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I have a special book to share with you today for chapter book/middle-grade readers (ages 8 to 12 or so) titled, A Cat Named Mouse: The Miracle of Answered Prayer. This book is inspirational or Christian fiction for kids with a heavy emphasis on prayer and Bible verses. It would be perfect for a homeschool family or group, parent/child book club, or a Christian school. Parents who are wanting to introduce or emphasize how prayer is answered and how Bible verses can be applied to our lives would also find this book helpful for their children to read or to read with their children. It has several illustrations. AND THE BEST NEWS OF ALL: I HAVE A COPY TO GIVEAWAY! IF you would like to enter the giveaway, please go below to the Rafflecopter form and do the tasks that you are interested in doing. Each task you do gives you more entries into the giveaway contest, which closes at the end of February. I’m using the Rafflecopter system because it is an easy way to keep track of entries! Thanks for trying it out with me.
A Cat Named Mouse: The Miracle of Unanswered Prayer is. . .
*A chapter book/young middle-grade realistic, inspirational fiction (based on a true story) for kids ages 8 to 12
*12-year-old girl as the main character (and a cat named Mouse!)
*Rating: A Cat Named Mouse is an enjoyable and fast read, perfect for a parent to read with a child. This book is important to discuss with children–there are a lot of Christian concepts and ideas!
Short, short summary: After being introduced to Annie and her family and their cats (as well as some neat practices they have such as their TALK UP tradition), Mouse, one of their cats, goes missing when a large animal tears down a window screen, scaring the cat who likes to sleep on the windowsill. The cat either falls out the window or jumps out the open window and goes missing. During this time, Annie and her family come up with many different ideas to get the cat back–one of them being prayer, another discussing how God has a plan. They also make signs and look for the cat. So, since it’s a children’s book, you can probably figure out what happens in the end–but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone! Annie is a wonderful main character with very loving parents.
So what do I do with this book?
1. It’s important to discuss the concepts with children that are presented in the book. One of the main things to focus on is that Annie and her parents use prayer to help find Mouse, but they don’t just sit by and hope God finds the cat. They are proactive also. Asking children to respond in a journal after reading a section will give them a chance to reflect on what happened before the discussion.
2. This is a great book to compare a personal story to what happens in the story. Children can either discuss something their family prayed for and the prayer was answered or a time something important to them was lost and then found with God’s help. If they think about this time in their own lives, they will understand the feelings Annie is having, too.
3. If you are reading this post between Feb. 18, 2013 and Feb. 28, 2013, then enter the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win a copy. (United States and/or Canada mailing addresses only please) If you have any problems, leave a comment or e-mail me at margo (at) margodill.com. Depending on your Internet browser, you may have to click the blue underlined words that say: RAFFLECOPTER in order to see the form and enter the contest! Remember if you enter a comment, make sure you check the box in the RAFFLECOPTER FORM, so you are entered to win. EVERYBODY who checks the free entry gets two free entries into the contest without having to do anything else.
How long could you have faith? Believe in the impossible? Rely on the strength of the smallest person you have ever met? In the memoir The Summer Called Angel, Sola Olu tells of her family’s refusal to accept the possibility that their premature daughter would not defeat the odds.
The Summer Called Angel is a memoir about survival: survival of a premature baby, survival of a brand new family, survival of love, and survival of faith. This memoir is both frightening and inspiring. You’ll find yourself cheering on this family fighting for the life they dreamed of and wondering where they find their strength. This book also includes a few welcome additions such as poems and resources for other families of premature infants.
The Summer Called Angel: A Story of Hope on the Journey through Prematurity, is available as a print and e-book at Amazon.com, as well as your local independent bookstore.
Book Giveaway Contest: To win a copy of The Summer Called Angel, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, January 25 at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!
About the Author:
Sola Olu was born and raised in Nigeria. As a child, she loved making up stories and as soon as she could write she started putting them down on paper. She holds degrees in English and Information Systems, Sola works in the retail industry and volunteers as a counselor to mothers of premature babies. Her writings include essays, poetry and children's stories. She loves to cook, travel and attend the theater. She lives in Illinois with her husband and two children.
Find out more about the author by visiting her online:
Sola: Just a lot of half projects on my computer, essays, unpublished romance manuscripts, children's stories, and a blog that I abandoned but have this year restarted: http://solamusings.blogspot.com/. The Summer Called Angel took me eight years to write because I was working, had two kids and took time to take care of myself.
WOW: It's good you took time to take care of yourself! It's something all of us need to do. So, do you have any memoir writers you enjoy?
How did The Summer Called Angel come into being? Did it begin as something written during your experience of dealing with your daughter's premature birth as a personal exercise . . . a journal, letters, a blog? Or was it something you wrote after the fact, looking back on your experiences?
Sola: A little bit of both. It began as a journal. During my daughter's hospital stay, it began as a "mummy was here today . . ." kind of journal entry, just to have something to remember that time; but as her hospital stay became longer, it became more difficult and I actually stopped for a long time until she came home. Of course, with her home and with all then therapies, I again stopped for a while, then wrote from recollection; and then I had my second child, and I'm like now the story takes a different turn. Eventually, I requested her medical notes to ensure that I had the right sequence of events and to add to how I felt as well as validate the medical issues we had to deal with.
WOW: I found your book incredibly emotional, as it brought back some of my own experiences with premature labor. Was it difficult reliving your family's experiences?
Sola: Oh sorry to hear about that. It was difficult. And it's funny you bring that up because I had a family member tell me to "move on." For a long time I was very emotional, even though she was fine; I would remember some painful episodes and tear up, but writing helped me through. I guess that was why there were so many stops—you have to be ready to write about what you went through, and then the healing comes with that. Ultimately, the story ends well. I decided to put everything out there because when I was going through those emotions of dealing with a sick child, I wondered if those feelings were valid or maybe I was just weak. But in speaking to other parents through the volunteer program I joined after my daughter came home, I realized other parents have those feelings too; and by putting it out there, I'm saying, "It's OK to cry. It's OK to heal in your own way."
And I also say I am in no way diminishing the fact that there are so many stories out there that don't have a happy ending and I can't imagine how people cope when they have to deal with that.
WOW: What made you decide to publish your experiences as a book?
Sola: It's funny—I have always dreamt of being an author. I wrote two young adult romance novels when I was a teenager. When my premature birth happened, I didn't think, Oh here's a book . . ., even though I started journaling. The first time I thought about it becoming a book was when we were coming home from hospital one day and I told my husband that we had missed summer—we didn't have a summer—and he replied that yes we did, we had a summer called Angel. My inner writer had flipped up and I thought, Hmmm that sounds like the title of a book, but at that time I didn't know what the ending would be.
So my dream of becoming an author came through with my memoir, and that has now given me the inspiration to dig up my old manuscripts and revamp.
WOW: That's a great story about your title. Can you tell us a bit about your path to publication? Did you look for an agent or traditional publisher or did you feel that self-publishing was the best choice for you?
Sola: I went for a writers conference in 2010 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. It was my first, and I plan to go again this year. While there, I learned so many things about the publishing industry and writing in general. Even though I "pitched" to agents and they seemed interested, I guess I felt overwhelmed by the whole traditional publishing route, and just came back, looked around, and selected self-publishing. I just felt I had written for 6 years at that point and I was ready. It would take another 2 years from that point though—to eventually revise, edit, and get the memoir published.
Would I choose that route again? I'm not sure—I hope not. I hope I'm able to find a publisher for my next work.
WOW: From your experience, what are the advantages (or disadvantages) of self-publishing?
Sola: The advantages of self-publishing are that you're in control of your own pace, you set your time frame and commit to it; you have editorial control of what goes in your publication; and if you have a more flexible contract, you can publish almost anywhere, especially the e-book format.
The disadvantages—especially if you're a novice like me—are that you sometimes don't have a clue what you're getting into. I learned the hard lesson that salesmen are all the same, and will sell to you to make a commission, so choose your packages very carefully. Almost every correction I made, I had to pay a fee, and it took 7-10 business days.
You also do all your own marketing. Most book stores will not carry print on demand, so you ultimately have to get your own ISBN if you want your book in stores.
WOW: What are you working on now?
Sola: A children's book for now and then back to my young adult manuscripts. I am very excited. Thank you.
WOW: Thank you, Sola, for chatting with us today! I admire you for putting yourself out there with The Summer Called Angel, and I look forward to your future projects.
Tuesday, January 22 @ The Book Cast Have you ever wondered what determination sounds like? Listen to an audio interview with Sola Olu, author of The Summer Called Angel and you'll hear it in her voice. http://www.thebookcast.com
Wednesday, January 23 @ Thoughts in Progress Sola Olu, author of The Summer Called Angel, stops by today with some thoughts about premature birth. http://www.masoncanyon.blogspot.com
Thursday, January 24 @ CMash Loves to Read Stop by for an introduction to Sola Olu, memoirist, about her family's struggle and triumph over prematurity. http://www.cmashlovestoread.com
Monday, January 28 @ Read These Books and Use Them! New mom Margo reviews The Summer Called Angel, a memoir about the challenges a new mom faced. http://margodill.com/blog
Wednesday, February 6 @ Words by Webb Don't miss a review of a touching memoir of the survival of a brand new family: The Summer Called Angel. http://jodiwebb.com
Friday, February 8 @ Capability Mom Don't miss a guest post by Sola Olu on the healing power of writing. http://capabilitymom.com
Monday, February 11 @ Tiffany Talks Books Have you been thinking about love lately? Learn what true love is when you read the review of The Summer Called Angel by Sola Olu. Last chance to win a copy on the tour! http://tiffanytalksbooks.com
The Divorce Girl: A Novel of Art and Soul by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
Publisher: Ice Cube Press
I’m excited to introduce to you–The Divorce Girl as part of the WOW! Women On Writing blog tour. What a great, great book. I was captivated on page one and couldn’t wait to get to the end of the book. I recommend this book to ANYONE! I have a print copy to give away–from the author. Please leave a question and/or comment about the book by Sunday, August 5 at 8:00 pm CST to be entered to win (US mailing addresses only, please.)
Here’s my review:
From the first page of The Divorce Girl: A Novel of Art and Soul by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, readers will discover that it’s a well-written novel with a lively, witty, teenage voice narrating the story. Mirriam-Goldberg captivates you on page one and doesn’t let go until the end of the book. She includes unique, well-rounded characters; unusual settings; and plenty of interesting subplots as well as an understanding of how the world and people work, especially during and after a divorce.
Mirriam-Goldberg is the 2009-2012 Poet Laureate of Kansas. Her love of words and ability to string them together to create a masterpiece shines through in this novel. Simply stated: “It’s a good book!” Although divorce is a subject that has been written about thousands of times in YA and women’s fiction, The Divorce Girl will still fascinate readers who will be drawn into the story because of Mirriam-Goldberg’s writing.
It centers on Deborah, a high school student in New Jersey in the 1970s and oldest daughter of Jewish parents, who announce that they are getting divorced with no huge surprise to her. Her parents have been fighting for years, and it became progressively worse after a baby sibling died of SIDS.
At first when the divorce is announced, Deborah’s father takes a special interest in her, leaving the two younger (surviving) children with their mother. Her dad takes her regularly to eat at a diner, where a Greek hostess, Fatima, works. It soon becomes clear that he has an ulterior motive to these dad-daughter dinners. But Deborah doesn’t seem to mind. She likes the attention from her father, who is talking to her as if she is an equal.
Because of the special attention from her father and the tensions that rise with her mother during the divorce proceedings, Deborah winds up choosing to live with her father and Fatima, which causes many problems within the family, including with her grandparents.
Soon, she realizes that her father isn’t quite the man she thought he was or that he presents himself to be in public; but she doesn’t feel like she has anywhere else to go. He works her hard, too—at home, cooking and cleaning, and at a weekend auction, similar to a flea market, selling large-sized clothing.
The good thing is Deborah loves photography and has quite a talent for it, and her father allows her to take a photography course. He also allows her to get involved with a youth group at the local, and somewhat liberal, temple.
These two outlets and the people there basically save her soul from destruction, as she lives with an abusive father and is estranged from her mother.
Although this book is written with a teenage narrator, the author state
Destiny Allison was living an all-too-common existence as a wife and mother who had lost her sense of self, and yet, she felt a stirring underneath. One frustrating evening she took up a handful of hobby clay and molded a figure. In this figure she recognized the chasm between the lives we bear and the lives we desire.
What lies beneath the personae we don each day? How do we uncover our masked face? Where can we find a reflection of our true self and the courage to exchange living for existence? Destiny Allison found her answers at the intersection of art and life.
Shaping Destiny: A Quest for Meaning in Art and Life isn’t just a book on transformation; it includes studies in form, structure, and vision. It isn’t just a book about art; in it the author candidly shares personal philosophies and life changes. This is a book with a holistic view of the mergence of art and life.
Destiny begins each chapter with an art lesson followed by her autobiographical narrative bringing us along as she discovers her passion for art, uncovers her abilities, and sculpts a new life. Shaping Destiny has been compared to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Destiny’s writing has been compared to that of Anne Lamott and Annie Dillard. If you are a creative or artistic person, if you enjoy memoirs, or if you are at a crossroads and need a bit of encouragement I highly recommend Shaping Destiny: A Quest for Meaning in Art and Life.
Shaping Destiny: A Quest for Meaning in Art and Life is available in print and for Kindle at Amazon. Free Download Days! Download your copy of Shaping Destiny for Free today August 6 and on the following Saturdays: August 11, 18, & 25. Enter to win a print copy in the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post.
Enjoy the book trailer of Destiny talking about her book below!
About the author
Destiny Allison is an artist, a business woman and an author. Her work is collected by public institutions and private individuals internationally. In addition to her numerous awards for excellence in art, she was also recently named Santa Fe Business Woman of the year for 2011. She works as an artist full time. She is also a managing partner in La Tienda at Eldorado—a commercial complex, community center, and arts center in Santa Fe, NM. She is represented in prominent galleries across the country and owns her own gallery, Destiny Allison Fine Art, located at La Tienda. Allison’s first love was writing. Her first poems were published while she was a child and she received numerous awards during adolescence. The story of how she became a visual artist is told in her book, Shaping Destiny: A quest for meaning in art and life. While her focus over the last 20 years has been primarily on sculpture, Allison also paints on steel using acids and natural oxidation, and in acrylics. Allison currently resides in Santa Fe, NM.
WOW:Your love of language goes back to your childhood; can you share a little on that?
Destiny: I have always been an avid reader. I think I learned to read when I was three and have been literally devouring books ever since. When I was eight, I started writing poetry. I’m not sure what inspired me to do this but it brought me very close with my father. We spent countless hours together going over my poems and when I watched what happened when we replaced one word with another, or rearranged a line, I was enthralled. Later, in high school, I was fortunate to have Latin as a required class. I loved it. The origins of words, their roots and intended meanings opened up a whole new world for me. When I began to study Greek mythology, that awareness deepened and I was forever hooked. The stories of Narcissus, Pan, Eros, inspired my imagination. Language, or rather the written word, was my first love.
WOW:Tell us about your pre-sculpture writing life.
Destiny: I was first published at nine. The local newspaper ran a youth section and regularly paid young authors for their poems, short stories and essays. I was one of their frequent contributors. After that first taste, I planned to be a writer. Through high school and into college, I pursued writing with a vengeance. Then, in my early twenties, I re-read a couple of my favorite books and realized I didn’t have an original thought in my head. I was just recycling what I had gleaned from them. I gave up any aspirations to write for a living and after that, I only wrote for myself.
WOW:When it came to discovering, or uncovering, yourself, what did sculpture give you that words could not?
Destiny: Sculpture is so demanding physically that it is almost impossible for me to get lost in the wanderings of my mind or my emotions alone. It requires an intense focus not unlike the focus you develop when you are engaged in competitive sports. Somehow, the combination of physical and mental exertion is merged and it’s like I am in the “zone.” I am not thinking. I am just being. Mind, body, and spirit are working in unison and I am fully present in my creativity. What that really means is that I can’t talk myself into or out of anything when I’m working on a sculpture. It will demand its own from me and it has taught me how to be fully present in whatever media I happen to be using.
WOW:What prompted you to write Shaping Destiny?
Destiny: Something called me to do it. I’m not sure if I can say with any certainty what that was. I think there were lots of things at play. I knew I was ready to look back and let go of some of the grief I was still carrying. I also wanted to understand how I got to where I did and really look at the impact of art on my life. There was also a very real desire to share what I had learned with others who find themselves trapped in lives that make them miserable. I wanted, through the book, to inspire them to break out, walk away, do what they have to do to be themselves and make a life of their choosing.
WOW:In your preface you state that several of the stories you shared later proved to be incorrect, yet it was those memories that shaped you. “Getting the story straight” can block a would-be memoirist; what advice would you offer her?
Destiny: I wrote that in deference to my mother and other people in the book who remembered some things differently than I did. I think what is true is always a matter of perspective. For example, let’s say I am sitting on one side of a table and another person is sitting across from me. In the center of the table there is a large vase of flowers. From where I sit, I see three daisies, two roses, a sprig of green, and a purple iris. My companion, looking at the same vase, sees two daisies, three roses, and a sprig of green. We both agree we are looking at the same vase of flowers. Later, when we describe that bouquet to a friend, I might speak of the purple iris. My companion will not recall an iris. She might even swear that there were no irises in the vase and imply that my memory was faulty. The truth is we are both right. Our memories of the same thing are distinctly different. One memory is no more valid than another. For me, the purple iris may have stuck in my mind because it reminded me of the wild irises growing in the canyon where I grew up. As a memoirist, it is not my job to be a historian. It is my job to sort out what the memory means to me, how it informed my knowledge, and what part it played in my story.
Shaping Destiny has a wide appeal—beyond those who might be considered “artists.” What are your thoughts on that?
Destiny: I am thrilled by this. I had imagined that the book would primarily appeal to women artists. As it turns out, men and women, artists and non-artists love it. I think this might be because we all wrestle with the conflict between who we are supposed to be and who we actually are. The letters and comments I get are filled with appreciation for the inspirational aspects of the book. I think people who read the book realized that they can change their lives. They can be honest with themselves and those they love and that fundamentally they are also creative, passionate, amazing people whether they are artists or not.
WOW:I fell in love with the book by the end of the first chapter; Shaping Destiny is up on my “top five” list! The way you tell your story encourages readers to take an objective look at themselves and their lives.
So often people are afraid to move forward—whether it is out of an unfulfilling relationship or into a new career or self-expression. What would you like to say to them?
Destiny: Do one thing that makes you happy. Just one. Then see where it goes. We all get stuck and afraid from time to time and we think that we need to make a huge shift in our lives in order to be happy. I have found that baby steps usually take me where I need to go.
Just recently, I made a small change that has made a huge difference. Over the last year, I have been increasingly unhappy and have been feeling really guilty about it because I have nothing to be unhappy about. I love my husband. I have great kids. My sculptures and book are selling well. Things are great. So why do I feel like crying or raging so often?
In an off the cuff comment to my husband, I realized that I am miserable because my life is really noisy. Kids, dogs, telephones, video games, Television, on top of the noises of work—grinders, compressors, and business meetings—fill pretty much every waking minute. I need quiet. I need alone time. One afternoon, without telling anyone, I took over a guest bedroom, decorated it with things I love, and made a space just for me. I told my family they were not to enter without permission. I promised myself I would meditate every morning for at least fifteen minutes, and I would write a minimum of 500 words a day. Basically, I gave myself permission to take an hour every morning to myself. I reminded myself that I am as important as everyone else in my life. The effect has been profound. I am bubbling. I am writing fiction, of all things, and having a blast. My family is cheering me on because, frankly, I’m a lot more fun to be around when I’m not so cranky. They couldn’t give me what I needed until I was willing to take what I needed.
Maybe you can’t take an hour a day. Maybe you can only take an hour a week. It doesn’t matter. Take what you can and do one thing you want to do. But just do it. Don’t take a class. Don’t even share what you are doing. Don’t let anyone watch you, or try to help you. Let it be your secret, your treasure, your sacred space. Then, journal about what you experience when you take that time. Write about all the thrills, fears, joys and frustrations. Give your journal 5 minutes before you start doing whatever it is you decide to do. You don’t have to make major changes all of a sudden (unless you are in an abusive relationship. Then you have to run). As you find your joy, your life will evolve and the changes you seek happen naturally.
WOW:You have a wonderful community on your blog, plus you support other artists at La Tienda; tell us a little about how you give back to other artists.
Destiny: As a culture, we put so much emphasis on the art object that we actually kill the creative process in many instances. Artists and writers work so hard on the things they think will sell that they stop being artists and become manufacturers. This is not good for the world. Artists need places where they can be passionate about the work that matters to them. They need to be part of communities that accept, embrace, and support their creativity. Communities need artists to express our commonality, local aesthetics, and community values. Consequently, my husband and I sponsor a large professional gallery space that we let local artists use for free. The artists keep 100% of their sales. We also sponsor monthly independent film screenings, author readings, art talks, live music, and anything we can think of to promote the arts and ensure that art is an intrinsic part of community life. The effects of this have been amazing. The community has transformed itself and the businesses are healthy, in spite of the current economic climate. Having art be part of every day life has inspired even non-artists to pursue their passions. We now have garden tours, cycling groups, and lots of other community activities that all stemmed from making artists, as well as their art, important.
WOW:What are you working on now?
Destiny: I think the best answer to that question is, “What time is it?” I think I am always working on something. This fall, I hope to start a new nonfiction work that focuses on how art transforms communities and I am doing research and collecting data for it now. I am also working on a novel and am ridiculously excited about it. In addition, I continue to sculpt and am in my studio for several hours almost every day. When I am not writing or sculpting, I am at La Tienda where, as a managing partner, I am running the exhibit space, performance space, and doing the marketing for the center as a whole.
WOW:Sounds like a beautiful, passionate . . . and very busy life!
---------Blog Tour Dates
August 8 @ A Slice of Life Writing Destiny Allison shares her perspective on the relationship between art and life. http://lindahoye.com/
August 10 @ Beads & Books Gain an artist’s perspective! Artist and Craft Book Editor, Michelle Mach, hosts an art-centered interview with Destiny Allison today and also gives us her review of Shaping Destiny. http://michellemach.com/blog/
August 13 @ CMash Loves to Read Destiny Allison says our lives are our greatest works of art. Join us for a guest post today! You might win a print copy of Shaping Destiny: A Quest for Meaning in Art and Life http://www.cmashlovestoread.com/
August 15 @ Women’s Memoirs Confused by publishing options? Destiny shares why she chose to self-publish her book Shaping Destiny. http://womensmemoirs.com/
August 20 @ Margo Dill's Read These Books and Use Them The husband, the kids, the bills…and work! How do you do it all? Join us as Destiny talks about the unique challenge of being a woman artist. You might win a print copy of Shaping Destiny! http://margodill.com/blog/
August 30 @ Woman on the Edge of Reality Join us for one of Linda’s fun, and sometimes revealing, interviews! Today’s guest is Destiny Allison, author of Shaping Destiny: A Quest for Meaning in Art and Life. Enjoy a book review and enter to win a signed copy of Destiny’s book! http://womanontheedgeofreality.com/
To view all our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar here. You can also follow our tours by adding @WOWBlogTour to your Twitter account!
If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email Robyn or Jodi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am a dog lover! Any of you, who know me in real life or have seen photos of mine on Facebook or even on this very blog, can tell I love being a dog mommy! So, when WOW! asked if any dog lovers would like to review the following book, I raised my hand. Although the book I am about to tell you about is for Lab owners or wannabe Lab owners, and I have a boxer, I’m still excited. And don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a free e-book all about this popular breed. You do need to fill out the Rafflecopter form even if you comment or tweet about it–it won’t count unless you fill out the Rafflecopter form. The contest goes until August 16, 12:01 EST. If you have any questions or problems, please let me know!
This book is appropriate for my blog audience for two reasons: 1. I know there are a lot of parents and teachers/librarians who read my blog. You probably have children and a dog–often a lab since you have children–and this book will help you understand your dog, its breed, and how to care for it in the best way possible. This book will also help you (and it’s really short so it helps you fast!) decide if this is a good breed and fit for your family. (In my opinion, this is very important–find a breed that fits you and your family BEFORE purchasing a dog–if possible.) 2. If you have a student doing any research on a Labrador Retriever, this book will be very helpful! It’s short and to the point!
It begins with the history and overview of the Labrador. Although this is not really a practical chapter for a dog owner, the author, a vet named Lorie Huston, presents interesting facts in a clear, writing style, which again may help if preparing a report OR if you are trying to decide if the breed is for you.
Lorie Huston, DVM
Next comes a chapter all dog owners SHOULD read before purchase: “Choosing the Right Lab.” This chapter has a very valuable resource in it: a long list of reputable resources for pet adoption is included in the chapter. Then Chapter 3 talks about what all new owners have mixed feelings about: coming home! They are excited to bring their new puppies home; but if you are not prepared, disaster can occur! This book can help with the essentials. The rest of the book focuses on owning one of these fihe animals and even going for a vet visit. Anyone who is interested in owning a Labrador Retriever and leaving a comment or question for Lorie, please do. If you are looking for information on how to plan for a trip with a dog, use this book to help you, too! It’s a great resource for dog owners.
Don’t forget to enter the contest. Here’s the Rafflecopter form for the drawing.
I am happy to welcome middle-grade author Angela Shelton to my blog today for her book, The Adventures of Tilda Pinkerton (Book One: Crash-Landing on Ooleeoo). I am really excited about this book, which kind of reminds me of A Wrinkle in Time. If I was still teaching elementary school, I would choose this book as a read-aloud for sure! This would also be the perfect book for a parent/child book club or to read together before bedtime.
I have a copy to giveaway–print or e-copy–it’s the winner’s choice. To be entered to win, please leave a comment by December 23 at 8:00 pm CST. I will choose one winner using random.org.
Here is a short summary:
The Adventures of Tilda Pinkerton is a story of inter-galactic crisis with bionic bugs on a mission to capture the great Tilda Pinkerton and destroy her magical hats before she can spread her Light across the galaxy. Written in a wonderfully lyrical way that will appeal to fans of Dr. Seuss, Star Trek, Matilda Wormwood, and Harry Potter with every character’s name being a verbal play on their personalities. Quinn, for example, is Quinn Quisquilious, who works with rubbish to create new things. Belinda Balletomania is just that – obsessed with ballet. And of course Aaron Arachnophobia is the spider desperately afraid of himself.
Let’s join Angela and find out more about her book for middle-graders!
Margo: Welcome, Angela, and thanks for talking with us today! Tilda Pinkerton is a wonderful, lovely character, full of spunk, magic, and spirit! How did you create such a fantastical main character?
Angela: It’s me! Or at least the best me I could come up with. I wrote Tilda with all the aspects I would love to have more of: a vast vocabulary, magical powers, and direct contact with the light source!
Margo: Yes, we all need direct contact with the light source! What are some themes you are exploring in this first book?
Angela: I wanted to explore the theme of insecurity for one. It shows up in Tilda Pinkerton herself since she thinks she is deformed when in reality her deformity is her strength. It also shows up in little Maggie Mae who is mute since her mother disappeared and no longer sings or speaks. Turns out Maggie has a few tricks up her sleeve and more power than she realized, too.
Perception is the key word in Book One because I wanted to explore that what you think you know may not be true just because you were taught it–all your beliefs are based on your own perception. The book is also littered with many spiritual truths that I had fun sprinkling in and will show up more as the books progress.
Margo: I like that! “All your beliefs are based on your own perception.” So true! What led you to write a fantasy book?
Angela: I was a huge fantasy fanatic as a child and always had a dream to write fantasy. I love anything with magical trees and creating a book with trees you could ride like horses–I could not resist. But it all started with a meditation prayer asking what I should write next that would be great for kids and adults, and voilà–Tilda Pinkerton popped into my head.
Margo: How awesome is that! Who would you say is the perfect audience for your book? Whom do you envision reading it?
Angela: I originally wrote Tilda for 10-12 year old girls, the same age I was when I was reading the most fantasy; BUT lo and behold, the most people who are buying Tilda are women 50 and over. I was at a book signing yesterday, and it happened again, women 50 and over were the ones buying copies. So much for thinking I knew who I was writing for! Maybe Tilda is helping them connect with their 10-12 year old side again. Maybe they love clean, fun, and enlightening reads. I had a 12-year-old tell me that she really enjoyed Tilda and that it was very imaginative, but there was nothing inappropriate in it like there was in Twilight. I about fainted. The good news is that I wrote Tilda as a book I would want to read, whether I was 12 or 50: Who knew she would have such a wide audience? I did not!
Margo: I think it’s great, and actually as a children’s writer, sometimes I prefer reading books written for children. Us children’s writers are a talented bunch! While reading this book, I see a lot of ways that it can be “used.” One of the ways is the new vocabulary words you introduce and define on several of the book’s pages. What led you to do this?
Angela: Dinosaurs lead me to Tilda’s vocabulary! I play “Safe Side Superchick” in the Safe Side Series created by Baby Einstein’s Julie Clark, and I get recognized by kids all the time. I started being invited to their classrooms; and whenever I was around a group of kids, I would ask what they were loving to learn at the moment. The most common thing was dinosaurs. What struck me the most about it was how they knew exactly how to spell, pronounce, and explain each type of dinosaur. When I would try to get into the conversation and was incorrect about something to do with dinosaurs, I got the eye roll and the sigh–I just did not understand I was talking to experts! Seeing how well-versed the kids were in dinosaur speak, I wondered if they would be the same with large vocabulary. That is what brought the rare and sometimes difficult words into Tilda. But I know kids can handle it! (and 50+ women, too.)
Margo: Great, and I didn’t know that you were a Safe Side Series star, too. (smiles) On the front cover, it says, BOOK ONE! This means, readers are in luck–you are planning a series! What’s next for Tilda?
Angela: Someone kidnapped Tilda Pinkerton and she spends Book Two fighting to get away from her kidnappers and back to Ooleeoo to save Gladys, meanwhile discovering something horrible about Earth.
Margo: Poor Tilda–she can’t catch a break, huh? (laughs) Anything else you’d like to share about you, your books, or your writing world?
Angela: Buddy Balletomania is alive. That’s all I’m going to say. I am having so much fun creating Tilda and all of her friends. I learn as much vocabulary as Tilda shares, too; and though the general story is mapped out for 3 to 5 books, Tilda always surprises me, too.
Margo: As an author, those are the best kind of surprises. Congrats on your success, Angela. And readers, remember to leave a comment TO WIN COPY!
It’s National Children’s Book Week, a week to celebrate children’s books. There are no better! This week, I am taking part in a blog hop with other children’s bloggers from my publisher, Guardian Angel Publishing. (They are publishing one of my picture books, release date still to be determined.) Anyway, you can visit each blog this week for exceptional posts and a chance to win fabulous prizes! To enter, visit any of the blogs listed below and participate in the RAFFLECOPTER contest. If you’ve never done RAFFLECOPTER before, it is so easy–don’t be scared. You just do each step and then click the + points button to get credit for it. It is really important that you give yourself credit because Rafflecopter is collecting all the entries for us from all the blogs. If you don’t push the button, you won’t get credit, and you can’t win the fabulous prizes.
What are we giving away? (You can win either one.)
• One FREE Picture Book Manuscript Critique by Margot Finke
• One FREE tote bag of children’s books from the participating authors
Visit May 7-13, 2012 and automatically enter for a chance to win by commenting, become a GFC Follower, and/or become a Facebook fan or friend at each of the author blogs listed below.
So visit these each day for a new entry! You can win children’s books during CBW!
I’d like to kick off this week by talking about a new favorite at our house–my toddler LOVES this book. She wasn’t so sure it was great when I first brought it home from the hospital, but. . .I won her over, and it is now almost as popular as Brown Bear, Brown Bear. SO, the title is Farmyard Beat by Lindsay Craig. It starts out with the chicks who have the beat. Peep! Peep! Peep! So, of course, they wake up. . .SHEEP. . .who also have the beat–and they wake up cat, and so on. Soon, Farmer Sue hears the racket, and she comes to investigate. But those chicks, they just can’t help themselves. This book is so catchy that I walk around the house now singing it. I have it practically memorized, and my daughter claps to the beat. I think it’s appropriate fo
We all face obstacles in our lives. Some days it seems just too tough to go on, battling against our problems. The memoir RagDoll Redeemed: Growing Up in the Shadow of Marilyn Monroe will be an inspiration to everyone who reads it, no matter what demons they face in their own life. RagDoll Redeemed is the story of Dawn Novotny’s triumph over the problems that seemed destined to conquer her.
Early on, Dawn learned that her body could get her things she wanted . . . not luxuries like diamond rings or fancy clothes but simple things we all take for granted like food and safety. As the years passed, Dawn began a search for that thing all teenage girls want more than anything: love. She thought she found it with Joe DiMaggio Jr. but quickly learned that, like all the other men in her life, he was just interested in a trade. If she would fulfill his Marilyn fantasies, he would give her safety. RagDoll Redeemed is the story of Dawn’s realization that she would have to provide her own safety and her long journey to discover what love truly was.
Book Giveaway Contest: If you would like to win a copy of RagDoll Redeemed: Growing Up in the Shadow of Marilyn Monroe, please leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in the random drawing. The giveaway contest closes this Thursday, May 10 at 11:59 PM PST. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #Novotny, then come back and leave us a link to your tweet. We will announce the winner the following day--Friday, May 11. Good luck!
About the Author:
So many words describe Dawn Novotny: clinician, teacher, author, workshop leader, wife, mother, stepmother, grandmother, recovering addict, breast cancer survivor, reader, swing dancer, and snorkeler. But what she is most proud of is her ability to “thrive.” She thrived in the face of poverty, abuse, and addiction to finally become the woman she is today. She wrote her memoir to encourage other women to look past their difficulties to what is possible, to the women they should be.
Of course, Children’s Book Week is special to me–I am a children’s author, I blog about children’s books, and I am a parent (as well as former elementary school teacher). I think I love children’s and YA books better than adult books some times! And I know that I am not alone.
But why are children’s books so important? I believe it is not ONLY because they help us to learn to read and comprehend OR because they remind us of a special time in our childhood when our moms read to us or when we went to library programs or even read 100 books over the summer. Children and YA books are meant to be used.
That’s what my blog is all about. I’ve covered using children’s books (and some adult books, too) since August 2008. You can see by my categories in the sidebar that I’ve covered YA, middle-grade, and picture books, and you can see the many authors I’ve read and wrote about, too. One of my favorites for middle-graders is pictured here–the “Al Capone” books–these books help children who are struggling with a special family situation, such as a sister with autism. It’s a great read, too, with a loveable main character, and children won’t even realize they are learning family dynamics or about children with special needs. That’s why I love children’s books–they are so good at disguising the lesson.
You can use children’s books and YA novels to teach history, social studies, science, writing, reading skills–almost any curriculum objective in the classroom or home school can be covered with the right book. I have included three activities to go with most of the books listed here on about 80 percent of the posts in almost 4 years–these activities are easy and ready to use in the classroom or at home.
The best thing, though, is children’s books can be used to talk about things that are hard for children–from potty training with Elmo to dealing with suicide with Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why. Children can discuss joys and concerns through characters in books–that is a lot easier than talking about themselves.
So my hope for you is not just to read children’s books this week/summer/year, but to use them with a child or teen, too. You won’t be sorry!
And don’t forget to leave a comment below AND record that you did this in the Rafflecopter box to be entered to win a picture book critique or a bag of books from Guardian Angel Publishing.
PS: If you are interested in writing for children in magazines, picture books, middle-grade novels, or YA novels, check out WOW! Women On Writing’s classroom page. Our classes are economical and the teachers are professionals! Here’s the link: http://www.wow-womenonrwiting.com/WOWclasses.html. All classes are online and run this summer!
I’m writing today’s post as part of the WOW! Women on Writing’s “Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories” mass-blogging event celebrating the release of Finding Emma by Steena Holmes (www.steenaholmes.com).
Steena is a woman who believes that “in the end, all things succumb…to the passions of your heart.” Steena’s life revolves around her family, friends, and fiction. Add some chocolate into the mix, and she’s living the good life. She took those passions and made them a dream come true by pouring her heart into each of her stories.
Finding Emma, a novel about a mother who cannot accept her daughter is missing in spite of her life crumbling around her, has quickly become a bestseller. Proceeds from each book will be donated to The Missing Children’s Society of Canada – an organization dedicated to reuniting families. Visit www.mcsc.ca for more information.
If you comment on this post by Friday night 11:59 pm CST or any of the others participating in the “Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories” day, you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of Finding Emma!
To read Steena’s childhood memories and view a list of other blogs participating in the “Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories” day, please visit The Muffin (WOW!’s blog).
So, what’s my childhood memory I’m going to write about? Well, I’m going to write about the first time I can remember that I started to READ THESE BOOKS and USE THEM (of course). My mom stayed home with me before I went to kindergarten, and I was an only child. I stopped taking an afternoon nap when I was in the twos. As any stay-at-home mom can tell you, this is not a good thing–every mother, no matter how much they love their children, needs an afternoon break. So, I had a rule that I didn’t have to sleep, but I had to stay in my room for a certain amount of time each day in the afternoon.
So, what would I do with this “in my room, entertain myself” time? Well, I would line up ALL of my stuffed animals on my bed, (about 20 to 25), get out all of my books off my bookshelf, and read to them in bed. Even at 4 years old, I knew that books were important and they needed to be used–even if they were being used to NOT TAKE A NAP and entertain a trunk load of stuffed animals!
If this is the first time you’ve visited my blog, welcome! I generally blog about children’s books and how to use them with kids and teens. I like to participate in events like today–it keeps blogging fun and makes you feel part of a community.
I would love for you to share a favorite childhood memory with me in your comments. Remember, one lucky winner from all the participating blogs will win a signed copy of FINDING EMMA! (If you don’t have time to leave a memory, we would love to even hear HI! and you’ll be entered to win.)
The book featured here today, Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore, is an adult book about traveling in Italy (considered narrative travel nonfiction). I am hosting the author with a guest post written by her later on this month. She’s full of enthusiasm and inspiration and a love for life. Her book is travel writing at its finest!
Sure, it’s pretty easy to love your life when you are traveling in Italy and breezing through it without too much trouble. But how do you love your life when thing aren’t going so smoothly?
I know people who write something they are thankful for every day on Facebook. I’ve done gratitude journals. I’ve stopped pity parties in their tracks by thinking of all the blessings I have, especially when I hear of troubles that others are going through. Mine are nothing in comparison.
But as of RIGHT NOW, I’ll tell you why and how I love my life every day, why I’m excited to get up and get going. Sure, I love reading and I love writing. But I love my life right here at home because of. . .
I don’t think there’s much left to say. Doing silly things with these two amazing bodies is how I love my life.
The following is a book trailer for Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore and you can find out more wonderful information about the book and author here:
I wrote today’s post as part of the WOW! Women on Writing’s “The Art of Loving Your Life” Blanket Tour, celebrating the release of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore (currently 99 cents on Amazon Kindle) by Barbara Conelli.
Barbara is an internationally published best-selling author and seasoned travel writer specializing in Italy. In her charming, delightful and humorous Chique Books filled with Italian passion, Barb invites women to explore Italy from the comfort of their home with elegance, grace, and style, encouraging them to live their own Dolce Vita no matter where they are in the world.
Her latest book, Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore, offers an intimate view into the unpredictable and extravagant city of Milan, its glamorous feminine secrets, the everyday magic of its dreamy streets, the passionate romance of its elegant hideaways, and the sweet Italian art of delightfully falling in love with your life wherever you go.
If you comment on today’s post on this blog or any of the others participating in The Art of Loving Your Life tour, you’ll b
Just like Ray, Clover Hobart is not willing to let a little bit of age—or, in Clover's case age and invisibility—get in her way to become a source of inspiration to those around her. Well, at first Clover is a little hesitant about her invisibility, but who wouldn't be? She's a fifty-ish mother of two who has been feeling a little invisible since she stopped being a reporter (she's downgraded now and simply writes the newspaper's gardening column) to take care of her family.
Besides the gardening column and figuring out how to re-use poinsettias, her unemployed son, Nick, has returned to the family nest and her doctor husband, Arthur, has a busy practice. This pair keeps Clover seemingly in domestic handcuffs. While Evie, her overly dramatic daughter, is busy at college until heartbreak hits and she, too, heads home.
Clover's story seems like an imperfect, everyday suburban tale. It's nothing out of the ordinary. Imperfect and ordinary, until Clover wakes up one morning and can't see herself. But Nick and Arthur don't seem to notice. For. Weeks. Gilda, Clover's next-door neighbor and best friend, and her mother-in-law notice, but then they always notice everything, don't they?
Clover can keep filing her newspaper column and keep the family running, even as an invisible person. Then, one day she notices a want ad "Calling Invisible Women" and Clover knows that she is not alone. And, although it is tricky to find another invisible woman, Clover manages to find them and Clover starts to learn how she ended up invisible. But they also teach Clover a more important lesson: how to live as an invisible woman. In turn, Clover's ability to deal with her invisibility helps to drive her to become more visible, in subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways.
Ray does a believable job of showing Clover among others—those who can see her and those who can't. As Clover becomes more comfortable in her invisible skin, she can take on all kinds of jobs and chores—even snooping on husbands or kids who might be up to no good.
Clover starts connecting and learning from the group of invisible women, which gives them all the support mechanism they need to re-enter society as teachers and nurses and reporters. Clover is challenged in many ways she never thought possible and along the way, she becomes a source of inspiration, albeit invisible.
Even if not familiar with Ray's other works, Calling Invisible Women is approachable. Sure, it's hard to imagine how the invisibility concept may work, in practice, Ray may have been smiling when she wrote it. But, yes, she brings her readers in on the jokes, which makes Calling Invisible Women a fun summer read.
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Divorce has become a common part of our culture. We accept it, we claim to understand it, but often we're looking at it from an adult's point of view. What does divorce look like from the other side? Do they see divorce as a new beginning, the bridge to a better life, as something that just "happens"?
In Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg's debut novel The Divorce Girl, readers are invited to look at divorce through the eyes of Deborah, a teenager who is an unwilling witness to her parents' divorce and new lives. The divorce of this average couple in the New Jersey suburbs during the 1970s propels Deborah to the biggest flea market in the free world, a Greek diner with immigration issues, a New York City taxi company, a radical suburban synagogue, and a hippie-owned boutique. The Divorce Girl combines humor, sadness, and the many faces of love while recording the transformation of a broken girl into a strong woman.
Book Giveaway Contest: If you would like to win a copy of The Divorce Girl, please leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in the random drawing. The giveaway contest closes thisThursday, July 12 at 11:59 PM PST. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #DivGrl, then come back and leave us a link to your tweet. We will announce the winner the following day—Friday, July 13. Good luck!
About the Author:
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the Poet Laureate of Kansas, and the author of 14 books, including a forthcoming nonfiction book, Needle in the Bone: How a Holocaust Survivor and Polish Resistance Fighter Beat the Odds and Found Each Other (Potomac Books); The Sky Begins At Your Feet: A Memoir on Cancer, Community & Coming Home to the Body (Ice Cube Books); the anthologies An Endless Skyway: Poetry from the State Poets Laureate (co-editor, Ice Cube Books) and Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems (editor, Woodley Press); and four collections of poetry. Founder of Transformative Language Arts—a master's program in social and personal transformation through the written, spoken and sung word—at Goddard College where she teaches, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely. With singer Kelley Hunt, she co-writes songs, offers collaborative performances, and leads writing and singing Brave Voice retreats.
I am very excited to be a part of Blacklisted from the PTA‘s birthday party! I first met the author, Lela Davidson, at the Missouri Writers’ Guild conference in St. Louis in April. She’s a riot, and I liked her immediately! When I read the title of her book and saw the subject matter was not your typical parenting book, then I knew I had to have it.
I read it and laughed and smiled all the way through. You see, I, myself, am not a typical parent–I’m not that into crafts (I do like to scrap book, though), I don’t bake, and I don’t like to cook. Sometimes, I let my toddler eat meals in front of the TV, watching Family Feud or Big Bang Theory, and I take her everywhere with me, including to Weight Watchers and writing conferences and critique groups. As a matter of fact, she is lying here beside me in the bed sleeping while I write this blog post because she woke up from her nap when I took a shower, screamed her head off, and when I laid down with her to calm her down, she fell back asleep. So, I grabbed my computer and started blogging. . .
Anyway, back to Lela, you will love this book. You will want to buy two copies and give one to a friend. You COULD win one if you leave a comment for Lela and me below (she is giving out e-books OR hard copies). You can tell us WHY you are the type of parent who might be blacklisted from the PTA OR why you are Mrs. Cleaver from Leave it to Beaver. You can ask a question or just leave a comment like, “Sounds like a good book.” As long as you leave it by Sunday, July 29 at 8:00 pm CST, you are entered to win. If you have a mailing address outside the United States, you may only have the choice of an e-book.
Here’s my review of Lela’s book:
Take some time to see how one real, honest mom deals with forgotten piano recitals, date nights with her husband and those pesky questions children always ask at the wrong moments. Lela Davidson shares the stories of her motherhood experience in several hysterical, true essays in the book, Blacklisted from the PTA.
Davidson states in her introduction that she didn’t plan to write this book. She wanted to write a novel: “one of those quirky romantic titles that get made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon or Kate Winslet.” She said she didn’t know how to do that, so she set out to learn. While she was learning, she wrote the essays in this book.
“All I seemed to be good at was sitting on the driveway drinking boxed Chardonnay and talking to my friends,” Davidson writes. “So that’s what I wrote—the stories that made us laugh.”
And that is exactly what these stories do—they make you laugh. They also make you realize that you’re not alone. Every mother has the idyllic dream of how she’s going to approach her babies and handle motherhood. She looks back at her own childhood and says either, “I’m going to be just like my mom,” or “I will never do that to my children.”
I am thrilled to share with you two super cute picture books by a TexHEN named Aunt Judy, who writes and illustrates (SO CUTE!) Chickens on the GO! and Chickens in the Know!. Aunt Judy was generous enough to send me both of her picture books, which I am sure any young reader will LOVE, and so I am keeping one for my daughter and giving one away to a lucky reader! To win Chickens in the Know!, please leave a comment below. You can either say, PICK ME! or SOUNDS GREAT! or tell us your favorite professHEN, such as constructHEN workers or librariHENS. That’s what this book is all about–how the world is full of people who have different jobs, and we need EACH ONE to make the world go around.
The book I am keeping, but one you can purchase from Aunt Judy is Chickens on the GO! It is the perfect classroom book for young children and the perfect home school book for your young readers. The premise is that the world is made up of people who are different nationalities such as: JapHENese, BritHENS, AfricHENS, and AmericHENS. (SO CUTE–I’m telling you!) Aunt Judy tells readers something about the people/culture in each country she covers–in a catchy rhyme. She makes the point that everyone is different, but that’s okay! (Perfect in this world of bullying–the old-fashioned and cyber way) The repeating phrase in the book is: “It doesn’t matter where we’re from. We’re all chickens–let’s have fun!”
You can use Chickens on the GO! to discuss with young children how differences make us unique and special and even how where we are from affects our lives, but that’s what also makes us special. You can do geography lessons with this book–showing students where each HEN comes from as well as have children do more research on each HEN’s culture. The possibilities with this book are endless. Aunt Judy has several resources on her website, too at http://www.chickensonthego.com/Lesson%20Plans.htm. Don’t miss the lesson plans and puzzles she has created.
If you are interested in finding out more and purchasing this book, Chickens on the GO!, or its companion about careers, Chickens in the Know!, please see Aunt Judy’s website at: http://www.chickensonthego.com/books.htm .
Don’t forget, you can win a copy. On the back of the book, it says these books are for ages 1 to 99–no kidding! So, let me know your favorite professHEN or just say PICK ME! Contest ends on Sunday night, December 11 at 8:00 pm CST. Winner must have a U.S. or Canada mailing address.
WOW! is very happy to welcome back Journaling Guru Mari L. McCarthy who is here to share her new eBook Dark Chocolate for the Journaler’s Soul (doesn’t that sound decadent?). This time Mari is treating us to a very special tour filled with wonderful treats so read on...
Settle back and relax while 17 journaling experts share:
What you should do when you find yourself cheating on your journal
How you can make the Blank Page work for you
What it's like to reconnect with your Inner Kid
How journal writing hastens healing
What the best time of day to journal is
and many more journal writing tips and tricks, ideas and inspiration that will help you jumpstart your personal journal practice for the first time or the four hundredth time.
Dark Chocolate is a community of journalers sharing what they love, and since the holidays are all about community, friendship, and a bit of self indulgence there is no better time to share Dark Chocolate.
Special Tour Price! The 51 page Dark Chocolate for the Journaler's Soul eBook will be available through January 6th at the Special Tour Price of $7.97 when you order direct from Mari at Create Write Now. Available as a pdf and eBook for iPhone, Nook, and Kindle.
Book & Journal Kit Giveaway Contest: Happy Holidays! Win a copy of Dark Chocolate for the Journaler’s Soul AND a Journaler’s Jumpstarter Kit. The kit consists of Create Write Now’s Signature Journal (spiral bound), Mari’s Most Musefull Journaling Tips (spiral bound), and an intoxicating Lavender Scented Pen (the actual pen is scented, not the ink).
To win a copy of Dark Chocolate for the Journaler’s Soul and Mari’s Jumpstarter Kit, please leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in a random drawing. The giveaway contest closes this Thursday, December 8th at 11:5
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Does it drive you crazy to happen upon the third or fourth book in a fabulous series? You love the book but aren't sure if you're "getting" it all. Who are these people? Why do they keep talking about landscaping or Shakespeare or pineapples? Well, today's your chance to get in on the ground floor of an up-and-coming book series the Bibliophiles with Book One: A Whisper to a Scream. Don't miss it...Book Two will be released early next year!
How are friendships created? Shared history. Common interests. Membership in the same community, whether it be an actual community, a work community, even the "we ride on the same commuter train every morning" community. What if the only tenuous tie binding you together was a once a month meeting at a Classics Book Club? Could you create a friendship? Could you confide the secrets in your heart...even if you each want what the other has?
In A Whisper to a Scream, Annie and Sarah are two women who become unlikely friends after both joining a book club. For a long time each of them has held secret wishes in her heart, just whispers really. But those secret wishes have been growing more and more insistent, the call to change her life screams to each woman. Can these polar opposites help each other decide whether to choose new lives or settle for the old familiar ways? Paperback: 278 pages (and e-formats) Publisher: CreateSpace ISBN-10: 145659365X ISBN-13: 978-1456593650 Twitter Hashtag: #Bibliophiles1
A Whisper to a Scream, the first book in the Bibliophiles series is available for purchase in both print and e-formats at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Book Giveaway Contest: If you would like to win a copy of A Whisper to a Scream, please leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in the random drawing. The giveaway contest closes this Thursday, December 15 at 11:59 pm PST. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #Bibliophiles1, then come back and leave us a link to your tweet. We will announce the winner in the comments section of this post on the following day Friday, December 16. Good luck!
About the Author:
Karen Wojcik Berner lives a provincial life tucked away with her family in the Chicago suburbs. It was good enough for Jane Austen, right? However, dear Miss Austen had the good fortune to be born amid the glorious English countryside, something Karen unabashedly cov
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I am so happy to launch my good friend and great author, Margaret Norton’s, blog tour today for her book, When Ties Break. Margaret Norton is a writer, speaker, personal life coach, and It Works! distributor. She blogs about her life at http://healthy-n-fitgranny.com. Her first book, When Ties Break: A Memoir About How to Thrive After Loss, is available as an e-book for just 99 cents on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with grand kids, reading, traveling, photography, and dancing.
**And even more exciting, Margaret is giving away fabulous prizes to go along with her Celebrate 60 blog tour and re-launch of her book. Here are details: **
Leave a comment on this post to enter into Margaret’s Celebrate 60 blog tour contest. Margaret is celebrating her 60th birthday by giving away three grand prizes: a 30-minute FREE life coaching session (by phone—for U.S. residents only), her memoir in paperback (for U.S. residents only), and her memoir in e-book (for anyone!) format. Each blogger participating in the tour will randomly select one winner from all the comments and enter that name into the grand prize drawing. Margaret will contact the three grand prize winners for their choice of prize the week of 2/27 and announce winners on her blog on March 2.
***For extra entries into the contest, please tweet about the contest, using the hashtag #Celebrate60 OR tweet about why you love being the age you are! (Don’t forget to use the hashtag.) Anyone who tweets with #Celebrate60 will get an extra entry into the contest for the three grand prizes. Any questions? E-mail ME, Margo, Margaret’s publicist, at margo (at) margodill.com .
Now here’s a guest post from Margaret herself!
Never Give-Up on Your Dream to be a Writer
Several years ago, at the age of 58, I published my first book. It was the first thing that I had written – except for church bulletins, family Christmas letters, and business correspondence – in 35 years. During my book tour, I did a signing in the town where I attended high school and had lunch with my best friend from the 9th and 10th grade. My contact with her had been sporadic through the years for various reasons. As we spent time together and talked about school events, memories came flooding back. She told me that in the 9th grade I had wanted to be a writer.
Wanted to be a writer? How did I forget that? What happened to that dream? How did I get so far off course? My working life included a combination of owning my own businesses, working for non-profit agencies and 17 years trying to climb the corporate ladder. There was very little writing and very little encouragement to develop my creativity. I married young, had a family, and then divorced. And repeated that several times. Life got in the way. I needed to earn enough money to raise my family and sought jobs with the highest income potential rather than following my heart. My life came to an abrupt crossroads in 2004 after the death of eight individuals connected to me.
Write to heal is what my therapist suggested. During the first few months of 2005, I poured all my thoughts onto paper. Why did bad things happen to good people? One thing led to another. I found myself going all the way back to my childhood,
I am super excited that I am hosting Meredith Zeitlin today on her blog tour for the wonderful YA book, Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters! I am also excited to tell you that we have a copy to giveaway, so after you read the synopsis and Meredith’s guest post and watch the book trailer, you will be super inspired to write a comment or question to Meredith. Then I will choose one of you lucky commenters to win this book on Sunday night, March (OMG, MARCH, already!!) 4 and announce the winner on Monday. If you are a tweeter, you can also tweet this contest with the hashtag #FrYrDisasters. Then come back and put the URL of your tweet in a comment for another chance to win.
Let’s say you’re fourteen and live in New York City. You’d think your life would be like a glamorous TV show, right? And yet . . . You don’t have a checking account, much less a personal Black American Express card. You’ve never been to a club, and the only couture in your closet is a Halloween costume your mom made from an old laundry bag.
In other words? You’re Kelsey Finkelstein – fourteen and frustrated. Every time she tries to live up to her awesome potential, her plans are foiled. Kelsey wants to rebrand herself for high school to make the kind of mark she knows is her destiny. But just because Kelsey has a plan for greatness . . . it doesn’t mean the rest of the world is in on it.
Kelsey’s hilarious commentary and sardonic narration of her freshman year will have readers laughing out loud – while being thankful that they’re not in her shoes, of course.
About the Author: Meredith Zeitlin is a writer and voiceover artist who lives in Brooklyn with two adorable feline roommates. She also writes a column for Ladygunn Magazine, changes her hair color every few months, and has many fancy pairs of spectacles. In case you’re wondering whether any of Kelsey’s experiences are based on Meredith’s own, the answer is NO WAY. When she was fourteen, Meredith looked and behaved perfectly at all times, was never in a single embarrassing situation, and always rode to school on her very own unicorn.
And now a few words from Meredith. . . When I was twelve or so, pretty much everything my parents – particularly my mother – said to me, suggested, invited me to, or insisted I do seemed to pretty obviously be one more attempt to ruin my entire life. (Don’t worry, parents of teens, I eventually got over it. I even dedicated my book to my mom – although, if we’re splitting hairs here, I’m still pretty sure she’s trying to drive me crazy…)
One of the very few exceptions to the rule was books. My mom and I had a special bond over words and language and reading. My dad wasn’t a big book person; in fact, I never saw him reading one, ever. But my mother was an English teacher and a huge bookworm; and despite the million and one things she did that made it seem impossible to believe she was my real mother, I was always elated when she came home with a new paperback or three for me or invited me to ride with her to the library. And we read each other’s books, too – nothing was off-limits in my house in the literature department. Looking back now, I realize how grown up it made me feel to be allowed to read her books. I can also see how u
I am excited to be giving away Stranger Moon and doing it with Rafflecopter for the first time! I would love it if you tried out Rafflecopter with me by doing as many of the tasks as you can below and then getting all the possible points to win this AWESOME book. The contest goes until Sunday, March 11 at midnight (so enter on Saturday or before), and it is open to anyone–(Canada and U.S.–you can get a hard copy; overseas–you can get an e-book). So, here we go. . .
Stranger Moon by Heather Zydek
*Middle-grade novel, contemporary fiction
*12-year-old girl as main character
*Rating: I loved Stranger Moon! I think middle-grade readers will, too. It has several boy characters that are friends with Gaia, and it has bugs (LOL), so I think it will appeal to both boys and girls. If you have a child being bullied, this book is great conversation starter.
Short, short summary: It’s summer break, and Gaia is searching for a Luna moth after she finds a Luna moth wing pressed between the pages of an old insect guide. When she convinces her friends to go with her to search for the moth, they encounter a strange woman in the woods who EATS bugs. She freaks them out, of course, but she also peaks their interest, and they go on a hunt to find out whom she is. In the meantime, they pick up another misunderstood classmate, encounter the bullies– THE EMMAS, and deal with their own issues. Gaia has a father who pays NO ATTENTION to her since her mother died, and she is tired of feeling like she’s invisible in her own home. So, as you can see, there’s a lot going on in this book. As more information is revealed about the mystery woman, readers can try to guess her identity. Once it’s discovered, they can debate what they would do with the info. The author does a great job of moving the story forward and tying up all these subplots in the end.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. This is a terrific book to open up conversations with children about how they are feeling at home, about bullying, about friendships, and so on. Use the characters in the book. How did you feel when Gaia and her friends got into the big fight? What do you think about the Emmas? and so on.
2. Your young readers may or may not be into insects. If they are, then ask them to find out about Luna moths on their own. If they aren’t, what are they passionate about? What would they spend their summer vacation searching for? Have them write a journal entry about this and compare themselves to Gaia.
3. The characters in this book are complex and well-developed–they are perfect for character studies. You could teach character motivation, character feelings, and even problem-solving (how characters solve problems in the story). Allow students to choose their favorite character and then write a letter as if they are that character. They could also write a journal entry.
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below! Please email margo (at) margodill.com if you run into any problems.
I have several things to discuss today, so this post is going to be a little different than the usual. First, I was lucky enough to get my free 48-hour copy of Wisdom, The Midway Albatross on Friday for the anniversary of the Japanese tsunami. Darcy’s book, with illustrations by Kitty Harvill, is beautiful. It’s an inspiring and beautiful story, along with wonderful illustrations. Wisdom, an albatross living on Midway, has survived tropical storms, a tsunami, hurricanes, and more, and she is still alive and giving birth! What an amazing survival story. Kids will love it, and they will be sitting on the edge of their seats and waiting in anticipation to see if Wisdom lives to see another year toward the end of the book. Darcy did an amazing job with the story and Kitty with the illustrations. I highly recommend you check it out and share it with some children!
I wanted to announce the winner of Stranger Moon, a middle-grade, adventure story written by Heather Zydek. The winner is Clara Gillow Clark! Congratulations!
Do you know someone who needs help to get started on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In? or Someone who is struggling with setting up promotion on these three sites. Or maybe it’s you. Maybe you are having trouble finding friends on Facebook or setting up your author page? Maybe Twitter hashtags make your head spin. Are you having trouble figuring out how to ask for recommendations on Linked In? If so, then consider taking my beginning social networking ONLINE class, starting on Friday. It is a super easy and laid back format.
Here is the COURSE DESCRIPTION: This beginners’ class will teach writers how to set up a profile on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and connect with people they know; to build a following of fans; to start working on a brand/image; and to promote books, articles, magazines, and blogs. Instead of using Facebook and Twitter to write about your fabulous dinner or disastrous day at the grocery store, you will begin to learn to sell yourself and your writing! This class is for beginners—if you already use all three of these social networks on a daily basis and are interested in learning more about how to market yourself on them, then you’ll want to take Margo’s Advanced Social Networking class.
Finally, I am a Juice in the City affiliate, although I am not very good at it. Anyway do you see on my sidebar the black and pink box that says JUICE IN THE CITY? This widget will take you to a website that offers all kinds of deals–many of them are local (and by this I mean specific to a certain place such as Atlanta or LA), but some are nationwide because they are Internet companies. Many of them are great deals for MOMs or TEACHERS or GRANDPARENTS. If I notice any from time to time, I will make sure to point them out in my posts. So, I am doing this for today’s post:
You can get $45 worth of kids’ clothes for $22 from a place called Little Froglet. (Photo courtesy of Juice in the City/Little Froglet)
Once in a while comes a book so encompassing of experience it holds the potential to touch each person’s heart. WOW’s own Chynna Laird has written such a book; today we are very proud to share with you White Elephants, a memoir.
White Elephant is a term used to describe a difficult issue people would rather overlook or ignore. Chynna’s family had a very large elephant devouring their very foundation and the only person willing to name it was a small girl named Tami who stood her ground against the charging pachyderm.
The heart of this raging beast is a mother thrown out of control by bipolar disorder and alcoholic binges. Despite loving relatives and friends, the children find themselves alone in a world of pain and confusion. Where others may have crumbled, Tami raised herself up.
As an adult Tami took on her first name, Chynna; this is her remarkable story of abuse, survival, and triumphant recovery. White Elephants will touch your heart. Within these pages you might see your own story, or that of a neighbor or your best friend.
Chynna couldn't help her mother, but she would consider it worth everything if her family's story helped another. That said, writing a memoir and promoting that memoir are two very separate experiences. It takes a strong soul to reveal what, for many of us, still lies in the closet. We feel honored to launch White Elephants on The Muffin today.
Book Giveaway Contest: If you would like to win a copy of White Elephants, please leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in the random drawing. The giveaway contest closes this Thursday, April 19 at 11:59 PM PST. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #WhtElephts, then come back and leave us a link to your tweet. We will announce the winner the following day--Friday, April 20. Good luck!
Have you ever daydreamed about leaving your everyday life behind? Charlotte "Charley" Parkhurst, the woman who inspired the novel The Whip, had that dream. But it wasn't boredom that made her muse about a new life. It was something much darker: revenge.
After her family was murdered all she wanted was to avenge their deaths. To do that she left everything behind: her home, her life, even her sex. She headed West, disguised as a man, searching for the murderer. As a man, Parkhurst found a job as a stagecoach driver, found fame as the killer of an outlaw and even found love in unexpected places. But none of it was as important as the search for the man who had destroyed her family.
The Whip is full of characters that truly show you who put the "wild" in Wild West. It's a book full of adventure, romance, and history that is almost too amazing to believe. It's a book that makes you wonder, how far would I go for love?
The Whip is available as a print and e-book at Barnes & Noble and Amazon, as well as your local independent bookstore.
We don't have a written interview for you today because Karen is traveling on her book signing tour across the southwest--through various storms, no less!--but we interviewed her for a feature article, It's Not Easy Being a Historical Fiction Writer: Experts' Insight into the Genre, in the latest issue of WOW! And we have a video interview she conducted with NPR radio book critic Peter Robinson, below. They chat about The Whip while sitting in an old Wells Fargo Stagecoach. Enjoy!
Book Giveaway Contest: If you would like to win a copy of The Whip, please leave a comment or ask a question to be entered in the random drawing. The giveaway contest closes this Thursday, April 26 at 11:59 PM PST. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #WhipNovel, then come back and leave us a link of your tweet. We will announce the winner the following day, Friday, April 27. Good luck!
About the author:
Karen Kondazian’s life dream was to be a CIA spy . . . until she turned eight and she was invited to appear on Art Linkletter’s Kids Say the Darndest Things. After several days of missing school to tape the show Karen realized that acting was indeed her true calling. Karen has an extensive list of both theatre and television roles she’s pla
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Journaling, like any writing adventure or exercise program, tends to be cyclical—there are the times when you can’t wait to get-to-it and times when you can’t get started. Mari has the fix! It is her new workbook, Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days.
In this workbook, Mari addresses the most common roadblocks we come against in our journaling practice, from writer’s block and lack of time to finding motivation and silencing our inner critic. Whether you are new to journaling or need to climb out of a slump, these seven days of writing prompts will get you moving in the right direction.
While looking through this book, my first important realization was that I relate journaling to assigned writing—it’s a chore. Mari opens the book with a collage project! Perfect for drawing out my inner child and re-associating journaling time with play time. Sue Bradford Edwards tells us more about Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days, and shows us her collage, in her book review.
I haven’t worked through this book yet because I’m waiting to work through it with you! Join me for Mari’s upcoming Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days ChallengeJune 4-10 and we will re-discover journaling together! Signing up for the challenge is free. See what fellow WOW! team member, Anne Greenawalt, had to say about the challenge in the video below!
Give your journaling a true jumpstart with Mari’s Journaling Jumpstarter Kit and an ecopy (.pdf) of Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days! The Journaling Jumpstarter Kit includes Create Write Now's Signature Journal (spiral bound), 85 of Mari's Most Musefull Journaling Tips (spiral bound) and luscious lavender scented pen. Simply leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in the random drawing. The giveaway contest closes thisThursday, May 3 at 11:59 PM PST. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #7DaysStartDisplay CommentsAdd a Comment
Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days
by Mari L. McCarthy
Today, I welcome back Mari L. McCarthy, whom I just love. She knows everything about journaling, inspiring writers, and encouraging everyone to do their very best! In the winter, I took her 28-day journaling challenge; and I found that journaling can really help you get out all those worries, so that you can concentrate on the important matters like your WIP. Journaling is for everyone–teachers, parents, writers, librarians, and students.
Mari is back with a new book and new Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days Challenge, which will be June 4-10. It’s free to do the challenge–you just have to purchase the workbook, OR you can purchase the workbook and do it on your own at any time. For more information about this, go to Mari’s website: http://www.createwritenow.com/start-journaling-workbook
Today, Mari has written a wonderful post about taking some time to play around with your creativity. She gives you several ways to do this. If you are a teacher, you could have your students do these, too.
And we are having a giveaway! Please leave a comment below or a question for Mari by Sunday night, May 6, and one winner will be chosen by random.org. The winner may choose either an e-copy of Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days, the spiral-bound version, or one of Mari’s signature t-shirts (see photo). So, let’s “hear” what Mari has to say and leave a comment below!
Just Playing Around
(GUEST POST BY Mari L. McCarthy)
How long has it been since you played? I’m referring to the kind of playing that you used to do when you were five. Playing nonsensically, just following your nose, moving, imagining, making noise, being silly and crazy without thought or inhibitions. Making up your own rules, focused myopically on your story, you are no longer yourself; you’ve become the narrative unfolding.
The older we get, the less time we spend playing. It’s sort of sad. Thank goodness, there’s journal writing to help keep us young.
If it’s been far too long since you had a bunch of fun just playing around, pull up a journal and start being foolish.
• Scribble, for instance. Put the tip of the pen on the paper and let it move. Follow, do not lead it. No thoughts or objectives. No rhyme or reason. Just line, shape, marks on paper.
• Get a charcoal stick from the art supply store or a marker with a broad-to-fine tip and play with light and dark, thick and thin, line and space on the page.
• Doodle, drawing the cartoons, sketches, and stick figures that occur to you randomly, without precedent or meaning.
• Paste bits of this and that together in your journal to make a collage. This may be scraps of anything around you, whether 2- or 3-dimensional; it may be souvenirs from a walk in nature, or a selection of images from magazines or photos.
• Make up a story in your journal: a fantasy, mystery, romance, or melodrama. Describe exotic characters, adventures, and intrigues.
• Write a stream-of-consciousness list of words–both real and imaginary words. Let them spill out one after the other.