Writing with my girls

Wow how time flies. I really wish I had more time to write, but at the moment work and the kids are consuming all my energy. I love it of course, certainly not complaining. However recently my girls have become interested in Mummy’s writing. Mmmmm does this give me more time to write??? Well no, but it does mean more stories are being churned out in a very short time frame. So for my big girl we have recently written:

Magic the Meerkat.

Every morning Magic the Meerkat would climb the tallest tree, to look out on the world, as far as she could see.

One morning before the sun came up, Magic the Meerkat was a very naughty pup.

She dug her way under the fence, and ran off into the grass, so long, green and dense.

Soon Magic heard some noisy chattering. So she ran off to see who was nattering.

This was pretty cool. She gave me all the animals for MAgic to visit and of course named MAgic. I then put it all together. My girl used her photos and colouring skills to illustrate it and we made it into a great picture book. Right now we are working on another animal picture book:

Michi Goes to the Sea Lion Olympics.

Will post some of that later.

With My little girl it is a little bit easier. We have made a picture book about Monkeys – which she wrote completly, its like one of her readers (she is just over 3 and a half). This all about what Monkeys like. Her colouring was quite spectacular, the best rainbow monkeys I have ever seen. We are currently putting together a book about all the things she can do at gymnastics. Her next book will be about Lexi the Sea Lion.

Its so much fun writing with the girls and they love to take their books to school / child care. I am actually thinking about putting the stories toegther into their own book of short stories. SO you never know next year I may publish the first instalements of Maddy’s Magical Moments and Aijay’s Amazing Adventures!

Sounds like a good plan.

That’s all for now, but if you are interested in entering giveaways and reading other books then check out Jo Michaels blog party: http://jomichaels.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/a-few-of-my-favorite-blogs-part-8-of.html You may even score a copy of Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist. Additionally for the next two months I will donate $1 from either of my books to the placement of Tug our next Labs ‘n Life companion dog. More about this placement later. Until then my books can be purchased from:

http://sbpra.com/ashleyhowland/

http://www.strategicbookpublishing.com/Ghostnapped.html

Remeber to comment here or tweet me if you purchase so I can get that donation ready!

INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders by L.Leander

It is my pleasure to introduce you to L.Leander, author of INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders. The inspiration for this story comes from…..

I have always had an overactive imagination.  When I was a child growing up in Michigan I dreamed of seeing the world and after I read Toby Tyler I was determined join the circus.   The settings and animals drew me in.  When the circus came to our small farming community it was a really big deal.  My siblings and I begged our parents to take us and once there I was entranced by the sights and sounds; the hustle and bustle; the calls of the food hawkers, the smells of cotton candy and popcorn mixed with the odor of hay and animal dung.  It held a fascination for me I can’t explain.  I read everything I could get my hands on at the library and planned my escape.  Mind you, I had a wonderful childhood and didn’t want to run away for any reason other than the excitement and anticipation of wanting to be part of something so grand and exciting.  I was especially taken with an elephant that did tricks and a woman in a glittery costume who rode him in the ring.  She looked so grand and happy.  I was determined to be just like her when I grew up.

Of course, the next year I decided to be something else when I was older and put dreams of the circus away.  The one thing I remember about those young days is that my mother was supportive.  She told me I could be whatever I wanted to be (and I didn’t have to run away).  Smart woman!  I never lost my fascination with the circus, though.  As an adult I am still interested in all things circus.  I lead my children in a 4-H Clowning class.  I have been to several circuses since those young days and it never loses the magic.

 Q) Tell us about your novel, INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders. Where did you get the idea for this story and how did you include research into your writing?

I didn’t really decide to write about the circus – it chose me.  I sat down one night and the words flew from my fingers faster than I could type them.  Inzared demanded to be heard and I loved meeting her, the Gypsy circus family who took her in and, especially, Cecil the elephant.

Inzared was an interesting character to write about.  She spoke to me in her local dialect from the Appalachian hills of North Carolina.  I actually wrote the entire book initially in that voice but changed it to be more readable. She comes from a different type of family than mine, misunderstood by her parents and very poor.  She knows there is a big world outside her little mountain home and when an opportunity comes she seizes it and never looks back.  That isn’t to say she doesn’t feel guilty – she just knows it’s something she has to do.

Research is my favorite part of writing.  I have pages of notes and have been in contact with circus museum curators all over the world.  They are a wonderful bunch of people, gladly answering my questions about circus trivia in pre-Civil war America.  I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the Gypsy people, who are often misunderstood and are close-knit people.  As I said, I have read everything I can get my hands on about circus performers and the lives they lead.  There seems to be a common thread in these folks – confidence and the desire to entertain.  I tried to incorporate those traits in my characters.

 

Q) Have you drawn inspiration from other aspects of your life to develop your writing, if so where does that inspiration come from?

A lot of inspiration was way of life during the time period I write in (mid 1800’s).  I have done Civil War Reenactment with my brother and sister-in-law and we actually live life during those reenactments exactly as it would have been in the day.  Growing up in small farming communities in Michigan I learned to be self-sufficient, growing gardens, canning, sewing, cooking, churning butter, butchering and the like.   As an avid camper I am a self-taught “campfire cook” so know well how to prepare all kinds of succulent food in primitive circumstances.  It was comparatively easy for me to write these scenes.  I based Inzared’s character on a 4-H teacher I had in my teens.  She was from North Carolina, had a heart as big as the ocean, was confident and naïve at the same time, could do all sorts of things well, and always had a smile on her face.  She accepted the life she was dealt and I never heard her complain, even though a lot of obstacles were thrown in her path.  She was a strong woman and laughingly called herself a “hillbilly.”

 

Q) What’s next? Are you currently working on another project, can you give us some details of what we might expect to read in the future?

I am currently working on the second in the INZARED series.  The working title is INZARED, The Middle Years, although that may change.  I am editing the manuscript at present with plans to publish it in October of 2012.  I am making notes and have ideas for a third book and will begin work on that this winter.  My husband and I spend our winter months in Mexico and it is a very creative community with an excellent Writer’s Group.  I do most of my writing and editing there, saving advertising and PR for the summer months when I am back in the US.  I also write a blog on WordPress and a series of non-fiction  “how-to” blogs on Blogger.  My plan is to incorporate some of those blogs into more eBooks when INZARED is finished with me.  Who knows what’s next?  I’ll wait for the next character to speak!

INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders is available on Amazon.com as a Kindle eBook currently.  I would love to have a print version, although I may wait until the series is complete.

Thanks for taking the time to introduce us to INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Rider. We’ll keep our eye out for future projects! In the meantime, check out the book trailer:

http://youtu.be/lQHtsFQGAP0

 

INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders can also be found at the following links:

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/INZARED-Queen-Elephant-Ridersebook/dp/B008FD5O1E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342119804&sr=8-1&keywords=inzared

Website:  www.lleander.com

FB Author Page:  http://facebook.com/lleanderbooks

L.Leander Blog: http://lleander11.wordpress.com/

Introducing L.Leander

For my blog today I would like to introduce you to another author: L.Leander.

L.Leander was born in Michigan and lived in small-town farming communities most of her life.  Later, she was able to travel extensively and gained a broader aspect of the world and places she had always dreamed of visiting.  Ms. Leander graduated from Hillman Community School and is an alumnus of Hot Springs Beauty Academy, where she also taught cosmetology.

 

“I was lucky growing up, with parents who urged me to reach for my dreams, says Ms. Leander.  “My father was a musician/songwriter who taught me to play the guitar and I played and sang with him all of my life.  He was the inspiration for my songwriting.  My mother was a farm girl who was an excellent horsewoman, painted, sewed, cooked, and even built furniture!  As the eldest child I was very fortunate to inherit many of their best traits, I think.  Both of my parents loved to read and I don’t remember ever not having a book in my hand.  Many a night I got in trouble for reading with a flashlight under the covers when I should have been sleeping.  I had two teachers in high school, band teacher Mr. Switzer and English teacher Mrs. Livingston, who inspired me to succeed.  Both saw talents I didn’t realize I had and pushed me to do more.”

“Living in a farming community I learned to do a lot of interesting things.  Cooking, canning, milking, butchering, sewing, cooking, gardening, and churning butter were all things I know how to do that gave me background for my writing.  The rest is research, perhaps my favorite part of the writing process.”

Ms. Leander has two children, two sisters, and one brother.  She currently spends the winter months in Mazatlan, Mexico with her husband, Ralph, and the summer months in Wisconsin.

 

Later in the week I will post an interview with Ms. Leander, about her novel: INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders.

Part 3 Goofy Goes to Sydney

Now for the final instalment. After our amazing day at Taronga Zoo we headed to the Sydney Aquarium, home to lots of fishy creatures and some really huge Lego models.

 Had to laugh, my daughter who took great pains to tell us at every given opportunity that she’s scared of the sharks had one painted on her face!!! I have no hope!

We walked through each area and loved the underwater tunnel. some really big sharks and rays in there! Goofy even got to steer the boat!

The kids did a treasure hunt, which was good fun, although at times even we needed some assistance. Thankfully the staff were more than willing to subtly help us parents, who couldn’t find things!

 The girls were fascinated by the lego models. It’s something they have only just got interested in playing with, so to see models that were bigger than them was great. Overall a great morning at the Aquarium. Kids had fun, we had fun and it was definitely worth the visit.

That’s it from Goofy went to Sydney, will blog about other things soon, may even put up Goofy goes to Perth from a few years ago. Another Author interview coming up soon, so stay tuned!

Interview

Have had another wonderful opportunity to do an interview, you can check it out here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/childrensauthorsandillustrators/

I am happy to support other authors by posting interviews and reviewing books – I have a section here on my blog and will spread across facebook and twitter. Add a comment if you are interested. Keep posted the final instalment of Goofy goes to Sydney will be later in the week. Off to volleyball now!!!

Sydney Part 2

Taronga Park Zoo – just a short Ferry ride from Darling Harbour. The zoo where the giraffes have mulit million dollar views!

There is so much to see at this zoo, although you could just go for the views! Anyway we went to the sea lion show – the girls loved Michi the big Californian Sea lion. He was very cool, talked a lot – in an american accent of course and jumped out of the water to spin and touch a ball. Goofy was not too impressed with the Leopard Seal:

That’s what you get when you don’t pay your way!!!

We also saw elephants, komodo dragons, one massive gorilla, bears, snakes, tigers, lions and one beautiful little platypus! Not something even us Aussies get to see very often. The kids (big and little) all had a fantastic day. Our bags were filled with more stuffed toys, but Goofy will still hold his place as the mascot of our holidays!

Keep posted for the next instalment of Goofy goes to Sydney!

Book Preview

Want to know more about Ghostnapped and Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist? Then check them out at Book Preview: http://bookpreview.info/fp/childrens-titles.php

Here you can have a greater look, a sneak peak and check out links to purchase your very own copy. There are sections for frequently asked questions as well – if you have any more suggestions, or things you would like to know about me or my books, feel free to comment here and I will add them. Hope you all enjoy!

Goofy Goes to Sydney Part 1

Wow, what a week! We all had a great time in Sydney, will put up some photos over the next few weeks! Will start at the beginning, We went to the wildlife park on Darling harbour. It was great fun, saw lots of Australian animals, which is still exciting for our kids. We don’t get to see kangaroos, koalas, wombats and kookaburras everyday. Fortunately we also don’t see snakes, spiders or enormous crocodiles either. the big croc there is 5 metres long and weighs in at 500kg! The kids enjoyed seeing him! Not so sure Goofy enjoyed his up close and personal view!

 The kids also got to pat a Koala, which was a highlight for them, and me, they are soooo soft. Overall I’d say if in Sydney definitely worth a visit. Particularly if you haven’t seen some of our amazing native animals, but it was also great for us, because you could get up close!

That’s all for now, still cleaning up and washing after an amazing holiday. Will post part 2 – Taronga Zoo in the next few days!