Dinner Date #labslife #dogs

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Every now and then I get to take out two boys for dinner. Okay okay it’s not what you think. I get to take Stitch and well usually Tug, but tonight it was Rory. Labradors actually make pretty good dates. They follow you anywhere, never fuss about where they are going, don’t care what you order, don’t take forever to order themselves, are happy to talk about anything, rarely answer back and generally just sit and listen. They don’t pick up the bill, but hey no ones perfect!

It is funny taking the dogs out to restaurants, meetings, shopping centres and the works. Lots of fun too, although people do tend to stare. Normally the stares are turned into smiles as the boys work their magic. I am so used to having the dogs with me sometimes I forget, they are just part of my life now. Stitch and Rory are snoring after a fun dinner, might go and join them. Until next time – have fun!

Book Review: Return to Cardamom #amreading

Return to Cardamom by Julie Grasso

Return to Cardamom - cover

Telepathic elves, adventure, a digital virus and plenty of humour. Join Caramel on her quest to save her world. Return to Cardamom is full of adventure and children will enjoy reading about these engaging characters. Julie Grasso has created a world that children will want to visit over and over again.

Stitch Says gives Return to Cardamom 4 woofs

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour at:
http://motherdaughterbookreviews.com/blog-tour-return-to-cardamom-by-julie-anne-grasso/

Return to Cardamom Blog Tour Button 2013

Mum is Awesome #kids #author

My girls are a part of my writing life, in fact they are my writing life. I became an author because of them, well okay I got the courage to go forward because of them. They listen to all my stories. Quite often they offer their own suggestions! They love coming up with ideas for me to write about. My super hero series (which will get done one day…) is all for them. They came up with the best characters and I am slowly putting all their ideas together.

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Princess Seea and Super Stitch

So I write for them, with them and because of them. Still it’s nice when they say something about it all. To them having a mum that writes book is normal. I think recently with my book launch and as they have begun to understand things more they are beginning to realise that not everyone’s mum writes books. They love that I do. So today when I received a card from my book launch they decided it only needed three words: Mum is awesome! Thanks girls, no better motivation to keep writing.

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Love my girls in every way!!!! Would love to hear how other authors include their kids in the writing process… until next time – have fun!

Book Launch Part 2 #author #childrensbooks

My book launch was really great, got so many wonderful photos I had to share a few more!
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Stitch had a great time with the kids! The best thing about having Stitch there is he laps up the limelight. Everyone loves him and so they should. He’s also excellent at performing when he needs to. He just likes being available to the world!

The kids had a great time drawing their versions of The Homework Goblin.

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I signed copies of my book with the help of Stitch of course.
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The kids also enjoyed reading their new signed copies of my book – which always makes me happy. It is after all why I write!

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I had so much fun. There are a few people I need to thank:
Rebecca Sutton from Distinctive Celebrations: http://www.distinctivecelebrations.com.au
I wouldn’t have actually done this if you weren’t there to support! Thank you!
Kylie, who jumped at the idea of my first book launch and helped me run with it. Also for taking the fantastic photos on the day. Can’t wait to return the favour at your first book launch!!!! To check out more photos got o my pinterest site: http://pinterest.com/ashleyhowland42

The Woodcroft Community Library for providing such a wonderful venue and advertising this event. It was awesome!

Finally of course to my family and the friends who continue to support my writing career!
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I can’t wait until the next event, thinking shoes on…. Until next time – have fun!

Author Interview: Julie Grasso #amreading

Stitch says is proud to be a part of the Return to Cardamom Blog Tour, hosted my Mother Daughter and Son Book Reviews: http://motherdaughterbookreviews.com/blog-tour-return-to-cardamom-by-julie-anne-grasso/

Return to Cardamom Blog Tour Button 2013

As part of this tour I have had the wonderful opportunity to read this awesome book and interview Julie Grasso.

Julie Grasso

Let’s find out more about Julie:

When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
I had a dream in my heart for many years but I think it was when I started working with sick and injured children as a paediatric burns nurse. I realised that reading is a wonderful distraction and a great influence on a child’s life. That is something I wanted to do. The impact has been incredible and sometimes a bit all-consuming. As a stay at home mum, I have been able to concentrate on developing my writing and finding ways to market my books from the comfort of my lounge room, with Gigi at my legs most of the time.

Reading certainly can be one of the best therapies!

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:
Return To Cardamom is the sequel to Escape From The Forbidden Planet. As a nurse I am a bit of a nerd in all things medical and science fiction, so I decided to combine my love for the two. Caramel is a telepathic elf with very special abilities, but an accident as an elfkin leaves her with a damaged leg. She lives on a rainforest planet with an incredibly powerful resource that is in huge demand throughout the galaxy. Evil forces will stop at nothing to gain this resource, and Caramel finds herself once again battling to save her family, friends and planet, along with her own issues of confidence and self-worth.

Love Caramel the telepathic elf, something very special about that!

What are your future aspirations as an author?
I would like to have my books in schools and be able to interact with kids to encourage them in literacy and self-confidence.

Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
My ideas for this series come predominantly from my own experiences and my interests. As a child I had an accident and broke my leg. I faced a few challenges in healing and rehabilitation like any other child, but that experience gave me a keen interest in medicine and helping others. Combine that with all things science fiction and a serious obsession with caramel cake, and there you have it, my series was inspired.

What do you do to improve yourself and a writer?
Firstly, I read a lot of middle grade books.
I have a couple of beta reading kids aged 10, that I run all my manuscripts past. I also have 5 adult beta readers including my sisters, who give me their ruthless opinion before I submit anything to my editor.
I research what other authors are doing both in the independent publishing realm as well as the traditional publishing world.
I interact with other kidlit bloggers, authors and readers through the Kid Lit Blog Hop.
I follow lots of authors, agents and bloggers on twitter, and read absolutely any article that has to do with publishing, creative writing and marketing of books.
Every book I write has a book cover conjured in my head almost from the beginning of the manuscript. I work really closely with my illustrator, providing dreadful sketches of what I want in my book covers. He manages to interpret them with the help of skype and we workshop them until we have something that will appeal to kids to capture their attention. I really believe that a cover is the window to the soul of the book, so whenever David draws me a cover, I always tell him, “Make it shimmer.”

Wow that’s a great list of things to do. Thank you for joining us here on Stitch Says. There will be a review of Return to Cardamom later in the week. Until then keep reading, keep writing.

Repeat after me… #author

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I need to get better at saying something. So here goes, repeat after me:
I AM A REAL AUTHOR
I am a real author

Right I should be done now… So no more saying I feel like a real author. After all I have three published children’s books! That’s right three books available for purchase: http://www.amazon.com/Ashley-Howland/e/B00BQA4XRO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

To add to the fact is that all three of my books have also received at least one five-star review. I also have heard from lots of kids who absolutely love my books and can’t wait for the next one! So not only am I a real author I’m actually pretty good. There I said it! I am a good author.

This may seem strange, but for me self promotion is the hardest part. Let’s not forget that it was only a few years ago I wouldn’t let anyone read my writing. So to have three books out there and to have hosted a book launch I have come a long way. I am very proud of my achievements. I guess some of the lack of self promotion comes from the lack of interest from some people I know. It is hard when some family and friends act like writing a book is nothing and any one could do it. So from now on those people are no longer important to me. This is simply because writing a book is difficult, certainly not everyone can do it. Getting published is another thing completely as is putting yourself out there to sell your books. From now on I am putting all this behind me and putting myself out there!

I am a real author and a good one!
Until next time – have fun!

Book Launch Part 1 #author #childrensbooks

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My first book launch for The Homework Goblin was lots of fun. The kids and parents all enjoyed the page I read to them and of course why I wrote the book!

I introduced my writing buddy – Stitch. He’s such a clown in front of the kids and loves every second. It was his third birthday so he told (barked) all the kids how old he was! They loved singing happy birthday to him. Stitch is great, he steals the show every time and I’m more than happy to let him!

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The children all had a chance to pat Stitch while they did their activity (see next blog). He shook paws and got a few belly scratches!

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I felt like a real author and signed the books that were bought. Quite a few people bought my book which is of course one of the reasons you do these things. I also handed out lots of promotional goodies. So hopefully people will look me up in the future and buy my other books.

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I donated a copy of each of my books to the library. They were fantastic and holding the launch didn’t cost me anything. They were more than happy and advertise it just like I did. It was a success. I have to say I felt nervous before, but had so much fun. It was nice to be treated as an author. I could do this sort of thing more often… better get writing. Until next time – have fun!