Thursday, May 23, 2013

Book Review: The Adventures of Lai-Lai & Chub Chub

The Adventures of Lai-Lai & Chub-Chub  Lai-Lai meets Chub-Chub

Author: Dr. Aaron Chokan

Illustrations: Amy Rottinger

ISBN: 978-1-61244-150-4

Halo Publishing International
Children will love this fun picture book about Lai-Lai and Chub-Chub. Lai-Lai is so happy to be getting a puppy but she must pick a name. Outside she finds birds, feels the breeze, and experiences all kinds of things related to nature that might make a good puppy name. But what is the best puppy name....

The author uses simple language to tell this heartfelt story and the illustrations enhance the mystery of what will become the new puppy's name. The mystery, the action, and the fact that all kids love and want a puppy makes this a perfect picture book to read over and over. Don't be surprised if Lai-Lai and Chub-Chub grab your heart and hang on for more adventures.

Visit for more information on this author and this book.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Monday, May 6, 2013

Guest Post by Author L.R.W. Lee- How One Author Developed His Series?

The reviews are in and Blast of the Dragon's Fury is a winner for middle grade readers. It has interesting characters, real life dilemma's, and an emotionally engaging plot and subplots  that keep the reader turning the page. How does an author keep up the momentum and create several books in a series that readers can't wait to get their hands on? Author L. R. W Lee tells us here in her guest post about this topic. Readers and writers alike will enjoy this insightful look at developing a series for kids. Welcome.

Developing the Andy Smithson series

By L. R. W. Lee

The Andy Smithson series is a narrative of redemption that incorporates uncommon life principles that can transform lives, while entertaining middle grade and older children.  It’s a fantasy adventure designed to be a coming-of-age series spanning seven novels.  The first book, Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, begins with our protagonist, Andy Smithson, at age ten. 

To have a series that spans this number of books, I invented a plot driven story with multiple layers that would permit mystery with unexpected twists and turns while developing many characters.  There are four plot layers I work simultaneously – 1) Andy at home with his family in Lake Hills, TX 2) the After Life with Imogenia and King Hercalon IV 3) current day Oomaldee with King Hercalon V and King Abaddon and 4) the realm from which Methuselah and several other objects come.  While managing the complexities of each of these layers and how each impacts the other, I also purposefully mixed in life principles including overcoming frustration, impatience, fear and more, along with humor.

I chose to present every layer from Andy’s point of view so the reader can discover events with Andy; I wanted them to feel like they were experiencing the same situations and, therefore, part of the story. Using a single point of view also allowed me to withhold certain clues and not reveal too much, too quickly.  Only the prologue has been written from a different point of view, that of Imogenia, and only because Andy had not yet been born.

One challenge with the first book in any series is to invent a big enough space in which the characters and plot can evolve over multiple books.  In Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, I have invented no less than eighty different characters to accomplish just this. This foundation allows me significant space to develop the storyline, revealing how the characters interact and impact each other.  I can go deep with any one of the initial characters, introducing friends, relatives, teachers or other people or events that impact their lives making them who they are today and who they are becoming. I began with an understanding of the general types of characters I would need to invent in order to develop the plot.  Some of these included a protagonist with many flaws, a good friend, a wise elder with an endearing helper, a character that keeps the reader on edge, unsure whether to call him a good guy or a bad guy, and more. 

The environment emerged similarly.  I began by knowing there would be a medieval castle with lots of hidden tunnels – great fodder for mysteries.  The plot then dictated the specifics.

The end result of all this is the Andy Smithson series is a complex, but very enjoyable narrative that several readers have revealed they just couldn’t put down once they started reading.

Author Bio -
Since the age of eight, L. R. W. Lee wanted to write a children’s book, but felt she did not have anything significant to share; she sought to change lives while entertaining.  A degree in Accounting did not provide riveting fodder for a best seller, so she waited.  Over a decade, she founded and grew a company, during which, she worked closely with a mentor from whom she learned uncommon thinking that changed her life.  After selling her business in early 2012, she had time to write and, more importantly, something significant to share.

L. R. W. Lee lives in Austin, TX with her husband, daughter and son. (All "Likes" are appreciated!)
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Saturday, May 4, 2013

How About Those Doodles?

Have you been doing the doodle challenge? The month of May is offering several challenges for writers including the doodle challenge during picture book week. Writers are used to challenges.... after all daily life gives us one challenge after another and finding time to doodle or write a few words can be ... well, challenging. But oh what fun.

Here are the doodles in words that I have worked on this week.

      • I doodled a spool of thread, needle, and crow to make toppers for fat quarters to hang in my quilt shop. The doodle worked into a pretty cool logo with the website and address on the back of the card stock. Folded and attached to each fat quarter allows shoppers to get all the info they need for my website while keeping their fabric intact until further use. Picture to follow.
      • I doodled a hedgehog. I don't know why, but maybe it will pop up in a story sometime.
      • I doodled several crows, a sunflower, and vines. These hopefully will combine with several words to make a sample of fabric. I am designing 5 coordinating prints to put together for the shop. Wish me luck.
      • I doodled bright squiggly lines and shapes for a possible fabric line for the children's book coming out this year. My character will need this fabric to make quilts and hats for her friends in the next book.
      • Finally today, I doodled leaves of some of the spring plants coming up in our yard. It will land on fabric or the page in some form or another.
    • What did you doodle today?


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