections, but editors from Tricycle Press and Charlesbridge liked it enough to offer me a contract. You may get dozens of rejections (and many famous successful authors have) before that sale, but all it takes is that one editor who likes it. I have an agent now, but when I was submitting manuscripts on my own, I would stagger the submissions. I’d send 3 or 4 out at a time, then another stack a week or two later. That way, when a rejection came in, there were other manuscripts making the submission round out there and there was always hope.

Gretchen: I do get discouraged sometimes, and I know there are no guarentees, but thankfully I’m addicted to the writing process, so I never get overly discouraged. I shoot for the outcome of getting published, but I don’t focus on it. I focus on getting stuff on paper and improving my writing. As far as rejections go, I keep them in a file, because they remind me that I’m trying. It’s like having scars I’m strangley proud of: “I got that scar when …” When I get a rejection, I lob the manuscript right back out into the world. I think of it as a game of tennis: when the ball bounces back, I swing, hit it back over the net … and hopefully, ulitmately, I’ll score.

It is always fun to read about and learn from other children's authors. I hope you have enjoyed learning something new about these fine writers.

For more information or to follow their stops on the World of Ink Tour check this out:

You can find out more about Natasha Yim and Gretchen Maurer’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Yim and Maurer, along with the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions.

In addition, come listen to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children at The hosts VS Grenier, Kris Quinn Chirstopherson and Irene Roth will be chatting with Natasha Yim and Gretchen Maurer about their books, writing, the publishing industry and experiences with virtual tours. Yim and Maurer will also be sharing writing tips and trials, and tribulations of the writer’s life. The show will be live November 14, 2011 at 2pm EST

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Writing Picture Books: Welcome to Writing Picture Books - A Group of Cri...

Writing Picture Books: Welcome to Writing Picture Books - A Group of Cri...: Welcome to our site. We are a group of writers who love to write picture books. We are also part of a closed critique group for picture b...

Picture Book Ideas... Fifteen Days and Counting

PiBoIdMo is well underway and if you have been following the blogs and Facebook, you know that most of us have been successful at finding some neat ideas. Now that we are approaching the middle of the month the idea river might be dwindling.

Here are a few thoughts on keeping the well from running dry.
  • Grab ideas from a totally different topic pool. If you love writing about animals as main characters, try switching it out to biography ideas about animal trainers. Pick a nonfiction topic if you most often write fiction and do the same if your ideas tend to be mostly nonfiction, then choose a crazy loony fiction topic.
  • Planes, trains, and automobiles....biographies, histories, counting books, how to books, games, any topic with these vehicles that will grab the interest of male readers.
  • Interested in weather? How about how to make a rain collection device, monitor and track the temperatures on graphs, what makes a tornado so devastating, and the list goes on. Find a twist on weather that hasn't been overdone and run with it.
  • Cultural diversity is a big topic and has thousands of twists and turns that a story idea could develop from. Ancient history of a culture, folktales retold, holiday celebrations, being bullied because of ethnic background, fears, teen traditions including marriage choices, and again the list goes on.
With 15 more days to go, you may have to dig deeper for your ideas.  Look around, read the news, or visit your librarian. New ideas are everywhere. See what you can find.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Twelve Big Blog Booboos by Award winning author Carolyn Howard-Johnson

I am thrilled to have a guest post today by talented author Carolyn Howard-Johnson. She is the author of The Frugal Book Promoter among other great titles. Her post today is for blogger-authors and offers great ideas for making your blog shine. I appreciate her time and I know you will enjoy this post. It will also get you thinking about how to improve your blog. What a great way to start off the week.

TWELVE Big Blog Booboos

Or How to Make Your Blogging Efforts a Big Waste of Time

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Blogging is easy. Blogging is fun. That's both good and bad. The downside is that the ease and fun of it often obscure the need to take it seriously enough to make it worth an author's time.

I often coach authors with their blogging projects. To look at their blogs, you might think these are rules they are following, when they should be doing just the opposite.

1. Never type “labels” or keywords into that little window-like form located under your blog post window. It's just an extra step and it certainly doesn't feel creative!

2. Treat your blog like a diary. Talk about anything that occurs to you. To heck with focusing so you can attract a following.

3. Oh, sure. Spend a lot of money getting someone to design your blog page. No one cares what you have to say. Everyone is there for the artistic experience.

4. Bury your blog on the most obscure service you can find and never, never use Real Simple Syndication (RSS Feeds) to send it anywhere else.

5. Choose a blog service that assures you it plans to censure and censor what you write. (Wordpress is one of those.)

6. Forget you have a voice. Keep your blog sounding like the driest text you ever read. Hey, write it just like a business letter or one of your hated high school assignments.

7. Don’t encourage comments. Turn off the comment button. Never ask a question.

8. Don't ever get any new ideas from someone else. Don’t read. Don’t invite guest bloggers. Don’t link to others’ blogs.

9. Don't ever leave comments on anyone else’s blogs—especially if they relate to yours. And don’t ever leave a link when you do. Or sign your post. In other words, forget all the manners your mother taught you.

10.Don’t add images, widgets, or ads. We don’t care if our readers get a visual. And we certainly don’t care if we ever make a little money from our blogs.

11.Don’t use a service like Google’s Analytics that will help you assess where your readers are coming from and which of your blogs attract the most readers.

12.Don’t ever, ever, ever mention any of the other things you do on the Web, like your Web site, your Facebook Like page, and your Twitter stream.

13.A baker’s dozen bonus here! Don’t read what Phyllis Zimbler Miller and I have written on blogging for fiction writers ( Whatever you do, don’t! And don’t read all the blogging and other tried and true (tried by me!) promotion tips in The Frugal Book Promoter ( Instead flail around on the web in hundreds of different places collecting tips from people with little or no experience.

Effective blogging involves others--writers, readers, and other bloggers. Effective blogging connects with your other online entities. You can have fun with it. You should have fun with it. But blogging effectively adds to the joy. Think of how much more fun it will be when you look at those stats and see that your blogging efforts are in fact a viable way to market your book.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of Your Blog, Your Business (, and a new edition of the multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter ( which has been Expanded! Updated! And is now a USA Book News winner in its own right! Follow her resources for writers at and, of course!, her blog at

Friday, November 11, 2011

Book Review: Tour for the book- Anessia's Quest

My Review: This is one of the best books I have read in some time. It is a realistic view of what it is to go through trials and continue believing in God, how doubts, pain, suffering, and loss become part of who you are as a person, and how each of us is designed and loved by our Creator.

I was so engrossed in the book, I read it in two sittings. It is an emotional journey where the reader loves the character from the beginning and keeps turning the page to see where life takes her. As a writer, even if you are not fond of "Christian Fiction" ( it is my favorite by the way.) you can learn so much from this first novel by this author. It shows great character development, good plotting, a good use of setting, and the best use of emotional draws I have read recently. The reader cannot help but be drawn into the story and to experience the feelings of these well crafted characters.

Here is more about the book from a more objective view point than mine, for me I give it 5 stars. Wonderful job of writing.

Book Details:

Genre:Christian, Drama, Suspense,Adult

Publisher: Selfpublished

Publication Date: January 18, 2011


Anessia’s Quest follows the life of a woman born into dysfunction and neglect. The story takes you on her journey. A journey that begins with abandonment, abuse, and physical injury. Pagne (Pain) believes she is all alone, thrown away, but soon discovers that she is protected and guided by her guardian angel. A powerful relationship develops between this lost child and her loving protector that manifests as a unique method of communication.

Pagne encounters other broken people that become her family, friends and community. Her grace and compassion alter their destructive paths. She moves through her life unaware of the impact she creates, her purpose on Earth.

Her life is filled with tears, laughter, joy and heartbreak. She faces challenges that include ultimate betrayal, loss and shame. Challenges that are only bearable due to her trust and faith in heaven’s love and value for her. Love that is reinforced by her angel. She discovers the events that led to her mother’s indifference and neglect, and must decide how much grace she can extend to a woman she has hated for most of her life. The ultimate test of forgiveness.

When she faces her death, Pagne discovers the true value and power of forgiveness and love. She is shown how her life created ripples that spread into waves of glorious influence. She was not an accident, she was placed on Earth with divine intent.

Author Bio:

Karen Slimick Arnpriester is a creative, passionate and adventuresome woman. She raised her two children, adores her seven grandchildren and is now a foster mom of two young ladies. She has been a self-taught graphic designer for twenty five years and started her own business twenty years ago. Her faith in God is strong and she believes that we are Christ’s hands, feet, arms and wallet. This translates into her involvement in youth ministries, local women’s shelter, street ministry, the elderly, as well as many other outreaches over the years. Her home has been available to single moms and their children, allowing them to get a fresh start.

ANESSIA’S QUEST is her first novel. The desire to write began two years ago as a hobby. She had an idea for a beginning and the end. The rest of the story flowed and took Karen on a journey. She cried and laughed as she followed the twists and turns of the characters. Once friends read the book, she was strongly encouraged to share her story with others.

RAIDER’S VENDETTA is Karen’s second novel. It will be released in October 2011. It is a psychological thriller between the main characters,Charley and Raider. Charley’s faith and ability to survive is challenged by

the rage of a shattered man.

Her third book, which addresses bullying, is in the works and should be released in 2012. The tentative title is HEY! LEADBOTTOM!

This author wants to take her reader to a place where they can evaluate their beliefs and who God is in their life. When asked why she limits herself to Christian fiction, she simply explains that it is where her heart is. If she commits her precious time to writing, it needs to be of value and have God’s ultimate purpose in mind. Bringing his children home to him. Karen welcomes God’s influence in her writing and prays that she is fulfilling His destiny for her life.

Connect With Karen:


The Next Stop:

November 13-Review@Live To Read

Purchase Links:


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Spotlight on Author Karen Cioffi

Here is the newest media release for award winning author, Karen Cioffi. Please check out her links and grab a copy of her book. You won't be disappointed.


For Immediate Release

Author Karen Cioffi joins the Stories for Children Publishing November ‘11 World of Ink Virtual Tour

Stories for Children Publishing will be touring author Karen Cioffi all month in November 2012.

Karen Cioffi is an advocate of education, reading, and the environment. She loves how reading can spark a child’s imagination and bring him or her to new worlds and on amazing adventures.

Along with writing children’s books, Karen is a ghostwriter and freelance writer, and has several nonfiction books on writing and book marketing. She has lived in New York City all her life, and two of her favorite sayings are:

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” American proverb

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” M. Ghandi

You can visit Karen’s blog at:

For more about Karen’s books and ebooks go to:

You can find out more about Karen Cioffi’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Karen and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions.

In addition, come listen to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children at The hosts VS Grenier, Kris Quinn Chirstopherson and Irene Roth will be chatting with Karen Cioffi about her books, writing, the publishing industry and experiences with virtual tours. Karen will also be sharing writing tips and trials, and tribulations of the writer’s life.

The show will be live November 21, 2011 at 2pm EST. You can tune in live at the World of Ink Network site at You can listen/call in at (714) 242-5259. (Note: if you can’t make the show, you can listen on demand at the same link.)

To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit Stories for Children Publishing at:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday and It is Day 7 for PiBoIdMo..

Fall is Picture Book Idea Month and could the fall colors be inspiration? How about crunchy apples, crisp temperatures, and spooky Halloween? If that doesn't work, think about snow, shovels, sledding, hot chocolate, and ....oh I don't know..let's throw in a few red drops in the snow. Could it be an injured bear? How about a kitten, puppy, or deer....  running, hiding, ............and that's how the first idea starts.

This month is the time to put all ideas on the table or the notebook or the computer. No idea is too silly or serious, after all kids love silly and from experience most kids deal with something serious in their childhoods.

Let your imagination run with whatever comes to mind during your brainstorming idea time. Share what you will, but we won't be offended if you want to save it until it is perfected. Now, back to the drawing board for me.. I have ideas to come up with.

Writing Prompt: Where are they going and just what is their mission?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

How To Talk To an Autistic Kid is Nominated for an Award......


Minneapolis, MN (November 3, 2011)—Free Spirit Publishing is thrilled to announce that How to Talk to an Autistic Kid is a finalist for the 16th Annual Books for a Better Life Awards, sponsored by The New York City–Southern New York Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society. The awards honor authors of self-improvement books.

How to Talk to an Autistic Kid is 14-year-old Daniel Stefanski’s first-person account of what it’s like to have autism, with his advice on how to be a good friend to someone who’s autistic. The Autism National Committee called How to Talk to an Autistic Kid “one of the best children’s books on autism . . . This book will help the children and teens of today become the compassionate adults of tomorrow, as they learn how to relate to the increasing numbers of people being diagnosed with ASD.” Publishers Weekly said the book “clearly explain[s] the difficulties with communication and social interactions that frequently accompany autism, while urging readers to reach out to and stick up for autistic children.”

The Books for a Better Life Awards recognize self-improvement, self-help, and motivational books in ten categories, with five finalists in each. How to Talk to an Autistic Kid is a finalist in the “Relationships” category. The winners of the Books for a Better Life Awards will be announced during a ceremony at The New York Times Center in New York City on Monday, March 12, 2012.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Good Ideas, Bad Ideas... Picture Book Ideas .....

This is day 3 of the Picture Book Idea contest. It really isn't so much a contest as it is an inspiration and motivation to end the year with more story ideas and prompts.

Kids books are just my favorite thing to think about, read, and try to write. I love to see kids enjoy a good book. Watching them cling to a favorite and to read it over and over makes my heart smile. The best is when my grand kids sneak under their covers with a flash light to read just one more page when it is past their bedtime. Who can get mad a child who loves to read?

How are your ideas coming? Whether or not you are participating in the November writing prompts and contests, if you are a writer, you need to finish 2011 with a bang. Grab your notebook and get a good list of ideas, titles, and characters that you want to get to know well into next year. Keep your writing momentum going right up to the end of the year. The effort will make for a smashing good start to the new year. Happy writing. I am off to make a character list and get an idea for a picture book on day three of my journey.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 2 for PiBoIdMo and NaNoWriMo 2011

My interest is in writing for children so finding 30 ideas for picture books is intriguing for me. But the idea must then be developed.

Here is what a picture book needs:
  • Interesting character
  • Interesting problem
  • Several action steps to solving the problem
  • Several roadblocks for the character before the problem is solved
  • Believable and satisfying conclusion
Not unlike a novel or other type of short story, the picture book must have similar parts and a beginning, middle, and ending. The difference in a PB  and other works may be in believable action steps that a child  takes to reach the solution, the lower word count (under 1400 words) and the importance of specific word choices, choices all understood by the child.

Picture books can be the most difficult to write. Yet, picture books may be one of the most satisfying projects an author can complete. How does an author know if their book was successful? The smiles on a child's face, the desire to have it read over and over again, and the approval of the adult reading it over and over again. And of course sales. Is the picture book jumping off the shelf at book stores and libraries?

So off to day three for more great ideas for picture books. You know you wanna!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November is NaNoWriMo and PiBoldMo- What are you writing today?

Today is the day to start the madness for writers everywhere. Are you participating in the fun?

Being part of the group who makes a mad dash to write a novel in a month or find 30 picture book ideas to develop in a month can make you a better writer. Will any of your work get published or be even a close fit for print? No way to tell.

 I can tell you this. It will make you a better writer for the effort. It gives you practice at the discipline of writing on schedule, a tight schedule at that. It will spark ideas. It will make you determined to discover if the writing life is one that fits your personality. And it can be stressful to you, your family, your co-workers, and anyone else who gets in your way.

But so what. If a writer is who you want to be, then no better way then to spend November trying on the hat of a writer. See where it takes you.

For me, I hope it takes me to a finished product suitable for a publisher's review. If you can't find me, I will be at my computer with butt in the chair mimicking the life of a writer.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween: The Perfect Time for Writers.......

Witches, Goblins, and Trick or Treating may be what is on your mind today, but why is this still the perfect time for writers?

Writers can use the atmosphere and thrill of the season to plan articles, stories, and activities for the market for NEXT Halloween. Writers need to submit at least 6 months in advance but some don't think about it until it is too late. It may be too late for the current year, but write and organize your articles, puzzles, and material for next year.

Research what has been published this year. Where will you book idea or story fit into the market for next year? Begin making a list of possible target markets. Make sure you write down word counts, themes, and any specific items the publisher lists in their writing guidelines.

Mark on your calendar when they begin taking submissions or if there is not a time frame listed, make a priority list of publishers to query for your Halloween article for next year.

Writers can benefit from writing during each season or holiday by  keeping the target and focus for next season as their goal. The spookiness of Halloween, the scents of fall, the feeling of Christmas, the heat of summer, all can influence your writing making it the perfect time to write whatever the season.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Have you signed up and taken the pledge:

I do solemnly swear

that I will faithfully execute

the PiBoIdMo 30-ideas-in-30-days challenge,

and will, to the best of my ability,

parlay my ideas into

picture book manuscripts

throughout the year.

For those of you who write for children and have wanted to write Picture Books, this is a great time to challenge yourself and your imagination. Thirty days and thirty ideas will give you material to work on as you hone your writing and promotional skills. I have taken the challenge now why don't you come and join the fun.

Visit : and get the information to get started.

Let me know how you do. I am off to get my notebook ready. Look for more ideas here and a Picture Book workshop coming soon to help you get those ideas ready for market.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Writers on the Move....

I have just joined Writers on the Move in hopes that it will increase my network connections and improve my writing, marketing, and promotional skills. If you are a writer who feels the need to branch out, this may be a good place to start.

Visit and check out all of the informational articles and workshops. I'm sure you will find something useful in your writing career. There are helpful posts on marketing your book but if you don't have your book ready, there are articles on that too. It is a wealth of information from both the founder, Karen Cioffi, and from talented authors who contribute like Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Donna McDine, and Virginia Grenier.

Here is a complete list of talented members:

Karen Cioffi
Kathy Stemke
Margaret Fieland
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Stephen Tremp
Nancy Famolari
Martha Swirzinski
Heidi Thomas
Dallas Woodburn
Maggie Ball
Virginia Grenier
Eysabeth Eldering
Marietta Taylor
Donna McDine
Kevin McNamee
Jean Quarles
Janet Oakley
Marcia Richards
Dianne Sagan
Terri Forehand-

Stop in and see what the site has to offer. It can improve your skills in writing, marketing, and promotion. Maybe you will even decide to join us. Let me know when you stop by and what you found to be the most helpful piece of information for your writing career.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Press Release: Author and Publisher Betty Dobson has a New Book to Benefit Breast Cancer Research

InkSpotter Publishing is very proud to announce to release of its latest anthology, Wait a Minute, I Have to Take Off My Bra.

Our anthology celebrates the most female of body parts, the breasts. From light-hearted memories of the first buds of puberty to heart wrenching accounts of breast cancer, these stories and poems run the gamut of experiences and emotions. And a portion of all profits will be donated to Breast Cancer Society of Canada.

Currently available through CreateSpace and, Wait a Minute, I Have to Take Off My Bra will soon be available to multiple brick ’n mortar and online stores.

Please help us spread the word about our new book. Breast cancer research is counting on you!





Blogging with Betty

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Interview with Nicole Langan of Tribute Books- What She Wants to Publish in 2012.

Please welcome Nicole Langan from Tribute Books. She has graciously agreed to answer some questions about submitting your book to Tribute and what it takes to get published in the YA genre.

I am more than happy to answer your questions. We are excited about 2012 and what Tribute offers.

1. What advice do you have for writers wanting to find a traditional publisher?

Develop a well-written, well-crafted story. Establish an eager fan base for your work. Have your manuscript professionally edited before submitting it to a publisher. Learn the ins and outs of book promotion before seeking publication. Build a social media platform by devoting the time and energy necessary to run a well-followed blog, Facebook page and Twitter account.

2. What types of subjects and genres are you looking for at Tribute Books?

We're looking for ebook submissions for the young adult genre. Our preference is for damn good writing, the particular topic is secondary in importance. However, ebooks written with a series in mind or those that delve into the paranormal will have a slight edge.

Manuscripts that have already been professionally edited will receive greater consideration. Our preference is to work with authors who have already been published through a royalty-paying press and who know the ins and outs of book promotion. An established social media platform is a must, and we will not consider writers who do not have a well-followed blog, Facebook page or Twitter account.

Interested authors can submit their manuscripts via email to There will be no charge for the authors we select to work with, and they will receive 50% of the net profits of their ebook sales in quarterly royalty payments. We're looking for Microsoft Word documents with a maximum of 350 pages of text with no photos, charts, illustrations, graphs, etc.

My hope is that we are able to recruit some talented writers of well-written, well-crafted stories in order to develop an eager fan base for the titles we publish. We want readers to be excited about the ebooks we produce. Young adult authors have the most devoted fan followings out there, and we'd like to introduce that audience to a whole new host of talent.

3. Do new writers always need an agent to get a traditional publisher interested in their book?

For a small independent publisher like Tribute Books, we accept submissions directly from qualified authors. However, if the end goal is to break into one of the big New York publishing houses, then an agent is absolutely necessary to breach the gatekeepers.

4. What does your average writing day look like?

I thoroughly enjoy a good young adult novel and review many on my blog at I try to keep an active online presence with the Tribute Books web site (, Facebook page (, Twitter account ( and blog (

5. What do you see as the best marketing advice for an author and how can that work to help the publisher?

I am a big believer in the power of social media. I even conduct monthly blog tours for outside publishers and authors in order to help them increase the online presence of a book. Book bloggers are a powerful force in the book industry. With more and more book stores closing and book review columns being cut from major newspapers, readers are depending on bloggers to help them find the books they want to read. They are turning to the internet as a reference point to fill this information gap.

In my opinion, social networking is the bread and butter of any author's promotional efforts. Without it, it's like trying to paddle upstream without a canoe. Readers want to connect with the person who wrote the book. They crave interaction with an author. Nothing beats getting a writer to comment on a blogger's book review post or getting a personalized thank you tweet from your favorite author. The days of authors being isolated from their fans is over. They're now able to build an online following and receive instant feedback for their work. They have the opportunity to take part in creating their own literary community.

Thanks for agreeing to host me. It has been fun. Here is more information on Tribute Books and what we are looking to do for 2012.

Beginning in 2012, Tribute Books will become solely an ebook publisher of young adult titles.

We're looking to work with authors who are savvy with social media - those who blog, tweet and update their Facebook status on a daily basis.

Our preference is for authors who already have a book(s) published through a royalty-paying press. We want to work with those who are familiar with the ins and outs of the publishing process. We seek those who have experience having their work edited and know the effort required for successful book promotion.

There would be NO charge for authors, and those selected would receive 50% of the net retail price in royalties.

To begin, we're looking to work with 12 authors in 2012, publishing one per month.

Contact Information:

Nicole Langan

Tribute Books

PO Box 95

Archbald, PA 18403

Phone: 570-876-2416


Web Site:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ready to Start a Freelance Writing Business- Interview with Author Suzanne Lieurance

Ready to start a freelance writing business but you don't know how?

Have you been looking online for someone or something that will help you?

Then find out more about the Working Writer's Club in this interview with the club's founder and president, Suzanne Lieurance, the Working Writer's Coach.

The Working Writer's Club might be just what you're searching for!

Q: Suzanne, as the founder and director of the Working Writer's Club what is the first thing you would like people to know when visiting

A: I'd like visitors to know that our club is all about helping freelance writers learn to write better, make more money, and live the writer's life they've always dreamed of living.

Q: Having created your own successful freelance writing career you know what it takes to build momentum. What is one of the most critical steps a writer needs to take consistently to develop their own freelance writing career?

A: The most critical step is to develop your goals - you have to KNOW what you want before you can figure out HOW to get there. Yet, this is the one thing that so many new writers don't take the time to do - or at least they don't take enough time to do it well. They may think that "write a novel this year" is a goal. But actually, I think of a goal as something even BIGGER than that. Writing a novel is an action step toward a goal rather than a goal itself. To get to the goal, consider WHY do you want to write a novel? What do you want this novel to do for you or your career? Your answer to that question is closer to your goal (or at least one of your major goals).

Q: What advice would you give to a newbie in freelance writing? And the intermediate freelance writer that has seen some success, but seems to be in a holding pattern at the moment?

A: Whether you're a newbie or an intermediate freelance writer - or even a very experienced, successful writer - continue to learn from other successful writers.

Join our club or another organization for writers. Then take an active part in whatever group you join. Next, develop a focus for your writing and create no more than 3 major writing/career goals for yourself that you hope to attain within the next 12 months.

Also, constantly evaluate what you're doing to see if it's getting you closer to your goals. If it isn't, then change what you're doing.

Q: By becoming a member of the Working Writer's Club what can a freelancer expect?

A: Well, for one thing, you can expect us to help you create a focus for your writing career or your writing business. And, we can help you create no more than 3 major goals - so you'll get really, really clear about WHAT you want, WHERE you're wanting to go, and then we'll help you stay focused so you take the steps to attain your goals and build your writing career and/or your writing business.

Q: With the wealth of freelance writing information available on the Internet what makes the Working Writer's Club unique?

A: I think the one thing that makes the Working Writer's Club unique is that we're not out to get you into our club so we can sell you a bunch of other high priced programs or products. We just want people who love to write and want to build a business or a career around writing to join our club and make use of all the resources, information, training, networking and support they'll receive for just $9.99 per month. I think another unique thing about the Working Writer's Club is that we all genuinely have fun helping each other be more successful.

Visit the Working Writer’s Club today and explore all they have to offer.

Thank you for your time. We look forward to your visit.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Book Review: When Monsters Get Lonely by Maha Huneidi

Here is a review of one of the best books for 2011 and Halloween is a good time to tell bedtime stories with happy endings.

When Monsters Get Lonely

Author: Maha Huneidi

Illustrator: Karen McDonald

ISBN: 13-978-1461063070


Monsters tend to come out after dark but this story has a different spin. Hannah is afraid of the dark because the monster comes out and scares her. Grandma tells her that she can choose to be afraid or she can make a different choice.

The author does a wonderful job of helping the reader see how it is a choice to be afraid and a choice to be joyful. Hannah learns to make the choice to see the monster in a different light discovering that the monster isn't there to scare her but is there because he is lonely.

This is one of my favorite books. It is a delightful read, has a life lesson woven throughout the text, and has an imaginative ending. Children will have a new attitude about bedtime after reading this comforting bedtime story.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Writing Contest for Verse and Poetry for Kids

New and seasoned writers may want to take advantage of the Poetry or Verse Story Writing Contest at Children's Writer. Visit the link for details and prize package:

Entering contests will help you to hone your skills and spark your brain for new writing ideas. Join the fun and check it out. Share with us what contests you have entered and how they have helped your writing career.

Contests can be fun, productive, and lucrative but most of all they give you practice in following guidelines, in writing consistently to a theme or topic, and in developing discipline for your writing. Write, write, and write again..... there is someone who needs to read your words.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Adult Book Review: All That Matters by Loralee Lillibridge

All That Matters is fun, romantic, sad, tragic, and suspensful all wrapped up into one good read. The reader immediately learns to love the characters Buddy Lee and Faith and the situation they have found themselves in. And they are drawn into the suspense and mystery that centers around a death. (This is a good example for new writers to read to help with the concept of action and moving a story along as well as a great hook to get the reader into the story from the very first page. )

The story moves quickly and can easily be read in a weekend making it a good choice for those with little time to sit and read. There are a couple of intimate scenes between Buddy Lee and Faith that are done in good taste within the scope of true love but I would still warn the reader that it wouldn't be appropriate for teens or those uncomfortable reading scenes with sexual content.

( This is also a great part of the story for new writers who may be interested in writing romance. It is a skill that needs to be perfected to write romantic and intimate scenes with the love and romance the reader wants without being vulgar and turning the reader off. This author did a good job for adult readers but it would behoove the new writer to take care when writing for the teen or YA market in this area. Most parents would appreciate romantic scenes for teens and YA to be less graphic. )

The mystery and suspense is good, the story line keeps the reader caring about what will happen, and the ending has its own twist and turn. All in all a very good story that brings out realistic emotions and true to life relationships.

All That Matters is available at as an E-Book for Kindle. It is also available for Nook readers as well.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Book Review: Quincy Books by Camille Matthews

Quincy Finds a New Home ISBN: 978-0-9819240-0-7
Quincy Moves to the Desert ISBN: 978-0-9819240-1-4

Author: Camille Matthews

Illustrator: Michelle Black

Ages 5-10

The Quincy books are the best for children who love horses. The first book, Quincy Finds a New Home, Quincy is purchased by a new family and must leave the only home he knows. He is afraid but finds his new home to be a wonderful change with loving new owners.

Quincy Moves to the Desert  finds Quincy on the move again. His owners are moving to a different state and Quincy is nervous about going somewhere different. He and his friend Beau travel by horse trailer across nine states with their owner and soon discover being in a new place can be a great adventure.

These books are beautifully illustrated with storylines that children can relate to and enjoy. Visit for more information on Quincy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Interview with Children's Author Maha Huneidi

Welcome Maha Huneidi, author of the children's book titled When Monsters Get Lonely

Terri: What age range is your book for?

A: I didn’t think of an age range when I wrote the book. I just wrote a picture book for my granddaughter. When I later ran the Flesch Kincaid reading level on Word, it gave me grade 4.2. In Amazon it’s listed as 9 to 12. I really can’t understand this age classifications thing, especially if parents can read the book to their kids. In my mind I was writing a book that parents would read to kids starting at 3 years old, because I wrote it for my granddaughter who was just about 3 when I sent the galley proof to my son. He read it to her and she loved it, and now she’s over her fear. She sometimes tells her Mom “the monster came last night,” and when her Mom asks if she was frightened she says, “I made friends with him.”

Terri: Can you share a memory of yours or a story of you from when you were within the age range of your target readers?

A: I remember being afraid of the dark and seeing little monsters all around my bed closing in on me in the dark, I was petrified. They were little, but there were so many of them! My parents would come in and look for the monsters, but they always disappeared when the lights came on. For little kids things can look so different in the dark. Sometimes I would see a monster on the dresser, and when my parents turned on the lights it would turn out to be a jar or something like that, but there was no consoling me; I was terrified of the dark.

Terri: How has life changed for children today than when you were that age?

A: The first thing that comes to mind is all the technology. We never even dreamed of it. The computers, cell phones, electronic games… kids now live in a completely different world than the one we knew. I think it’s great, so long as there’s a balance between their use of the Internet and their interaction with nature… Another thing that has changed, in a way that’s not so good, is the consumerism. We didn’t have that in my time. You bought something and used it and then it was handed down… none of that nowadays. The sad thing is that we contribute to it as well. How can I help it as a grandparent? I just want to buy all that cute stuff for my granddaughter.

Terri: How is life still the same?

A: For me family ties are still the same and parents still want to do the best they can for their children. Other than that I think that life is very different now. It was very different for my children, and now it’s even more different for my granddaughter.

Terri: What was your favorite toy or activity when you were that age?

A: The earliest I can remember, and I’m not sure exactly what age that was, I loved to play outside with the boys, to ride my bike, or play hide and seek with my friends. I wasn’t into dolls; I was more of a tomboy. I preferred to play with my cousin’s Mekano set (that was the Lego of our generation, except it had metal pieces and nuts and bolts).

Terri: What inspired this book and how did you decide on this age range for your book?

A: At first, I wanted to write a picture book to help kids get over their fear of the dark, because I was afraid of the dark as a kid and I know how awful it is to be frightened, but when my son told me that my granddaughter was having nightmares because she was watching monster movies, she became my inspiration. She loves monster movies. They give her nightmares and she still loves to watch them anyway, so I decided to make the book about her to help her get over her fear.

In my mind I was writing for ages 3 to 8 and I wanted to convey the idea of how our thoughts create our lives in the simplest way I could put it. I guess the story line dictated the age range.

 Finally, I have four kids. Over the years, they’ve attended a lot of birthday parties. I love the idea of building a theme gift around a book.

Terri: If you were to give a gift basket to a child based on your book, what else would be in the basket besides (your book’s title)?

A: Besides “When Monsters Get Lonely” I would definitely put a “cloud b constellation night light” for kids who are afraid of the dark, or maybe one of those “dog animal pillowz” to keep them company.

Thank you so much for your time. We wish you much success with your book.


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