Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Evaluating My Goals for 2011

I have read several posts about looking at your goals for 2011 and identifying what works and what doesn't so here goes in black and white.

1. Goal one was to have a polished PB/book  manuscript ready for submitting. I submitted The ABC's of Cancer According to Lilly Isabella Lane to two publishers. It has been tentatively accepted by one publisher, an illustrator by the name of Dawn Phillips has been contacted by the publisher to do the book, coloring book, and book trailer, and we are both waiting patiently for the formal contracts. I understand that can take some time. So goal number one has partially been met, but that only eggs me on to do MORE. I also have my book The Cancer Prayer Book published and it is showing slow but promising sales. It is published by Dream Words publishing at   Check out the site, it is full of great information on prayer, prayer requests, the authors that have been hired to write the list of books planned, and more. This also eggs me on to do MORE.

2. Goal two was to have an article polished and ready to submit to a children's magazine by the first half of 2011 and then another one by September and December. The first short story with a side bar about moose facts has been submitted.  Actually it was the second one submitted because the first one on another topic was rejected with a hand note about another need. This is still in snail mail alley and I have not had a yea or nah  yet but that only eggs me on to do MORE.

3. Goal three was to monetize my blogs and increase my monthly income from my writing. While I have still ongoing nursing/education projects that I have been asked to write and several non-paying positions like the blog editor of Stories for Children's Publishing I am still only making 200-300 per month. My goal is to make that much per day. I admit I am not good at this affiliate marketing thing yet. I Twitter, Facebook, Linked-in, and comment on blogs and I have a couple of links for affiliates on the blog, but the traffic still is not what I need it to be. This will be evaluated and revamped for the second half of 2011. I definitely think I can accomplish MORE here too.

What worked for you and what didn't for the first half of 2011? Leave a comment and I will share your ideas here so we can all improve. Tomorrow I will list my plans for the second half of the year. My mind is a twitter with all the ideas I have but I need to get them focused into 3 major goals. Talk to you tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Is Writing Your Job or Your Calling?

The question I have been asking myself, and many of you beginning writers may be asking the same thing is this. Is writing my job and it my calling, or is it a hobby that I pursue some of the time?

Many of the posts I have been reading from other writers touch on the subject of job, money, and how to make your writing pay. I also have seen posts where the authors state that it is impossible NOT to write regardless of the pay. Does that make your writing a hobby then if payment is not included?

Hobby vs. Job becomes a gray line for me. I feel the need to write. I think I am called to do it. I want to make a living at it. But, and there is always a but. Am I good at it? Do I want it bad enough to work day and night to accomplish the skills it takes to be successful? Do I fear failure or do I wonder how I will handle success? Will I ever make enough money to live?

Every writer faces these questions of self doubt and asks themselves what their true calling really is. I am still trying to figure this out and I have come to the conclusion that it is an ongoing process. I am a better writer now then I was 5 years ago, 3 years ago, even last year. I have a published prayer book out and a children's book accepted. I am submitting according to my goals for 2011 and receiving rejections to prove it. I have several freelance gigs but the income is erratic to say the least.

I am not making 3 figures each and every day. I am not able to sustain myself on the money I make writing. Does this make my writing a hobby? I don't think so. I am working daily on my writing goals and I those goals are to be a full time writer by 2013. Is that a reasonable goal? I am working on it as if it is the truth.

So with half of 2011 behind me, this is what I propose. I am re-evaluating my goals for the remainder of 2011. I am going to step up the submissions, step out of my comfort zone and query more, and keep working towards my goals of being full time.

What are your plans for the next 6 months? Can I encourage you as a beginner in any way? Many seasoned and successful authors have encouraged me and I would like to pass it on. Any takers?

Happy writing. Don't let the summer breeze blow you off  your writing path. I believe you and I are answering our call.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Book Review: Troo's Big Climb by Cheryl Crouch

Troo's Big Climb

Author Cheryl Crouch

Pictures: Kevin Zimmer

ISBN 978-0-310718086


Pages: 32

Juvenile Fiction, Religious, Easy Readers

Troo's Big Climb is a lesson in obedience but children may not realize they are being taught a lesson because they will be engaged in reading such a fun and action filled story.

Troo feels like he is big enough to do big things including climbing a tree even when his parents told him not to. What happens when Troo doesn't listen and climbs to the tip top of an old dry tree?

Biblical lessons woven into the Rainforest Friends series help children to understand the simple principles of the Bible while engaging in an action packed story. Parents will appreciate the layers of the message and the way the books encourage children to read independently.

This book is a good example of complex writing for children that aspiring authors will want to  read and learn from too. The author tells a great story, weaves into it a life lesson for children, educates and encourages early reading, and shows new writers how to write tight. All of this in 32 pages. It doesn't get better than that.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Interview with Children's Author- Margot Finke. She is a delight.

Welcome to the tour for award winning author, Margot Finke. Margot answers several personal questions here and gives us an intimate look at being a children's writer. Her books include Taconi and Claude, Horatio Humble and Ruthie and The Hippos Behind.

1. Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I came to Oregon from Australia many years ago with my American husband and our 3 kids.

We met when he migrated to Queensland, and set up a wholesale tropical fish hatchery. I owned a pet store that also sold tropical fish, and I was his first retail customer. The rest, as the saying goes, is history. Seven years later we went to live in Oregon where he went to College. He told me early on that he had plans to return to the Pacific Northwest some day. He is a New Yorker by birth, but Oregon stole his heart.

We live on small acreage and love it. Kids all grown now and off doing their thing. One of those “things” is 7 grandchildren – YEA! I write books for kids: rhyming picture books and mid-grades. Eleven published so far. I also run a Manuscript Critique Service that draws clients from many countries. It is always a huge thrill to hear that a manuscript I helped polish has been published. Almost a good as having one of my own books published – I did say almost!

Early on, I was lucky enough to have several talented and experienced writers take me under their wings and mentor me – bless them! And I was no overnight success. It took enough rejection letters to paper our bathroom, and rewrites galore, before I finally made it – published at last!

2. Describe your desk/workspace

The moment our third child headed for college, I commandeered the family room and turned it into my own writing lair. Husband built me the desk of my dreams – drawers, shelves and places for all my “stuff.” A comfy sofa and chairs, for those “can’t find a thing to write about days,” a fireplace for winter snuggling, and pictures of kids and grandkids. In winter we bring in all the tender plants. They flourish on shelves under gro-lux lights my husband set up for them. Windows offer a view of our back gardens. Am I lucky or what?

.3. Do you have a favorite quote?

A manuscript is like a house. Without a solid foundation the supports will crumble.

4. What are you currently reading?

A gripping tale, The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini. That man strings powerful words together, making them glow with insight and empathy.

5. What is the best advice you've ever received?

Have patience and stick with it. One of my early mentors told me, “All you need is to work hard, rewrite often, be patient, and stick with it. Oh, and a pinch of luck never hurt either.”

6. If you could have coffee with anyone (living or dead, real or fictional), who would it be and why?

It would be my dear Mum. For Mum it would have to be tea and fruitcake – the cake rich and rum soaked. She was a loving and loyal person, with a great deal of common sense, and an instinctive knowledge of people. Looking back, I realize that I never valued her advice half as much as I should have. If I had listened harder, I could have avoided a whole bunch of strife when I was younger. I now find myself offering Mum’s words of wisdom to my own children. They just pop out of my mouth without me thinking, so they must have sunk in after all – better late than never.

I would hug her tight, and tell her I loved her. And then I would listen, and carefully hold close to my heart all the new insights she had to offer. I miss you Mum..

7. What are your top three favorite books and why?

The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

Because it touched me, and it felt so believable and real. Sebold made me believe in Angels. It drew me in and held me fast.

The Sign of the Seahorse – Graeme Base

Because my picture books are all in rhyme, I really appreciate this writer’s rhyming craft. He has a unique ability to build a wonderful story within the parameters of terrific rhyme and meter.

A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini

This tale of beauty, loneliness and terror, dragged me to Afghanistan, and trapped me within every painful chapter. I couldn’t tear myself away from Hosseini’s characters and what they endured. Every paragraph was a lifeline of words that held me hostage until he was ready to let me go. Women here are all so lucky to be safe in the USA.

8. What was your favorite book as a child and why?

Alice in Wonderland. All those wild and wonderful characters, and what they got up to, fed my imagination. I rooter for Alice. I wanted to slide down the rabbit hole too. The red Queen was awesome. I wanted my friends to be more like The Mad Hatter and that disappearing cat. Outside of reading, I guess my childhood was pretty dreary.

9. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Blimey, mate, you do ask tough questions. Not sure if this is a quirk, but I try not to waffle on.

I guess what I tell my clients sums it up quite well: “You need to write tight and terrific – as tight as your granny’s new girdle! Waffles are great for breakfast, but keep them out of your chapters.”

10. Do you write full-time or part-time?

Sort of. Now that our kids have flown the coop (excuse the cliché), I get to write whenever I fancy: with one caveat. My husband is very supportive, and now that he has retired, he takes on a lot of extras so I can write and promote my books. But every night at 8pm I quit computing, leave my lair, and go spend the evening with him, This time together works, because we’ve been happily married for almost 40 years.

11. What are your current marketing strategies for “Taconi and Claude – Double Trouble?”

Due to an eighteen month long hassle with hip and knee replacement surgery, I have been

forced to do most book promotion via the computer. Easy on the legs, but hard on the butt! Plus virtual book tours, like this one. These Tours reach out to the people who actually buy books for kids. Then there’s my two Blogs, a Website, and lots of Facebooking and Twittering as the basis of it. I also look online forlLibrarians, teachers, and blogs that cater to mothers of young children - grandmothers too. I target local schools and libraries, newspapers and radio, with Press Releases that are tailored to suit each outlet. Then follow up with a phone call. Finding good book reviewers is also high on my list of MUST DO things.

I also wrote a fun, time-travel short story that involves characters from my latest 3 books. The plot has them join forces to get Taconi and Claude back to the Aussie outback of the 1950’s, where they belong, People can WIN a FREE eBook of “Taconi and Claude’s 21st Century Adventure,” during this tour. All they have to do is leave a comment on the host Blog. All 3 of these books come in hard copy and eBook. But these days, a FREE kid friendly BOOK FREEBY is worth grabbing..

And it helps that I am not unknown as an author: 11 books published. All have been well received, and boast great reviews. I have many contacts within online lists, blogs, and writing lists that I can call on when needed. Linkedin and JacketFlap are great sources to mine for information and promotional hi-tec. People contact me these days, asking to interview me for magazines and radio. This sort of promo reaches way beyond my local area. I also plan on using Skype + webcam in schools and other areas, to widen my promotional range. For those willing to push the promotional envelope, PowerPoint and the internet offer boundless opportunities.

12. Could you share about any current writing projects?

At the moment I am polishing a sequel of sorts to Taconi and Claude. In this one, Bindi and Josh, the grandsons of Taconi and Boss Howard, deal with nasty sibling rivalry, an outback walkabout that could be the death of them, and a crazed old medicine man who wants Josh dead. He must eat witchetty grubs and emy eggs or starve, while Old Man Roo scares the pants off both of them. It is only Bindi’s outback smarts, and later on the tribal Elder, who save Josh’s bones from bleaching in the outback sun. Title: Survival by Walkabout

13. What would be the best way for readers to contact you?


My Books – Help for Writers – Manuscript Critique Service

Margot’s Magic Carpet:

All 11 books on the one page + details and links.

HOOK Kids on Reading:

My Book Trailers, other books, writing news

14. Where can people find your books?

Amazon -

Barnes and Noble:

Continue on the tour tomorrow at

Friday, June 10, 2011

Basic Math and Pre-Algebra   

Author: Denise Szecsei

ISBN: 13-978-1-60163-168-8


Author: Greg Curran

ISBN: 13-978-1-60163-163-3

It is summer but it is never too early to get a head start on the subjects that can be the most difficult for students. Math and Chemistry can be some of the most difficult topics to master. Homework Helpers are books designed to assist both parents and students in these subjects.

The easy to understand text makes mastering these concepts much simplier when used as a study guide or as a compliment to other classroom texts. It is like having a tutor in your back pocket.

Parents will find that both the Math and Chemistry books are relevant to daily life. They will be able to read and understand the subjects from a different view point than when a student themselves making it easier to help their child master those same subjects.

Students will be able to get a better grip on the concepts because the chapters in both books are broken down into easily understood sections that build upon each other. These chapters will make it easier to understand the more complex textbooks that most classrooms contain.

College prep students will find both of these books as wonderful reviews for the subjects in preparation to test out of a subject or as a way to be prepared to take more advanced courses.

As a nurse I appreciated both books as a good resource for drug calculations, laboratory results that include chemistry, and for understanding concepts that I don't use everyday. I think that readers will find these books an excellent resource as well as study material and I recommend them for high school students, college students, and parents. Homework helpers do just that...they really do help the reader understand a complex subject and turn it into a great learning experience.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Book Review: Babysitting Sugarpaw by Children's author VS Grenier

Babysitting SugarPaw

Author: VS Grenier

Illustrator: Kevin Scott Collier

ISBN: 978-1-935268-06-2

Halo Publishing 2009

This is a fun story about the antics of a bear while he has a babysitter. Sugarpaw changes the rule chart and makes a mess in the bath. He spills paints and does everything he can to make the babysitter not like him.

In the end he feels bad about how he has acted. The babysitter cleans up the messes and tucks Sugarpaw into bed. In the end the antics are between the two of them and Mama and Papa bear never know how silly Sugarpaw acted. The babysitter was the best after all.

Children will love this story because they will relate to Sugarpaw. Most little one's don't really like it when parents leave and sometimes they do act out with the babysitter. The illustrations are cute and enhance the story helping to engage the reader throughout the book.

This is a book that will be enjoyed over and over. Read what others have said:

BABYSITTING SUGARPAW Book Blurbs for back of book:

“Children will love to read about the mischievous antics of Sugarpaw who doesn't want to be babysat. Will Bonnie, a first-time babysitter, be able to keep Sugarpaw out of mischief until his parents return? Bonnie Whiskers finds she is up to the task, teaching Sugarpaw about patience along the way. Sweet illustrations by Kevin Scott Collier perfectly capture Bonnie's babysitting challenges.”

~ Donna Shepherd, Author of Chizzy's Topsy Tale

Follow the next stop in the tour for VS Grenier at

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


AUTHOR: Robert Bloch



DIMENSIONS: 8.5 x 8.5




BISAC:JUV016140 JUVENILE FICTION / Historical / United States / 19th Century

IMPRINT: Castle Bridge Books

RETAIL: $13.95

AGE: 4 to 8

My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln is a delightful story that will capture the hearts of children. The author does a great job of weaving facts and fiction together bringing life to the story of Abe Lincoln's childhood as he studies, goes fishing, and grows into a compassionate man who later abolishes slavery.

The reader is immediately brought back in time to a one room school house called a " blab school" and can almost imagine the noise of several children of different ages all reciting their lessons out loud.

Abe Lincoln is shown as a tall lanky boy with above average intelligence and a compassionate heart. The story brings history alive in a fun and energetic way that children will relate to easily. It is not boring or dull which will lead children to seek other books on the subjects of Abraham Lincoln, slavery, and the Native American culture.

I loved this book because of the history but also because it is a story of friendship. Although some of the information is fiction, it is all believable and makes for a wonderful introduction to our history for young readers. A great book for classrooms or a child's book collection.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Book Review: The Guardian Angel Diary

Book Review: The Guardian Angel Diary

Author: Grant Schnarr

Publisher: Swedenborg Foundation Press

May 2011

ISBN: - 978-0-87785-335-0

Pages: 325

Synopsis: (paraphrased from the publicity release) Sixteen-year old Nicole Bealart is a teenager living in a world of homework, school, and her own imagination. She also has a brain tumor. To add to her difficult life, her mother also has passed away from cancer and her grieving father has not dealt with this well. Nicole has been left to care for herself and her younger brother while feeling distanced by her dad. She begins writing a journal and her guardian angel becomes part of her written communication.

This is a fictional tale of love, fear, and hope that follows the life of this teen as she copes with a life threatening illness.

My Unsolicited opinion: This is a wonderful story of real life emotion. Many times when a parent dies, the surviving parent is at a loss and unable to care for the emotional needs of the children. Add to it the teen years filled with hormones, drama, and sibling rivalry and the tension builds. When the teen is also going through a life threatening illness with the harsh treatment that follows it is comforting to see how journaling and seeking the support of a guardian angel can be so real in this story.

This book brings the spiritual side that can be intangible especially to young people into focus. The concept is personal and human through the communications in Nicole’s diary and engages the reader into the life of these characters.

I loved the book, loved that it supports the concept of an afterlife, and loved that the characters showed realistic feelings and actions. As a nurse I have seen families act and react just this way and it is heartwarming to see a positive growth of these characters. This book offers hope and encouragement for families going through similar circumstances. It also offers a starting point for discussions with teens and their parents on illness, death, and afterlife for those who have not broached these difficult topics.

I recommend this book for your summer reading but be ready to feel from the heart the emotions these characters share. You will laugh, cry, and remember this long after you finish the last page.

Monday, June 6, 2011

book Review: a dog named Slugger

a dog named Slugger

Author: Leigh Brill

ISBN: 978-0-9843256-5-8

Bell Bridge Books


All ages

Synopsis: This is a heartwarming and true story of a partnership between a woman with cerebral palsy and her service dog, Slugger. It is fascinating to read of the relationship between men and dogs, but this story is more than an interesting read. It is both educational and entertaining. From picking up a dropped coin to helping the author to balance, Slugger was more than a helpmate, he was a friend.

My View: I enjoyed the story for both the clinical aspect of learning about what service dogs can provide, but from a personal standpoint because I too love my dogs. You feel from the beginning that you are a friend to the author and her dog. You are let in on the intimate relationship she has developed with this animal and the reader becomes dependent on the dog too in every situation. Slugger is a support through personal trials, career changes, and activities of daily living. It is a rich and emotional story that both enlightens and entertains.

Dogs are complex and wonderful creatures and they respond to love and attention. Service dogs are even more sensitive to the physical and emotional needs of their owner. It is a heartwarming story of love and friendship and it is inspirational to see a service dog in action improving the life of one with physical challenges.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Author tours.... Margot Finke and VS Grenier

One of the talented authors on the World of Ink Tour Schedule for June is Children's author Margot Finke. I have been lucky enough to be part of The Children's Writers Coaching Club where Margot is an instructor. She is a wonderful author and her books are a delight.

VS Grenier is also an award winning children's author and the founder of Stories for Children Publishing. I am happy to say that I also have worked with VS. Her book Babysitting Sugarpaw is also a big hit with kids.

Check back often for more info on these fabulous authors. Catch the tour for Margot today at and for VS Grenier at


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...