Monday, February 27, 2012

Book Review: Black Cow

Black Cow

Author: Magdalena Ball

Available at www.amazon.com


My review: This is a heartwarming story of the Archer family. The Archers have been living the high life, big corporate lives with money, fame, and everything a family needs. But there is something missing. Would you be able to leave corporate security with the paycheck and prestige attached if it meant you could gain the family connection back.

The Archer family does just that. They attempt to reclaim their lives and move to the country to live the simple life. But at what expense? Will the Archer family be happy in an old farmhouse living off the land without the convenience of the fancy clothes, money, technology? Or will they crumble as a family and return to the shallow lives they led? Will danger lurk and cause them more pain than what they have left in the city?

This is a great family story of working togethere to regain the relationships that matter and to find the real meaning to love and to life. There is money, mystery, love, hate, and everything in between as this family works together to reclaim what it means to be family.

Check out this trailer: http://youtu.be/u8xN6BGg3BI and visit the author at her website for more information http://www.magdalenaball.com/

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Interview with Author Kasey Kellem.





Welcome Kasey Kellem to the blog today.She is an award winning children's author with a mission to help children gain the skills needed to handle life. What a great way to start our writing week than by learning how another successful author sets out to reach her target audience with her work.




1. Could you tell us a little about yourself?
Presently, I am a high school counselor and have been in education for 22 years. Prior to counseling I was a special education teacher at both the elementary and middle school levels. I have a bachelors, masters and educational specialist degree all in various areas of education.  I am a wife, step mother of two,  aunt to 10 children, a daughter and have three sisters.   I enjoy golfing, skiing and working out.  My mission in life is to motivate and inspire children to overcome obstacles and challenges: To be resilient!



2. Describe your desk/workspace.     I like to break up where I work to keep my thinking fresh,  so I work  either in my  office or my  Ma’am cave. My office is simply an extra bedroom transformed into an office. It  is set up like a business office with all of the office supplies to market my books. I can stay focused and on task in the office area.  I also utilize my ma’am cave which is our basement that I redid once the kids went off to college. It has an entire spa like work out area with a sauna, yoga area and work out machinery. I find myself able to think more clearly while in that area! I find my creative juices revitalize while I relax in the sauna or work out. Also, there is a family room area in the Ma’am cave where I work.   I simply set up my writing in that area where it is very warm , welcoming, peaceful and quiet.



3. Do you have a favorite quote?You are never to old to enjoy a happy childhood”-often stated by my 71 year old father who plays hard and “If this is the worst thing you ever face, aren’t you lucky” which was often stated by my mother!



4. What are you currently reading? “While They Slept” by Katheryn Harrison. It is a true story where the author interviews  a young girl whose parents and sister were killed by her brother. She is quite resilient and overcomes all that she experienced with the trauma of losing her family to such violence!



5. What is the best advice you've ever received? To follow my dreams and to write a book!



6. If you could have coffee with anyone (living or dead, real or fictional), who would it be and why? My deceased mother because I miss her and want to tell her one more time how much I love her and appreciate her believing in me and inspiring me to be the person I am today. I think she would be very impressed with my books and proud of me!



7. What are your top three favorite books and why?        Any books by David Sedaris, Augustine Burrows,  & Jen Lancaster. They all  write about their own resiliency and lives through humor. They all seemed to have faced some difficult situations in their lives, yet they overcame them and became successful authors!



8. What was your favorite book as a child and why?  I loved all of the Dr. Suess books because they were whimsical and silly! I could get lost with my imagination with each page! I loved the silly rhymes and the vibrant illustrations. I still have the entire collection of Dr. Suess books!

9. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? I am definitely left brained and have to have everything symmetrical or patterned. Each page of each book is similar. The concept of the book (Believe) is on the left page and the rest of the message is on the right page.  Believe…in yourself.  Believe…..in your dreams,  Believe….in high hopes.  



10. Do you write full-time or part-time? Part-time. I work during the day and work on my books after work. Most of my books were completed during the summer when I was off of work. I tweaked the details after work once school started up again.



11. What are your current marketing strategies for Believe? I feel like I have a new college major in marketing! I Have utilized every social media (facebook, twitter, youtube, business website, blog and amazon) I sent my book , author bio and book release to Ellen, Oprah, Robyn Swoboda, the libraries, several preschools and daycares, all of the local newspapers and magazines. We have been in two newspapers and two big newsletters around town. I did a book reading at a day care and had a few book signings at  a church function and craft fair. I have a book signing at a local library in April and my books are for loan at four of the local libraries.



12. Could you share about any current writing projects? I am finishing up the details for LOVE and am just about ready to go to print, though I need to sell more Believe books to be able to fund the printing for LOVE.  I am also refining my additional MOM books, Laugh, Relax and Dream. The illustrations and words are completed, I just need to tweak some details.



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


MOM Website


MOM Blog:


Facebook Page:


YouTube (Children’s Authors Show Interview):


LinkedIn:

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kasey-kellem/1a/552/94

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/#!/kaseyc7



14. Where can people find your book, Believe:

Halo International-Believe:


MOM Website


Amazon:



15. Is there anything else you'd like to share?

††My goal is to have these books in every preschool, school, church and child’s house so kids everywhere are constantly reminded of the five resiliency skills.



 Next Stop: Feb 28th at http://vbt-writersonthemove.blogspot.com Be sure to check it out.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Interview with Children's Author: Hope Irvin Marston



Please welcome children's author, Hope Marston to the blog today. I am thrilled to have her here after reading several of her books. Welcome Hope and thanks for being here. The readers here are all interested in writing and of course reading. It is so good to have you here to share about your success. 

Note:  There is another Hope Marston on the West Coast.  That’s why I include my middle name.)

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

            I am a Post Depression child and the eighth of nine children who grew up on a dairy farm smack dab in the middle of the state of Pennsylvania.  Books were a scarce commodity in our household so it was a red letter day for me when the county bookmobile came to our school which was located on the corner of our farm.  What a thrill it was to climb into that vehicle, which was probably about the size of the Taurus van my husband drives, and choose one book from all those beckoning me from the shelves.  After I read my book I returned it to the teacher and was allowed to borrow someone else’s story.  It  was through those bookmobile experiences I developed a respect for authors. I decided that someday I would write a book. It took me about thirty years to accomplish that goal, and the fun continues.

Describe your desk/workspace.

            Must I answer this question?  (Just kidding!) It’s Clutterville. I would be more productive if I kept the paper stashes under control and didn’t have to fight for space to pencil a note somewhere.  I need to make that priority.  I am too much like that lumberman who is so busy chopping he doesn’t take time to sharpen his ax!

I have a recessed screen which I no longer need now that I’ve had lens implants. Someday I will replace it so I can see the screen clearly without my reading glasses.

            My tower CPU is to the left of the stand that holds the screen and my LASER printer.

            Buried somewhere below the paper stashes to the left of my chair is a worktable I think.  I haven’t seen the top since the last time we had company coming that I wanted to impress with an orderly desk. I am still looking for things that were there before I chucked everything into a box to get it out of sight.



 Do you have a favorite quote?

            Yes. I keep a file of thoughts that I want to remember to keep my writing focused.  Here is the first one: “Get rid of anything that isn’t useful or beautiful. Everything else is useless and ugly!” I don’t know who said it, but it makes sense to me. And the second one:  “If you want a writing life that you have never had, you must do things you’ve never done—and do them consistently.” Again by Anonymous.


 What are you currently reading?

            Writer’s Guide to 2012, published by Writers Institute Publications, 2012.

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

            I’d like to sit and visit with Mary’s husband Joseph. I am awed by the faith of many men and women in the Bible, but Joseph has a special place in my heart.  We don’t know much about him, and he just disappears. But what a strategic role he played in loving Mary, in keeping his distance from her as his wife until after Jesus was born, and then caring for her and the Son of God through the young years of His life on earth.  God had a special plan for His Son and He wanted Mary to have a husband who would love her child Jesus.  After He told Joseph what was going on, Joseph accepted his place in the plan and loving cared for his new family.   When I get to heaven, I intend to find Joseph and tell him that his faith in the Lord and his obedience to the heavenly plan were an inspiration to me. 



What are your top three favorite books and why?

            Since my writing career centers on children’s books, I will share my favorites in that genre.  They are Heidi, Caddie Woodlawn and Johnny Tremain.  The first title was given to me by my older sister in 1947 when I was twelve. It’s one of the few shopworn treasures from my childhood days.  The other two books were on a list of assigned reading for us country kids who would be attending high school in Lock Haven, PA.  I have re-read both a number of times as an adult. It was a wonderful experience teaching Johnny Tremain to my seventh grade students at Case Junior in Watertown, NY.  These books appealed to me because the main characters were believable.  They were good kids, but not perfect. They got into trouble, but they didn’t do wicked things. Things didn’t always go well for them, but they did what they could to make things better.  Sort of like Aisling Shepherd in Eye on the Iditarod.   



What was your favorite book as a child and why?

            Heidi by Joanna Spyri.  I loved this spunky little girl left to fend for herself with a grumpy grandfather who was a stranger.  I liked how she and Grandfather learned to love each other and how she and Peter became best friends. I loved the animals and life up there in the Alps.  Now and then I re-read the story and savor it once more.  When I overnighted in the Alps about twenty years ago on my flights to and from a Campus Crusade for Christ mission to Ukraine with the  with International School Project, l looked up at those majestic mountains and thought of these storybook characters with great pleasure.

            In tribute to the nation of Switzerland, my husband and I named our first St. Bernard puppy “Heidi.”  Our current Heidi is a lovable Bernese mountain dog.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

            I don’t know how interesting it is, but this is the only quirk I can identify even after asking one of my best friends for help with the question.  When someone asks me a question that I need to think about before I can answer, I raise my chin, look off in the distance and think about it. Invariably my questioner looks in the direction where I am focused to see what caught my attention.
 

 Do you write full-time or part-time?

            I consider myself a part-time writer.  After thirty-three years in the classroom, I retired as a public school teacher/librarian to write full time.  That was the plan and I have had quite a few books published since 1990, but I soon learned that other things fill up the hours and days of those of us who retire.  Now I battle to have three hours a day to spend with my writing pursuits.. Things needing my attention tend to pile up in the same proportion as the paper stashes on my work table.  During the month of January I was mentally stretched with making revisions on an historical novel about the War of 1812 that was professionally critiqued by respected children’s editor Paula Morrow. At the same time I was answering the Interview Questions for this World of Ink Tour and having two live interviews concerning the publication of Eye on the Iditarod. I didn’t spend much time twiddling my thumbs and I never watch television.
What are your current marketing strategies for Eye on the Iditarod: Aisling’s Quest?

            I’m “shouting it from the rooftops” in every way I can conceive.  My major efforts are aimed at reaching people through the Internet.  I am striving to get my name out there along with the title of the book so the people who love sled dogs and mushing will find it.  I want teachers in all of the United States to see the book is a perfect supplementary text for teaching the Iditarod unit in their classrooms.  I have expanded my Advertising Budget to allow me to give free books to people of influence who will spread the word that is the perfect book for “would be” mushers as well as those who are already involved with the sport.

 Could you share about any current writing projects?

      Eye on the Iditarod: Aisling’s Quest, my thirty-second children’s book, was released by Windward Books on December 1.  It’s a biography of Aisling (pronounced “Ashley”) Lara Shepherd whose goal is to some day run her own dogs in the famous Iditarod sled dog race held each March in Alaska.  Born legally blind, from the time she was three she loved watching sled dog racing on television. My book, written from information Aisling shared with me in hundreds of e-mail letters, follows her through the mushing season the year she is eleven.  That memorable year she conquered obstacles, dealt with heartbreak and loss, and achieved success, while keeping her eye on the Iditarod.  

In 2008 when Aisling was ten years old, she was one of three girls chosen from 8,000 nominees for a Real Girl of the Year Award, by American Girl.  The award was given in recognition of her “demonstrating initiative, effort, impact and personal growth” in reaching her goal of someday running the Iditarod.  She exemplified those qualities by her dedication to rescuing, training and racing sled dogs.  I learned about her from an article in an online newspaper published near where we used to live in Maine.  (It pays to have a husband who daily reads the news from back home.  Aisling lives in the next town over from where I taught in Maine for six years after my husband and I were married.)
 

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

            Come visit me at www.HopeIrvinMarston.com  Among other things you’ll find an update on Aisling’s mushing competitions for this season. If you have a question, please email me at hopemar7@twcny.rr.com

 Where can people find your book, Eye on the Iditarod: Aisling’s Quest?

            On my website as well as at Amazon Books.

 Is there anything else you'd like to share?

            Yes, there is. I love writing for children and young people.  It’s a joy to get young readers excited about books.  When I do school visits, it makes my day memorable when a young fellow sidles up to me after my presentation and tells me, “I have my own  copy of your book (he says which one) and it’s the best book I’ve ever read.”

            One of my life goals is to give hope to my young readers literally. To help them understand that despite the rough seas they may be sailing right now, things will calm if they just hold on. That’s the kind of difference I want to make in this world.

   Thank you so much for the wonderful insight into your writing life. It is comforting to me to know that your desk sounds like mine. I seem to have paper clutter everywhere. Blessings for more success with the books. They are wonderful reads for children.         


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cancer prayer book 2/12 at OneTrueMedia.com

Here is the final version of the book trailer for The Cancer Prayer Book, and like any manuscript it was critiqued and revised. Thanks to those who made comments. It is always a learning curve when you try something new.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Video additions to Help Market Your Book

My first video trailer for my book, The Cancer Prayer Book. It was so much easier than I thought and adds so much to marketing the book. It is very inexpensive, free if you do one shorter than 30 seconds and anyone can do it. Can't wait to make more of them as I continue to write. Let me know what you think about adding media to your blogs and to your marketing plan.




http://www.onetruemedia.com/shared?p=10477d3e23fc8e931f04e71&skin_id=701&utm_source=otm&utm_medium=text_url

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Interview with Children's Author, Kasey Kellem

Please welcome Kasey Kellem to the blog today. She is the author of  Believe. 
1. Could you tell us a little about yourself? Presently, I am a high school counselor and have been in education for 22 years. Prior to counseling I was a special education teacher at both the elementary and middle school levels. I have a bachelors, masters and educational specialist degree all in various areas of education.  I am a wife, step mother of two,  aunt to 10 children, a daughter and have three sisters.   I enjoy golfing, skiing and working out.  My mission in life is to motivate and inspire children to overcome obstacles and challenges: To be resilient!



2. Describe your desk/workspace.     I like to break up where I work to keep my thinking fresh,  so I work  either in my  office or my  Ma’am cave. My office is simply an extra bedroom transformed into an office. It  is set up like a business office with all of the office supplies to market my books. I can stay focused and on task in the office area.  I also utilize my ma’am cave which is our basement that I redid once the kids went off to college. It has an entire spa like work out area with a sauna, yoga area and work out machinery. I find myself able to think more clearly while in that area! I find my creative juices revitalize while I relax in the sauna or work out. Also, there is a family room area in the Ma’am cave where I work.   I simply set up my writing in that area where it is very warm , welcoming, peaceful and quiet.



3. Do you have a favorite quote?You are never to old to enjoy a happy childhood”-often stated by my 71 year old father who plays hard and “If this is the worst thing you ever face, aren’t you lucky” which was often stated by my mother!



4. What are you currently reading? “While They Slept” by Katheryn Harrison. It is a true story where the author interviews  a young girl whose parents and sister were killed by her brother. She is quite resilient and overcomes all that she experienced with the trauma of losing her family to such violence!



5. What is the best advice you've ever received? To follow my dreams and to write a book!



6. If you could have coffee with anyone (living or dead, real or fictional), who would it be and why? My deceased mother because I miss her and want to tell her one more time how much I love her and appreciate her believing in me and inspiring me to be the person I am today. I think she would be very impressed with my books and proud of me!



7. What are your top three favorite books and why?        Any books by David Sedaris, Augustine Burrows,  & Jen Lancaster. They all  write about their own resiliency and lives through humor. They all seemed to have faced some difficult situations in their lives, yet they overcame them and became successful authors!



8. What was your favorite book as a child and why?  I loved all of the Dr. Suess books because they were whimsical and silly! I could get lost with my imagination with each page! I loved the silly rhymes and the vibrant illustrations. I still have the entire collection of Dr. Suess books!

9. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? I am definitely left brained and have to have everything symmetrical or patterned. Each page of each book is similar. The concept of the book (Believe) is on the left page and the rest of the message is on the right page.  Believe…in yourself.  Believe…..in your dreams,  Believe….in high hopes.  



10. Do you write full-time or part-time? Part-time. I work during the day and work on my books after work. Most of my books were completed during the summer when I was off of work. I tweaked the details after work once school started up again.



11. What are your current marketing strategies for Believe? I feel like I have a new college major in marketing! I Have utilized every social media (facebook, twitter, youtube, business website, blog and amazon) I sent my book , author bio and book release to Ellen, Oprah, Robyn Swoboda, the libraries, several preschools and daycares, all of the local newspapers and magazines. We have been in two newspapers and two big newsletters around town. I did a book reading at a day care and had a few book signings at  a church function and craft fair. I have a book signing at a local library in April and my books are for loan at four of the local libraries.



12. Could you share about any current writing projects? I am finishing up the details for LOVE and am just about ready to go to print, though I need to sell more Believe books to be able to fund the printing for LOVE.  I am also refining my additional MOM books, Laugh, Relax and Dream. The illustrations and words are completed, I just need to tweak some details.



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


MOM Website


MOM Blog:


Facebook Page:


YouTube (Children’s Authors Show Interview):


LinkedIn:

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kasey-kellem/1a/552/94

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/#!/kaseyc7



14. Where can people find your book, Believe:

Halo International-Believe:


MOM Website


Amazon:






15. Is there anything else you'd like to share?

††My goal is to have these books in every preschool, school, church and child’s house so kids everywhere are constantly reminded of the five resiliency skills.




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