Yesterday I published a new illustrated children’s short story ebook on Amazon! It is called “No More Grumpies!“, and is a fun story about a little boy who just can’t shake the grumpies.
Here is the official book description:
Michael is having a very grumpy day. His mother keeps warning him that there will be “trouble” if the grumpies keep making an appearance, but what will happen if Michael can’t get rid of the grumpies? What kind of “trouble” is he heading into?
From multi-award-winning author and artist Maranda Russell, this illustrated short story is funny, cute, and sure to help get rid of the most stubborn grumpies!
This little poem was inspired by a middle grade book series called “Malice” by Chris Wooding. I liked the world that was created, and decided to capture just a bit of it in poetry (my favorite line is the “mushroom lamps” one):
By: Maranda Russell
Take the evening train
into the cavernous abyss.
Light up the darkness
with your mushroom lamps
and a fist full
of round trip tickets.
Happy Christmas Eve everyone!!! We do our present opening today, so my husband and I went ahead and opened our gifts for each other. Here are a few pics of my favorite things!
First off, my Harry Potter Death Eater wand:
My new illustrated version of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” (featuring commentary by Albus Dumbledore!):
My curseword-laden coloring book:
A pagan-themed children’s book and plenty of stickers to craft with:
I also got a couple other books, some gel pens, a cool, four-sided Buddha figure, and this new black bear stocking I fell in love with:
Tomorrow I am celebrating Christmas with my mother, so am sure I will get more gifts then! The holidays are so much fun!!! Hope you guys are having your own happy celebrations!
By the way, I am running a special Amazon giveaway for my new children’s Kindle ebook, “How to Find Fun Adults“! Feel free to enter! Three copies are up for grabs! Of course, you can always buy a copy for $.99 or download it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!!!
“Without Tess”, written by Marcella Pixley, is one of the best YA novels I have read in a while. I rarely give books five stars when rating them, but this one I did. The story revolves around the main character (Lizzie), and her dead sister (Tess). Lizzie is the younger sister by a couple years and was only 10 when her older sister tragically passed away.
The real star of the novel is Tess. As you read through the book and relive vibrant memories Lizzie shared with Tess, you come to both love and sometimes dislike Tess. Tess was a true believer in magic. She was creative and passionate. She was both loving and loyal, but at times cruel and violent. She was mentally ill, and at times downright psychotic. This novel is a lifelike retelling of what it is like to grow up with an extremely mentally ill sibling. It addresses the love, the hate, the sadness, the pain, the rage, the guilt, and all the other emotions that come along with such a disturbing family dynamic.
I had a deeply personal connection with this book, both as someone who grew up with a mentally ill sibling, and someone who eventually lost that sibling, mostly due to that mental illness. At one point the book even made me tear up, which is extremely rare for any book to do. Definitely recommended!
So the idea and questions for this post come from the Usborne “My First Story Writing Book” which is an awesome resource for helping kids learn creative writing skills! I thought it would be fun to answer some of the questions they ask myself and share!
I live with…
My husband, Steve
My 3 cats (Spyder, Mao Mao, and Icky)
The most unusual thing about me is…
I’m a physical and mental trainwreck (who knows what is actually wrong with me???)
My worst fear is…
My husband dying.
Having to support myself entirely.
Spiders getting into my ears.
Getting sicker or being in even more pain.
I feel happy when…
People appreciate and compliment me.
When I am being creative!
My biggest ambition is…
Make more money as a freelance writer/book reviewer (maybe review books for bigger companies).
Work with kids again. Maybe hold more children’s writing workshops in the future.
Grow my blog/vlogs.
Advocate for those with chronic illness and mental illness.
Sell more art on ebay!
My first memory is…
Riding in a stroller and being frustrated that I couldn’t get out!
I found parts of this book truly fascinating. Who knew that you could even have a stroke that completely shut down one half of your brain but left the other half functioning normally? Think you are truly left brained or right brained? Find out for sure here!
Suicide is a sensitive subject, and one that people often shy away from, even if it has touched their own lives personally. However, as someone whose life was deeply impacted by a loss due to suicide, I try to be open about its reality and unafraid to tackle it head on. In the spirit of that, I want to share the following two videos I made about young adult novels I’ve read recently that really handled the subject well in my opinion, and will give readers plenty of food for thought:
If you enjoyed these videos, please subscribe to my channel on YouTube and leave a comment here or there!
It has been quite a while since I posted a book review, but I just love this new series so much I had to share my thoughts about it! So far, “The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe” book series (written by Gordon McAlpine and illustrated by Sam Zuppardi) consists of two published books. The first volume is entitled “The Tell-Tale Start” and the second is called “Once Upon a Midnight Eerie”. As you can probably tell already, the author loves a good play on words (as do I!).
I was initially drawn to this middle grade (ages 8+) children’s series while browsing the children’s department at Barnes & Noble. The cover and title of the first book immediately captured my attention because I have always loved Edgar Allan Poe. When I studied the book further, I found the premise quite original. To sum it up, the books revolve around Edgar and Allan Poe, twelve-year old identical twins who also happen to be the great-great-great-great-grandnephews of the famous horror/mystery author. One thing that makes these twins unusual (and help creates some of the drama) is that the boys have a telepathic communication ability and pretty much function as one person. In both books, there are significant threats to the lives of both main characters, so it is full of action, suspense and a touch of morbid humor for kids who like that kind of thing. Of course, since it is a middle grade series, Edgar & Allan always manage to foil their enemies and survive.
I think the best thing about this book series though are the parts where you get to see Edgar Allan Poe himself in the “great beyond”. It is hilarious to see our poor Poe having to work for the seemingly grumpy and narcissistic William Shakespeare in heaven. Poe constantly finds himself in trouble in heaven because he is always breaking the rules to interfere in the lives of his nephews on earth. Of course, being in trouble is nothing new to Poe, seeing as he was quite used to it during his earthly life. I also love how in the second book, Edgar and Allan are joined by a pair of twin girls named “Em” and “Milly” Dickinson, who happen to be the great-great-great-great-grandnieces of the famous spinster poet Emily Dickinson (more name puns there). I look forward to seeing which other literary greats (and their descendants) may be written into the story in the future.
I realize that not all adults like to read children’s books like I do, but I hope that if you have kids in the middle grade age range you will have them check out this series and see if they like it. I am hoping it will become popular enough to go on for quite a while because I want to keep reading it!
As you might have noticed, I have been on a bit of an art kick lately, so today’s featured book is a great pick since it is very artistic, as well as literary. It is also very timely because autumn is quickly sneaking up on us, so I know teachers and parents are already looking ahead to plan fall activities and excursions. Now on to the review…
“To the Cider Mill” by Danna York is actually three books in one! That might sound a little crazy, but it is true. For the price of one book, your child gets a coloring book, a sketch book and a rhyming picture book story about the fun childhood experience of visiting a cider mill!
While the book is about the size and shape of a typical children’s coloring book, the setup is a little unusual. For each double-page spread, you have one page with a fun, harvest themed picture to color and a little rhyming verse at the bottom and on the other page you have a mostly blank space for children to create their own pictures with a little suggested drawing exercise. The suggested drawing exercises go along with the rhyme and illustration on the adjoining page and are generally fall-themed as well.
I really liked the concept of this book and think it would be a great gift for creative kids everywhere. I could easily see this book being used in a preschool or elementary classroom, for any kind of artistic group or to bring extra excitement to that annual trip to your own local cider mill. It would also make a great keepsake for parents, grandparents and other loved ones.
If you are interested in more information about “To the Cider Mill” or would like to order a copy, please visit the author’s Facebook page or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.