December 31, 2012

A Look Back At 2012


Writing: A totally exciting year. I had two books published this year (Guardian Angel Publishing and Featherweight Press). My short stories were included in two anthologies this year (Wayman Publishing and Knowonder). I signed contracts for two more books to be published in 2013 (Whiskey Creek Press and MuseItUp Publishing). And expect more anthologies, the first one releasing on January 1st, 2013!

 

I finished a novel at the last possible moment. Wrote loads of short stories and saw most of them published by Knowonder, Beyond Centauri, Spaceports & Spidersilk.

 

I thank each and every one of these publishers for taking a chance on my writing and me. I value the work you put into producing a quality product and I work hard to spread the word about it so that we can both stay in business and continue to work together into the future.

 

Social Media: I continued to love my weekly blog feature Three Times A Charm. I’ve met so many wonderful people involved in children’s publishing through this weekly interview feature and hope I can continue to attract intriguing guests through 2013. Open call can be found at the end of the post if you are interested, read what I’m looking for and contact me.

 

I introduced a new weekly blog feature, Building Character, which interviews a character from a children’s book. Oh my gosh it is FUN meeting a character outside their book! Why didn’t I do this sooner? Open call for this feature too. See if your character fits the bill outlined at the end of each post and then contact me.

 

I manage my own Facebook page and I’m a content contributor to the Guardian Angel Publishing and Knowonder pages. If you haven’t liked them, please do.

 

I had a fun and successful virtual book tour through World Of Ink in October and November. It was really great to reach out to a new audience through this great tour company.

 

Reading: I read 74 books. Three fewer than the year before. I think I’ll consider 75 books per year my ‘sweet spot’ The stand outs were:

 

Matched and Crossed = Most inspiring books to exercise to

Once Upon a Marigold = Most charming

Ashes, Ashes = Lingered longest (still sends a thrill through me when I see cover)

Endure = Most satisfying series ending

I’m a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President = Most laugh out loud moments

 

I read a lot of good books this year. Even read some books for grown ups, but honestly they weren’t as good as the middle grade and young adult books I read.

There were highs and lows just like in any year, but over all I’d say this year would score well on a report card.

 

Thank you to all my readers, likers, followers, friends, and family. You make it worthwhile. I wish you a happy and prosperous 2013!

 

December 28, 2012

Building Character with Myra Gibson from Life on Hold

 
Welcome to my new blog feature, Building Character in which you get to meet a character from a book. I’m really excited about this feature, because it is so much fun talking to a character outside of their book! Huge. Amounts. Of fun. 

This week Strands of Thought is host to Myra Gibson from Life on Hold. Welcome, Myra. Tell us readers a little about yourself and what your life is like.
 
Myra: Hi, I’m Myra Gibson, sixteen, and even though my family’s not perfect ¾ my younger sister can be a brat; my mom and dad won’t let me see the boy I’m crazy about ¾ we get along pretty well. I’ve always trusted them and tried to do what they wanted, even to staying away from Jeremy. This summer I discovered I was wrong about my parents, way wrong. For sixteen years, they’ve lied to me, and now I want the truth. 

Oh Myra! That’s a tough one. What on earth did they lie about? 

Myra: My parents think they’re protecting me by keeping the fact that the man I’ve always called my father is really my stepfather. They think I’m too young to             understand. If I can’t trust my own parents, who can I trust? 

You have friends, or maybe a special friend you can trust, right? I hope! 

Myra: Jeremy is the boy I like. He’s cute. He’s fun. He’s kind. I think I even love       him. He made one mistake that put him on my mother’s “bad” list, so now I’m not       allowed to see him. He’s really sweet and trying very hard to prove to my parents       that he’s one of the “good” guys. Like they’ve never done anything wrong. Hello,       they kept a secret from me all of my life.    

Your parents sound strict. That’s probably hard, huh? What would you say is your strongest personality trait? Something your parents are proud of? 

Myra: I like to please people. Don’t cause trouble. Yeah, look where being nice got me. Nowhere. 

So, Myra, what do you do to relax? You must need to do a lot of it lately!

Myra: Reading, walking dogs for extra money, and hanging with my friends: Cass       and Taffy. 

If you could change one thing in this world, what would you change?

Myra: I’d make men understand the responsibility of having a child. A father should take care of his children, love them, be there for them. If a man can’t do that, he should not have children.

That is an important lesson, Myra! What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers?

Myra: Don’t take life for granted. When you least expect it, your world may turn      upside down and never be the same. Like when you meet your “real” father.

Thanks for joining us, Myra. It was very good to talk with you and we wish you a lot of luck on your new journey in life.

Share Myra’s journey in Life on Hold:
 
 A paper found. A secret revealed. A girl’s life changed forever. Myra Gibson’s life is a lie. For sixteen years her parents have kept their secret, but the adoption paper she discovers while cleaning the guest house tells the truth. As the past and present collide, Myra finally stands up for herself and begins a journey she may regret.
 

Amazon:   http://amzn.to/zb81Cd

Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/8xp9xp7

 

About Beverly Stowe McClure: 

When Beverly was in eighth grade her teacher sent her poem “Stars” to the National High School Poetry Association, and she was soon a published writer in Young America Sings, an anthology of Texas high school poetry. At this point she had no desire to be an author. In fact, she hated to write. She hated to read. She squeaked through high school doing her favorite things: playing clarinet in the band, twirling her baton as a majorette, and she actually graduated. Then she got married had three sons (one an angel in heaven), and attended Midwestern State University, which meant reading more books than she could count and writing, writing, writing. What was she thinking? Anyway, she managed to graduate cum laude with a teaching certificate and had a fourth son. She taught children in elementary school for twenty-two years.

 

Somewhere along the way she discovered reading was fun. She even started writing, mostly articles for children’s magazines about things they did in the classroom. To her delight many of her articles were published. After that, there was no stopping her.

She lives in the country with her husband, Jack, two cats that adopted her, and a variety of wild critters that stop by for a handout. And she writes most every day.

Beverly can be found in these virtual places:






***

If you have a character from a children’s, tween or young adult book that you’d like to see interviewed on Building Character, please contact kaistrand at yahoo dot com.

December 26, 2012

Three Times A Charm with Kay Lalone


Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry.

This week author, Kay Lalone, stops in to visit. Kay, tell us about you.

I’ve been writing since I was a young girl, but seriously for about fourteen years. I have short stories published in a few children’s magazines. Ghostly Clues is my first MG novel. And I have a lot more stories in the revision stage. I’m the mother of three sons, two are adults now and I live in Michigan with my husband and youngest son.

Tell us about your middle grade novel, Ghostly Clues.

This is the back cover of Ghostly Clues. The sweet scent of lilacs permeates the air around Grandma’s gravesite. Only Sarah Kay can smell Grandma’s favorite flower and they’re not even in bloom. Sarah Kay and her best friend, Mary Jane, believe the lilacs are a sign from Grandma’s ghost. The girls follow one ghostly clue after another to discover if Dad is alive or not. Grandma makes sure Sarah Kay gets the message even from the grave.

So intriguing!

Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

  • Top 3 tools of the trade you couldn’t live without.

The top 3 tools of the trade that I couldn’t live without are computer, flashdrive, and my wild imagination.

  • Top 3 leisure activities.

My top 3 leisure activities are reading, watching TV and movies, and spending time with my family doing whatever.

  • Top 3 authors.

I have a lot of favorite authors, but I’d have to say my top 3 are Nora Roberts, Heather Graham, and Alyson Noel.

Kay, where can our readers go to keep up with you and your writing?





Thanks for charming us on this week’s Three Times A Charm, Kay. Best of luck with your writing!

THANKS!

GUESTS WANTED! I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.

December 21, 2012

Building Character with Thelma Hill from The Ghost of Thelma Hill


Welcome to my new blog feature, Building Character in which you get to meet a character from a book. I’m really excited about this feature, because it is so much fun talking to a character outside of their book! Huge. Amounts. Of fun. 

This week Strands of Thought is host to Thelma Hill from The Ghost of Thelma Hill. Thelma, can you tell our readers a little about yourself, please? Like, maybe a bit about what kind of conflict you have in life.

Conflicts?  I’m a ghost, Kai.  Ghosts don’t have conflicts. . .  Unless you call living in eternal limbo a conflict.  And my name WAS Thelma Hill.  Was is the operative word here, dear.

Oh, I see. It’s almost like you live in past perfect tense – all the time! What are some of the biggest stumbling blocks you’ve encountered trying to overcome your ghostly challenges?

Mainly the fact that no one ever heard me rattle my chains, scream or moan.  For 40 years I have tried to get someone to pay attention to me, but until Frannie James – absolutely nothing!  I might as well have been decently buried for all they cared. 

Hmmm. . . Wait!  There was that dear little poodle though.  He knew I was here.  But what use is a dog in my delicate situation. Unfortunately, I had to give up making eerie noises.  His owners were about to get rid of him because of all the barking. I felt it simply would not be fair to make an innocent poodle pay because of my need for revenge.

What have you learned about yourself or friend or family while attempting your haunts?

  • Oh my, that’s an easy one to answer, dear. Be careful whom you marry.  Especially if you are shy, like me.  And I discovered that helping others is very calming to the soul.  A soul gets really shook up after years of limbo living. I intend helping Frannie with a little something that is bothering her.  
  • Oh yes, and one thing I learned, that really upset me, is about that Margot Finke person.  She had the temerity to tell everyone I am based on her mother.  Rubbish! I’ll have you know I am a fully authenticated ghost. . .   I just need a little mortal assistance with revenge, and then it’s off to my Great Reward.  

Tell us about your sidekick or best friend.

Indeed. If 8 legs and a jealous nature make a great sidekick, then Adolpha definitely fits the bill.  Jealousy is such an unattractive trait, don’t you think?  And lately, of course, I have Frannie – such a dear girl. And brave.  You have no idea.  She has agreed to help me.  But that twin brother of hers bears watching. Jeff  is not convinced I exist.  Not to worry though - Adolpha will take care of him.  


Is there anything about you that people are always giving you a hard time about? How do you feel about it?

Ghosts are known for have a disconcerting effect on people.  I think it’s the naked bones, and all those veils frothing around.  Humans are so one dimensional.

What are your three favorite leisure activities?

You don’t know much about ghosts, do you dear?  Hmmm. . . I guess you could say “limbo” is rather limiting. And I have to say that the accommodations have a great deal to be desired.

If you could change one thing in this world, what would you change?

Hah!  I want my killer brought to justice, Kai.  REVENGE is sweeter when you wait 40 years to savor it.  And no one should be allowed to get away with murder!

What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers?

Watching the humans come and go in this house has indeed been an education.  I truly believe that a loving heart, and the art of compromise, is the path to inner grace – both on earth, and on my journey to the place of Great Rewards.  

Do you think this new-fangled blog interview thingy will make your readers believe in me? I fear not my dear.  Readers will cast you as a CRAZY lady.  Never mind. You just pop over to Frannie’s home in Tigard, Oregon.  I’ll treat you to limbo-esque stories that will make your hair fly off – truly.

Thanks Thelma for stopping in to talk with us. If ghosts celebrate earthly holidays, I hope yours are enjoyable.

The Revenge of Thelma Hill:
When Frannie and her twin brother move to Oregon, they have no thought of ghosts,  haunted houses, trapping a killer, or facing a giant arachnid “familiar” in their basement.  And their missing mom and sibling rivalry only add to their list of scary problems.


VIDEO - Sample Reading: http://youtu.be/sLA1vr8b09Y

Margot Finke is an Aussie transplant who writes mid-grade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. For many years she has lived happily in Oregon.  Gardening, travel, and reading fill in the cracks between writing. Her husband is very supportive, and their three children are now grown and doing very well.  Seven wonderful grandchildren round out her life.
Margot has 13 published books, with several more due for publication next year. She didn't begin serious writing until the day their youngest left for college. This late start drives her writing, and pushes her to work at it every day. Margot said, "I really envy those who began young, and managed to slip into writing mode between kid fights, diaper changes, household disasters, and outside jobs.  You are my heroes! "

You can find more information about Margot and Thelma:

FREE Book Catalog:  http://tinyurl.com/d8ppylg
***
If you have a character from a children’s, tween or young adult book that you’d like to see interviewed on Building Character, please contact kaistrand at yahoo dot com.


December 19, 2012

Three Times A Charm with Kelly Bakshi


Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry. 

This week non-fiction children’s author, Kelly Bakshi, joins us.

Thank you for agreeing to be a part of my weekly feature “Three Times a Charm.”

Thanks for interviewing me- love the format J

First, Kelly, tell us about you.

I am a former Social Studies teacher, turned stay at home mom to two little boys (a 2 month old and two year old- that’s right,  “spit em ups” and “poo-poo in the potty!” are part of my daily vernacular), turned non-fiction children’s book writer!  I live in New York City right along the Hudson River.  I have a serious weakness for cupcakes and am kind of obsessed with Dancing With the Stars…

Lol! I’d like to say that will go away, but as a mother with boys (and a husband) the potty humor never stops!

Tell us about your writing.

My newest book, Myth-Busting Columbus, challenges readers to look at the cold hard facts surrounding Columbus’s journeys and asks them to form opinions on his character.  It explains his incredible accomplishments but also details lies, manipulation and ignorance surrounding his expeditions.  It invites kids (ages 8-12) to question his actions and weigh his accomplishments.  I taught seventh grade social studies for eleven years and noticed that this age group loves to question authority, so here’s a chance to do so in a fun, educational way!


What a great concept!

Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

  • Top 3 leisure activities.

1.      One of my favorite things to do is blare pop songs with great hooks and loud choruses and sing at the top of my lungs while speeding in my car- preferably with the windows down and sunroof open!  I know it’s really bad and I never, ever do it while I have my kids in the car with me, but truth be told- I am an excellent driver and should be allowed to break speed limits! I especially love to do this while driving to my favorite outlet mall which brings me to my next leisure activity
2.      Outlet shopping ROCKS!!! Seriously, I love it!  I am a picker, sorter, and searcher for amazing clothes at incredible deals.  Not only do I love getting new things but also the hunt for bargains thrills me.  Plus, to top it all off, it’s the only time I allow myself to eat fast food.  DKNY boots and a happy meal all in one day- what could be better?
3.       I am a tired out mommy- I barely have time to shower let alone pamper myself so when I occasionally get out for a much needed pedicure, I thoroughly enjoy it!  I get the full Monty spa pedicure that includes a fifteen-minute foot massage- heavenly!  I also love it because, while I consider myself too high minded to actually purchase junk tabloid magazines, if they happen to be in my nail salon I might as well give them a quick glance.  Do I really care about the latest relationship saga of K. Stew and R Patz?  Ummmm, sadly, YES!

  • Top 3 pieces of advice for kids these days.

1.      To quote Journey, and the Glee Cover remake:  “Don’t Stop Believin” You can do anything, but you have to believe in yourself.  Know that you are unique and amazing and capable of anything you set your heart, mind and soul to.

2.      Thomas Jefferson said, "I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." 
3.      Don’t speed, eat fast food or read junk magazines!
  • Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up.
1.      Singer (see above)
2.      Race Car Driver (see above)
3.      Journalist

Kelly, where can our readers go to keep up with you and your writing?

I recently opened a twitter account and I’m totally obsessed with it, but I only have four followers, literally four!!! Please follow me and I promise to follow you back:

or “like” my KellyBakshiBooks facebook page:


Thanks for charming us on this week’s Three Times A Charm, Kelly. Best of luck with your writing!

THANKS!

GUESTS WANTED! I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.


December 14, 2012

Building Character with Julian Navarro from Free Souls (The Mindjack Trilogy #3)

Hi! Welcome to my new blog feature, Building Character in which you get to meet a character from a book. I’m really excited about this feature, because it is so much fun talking to a character outside of their book! Huge. Amounts. Of fun.

Today I’m actually blushing and giggling like a schoolgirl, because I have JULIAN NAVARRO from the Mindjack Trilogy. I fell madly in crush with Julian during Closed Hearts and I am SO excited to spend more time with him in Free Souls. But, I don’t have to wait, because he’s RIGHT HERE! Queue fangirl squeals. (Kai takes a deep breath. Collects herself. Pretends to be professional – but has a blush on her cheeks.)

Julian for the poor unfortunate souls out there who don’t know who you are, why don’t you introduce yourself.

Good afternoon, my name is Julian Navarro, and I’m a mindjacker. More specifically, I’m a handler, which means I don’t actually reach into people’s minds to control their thoughts, feelings, or memories, like a normal jacker. My ability lets me control your instincts instead: I can reach into the deepest, darkest part of your brain, the part that controls your instinctual need to drop a hot plate, run away from danger, or fall in love. That’s the part that I can manipulate.

Regular mindreaders don’t really know what I can do, and the jackers that know, don’t care for it so much. But it allows me to do the thing I’m meant to do: lead jackers into a better world, where we can all be free.

You live in a pretty harrowing time. Tell us more about what you’re up against.

The world is a hostile place for mindjackers, with mindreaders growing more anxious and afraid with every passing day. I’m working to bring jackers around the country to Jackertown, to build our Jacker Freedom Alliance, but the battle will be tough. There are some who would rather see us jailed or killed outright. They are afraid of us, but their fears are no excuse to treat jackers the way that they do, branding us like cattle, locking us up. Controlling us. We are people, just like anyone else, and we deserve to be free, the same as any mindreader walking the streets of Chicago New Metro. Someday, I’ll make that dream a reality.

Wow, that’s huge! Please tell me you aren’t doing this all alone. Is there someone who stands by you, supports your efforts, the cause?

My best friend, outside my twin sister Anna, is probably Kira. She’s the one who started this whole revolution, and she’s the one who should be leading the JFA, not me. She’s really more than a friend, she’s... an inspiration. Always has been, even before I met her. And now that I’ve had a chance to know her, well... having her around helps me face the fight ahead. I keep telling her that, but she doesn’t seem to hear it. I think she’s still hurting over her boyfriend... the one I failed to save from a ruthless jacker who punched holes in his memory. I don’t know if she’ll ever forgive me for that, but at least for now, she’s still by my side. Which is a good thing, because I’m not sure what I would do without her.

I’m not sure I like how you hesitate when you talk about Kira. Like, maybe there’s more than you’re ready to admit. (Chanting, am not jealous, am not jealous). Julian, you’re still so young. If you are successful in your efforts, what you possibly be left for you to do later?

I’ve always known that I would do what I’m doing now: leading a revolution to free mindjackers. My parents had prepared me for this my entire childhood, right up until the day the car crash took them and left my sister Anna and I to carry out their work. Now that the time is here, I hope I don’t let them down.

Well, you’re leadership material to me and I’m routing for you…er, your cause 100%. Thanks for visiting with us. Stay safe!

About the book:
Free Souls (Book Three in the Mindjack Trilogy)
When your mind is a weapon, freedom comes at a price.
Four months have passed since Kira left home to join Julian’s Jacker Freedom Alliance, but the hole in her heart still whistles empty where her boyfriend Raf used to be. She fills it with weapons training, JFA patrols, and an obsessive hunt for FBI agent Kestrel, ignoring Julian’s worries about her safety and repeated attempts to recruit her for his revolutionary chat-casts. When anti-jacker politician Vellus surrounds Jackertown with the National Guard, Kira discovers there’s more to Julian’s concerns than she knew, but she’s forced to take on a mission that neither want and that might be her last: assassinating Senator Vellus before he can snuff out Julian’s revolution and the jackers she’s come to love.

Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindjack Series, which includes three novels, three novellas, and a trailer. She's currently writing a steampunk fantasy romance, and has plans to start the New Year with writing Singularity, an androids-of-the-future story that will appeal to fans of the Mindjack series.

Please include contact information; websites, blogs, social media here:

But WAIT! There’s more. Today is COVER REVEAL day and here she is in all her glory! And of course there are giveaways. (Thanks Susan!)

Free Souls by Susan Kaye Quinn
(Book Three of the Mindjack Trilogy) Now Available!
When your mind is a weapon, freedom comes at a price.
Four months have passed since Kira left home to join Julian’s Jacker Freedom Alliance, but the hole in her heart still whistles empty where her boyfriend Raf used to be. She fills it with weapons training, JFA patrols, and an obsessive hunt for FBI agent Kestrel, ignoring Julian’s worries about her safety and repeated attempts to recruit her for his revolutionary chat-casts. When anti-jacker politician Vellus surrounds Jackertown with the National Guard, Kira discovers there’s more to Julian’s concerns than she knew, but she’s forced to take on a mission that neither want and that might be her last: assassinating Senator Vellus before he can snuff out Julian’s revolution and the jackers she’s come to love.
All Mindjack stories available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and iTunes (Note Free Souls is not yet available on iTunes)
Early Praise for Free Souls
“Quinn paints a picture of a not-too-distant America where politicians inflame the hatred of one section of the populace for another—all for their own gain—and you worry that her world is not so far off from our own.”
Dianne Salerni, author of We Hear the Dead, The Caged Graves, and the forthcoming The Eighth Day
"Free Souls starts with a bang and doesn't let up. Like a mash-up of all your favorite science-fiction adventures from Star Wars to The Legend of Korra, it blends nonstop action, nail-biting escapes, and great romance. I absolutely loved it! A great series conclusion—a must-read."
Leigh Talbert Moore, author of Rouge and The Truth About Faking
“Susan did it again. Free Souls was WOW! I expected Kira to step up to her role as heroine but not like this. Surprises kept coming until the very end which tied up more loose ends than I knew existed. Warning: Don't start reading until you have time to finish. I didn't want to put Free Souls down for a second. It's that kind of book.”
Sher A. Hart, Goodreads Review
Interview Susan's over at Amy Saunder's blog today (12.14.12), answering questions about how she came up with the mages' abilities, what kind of mage she would be, and all about her future works. Digital Box Set Since Free Souls is out, there is now a Digital Box Set of the Mindjack Trilogy for those of you who want the whole series!
Available on AmazonBarnes&Noble
Mindjack Origins Collection Want more Julian? Wondering how Sasha's ability really works? Looking for EXCLUSIVE DELETED SCENES from Free Souls? This collection of novellas, scenes, and other goodies is for those craving a bit more of the characters and drama of the Mindjack series.
Includes: Mindjack Novellas Mind Games (Raf's story) The Handler (Julian's story) The Scribe (Sasha's story) TWO EXCLUSIVE DELETED SCENES from Free Souls (published nowhere else!) PLUS Mindjack flash fiction, an (imaginary) conversation between Raf and Julian, and other goodies for readers who want just a little bit more of Kira, Julian, Raf, and the Mindjack crew.
Available on AmazonBarnes&Noble
ENTER TO WIN one of FIVE ecopies of the Mindjack Origins Collection
a Rafflecopter giveaway

December 12, 2012

Three Times A Charm with Kathryn Starke


Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry.

This week author, Kathryn Starke, visits with us. Welcome, Kathryn, can you share a little about yourself? 

I am an urban elementary school literacy specialist, children's author, and the founder/CEO of Creative Minds Publications and Consulting, a global educational company. I graduated from Longwood College with a BS degree in elementary education and Master's degree in Literacy and Culture. I have spent a decade teaching first, second, third grade as well as serving as the literacy specialist in Title I/inner city schools I am a freelance educational writer and public speaker promoting quality literacy instruction for all children.

Very commendable work, Kathryn. Thank you for what you do for children’s literacy.

Tell us about your latest project.

Amy's Travels is a children's book that teaches the culture, diversity, and geography of our world through the eyes of a young girl. Based on a true story, this multicultural title is the first children's picture book to teach all seven continents. Written by a teacher, Amy's Travels is complete with lesson plans and a comprehensive book guide. This social studies trade book was released in its second edition this spring; it is a recommended multicultural title by the California State Department of Education and used in school curriculum on six continents. Author Kathryn Starke travels to schools to share Amy's Travels with readers of all ages.

With her educational background, Kathryn is a speaker for schools, businesses, and nonprofit organizations, advocating for quality literacy instruction for all children. Through her global educational company, Creative Minds Publications and Consulting, she presents workshops and trainings for parents, teachers, and school administrators, primarily in Title I/inner city elementary schools.

Now for the threes. Share your top three to the following to help us know you better.

***Top 3 tools of the trade you couldn’t live without.-Young readers, my computer, and books that allow me to learn more about my profession!

***Top 3 pieces of advice for kids these days 1. Be a friend to everyone. 2. Work hard and read at least 20 minutes every single day. 3. Dream big!

***Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up.-I was going to be a teacher, own a business, or be a professional dancer. I am two out of three and teach dance on the side when I have time.

Kathryn, where can our tech-savvy readers go to keep up with you and your work?

www.creativemindspublications.com
www.facebook.com/creativemindspublications
www.twitter.com/kathrynstarke
www.pinterest.com/kathrynstarke

Thanks Kathryn for joining us on 12/12/12 (at 12:00!). I hope the date acts like a lucky ticket for you and your writing!

THANKS!

I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. Especially lately since I’ve been really busy and haven’t been able to recruit guests! GUESTS WANTED! If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.

December 7, 2012

Building Character with Nelson from Good News Nelson


Hi! Welcome to my new blog feature, Building Character in which you get to meet a character from a book. I’m really excited about this feature, because it is so much fun talking to a character outside of their book! Huge. Amounts. Of fun.

Wouldn’t you know it? When I was talking to Nelson about doing this interview, Natalie from Save the Lemmings came barging in. At first I was sort of put out, because it’s my new feature, but once I saw how great they got along, I allowed Natalie to do the interview. I think it made Nelson feel more comfortable, too, being interviewed by a twelve year old instead of a...well...an adult.

So without further ado, I present the interview of Nelson from Good News Nelson. He's gonna steal your heart!

Natalie: Hi, Nelson! I’m so glad you decided to do this interview.  Why don’t you start by telling our readers about yourself.

Hello, Miss Natalie. Thank you to you and Miss Kai for inviting me to your blog. My name is Nelson and I’m a newspaper delivery boy.

I love my job! Everyone in my neighborhood is so cool. Well, everyone except Mrs. Snodberry. She’s kind of cranky. She always says “BAH!” and grumbles about everything.

Last week there was an article in my newspaper that one hundred cats were found abandoned in an old house. I thought Mrs. Snodberry would complain like usual. But instead, she started to cry. She said no one cared about anything anymore.

I tried to tell her people do care – I care! – but she wouldn’t listen to me.

That made ME want to cry!

 So I asked my mom if we could adopt all the cats. She said we couldn’t  - bummer! – but we could probably help in other ways. Mrs. Welsh at the shelter gave us all kinds of ideas, including something having to do with…

* whispers *             …newspapers! I know I’m not supposed to share too much of the story. I think it’s called a “Spoiled Lert”. Like when you eat too many snacks before dinner and spoil your appetite.

Natalie: Oh, yes, those dreaded “Spoiler Alerts” I’m always being warned of them too.

Anyway, now I have an extra job. I’m helping Mrs. Welsh at the shelter find good homes for the animals. Would you like to adopt a kitty, Miss Natalie? They’re so cute!

Natalie: Nelson, I’d love to adopt a cat, but I already have one. His name is Whisper and he’s a bit of a grumpy-bear. It would break my heart if we invited a new little kitten into our lives and then Whisper treated it poorly. But I’m so in awe of what you’re doing! It’s the whole reason I asked my author if I could be the one to interview you. Nelson, we are kindred souls, you and I.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be a veterinarian with a big farm, so the next time 100 cats need a home, or maybe some dogs or a llama or even a rhinoceros, I can take them all in and take good care of them.

Natalie: Did you know that an African rhino could run as fast as 35 mph? I did a report on them last year. They aren’t as aggressive as people believe, either. They simply have bad eyesight. Those poor rhinos. I know what it’s like to get bad press like that.

Nelson, if you could change one thing in this world, what would you change?

Can I change two things? I would find loving people for all the homeless animals and loving animals for all the grumpy people.

Words of wisdom:

I think grumpy people like Mrs. Snodberry are just sad. If we show them we care, then we can make them happy again.

Natalie: Yes, I like to say, “Be pleasant to your neighbor and they will water your garden for you when you’re out of town.” You’re a good kid, Nelson. I’m glad to have met you.

Thank you for having me, Miss Natalie. And if any of your readers would like to adopt a kitty, please tell them to go to their local shelter. Mrs. Welsh tells me there are animals all over that need loving families. And even if you’re not allowed to adopt one, I’m sure your Mrs. Welsh will give you tons of ideas to help in other ways!


Book Blurb for GOOD NEWS NELSON, Story Pie Press, 2012

Nelson is a young paperboy who realizes that sometimes it’s not enough to just deliver the news…sometimes you have to do something about it! Will he be able to find homes for 100 cats…AND change the attitude of his cranky neighbor, Mrs. Snodberry? Nelson is PAWS-itive he can!

The book is currently available on Amazon and will hopefully be available at your favorite bookstores after the beginning of the new year.


Author Bio: Jodi Moore writes to challenge and inspire her readers by opening up brand new worlds and encouraging new ways of thinking, and truly believes that you’re never too small to make a big difference in this world. She lives in Boalsburg, PA, sharing her heart and the “good” life with her husband, her (grown) children and a diverse, loveable group of furry, feathery, fuzzy family members. She is the author of the award-winning WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN (Flashlight Press). This is her second picture book. 

Contact info:

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If you have a character from a children’s, tween or young adult book that you’d like to see interviewed on Building Character, please contact kaistrand at yahoo dot com.



December 5, 2012

Three Times A Charm with Margo Dill


Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the children’s publishing industry.

This week author, Margo Dill, is visiting. Margo, can you share a little about yourself? 

I am a freelance writer, editor, speaker, and teacher, living in St. Louis, Missouri. I’m a columnist, instructor, and contributing editor for WOW! Women On Writing and the memoir editor at High Hill Press as well as the assistant editor for the Sunday Books page in The News-Gazette. My first book, Finding My Place, a middle-grade historical novel, was published by White Mane Kids. I have two picture books under contract also. I write a blog called, Read These Books and Use Them, for parents, teachers, and librarians and  own a copyediting business, Editor 911. When I’m not writing or speaking, I love spending time with my husband, stepson, daughter, and dog—Chester, a boxer. You can find out more about me by visiting my website: www.margodill.com.

WOW! You sound busy!

Tell us about your newest book.

Finding My Place: One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg is a middle-grade (ages 9 to 12), historical fiction book. Here’s a synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Anna Green can hardly remember life before the War Between the States touched her hometown of Vicksburg, Mississippi. For 47 days in May, June, and July 1863, the Union army bombs Vicksburg day and night, attempting to overtake the city. Anna longs for the days before Yankee bombs screeched above her, before her family was torn apart, and before they moved to a dark, damp cave to protect themselves from falling shells. During one terrible bombing, a tragedy strikes Anna and her siblings and changes their lives forever. Can Anna find the strength to keep her family together in the midst of war?
Finding My Place recounts the destitute living conditions and the horror of a city under siege, the strength of the citizens who would not surrender, and the courage of an intelligent young girl. To buy an autographed copy, please see: http://margodill.com/blog/buy-finding-my-place .

Sounds great. I especially love historical fiction for this age group.

Now for the threes. Share your top three of the following to help us know you better.

  • Top 3 snacks to munch on while working.

This is a fun one!
My top three snacks:

POPCORN—I love to make a big pot of popcorn and snack on it while I’m editing and/or working on my next manuscript. I like that you can eat A LOT of popcorn, and it’s not too bad for you!

HARD CANDY—Love to suck on hard candy—my favorite is Werther’s Original.

PITA CHIPS and SPINACH DIP—I try not to do this one too much as it is double trouble—but super yummy!

  • Top 3 pieces of advice for kids these days.

“Be yourself.” As hard as that may be in today’s world, it is so important. We need unique individuals in our world.

“Follow your dreams with passion.” Put your full effort into whatever it is that you want to do—don’t let anyone stop you from achieving your dreams and fulfilling your passions!

“Read.” It is so true what they say about reading—it can open your mind to new worlds. Reading has so many benefits—too many to get into here, and kids don’t want to hear that—but also find something you like and read it! It doesn’t have to be the same as everybody else—magazines, newspapers, blogs, novels, picture books—whatever!

  • Top 3 songs on your play list.

“Some Nights” by Fun: Absolutely love this song—my 2-year-old knows some of the words, and the video is set during the Civil War, like my book.

“You and I Both” by Jason Mraz—wonderful lyrics and I got to see him live, so the song brings back great memories.

“Raise Your Glass” by Pink—When you need a bit of energy and encouragement, this is the perfect song to sing and dance to!

I love that about popcorn too. When I’m really hungry between meals, that’s what I make. Great advice for kids! I wish “be yourself” was an easier thing to do – because life is so much more fun when you are doing what you want because you want to do it.

Margo, where can our tech-savvy readers go to keep up with you and your work?

Email: margo (at) margodill.com
Buy an autographed copy of FINDING MY PLACE: http://margodill.com/blog/buy-finding-my-place

Thanks for joining us on this week’s Strands of Thought, Margo. Best of luck with your writing!

THANKS!

GUESTS WANTED! I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.

December 2, 2012

Open Doors: Fractured Fairy Tales NOW AVAILABLE, Plus A Book Fair!


We're proud to announce the publication of

Open Doors: Fractured Fairy Tales.

A socially conscious press, Wayman is dedicated to helping those in need. Much of the profit from this anthology will be donated to Primary Children's Hospital in the form of Christmas gifts we'll bring to the long-term patients staying there.

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Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair!

Wayman publishing has teamed up
with many phenomenal authors
to bring you this December weekend event.

For three whole days
--December 2-3-4--
you can find these

e-books for great prices.


. . . And . . .

Most of the profit from Wayman Publishing's books (12/1-12/20) will be donated to those in need!


Discover Upcoming and Recently Released Books!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Sydney's Song by Ia Uaro

Sydney's Song

by Ia Uaro

Giveaway ends December 20, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

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Click HERE to include on your Goodreads TO READ List
Released: 12/2012
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www.heaveneldeen.com
www.heavenliegheldeen.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/thedemonside
Middle Damned
Newly Released Cover!
Middle Damned
A Cat's Legacy
Newly Released Cover!
A Cat's Legacy: Dulcy's Story

. . . Also . . .
Enter to win FREE editing
or
some of the physical books
and many prizes shown below.



Awesome prizes!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Winners will be announced on 12/8.


The hosts would like to thank everyone.
Wayman Publishing
VoiceBoks


We hope you enjoyed discovering new authors and their stories
at our Christmas Book Fair.


If you'd like to share this post,
please feel free to grab the following code:


November 30, 2012

Book Gifts Need Book Swag!


This time of year it can be difficult to choose which books to buy for the children in your life. Well, I want to make my books just a bit more desirable for you. Naturally that means SWAG! Awesome, epic swag that you can include with your gift.

If you buy either of The Weaver Tales (The Weaver or The Wishing Well) your swag pack will include:

Greeting cards featuring Unwanted (blank inside)
Sticker featuring Unwanted
Book lover sticker
Bookmark
Pencil(s)
Signed, personalized bookplate

If you buy Save the Lemmings your swag pack will include:

I Love Lemmings magnet
Lemmings sticker
Book lover sticker
Bookmark
Pencil(s)
Signed, personalized bookplate

Oh, imagine the sparkle in your child’s eye when they can ‘join’ the Save the Lemmings cause, or defend the poor misunderstood Unwanted! Not only will they have hours of joy reading the books, but they will also have lasting, coordinating keepsakes – straight from the author.

How do you claim your swag pack, you ask? Just email a copy of a receipt showing the purchase of my book(s) dated between December 1st and December 15th. Include your address and the name of the reader for personalization. I’ll mail out the swag pack right away so that you can make a nice little literary bundle of a gift.

*Fine print* Supplies are limited, so claim fast! Purchase can be from any vendor, virtual or physical, Vendor’s information and date should be visible on receipt. U.S. mailing addresses only, please. Author not responsible for delays in delivery.

Help me out, by spreading the word. Thanks so much. Happy Holidays.