Tick Tock #ChaBooCha #timeisrunningout

The Chapter Book Challenge starts tomorrow!!! Thank goodness for the leap year, it’s given me one more day to get organised, but wait am I actually ready?

Of course this is me at the moment

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I have so much going on, work, kids, dogs, work, editing, marketing, work, kids… the list goes on and one and on and seems to be on repeat. It’s not that I haven’t tried to get organised, it’s just that as soon as I sit down to do one thing another fifty ideas pop into my head. So what am I going to do?

I have a plan, its revolutionary, amazing, I can’t imagine why I didn’t think of it before… I’m going to sit my butt down each night and…

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Yep pretty much how I take each day. This year for the Chapter Book Challenge my plan is simply to write and see where it takes me. I am winging it… who’s with me?

Would love to hear what everyone s planning for the month of March, just remember as always to have fun!

Easter is nearly here #Easter #booksinsteadofchocolate

Easter is fast approaching. The shops have been filled with chocolate for months now – yes they appeared as soon as Christmas was finished. I hate that, it actually destroys the fun of the season. Anyway there’s not much you can do about it. The funny thing is I don’t think people actually buy Easter eggs that early anyway. Still they fill their shelves. You know what’s better than chocolate…. BOOKS!!!!

Actually they can go well together. A good book and a taste of chocolate, now there’s a great way to spend the public holidays. Sounds like a plan to me! If you are looking for something to read, or for you kids to read check out my books;

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All these books and more are found here:

http://www.amazon.com/Ashley-Howland/e/B00BQA4XRO

Check out The Not So Boring Book – the perfect way to spend the Easter holiday!

If you live in Australia email me at ashley@ahowland.org I may be able to arrange delivery before Easter…
Check them out today – have fun!

Playing catch up #alwaysbehind #toomanyideas

Wow it’s almost the end of February and I feel like I am so far behind. I’m actually not it just is hard to find the time to write. However so far this year I have released my new book

The Not So Boring book #1 Write your own story

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is being used by two schools for a writing project – hopefully more will follow. Of course now I probably need to make a teaching guide to go with the book. Add that to my list!

I also have the print proof for Obi the Super Puppy and the Quest for the Last Laugh

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Cover reveal soon! I am hopeful to have this book ready to release in the next week!

I have written the draft of two flash fiction pieces, so halfway there. I decided four pieces would be enough for this year.

As for my editing – well I am probably a bit behind there. So for the last few days of Feb I will need to get stuck in. this has to be done because the Chapter Book Challenge is coming and that means I need to write. I still haven’t decided what I am going to focus on.. too many ideas, all drilling into my brain. Need to get organised and quickly or I won’t achieve any of my goals for March.

That’s my messy writing so far this year… how’s everyone else going?

Have fun!

Stitch Says Book Reviews: Elizabeth Schoberg #picturebooks

Hi it’s Stitch

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I’m opening the year with two reviews for you…

No Bullying Bertram by Elizabeth Schoberg and illustrated by Kim Colson

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This brightly coloured book addresses an issue children often face. The toys in Tucker’s Toy shop all want a new home, some cope with not being bought in different ways. Bertram the bulldog isn’t very nice to the other toys, until one day he is told to do something nice for someone else. When Bertram finally dumps the attitude the lives of the toys change forever.
No Bullying Bertram is a simple story with an important message. It could certainly be used for preschool children to address being nice to others. The pages are colourful and cute.
Stitch Says gives it 3 woofs

Chirp’s Lullaby by Elizabeth Schoberg and illustrated by Kim Colson

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Across the world neonatal wards are filled with special people who work miracles. Chirp’s Lullaby s a sweet colourful book that would be great for siblings of premature babies. Chirp is a baby bird who nests outside the Brook Hollow Hospital. Inside little Emma has begun her life in an incubator. Chirp sings when Emma cries and they form a bond that continues once Emma can go home.
This book also explains what happens to babies who are born early in a simple way. It would be perfectly placed in any neonatal ward.
Stitch Says gives it 3 woofs.

Check them out here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Elizabeth+Schoberg

Keep reading, keep writing!

Stitch Says Author Interview: Elizabeth Schoberg #childrensauthor

Hi it’s Stitch here…

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It’s been a while since my last interview, but I’m ready to get started again. Today we got to chat with Elizabeth Schoberg

When did you decide to become an author, and what impact has it had on your life?

I never made a conscious decision to become an author. Creating has always been a very important part of me.

I have always loved stories. As a young child growing up in the suburbs of Washington, DC in the 1940s, trekking to the local movie theater every weekend with 50 cents in hand for admission and a gorging of popcorn and candy was my ultimate treat. Back then you could view the main attraction many times without fear of eviction, and I took full advantage. By the time my father came down the aisle searching for me, I had memorized every word, song, and dance step that had made its way across the silver screen that day, and my parents would enjoy my own presentation when I got home. I would embellish the story to suit my own fantasies.

In 1987 my firstborn son left home for a sound studio in California to perfect his sound engineering and music skills. Several months later I had written a screenplay titled “Beethoven’s Band”: the story of a dysfunctional relationship between a father and his musician son as it had occurred in my basement over the previous 10 years. To my dismay, someone else’s movie, “Beethoven”, was released shortly thereafter.

Creating in general has had a significant, and sometimes annoying, impact on my life. Daily occurrences become potential plots. Everyone from family members and neighbors, to auto mechanics, garbage collectors, and the crossing guard on the corner, are viewed as possible heroes or heroines. A future fictional character is constantly blowing in my ear.

On the other hand, writing can be very fulfilling, as well as a lot of hard work. As always, my mission is to make a difference in someone’s life. It may be as simple as providing entertainment, or presenting a different perspective to solve one of life’s many challenges.

I have created stories in most genres, but few have made it to print or screen. The dreaded fear of rejection took hold of me, and years went by while I concentrated on my career in Human Resources. But I did believe someday I would find my voice … and allow it to be heard.

Always a big break through when you can handle the fear of rejection!

What is your latest work and what motivated you to write it?

Both of my published children’s books, “Chirp’s Lullaby” and “No Bullying, Bertram” deal with child grief. The first was in response to a mother’s plea for a way to communicate to her young children why their new baby was not yet coming home. “No Bullying, Bertram!” deals with a different kind of child grief: the loss of self esteem. For the younger child, this toy shop tale tells the story of an unhappy bulldog, Bertram, and a timid purple puppy, Penelope. The other toys in the toy shop teach Bertram that happiness is found when you make someone else feel special. Make others happy and you will be happy, too.

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I was introduced to the shorter story years earlier when I became a reader for a neighborhood nursing home where my mother-in-law had been cared for during the end of her life. I wanted to give back to this facility for treating her with dignity and love I also wanted to add something special to the lives of the other residents. I was told to choose something childlike, and short, as the residents didn’t have a long attention span…and bring fudge brownies for dessert. I couldn’t find anything in the library to suit me, so I began to create my own stories: Short stories, evoking memories of days gone by…and I always brought brownies for dessert.

In my attempt to do something special for the caregivers and residents at the facility, I found something wonderful was happening to me. I learned to create a story quickly and effectively. One that would bring laughter and tears to a group of elderly residents; some who had not spoken in months. They enjoyed our gatherings, and I evolved as a storyteller.

Future aspirations?

When my mother passed away in 2004, I began to focus on the blessed childhood I had experienced. My parents were exceptional people in an extraordinary time.

My mother’s admittance to Georgetown University Law School in 1935 was rejected because she was a woman. Undaunted, she moved on to George Washington University Law School where she graduated and was hired by the US Government.

My dad was a cameraman for Pathe News. Seeking the perfect shot for his newsreels, Dad used daredevil antics: being strapped to the wings of biplanes, hanging off the exterior of the Empire State Building, and walking the suspension cables of the George Washington Bridge. He first met my mother while shooting a newsreel from the ceiling of the US Capitol rotunda. She walked into his camera shot below and he responded, “Hey, brown eyes. Could you move over to the right just a little. I need a clear shot…if you don’t mind.” She did mind and it was hate at first sight. They were married a year later.

Dad moved on from newsreels to cartography for the US Army Corps of Engineers. With no formal education, but a genius for geography, he devised the US Map Cataloging System used by the US and Great Britain. And while WWII raged around the world, my father battled alcoholism on the home front.

My parent’s story is my passion. I look forward to sharing them with the world. “Lillie’s Pond” is their story.

Next will be a series of cozy mysteries based on a group of women who remained friends and traveling companions for over 70 years. Their unusual adventures were also a part of my life. My inspiration begins in writing what I know. I could not ask for a more interesting cast of characters than those who have slipped in and out of my life over the years.

We look forward to seeing these new adventures, they sound fantastic!

Where do ideas come from? What aspects of life influence you?

As I said previously, my inspiration comes from what I know. Most interesting to me is overcoming life’s challenges. Allowing myself to write and freely share with others is my greatest personal challenge. I now choose to give up fear for the joy of fulfillment in the pursuit of making a difference.

What do you do to improve yourself as a writer?

I listen. I study. I read. I learned many years ago from Australian author, Marg McAlister, that a book must be your best friend if you want to be a successful author. We attended many writing seminars together in the US years ago and I never saw her anywhere without a book peeking out of her pocket. Marg takes great joy in the accomplishments of her students, and knowing her has always been a great asset to me. There is no better teacher, mentor…and friend.

Names of books?

2000 (contributor) “What To Do When Your Baby Is Premature” A Parent’s Handbook for Coping
with High-Risk Pregnancy and Caring for the Preterm Infant.
Joseph A Garcia-Prats, MD / Sharon Simmons Hornfischer, RN, BSN

2013 “Chirp’s Lullaby” A bird’s eye view of a new life in the NICU.
2015 “No Bullying, Bertram!”
(both available on Amazon)

Tips on handling rejection:

I’ve come a long way in my perception of rejection. Today I look at it as an opportunity to improve…to excell. We reject our own work when we edit. We strive to make something better understood or more enjoyable for the reader. My focus is always on how my writing can make a positive difference in someone’s life. To that end I am constantly using rejection from myself or others to reach my goal. No one can please everyone, but not writing at all because I have fear is no longer acceptable to me. The writing is greater than the writer. Get on with it.

Where may people contact you?

Elizabeth Schoberg
Lillie Pond Press
6112 Deerbrook Rd
Baltimore, Maryland 21228
USA
bjschoberg@yahoo.com

Thanks for joining use Elizabeth Stitch says has reviewed your two books so watch this space!

If you would like to be a part of Stitch Says email my human at ashley@ahowland.org

Keep reading, keep writing!

Inspiration comes when you least expect it #needtowrite

I wen to the zoo on the weekend… Not for any reason really, we just felt like going. Bam, yep an idea for a new book hits me slap bang in the face!

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It all started with Puspa – the beautiful Orangutan. She’s always one of our favourites. Her face is full of expression. We started playing around with a new idea while watching her go about her daily business. Then we went to see Tasko and Ade the sea lions. They were being very naughty for their keeper…

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It was actually just like watching Stitch and Chewie do a training session, just wetter. Anyway the idea grew.

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The otter’s added their little part and wham I need to do some writing! I have a list a mile long, but somehow think this one will skip ahead of a few ideas. It is funny how ideas just grow and they burn inside your head. I have to get working on this one asap – have fun!

Chapter Book Challenge is Coming #Chaboocha

March is on its way

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That means I need to get planning for the Chapter Book Challenge. I am almost ready to publish the book I wrote in 2014 (yep it takes me that long) watch this space for all that exciting news. Last year I wrote three chapter books. Two have been edited and are on my to do list. I am hopeful of publishing them this year. Need to get on to them…

Anyway that;s another story. Right now I need to decide on what I am going to write this march. I have a few ideas:

1. I need to finish the third in my pirate trilogy – I write the first two in the Chapter Book Challenge Lite last September but never finished the third.

2. I would love to get a draft down of a third Obi book

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Would really love the third to be quicker that the sequel, all good things are worth the wait though

3. I would love to get down book 5 in my super hero series. I have one and two edited, three and four almost ready to send off for editing. So getting number 5 and maybe even 6 down as a draft would be awesome.

4. A while ago I started a series for my girls and the ideas are still bouncing in my head. I actually want to include some of my Mum’s writing in this series, which is why I haven’t actually done much about it. I have lots of ideas, notes and the works. Maybe this March is the time to begin putting that idea together.

At the moment it’s not really about writing, it’s more about choosing the project order… I want to do them all. Maybe I will aim to start at the top and see how far I get. that might just have to be my plan.. will keep you updated. If you would like to join the chapter book challenge fun then join up here:

http://chapterbookchallenge.blogspot.com.au/

So much fun and som awesome authors to connect with I recommend giving it a go – have fun!

Getting Motivated #shouldbewriting #toomuchtodo

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That is how I feel at the moment, not that I am reading anything fantastic… but that’s another issue. I should be writing, editing and illustrating. I have a list a mile long. I also have lessons that need to be planned, curriculum documents I should be writing and yep my poor neglected blog.

I need this…

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I guess this was to be expected, starting a new full time job was never going to be easy. I just find that when I do have time to write I am lacking in motivation. Still the desire is there so I know I will get my mojo back soon. I need to because March is coming and that means Chapter Book Challenge time. Of course that also means I need to plan what I am going to write. I have four ideas at the moment. More about them soon..

I have not been completely idle though. Last week I approved my new book and ordered the print proof of the sequel to Obi the Super Puppy. Which were of course two of my goals for February. Yay I achieved something!!!!

Alright I am going to get myself organised. Stitch will also be making an appearance soon. That’s right the Stitch Says and Chewie’s news blogs are still happening. Just only taking shorter novels to review at the moment. Although as I said earlier I am not reading anything fantastic at the moment so the door is open. Will happily review Children’s books and Stitch is always happy to provide an interview. So give us an email: ashley@ahowland.org

Right back to the writing board, more soon I hope – have fun!

Writing Prompts #justwrite

So far from two prompts I think I have one book idea. Will today lead to number two? I really don’t know. I guess I should just get on with it…

Today’s prompt is:
He stood at the gate and… bounced.

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Surely someone would come home soon and take him for a walk. Stitch looked around. Chewie was chewing on the bed. He groaned, now there was going to be a mess and he would cop the blame. No doubt the human’s would know it was Chewie who did the chewing… but Stitch was always expected to fix the problem, stitch it back together if you like. He turned back to the gate. Ignoring the puppy. All he wanted to do was go for a walk. He peered through the slats in the gate and sighed. It was going to be a long day.

Actually I could use this idea too. I have been thinking about putting together an anthology of Stitch and Chewie’s adventures. Will throw in a few of Obi’s fun times too. Maybe it will be the pawfect book….
Should get to it, have fun!

NEW RELEASE: Not So Boring Book #1 #getwriting

I am please, no really, really, really excited to announce the release of my next book!!!!

THE NOT SO BORING BOOK #1 Write Your Own Story

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I am so excited about this book because it is so different. You actually write in the book, that’s right it’s your very own writing journal. It is also so much more. Each chapter is designed to get you thinking about a different aspect of writing a story, but wait…

At the end of every chapter there is room to work on one story idea and develop that idea into a completed story. Then by the end of the book you will have a story ready to publish!!!!

Pretty exciting!

What’s even better is that The Not So Boring Book #1 can be used by any age group, adults and kids it doesn’t matter. So get writing today!!!

I have copies on order, so you can get one directly from me or it will be available soon on Amazon, watch this space for more information!

I can’t wait to get people writing and of course to have fun!