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1. Doodles and Drafts – On Track with Kathryn Apel

An aphorism by Will Rogers has been rattling around on my train of thought recently: ‘Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.’ One author who has not only found her right track but is chugging along it at an impressive pace is, Kathryn Apel. […]

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2. Review – Lulu

At first glance, life on the icy floes may seem appealing. (Unless you reside in SE Queensland as I do with no real concept of what cold is until you have to live through ‘an unseasonably cold winter’ with little more than a cotton tee-shirt and a pair of bed socks). In Lulu’s world, there […]

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3. I Want His Job

Headline news can be depressing. Which is why it makes me happy to find news stories like this one: This Teenager Discovered a New Planet on his Third Day of Work. Seriously. At 15, this kid shows up for day three of his “work experience” project, they’ve assigned him the task of wading through all […]

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4. 5 Questions for YA Author Joshua Pantalleresco…


Welcome to Part Two of my crossover interview with young adult author Joshua Pantalleresco! If you didn’t get a chance to read Part One of Joshua’s interrogation, er I mean interview, you can find it HERE. I’m still smarting over his infamous ‘unicorn’ trick he did to me on Facebook, but for the sake of my reputation (if I still have any shred left), I’m willing to channel my inner Elsa, and just let it go.

One thing I’ve learned about Joshua (besides his warped sense of humor) is that he’s a pretty damn fine poet! His epic poem The Watcher, makes you see poetry in a whole new way, and hopefully will reach a younger audience. Joshua also writes comics, which is one of the things on my bucket list. Bravo, Joshua! So let’s get these 5 paybackquestions rolling…

Welcome, Joshua! What are you working on right now?

I am working on catching up on a bunch of things.  I just posted an interview with an author.  Some lady that likes time travel. 

Hmm…I wonder who that could be? What are you working on specifically?

I got a list of five things to do this week on the literary scale.  I have a bunch of columns to get ahead on.  I write a wrestling column for Wrestling Glory where I focus on the storytelling involved in the rivalries of wrestling.  I am doing a female rivalry that defined a generation and I'm trying to do two or three more columns before it starts posting again.

I am also transcribing two other interviews.  One of them is ready to go and will be up next week.  The other involves a certain publisher you and I are familiar with.  

I'm putting together a comic script for Twyla April, my collaborator on Paradigm.  She is finally ready for the third issue and I plan to oblige.

Finally, I'm acquiring video software to finally finish a trailer that's long overdue.  It will be awesome.  I think it will change how book trailers are done.

I’m sweating just reading what you’ve got in the pipeline! What influenced you?

I was 8 years old and my parents had just been separated.  My dad took me to Fanshawe park in London Ontario.  There was this hill at the bottom by the stream.  My dad just barreled up it like it was nothing.  I struggled.  My dad said to me, "Come on Josh you can do it!"  I denied it and tumbled down it.  I got up and asked for help.  "You can do it!" My dad said.  I didn't believe it but tried to climb the thing anyway.  I said I couldn't do it the whole time I was on it.  Yet, step by step I got closer to the top, and before I know it, I was there.  "I - I did it!" I said, in disbelief.

My dad is the biggest influence in my life.  He told me I could even when many others told me I couldn't.  And I've never forgotten that lesson with whatever I chose to undertake.  I can do it, and if it wasn't for him, I don't think I would be able to say that.

Your father sounds amazing! What are you most proud of accomplishing?

I am making my dream a reality.  I dreamed of being able to write stuff and making a living doing it.  Bit by bit it is happening.  Beyond that, I'm proud that on this journey I've learned so much.  I didn't just learn how to write, I've shot videos, made movies, have had the chance to work with great people all across life.  I've travelled, worked with my heroes, and have been on this incredible journey.  I may not have the zillions of dollars, but I've become someone I wanted to be.

Wow, Joshua, sounds like you’ve lived a full life and are still rearing to go! What is your favorite thing about the changing face of publishing?

Like you said in your interview, the barriers are down.  I can interact with people I never imagined I would meet.  I am interviewing someone from Germany because of twitter.  I got this super cool card from an artist named Asia Alfasi.  She sent it as a place holder for me sending her a book.  It's still one of the coolest things I've ever seen.  It's opened up the world and has forced me to be more than the shy artist type.

It’s a small world, after all! Cheers for stopping by and going head-to-head with me on my blog, Joshua!

If you love poetry, and want to be swept away into a world of imagery, please give Joshua’s book a read. You won’t be disappointed!

Buy Links:




Connect with Joshua:
@Jpantalleresco (twitter and wattpad)


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5. The Dungeoneers Blog Tour

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I'm so sorry this is late, dear readers! It's been a day. Part good, part bad, mostly late. Anywho.

Walden Pond Press is giving away a signed hardcover copy of The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson! Read on for more info about the book and author, as well as a Q&A!

About the Book

THE DUNGEONEERS by John David Anderson (June 23, 2015 from Walden Pond Press) 

THE DUNGEONEERS by John David Anderson (June 23, 2015 from Walden Pond Press) 

The Dungeoneers is an action-packed, funny, and heartbreaking middle grade fantasy-adventure from the author of the acclaimed Sidekicked and Minion, John David Anderson.

The world is not a fair place, and Colm Candorly knows it. While his parents and eight sisters seem content living on a lowly cobbler's earnings, Colm can't help but feel that everyone has the right to a more comfortable life. It's just a question of how far you're willing to go to get it.
 
In an effort to help make ends meet, Colm uses his natural gift for pickpocketing to pilfer a pile of gold from the richer residents of town, but his actions place him at the mercy of a mysterious man named Finn Argos, a gilded-toothed, smooth-tongued rogue who gives Colm a choice: he can be punished for his thievery, or he can become a member of Thwodin's Legions, a guild of dungeoneers who take what they want and live as they will. Colm soon finds himself part of a family of warriors, mages, and hunters, learning to work together in a quest to survive and, perhaps, to find a bit of treasure along the way.

Q&A with John David Anderson

Read Now Sleep Later: Tell us what inspired The Dungeoneers. Was it something from real life or something from fantasy that finally sparked the premise so you could turn it into a novel?

John David Anderson: I’m a fly-by-seat of your pants kind of writer. I don’t outline. I seldom have a plan. I’m lucky if I have a general sense of direction. I go where the story takes me, and The Dungeoneers was literally a “I wonder what happens next?” kind of experience for me. Every day I would sit down to write with wide eyes, eagerly anticipating Colm and party’s next adventure. So the novel started for me just the way it starts for everyone—with Colm complaining about his sisters, one of whom gets sick. I knew he was going to try his hand at pickpocketing. I knew he was going to be good at it. That’s pretty much all I had. The rest, I think, was a great, big blended mess of fantasy tropes from books and films and games (both video and board) dating all the way back to my childhood, cobbled together the deeper and deeper I got.

I will say, though, that my parents often struggled to make ends meet when I was young, and I grew up with a sense of both the powers and dangers of money and the vast disparity between the have-mosts and have-a-littles. I think that sense of class disparity—and the notion that men of talent can find their own path to riches—informed upon the novel from day one. That and the significance of friendships and the price of loyalty were probably the chief motivating themes that drove me forward.

Mostly, though, I had fun with it. I had more fun writing The Dungeoneers than any other book I’ve written. It was basically just one giant roleplaying game for me.

RNSL: If there would be no consequences for you, what would you steal (for the greater good, anyway)? Are you good at sleight-of-hand? (Alethea for example would probably steal kittens. She is pretty sure Thuy and Kimberly would steal all the yarn and books--then distribute them to those in need.)

JDA: If it was for the greater good, I’d probably say I’d go all Jean Valjean and steal food for those in need. There are a lot of problems out there in the world that need solving, but hunger really seems like one that we—as intelligent as we are as a species—could have figured out a solution to. According to some estimates, as many as one out of every nine people suffers from hunger or malnutrition. I know it’s a Robin Hood kind of answer, but if you’re going to be an outlaw…

On a lighter note, if it was me, and there were no consequences or downsides, I would steal Lego. Lego, for me, is the epitome of extraneous expense. I love them. I love the feel of them, the sound of their clicking, the mathematical genius of their construction, but I can’t (usually) justify forking over forty bucks for 300 little pieces of snap-together plastic that’s just going to sit on my shelf. If could just steal them, then I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about spending money on them, though I would feel guilty for stealing them. I guess there’s no Lego without guilt. 

I would say books, but I’m a writer. If I want a book, I go out and buy it anyways.

In paperback. 

RNSL: Did anything specific inspire your cast of characters for The Dungeoneers?

Not really. I’d say my motivating principal was contrast. Obviously I needed a balanced party in terms of talents and professions, but also in terms of foibles and concerns. I wanted them all to be dungeoneering for different reasons, to each have something specific they were questing for, whether it was Serene overcoming her fears, Lena living up to her name, or Quinn gaining control over his power. It’s not all about the gold—though that certainly has its appeal, as Colm Candorly will tell you. The characters were all very distinct for me, which made them easier to write and easier to appreciate. What started as a story just about this one kid picking pockets in the street really became an exploration of this makeshift family getting each others’ backs, growing alongside each other. It’s an ensemble piece.

RNSL: If you still play RPGs, do you always play the same type of character, or do you switch around and try to be different? (I usually try to stay with Barbarian or Paladin... hack and slash, don't get in my way!)

JDA: I play a version of Pathfinders with my family, and I like to switch up who I play, though I tend to gravitate towards multi-talented types. Swordsmen who can enchant their blades with flames. Spellcasters who also happen to be good at throwing daggers. Talking pigs who can transform themselves into fire-spewing dragons. I tend not to play healers. I don’t want people counting on me to bring them back to life all the time. Too much pressure. I also don’t play guys who wear lots of heavy armor, mostly because I feel like they’d get too sweaty.

RNSL: Would ever you consider writing up part of the premise as an RPG? Or at least make up some character sheets for Colm, Finn, etc. :)

JDA: Funny you say that. I actually have Pathfinders sheets and stats for each of the four major characters from the novel. When my family and I played I was Quinn Frostfoot. 

I do create board and card games in my spare time, and if (for some blessed reason) The Dungeoneers was ever to become a thing—you know, like big big—I’d be more than happy to branch out and adapt the story to a more playable format. I think a lot of cool things are being done with game books and interactive fiction now, especially on mobile devices. I can certainly imagine The Dungeoneers taking that form. Maybe some computer genius out there can help make it happen!

RNSL: Did you encounter anything particularly challenging while writing The Dungeoneers that's different from your previous books?

JDA: Honestly third person perspective is a challenge for me. First person narratives come easy because there’s no negotiation, no competition between my voice and that of the main character. I appreciate the limitations that first person narratives provide, so the freedom that comes with panning out to a third person viewpoint—even one focused on one character like Colm Candorly—is daunting at first. I wanted to create a narrative voice that could poke fun one moment with tongue thoroughly in cheek and then get completely serious about the world and its dangers the next. That was tough.

Also the sheer scope of the book was bigger than my previous novels. More characters, more subplots—and so much I wanted to cram in, explore, and make fun of. I’m just grateful my editor let me keep most of it. It’s a hefty book. But fantasy novels aren’t always known for their thinness. 

RNSL: We love the cover. Did you have any input on the final art? Any thoughts you would like to share about it? (It makes us want to grab our dice bags and go on an adventure.)

JDA: Awesome, right? The cover is the work of the incomparable Dan Santat and, at least from my perspective, it was pretty solid right out of the gate. I do remember two significant changes, though. The first was that Quinn was way too confident in the beginning—his facial expression suggested a Gandalf-level of competence, and I remember saying that he needed to be a lot more worried about the spell he was casting (it will make sense when you read the book). The second issue was Lena—we needed her to be hardcore barbarian but still obviously female. The solution, I think, was to just give her a different haircut and more weapons. Other than that, it’s exactly the kind of book I would have picked up as a ten year old aching for a little dungeon diving adventure. I adore the wrap around and the font, but most of all I think I like how it focuses on the team effort. After all, the book isn’t called The Dungeoneer.

Now I’m off to play with my Lego.

About the Author

John David Anderson is the author of Sidekicked and Minion. A dedicated root beer connoisseur in his spare time, he lives with his wife, two kids, and perpetually whiny cat in Indianapolis. You can visit him online at www.johndavidanderson.org. Tweet @anderson_author and find him on Facebook.


Blog Tour Schedule

6/2/2015 - Maria's Mélange - mariaselke.com                                 
6/5/2015 - Unleashing Readers - unleashingreaders.com                    
6/6/2015 - The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia - hauntedorchid.blogspot.com          
6/7/2015 - Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers - insatiablereaders.blogspot.com     
6/8/2015 - This Kid Reviews Books - thiskidreviewsbooks.com                  
6/8/2015 - Ms Yingling Reads - msyinglingreads.blogspot.com           
6/9/2015 - Read Now Sleep Later - readnowsleeplater.org
6/10/2015 - Charlotte's Library - charlotteslibrary.blogspot.com 
6/11/2015 - Nerdy Book Club - nerdybookclub.wordpress.com
6/12/2015 - The Hiding Spot - thehidingspot.blogspot.com     

Giveaway Time!

One intrepid adventurer will win a signed hardcover copy of The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson. US only, ends 6/25/2015.

  • Open to US only, ends 6/25/2015.
  • No purchase is necessary to enter a giveaway. Void where prohibited.
  • We and the publisher are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
  • One set of entries per household please.
  • If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address.
  • Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner.
  • If you have any questions, feel free to email us at readnowsleeplater@gmail.com
  • PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps, but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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6. Doodles and Drafts – Getting silly with Gregg Dreise

As one strolls about this wondrous planet, one encounters a variety of individuals who may astound, influence, enrich, or even, deplete you. Not everyone we meet ends up a friend. Life is often an ongoing cycle of trials and consequences. How we survive and interpret the progression of life builds character and shapes us as […]

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7. Author Interview: Tor Seidler

Photo of Seidler by Charles Gold

Some of my favorite email exchanges are with the authors of the books I read and review on my blog. 


      Interview with Tor Seidler:
         author of: Firstborn, Toes, Brothers Below Zero, 
                Brainboy and theDeathmaster        






Tell us about your experience doing research for Firstborn. How long did you spend observing wolves? Where?

 Seidler: By my standards, I did a lot of research for Firstborn. Beyond the whimsical premise of the animals speaking in complete sentences, I wanted the story to be as close to nature as possible.  I read fictional and nonfiction accounts of wolves, but more importantly I had a friend who was a great source of information: Jean Craighead George, author of Julie of the Wolves, among many other books.  Best of all,I went wolf watching with Jean in and around Yellowstone Park in late May and early June, 2005.  The wolves had been reintroduced into the park in the mid 1990’s, and by the time of our visit they were pretty well established.  The pack we observed in the northeast corner of the park had twenty-six members.  We would arrive before sunrise and set up our viewing scopes on a hillside above a creek.  Often we got to see the alpha male lead the other hunters back from their night hunt on the other side ofthe creek and distribute food among the pack’s six new pups.  An amazing experience!  In more recent years I’ve also visited the wolf reserve in northern Westchester County.  But there’s nothing like seeing animals in the wild.

What did you find most challenging about writing your book?

 Seidler:There are always a lot of challenges for me in writing any novel, but in this one I think the biggest was figuring out how to tell the story.  I initially wrote it from an omniscient point of view, focusing solely on the wolves.  The story began with Blue Boy, the alpha male wolf, awaiting the birth of his pups.  But the story wasn’t quite lifting off.  When I hit on the idea of writing it from the point of view of a bird, a magpie who attaches herself to the pack, it seemed to give the material another dimension.

After writing a book about animals, do you have a favorite animal? Which one and why is it your favorite?

 Seidler: I’m a great believer in bio-diversity, so I like all animals.   But I must say in studying the wolves I gained a deep respect for them.   Their life is very hard.  Few live to see their first birthday.  But the way they learn to work together, both socially and in the hunt, is awe-inspiring.  I also have a soft spoke for coyotes, who lead much more individualistic lives than wolves.

Unlikely friendships develop in Firstborn. Did you observe any unlikely animal behavior or relationshipsin doing research? 

 Seidler: I’ve read about unlikely relationships developing between different species, but to be honest I didn’t observe any in my wolf watching.  I love the idea of multi-culturalism, though, and I’ve written about it before in the animal world, especially in a book called The Wainscott Weasel.

Your book involves conservation efforts for wildlife reintroduction. Are there any conservation efforts you would like to encourage in your young readers?

 Seidler: I’m a fan of all conservation efforts, be it joining the Sierra Club or encouraging your parents to recycle orminimizing your carbon footprint.  I have a particular fondness for the World Wildlife Fund.

 What made you want to become a writer?

 Seidler: Reading.  I enjoyed books so much as a kid that I thought, “Hey, maybe I can do that!”

What suggestions do you have for young readers who might like to become writers someday?

Read. And then read some more. And don’t accept what people tell you. Look at things with your own eyes and reach your own conclusions.

 Is there anything you would like to add about your writing and/or books?

 Seidler: Well, I hope some of you enjoy them!


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8. An Ember in the Ashes: trailer feature + giveaway

Two months ago, I was invited to attend a lunch to meet author Sabaa Tahir and to watch the filming of  the trailer for her book An Ember in the Ashes. The shoot took place here in Los Angeles, and while I’ve been on location before as a film publicist, this was the first time I’ve ever walked into a studio filled with smoke! It was a dark, moody setting that suited the book perfectly, since the story follows an orphan named Laia who risks her life to save her brother Darin, who’s held captive by a brutal empire. The actress who played Laia was friendly and chatty, and she showed us the tattoo painted on her shoulder. It’s an important and serious part of the book, so it was cool to see the attention to detail in the make-up and costumes. The Kommandant was small, blonde, and totally badass... Read more »

The post An Ember in the Ashes: trailer feature + giveaway appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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9. Kwame Alexander Q&A: Poetry Provides Possibilities

We recently had the opportunity to talk with author Kwame Alexander about how poetry can draw a reluctant reader into a lifelong love of books and the creative process behind his book, “The Crossover,” awarded the 2015 Newbery Medal for Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children.

kwame-alexander

Author Kwame Alexander
Photo Credit: Pilar Vergara

The first thing we noticed about The Crossover: its rhythm. Why did you choose to have Josh’s voice rhythmic in that way?

When I decided the book was going to have a frame of basketball, I knew that I wanted the language to mirror the sport’s high energy and rhythm,

I thought that basketball was poetry in motion – so I created a story on the page that reflected the action on the court. I’ve been a poet most of my life, so it seemed like a good marriage.

How would you describe kids’ reaction to the book?

You want to impact young people. That’s the goal. That’s the only goal. You want to get them reading. The response initially came from librarians and teachers – they were loving it.

I thought, “Wow, how cool is that?”?

Then teachers started getting it to their students. My, my, my – the reaction from the students blew me away. There were quite a few boys who had never showed much interest in reading  before. Their teachers and librarians contacted me and said, “They couldn’t put your book down.”

That’s pretty remarkable right there. That’s why I’m doing this.

Have you ever seen anyone perform a page from the book?

Yes! There was a school in Illinois – Granger Middle School – and the entire school read the book. They brought me in for the day to see some presentations, and the kids all crossovermemorized the poems. It was so awesome. Each kid – girl, boy, black, white – they all felt like they were the characters.

That’s all you really hope for from a book –  that it’s going to resonate with young people and empower them in some way. I believe poetry can get kids reading.

Why is it so important to get kids reading?

Inside of a book, between the lines, is a world of possibility. The book opens it up.

Why is it important for kids to open books? Because they can see themselves and they can see what they can become… Open a book and find your possible.

Click here to browse First Book’s collection of ALA Award-winning books.

 

The post Kwame Alexander Q&A: Poetry Provides Possibilities appeared first on First Book Blog.

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10. Interview with Kidlit Author, Kristen Lamb

It’s Author Interview Thursday and I’m so glad you’ve taken out time to join me today.K Lamb As you may already know, today is World Book Day and it was interesting seeing all the children dressed up as different literary characters on my way to drop off my bambinos at school. And what better day to have a children’s book author remind us why the written word matters. Today’s special guest was introduced to me by C.L. Murphy who was on the hotseat a few weeks ago. In the weeks leading up to today’s interview, I’ve been impressed with her passion to see literacy levels increase in children. Her blog contains lots of good stuff plus interviews with children book authors. Her book covers make you take a second look and she has loads of fans in different countries across the world. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Kristen Lamb.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

This is the part where I want to tell you lots of exciting things, but the truth is―I’m just a simple gal from the San Francisco Bay Area. As an indie writer I find joy in telling my stories and seeing the smiles they produce on a child’s face. I am a wife, mother, and business woman that lives a quiet life. My adventurous side finds peace hiking through the Yosemite Valley and my playful side can be found hanging out with Goofy and Mickey at the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Most importantly, I am always thankful for each new day’s dawn and the promises it brings. I believe it is important to be grateful.

 

Tell us about the first time someone complemented you on something you had written?  

Surprisingly, I remember quite well the “moment” I was complimented on my writings and the feeling it evoked. The details are a little more fuzzy. I was in grammar school and it was first or second grade. We had an assignment where we had to write a story and then make it into a bound book using material, cardboard, and book binding tape. I was so enthralled with the project, I asked my teacher if I could make two books. Our class “literary masterpieces” were proudly displayed at Parents Night. I can still remember the feeling inside when my teacher smiled down at me that night and then told my parents that someday I was going to be a writer. There was a feeling that radiated from somewhere deep inside of me that seemed to concur with her prediction.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child?  Massachusetts-6

When I was very young, I loved my big red book of nursery rhymes. The book was bigger than I was at the time! I’d drag it around everywhere. Then of course, I had my all-time favourite Dumbo. It was more of a treasured memory in that my grandmother (who lived next door) would always tuck me in and read it to me. She must have been so tired of that story! But I loved our routine. She would tuck me in, read me the book, and finally sing me Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah before kissing me goodnight. How could that book not be my favourite?

Oh my, now the truth comes out. The quirkier side of me loved gothic horror. Yes. I admit it. When I was really young I loved the gothic comic books. As an advanced reader, I moved on to novels rather quickly such as Frankenstein, Dracula and countless others. Of course those were contraband that I kept at my grandmother’s house. To be honest, my love of these books probably also relates to the fact that my grandmother and I would always watch the old black & white “B” horror movies together. I loved cuddling up with her as we munched on popcorn and drank Dr. Pepper. For me, the stories were never scary because they came from a safe place.

When at home I would read my favourite Nancy Drew mysteries and other childhood books. I loved Little Women, Red Badge of Courage, Diary of Ann Frank and the classics. The genres I enjoyed varied greatly. Luckily, my grandmother was an avid reader who shared her love of literature with me so my supply of books was endless.

 

You have currently published three books in the Dani P. Mystery series. Was it a conscious decision to write a series and what led you to do it?Dani and the Haunted House  

The birth of Dani P. Mystery started out as a short story. It was a gift of love to my daughter. Dani, the protagonist in my series, is loosely based on my daughter and it was created specifically for her when she was seven years old.

When I became an ‘empty nester’ my family encouraged me to publish one of my stories. I always thought someday I would, but then they challenged me to make it a reality. I had worked on several projects and could have released any one of them, but in my heart I knew it had to be Dani P.  It is then that I decided to create the series and share Dani’s adventures with other children.

As you mentioned there are currently three books in the series:  Dani and the Haunted House (1st edition), Dani and the Mall Caper (1st edition), and Dani and the Rocking Horse Ranch. There will be more books available in the future and I look forward to seeing what Dani gets into next! The important thing to know about the books is that I always try and include some kind of message in the story, in a subtle way that promotes self-esteem or life lessons. And although the books are part of a series, they can be read independently in any order.

 

What have you found to be a successful way to market your books? 

Gasp. I have not begun marketing! You mean there’s more to it than just writing a book? Okay, so that’s my humour showing through. As any indie writer will probably tell you, writing a book is the easy part! Marketing is what drains your life away.

In truth, I really haven’t begun marketing my books yet. I made a conscious decision not to until I had three books in which to market. I feel it is important, especially when doing a children’s series, to have more than one book available to a child before getting them “hooked.” Right now I do have three books available on Amazon, but I am in the process of having the first two books re-illustrated by my amazing new illustrator, Katrina Glidewell. When the first three books are complete with all new illustrations, then I will begin marketing. As it is, I get inquiries all the time asking me when the next Dani P. book will be released. This is an incredible feeling, but at the same time I don’t want to let the kids down by not having the next book immediately available, which is why we are still on the soft release without a big marketing campaign.

In the meantime, I am getting out there and letting people meet Dani. I’m connecting with teachers, parents, and children. I’m slowly building the platform to (hopefully) make her a success. We have our website, Facebook Page, and Twitter account where we can interact with her readers. One of the things I have thoroughly enjoyed is the communication I’ve had between the parents/children and teachers. They make each day brighter with their notes, their pictures, and feedback. We even have a new feature on our website where we are tracking where Dani has visited. Our readers are notifying us when Dani “visits” them and we are marking those visits on our world map. We look forward to expanding the map as more people learn of this feature!

 

I really like your book covers as they stand out. What advice would you offer other children authors with regard to working with an illustrator for illustrations and book covers? Dani and the Rocking Horse Ranch

There are several factors one needs to consider when deciding upon an illustrator! My first piece of advice would be to take your time. Don’t rush. We all get so excited when we write that story and we want to see it brought to life, but it is so important to wait for the right illustrator to come along.

It is also important to shop around. Spend the money to get several concept pieces done from different illustrators. Who best understands your vision? Can you communicate well with them? Do they respond? All of these are key factors. And ultimately, put your agreement in writing. It is crucial for both parties to have a clear understanding of each other’s expectations.

A writer must also focus on the reality of the situation: what can you afford? Personally, I don’t expect to make a profit from my books. It would be wonderful if I did, but it isn’t the reason I write. I write for children. To share the gift of reading. However, you have to be realistic that the overall cost of production is within means to produce and sustain. Ask yourself the hard questions and be prepared to answer it honestly.

 

Do you think social media is a waste of time and how has it helped or hurt you as a writer? 

I absolutely do not believe social media is a waste of time. But that does not mean it equates to book sales either. Social media is a wonderful way to connect with readers, parents, teachers, and other authors. The relationships, and even friendships, I’ve built from social media cannot be depreciated because they don’t bring in sales. Never underestimate the power of human connections and their true worth.

As an author friend of mine says, social media is a “time vortex.” Time disappears when on these sites. It is important to monitor the time you are investing in them and balance that out with productive time. It is all about accountability to yourself, and ultimately, to your writing.

 

What tips do you have for writing good dialogue? 

Honesty. I believe it is simple. Become your character. Would a character on a page really speak the same in real life? And don’t forget to listen. The world is a wonderful place to learn if you’re willing to be a sponge. Soak it all up. Then pour it all onto the page through your writing.

 

Is there a particular book or film that inspires you to be a better writer and why? 

Hopefully this doesn’t come out the wrong way, but I don’t want to be inspired by a book or a film. I want my inspiration to come from within. I want it to be genuine, and me.

I do have a book that has inspired me, but not as a writer―as a person. Many years ago, a client brought in a book for everyone in our office. He said he had received it as a gift and it moved him so much, that he bought dozens of books to share with others. The book was The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall. I easily understood why it moved him as it struck a chord within me as well. Truth be told, I bought several copies of it myself and shared with family members.

 

Toy Story or Shrek? 1 - ATW Map

You’ve got a friend in me….Toy Story. I love the entire dynamic between Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and Andy. In today’s life too many things are disposable and friendship shouldn’t be one of them. There is always room in our heart for one more. Although, I am a person that values genuine friendship over acquaintances. My grandmother always taught me that it is better to have a few true friendships than a multitude of false ones. It is all about quality over quantity.

 

What three things should a first time visitor to your city/town do? 

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area there is never a loss of things to do, whether it is taking in the theatre, strolling through Golden Gate Park, visiting Napa Valley, or heading out to the ballpark!

The possibilities are as varied as the personalities that visit! There is truly something for everyone. Of course, you can always visit one of the many libraries!

 

What can we expect from Kristen Lamb in the next 12 months? 

In addition to re-releasing the first two books, it is my hope to have the next two books in the Dani P. Mystery series released as well. The fourth book in the series is Dani and the Hidden Treasure and the fifth book is Dani and the Magician. That is a lot to accomplish in such a short period of time, but I like setting goals. It is always good to be striving toward something.

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you? Dani and the Mall Caper

I love connecting with Dani’s readers! You can find us at:

www.danipmystery.com

www.amazon.com/author/klamb

www.facebook.com/danipmystery

www.twitter.com/danipmystery or @danipmystery

www.authorklamb.blogspot.com

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry? 

Decide whether you want to be an indie author or publish traditionally. Then have patience. Being a writer isn’t glamorous. It takes a lot of hard work, even longer hours, and it doesn’t happen overnight. But if you have a voice that demands to be heard, it is worth it.

 

Thanks for sharing so much with us today Kristen. I really loved the tips you gave on working with an illustrator and how we shouldn’t rush into working with the first person who comes along. As its World Book Day, I’d like to encourage everyone to checkout Kristen’s page on Amazon or any other retailer of your choice and pick up one of her books. We’d also love to hear an questions or comments you may have and as always do share this interview on your social networks.

10 Comments on Interview with Kidlit Author, Kristen Lamb, last added: 3/5/2015
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11. LitWeaver: Bringing Students, Teachers and Authors Together Virtually

It was during a #yalove Twitter chat one night that I happened to notice one tweet from author Will Weaver.  I always have an open invitation for authors to join, and we have had a few tweet with us, but to me, this man is a LEGEND!  He's been writing for well over twenty years.  He is also the author behind a new website entitled LitWeaver (http://www.litweaver.com)


I had the chance to do and online interview with Will Weaver to learn more about this site pairing e-books, authors, and reader's guides.  After reading the interview, please take a look at the website to get the full experience of the awesomeness of what these authors are doing.


 How did LitWeaver come to life virtually?

WW:  I do lots of school visits, and over the years have seen the increasing pressure on ELA teachers and school librarians. Budgets always seem in decline– especially for classroom sets of novels and new acquisitions for libraries. Some principals and superintendents believe “technology is the answer”, and find money for tablets—but none for staff support or even curriculum. The Learning Management Systems from big publishers look cumbersome and expensive—so it hit me that there has to be a better way.  A middle ground, you could say, as schools transition from print textbooks to digital learning


 Give a brief description of what LitWeaver does

WW:  LitWeaver is designed to be a bridge from your five pound lit anthology to iPad and tablet-style reading and learning. We’ve purposefully focused on shorter, contemporary young adult lit—short stories, essays, poems, and plays—that teachers can “weave”  (get it?) into their ongoing curriculum. Teachers need a break from the same readings every year!  LitWeaver also includes a short lesson plan with with discussion questions and reading prompts.


How did you get the authors on board with this idea?  

WW:  You mean Katherine Paterson?  Jerry Spinelli?  Ellen Hopkins? Rene Saldana?  Nikki Grimes?  Those kinds of authors? (Shameless name-dropping here, ha). Actually it was easy to get our 50+ authors on board. They (we) have had such amazing support over the years from teachers and librarians who have bought our books and invited us to their schools, and here was a chance to give back.


Teachers and students will have access to e-books.  Are these all free to read and download?

WW:  We believe in free stuff for schools, and we’ll always have a nice batch (about 20 titles to begin) of free reading. But our website has bills to pay, so we’ll eventually add a low-cost subscription option for “more”—that is, access to our whole library plus some other cool teaching and learning tools.  FYI, LitWeaver will never have a huge library—that’s exactly what we don’t want.  We are curating (buzzword nowadays) a select group of really good readings for grades 5-12 so you don’t have to spend time looking online or through huge, publishers’ catalogs.  Our editor, Don Gallo, and the authors themselves have picked pieces we know students will read—and maybe even like.


Each book comes with a reading guide.  Who created those?

WW:  Current classroom ELA teachers. We have a great, small team of lively teachers dedicated to keeping kids reading and thinking (a big focus on the latter)!


Currently LitWeaver is in beta stage.  When do you anticipate it becoming a full site?

WW: Within 5-6 months, that is, in time for the new school year.  Our beta release is to gauge support.  If we get a lot of teachers signing up (for free), we’ll get investor funding. If we get investor funding, we can build out LitWeaver to provide LOTS of free and low cost YA lit for schools. Nothing not to like about that.


The cost of becoming a LitWeaver user is free right now.  Will free users be able to keep this status after LitWeaver is fully functional?

WW:  Yes.  We’ll always have a rotating section of “free stuff” by top, contemporary authors. If you only want to use these free readings, that’s fine.  But we hope you’ll find enough value and excitement in LitWeaver to eventually subscribe as a paid user. As I mentioned, websites like our are expensive to build and maintain.  Looking ahead to new features, we’ll be adding a student writing component, which will be a fun complement to the reading side.  


Thank you so much Will!!  I've already gone to the site and demo'ed it out and it's really pretty intuitive.  I'm SO glad there are authors like you and the several others who contribute their time and energy to create passionate readers!!


WW: One last thing. LitWeaver doesn’t assume that all schools have 1:1 tablet technology.  If you don’t, no problem. You can select readings and print them out for distribution in class.  We believe in access first, technology second.  And please remember that our site is in open beta right now, which means we’re still working on it–so we’d love to hear your ideas. And very important: if you like where LitWeaver is headed, please sign up and help us get there.




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12. John Green ~ Author of The Fault in Our Stars ~ Interview

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13. B.J. Novak on His Book with No Pictures

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14. Interview with MGLit Author – M.J. Evans

Thanks for joining me on another edition of Author Interview Thursday.M.J. Evans Today’s special guest resides in the beautiful state of Colorado. Despite the fact she has a big family, she still makes out time to write great Middle Grade fantasy books.She is well respected amongst her peers and has worked in the education sector for many years. It truly is a delight to meet someone whose passionate about improving literacy levels in young people and loves telling a story. Without further ado, please join me in welcoming M.J. Evans.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a wife, a mother of five fabulous young adults, and a grandmother of nine beautiful kids. I love being outside (which is not good for an author!) I love riding my horses both on the trails in the Colorado Mountains and competitively in Dressage shows. I also love to ski, hike, camp, ride bikes…pretty much anything outside! I also love people and make friends easily. Dancing and musical theatre are also interests of mine. Now, add to that my love of reading and writing, I’m never just sitting around!

 

Tell us about the first time someone complemented you on something you had written? 

It wasn’t until I was a college student at Oregon State University that I was complimented on my writing and realized that I did have a talent for writing. It was many, many years later that I found the time to do the creative writing that I so yearned to do. Before that, I used my skills to write school curriculum and help Odyssey of the Mind teams write their one-act plays. Yet, I still didn’t really believe that I was a good writer until my books started winning national awards. When The Mist Trilogy won a gold medal from the Mom’s Choice Awards last December and North Mystic won first place in the Purple Dragonfly Awards for fantasy last spring, I started to gain a little more confidence.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child? 

My favourite books were all horse stories! I loved all of Marguerite Henry’s books and I collect first edition copies of them. I loved Black Beauty and the Black Stallion, My Friend Flicka, and National Velvet. Do you see the common theme?

 

You have currently published three books in The Mist Trilogy. Was it a conscious decision to write a series and what led you to do it? Behind the Mist

As you know, publishers want a middle-grade, YA novel to be 50,000 to 70,000 words in length. I had the over-arching story in my head from the beginning and found that there were natural breaks in the story at about 65,000 words. So, it turned out to be a trilogy. I started writing The Mist Trilogy to challenge myself. I wanted to see if I could actually get it done. I had the story in my head and once my youngest child started high school, I actually had the time to commit to writing.

 

What tips do you have for writing good dialogue?

I love writing dialogue and I have found that I am quite good at it. The hardest part is to stay in character as you write what they are saying. Always ask yourself if that is something that your character would really say. Some other tricks I have learned: 1. Don’t try to fill in a lot of the story line or information through dialogue. Dialogue should enhance the story and add colour, not be the vehicle for telling the story. 2. Read it out loud, after all, dialogue is the spoken word. One example is to use conjunctions the way people actually speak. For example write: “She’s really angry with us.” Rather than “She is really angry with us.” 3. Let your characters have their own unique speech patterns and favourite phrases without over-doing it. For example, in The Mist Trilogy, one of the unicorns named Shema likes to repeat herself. One example: “Oh my poor boy, my poor, poor boy.” Hasbadana, the evil unicorn likes to try to impress others by using big words. In North Mystic, an award winning allegory of the Revolutionary war, the oldest child Evelynd is always the one to bring up the problem in any situation. She is the serious one, the pragmatic one.

 

Is there a particular book or film that inspires you to be a better writer and why?M.J. Evans and fan

My passion is writing fantasy and I get my inspiration from J.K Rowling and C.S. Lewis. One reviewer wrote that I was this generation’s C.S. Lewis and a young reader told me in a letter that she liked my books better than Harry Potter! I don’t believe that either of those are true but it sure was nice to get those compliments. C.S. Lewis uses allegory which is a tool I love to use and have used in The Mist Trilogy and North Mystic. J.K Rowling uses beautiful description which has inspired me as I write. I have a piece of paper by my computer that has five words on it: “Smell, Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste.” J.K Rowling is a master at using all the senses in her writing.

 

Toy Story or Shrek?

No contest! Toy Story!

 

With a background in education, what qualities have you seen in books that tend to capture children’s imagination?

I write so that pre-teens and teens will love to read. I believe that fantasy is one Genre that is best suited to encouraging the use of a child’s imagination. First, you are creating a fantasy world with fantasy characters. As the author paints a picture with words, the reader must use their imagination to follow the story. I have also learned that children should be allowed and encouraged to read books about topics that interest them. For me, it was horses. So, I have combined my love of horses and fantasy in The Mist Trilogy. I also enjoy history so I incorporated that passion in North Mystic.

 

What three things should a first time visitor to Colorado do?

Take a trail ride into Rocky Mountain National Park. Ride a bike from the top of Vale Pass to Frisco. Drive to the top of Pikes Peak. Actually, it’s really hard to pick just three things!

 

As you own three horses, I wanted to know if you could tell us three things most people don’t know about horses.Margi Evan on Kit

Everyone thinks horses are beautiful but some people are afraid of them because they are so big. Fear of horses is something I have never known. I guess that is why I get along with them so well. People need to know that horses are herd animals. As a result, they want and need a leader. If you are going to be the leader, that is just fine with them. But if you aren’t, then they will take that role because, in their minds, someone has to be the leader. This is why horses will behave so differently depending upon who is working with them. Second, horses have both a reacting side of the brain and a thinking side. An untrained horse has an over-developed reacting side and an underdeveloped thinking side. As a trainer and rider, it is my job to reverse that. I help them develop the thinking side of the brain. You never can completely eliminate the reacting side, however! Finally, horses have a great ability to sense what a handicapped child needs from them. If you have ever watched a therapeutic horse work with a disabled child (or adult for that matter) you will be amazed. Therapy horses have helped autistic children find their voice, CP and MS children find control of their bodies and at-risk kids find a purpose in life. Horses are truly amazing and a gift from God.

 

 

What can we expect from M.J. Evans in the next 12 months?

I have just completed a new manuscript titled In the Heart of a Mustang. It is a young adult novel about a troubled teen and a mustang mare that meet at an Arizona ranch. The bond that forms between the two saves both their lives. I am now starting to submit it for publication. It is not a fantasy and for a little older audience than The Mist Trilogy and North Mystic so that is new for me.

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you?

I love getting letters from my readers. They make my day…week…month! Readers can connect with me by going to my website: www.mjevansbooks.com They can also follow me on Facebook: Behind the Mist or North Mystic or on my blog: www.themisttrilogy.blogspot.com.

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?

I understand how frustrating the publishing industry is. Not only is it hard to break in and actually get someone to publish your work but the industry is going through a lot of changes that are hard to keep up with. Some of the changes are helpful for new authors. They now have the option of self-publishing, either in print or on eBook. I actually know several authors who are bypassing or abandoning the traditional publishers all together and just publishing on eBook format. I would recommend that new authors find several beta readers that are not family members or best friends to read their manuscript before submitting it to a publisher. Take their suggestions if you want, discard if you want, but at least you would get some objective feedback. The best thing that happened to me was when I submitted North Mystic to a publisher. After reviewing my query and sample chapters, she asked to see the full manuscript. A couple of months later, she turned down the book but wrote up a full page, single spaced, critique. I took every one of her comments and made the changes. As a result of her helpful suggestions and criticisms, North Mystic was not only published but went on to become an award winner.

 

Thanks for spending time with us today Margi. I loved your insight on horses and I’m really impressed with how you’ve weaved in a theme around horses – something you love – into your stories. Do check out Margi’s website where you can purchase one of her books. Do share our interview using one of the share buttons and leave a comment/question. We’d be delighted to respond and know that you stopped by.

3 Comments on Interview with MGLit Author – M.J. Evans, last added: 2/15/2015
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15. Spotlight on a Book Series: Liz DeJesus and the Frost Series...

I want to thank and welcome good friend and fantastic YA author, Liz DeJesus for sharing her personal experiences on writing a book series and showcasing her paranormal/fairytale series The Frost Series with us on my blog today. So let’s get this interview rolling…
 
Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write The Frost Series, Liz?

I got the initial idea for First Frost while watching a commercial for a local children’s museum. I thought about how cool it would be to have themed museums (since children are often into different things), like a train museum, pirate museum, or a fairy tale museum. And once I came upon that idea I knew I had stumbled upon something special. I grabbed my notebook as quickly as possible and jotted down the first things that popped into my head. Nine months later I had a novel.

Nine months? Sounds like you were having a baby. LOL! How many books are you planning to write in this young adult paranormal/fairytale series?

As many as I possibly can. I have an endless fountain of inspiration, there are so many fairy tales that I can have fun with and add to the storyline. But I don’t want to force anything with this series. If it has to come to an end, I want it to happen organically.

What sets The Frost Series apart from other series in the same genre?

The Frost Series is not a fairy tale retelling in the traditional sense. I’ve taken characters that live in the real world and thrown them into a series of magical events. The liberties I’ve taken with some fairy tales it’s mostly to add a solid foundation to the plot line. And some of the main characters are descendants of some of the most popular fairy tales. Bianca Frost is the great-great-great granddaughter of Snow White. Terrance is the grandson of the Big Bad Wolf. Prince Ferdinand is the great-grandson of Cinderella. The only one that’s just a normal girl is Bianca’s best friend, Ming.
We also get to interact with some of the items in the fairy tale museum and discover what each item is truly capable of.

Wow, your characters sound well developed and believable! How long did it take for you to
start and finish each book from The Frost Series?

The initial draft for First Frost took me about 9 months to write. And then another 3 months to edit and polish the book before I started submitting it to publishers and agents. Then while I dealt with rejection I wrote Glass Frost which took me about a year and a half to write and in that time Musa Publishing accepted First Frost and published it.

And I just finished writing the third book in the series, Shattered Frost, it took me about 2 years to write mostly because it’s such a complicated novel. It’s split between two points of view (Bianca and Terrance) and it was harder for me to get inside of Terrance’s head and write his scenes. With Bianca it’s so easy to slip in and out of her head because she’s so much like me. But I think people will enjoy this new adventure and see how these characters have grown and matured since we last saw them.

What are some of your favorite book series, Liz?

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore, The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher and anything written by Jessica Clare.

Hmm, I’ve got to check those authors out. Do you have any advice for other writers striving to write a series?

What has worked for me is to treat each book like a stand-alone novel. Only difference is that I’m using the same characters over and over again. But again, I’m new at writing a series so I’m just having as much fun as possible and listening to what my readers and other bloggers have to say. I do take some of their comments into consideration but I make sure it all goes with what I have in mind for the series.

I agree. As long as your readers give you constructive advice, then listen to them. So, what’s next for Liz DeJesus the author?

A lot of things! I’m getting ready to hit the road again, going to a whole bunch of conventions, book festivals, fairy festivals and libraries. I put together a few workshops and I am thrilled that people are enjoying them and that they are learning as well as putting some of my tips to good use. I also finished writing the third draft of Shattered Frost, I sent it to my editor and I’m waiting to hear back from her. Once that’s done I’ll send it to Musa Publishing and see if they will accept it for publication.

I’m also working on a collection of short stories titled Mugshots (it was inspired by some amazing artwork by MarilenAdroverhttps://www.facebook.com/adroverart) still have a few things to work on story-wise (if they are going to be individual short stories or if it will all tie in together somehow), but I’m having fun with this particular book.

I also have a few ideas bouncing around my head for book #4 of The Frost Series but nothing concrete yet.

I’m also working on a middle grade book titled Pros and Cons of Being a Teenage Fairy. It’s about a girl that grows fairy wings on her 13th birthday and how she navigates her life now that she’s a fairy.
So there is a lot to look forward to as far as writing is concerned.

 Sounds like you’ll be one busy gal! Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series—IF you could time travel into Earth’s past, WHO would you love to meet, and WHY?

It’s definitely a tie between Vincent Van Gogh and Antoni Gaudi. I love art and architecture (probably because I wish I could draw, only thing I can draw are stick figures) and I would love to meet artists that I admire just to see what it is that inspired them to create. I believe that as a writer there is a lot you can learn from other creative people.

SPECIAL NOTE: I’d like to take the opportunity to congratulate Liz on being a finalist in the Book Bzz competition! If you’d like to vote for Liz during the month of February, here’s the link: http://bookbzz.com/first-frost-by-liz-dejesus/

Blurb for First Frost:

Fairytales aren’t real…yeah…that’s exactly what Bianca thought. She was wrong.

For generations, the Frost family has run the Museum of Magical and Rare Artifacts, handing down guardianship from mother to daughter, always keeping their secrets to “family only.”

Gathered within museum’s walls is a collection dedicated to the Grimm fairy tales and to the rare items the family has acquired: Cinderella’s glass slipper, Snow White’s poisoned apple, the evil queen’s magic mirror, Sleeping Beauty’s enchanted spinning wheel…

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Frost wants none of it, dreaming instead of a career in art or photography or…well, anything except working in the family’s museum. She knows the items in the glass display cases are fakes because, of course, magic doesn’t really exist.
She’s about to find out how wrong she is.

Blurb for Glass Frost:

When joined together, Cinderella's slippers grant the wearer her heart's desire.  But whose wish will be granted?

When Cinderella’s glass slipper is stolen, Queen Felicia sends her faithful steward Terrance to the real world to retrieve his love and witch-in-training, Bianca Frost. The power of the glass slipper in the wrong hands could ruin peace in Everafter. Bianca must gather every bit of magic she has learned in the past few weeks to find the slipper and protect her new love. Together, Bianca, Ming, Prince Ferdinand, and Terrance venture deep into the heart of Everafter to seek clues as to who has stolen the slipper and why. Along the way, they uncover what happened to the Seven Dwarves after Snow White married the prince, but also learn the awful risk of tampering with black magic and the high price that must be paid for magical aid, even when used for good.

Bianca and Terrance’s relationship is put to the test. Through the pain of suffering and loss, Bianca must determine if following her gallant boyfriend into his faraway world is in fact her heart's desire. 

Liz DeJesus was born on the tiny island of Puerto Rico.  She is a novelist and a poet. She has been writing for as long as she was capable of holding a pen. She is the author of the novel Nina (Blu Phi'er Publishing, October 2007), The Jackets (Arte Publico Press, March 2011) First Frost (Musa Publishing, June 2012), Glass Frost (Musa Publishing, July 2013), Morgan (Indie Gypsy, July 2014) and The Laurel (Musa Publishing, November 2014). Her work has also appeared in Night Gypsy: Journey Into Darkness (Indie Gypsy, October 2012) and Someone Wicked (Smart Rhino Publications, Winter 2013).
Liz is currently working on a new novel and a comic book series titled Zombie Ever After (Emerald Star Comics, Fall 2014).

First Frost Buy Links:

Glass Frost Buy Links:

Learn more about Liz Dejesus on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, and TWITTER

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16. Jeff Kinney ~ Author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid

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17. The Wolf Chronicles: Guest Post by Dorothy Hearst

Thanks to Dorothy Hearst for answering some questions about her Wolf Chronicles series today! Stick around and check out the giveaway as well as the other stops on the blog tour. 


Five most common questions about The Wolf Chronicles

I often get questions from young people who have read The Wolf Chronicles. Here are answers to the questions I hear most:

Talking wolves? How did you get that idea? 

One day, I was thinking about dogs, and how remarkable it is that we’re so drawn to them and they’re so drawn to us. I wondered how that came to be. And I thought about wolves—about how so many people hate and fear them. Then, a voice in my head said “I should write about how the wolf became the dog from the wolf’s point of view.” No one else was in the apartment, so I took the idea for my own. I didn’t have much choice. The wolves really wanted their story told, and they can’t type, so it was up to me.

Was it hard to write a wolf narrator?

It was easy in some ways and challenging in others. I’d been trying to write for about ten years when I got the idea for TWC.  As soon as I started writing, Kaala’s voice was there. I realized that I had written about three pages in her voice ten years earlier. So I had a dog-like narrator in my head already. Then the work began.

I did my research on how wolves perceive the world, then experimented with different ways to make Kaala seem wolflike, but not so unfamiliar that she would be hard for readers to relate to. I played with it until I got it just how I wanted it.  

Which character is most like you?

I think that Kaala and Tlitoo are two sides of me. Kaala takes things seriously and is a bit of an outsider. Tlitoo is a jokester and impulsive, and can’t resist chaos. I found it interesting that these two parts of my personality came out in two very different characters.

How did you come up with the names?

Some characters just came with names, like Tlitoo (ravens deliberately chose difficult-to-pronounce names). I had to work at others. I would start with a name and write about that character for a while. Then, often, something about the name wouldn’t match the character, so I’d try another. Eventually I would find the right name.

Then, I needed to make sure that readers would know right away whether a wolf, raven, human or Greatwolf was talking. So I developed naming conventions for each one, an idea I got from Anne McCaffrey. All the wolves have double letters in their names, the Greatwolves’ names end in “dra” and “dru” (in honor of their ancestor, Indru), and the humans have their villages at the ends of their names.

How do you write a whole book?

Keep on going. Most people think that if their first drafts aren’t good it means they can’t write. People also think that if it’s hard, they’re doing it wrong. Both are untrue. You have to get through the bad stuff to get to the good stuff, and writing seems hard because it’s hard. Just keep working at it.  It’s the only way to get to the end.


About Promise of the Wolves

WHAT IS THE PROMISE OF THE WOLF?
NEVER CONSORT WITH HUMANS
NEVER KILL A HUMAN UNPROVOKED
NEVER ALLOW A MIXED-BLOOD WOLF TO LIVE

At least that's what the wolves of the Wide Valley believe. Until a young wolf dares to break the rules--and forever alters the relationship between wolves and the humans who share their world.

This is the story of such a wolf. Born of a forbidden mixed-blood litter and an outcast after her mother is banished, Kaala is determined to earn a place in the Swift River pack. But her world is turned upside down when she saves a human girl from drowning. Risking expulsion from their pack and exile from the Wide Valley, Kaala and her young packmates begin to hunt with the humans and thus discover the long-hidden bond between the two clans. But when war between wolves and humans threatens, Kaala learns the lies behind the wolf's promise. Lies that force her to choose between safety for herself and her friends and the survival of her pack--and perhaps of all wolf- and human-kind.

Set 14,000 years ago, Promise of the Wolves takes us to a land where time is counted in phases of the moon, distance is measured in wolflengths, and direction by the scent of the nearest trail. Years of research into the world of wolves combines with mythical tale-telling to present a fantastical adventure set in a world filled with lore.


About the author

Before the wolves barged in the door, demanding that their story be told, Dorothy Hearst was an acquisitions editor at Jossey-Bass, where she published books for nonprofit, public, and social change leaders. She loves dogs but doesn’t have one, and borrows other people’s whenever she gets the chance. After seven years in New York City and nine years as a San Franciscan, Dorothy now lives in Berkeley, California.

Spirit of the Wolves, the third and final title in The Wolf Chronicles, will be released December 2. For more information, and to download free CCSS-aligned discussion questions for all three novels, visit her website www.dorothyhearst.com.


Giveaway

Simon & Schuster is pleased to offer a complete set of The Wolf Chronicles--PROMISE OF THE WOLVES, SECRETS OF THE WOLVES, AND SPIRIT OF THE WOLVES--to one lucky winner! (U.S. addresses only.) Giveaway ends December 20, 2014.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Check out all the stops on The Wolf Chronicles blog tour!

Mon, Dec 1 - Novel Novice

Tues, Dec 2 - The Book Monsters

Wed, Dec 3 - SLJ Teen

Thurs, Dec 4 - I Am a Reader, Not a Writer

Fri, Dec 5 - I Read Banned Books

Mon, Dec 8 - Library Fanatic

Tues, Dec 9 - YA Book Nerd

Wed, Dec 10 - Read Now, Sleep Later

Thurs, Dec 11 - The Brain Lair

Fri, Dec 12 - Unleashing Readers

Sat, Dec 13 - The Children's Book Review

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18. In The Limelight with MG/YA Author Cheryl Carpinello…

I want to thank magnificent middle grade/young adult author, Cheryl Carpinello for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Cheryl’s book Sons of the Sphinx can be purchased from Amazon, and other major on-line bookstores. Welcome, Cheryl! So let’s get this interview started…

How long have you been writing, Cheryl?

Probably around 20 years, but I started writing for MG/YA readers about 10 years ago. Nothing I wrote in those first 10 years will ever be published.

Never say never, Cheryl! Wink. Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Sons of the Sphinx?

We had visited Egypt in 2008 and that started me thinking. However, it wasn’t until 2010 when the Tutankhamen exhibit was in the US that I thought seriously about writing a book set back in ancient Egypt.

Egypt is definitely on my bucket list. What sets Sons of the Sphinx apart from other books/series in the same genre?

I believe it is the fact that this isn’t just an historical adventure story full of action and danger. It is also a story of a young teenager trying to come to grips with who she is and how she fits in the world around her. Ages 14-18 are stressful years for kids, more than most people would think. Any trait that sets a teen outside of the norm can be devastating, and Rosa, the main character, has just such a distinction. She can hear dead people, and her classmates know this. This makes for some tough times for Rosa.

Hear dead people? Now you’ve got me hooked! As a middle grade/young adult author, what is your writing process?

I do a lot of brain work before I start a story. Once I have a basic idea and outline in my head, then I write that out—when I say write, I mean in long hand. Then it’s back to mulling the idea over in my head for a while longer until I can sit down and write out a chapter by chapter outline. Once the outline is finished, I start writing the story. My goal is always to write the first draft without worrying about changes or omissions. Each day before writing I do type the previous writing on the computer without making any edits. If I find that something is not working, then I change from that point on. I don’t go back over previous entered material. Once the first draft is done, I start rewrites and do any additional research. From that point on, it’s a breeze! Just read, rewrite, edit, rewrite, and so on. My story always goes through my personal editor at least three times. Then a professional editor goes through another three or four rounds with me.

Wow, I don’t think readers realize the leg-work authors must do to write a book! Thanks for sharing your process, Cheryl. How long did it take for you to start and finish Sons of the Sphinx?

I started working on the idea in May 2010. Sons of the Sphinx was released in October 2014.

Do you have any advice for other writers striving to write in your genre, Cheryl?

Do your homework: research the time period you are writing in. While I saw Egypt firsthand, I did a ton of book research, and I went to the Tutankhamen exhibit three times. Even if you are creating your own story’s history/background, you need to know everything about it.

Good advice! What’s next for Cheryl Carpinello the author?

Right now I’m working on sequel to my first Arthurian tale Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend. I’ve also got the first book in my new trilogy series Feathers of the Phoenix over half finished.

Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series—If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?

I don’t even need to think about this—the Ancient World 1000BC to 400BC. I love the Greeks, Romans, even Egyptians of that time period. I’m also keen to see Atlantis! Those eras gave modern man and society so much in the way of philosophy, government, art, science, that it had to be fascinating to be a part of those worlds.

Blurb for Sons of the Sphinx:

Armed with what she considers her grandmothers curse, 15-year-old Rosa agrees to help the ghost of King Tut find his lost queen Hesena. Though Hesenas ba inhabits part of Rosa, finding the whole spirit of Hesena so that she and Tut can be together for the first time in over 3300 years proves to be a harder task than Rosa first thinks. Thrust back into Ancient Egypt with Tut, Rosa discovers that finding Hesena is not all she must do. She must keep out of the reach of the living Horemhebwho crosses mortal boundaries using Seths evil magicif she is to stay alive to make it back home.


Buy Links for Sons of the Sphinx:






Cheryl Carpinello’s Author Sites:

Author Bio

I love the Ancient and Medieval Worlds! As a retired English teacher, I hope to inspire young readers to read more through my Quest Books. Please follow me on this adventure. Hook up with me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Google.


Also please visit my other sites: Carpinello's Writing Pages where I interview childrens/MG/Tween/YA authors; my home website Beyond Today Educator, and The Quest Books where I've teamed up with Fiona Ingram from South Africa and Wendy Leighton-Porter of England/France/Abu Dhabi to enable readers to find all of our Ancient and Medieval quest books in one place.

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19. In the Limelight with MG Author: Derek Thompson…

I want to thank magnificent middle grade author, Derek Thompson for sharing his personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Derek’s book Superhero Club can be purchased from Musa Publishing, Amazon, and other on-line bookstores. Bonus: For a chance to win an ecopy of Superhero Club please check out the Rafflecopter at the end of this post. So let’s get this interview started…

Welcome, Derek! How long have you been writing?

I lovedwriting stories as a young child, and the way you could start to create a world or a situation that then, somehow, pulled you into it. My interest in novel writing really took hold in my teens. Writing became a way of exploring ideas, making sense of the world around me, and finding out who I was.

Very inspiring for younger writers! Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Superhero Club?

Generally, I start with the central character and what I learn about them takes the story forward. In the case of Jo, once I understood her that gave me the main challenges and relationships.

I was an exam invigilator at a local school, which also included one-to-one support for children with additional educational needs (reading, handwriting or explaining some key words and terms). Being back in a school environment allowed me to see how real children behave with one another, and it also made me think about my own schooldays.

Putting all that together, I wanted to create fully realised, living, breathing characters that readers would care about enough to share their journey.

Sounds like you’ve done a top-notch job! What sets Superhero Club apart from other books/series in the same genre?

That's a good question! Superhero Club is set in the present day and touches upon some of the issues that young people face: self-image, bullying, fitting in at school, food issues and modern families. All that said, the book also deals with the importance of friendship, creativity, transformation and self-acceptance. It's written with humour and, first and foremost, is an entertaining read that will have you rooting for Jo, the main character. My hope is that it will also stimulate discussion about the issues raised and encourage anyone who is having any of Jo's challenges to talk to someone about it.

Hmm…I bet a readers’ guide for this book would be a great investment! As a middle grade author, what is your writing process?

The character came first and once I 'heard' her voice clearly it as a case of allowing her to tell her own story. I didn't have a fixed idea about where the story was heading until about halfway through the writing.
 
How long did it take for you to start and finish Superhero Club?

Once I understood Jo and her situations it was a fairly smooth process - I'd say around a month to put it together and then refine it. There were some ideas I had originally that, on further reflection, were too ambitious for this book. However, they may reach the page in some other form in the future.
 
A month? Wish I had your typing fingers! Do you have any advice for other writers striving to write in your genre, Derek?

The most important thing is to understand the lives of young people, as well as what they are reading. Stories need to be relevant to your readers, and emotions need to be authentic. One aspect of fiction that's largely overlooked, I think, is its capacity for enabling and encouraging us to feel. Emotional literacy is as important as literacy itself.

Above all, write! Worry about all the other stuff later - the editing and pacing can all be worked on, but only if you have a completed story to work with. I'd also say that it's important to have fun with it. Make your readers laugh, cry, think differently and even gasp with surprise.

Get feedback from young people and school staff if you can - it will give you valuable insight into how your ideas and your writing are received.

Truly, it’s all about how you make readers feel. Wonderful advice! So, what’s next for Derek Thompson the author?

I've written two contemporary adult British thrillers (I'm a Brit) that are under review by a UK publisher - best described as an updated British noir. I've also written a standalone transatlantic comedy drama, loosely based on a year I spent living the American Dream in New York and California.

As regards writing for children, I have some early draft books that need dusting off, and I'm now thinking about another adventure for Jo and the Superhero Club.

All things considered, 2015 is going to be an exciting writing year!

Wishing you all the best in 2015, Derek! Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series—If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?

Well, having grown up with Dr Who, time travel has always held a bit of a fascination for me. I'm going to be greedy and choose three journeys through time:

I'd like to go back into my own timeline (always tricky!), to see myself as a child and to see my family again at that time. Part curiosity and part therapy!

Next, it would have to be Ancient Egypt. I've been on two trips to Egypt and felt a real sense of connection with the Egyptian history and culture. In particular, Karnak temple at Luxor at the height of its influence and the wondrous Nile would be an amazing sight.

Lastly, I'd love to see a glimpse of Victorian London, when the railways were the lifeblood of the nation and the London Underground was developing. I would walk along cobbled streets and read about the adventures of a certain Mr. Sherlock Holmes.
    
Mini synopsis for Superhero Club:

You only find out you're a butterfly if you spread your wings.

Twelve year-old Jo has never fit in at school, what with being overweight and over-sensitive. Since Dad moved out, Mom forgets who's who in the whole mother-daughter relationship. Jo has one ambition in life: to be normal. Not gifted, or gorgeous, or even particularly popular. Just normal.

When Jo's counselor offers her a lifeline, there's a bunch of other misfits sharing the rope. Group sessions could help them to help each other, but Chris doesn't like speaking and Alistair's a self-confessed geek. Like Stevie, the joker, says, “Oh yeah, right bunch of bloody superheroes we are!”

Sometimes the most heroic thing is to trust a group of strangers, who also have a lot at stake. Jo may find the unlikeliest of friends, and a way to transform her life from the inside. The Superhero Club could give her all that in the blink of an eye. Well, maybe a double-blink!

Sales links:




Connect with Derek:


Pinterest link showing covers and sales link for my books, ors book that contains some of my writing: http://www.pinterest.com/derekwriter/derek-thompsons-books/


Twitter: @DerekWriteLines

Author Bio:

Derek is an adventurer with words, creating fiction, non-fiction and comedy material. He believes in the power of the imagination and the magic of 'what if' to open our eyes to possibility. He is also a magazine columnist and freelancer - see his blog for details.

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20. Author Interview with Krysten Lindsay Hager

It’s Author Interview Thursday and I’m happy and sad. I’m sad because today will be our last interview for the year but I’m super happy because we have a full roaster of inspiring authors lined up for the new year.Krysten Lindsay Hager Some of the authors lined up for 2015, have been admired by yours truly from afar and I’m so glad we both get a chance to learn something new and inspiring. On the hot seat today is a lady from the beautiful state of Ohio. She is an international bestselling author and her book ‘True Colors’ has gained a fanbase on several continents. She writes in different genres and loves making authors look good. I’m so glad she’s with us today and please have her name etched somewhere on your medulla oblongata as I believe you’ll be hearing more of it in the days to come. She has a lot to share with us today, so please join me in welcoming Krysten Lindsay Hager.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written?

I’m a writer who used to work in journalism. The first time I got attention for something I wrote was when I won a writing contest in the first grade. I won a little clown doll (a cute one, not one of those scary ceramic clowns that can give a kid nightmares) for a school-wide essay contest.

 

What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by Krysten Lindsay Hager?

I always write with humor because even the most difficult times in life are easier to take with a little humor.

 

What role would you say social media plays in building an author’s platform and have you found it helpful in marketing your books? True Colors Book Cover

I think it helps people know who you are as a person and a bit of what they can expect from your work. A lot of people who knew me before reading the book have said, “Oh, I can hear you in the novel.” Some people have said when Landry and her mom argue in the book about Landry modelling that you can hear me with my adult view of modelling versus my view of it at Landry’s age.

 

You write in multiple genres like Young Adult, Middle Grade and Adult Fiction. Has this created any unique challenges and how have you overcome them?

The only difference is some of the themes you touch on. I wouldn’t use anything political in a middle grade/YA book, but I can do that in an adult piece. And obviously any dating situation is different. But a lot of the emotions stay the same no matter what the age.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child? 

I love Judy Blume’s Just as Long as We’re Together, My Mother was Never a Kid by Francine Pascal, The Great Mom Swap by Betsy Haynes, and Goodbye, Glamour Girl by Erika Tamar. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve re-read those books.

 

What book or film has the best dialogue that inspires you to be a better writer and why?

F. Scott Fitzgerald has such a way with dialogue. The Great Gatsby is a favourite. I’ll never understand why they assign it in middle school though. I didn’t appreciate it until later in life.

 

How do you reward yourself once your book is published? talk show set

I may have bought myself a bracelet and a necklace, but I can justify them both since the bracelet is similar to the one Landry wears in the True Colors (with a heart charm) and the butterfly necklace will appear in the sequel, Best Friends...Forever?

 

Toy Story or Shrek?

Toy Story all the way.

 

What three things should a first time visitor to Ohio do?

Well, I’m a book lover so I’m going to say check out Joseph-Beth Booksellers and Books & Co—both gorgeous bookstores. There’s an Air Force museum here and I personally love the train museum with all the little miniature displays of houses and towns. I have to say though that it throws me not living near the Great Lakes though. I’m from Michigan and I miss the lakes so I try to get home when I can.

 

With Christmas around the corner, can you tell us the most memorable gift you received growing up?  On a TV Show

I know I should say something like the gift of family togetherness, but let’s be honest, what can beat a Barbie Dream House? Kudos to my dad who spent ALL day putting that thing together…and was an awesome Ken…even if he spoke in a falsetto voice whenever he was Ken.

 

What can we expect from Krysten Lindsay Hager in the next 12 months?

I have a sequel to True Colors called, Best Friends…Forever? (Book 2: Landry’s True Colors series) coming out in 2015. I’m also working on another MG book, two YA ones and an adult humor novel. And I’m working on the third Landry book in the Landry’s True Colors series.

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you?

My website: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KrystenLindsayHagerAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KrystenLindsay

Instagram: http://instagram.com/krystenlindsay

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Krysten-Lindsay-Hager/e/B00L2JC9P2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry? TrueColorsbannerwebsite

If a writer is just starting out then I’d suggest taking a literature class to learn from the best—the classics. I’d also say to take as many classes on writing, literature as you can as well as going to conferences and workshops. You can never learn enough. If you’re getting frustrated then I’d say to write the story you want to read and not worry about whether or not it gets published. Take all that pressure off yourself and enjoy the whole writing process. The work will be a lot better that way and that will increase your chances of publication. Even if it doesn’t get published, the focus should be on the journey, not the destination.

 

Awesome! Thanks for not holding back and sharing so much from your journey. I think as authors we sometimes get frustrated and it’s because we take our eyes off of the ‘main thing’ – our calling to write. Please connect with Krysten at one of the links she provided. Check out Krysten’s books and grab a copy for yourself or a loved one. Also remember to share this interview using the social buttons below and leave a comment. Merry Christmas!

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21. Hello 2015!

I don’t know about you, but so far, 2015 has been a good year. Okay, so we’re only nine days into it, but hey, it’s nice to start out on a good note! For starters, next week is the Celebration of Local Authors which I’m excited to be a part of. I’ll be there all […]

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22. Player Profile: Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl On The Train

Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl On The Train Tell us about your latest creation: The Girl on the Train is psychological thriller which examines the fine line between normality and the loss of control wrought by addiction. It’s all about how when you peel back the veneer of everyday life, you can find something really quite disturbing just underneath… […]

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23. Interview with Kidlit Author – C.L. Murphy

Its back! Author Interview Thursday is back for the first part of the year and I’d like you to get ready for some inspiring authors who will not only provide the necessary fuel to turbo-charge your writing career to another level but will also offer tips, personal stories and current industry trends.CL Murphy - Childrens book Author Today in the hotseat, we have a lady who I met on Twitter. She absolutely and truly gets Twitter and to observe her interaction with fans and fellow authors on that social media platform is truly remarkable. She’s forever drawing attention to other authors books but guess what? The spotlight is firmly on her today. I’ve learned so much from her from afar and I’m glad I get the chance to ask the questions I’ve always wanted to ask her. So without further ado, please join me in welcoming C.L. Murphy.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written.

Whilst some may call me an author, I consider myself more of an illustrator. The first time I received recognition for something I created was in the third grade when I won a school wide poster contest. I lost my focus from art after my Mom died when I was 12. She was a talented artist and some of the happier times that I recall from early childhood, were of her creativity.  It wasn’t until my last year of high school that I was encouraged again by the teachers who told me that art was what I needed to be doing. I went on to college with a concentration in design. My creative spirit has led me down many paths, but none as rewarding as creating children’s picture books. One of those paths led me to paint a mural or two (or twenty). Colourful jungle critters “keep the beat” in this mural that I painted on a children’s music classroom wall.

 

What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by C.L. Murphy?CL Scribbles 1

I hope readers will fall in love with the lovable wolf pup character that I’ve created. He’s a kind lil’ fellow that loves all creatures and wouldn’t think of harming any of them. Uniquely, he considers himself a herbivore. He and his kooky, right-hand(wing) raven, Roxy, will take children on adventures in the great outdoors, introducing them to animals, all while trying to be true to his kind and curious nature.

 

You write and illustrate your books. Can you tell us your process in terms of what comes first and pertinent advice for other children’s book authors looking to illustrate their stories?

Because I am such a visual person, I always have the story envisioned in my mind prior to beginning. I start by sketching the story on paper and then creating the new characters digitally. The characters seem to speak to me during this part of the process as they come to life in my mind. I cannot give any advice to others because that would make me appear if I were some kind of expert. If anything, I’d say; find your style and keep crafting it.

 

Cathy, you’re the absolute master when it comes to Twitter. Can you give us a few tips on connecting with fans and authors on Twitter and how its been beneficial to you as an author?

Master? I’m just another twit on twitter. Haha! I do have fun, though, and enjoy the social platform. I find the 140 character limit a perfect format to connect with people.  I have benefited from Twitter by meeting and forming friendships with delightful people from all over the world. Many authors, teachers, readers, parents and creative folk are out there in Twitterland ready and willing to connect and share. They all brighten my day. I love following fellow KidLit tweeps but also appreciate those that enjoy life. I am interested in many things and what people have to say. Be kind and curious, just like Lobo’s character, and other tweeps will engage.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child?Sunny the Sand Angel

Favorites? I can find merit with any book and I dislike playing favorites. It’s like asking me which of my sons is my favorite child. I love them dearly for different reasons. I owned a decent sized collection of books as a child and I would play librarian with the assortment. I categorized my books (which is surprising because I’m not what you’d call orderly) and taped check out slips in every single one. My library “stamp” was the family Christmas greeting that was used to stamp our signature on our yearly greeting cards. Oh, how I’d love to to find one of the books with the imprint of Merry Christmas from Bill, Bette, Carol & Cathy Lou, stamped in it. Those ALL would be my favorites!

 

You’re a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). Would you advise other children’s book authors and illustrators to join and how has it helped you? 

I’m a member of a fairly new branch of an Oregon chapter. We don’t assemble as much as I’d like, but when we do, I always leave the meeting enthused about what I’ve learned and anxious to use the knowledge. The society is a wonderful wealth of information and I would highly recommend any author or illustrator to join their local chapter. I feel it is almost mandatory to join if you want to stay involved with the industry.

 

How do you reward yourself once your book is published?Lovable Lobo North Pole

Once a book is available to readers, the work is far from over, so there’s no time to celebrate. A successful launch includes promotions and honest reviews in hopes that others take note. You hope that children and their parents will like, or better yet, LOVE, what you’ve poured your heart and soul into. The BEST reward is when something you’ve created is appreciated!

 

What is your favourite Hollywood Animal film and why?

There you go asking me to play favorites again, David. As a child, the movie Bambi, made quite an impact on me. I’d listen to the story on a record player over and over again. I had a pet rabbit that I named Thumper based on one of the movie’s characters. I enjoy animated movies and ones that capture your imagination. I’ll always be a kid at heart with a soft spot for the furry and the feathered.

 

What three things should a first time visitor to Oregon do?

Oregon has so much to offer! There’s outdoor activities galore, available year round, in every corner of the state! A visit to Crater Lake National Park is a must. If you’re a fan of live theatre, then world renowned, Oregon Shakespeare Festival can’t be missed. We’re famous for our microbreweries and wine regions, if you partake. Don’t get me started on the local cuisine!  How does some warm MARIONBERRY cobbler à la mode or a chocolate HAZELNUT torte or a PEAR upside-down gingerbread cake with caramel drizzle sound? Oops. I think my sweet tooth is showing.

 

Lovable, who is the main character in your popular series – The Adventures of Lovable Lobo – was inspired by a wolf you raised for 14 years. Can you tell us something we possibly don’t know about wolves?musicroom

I could perhaps tell you everything you’d ever want to know (or not) about wolves. Okay, that’s not true. I believe them to be magnificent, intelligent creatures with a very caring social structure. Interestingly, the wolf has inspired many legends and stories, their imagery is present in many cultures and even prehistoric man left evidence of their existence. Did you know that wolves are one of the few animals that communicate using a great range of facial expressions?

 

With Christmas just gone, can you tell us the most memorable gift you received growing up?

A very memorable gift was a copy of The Wizard of Oz book that I received from an aunt at Christmas. Memorable, because I found it creepy. That wicked witch gave me nightmares as did the house coming down and squishing her. And those flying monkeys! I appreciate that the newer story’s adaptions have lessened the creepiness, but back then, I hid the book from sight. I did want a pair of those ruby slippers, though.

 

What can we expect from C.L. Murphy in the next 12 months?Lobo Huddling

Lovable Lobo will go on another adventure. I have two stories in the works. They are fighting amongst themselves and the strongest shall prevail. I’m hoping to announce a BIG surprise, that no one will see coming, sometime in 2015 but it may not happen until 2016.

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you?

 

Website: http://lovablelobo.com

Blog: http://lovablelobo.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LovableLobo

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lovable-Lobo

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6852948.C_L_Murphy

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/murphymess

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+CLMurphyKidLit

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?Lobo Goes to the Galapagos

I waited until my sons went off to college to start the journey even though I had plenty of ideas. When they were young, they were always a source of inspiration. I’d take my notebook along and write and draw during our outings. For instance, they liked to fish. I did not. I took that opportunity to create in between baiting hooks. Ah, worm guts. Nature can be so inspiring! The point is; I could have started back then. Could have. Would have. Should have.

It is both an exciting and interesting time in the publishing world. Never has it been so easy to self-publish and that has created a glut of self-published books on the market, with absolutely NO filter. How do you stand out amongst the gazillions? You produce a quality product and develop a loyal fan base whether you’re traditionally published or not. It is not easy, as I’m sure you know all too well, David. It takes dedication and an inordinate amount of time. If you love what you do, you keep doing it. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes but learn from them when you do, try new things, make new connections, stay informed and see where it takes you, but NEVER give up. That’s my strategy and I’m sticking with it.

Thank you, David, for this opportunity to share.

 

The pleasure was all mine Cathy. I like how you ended by encouraging us never to give up. It sometimes seems like the time is never perfect to begin that dream. Sadly, things will never be perfect for us to begin that dream and the best time to start is usually now. Please connect with Cathy at the links she provided above and let her know you got to know her through my interview with her. She currently has two books about Lovable Lobo that you can get on Amazon and other Online Retailers. Kindly leave a question or comment below so Cathy and I know you stopped by.

11 Comments on Interview with Kidlit Author – C.L. Murphy, last added: 1/25/2015
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24. Author Interview with KD Forsman

Welcome, welcome, welcome.KD FORSMAN Its Author Interview Thursday and another wonderful opportunity to get to know an author whose shaking and baking somewhere on God’s green earth. Today’s special guest comes from the beautiful nation of New Zealand. She’s a first time author and her book – Fraud & Fabrication – was published a couple of days ago. She’s encountered some unique challenges on the road to getting her novel published and I’m so excited she gets to spill the beans on how she navigated those speed bumps. She’s also an avid reader and blogger and does all she can to support writers. She’s ready and I know I’m ready, so without further ado, please join me in welcoming KD Forsman.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written.

I was born in the UK and immigrated to New Zealand with my family at the age of four. I have lived in the Waikato region which some may know as ‘middle earth’ from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. For most of my life I have been a keen horsewoman, and enjoyed a range of equestrian activities, dressage, endurance, hunting and everything in between. I have a wonderful husband and between us we have four grown up ‘children’, so I guess we’re your typical empty nesters. These days our ‘babies’ are our two dogs; Max, a fox terrier, and; Jimmy Choo, a Chihuahua cross.

I’m a project manager by day and a freelance writer, blogger and ebook author by night. I have done a lot of voluntary work in the past for organisations including; Arts Waikato and Riding for Disabled, which involved writing content for their website and newsletters. Fraud & Fabrication is my first attempt into the unfamiliar territory of fiction writing… as for complements; I’m sure my readers will be quick to judge either way!

  

What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by KD Forsman?

A book that is readable and one that they can relate to.

Fraud & Fabrication is centred a wealthy racing family and reveals that underneath the veneer of success, the Leighton’s have everyday issues, drama, personality clashes and family secrets. It is spiced with a bit of romance, but the book is not a classic romance novel in the true sense of the word; the genre would be more women’s contemporary drama. Whilst I hope the story is entertaining for my readers, the underlying theme is about uncovering the truth and making a life changing decision… rightly or wrongly.

  

Your first book – ‘Fraud & Fabrication’ has just been released. Can you tell us about any challenges you encountered while writing and how you overcame them?Fraud and Fabrication

My biggest challenge was writing the love scenes. It took me a month to get past one particular chapter, but in the end I threw caution to the wind and just went for it. Then I let a girlfriend read it (big mistake) and I ended up re-writing it completely. After wasting a lot of time and angst, on something that really didn’t matter; I finally came to the conclusion that you should never let close family or friends read your draft until it is completed. Big lesson for a newbie!

 

Can you tell us a little bit about Fraud & Fabrication’ and if you’ll consider doing a series?

Fraud & Fabrication is the first of the Leighton Park series, about the wealthy and eccentric Leighton family, their successful horse racing empire and their closely guarded family secrets.

I knew I had to get serious about my writing when I realised the characters in my head were not going to leave me in peace. They’re a bunch of crazies, but they’re my crazies. A couple of story ideas had been percolating in my imagination for a number of years. In the end I thought it would be interesting to mush them all together and see what I could cook up. The result is Fraud & Fabrication. Seeing this book through to fruition was amazing and even I was surprised at how the ending turned out.

 

How critical was having a copy editor/proof-reader in getting your book published?

Absolutely paramount. As mentioned, I let a couple of close friends/family read the first draft which did sway the final product. However this feedback was nothing compared to the ‘polish’ a professional editor was able to provide me with. Despite the fact that I’d read and re-read, spell checked and triple checked my manuscript before I sent it to my editor; she was still able to provide huge improvements to the overall readability of the story. She also picked up numerous errors and typos that I had overlooked. As writers we can be completely blind to our common mistakes – it’s just the way we are wired. I got huge value from an independent, professional editing service and would never ever skip this step. I want my readers to enjoy a quality product when they order and read my books.

  

What three things should writers avoid when writing dialogue?

  1. Being too formal – not writing how the character would speak
  2. Overuse of dialogue tags – he said, she said, John said etc.
  3. Underusing dialogue. Dialogue is a great way to set the pace of the story and get important information across quickly, keeping the reader interested and engaged with the story.

  

What book or film has the best dialogue that inspires you to be a better writer and why?KD FORSMAN ON A HORSE

Gosh that was a hard question! 

Film – I’d have to say Silence of the Lambs; “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”

Book – One I read recently which was extremely memorable was Gone Girl; it had a great dialogue, fantastic plot which kept the reader guessing all the way to the end.

Gone Girl’s parody Go Away Girl was equally as good, extremely witty with some memorable laugh out loud moments – I’d definitely recommend both books, read the real one first!

 

Toy Story or Shrek?

Shrek without a doubt. I can so relate to the princess and the donkey.

 

You’ve been blogging since 2008. What have you found paramount in maintaining a successful blog.

  1. Writing on a topic I enjoy
  2. Regular posts – at least one post per week
  3. Being generous with my time for others. I offer a free book tweeting service for fellow authors and this has really helped build a readership for my blog. In an information rich society, the only way to stand out from the crowd is to be willing to truly engage with others and pay it forward.

  

What three things should a first time visitor to New Zealand do?

New Zealand is a unique location with something to suit every age and stage… I found it exceptionally hard to narrow down three things, but here goes;

  • Trout fishing at Lake Taupo
  • Surf lessons in Raglan (home of the legendary left hand break and black sand)
  • Annual Marlborough Food & Wine Festival

 

What can we expect from KD Forsman in the next 12 months?Fraud and Fabrication Books

I am hoping to finish the second book of the Leighton Park series which will centre more on one of the more colourful characters from book one, who else but the amazing Cheree! She has so many layers to her, I’m looking forward to unravelling that a bit further and seeing what we can find.

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you?

Email               kdforsman@outlook.co.nz

Web                 www.kdforsman.com

Twitter             https://twitter.com/mybookreviewsnz

Facebook         https://www.facebook.com/kdforsman

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?

Do what it takes to get the job done!

For me, that meant scoping out the entire outline of ‘Fraud & Fabrication’ before I wrote a single word. It made it so much easier and gave me a roadmap to let the story unfold. It also made a huge difference to my writing and helped me take my story from an idea concept to an actual plot to a first draft. This worked for me, but I realise that everyone is different. I made a conscious choice to get serious about my writing in May 2014 and worked with ‘book midwife’ Maria Carlton to get me on the way to completing my first draft. Without that help, I’d probably still be thinking about it now.

I read somewhere recently that to be a successful author, you need to write more books. I totally believe this, and realise now that publishing my first book doesn’t mean ‘I’ve now made it’ as an author!

 

I couldn’t agree more with you Karen. This writing gig is definitely a journey and not a destination. I loved what you said about having a copy editor being paramount to the success and completion of your book. I think sometimes copy editors and proof readers are sometimes the unsung heroes who can make all the difference to a novel. You can enter to win a copy of Fraud and Fabrication on GoodReads. If you can’t wait, feel free to grab a copy on Amazon. Remember to leave a comment below and share this interview using the Social buttons.

2 Comments on Author Interview with KD Forsman, last added: 1/31/2015
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25. Interview with MGLit Author – Cheryl Carpinello

It’s Author Interview Thursday and I’m so glad you’ve joined me today and our special guest.Cheryl Carpinello The wonderful lady in the hotseat has a background in education and recently became a grandma for the third time. Between juggling her roles as a wife, mother, grandma, educator, champion of children authors and so much more, she finds the time to write brilliant books for Middle Grade and Young Adult readers. She writes Quest stories that span different historical time periods like the Medieval era or ancient Egypt. She’s one of the main hosts of the Kidlit Blog Hop and has personally helped me broadcast my books on her blog and social platforms. She has a big heart and I know you’ll pick up something good. Do join me in welcoming Cheryl Carpinello.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself & the first time someone complemented you on something you had written.

I’m a twice-retired high school (ages 14-18) English teacher from Colorado having taught for 25 years. I love working with my students, and now I write for middle graders and early teens. It is my love of the ancient and medieval worlds that provides my settings for my stories.

Shortly after my first book, Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend, was published, I was doing a medieval writing workshop for 30 Junior Girl Scouts. As part of their participation, each girl received an autographed copy of my book. About a week later, I received an email from one of the girls. She told me that she had fallen in love with Guinevere and thanked me for writing the story. She also wanted to know when the next book would be released!

 

What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by Cheryl Carpinello? 

Readers can be sure that they will be transported back into the ancient or medieval world in an adventure that at times, while exciting, may be dangerous and life-threatening. Weaved throughout the story are historical facts and fiction which enable readers to imagine themselves in that setting.

 

You’ve written several books set around medieval and ancient times. Can you tell us where this fascination with ancient tales stemmed from?Tutankhamen Speaks 

I would like to say that it was from my childhood when I first watch Disney’s The Sword in the Stone, but my fascination with Medieval times started in college when I read Malory’s Morte d’Arthur. I fell in love with his descriptive interpretations of that era. Then I discovered T.H. White’s The Once and Future King. I’m a romantic and these stories drew me into the heart of medieval times. As for the ancient worlds, I’ve always loved them and teaching ancient Greek & Roman literature furthered my fascination and love. We spent three weeks touring Egypt in 2008. Always on my bucket list, Egypt stole part of my soul.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child? 

I loved—and still do—horses. I devoured horse stories growing up. My favorites were The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley and The Golden Stallion series by Rutherford Montgomery.

 

What role would you say social media plays in building an author’s platform, and have you found it helpful in marketing your books? 

In today’s book world, social media is where an author gets their name out in the world. An author needs exposure and social media can be an important tool. I’ve met a lot of people—authors, readers, educators, PR—that would not have been possible without Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, & Pinterest. In that aspect, it has been helpful, but at times it is also frustrating, overwhelming, and time consuming. I would love to have a simple formula to plug in and use. Know one?!

 

What tips do you have for writing good dialogue? The King's Ransom

Writing good dialogue demands an ear for how an author’s characters speak. After 25 years teaching teenagers (14-18), their nuances and mannerisms are second nature to me. That is extremely helpful when writing for MG/Tween/YA. Authors should pay attention to conversations around them. If writing for young readers, observe nieces/nephews/younger cousins and/or volunteer at local schools/youth sporting events. Observation and listening are important tools when it comes to writing dialogue.

 

Is there a particular book or film that inspires you to be a better writer and why? 

I would have to choose Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien handles the hero’s journey and the quest story masterfully. We studied the similarities between Tolkien, Golding’s Lord of the Flies, and T.H. White’s The Once and Future King in my high school English classes and talked a lot about the influence of Joseph Campbell in all of those. For readers not familiar with Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, Tolkien does the best job of incorporating Campbell’s philosophy in his writing. That is what I strive to emulate in my writing.

 

Toy Story or Shrek? 

Shrek! Sorry to say I’ve never seen Toy Story. Shrek is on his own hero’s journey in his story.

 

With a background in education, what qualities have you seen in books that tend to capture children’s imagination? 

Kids tend to be drawn into stories that transport them to other world(s). Writers can do this by focusing on their audience and writing at a level that encourages growth in understanding and vocabulary. Continuous action without long drawn out description is equally important. Young readers also love to read about characters that they can identify with either in age, situation, or experience. Take poetry as an example. Many readers—young and old—have a difficult time with understanding poetry in meaning and vocabulary. The main reason for this is that readers bring to a written piece of work their personal experiences. If they are unable to relate to the poem’s topic or the vocabulary is several levels above where they are reading, chances are good that the poem won’t be finished or even tried again. The same works for stories, fiction and non-fiction.

 

What three things should a first time visitor to Colorado do? 

Getting up into our Colorado Rocky Mountains is a must whether it’s summer or winter. Colorado has 53—although some say more—peaks over 14,000 feet (4267.2 meters) in height. Hiking or snow skiing in the Rockies is an experience not found elsewhere.

Southwestern Colorado has some of the best examples of Native American ruins in the US. Mesa Verde with its cliff dwellings is not to be missed.

If visiting in spring or summer, taking in a concert at the world-renowned Red Rocks Amphitheater is an experience of a lifetime. The best of the music world have performed on this outdoor venue including The Beatles, Mumford & Sons, and James Taylor. The entire metro Denver area is visible from the seats as well as the start of the eastern plains.

 

What can we expect from Cheryl Carpinello in the next 12 months? SONS OF THE SPHINX_front

After spending the last two years in ancient Egypt, I’m back in Medieval England working on the second of three Guinevere books. Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend was meant to be a stand-alone. Over the last five years, I’ve had readers contact me wanting to know when the next book about this young princess would be done. Also, Guinevere’s young friend Cedwyn has been whispering in my ear. Seems he really does have his heart set on becoming a knight! So, I’ve given into the pressure and am just finishing the first draft of Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend—Cedwyn’s Story. At this time, it looks like very late in 2015 or early in 2016 for a release date.

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you? 

I have three websites:

Blog: Carpinello’s Writing Pages http://carpinelloswritingpages.blogspot.com where I interview children/MG/YA authors. Readers can find your interview there.

Author Site: Beyond Today Educator http://www.beyondtodayeducator.com

3-Author Site: The Quest Books http://www.adventurequestbooks.com where I team up with South African MG author Fiona Ingram and Abu Dhabi MG author Wendy Leighton-Porter. New subscribers to our monthly newsletter get to choose a free eBook from all our eBooks.

 

Social Media:

Good Reads:   http://www.goodreads.com/cherylcarpinello

Twitter Home Page: https://twitter.com/ccarpinello

Linkedin Page:  www.linkedin.com/pub/cheryl-carpinello/25/671/a02

Google URL: https://plus.google.com/110918922081424857545/

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/ccarpine/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.carpinello1

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry? 

Write because you love to write, not to get rich. Writing is a long uphill climb.

Write the type of story you love to read, not what is popular.

Be passionate about your audience.

Thank you, David, for having me.

 

The pleasure was all mine Cheryl. I liked what you said about observation and listening being highly beneficial when it comes to writing good dialogue. Do connect with Cheryl at one of the links she provided. I did a short piece on Cheryl’s latest book – Sons of Sphinx. Be sure to share this interview on your social network and leave a comment below.

 

10 Comments on Interview with MGLit Author – Cheryl Carpinello, last added: 2/7/2015
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