New Picture Book Published! “Wildly Beautiful: Playful Art & Poetry for Kids”

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I am excited to announce that my new picture book, “Wildly Beautiful: Playful Art & Poetry for Kids”, is now available for sale on Amazon! This is the first full-length picture book that I have both illustrated and written, so I’m pretty proud of it!

The idea was born when I realized that I had quite a bit of kid-friendly art collages and decided I should write some fun poetry to go along with them and make it into a children’s book. The book very much has an indie, creative feel to it, and I’m proud of that. It encourages kids to try their own hand at creating art and poetry as well. The poems included cover a broad range of subjects – from the silly and humorous to more thoughtful and inspirational ideas.

I have been lucky enough to get a couple reviews already. One Amazon customer was kind enough to leave this 5 star review:

“The author gives a sense of magic to the ordinary with beautiful pictures and clever words to enchant young ones to set their own creativity free.”

And Ashley from Mental Health @ Home here on WordPress also reviewed the book here.

If you want to check out the book, it is available in paperback for $9.99 or on Kindle for $2.99. I hope you will check it out!

Frustrations of Self-Publishing – New Book On the Way!

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I spent hours yesterday and will likely spend more time today trying to format my new book for publishing on Amazon. The new book is a combination of some of my more colorful, playful artworks and poetry bits for kids. I used the art itself to inspire the poetry. I think the book will turn out great once I finally get the kinks worked out with the formatting.

One thing I really wish Amazon would do is to make it easier to format books using Word, especially if you use quite a few images in the book. For some reason, Amazon can not recognize when you split up content on different pages in Word, at least not when images are mixed in. It is pretty frustrating sometimes.

Once I get the book done, can proof the hard copy, and get it up for sale, I’ll definitely be sharing it with you all. I hope you will like it!

Merry Christmas Eve! My Fave Gifts So Far!!!

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:

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My new illustrated version of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” (featuring commentary by Albus Dumbledore!):

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My curseword-laden coloring book:

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A pagan-themed children’s book and plenty of stickers to craft with:

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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:

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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!!!

“Bess the Book Bus” picture book review

“Bess the Book Bus”, written by Concetta M. Payne and Freda Roberts is a book that I was excited to read before I even opened it to the first page. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of the library bookmobile that used to visit our school every week. “Bess the Book Bus” takes this great concept and goes even further with it.

Like the bookmobile that many of us are familiar with, Bess is a real-life bus that delivers books and joy to children. However, Bess is unique as well. For one thing, Bess was created by a woman named Jennifer E. Frances. Jennifer named Bess after her late grandmother, Bess O’Keefe, who taught Jennifer how much fun reading could be.

Another characteristic that sets Bess apart from the traditional bookmobile is the the children who visit Bess actually get to keep the book they pick out! I don’t know about you, but that would have made my day when I was a kid! Free books would still put a big smile on my face today! Reading this book made me wish that every town had their own version of “Bess the Book Bus”.

As for the story itself, it is told in a charming, personal manner that kids will find easy to relate to. Bess is personified during the story, making her more accessible and exciting to kids. You feel like you really get to know her. The illustrations that accompany the text, which were done by Andrieanna Barnes, are colorful and visually appealing, with a hand-drawn flair to them. I feel that is is also important to emphasize that a portion of the proceeds received from the sales of this book go to support Jennifer Frances’ cause so that Bess can continue to deliver books to children.

I would definitely recommend this book for any school or library system and also think it would make a great gift for any child ages 3-9. For more information about this book and how to order it, please visit the “Bess the Book Bus” page on MagicBlox, http://magicblox.com/books/bess-book-bus.

Review of “Bob Beetle Book Bug” Picture Book

Today I am excited to have the pleasure of discussing a book that carries a great message and supports a wonderful cause. “Bob Beetle Book Bug” is a picture book written by my fellow Mirror Publishing author Phyllis Griggs and illustrated by Carlos Lemos.

Before I get into the actual review of the book itself, I want to first commend the author for all the hard work she does to help spread the important message about childhood literacy. Through her Bob Beetle Book Bug non-profit organization, she reaches out to children everywhere to encourage them to explore the wonderful world of reading. I should also note that all of the proceeds from the sale of her “Bob Beetle Book Bug” picture book will be donated to the cause of children’s literacy.

Now, on to the story! The premise of “Bob Beetle Book Bug” is simple but powerful. The book stars a cute little green “book bug” who is excited to share his passion for books in all of their wonderful forms. As he says, he loves “little books, big books, old books and new…red books, white books and yellow books too…blue books, brown books, short books and tall…fat books, skinny books, he loves them all!”

As you can probably tell from that small excerpt, this book is funny, cute and well-written. It is also interactive, with Bob Beetle talking directly to the reader and inviting them to join him in his wonderful world of books. The book poses some great questions that could easily serve as discussion starters with kids. Perhaps best of all, Bob Beetle encourages the whole family to get involved and find the time to read together as a family.

Overall, this is simply a wonderful book built around a much-needed concept. Books like this carry the potential to turn even the most reluctant young readers into book lovers. This is a great pick for families, schools, libraries and community organizations devoted to literacy. If you would like to purchase a copy, please visit Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

 

My first elementary school author visit!!!

Today was my first official elementary school author visit.  I must admit I was sweating this one big time.  I kept worrying that I would get in front of everyone and just bomb it.  I am a nervous public speaker anyway, so I was terrified by the thought of getting up in front of people I don’t even know and talking about my new picture book, “Ode to Icky”.  Certain thoughts kept whirling around in my head:  What if no one likes my book?  What if I got up in front of them all and couldn’t think of anything else to say besides “um”?  And worst of all, what if I made such a bad impression that they never invited me back?

Now I can say with a big sigh of relief that I was honestly worried for NOTHING!!!  The author visit went great today!  I spoke to three different classrooms, and all three seemed absolutely enthralled by me and the book.  Both teachers and students told me they “loved my book”, and I even overheard one kid going around telling all his friends what an “awesome, funny book” I had written.  By the time I left I had kids asking me to autograph their homework, their arms and just about any other surface they could provide!  It made me feel like royalty!

By the time it was over I had learned a few things.

1.  I underestimated how much kids really love to talk to authors.  I thought most kids thought books were kind of boring and would think the same about the authors who write them.  Boy was I wrong!

2.  Kids ask really funny, amusing questions, but they also occasionally come up with an insight that I didn’t even have about my book.  The things they notice are amazing.  For instance, I really had never noticed that the illustrator had drawn the characters without tongues, but one kid sure did and wanted to know why they didn’t have tongues.

3.  I worry way too much about the small stuff, like making sure I have the perfect pen to sign my books with or wearing just the right outfit.  But my audience doesn’t really care too much about those things, they just want some attention from someone that they feel they can look up to.  It makes me so proud to know that I am someone they consider worth emulating!

 

What’s going on…

Cue the Marvin Gaye song.  Just thought I would write a list of stuff that has been going on in my life lately.  Feel free to comment or even share what is going on in your life!

*The biggest news, at least recently, is that I am now involved in a lawsuit 😦 I can’t really say much more than that at this point, but let me say that it is the first time I have ever been sued for ANYTHING and it has not been a pleasant experience.  For a worrywart like me is feels like some class action lawsuit Xarelto we all heard of.  I do want to specify that this has absolutely nothing to do with my writing career…so don’t worry about that.  It’s just one of the personal inconveniences that is life.

*On a more positive note, my picture book, “Ode to Icky” is going to the printers within the next couple weeks!  It should be available before the holiday season, so keep it in mind for a great gift!  I also have another children’s ebook entitled “Weezie, the Elephant with Allergies” that is almost ready for publication.  I plan to publish it in October, so keep a look out!  It will be available on Smashwords, Amazon and Barnes and Noble (just like my last ebook “In Memory of Dad”).

*We just celebrated our one month anniversary with our new foster son who is 9 years old.  He has been a great kid so far, even if he is an EXTREMELY picky eater.  Hopefully he will grow out of that.  He recently joined the Boy Scouts which has been as much fun for us as it has for him.  At the last den meeting we even played dodgeball, parents vs the kids.  The parents won, although my foster son did manage to get my husband out of the game.  I survived till the bitter end though, even if I did it by hiding behind the men 🙂

Well, I think that’s everything that is important for now.  Please drop me a line and tell me how your life is going.  Would love any advice on how to deal with lawsuit headaches and picky eaters as well!!!

Do your little ones love a spooky story?

When I first saw the cover for the new picture book, “The Fearsome Beastie”,  written by Giles Paley-Phillips and illustrated by Gabriele Antonini, it brought  to mind my childhood memories of telling creepy stories around the  campfire.  When I was a child I was constantly on the lookout for  books that could give me goosebumps, even before I was able to read them  myself.  For children like me, this book would have made  the perfect bedtime story.

As you might have already figured, “The Fearsome Beastie” is a story  about scary creatures and ‘things that go bump in the night’.  The fearsome  beastie has sharp claws and dripping jaws full of sharp, nail-like  fangs.  The children in the story are naturally terrified of the beastie,  but this monster isn’t a dumb one.  Pretending to be nice, the  creature gains the trust of the children and then has them for dinner…

Continue reading on Examiner.com: “The Fearsome Beastie” Picture Book Review – Dayton Books | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/books-in-dayton/the-fearsome-beastie-picture-book-review#ixzz1MrJhDRZL

“How to Hug” – an adorable picture book for small children

A great read for little ones.

The picture book “How to Hug”, written by Maryann McDonald and illustrated by Jana Christy is a creative look at the world of hugging.  It not only gives instructions on how to hug the right way, but it also gives many funny hugging scenarios that you will want to avoid.  After all, no one wants to get stuck or freeze while they are hugging someone else.  The book is also an encyclopedia of hugging for kids, explaining the different kind of hugs that exist, such as the bear hug, the guess-who hug and the sandwich hug.

The artwork in this book is truly delightful and will likely have both children and their parents laughing.  The artwork is full of fluffy, cute animals and little boys and girls who are experimenting with hugging.  Your child will have fun watching what happens as the characters find themselves in unusual, sometimes hilarious situations.  When you read this story to your toddler, you are sure to get a hug in return, which makes the reading more than worthwhile. 

“How to Hug” is available from the publisher, Marshall Cavendish, or you can order it from Amazon.com.