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.


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