Thursday, December 19, 2013

Last Minute Gift for Your Writer Friends....The Frugal Book Promoter

I have a great suggestion for a last minute gift for your writer friends. As a writer you know the importance of marketing and promoting but you may also know what it is like to be a "starving author" waiting for your really big break in the publishing world. What better gift to give your writing friends than a book that can help them with just that part of writing...Marketing and Promoting?

Author Carolyn Howard-Johnson gives the absolutely best advice and tips on how to market your work for pennies. This will be such a blessing to all of your writer friends so grab a copy in time for Christmas. See more of what Ms. Howard-Johnson has to offer in the way of books and advice here at her sites:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Instructor for nearly a decade at the renowned UCLA Extension Writers' Program 
uthor of the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally books including the second edition honored by USA BOOK NEWS 

/ The Frugal Book Promoter
/ Web site: 
/ E-mail:
/ F
/ Twitter:
/ Pinterest:

Share in the joy of the season by giving your writer friends something they can really benefit from in 2014. And Merry Christmas to all. Happy writing.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Meet CArol Fraser Hagen, Children's Author Extrordinare.

Meet Children’s Author Carol Fraser Hagen

Today I’m hosting Day 1 of a 5-day virtual tour, sponsored by the National Writing for Children Center, for Carol Fraser Hagen’s new book, Helping Children Learn to Read Through Multi-Sensory Reading Activities – A Handbook and Resource for Parents and Teachers.

About Carol Fraser Hagen
Carol Fraser Hagen is a former elementary Reading Specialist and Dyslexia Therapist from the Midwest. In addition to a bachelors degree in Secondary Education she holds a Masters in Special Reading and an Educational Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction. In addition to writing about reading education Carol is a freelance writer and a published children’s writer. For more tips and resources on reading education, subscribe to Carol Fraser Hagen’s free and receive teaching tips and resources on teaching to read.

From Author Carol Fraser Hagen

Although, I love writing children’s stories, the last few years I’ve been writing about teaching reading; in particular, how to teach reading using multi-sensory teaching techniques. Throughout my teaching career, parents, grandparents, friends and strangers, who learn I’m a Reading Specialist and tutor dyslexic learners, often approach me for advice on what they can do to help their child, grandchild, niece, nephew, etc., to become better readers. That’s why I decide to write Children Learn To Read Through Multi-Sensory Reading Activities - A Handbook and Resource for Parents and Teachers. My new book provides reading activities that reach all the learning pathways within the brain: seeing, hearing, touching and muscle memory, which helps struggling reader’s learner to read.  

Because there are a percentage of young learners who struggle learning to read, when taught using traditional teaching methods, it’s important for both parents and teachers to provide alternate teaching activities. Multi-sensory techniques tap into the four pathways of the brain: visual, kinesthetic, auditory and tactile. The aim of these techniques is to reach students who need reading lessons that are hands on, and learn best through their sense of touch. While concurrently tapping into their sense of sight and hearing. That is, students learn by saying, seeing, hearing and feeling simultaneously. The goal of Children Learn To Read Through Multi-Sensory Reading Activities - A Handbook and Resource for Parents and Teachers is to provide multi-sensory teaching activities when teaching reading—ensuring every child succeeds at learning to read. Children Learn To Read Through Multi-Sensory Reading Activities - A Handbook and Resource for Parents and Teachers provides reading activities for pre-readers through intermediate readers.  My latest book is organized in six sections, Pre-Readers, Beginning Readers, Intermediate Readers, Struggling Readers and Advanced Readers.  So, parents and teachers can easily find multi-sensory reading activities that reflect the reading stages of their children or students. Also included are lists of recommended books and online resources for teaching reading. Additional teaching information to make sure children experience success learning to read, enjoy reading, and become life-long readers.   

Would you like an autographed copy? Children Learn To Read Through Multi-Sensory Reading Activities - A Handbook and Resource for Parents and Teachers is due for release late this month. If you would like to pre-order an autographed copy please email at and I’ll reply directly to you with information on how you can receive your autographed copy.

 to get a sneak peek of some of the pages in my book.

To follow Day 2 of this tour, tomorrow go to and you won't be disappointed.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Look What's New with Award winning author Irene Roth.....

Meet Children's Author…Irene S. Roth
Welcome to the first day of the tour sponsored by The National Writing for Children Center. for author, Irene Roth. Her passion for young girls and their self esteem comes through in her work. If you have visited the blog before, you know that you can trust the authors, the book reviews, and the information you find here about writing, writing for children, and the world of that we authors spend most of our time in.  So read her interview here first and then follow the tour for another author you will want to know. Visit here again next week for another surprise guest. ( Don't you just love December and the holiday ambiance and excitement in just about everything?)

My Writing Journey

I always wanted to be a children’s writer. I loved children’s books, and most times after taking my adult books at the local library, I would go down to the children’s section and sit on the floor and browse. Many times, I would take out 8 to 10 picture books. They were just so much fun to read!

There is something transporting about reading and holding a children’s book. I never thought that I would become a published children’s author. When I started writing, I wrote academically and taught at the college level. So, the idea of writing a children’s book was quite outside of my immediate purview until I took my first creative writing course with the Institute for Children’s Literature in 2004.
The creative writing bug bit me and every since I never stopped dreaming of writing for children. I started by writing articles for kids, and then dreamed of writing a children’s book. Since my expertise is in the area of Philosophy and Psychology, I was naturally drawn to these areas in my writing for kids. So, the idea for my first children’s book was born.

Welcome to the first day of the tour for award winning author, Irene Roth. Here passion for young girls and their self esteem comes through in her work. Read her interview here first.

I wanted to write about some of the virtues of empowerment that I think kids should learn from the earliest age, such as courage, self-respect, self-love, self-assurance, self-confidence, and hope.  My first book focuses on courage and my next books in the empowerment series will focus on the other topics.

My journey as a writer has been very fascinating and wonderful. I was able to draw from my experiences as a volunteer at local libraries and church ministries. It has been a lot of fun, and I am looking forward to having a lot more fun in the future too.

For me, there is nothing more fun than writing for kids. I really enjoy it and it provides me some balance from academic writing, which I still do a lot of the time.

Irene S. Roth is a freelance writer for kids, teens, and tweens. She also teaches workshops at Savvy Authors. When she is not teaching at the college level and writing academically, she is writing creatively for kids and teens. She is also an Editor for a publishing company.

The next stop on the tour for Irene Roth can be found here: 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Book Tour with Mayra Calvani

Welcome to the Showcase for award winning author, Mayra Calvani. We will be featuring a showcase every Monday throughout December highlighting wonderful new books from award winning authors. You will not want to miss even one day of each of the tours so check for the next stop on the  showcase.
Without further ado, here is a wonderful interview with Mayra Calvani.
Interview with Mayra Calvani, Author of A Bad Mad Sad Day for Mama Bear
Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I’ve been writing and creating worlds for most of my life, since I was about 12. In secondary school I wrote stories and plays. At 16, I wrote a romance novel which was secretly passed around in class. By 20, writing was already a passion, an obsession. I saw myself doing no other thing than becoming an author.
I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, but later moved to the US, where I completed a degree in Creative Writing and History. I have lived in the Middle East but I’m now settled in Belgium. In addition to Spanish and English, I also speak Turkish and a little French.
When I’m not writing, I enjoy reading and reviewing books, as well as helping other authors promote their works. I love having lunch with friends, going to the cinema with my kids, and spending time with my pets and my family. I also love traveling.
Who is your publisher?
My current publishers are Twilight Times Books and Guardian Angel Publishing (children’s books).
Do you have an agent?
Yes, I signed with Nadeen Gayle at Serendipity Literary at the end of August 2013. However, she doesn’t represent children’s picture books, so I have to market those on my own.
Can you tell us what genre you write?
I write for children, teens, and adults in a variety of genres: fiction and nonfiction; horror, paranormal, satire, YA mystery/fantasy. At the moment I’m working on a YA psychological thriller.    
How much of yourself is hidden in A Bad Mad Sad Day for Mama Bear?
I think every mom can relate and empathize with Mama Bear’s bad day—those days when everything goes wrong, and we’re tired, and we wish we could just forget about child-caring, cooking, and running errands, and instead just soak in a warm bubble bath while Dad prepares dinner.
How much of a story did you have in mind before you started writing?
I had a clear idea of the general concept (Mama’s bad day) from the beginning, but the story went through many changes and over 10 revisions. The manuscript was originally written in rhyme with human characters (a mom and her daughter)…and ended up in prose with animal characters (Mama Bear and her little ‘boy,” or Little Bear).
As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life? 
This is a difficult question to answer. There have been many pivotal moments: when I completed my first book, when I held my first published book in my hands, when I landed an agent. Each time I finish a new manuscript is a pivotal point for me because I grow as a writer and become better at my craft.
What is the hardest part about being an author?
As writers, we work on our own. We don’t have a boss threatening to fire us if we don’t show up every morning, so I’d say the hardest part is being disciplined and keeping focused on the work at hand and, above all, not procrastinating. I have to create all kinds of systems around me to keep myself disciplined. I’m terrible at being disciplined, but I’m pretty good at self-imposed discipline. I set an intention before each writing session, I keep planners and lists, I use timers, I make people hold me accountable, I set myself deadlines and at times commit to paying people money if I don’t meet those deadlines, that sort of thing.
Where do you get your best ideas?
I get ideas while writing. As I work on a book, there are always wonderful surprises. I also get my ideas while doing routine, automatic activities such as walking, driving, washing the dishes, vacuuming, taking a shower, etc. Also, while listening to violin music and movie soundtracks. The music of James Newton Howard and Wojciech Kilar profoundly inspires me. I often write while listening to their scores.
Another thing that really inspires me is reading the rich, baroque works of Anne Rice. There’s something about her style and language that makes me want to run to the computer and start typing.
For children’s books, works by Kate DiCamillo deeply inspire me.
What is your greatest challenge when you write a book? Do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers? 
The same for any other book: keeping focused and not procrastinate. Keeping confident throughout the process and, like Steven Pressfield says in his fantastic book, Do the Work, “trusting the soup.”
Every book I’ve written, whether it’s a children’s picture book or a full-length novel, has been hard to write. Though writing is my life and, in a way, like breathing, I have a love & hate relationship with it. First of all, the mechanics of the craft are always a challenge: constructing the plot, creating the characters, balancing all the elements, i.e. description, dialogue, narrative, symbolic imagery, etc. Then there’s the word choice and the agonizing over verbs, adjectives, adverbs.
Besides this, there’s the emotional aspect of the journey: struggling with the inner critic, bouts of self doubt, writer’s block, irritability over not writing, dealing with negative criticism, remorse due to sacrificing time with family and friends, spending hours, days, months, years sitting at the computer without any assurance that the book will be read by enough people or earn enough money to make all that time worthwhile.
But as writers, we are artists, and the artist’s soul is an interesting, compulsive animal. Writing is our vocation, our drug, and we must have a regular fix or go insane.
At the end, after a good writing day which may happen while still experiencing all of the above, I’m sweetly exhausted and at peace.
Three things that have had a pivotal influence on my journey are:
The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron.
Keeping myself accountable and organized.
Focusing on the little, non-threatening steps instead of the end result. That is, thinking, “Okay, now I’m going to sit down with my novel for 90 minutes” instead of “I have to write a 400-page novel.” When you take small steps toward your goal each day, you don’t freeze and the end result takes care of itself at its perfect time.
What is a typical writing day like for you? How many hours do you write per week?
It has taken me a long time to find my natural rhythm and to face the fact that I’m not one of those super prolific writers who can cough up a whole novel in 3 months. I’d love to be one of those! But I’m not. My inner critic is always present, agonizing over each word, each sentence. I can’t help editing as I write. So right now it takes me about two years to complete a novel. For a picture book, I’d say from a day to weeks to months. That is, I may complete the first draft in one sitting, but it usually takes many revisions to make it ready for submission, and these revisions often can take months.
I write in the mornings. I set my timer and work in 90-minute increments. So I’ll do 90 minutes, then take a break to do some housework or run an errand, then come back and do another 90 minutes, and so on. If I’m in the zone, I’ll keep at it for 3 hours or so without stopping, but on average, I write 2-3 pages a day, or 10-15 a week.
Of course, I work on other things besides my novel. I’m currently putting together an anthology as well, so afternoons are for that, along with my freelance publicity work, which sucks up a lot of my time.
I’m always experimenting with ways to speed up my writing process and shut up my inner critic, like taking part in fast-draft workshops and Nanowrimo, but usually the end product are pages and pages that require heavy editing or that I have to delete.
Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?
How absolutely cool, neat, and wonderful it feels to hold that first print book in your hands!
Can you describe the feeling when you saw your published book for the first time?
Gosh, that was a long time ago, when I was in my twenties. I think I screamed. I couldn’t stop looking at it, inside and out. I kept thinking, “Did I really write this?” It’s an intense feeling of elation and validation.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
To keep it going week after week, month after month, year after year. Book promotion is an ongoing process. Many authors do one book tour or two after a book’s release and wrongly assume that the rest will take care of itself, but that isn’t the case. To see results, you must stay persistent and consistent.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to engage in social networks 24/7. Only that you should take one step toward promoting your book at least once a week, then keep it going, week after week.
However, I’d advise writers to never let book promotion stand in the way of their writing. As an author, your best time is spend producing that next book.
Where can people learn more about you?
They can connect with me via the following links:
Children’s Books website:

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?
I love hearing from and interacting with readers! If you’ve enjoyed one of my books, I’d love to hear about it. And if you could support my work by posting a review on Amazon, I would be very grateful.
Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog!

To follow more of the showcase for Mayra Calvani make sure to bookmark this link:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Book Review: Sir Licksalot & The Artic Fools

Sir Licksalot & The Artic Fools
Author: D. L. Carroll
Illustrations: Teri Cuneo
Publish America
ISBN: 978-1-6290767-13
Chapter Book
What do you get when you combine great characters, a magic fountain, and a quirky dog? You get a fun filled chapter book to engage readers from page one. Sir Licksalot & The Artic Fools is just such a story. It is one of a series of books about a dog named Sir Licksalot and the kids who own him.
The adventures start at the magic fountain. The beginning of summer vacation starts out boring but soon  a cold trip to the artic region takes place when they visit the fountain during a campout and find themselves dripping in freezing water and ice crystals.  From trying to keep Sir Licksalot warm to finding magical dog sleds and ice sculptures followed by polar bears and seals the fun and excitement continues.
 Besides page turning action, realistic characters, and a strong setting, D. L. Carroll adds a mix of facts about Global warming, artic climate, and natural habitats. From glacier caves to icicles the reader will not only be engaged and entertained but will learn cool things about science and the environment. Teachers and parents will definitely approve and kids will be none the wiser because they will be enjoying a good read.
The book and more by D.L. Carroll can be found at

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Frugal Book Promoter- An Honest Review and Personal promotion....

I love to promote authors or books  whose work helps new and struggling authors to both learn the ropes and to do it professionally. Carolyn Howard Johnson is one of the best. She offers insight into all aspects of writing and even better, she tells you how to promote your work without breaking the bank.
The best of the best, Carolyn practices what she preaches, is available to help promote others in the same ways she seeks promotion, and gives solid honest advice on all aspects of writing and marketing. I have had the honor of being in several groups that she participates in and I subscribe to her newsletter so I know first hand how helpful her advice and expertise is to a novice.
 As I am working on promoting my own picture book for kids on a subject that adults may steer away from ( childhood cancer- The ABC's of Cancer According to Lilly Isabella Lane @, I am using several of the ideas in Carolyn's  series of books. The information in the books and on the website are easy to do and cost little to nothing. These are a must have for every author who actually wants to sell what they write and needs to build that author platform.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Instructor for nearly a decade at the renowned UCLA Extension Writers' Program 
uthor of the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally books including the second edition honored by USA BOOK NEWS 

/ The Frugal Book Promoter
/ Web site: 
/ E-mail:
/ F
/ Twitter:
/ Pinterest:

Friday, October 18, 2013

Writers On The Move: A Slam Bam Finish

Check out my post about finishing 2013 with a bam, a writing slam bam that is.

Writers On The Move: A Slam Bam Finish: Some days I want to stay in my soft jammies and cuddle my cat just like the character in my picture book and not think about marketing, so...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Book Review: How Long Will You Love Me by Patti Brassard Jefferson

I love doing book reviews and it is more of a pleasure when you find a charming book like this. How Long Will You Love Me is a delightful picture book with easy rhyme and heartfelt sentiment that will entrance the reader from the very first page.

Author Patti Brassard Jefferson has done a wonderful job with the illustrations to accompany the perfect rhythm of the text. The meter is smooth and the words flow off the tongue like smooth music for anyone reading aloud making it a pleasure to read again and again to a little one.

The question of how long will you love me comes up in almost every human relationship so the book will resonate with adults as well as children of all ages. There is humor in the silliness used to describe infinity.... and the forever love the question is trying to answer for the reader. How long will you love me.... until baseballs grow on trees, until snakes wear boots, until forever? What a charming way to help children understand love.

Excellent debut book making this author's career one to keep your eye on. This book is a must for anyone who has children, who loves someone forever, and who appreciates a great book.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Book Review: Powder Monkey by Donna M. McDine

Powder Monkey
Author: Donna McDine
Illustrations by: KC Snider
ISBN: 978-1616333843
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, 2013

It is rare to find a book for children that depicts a fact or two from history yet is told in the form of a story that grabs a reader from the very first page. Powder Monkey is one of those delightful finds in literature that combines a touch of history with a fictional character and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat and turning the page.

 Tommy, the main character, is the favorite from the very first incident showing his true character when he tries to protect his mother. The reader can't help but wonder what terrible trials will follow the poor boy as he sputters from the hay mound in an attempt to defend his family.

Author Donna M. McDine does a  wonderful job with sensory details allowing the reader to experience the use of all five senses as Tommy is taken aboard a sea vessel and becomes a virtual slave to the men on board. Readers will smell the stench of body fluids and salt from the sea, feel the rocking of the ship, and experience first hand the responsibility of a Powder monkey as the young lad brings gun powder to help the seamen fight other vessels on the rocky ocean.

Tommy sees and experiences more than a young boy should yet his strong character helps him to grow into a proper seaman. The reader cannot help but to feel the pain of a lost childhood and to care deeply for the man Tommy has become making the ending to the story thought provoking and life changing, even in a small way.  Kudos to Ms McDine for doing what all authors strive to do and that is to make a difference for the reader.

Visit the author at  or her author blog:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Book Review: Noah Webster & His Words

Noah Webster & His Words
Author: Jeri Chase Ferris
Illustrations: Vincent X. Kirsch
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt- 2012
Juvenile Nonfiction: Biography
ISBN: 978-0-547-39055-0

Product Details

Noah Webster & His Words is an excellent biography about how our dictionary today was researched and written by Noah Webster early in the 1800’s. The words and the illustrations engage the reader from the first page and carry the reader on the long journey of finding every word that was originally written into the dictionary.
The story of how Noah wanted to write as a boy and followed his dream by traveling to other countries and libraries around the world to complete his work is demonstrated through text and pictures. It is a great addition to the classroom library and serves well as an excellent source for teachers and students regarding history of the written word.
The book includes an illustrated timeline from 1758 and Noah’s birth to 1843 when Noah dies in New Haven. The timeline includes other historical facts that become a spring board for other history learning activities for classroom teachers or parents who home school. The book is an excellent example of bringing the reader into the past and making them feel the past rather than memorizing facts about the same. Readers will feel like they have met and know Noah Webster. They will gain a new appreciation for the importance of research and for the dictionary itself coming away with another great book that teaches students to love the written word.
Information about the author can be found at
Information about the illustrator can be found at
Information about other books by the publisher can be found at

Noah Webster & His Words is a great addition to any collection. It is rare to find a biography that entertains as well as educates and this fits the bill. 


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