Author Interview: Jennifer Swanson #author

Today we get to chat with Jennifer Swanson who writes Children’s fiction and non fiction books.

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Here’s what she had to say:

When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
I started writing when I was in kindergarten. I used to write and illustrate my own stories and present them to the class. Many years later, I started writing again and it’s been wonderful. I really enjoy the creative outlet it provides and it’s just plain fun to see kids get excited about reading – especially when it’s a book that you wrote.

That is the best feeling in the world!

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:
When I’m not writing to a specific deadline, I like to write my own stuff. Right now I’m finishing up a MG novel. It’s contemporary, humorous about a girl who’s an inventor, well, she tries to be. It combines science and fun – two things I love.

Sounds interesting as an ex science teacher I am very keen to read that one!

What are your future aspirations as an author?
To keep writing and get some of my own fiction published. I’m working on finding just the right agent to help me with my career. I write so many different levels and genres, it’s not easy.

Not easy, but worth it in the long run.

Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
I get ideas everywhere! I watch movies, I read books, I just walk around and some sentence or scene in real life will hit me and bam – I have another idea. My problem isn’t getting ideas, it’s finding the time to write them all.

Never enough time.

What do you do to improve yourself and a writer?
I try to keep up with Twitter and Facebook and all of the awesome writing contests that are going on continuously. I participate in several critique groups and also go to SCBWI conferences.

Where can people contact you?
You can find me at www.JenniferSwansonBooks.com

What works best for you when writing? Meaning do you outline or write freely when you feel inspired to do so?
Well, I kind of do both. I usually do whatever grabs me at the moment. It depends on how the idea comes to me. Sometimes I see a scene very clearly in my head and I just have to write it down. I may not be sure where it’s going or how the rest of the story fits in, but that scene is important. Then, I may outline after that. But I don’t always stick to the outline. I have to write outlines for all of my nonfiction books first and I have the hardest time sticking to them, too – much to the dismay of my editors.  I guess I’m just a “go-with-the-flow” type writer.

It’s good to do a bit of both.

For other authors who may be struggling what advice can you on handling rejection?
Hang in there! This is a TOUGH business. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong. Yes, there are those few lucky ones who seem to glide through it, but the majority of us are in the trenches, writing away – sometimes for years – before anything comes of it. If I could give everyone one piece of advice, I’d say to be open to anything. I know people who are trying to break in, but they put limits on what they will do. Like – I won’t do work-for-hire, I don’t want to write that topic, I only want to write picture books, etc. Limiting yourself can make your path to publishing much harder.

Excellent advice – thanks for joining us here on Stitch Says!

Thanks so much for having me. Happy Writing to all!

Jen is also part of the Chapter Book Challenge group – you can check out more information here:
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Lots more exciting interviews, reviews and of course Chewie’s news posts coming your way, keep reading, keep writing!

First Draft Done! #amwriting

Jump for joy!

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The completion of the first draft is reason to celebrate. Now you actually have something to work with. Of course I rarely expect the finished product and the first draft to be very similar. My first Novel – Ghostnapped had a completely different villain in the first draft. It was a witch, not the cool unique monster I finished with. Obi’s first draft was actually only the first chapter – so to speak. I was going to leave the story there as a picture book. It was too wordy for that so I re did the first draft and made it into a chapter book. However my kids weren’t in it. it was far to wordy without speech and I didn’t want Obi to talk to everyone. So the kids got a gig. The Homework Goblin was pretty close. There was plenty of refinement, but I think the essence of the story is the same. Should go back and check.

The two manuscripts I am currently working on have certainly undergone changes and will continue to do so, but I think as I get better with my writing the first drafts are becoming more structured. This process that I have been blogging about certainly helps with my organisation. Which means the first draft is better than it used to be. It takes longer, but is a better product for me to work with!

If you have completed your first draft jump for joy and back it up (I always have at least three back ups electronically and usually a paper version!). Even if you don’t use that first draft for anything, never throw it away. One of the stories I am editing now is actually a combination of two. They worked really well together so I molded them that way.

I don’t usually start editing straight away – will blog about my editing process next month. Now is a good time to put it away, recollect your thoughts. If you are in any challenges then I would say go over other bits and pieces and begin something new. That way when you do start to edit you are fresh and more likely to detect issues.

Speaking of challenges I recently completed my first for the year:
Banner_StartTheYearOffWrite

This was a wonderful way to start 2014. During this time I have used these prompts to write three flash fiction drafts. I have also come up with an idea for a new chapter book and continued to work on a few other ideas. It gave me some excellent tools to improve my writing this year and into the future! So much fun and now I have so much to do. I love a busy life, until next time – have fun!

Book Review: Zoe and Zak and the Tiger Temple #amreading

Tiger Temple - Blog Tour Button

About the Book

Title: Zoe & Zak and the Tiger Temple (Zoe & Zak Series, Book #3)

Author: Lars Guignard

Publisher: Fantastic Press

Publication Date: January 1, 2014

Number of Pages: 267

Recommended Age: 8+

Summary

Last semester, Zoe and Zak returned the first lost Noble Truth to its rightful home. Now, Zoe and Zak are back in India for their second semester at Moonstock Himalayan Academy. School kicks off with the Activity Week Challenge in the tiny mountain kingdom of Bhutan where the students must deliver medical supplies. Things, however, take a turn for the worse, when Zak becomes deathly ill after an encounter with a strange floating bubble. On returning to Moonstock, Zoe and Zak discover that a creature has come through the lava hole far below their dormitory. When Zoe and Zak follow the creature, they soon discover what they must do. They have been tasked with finding the second lost Noble Truth — the Tiger Eye of Justice. Finding the Tiger Eye sounds like an impossible mission, and it’s only made more confusing when Zak discovers that he has been given a supernatural power to help them with their task– a power which Zak, for the life of him, just can’t control. But he’s going to have to learn how to use his new ability, because if Zoe and Zak can’t find the Tiger Eye quickly, Zak’s time will run out.

 

* Here is the Stitch Says Review:
Zoe and Zak are back at it again. This time they need to find the second noble truth before others get their hands on it. Zak plays a bigger role in this story as his life is in danger. He also gains some powers to control animals. Zoe has to work out how to save his life and uncover the mystery of the Tiger’s Temple.
The Adventures of Zoe and Zak keep getting better. Each story is filled with action, adventure and mystery. They are a fantastic read for boys and girls.

Stitch Says gives it 5 woofs! *

 

Buzz About the Zoe & Zak Series

Book 1: “Awesome! ~ I am 11 and I liked the book because I love adventures. It was a different kind of adventure from what I usually read and it was funny too. ” ~ 5-Star Review from J. Olsen, Amazon

Book 1: “This was a fun read. This book was like a kid’s version of Indiana Jones. It’s also very educational as Zoe tells you real facts about what she sees and the history. I enjoyed it immensely. If you have a 10-12 year old child that loves adventure books, this is definitely a must read. ” ~ 5-Star review from Simone Lilly-Egerter, Amazon

Book 1: “I’m sure this book was written for children who are around the age of the two children in the book, 11 or so. But, this 35 year old loved this book! It had action, adventure and imagination galore! It was exactly the kind of adventure that a lot of kids that age dream of.” ~ 5-Star review from The Novice Christian, Amazon

Book 2: “I have a 10 year old son who is an avid reader!! He loves books, (but he’s picky too) he loved Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. He was so excited to read the 2nd book in this series! When I presented him the first book he was not sure he would like it but changed his mind quickly, then when I heard about the 2nd book being released he almost jumped out of his chair! (no exaggeration) He is anxiously awaiting the 3rd book! I would say that any child who enjoys fantasy/adventure books should read this series! It is a well written page turner! It’s a fun story that adults can even enjoy the storyline without getting bored! According to my son, ‘every kid should read this series’. ” ~ 5-Star review from SavyGreenSaver, Amazon

Book 2: “I loved this book, even as an adult reading it. I was completely sucked into the plot and was constantly finding myself staying up “just a little longer” to read one more chapter. Different twists and turns in the book have you constantly guessing who is behind what and who Zak and Zoe can trust. I could definitely see myself being involved in this series as a middle schooler considering how much I enjoyed it even now. Another thing I liked about it is if you missed the first book, you could still follow along with this one and not be lost.” ~ 5-Star review from Staci, Amazon

Book 2: “Lars Guignard has done a fabulous job with this series. I loved the `Ghost Leopard’ & love this one even more. For late-elementary to middle school age readers, you can’t beat this series. It’s fun and fast-paced. Even my picky fifth grader enjoyed every page. There are bits of magic thrown in keep the action exciting. Mr. Guignard has a brilliant imagination & readers are blessed that he’s chosen to use it for YA fiction. If you’ve yet to read the first installment in this series, do yourself a favor and read these books back to back. Don’t limit it just to kids! Adults will have a blast reading these too!” ~ 5-Star review from Liz Terek, Amazon

 

Purchase

Tiger Temple by Lars Guignard

Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (CAN) | Amazon (AUS)

 

About The Author: Lars Guignard

Lars Guignard
Lars Guignard

Prior to writing novels, Lars Guignard wrote for film and television. As a teenager he attended boarding school in the Indian Himalayas and his experiences there provided the inspiration for the Zoe and Zak series which now include: Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard, Zoe & Zak and the Yogi’s Curse, and Zoe & Zak and the Tiger Temple.

He lives in the Pacific Northwest where he dodges bears and cougars while hiking & skiing the magnificent Coast Mountain Range.

For news about new releases, please join his email list by contacting the author: Zoe&ZakAdventures@gmail.com

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

Tiger Temple Blog Tour Schedule (2014)

January 15

Mother Daughter Book Reviews (Launch & Review)

Mary-andering Among the Pages (Review)

January 16

Jump Into a Book (Review)

January 17

Brooke Blogs (Review)

January 19

Nik’s Picks Book Reviews (Review)

January 20

Houseful of Chaos (Review)

January 21

Black Words – White Pages Kids (Review)

January 22

For the Love of Books (Review)

January 23

Fiona Ingram (Review)

January 24

Stitch Says (Review)

January 25

Just Thinking (Review)

January 27

Bound 4 Escape (Review)

January 28

Fantasy Fun With Kirstin Pulioff (Review)

January 29

We are the DinoFamily (Review)

Cheryl Carpinello’s Writing Pages (Review)

January 30

Pragmatic Mom (Review)

January 31

Giveaway Breaking News for Indonesia (Review)

February 1

The Dragyn’s Lair (Review)

February 2

Kids Book Group (Review)

February 3

Bookworm for Kids (Review)

February 4

The World of ContestPatti (Review)

February 5

BeachBoundBooks (Review)

February 6

Best Kids’ Reads (Review)

Kay LaLone I Love Books (Review)

February 7

InkSpired: A Blog (Review)

February 8

Jemima Pett, Author (Review)

February 9

The Omnibus Publishing (Review)

February 10

Geo Librarian (Review)

February 11

Books, Reviews, Etc. (Review)

February 12

Victoria Simcox (Review)

February 13

Heart of a Philanthropist (Review)

February 14

Dalene’s Book Reviews (Review)

Cassandra Lost in Books (Review)

 

* Tiger Temple Blog Tour Giveaway *

Prize: One winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card (or PayPal cash).

Contest runs: January 15 to February 21, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Worldwide

How to enter: Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. The winners will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winners will then have 72 hours to respond. If a winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author Lars Guignard and Fantastic Press and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.
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Go and check these books out for yourself. Keep reading, keep writing!

Author Interview: Kirstin Pulioff #childrensauthor

Princess Madeline and the Dragon - Tour Button - 3 Kirstin Pulioff

About the Book

Title: Princess Madeline and the Dragon (Princess Madeline Trilogy, Book #3)

Author: Kirstin Pulioff

Publication Date: November 26, 2013

Publisher: Caliburn Books

Number of pages: 135

Recommended age: 10+

 

Summary

After a season of battle and rebuilding, the Kingdom of Soron is exhausted. With the return of the exiled wizards, the Spring Faire, and her upcoming wedding, Princess Madeline is looking forward to a peaceful season of celebration. When the mysterious green dragon reappears, threatening the kingdom and the king, Princess Madeline and Prince Braden won’t rest for long. Faced with this incredible new danger, Princess Madeline and Prince Braden must find a way to lead their kingdom and secure their future. Can they find the answers hidden within their mother’s cryptic messages from the past, or will the dragon destroy everything they hold dear? Follow Princess Madeline as she embarks on a dangerous new adventure to save her kingdom and her family.

 

* Let’s meet Kirstin and find out more about what makes her write!
When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
I have always wanted to be a writer, but didn’t how I could actually go about being one. Growing up, I saw writing as a hobby, and something I loved, but something very “abstract” for a career. It wasn’t until recently, as I teaching my children not to limit themselves and to follow through on their dreams and the careers that they loved, that I realized how I had limited myself.

When that moment of clarity hit me, my life changed. I am now living a dream.

Awesome, well done for chasing that dream.

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:
Princess Madeline and the Dragon is the finale in the Princess Madeline series.
Blurb: After a season of battle and rebuilding, the Kingdom of Soron is exhausted. With the return of the exiled wizards, the Spring Faire, and her upcoming wedding, Princess Madeline is looking forward to a peaceful season of celebration. Unfortunately the celebration does not last long.
When the mysterious green dragon reappears, threatening the kingdom and the king, Princess Madeline and Prince Braden won’t rest for long. Faced with this incredible new danger, they must find a way to lead their kingdom and secure their future.

Can they find the answers hidden within their mother’s cryptic messages from the past, or will the dragon destroy everything they hold dear? Follow Princess Madeline as she embarks on a dangerous new adventure to save her kingdom and her family.
This has been a fun series to write. I wanted to create a traditional coming of age fairy tale with aspects of magic, fantasy, and adventure perfect for those tween readers.

An excellent series, nice to see a strong female character too.

What are your future aspirations as an author?
I have many 😉 Once I began on this path, the muse kept pumping me full of stories. My current work in progress, Dreamscape: Saving Alex is a YA fantasy that blends the idea of Tron and Super Mario Brothers. Yes, I believe it will be as awesome as that sounds. I also have ideas for more middle grade adventure books, and a historical fiction.

Certainly sounds like lots of fun.

Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
They come from everywhere. Sometimes it’s as simple as a dream that refuses to be forgotten. Other times, inspiration comes in bursts- the perfect prose for a description hits me while gardening, a new story arc may interrupt my cooking, or the best dialogue might come after unintentionally eavesdropping ;). I try to keep my mind open to receiving inspiration at any moment, and write it down when it comes.

Always important to get it down in that instant!

What do you do to improve yourself and a writer?
I am constantly reading, writing, and working on tuning my craft. Just like with anything, practice makes perfect. The more I write, the more critiques I am given, the stronger I become.

Excellent attitude!

Where can people contact you?
Let me give you some links 😉 I LOVE meeting up with new fans, and readers. You can reach me at any of these links:
Website- www.kirstinpulioff.com
Facebook- www.facebook.com/kirstinpulioffauthor
Twitter- www.twitter.com/kirstinpulioff
Goodreads- www.goodreads.com/author/show/6558842.Kirstin_Pulioff
Amazon- www.amazon.com/Kirstin-Pulioff/e/B00A2498Z2/

Do you read the reviews of your work and how do they affect your writing?
Absolutely! I read them all, and appreciate each, but try not to obsess over them. Each positive review warms my heart, and the negative ones give me something to think about, or strive to improve. I know that everyone is not going to love each book I write, and I welcome all reviews, positive and negative.

Stitch Says loved this book and will be posting a review soon!

What works best for you when writing? Meaning do you outline or write freely when you feel inspired to do so?
I am a planner, so my first step is to outline. Before I write the first draft, I create a general outline of my story, highlighting the driving force behind the characters, and where I want them to end up. Once that is complete, I let the characters take over. I write freely, allowing the story to develop either according to my original plan or taking a new route.

I bet it’s interesting to go back and see how the characters have evolved!
Thanks for joining us here on Stitch Says
.
*

 

More Buzz About The Book

“The story is engaging on many levels, as is Pulioff’s writing, but on this occasion I was mostly drawn into the action and the mystery as how to prevent the worst from happening. This is great entertainment and should do well across a wider age range.” ~ 5 Star Review,ChristophFischerBooks, Amazon

“Kirstin Pulioff has saved the best for last. ‘Princess Madeline and the Dragon’ is the final instalment in the ‘Princess Madeline Trilogy’. I thought the first two books were finely wrought stories, but this novel surpasses its predecessors. Prophesies, family tragedies, magic and – of course – dragons, combine to produce a tale that is an instant classic. Written with a great deal of charm, ‘Princess Madeline and the Dragon’ will not disappoint Ms Pulioff’s young fans. I look forward to seeing where next her imagination will take this natural storyteller. ” ~ 5 Star Review, Diogenes, Amazon

“Princess Madeline and the Dragon is an exciting and thoroughly satisfying final chapter in this fantasy/adventure series. As she did with books one and two, the author has created a fantasy world in a rich medieval setting that we can believe in–and want to visit, over and over…Along with adventure, a sweet romance, and a theme that centers on the power of love, you may find a surprise or two! If your tween or teen loves princesses, brave heroes and fairytales of daring-do, they shouldn’t miss this one!” ~ 5 Star Review, Ally S., Goodreads

 

Purchase

Princess Madeline and the Dragon by Kirstin Pulioff

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Smashwords

 

About the Author: Kirstin Pulioff

Kirstin Pulioff
Kirstin Pulioff

Kirstin Pulioff is a storyteller at heart. Born and raised in Southern California, she moved to the Pacific Northwest to follow her dreams and graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Forest Management. Happily married and a mother of two, she lives in Oregon, and enjoys being a stay at home mom. When she’s not writing, she is busy with her kids and church.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

 

 

Princess Madeline and the Dragon Blog Tour Schedule (2014)

January 13

Mother Daughter Book Reviews (Launch & Review)

January 14

Victoria Simcox’s Blog (Author Interview)

JoJo’s Corner (Review)

January 15

Musings by Jay Faulkner (Guest Post)

Mel’s Shelves (Review)

January 16

Bound 4 Escape (Review)

Dawn’s Disaster (Guest Post)

January 17

Cassandra Lost in Books (Review)

WS Momma Readers Nook (Review)

January 18

A TiffyFit’s Reading Corner (Review)

Jemima Pett, Author (Review)

January 19

Books Direct (Author Interview)

My Devotional Thoughts (Review)

January 20

Amanda’s Books and More (Review)

For the Love of Books (Review)

January 21

BeachBoundBooks (Review)

When I Grow Up I Wanna Write a Kids Book (Review)

January 22

Stitch Says (Author Interview)

Barbara Ann Mojica’s Blog (Review)

January 23

Fiona Ingram (Review and Author Interview)

Brooke Blogs (Review)

January 24

We are the DinoFamily (Review)

Sher A Hart: Written Art (Review)

January 25

Becki Gylberte, children’s author (Review)

Reading and Sharing (Review and Guest Post)

January 26

Heart of a Philanthropist (Review)

Dalene’s Book Reviews (Review)

 

* $25 Blog Tour Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest runs: January 13th to January 31st, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Kirstin Pulioff and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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What an awesome book, stay tuned for the review and as always keep reading, keep writing!

Write Now #amwriting

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Everything is in place. Put you butt down on a chair and write… that’s the only way to get it done. For me at this stage there is only one rule:
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This is so true. Editing as you go is just a way of procrastinating – almost as bad as watching your dog…

Get the first draft down, from the beginning to the bitter end. Even if each chapter is not fully complete – it could be what I call a skeleton draft. It’s still there and then it can be improved.

This is the first thing I learnt when I did a writing course. I actually had to complete stories, because they were assignments. They didn’t have to be good, they just had to be done. I love this phase. Just sitting and writing is awesome. No one can tell you its horrible, no one can give you ideas. It’s just you and your computer. You can do it any where. I love sitting outside in the fresh air, but this is not always possible. When I am at the is phase I have been known to take my computer every where. I have stolen minutes at lunch time (yes even with kids and dogs around me), written in gymnastic halls, in my car while waiting for kids and so many other places. When ever, where ever I can get a minute or two.

Where are your favourite places to write?

I guess the final piece of advice I would give you at this stage is to as always have fun!!!!

Chewie’s News – Book Blast #amreading

Check out these two books!!!!

About the Books

Riley's Lost Tooth by Diane CantrellTitle: Riley’s Lost Tooth Author: Diane Cantrell Illustrator: Heather Castles Publication Date: February 16, 2010 Publisher: Brown Books Publishing Group Number of pages: 24 Recommended age: 4+

Summary:

Oh no! One of Sunday’s very favorite humans, Riley, has lost her tooth! But where did it go? How did she lose it? Why does no one besides Sunday seem to care? It isn’t long before the tooth fairy steps in and tries to teach the pups all about growing up. Join Sunday and her two puppy-pals, Precious and Mr. Lee, as they try to hunt down . . . Riley s lost tooth!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Author Website

 

 

Book Trailer for Riley’s Lost Tooth

 

Good-bye Baby Max by Diane CantrellTitle: Good-bye Baby Max Author: Diane Cantrell Illustrator: Heather Castles Publication Date: February, 2008 Publisher: Bridgeway Books Number of pages: 32 Recommended age: 4+

Summary: Mrs. B’s class excitedly awaits the birth of three baby chicks. When Max is unable to crack open his shell, the children’s loving teacher assists them in expressing their feelings of loss and planning a special good-bye.

 

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Author Website

 

The Buzz

Riley’s Lost Tooth: “The book is well written and the illustrations are beautiful. The book will definitely appeal to all children (including children at heart like this reviewer) and their parents / grandparents / elder siblings and other care givers. The book is strongly recommended as a good gift that is educational and also entertaining.” ~ 5 Star Review, S.V. Swamy, Amazon

Good-bye Baby Max: “This book is amazing! I have given it as several gifts to my friends with children. It is very well written and the illustrations are fun and colorful. This book it a great tool to help parents and teachers talk to children about loss of a pet and a loved one in general. I would highly recommend this book to everyone!” ~ 5 Star Review, Dawn N., Amazon

Good-bye Baby Max: “This colorful, hardcover children’s title Good-bye, Baby Max (Bridgeway Books, Texas, 2007) by Diane Cantrell & Heather Castles is special in its purpose of teaching an invaluable lesson: that of properly saying the final farewell to a loved one who is no more … Diane Cantrell has created a very purposeful book for children-one that is at once a story, a poem, and a healthy course of helping children get over grief. The book’s illustrations by Heather Castles are very appealing to a child’s imagination. There is a good deal here in Good-bye, Baby Max to learn for children ages 4 to 8 years and the 32-pages book is a must read for all kids of this age category.” ~ Ernest Dempsey, Book Corner

Good-bye Baby Max: “I bought this book to help my nieces and nephews deal with the loss of a beloved pet. The storyline and illustrations were used as a springboard to discuss their own loss. I highly recommend this book to anyone that has young children and is looking for a way to help them cope with a loss in their lives.” ~ 5 Star Review, Jeanne B., Amazon

Good-bye Baby Max: “[Good-bye, Baby Max] is a tender story about death, a tough topic for young children. Kindergarteners eagerly await spring and the hatching of the class’ three chick eggs. But one chick, Max, dies. What ensues is a gentle exploration of grief and its many expressions — from tears to songs to artwork. At the end, the surviving chicks’ peeps encourage the children to embrace the living without forgetting the dead.” ~ Michele Siuda Jacques, Detroit Free Press

 

About the Author: Diane Cantrell

Diane Cantrell
Diane Cantrell

Diane Cantrell began her career in education teaching Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Transitional First Grade. She also worked as a counselor providing assistance to parenting teens in a local school district. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, Diane has provided therapy for adults, families, and children in agencies and private practice settings. As part of her private practice, she offers parent training to her clients and to parents in local schools. Diane is presently writing and publishing children’s books as well as provides counseling services to adults and children in her private practice, Life Designs Counseling.

Diane’s time at Fort Sam Houston I.S.D. provided inspiration for Good-bye, Baby Max. The book, which is based on a true story, describes how Ms. B helps her kindergarten class cope with the loss of a classroom pet. At the time Diane wrote the book she was working with many children who were experiencing a great deal of loss in their lives. Her hope in writing Good-bye, Baby Max was that the story would help parents, children, and other caring professionals begin talking about losses rather than responding to their losses from a state of fear. Her second book, Riley’s Lost Tooth, was written for her granddaughter, Riley as a Valentine’s Day present. Mr. Lee, and Sunday are main characters in the book as is Precious, who died before the book was written.

When Diane is not involved in writing or listening to people’s stories, she enjoys being with her husband, Rich, and their two dogs, Sunday and Mr. Lee. Diane and Rich live in San Antonio, Texas.

Website | Twitter

 

* $100 Book Blast Giveaway *

Prize: $100 AmazongGift card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest runs: January 20th to February 19th, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Diane Cantrell and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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Awesome fun – keep reading, keep writing!

Planning your story #amwriting

We have our characters, our setting. Now we need….. a plot! Well it is kind of important. Sometimes it all just comes together and you write. Just sit with the computer and clack away with complete certainty your work will flow. That’s fantastic. Other times you get distracted by the weirdest things:

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Yep that is often me. What do I do then? I start a plot sketch. That’s what I call it. Sometimes its a few words for each chapter, a basic plan to follow. Sometimes it’s just a list of ideas. Sometimes I do research and jot down a plan from there.

Planning is not always important, but I find plans come in handy later. When you have a draft half written it’s good to look back and see where you though the story would go. It may have changed and the old plan may add to the story. So I recommend watching the dog less ( there I said it…) and getting a notebook! Do some planning, have some fun and see where it takes you. Until next time – have fun!

Author interview: Adam Wallace #amreading

Today we get to meet Adam Wallace or Wally as we know him! Let’s find out more about Wally and his work:

Adam Wallace profile pic

When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
Wow, well, my definitive actual decision (after enjoying writing in high School but then writing nothing but birthday cards for ten years!) came when I was 27. It has had a huge impact on my life … not quite as huge as this afternoon when my thumb got smashed by a very turned on rotating ceiling fan, but huge just the same! I was doing engineering, and while it was good money, and I made great friends, it never felt right. I knew that I wanted to work with children in some capacity, and after trialling a few avenues, writing seemed to be present and what I was drawing to in all of them and was where I felt most comfortable. So deciding to become an author allowed me to find me, the creative me that was always lurking inside me.

It’s awesome when things fall into place – creativity is like that sometimes!

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:
My latest work is called Jamie Brown is NOT Rich. The motivation was twofold. First was that I was asked by Ford Street Publishing to write and illustrate a chapter book … so that was the motivation for the format! The genre came from a love of fish-out-of-water stories, especially Happy Gilmore and many of Bill Peet’s books. I love the scenarios it throws up, and how the skills and personality traits that make someone an outcast can be what actually endears them to the new situations, and enables them to come out on top. A fish-out-of-water story also gives many, many chances for awesome comedy as well! I wrote this story to really entertain kids, to make them laugh at the same time as having the underlying messages of acceptance, fitting in, bullying, friendship, and wealth.

The Two Jamie Covers

What are your future aspirations as an author?
I want to become the best-selling children’s author from Australia. I like to set my goals high! I have other goals, such as releasing a minimum of one new book every year, of learning as I write, of not being afraid to ask for advice, of not being afraid of rejection or criticism, and of being true to myself and my style of writing. I will never write something that isn’t me, that doesn’t make me feel joy while I am writing it.

Wonderful aspirations and a fantastic attitude that will ensure success!

Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
My ideas come from everywhere! I have written novels based on a single line from a song. I have written poems after seeing a kangaroo eating grass. I have written a short story after my wife did a HUGE burp at Chadstone Shopping Centre … oh. I may have said too much.
Moving on, very quickly, my writing is also influenced by my family. My grandmother was a children’s author, and my dad, while not published, is a very funny writer as well. But I am also influenced by TV shows and films I watch, books I read, and people I meet. Kids are an especially great source of inspiration, they say the funniest things!

Kids are the best material makers, along with dogs of course!

What do you do to improve yourself and a writer?
I write. Every single day. The more you write, the better you will become. I also like to get a grounding in techniques by reading books and interviews by and for authors. The more techniques you have in your sub-concious, the easier it is to be creative without worrying about the other stuff. Besides, that’s what editing is for!
I watch videos on creativity and inspiration, and I read my work out loud so that I can hear the flow and rhythm of it. I am also now at a stage where I can sort of just about handle critiques of my work, so am able to let others read it and give me an opinion I can ignore … I mean, take on board and consider!

Opinions of others are always important!

Where can people contact you?
The best place is my website www.adam-wallace-books.com
The site also has videos, chapters of my books, reviews, interviews, and even a little bit about me.
I’m also on Facebook (www.facebook.com/wallysbooks)

What works best for you when writing? Meaning do you outline or write freely when you feel inspired to do so?
I write every day, as I mentioned, but the time is pretty fluid. I do always try and write in the morning, so that I know I have done something. There is nothing worse than getting to the afternoon, wanting to write something for the day, and feeling pressure to do so. If I write in the morning and feel inspiration later on, well, that’s a bonus and lets me get even more done.
In terms of actually writing, I am very free-flowing. I write very much in a stream of consciousness style, getting everything I can out on to the page. It’s like someone said, I think it was Michaelangelo on the statue of David. You chip away what isn’t a man, and what’s left is the statue. If I get everything out on the page, then I can chip away everything that isn’t my story.

A good technique – clearly you know what works best for you!


For other authors who may be struggling what advice can you on handling rejection?

Keep going. Just because something isn’t rejected doesn’t mean it isn’t good … at the same time though, don’t let your writer’s pride get in the way of improving a story. But you have to keep writing, get your writing as good as it can possibly be. I had over 150 rejections over 7 years before I was accepted by a publisher, and I know that by that time I was writing a lot better. The other reason to keep writing is that when you are picked up by a publisher, they will often ask what else you have. If you’ve been writing and writing and honing your craft, you will have other works to show them. And who knows, it could be the start of something big!

Excellent advice!

Thanks Adam (Wally) for stopping by here at Stitch Says! It was wonderful to meet you. To all you readers check out Adam’s work and keep reading, keep writing!