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Sunday, July 31, 2011










Check out the review of A Star in the Night on Susanne Draizic's blog. She gave great reviews of the book , including K.C. Snider's illustrations. When you visit, be sure to leave a comment to be entered to win a FREE AUTOGRAPHED copy of the book. Just click here for Susanne's blog! Good luck and I'll see you there.






Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Star in the Night featured in Susanne Drazic's Christmas in July

This July, fellow blogger Susanne Drazic is having a Christmas in July blogging party! Stop on by and check it all out. There's giveaways, guest posts, book reivews and more. Later this month my book, A Star in the Night (illustrated by the talented K.C. Snider) will be featured. When A Star in the Night is featured on Susanne's blog, leave a comment under her post at http://susannedrazic.blogspot.com/. with a link to your Fb or Tweet about my book and you could win a free autographed copy! DO NOT COMMENT YET. You must wait until she features A Star in the Night. I will provide another link when the time comes. So stay tuned....


This post is also published on the official A Star in the Night Blog

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dialogue Advice from Author Shelby Patrick

****Blog Owner Note: The content following is solely the content and opinion of Shelby Patrick alone, and not that of blog owner Jennifer Gladen***

I Have Spoken…


By Shelby Patrick

One of the many elements to writing fiction is to use good dialogue. I have been told countless times, by my editor and other publishing professionals, that my characters’ dialogue is pretty good. You can’t have an enticing story if the cast can’t even produce two sentences that sound natural and exciting. Writing dialogue is not the same as talking to another person. For instance, when you meet someone, this might be how it goes: “Hello, how are you? I’m not doing too bad myself. How is the family? How was school…work…etc.?”

Hmm, a bit tedious and boring, if you are reading that, unless it somehow enhances the storyline or its speakers. If it doesn’t, there’s no place for dialogue like that in your piece of fiction. Keep it snappy and enlightening. You want to keep the reader engaged, not turn them away or make them nod off in the middle of your chapter.

So how do you go about keeping readers involved with your characters when they speak?

• Create a memorable character by allowing him/her to use witty banter – come-ons, put downs, sarcasm, etc. Example from my own book, When Angels Sing: :”Following me down here was a stupid idea, Jen. Do you realize I could lock the door and and no one would ever know? If you disappeared now, they would just go out looking for your kidnapper . . . again.”

• Make sure the speaker is always clear; don’t frustrate your reader so that they aren’t even sure who is talking. Find some way to personalize the dialogue so there is no confusion. For example: The bouncer reached for Susan’s arm but Luke slapped him. “Shame on you, Jacques, no one touches my girl but me.”

• Sometimes thoughts or speech patterns get interrupted. Don’t be afraid to leave someone’s dialogue hanging, such as: “Zack, I don’t know how to tell you this…” Anna shifted her feet and looked down at the floor.

• Give at least one of your characters a good sense of humor and show it in his words.

• Descriptions and feelings can sometimes be conveyed through dialogue with other characters.

• Don’t make all your characters sound the same. One may speak with a stutter or a foreign accent, sound more educated than the rest, or show more emotion.

• Don’t tell us how a character feels. Instead, show us through his choice of words. For example, instead of saying “I’m angry! How could you do that?” Try something like: “ That is the stupidest thing I have ever seen you do."
One good rule of thumb here. Characters rarely ever say what they feel. When is the last time you read a romance and the man and woman declared their love right away, or a thriller when the killer is revealed through his dialogue in the first chapter? You have to keep the reader guessing and entertained. They may know what the characters are thinking, but chances are the other characters in the story won’t, so don’t push the dialogue too fast and ruin any suspense building up.



Good luck!



-------------------------



Shelby has self-published two creative writing exercise books, Dark Recesses of the Mind and Forbidden Knowledge, a short horror and science fiction collection entitled The Fear Within, and a supernatural thriller, When Angels Sing.



WHEN ANGELS SING came out in December 2010. The main male character, Blaze Kerrigan, is a typical young guy but with one peculiar problem – he has a psychic link to a serial killer. So when Jenna Michaels shows up at his door unannounced and bears an uncanny resemblance to his dead fiancĂ©e, it’s Blaze’s job to keep her safe, especially when the body count starts to rise.



To see the trailer for WHEN ANGELS SING, please visit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPop7HH5slc

All of Shelby’s titles can be purchased at amazon.com.

Shelby Patrick
http://www.shelbypatrick.com/
http://writershotspot.blogspot.com/


** Find Shelby Patrick on Twitter (@shelbypatrick) or Facebook **

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Book Review: A Wish and a Prayer

Book Review by Author and Editor-in-Chief of My Light Magazine Jennifer Gladen


Look for this review at My Light Magazine's Book review section as well as Bluebell Books!


A Wish and a Prayer
By Beth Bence Reinke

ISBN-10: 9780982642313
ISBN-13: 978-0982642313

Blurb: When Jason's parakeet flies out the window and is lost, he wishes on various objects in hopes of bringing his pet home. But is there something better than wishing? A story that gently teaches children the difference between wishing and praying.








Review: A wish. A Prayer. What's the difference? Are the two the same? In Beth Bence Reinke's book, A Wish and a Prayer, Jason soon finds out that the two couldn't be more different. When Jason's parakeet accidentally flies out of his window, Jason does everything he can to get him back. He searches for him in the park, and he calls him with the parakeet's special tweeting song. He even tries wishing the parakeet back for an entire week.

It isn't until Jason realizes he's been looking in the wrong places that he finds his parakeet. While he's been turning to wishing on a clock and candles to find his bird, he soon discovers these actions will not help him find the parakeet. But when he offers a faithful prayer to God for the bird's return, he awakes to that familiar tweeting song only his parakeet can sing.

This is a great story on the difference between wishes and prayers, a lesson every child should learn.

Where to get A Wish and a Prayer:

Amazon
4 RV Publishing


Read about Beth Bence Reinke and her books on her blog!
Read about the illustrator here.







Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bluebell Books: One Pelican at a Time

I've shared a book review of Nancy Stewart's "One Pelican at a Time"with Bluebell Books. I contribute to a book review column titled "Children's Playground."

To see the review, please visit and comment at: Bluebell Books: One Pelican at a Time: "A children's book review by Author and Editor-in-Chief of My Light Magazine Jennifer Gladen."

Enjoy the review. If you'd like your book included, send an email to jennifer_gladen5@msn.com for details.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Meet the Fascinating Dallas Woodburn!

I am thrilled to welcome Dallas Woodburn to the blog. Teachers, be sure to check out her Write On! For Literacy.  Be sure to read all the way through as she has some great stories to share with us.



Dallas, weclome. Please tell us a little about yourself!


I am the author of two short story collections and a forthcoming novel, represented by Foundry Literary + Media in New York City. I have written more than 80 articles for publications including Family Circle, Writer’s Digest, The Writer, CO-ED, Motherwords, Health & Home, and The Los Angeles Times; I am also a staff writer for the websites GradtoGreat.com and TweenParent.com. My short fiction has been published in the literary journals Cicada, Monkeybicycle, Palaver, flashquake, and The Hudson Valley Literary Magazine. I graduated from the University of Southern California in May 2009 with a B.A. in Creative Writing and Entrepreneurship, and I also studied Creative Writing for a semester at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. My website is www.writeonbooks.org and I frequently update my blog with writing tips and announcements: http://dallaswoodburn.blogspot.com.


How long have you been writing?

It’s funny, but looking back it’s difficult for me to remember a time before I loved to write! I learned to read when I was four years old, and I gobbled up books. Like many kids, I made up stories; I was compelled to write my stories down. I think this was largely due to the fact that my dad is a writer. Every night, my parents would read me bedtime stories, and every morning I would come downstairs and see my dad writing. As a result, I was very aware that someone had written the books I so loved to read. And I decided that I wanted to be someone who writes books for other people to enjoy.


My dad is my biggest fan and is the first person who reads my work – his feedback and encouragement are invaluable. I remember when I was little, he would let me type out stories on his computer once he had filed his column for the day – how special that was! I am incredibly blessed that my parents and teachers were so encouraging of my love of writing from a very young age. Also, when I was in the first and second grade I was lucky to have an amazing teacher, Diane Sather, who encouraged my love for writing. I remember she had me read one of my stories to the class. I got such a burst of joy from sharing what I had written with others. It never crossed my mind to just write for myself.




What started you writing for publication?


I published my first book, There’s a Huge Pimple on My Nose, when I was in fifth grade. Pimple is proof that with a lot of hard work, a lot of perseverance – and, yes, a lot of support, too – a small idea can snowball into something bigger than you ever dreamed. My snowball began as a snowflake when I applied for and received a $50 grant from my elementary school to write, publish and sell a collection of my short stories and poems -- but I think here's what set my proposal apart: I would use the profits to repay my grant, so the school could offer an extra one the following year. My first printing, done at a Kinkos copy shop, was modest: twenty-five staple-bound forty-page books. Actually, they were more like thick pamphlets, but no matter – to me, they were books, my books, the most beautiful books I had ever laid eyes upon. J.K. Rowling wasn’t more proud of her first Harry Potter hardcover edition.


My fellow students and teachers, bless them, acted as if Pimple was at the top of the New York Times Best-Seller List. The first twenty-five copies promptly sold in a couple of days. Can you imagine what a turbo-boost this was to a fifth-grader’s self-esteem? I was pursuing my dream, but I wasn’t pursuing it alone – my family and friends and teachers were right there with me. So I went back to Kinkos, ordered twenty-five more books – and soon sold all those as well. After three more trips to Kinkos, where the workers now knew me by name, I searched out a publishing business and ordered a few hundred glossy-covered, glue-bound, professional-looking Pimples. My little forty-page dream evolved from a snowball into a blizzard, with newspaper and radio interviews; appearances at literacy events all around California; even a “Dallas Woodburn Day” at the Santa Barbara Book Fair. I still have to pinch myself, but Pimple has sold more than 2,200 copies and I repaid two school grants.


Looking back, I was fortunate to dive into this career at such an early age because I wasn't afraid or self-conscious about my writing. I think as we get older, we tend to lose that child-like pride and confidence in ourselves and our work. I published my first book when I was in fifth grade. I wasn't afraid of rejection, so I sent my book out to anyone and everyone I thought might read it. Sure, I didn't hear back from a lot of them. But I did score reviews in The Los Angeles Times, Girls' Life Magazine, Cosmo Girl Magazine, and others. Many terrific doors were opened for me because I wasn't afraid to hear the word "no."


You’ve created an organization called Write On! For Literacy. What does that entail?


In a recent national assessment conducted by the National Literacy Institute (NLI) of fourth-grade students, 13% reported never reading for fun on their own; an additional 16% only read for fun once a month. I think this is a travesty. Reading has brought me so much excitement, confidence and has opened so many doors for me, including a tremendous college education and a career that I love.


Writing and reading have given me so much fulfillment and self-confidence, and opportunities that I never would have been given otherwise – like traveling to New York to be a guest on The CBS Early Show when I was writing a column for Family Circle magazine. I feel other kids should be exposed to writing and reading as well, to encourage their self-confidence and self-expression. When I published my first book, There’s a Huge Pimple On My Nose, in fifth grade, the teachers in my elementary school asked me to talk to their classes, and then I spoke to other classes throughout the school district. I still enjoy talking to kids about writing. At the beginning of my talk, I ask the kids if any of them are interested in writing, and usually a few shy hands raise. In contrast, at the end of my talk when I ask the same question, a lot more hands raise. The students told me they didn’t know that kids could be writers. They thought they had to wait until they were adults.


I started "Write On! For Literacy" in 2001 to encourage kids to discover joy, confidence, a means of self-expression and connection to others through reading and writing. My website www.writeonbooks.org features writing contests, book reviews, fun writing prompts, and more. I also hold an annual Holiday Book Drive to collect and distribute new books to disadvantaged kids -- more than 10,000 books have been donated to date.


If one of our readers wants to sponsor a local holiday book drive for your organization, what should he or she do?


That would be wonderful! Write On! would love for you to start a Holiday Book Drive chapter in your area! It can be as large or small of an effort as you have the time and energy for. Many chapter leaders begin book drives by inviting friends and relatives to get involved, and then broaden their efforts to area schools, churches and community groups. I have found in my own efforts that often people in the community want to get involved with literacy endeavors, but aren't sure how -- when they hear about the Holiday Book Drive, they are very excited to help out.


If you are interested in starting a Holiday Book Drive chapter, please e-mail me at dallaswoodburn@aol.com and I will add you to our chapter list. I can also send you flyers to help spread the word and get the ball rolling!





What was your main goal when you started your website, www.writeonbooks.org?


With my website I wanted to create a place where young writers can go to find resources and inspiration, as well as connect with other young writers. I started the site to coincide with my latest endeavor, which is starting a publishing company, Write On! Books, that publishes anthologies of stories, poems and essays written by young writers for young audiences. The goal is to give young people a much-needed outlet for expression and connection, while also hopefully inspiring a love of reading in youth. As a young writer, sometimes it can be hard to get people to take you seriously and get editors to even read your work. I believe that young people have a voice and opinions and a life perspective that just as important as the voice of adults. Moreover, there are so many books for young people that are written by adults – but who knows what its like to be a kid better than a kid herself? I am eager to read submissions from young writers -- they can e-mail me at dallaswoodburn@aol.com or visit my website www.writeonbooks.org for more information.

Do you have a set time when you write, or just whenever you get the urge?


I try to write every single day – I am most productive and happy when I have an established routine. Even if I don’t feel like writing, I tell myself to write for just fifteen or twenty minutes, and usually by the end of that time I am in the groove and write for longer. My goal is to write 1,000 words every day. I am a night owl, so it is not unusual to find me at my computer writing after midnight, when the world is quiet and I am alone with my thoughts.




Who is your favorite author?


Oh, I have too many favorite authors to count! I love Harper Lee, J.D. Salinger, and F. Scott Fiztgerald. I also adore Lorrie Moore and Salman Rushdie. Aimee Bender is not only a fantastic writer, she is also a phenomenal teacher – I was lucky enough to have her as a Creative Writing professor at the University of Southern California, where she helped me take risks and grow enormously as a writer.


Have you ever had writer's block, and if so how do you get rid of it?


One of the best things for me to do when I am facing writer’s block is to step back from the story and get away from the computer a bit. I love to go volunteer at schools and teach writing activities to kids. This is one of my favorite activities – it gives me great joy and fulfillment. Whenever I am feeling discouraged or creatively drained, going to schools and speaking to students inevitably recharges my batteries and gets me excited about writing again. So much energy and enthusiasm! It’s contagious!


I also frequently post tips for busting through writer’s block on my blog, http://dallaswoodburn.blogspot.com.




What do you recommend to aspiring authors?


Write every day, read as much as you can, and enjoy the process! As John Wooden says, “The journey is better than the inn.” In addition, publishing my books has taught me not to be afraid to take risks, and to take the initiative when you have an idea and make it happen yourself rather than letting fear and doubt make you wait. Because, why wait? Take small steps towards your dreams, and small steps can snowball into amazingly big opportunities!


How do you invent your characters?

Usually my characters start with a kernel of a personal experience or emotion that I am going through, and then pretty quickly this spins away from me and becomes a character separate from myself. Even if the eventual story is going to be written in third person, I usually like to write at least a couple pages in first person from the character’s perspective to get a sense of his or her voice. I don’t censor myself during this process – I just let the words flow freely and see what voice develops for the character.




Some authors say that they feel as though his or her characters are real, do you feel this way, and what do you think about this?


The best characters become real for me. The main character in my first novel is incredibly vivid and really guided the story, especially at the end. The story is written in first person, and a really neat thing happened – it started to feel like she was guiding the story and I was just writing what she was telling me.




Do you have anything in the works?


Yes, lots! I have started to write another novel, which I’m in the early exciting stages of – writing and waiting to see where the story will lead me. I'm also a staff writer for the websites GradtoGreat.com, TweenParent.com, and Listen magazine, a publication that encourages kids to make smart choices and stay away from drugs and alcohol. I’m having fun working on play scripts and submitting them to festivals. I’m also the coordinator for the Young Writers Program of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference – I really enjoy interacting with other young writers, and I hope to expand the Young Writers Program and continue to be involved with the conference for many years to come.


What would you say is the neatest thing you know?


I am continually impressed and inspired by the resilience, beauty, and generosity in people. Also, by the human ability to change and grow and thrive despite adversity and setbacks.


What was your favorite part about writing your book?

Sometimes the actual process of writing can be tedious and difficult, but I love the satisfaction of having written. And I love being able to share what I’ve written with others, and to hear from people who have read my work and been touched or inspired by something I have written. I believe writing can connect people and foster understanding, and that is what I hope to do in my career.




Do you like to write in complete silence or does it have to be noisy?


I like a little bit of background noise, whether it is music on my computer or the quiet hum of conversations around my at a coffee shop.




Keyboard or pen?


I used to be strictly a keyboard girl, but lately I’ve been writing freehand in big spiral notebooks in coffeeshops. I’ve found writing with pen and paper makes me feel less inhibited and more creative. In the evening, I go home and transcribe everything from my notebook to the computer, and do my first round of editing as I type things in. The process is working well for me right now.



What do you think is the hardest part about being an author?


Rejection is something that ever author has to deal with. As a writer, I joke that I could wallpaper all four of my bedroom walls with all the rejection letters I have received from editors! The important thing is not to take it personally. For whatever reason, you or your writing just wasn’t a right fit for that publication at this specific time. That doesn’t mean that they won’t love the next piece you send to them! When I get a rejection letter, I first read the comments to see if there is any advice I can glean or ways I can improve for next time. Then, I submit my story or essay or article somewhere else. It took me more than a year to find my literary agent. A year of rejection, rejection, rejection – until finally, I found my perfect match. My agent understands my writing and has faith in my career. I just had to have the patience and perseverance to find her!



What were the circumstances surrounding your decisions to become an author?

Writing is my passion – I feel most alive when I am writing and sharing my writing with others. I can’t imagine what I would be doing if I were not pursuing a career as an author! I also feel very blessed that my parents are incredibly supportive and encouraging of my dreams.




Some people say that you need to live life before you write a book, do you think that it’s experience that writes a book or imagination?


I think it’s a combination of both. I definitely think you are never too young to be a writer. As a child, I wrote stories based on things I was dealing with and thinking about at the time – everything from pimples to race issues to magical stuffed animals coming to life. I think the book is incredibly relatable to kids because I was a kid myself when I was writing it – that said, many adults enjoy it, too.


In my fiction writing, I tend to combine experience and imagination by taking a setting I know well or an experience that happened to me, and fictionalizing it. I imagine how a situation could have unfolded differently, and write about it.


The first article I had published was for Justine magazine, a publication for teens, and it was a true-life account about how I was “sweet sixteen” and had never been kissed. The editors loved my honest voice and the piece resonated with a lot of readers. I have always tried to see my young age as an advantage in my writing, rather than a disadvantage, because it allows me to write about things like teen issues with a great deal of authenticity. As a teen writing for a teen publication, I wrote an article that I would want to read!


I would encourage other writers to put themselves in this mindset – what insights and lessons does your particular background and experiences give you? How can you use these traits as an advantage in your writing life?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

T is for Signs of TROUBLE

Signs of Trouble by Janet Ann Collins
Illustrated by Jack Foster


Print ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-111-5; 1616331119

eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-112-2; 1616331127










Blurb:

Children with learning disabilities get separated from their Special Education class on a field trip and use what they’ve learned to get reunited with them. The included activities can help children learn safety rules, understanding of people with special needs, basic reading skills, and creative writing skills.


Review:

Signs of Trouble is an adventurous story about two girls, a special ed student and her partner,  who get separated from their group. With a communication mix-up and a trip to the bathroom, the girls discover they are...gulp...lost!

During this edge-of -the-seat story,  we follow the characters as they face a real life test on what to do if you are lost.  Do they go with that strange lady who offered to help them find their group? Do they go looking for their group? Should they try to find the group meeting place on their own?

With some quick thinking and a creative solution,  the girls find a way to draw attention to themselves and get the help they needed.

This is a delightfully written story that all children can relate to. I loved at the end of the book there are a large variety of academic activities. More fascinating fun with author Janet A Collins!

Where to get Signs of Trouble:

Guardian Angel Publishing
Amazon

About Janet A Collins:



Janet Ann Collins is a retired teacher who used to work at California School for the Deaf, Was a substitute teacher in many Special Education classes, and raised three foster sons with special needs in addition to her birth daughter.


She was a freelance feature writer for a newspaper in the San Francisco Bay Area, is a columnist for the Antique Auction Explorer and her work has appeared in dozens of other publications. Collins is the author of two other books with Guardian Angel Publishing, The Peril of the Sinister Scientist and Secret Service Saint.

About Jack Foster:



Jack Foster, children’s book illustrator, has illustrated more books for Guardian Angel Publishing, SHOO CAT!, Klutzy Kantor


You can see more of Jack’s work and leave him a comment at www.jacktoon.blogspot.com

Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for Seuss

Now that we've dealt with the topic of rejection, I'd like to offer some inspiration. Just because your manuscript is rejected, doesn't mean it lacks merit. It could be quite good.

His book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street , was rejected 28 times before being published. In fact one well known comment was "“This is too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.” Wow!  But he persisted. With persistence comes payoff.  He later went on to write more classics such as The Cat in the Cat , Green Eggs and Ham, and  How the Grinch Stole Christmas.





So when that next rejection comes along, thing Seuss!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Awards for My Blog


You'll see two new awards for my blog awarded by Jingle :


The Talented Writer Award





And the Blogger Buddy Award.






Thanks Jingle!




R is for Rejections

As Editor-in-Chief of My Light Magazine, I had run into times where I've had to reject a manuscript. It's the thing I like LEAST about running the magazine.  However, if the magazine is to improve and accomplish it's goal to spread the Catholic faith to our readers, we must be selective.
As writers, how should we handle rejections? The professional thing to do would be to take the editor's advice - if any is offered (see Why You Get Form Rejections) and resubmit elsewhere. Unless the editor asks for a resubmission, I would avoid it.  If you are fortunate enough for this request, be sure to refresh the editor's memory by simply stating, "Per your request I have addressed the issues and am resubmitting...".

It rarely helps to defend your manuscript once it is rejected. Yes, you will be remembered by the editors - but not the way you hope.You don't want to be remembered for negative behavior and risk appearing unprofessional.

The best thing to do is run the manuscript through your critique group - yes  YET AGAIN, reassess your markets, and submit elsewhere.

The effort will pay off. That manuscript will be ready for that one right publication. Then it and you will be remembered for your writing skill - not your reaction to a rejection.



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Q is for Quality Submissions

When submitting to an editor of a magazine or a book publisher, it is important to produce quality submissions to avoid an immediate rejection. When sending your manuscript, after ensuring it is ready, be sure to prepare a cover letter - even if you are submitting through electronic communication. The cover letter maintains a professional quality to your submission. Be sure it includes the title, what it's about, and how it fits in with the publication.

When writing the manuscript, keep the publishing company's guidelines in mind. What is the suggested age level? Word count?Topic or theme? No matter how well written the manuscript is, it will be rejected if it doesn't meet the guidelines.

Before submitting your work, it should have gone through several rounds in a critique group. This helps catch spelling, grammar and syntax errors. If an editor has to correct too much,he or she will pass on the manuscript.

Keeping all these tips in mind will help you produce a quality manuscript - one that is hopefully on its way to publication.

P is for Program: Jennifer Wylie's contribution to a Short Story Program

Encouraging the love of reading.


by Jennifer Wylie




I am really excited about my first short story series. Tales of Ever is part of a new short story program being put out by Echelon Press.

Electric Shorts is a pilot program for reluctant readers. Each series contains six short stories presented once per month as electronic downloads (eBooks), much the same as a television series. Tales of Ever is a fantasy series written for young adults (13-17 year olds). The first instalment, Banished, debuted March 1st, a new instalment will be available the first tuesday of the month ending in August. At only $.99 each, the short stories are affordable for all walks of life.

I was lucky enough to have a mother who was an avid reader, and became one myself at an early age. I've now passed the love of reading onto to my own children. Tales of Ever is full of action and written to captivate even the most reluctant readers. I'm hoping to share the joy of reading with many young adults.

One of my favorite parts of a new work is creating the world it takes place in. Sometimes the differences between 'our world' and my invented world are few, mostly the differences being magic or what beings are there. But not always.

My new short story series also has a new world. It is drastically different from what we could consider 'normal'. Needless to say, I'm having the most fun EVER (excuse the pun) creating this world as well. Though technically, Ever is not a world, but a place. I wanted Ever to be bizarre, crazy, and also wild and dangerous. Part of its deadliness is that nothing is normal or known. At least not to someone from earth. My character does her best to describe the crazy world she has been banished too, and I have a great time coming up with her descriptions of things. For example when she lands in Ever she falls on the border between two drastically different environments, a desert and a jungle. “The sand is pink. Not the washed out pink of granite, but clashed-really-bad-with-my-hair bright pink.” The jungle she describes as “one colored by some crazy kindergarten kids, maybe.”

I'm very excited the series will be six stories long. Misha, my main character, stays in the Rainbow Jungle for the first two shorts, however in the 3rd she travels to the Tall Forrest. I'm sure many interesting things will happen there! The second of the series, Fire Girl, was released April 5th and the third, Shadow Boy will come out May 3rd.

I hope you all enjoy the worlds I create! Happy reading and thanks so much for having me today!





Series: Tales of Ever

#1 Banished

by Jen Wylie

Short Story 0.99

Published March 1 2011 by Echelon Press



Series Blurb:

Welcome to Ever.

Ever, a deadly realm where feared, powerful and dangerous magical beings are banished. Though very large, it is not a world but a magically created prison. You can’t break through its circular boundary. Who, or what, made Ever? I’ve no idea. They were powerful, and cruel. That is all I can tell you.

Ever is like and unlike every other world. Nothing is safe. Safety is a dream. Ever is a nightmare. Few survive their first day. Nothing is what it seems. If something appears safe, it isn’t. If something appears dangerous, well it is, but probably more so than you think.

Ever has no sun, no moon, no stars at night. Time is told by the ever changing color of the sky where portals open, dropping new inhabitants, or new terrors. Time does pass. Don’t worry, you won’t get old. You won’t live that long.

The landscape changes without reason form dessert to jungles. The flora isn’t safe at any time. There is food, if you can find it without getting eaten yourself. Most plants and animals are poisonous. So is the water.

Are you afraid? You should be. This is the end. It gets worse of course. Remember the portals? Do think angels come through? Rarely the innocent do. Mostly, it is people of evil, people too powerful to kill. Their magic works here. The creature’s are worse.

Do you understand? Well you will eventually, or you’ll die. There is no escaping Ever. Ever.



Banished Blurb:

My life was normal. It sucked, but it was normal. At least until I got this new power. I can control fire. It would be cool if it wasn’t so dangerous and if I knew how to use it. Pretty much my sucky life took a nose dive once I got it. Yup, everything gone. I suppose I should be thankful some uncle I never heard of took me in. Turns out the whole family isn’t normal and my power is a lot more dangerous than I thought. I thought things couldn’t get any worse. I was wrong. They banished me to Ever.

If I’m lucky, I might survive my first day.



Fire Girl Blurb:

Surviving Ever may not be easy, but somehow I’m managing. So far. Luckily I’ve made a new friend, Jadus. He’s not exactly human, but he’s teaching me how to survive here. Even though I’m tired, I’m hungry and I miss home, he makes life bearable. Despite the not human thing I think I may be falling for him. Unfortunately Ever isn’t the place for romance. Now I have to deal with a barbarian king and a crazy shape-shifting witch on top of the everyday dangers. With each day that passes it becomes more important I learn to control my fire powers. If I can’t I might lose everything; any hope of finding my dad, Jadus…my life.



Available at:

Omnilit: http://www.omnilit.com/product-banished-519511-234.html

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/44865

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Banished-Tales-of-Ever-ebook/dp/B004Q9TX4A

B&N: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Banished/Jen-Wylie/e/2940012206961/?itm=1





Bio:

Jennifer Wylie was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. In a cosmic twist of fate she dislikes the snow and cold.

Before settling down to raise a family, she attained a BA from Queens University and worked in retail and sales.

Thanks to her mother she acquired a love of books at an early age and began writing in public school. She constantly has stories floating around in her head, and finds it amazing most people don’t. Jennifer writes various forms of fantasy, both novels and short stories. Sweet light is her debut novel to be published in 2011.

Jennifer resides in rural Ontario, Canada with her husband, two boys, Australian shepherd a flock of birds and a disagreeable amount of wildlife.



My website: http://www.blogger.com/goog_59444937

My blog: http://jlwylie.wordpress.com/

Monday, April 18, 2011

O is for One Pelican at a Time

One Pelican at a Time




by Nancy Stewart
Illustrated by Samantha Bell

Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-61633-138-2; 1616331380
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-61633-139-9; 1616331399
eBook ISBN: 978-1-61633-140-5; 1616331402

Blurb

 Bella and Britt love living by the beach. When they find oil washing to shore from a gulf spill, they want to help but are told there is nothing for kids to do. But when their old friend, the crooked beak pelican, becomes covered with oil, they help save his life by their quick thinking and action.



Review:

One Pelican at a Time by Nancy Stewart is an inspiring story about two friends, a crooked beaked pelican and an oil spill. Bella and Britt discover the damage an oil spill caused in the Gulf of Mexico one afternoon. With a sense of urgency, the girls look for a way to help save the beach and the animals, but are told there's not much a child can do. 

However, when their old friend, the crooked beaked pelican gets harmed by the oil, the girls knew they had to do something. With some smart, quick, thinking they find help for the pelican and in the process learn the many steps it takes to fix a big problem like an oil spill. 

Author Nancy Stewart handled this big issue with great style. In addition to the story, she offers resources for more information on the event of an oil spill. Illustrator Samantha Bell's artwork complimented the story well with colorful, bright, and realistic illustrations.

One Pelican at a Time is an all around great book.

Get a taste for yourself in the trailer below:

 
Where to get One Pelican at a Time:
Guardian Angel Publishing
Amazon
Barnes and Noble


About Nancy Stewart:
After having been an elementary school teacher, a consultant with New Options Inc. in New York City, and a university professor of education, Nancy now writes children’s books full time. She, her husband, and three sons lived in London for eight years where she was a consultant to several universities, including Cambridge.

Nancy travels extensively through out the world, most particularly Africa. She is the US chair of a charity in Lamu, Kenya, that places girls in intermediate schools to allow them to further their education. She and her family live in St. Louis and Clearwater Beach, Florida. Nancy is the author of two other Bella books, Bella Saves the Beach and Sea Turtle Summer. Both will be published by Guardian Angel Publishing. Visit Nancy at http://www.nancystewartbooks.com/ as well as her blog at http://www.nancystewartbooks.blogspot.com/

About Samantha Bell

Samantha Bell lives in the upstate of South Carolina with her husband, four children, and lots of animals. She’s a homeschooling mom by day and a writer and illustrator by night. Her poems, stories, articles, and illustrations have been published both online and in print. Please view her online portfolio at
http://www.samantha-bell.com/ as well as her art lessons for children at http://www.art-made-easy.com/

Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for NANOWRIMO

What did I say? NANoWRIMo? It's an acronym for National NOvel WRIting MOnth. This is a month long event designed to get writers moving. For different reasons, a write may have story, or novel idea in our heads but can't seem to get it out. Often what's causing the writer's block  is fear. Are we going to get it wrong? Will it work out? Will the novel say what I want it to say?

Pretty soon, we're stuck and we're not writing anything. One of the goals of NANOWRIMO is to get you writing - without the worry of editing, word counting, plotting, or even making sense at this point. They give you a month to write 50,000 word novel in November.You go to the website and upload to their system your word counts. They go into full detail here about the entire process. The best part is the website has many resources to support your effort including, blogs, motivational postings, forums to connect with other writers, tips, etc. I did it a few years ago and was successful.

So this November, stop on by the NANOWRIMO site and give it a try.

Friday, April 15, 2011

M is for Marta’s Gargantuan Wings

Marta's Gargantuan Wings
By: J. Aday Kennedy
Illustrated by: Eugene Ruble

Published by Guardian Angel Publishing
www.guardianangelpublishing.com
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-093-4; 1616330937
eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-094-1; 1616330945
 

Blurb:
Reluctant readers will devour the humorous and thought provoking tale. A Pegasus that resembles
a mule, a witty monkey that defends him and a hateful bird teach children looks aren’t important.
What makes someone appear strange or different could be what makes them able to save the
day.
 
 
Review:
 
Marta's Gargantuan Wings is a wonderful story about friendship and values. What is important in a person? Is it our looks, success, or beauty? Or is it more than that.
 
In this inspiring tale, Marta, a brown, spotty pegasus with gargantuan sized wings, is hurt when  Aljor, her beautiful blue friend insults her. Soon, the lovable Marta begins to believe what Aljor says about her. Her best friend, Stajon the monkey tries to cheer Marta up by going for a fly in the sky.  But while flying they discover a fire - and Aljor is hurt and needs help.
 
This is a great story not only about friendship, but about values. Do we only help the people who are nice to us all the time and forget about the ones who hurt us? Or are we to be Christ-like and turn the other cheek, especially when someone is in danger.
 
The detailed illustrations by Eugene Ruble fit the story well and captured the characters.
 
This is a great read that many children will enjoy.

Get your copies here:

Guardian Angel Publishing

and

Amazon

 
About Jessica Kennedy




J. Aday Kennedy, the differently-abled author, is an award winning, multi-publishedauthor of inspirational/Christian articles and essays for adults and of children’s literature. As a ventilator dependent quadriplegic, she is making her dreams come true one story at a time. As a speaker, Aday entertains, instructs, motivates and inspires audiences of all ages. She has two picture books, Klutzy Kantor and Marta’s Gargantuan Wings, published by Guardian Angel Publishing. To learn more about her and her writing, visit her website and blog.

About Eugene Ruble


Eugene E. Ruble’s 40 years of art encompasses: graphic art and design, freelance illustration, and cartooning, working with publishers, corporations and individual clients. Ruble teaches caricature art, cartooning, painting and basic drawing classes at St. Louis community centers, public schools, YMCAs and colleges. He also illustrates children’s books. Look for his books at Guardian Angel Publishing. Eugene is a 30-year Distinguished Member of the St. Louis Artists’ Guild.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for Let it All Out

When trying to get down some story or plot ideas the best way to get things moving is to let it all out. Before I get too deep into a writing project, I brainstorm it all out. I write down ideas I came up with when the story idea hit me, but I also am open to more ideas. Sometimes this is where the best ideas, twists, and surprises pop up.

I get either a blank piece of paper - or a new word document if using the computer and then just write. I write the general story idea, character ideas, plots, settings, traits, background information, etc.

You will likely come up with more than you will need. But that is fine. It's the beginning of that manuscript's file. Many times you will find treasures hidden deep inside your brainstorming experiences.

So remember - when you're coming up with a new idea - especially if you're stuck on something: Let it All Out!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for Klutzy Kantor

Klutzy Kantor

By Jessica Kennedy
Illustrations by Jack Foster


Print ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-051-4; 1-61633-051-1
eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-052-1; 1-61633-052-X

Published by: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
http://www.GuardianAngelPublishing.com


Blurb
Everyday Kantor Pegasus practices solving riddles. A tricky leprechaun attempts to outsmart him by giving him a next to impossible riddle to solve.To end his clumsy ways he must solve it. Children learn the benefit of practice and to focus on their strengths.


Review:
Klutzy Kantor is a funny, witty book about the value of practicing to reach your goals. When Kantor the pegasus tires of flying into trees and bumping into other creatures, Kantor deciedes he doesn't want to be klutzy anymore. When he learns he must solve a riddle from the cunning, undefeated Cobbledom for his wish to be granted, he begins to prepare.  Kantor practices and practices with his friends until he is ready. But when Cobbledom presents the toughest riddle Kantor ever encountered, Kantor begins to get nervous. Will his practice pay off?  

Jessica Kennedy captures well Kantor's emotions as he battles Cobbledom. "Think Kantor, think," I found myself silently cheering. The adage "Practice makes perfect" applies here.  I think children in all areas of life - sports, school, extra curricular activities, and hobbies can learn a lesson from the determined Kantor. To achieve your goals, you must practice.  

Jack Foster's illustrations are the icing on the cake. His artwork is colorful and detail oriented. He captures the characters well in each lively illustration.


The book trailer for Klutzy Kantor includes the original song "Go Me" :



To get your own copy of this entertaining book, visit:

Guardian Angel Publishing
or
Amazon


About Jessica Kennedy



J. Aday Kennedy, the differently-abled author, is an award winning, multi-publishedauthor of inspirational/Christian articles and essays for adults and of children’s literature. As a ventilator dependent quadriplegic, she is making her dreams come true one story at a time. As a speaker, Aday entertains, instructs, motivates and inspires audiences of all ages. She has two picture books, Klutzy Kantor and Marta’s Gargantuan Wings, published by Guardian Angel Publishing. To learn more about her and her writing, visit her website and blog.



About Illustrator Jack Foster:

Jack Foster, children’s book illustrator, has illustrated more books for Guardian
Angel Publishing, SHOO CAT!, Klutzy Kantor, and Murmur on the Oink Express.

Jack also illustrates for online magazines, Stories for Children and Guardian

Angel Kids. He spent many years as a political cartoonist for five Chicago area
newspapers but his cute style described as a Muppet-Disney mix, is kid friendly and just right for children’s books. You can see more of Jack’s work and leave him a comment at www.jacktoon.blogspot.com 
 
 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Joy of Writing - Part 2 - Awards!

Another thing I love about writing and blogging - is the support from other writers. For example, I received a comment and an award from author/illustrator Diedre  Eden Coppel stating she awarded my blog the Inspiring Blog Award. Thank you for the honor Diedre. Please stop by and check out her blog at: http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/ 

Joys of Writing

Writing has always been a part of me. Ever since I was little I wrote poems to my teachers, narratives of my life, or journals on just about everything ( which were always filled with drama).  What do I love about writing? What are the joys of writing?
 
In fiction, you watch as your characters and story ideas develop into a full fleshed out manuscript - one that's hopefully off to publication.

Word play. Finding different ways to say things - getting creative with words and their uses.

Perfecting your piece - or editing. This fit my personality well. I enjoyed playing with the sentences that didn't sound just right until I had that light bulb moment when I knew the sentence revealed exactly what I wanted it to say.

The most  joyful of all, though is to watch your work become a published piece of literature. Especially as a children's author - it is rewarding to see children laugh at things in the story or ask to hear it over and over again.

There are many other joys of writing that haven't been listed here. What are yours?

Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for Interviews

One great way to promote your books is to appear in interviews. readers often want to hear about your new book, project, tips and fun facts. It helps them feel connected to you and in turn interested in your writing. More interest can turn into more sales.

What should you talk about during an interview?

An interview will ask you general questions about yourself or your writing. It is up to you how much or how little you share. Whatever you choose, try to include something your readers might identify with. Is there a silly habbit, favorite pet, top activity in your life in which some people might connect with. This is important because your reader can identify with you. It also encourages comments if your interview is on a blog.

When should you interview?
Anytime you can do an interview is beneficial - but it's even better to get them done after the hype dies down about your new book. The  few months after the release it is easy for the book to get "lost" among the many new releases coming out. An interview at this time is a good way to remind readers about your book and the important tale you have to tell.

Now What?
Once your interview is completed, be sure to promote it and encourage people to read it and learn more about you. Let all your Facebook and Twitter friends know! Share the link with your e-mail list.  Encourage people in your Yahoo or Google groups to visit and comment. If you're in a virtual tour or promotional group, be sure to encourage their visits as well. Visit other blogs and interviews and ask others to return the favor. The more people who visit the interview, the more people will know about you as an author and your book. 

So - what was your favorite or most interesting question asked in a interview?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Horatio Humble Beats the Big D

Horatio Humble Beats the Big D


Book information:


Horatio Humble Beats the Big D – dyslexia

(A rhyming picture book)

Print ISBN: 978-1-61633-101-6; 1616331011


eBook ISBN: 978-1-61633-102-3; 161633102X



Blurb:

As a teacher’s aide, I discovered that many children, especially boys, have dyslexia or other types of learning disabilities. I wrote this PB with those problems in mind.

Horatio is a smart boy who can’t read. The thought of special Ed. freaks him out. “NO WAY!” But go he does, and surprising results follow .

This is fun to read. It shows that dyslexic kids CAN learn to read. It also encourages parents to diagnose early and find help. A parent/teacher guide offers clues, plus helpful links to more informative websites.



Review:

Horatio Humble Beats the Big “D” is a humbling rhyming picture book about a tough topic. The “Big D” turns out to be Dyslexia, which is a common learning disability involving reading.

Author Margot Finke tells the tale with witty rhyme and illuminating words. In the picture book, Horatio runs into reading problems such as words clumping “into frightening herds” and his tongue jumbling “words without success”. This is just a sample of the wonderful mosaic of words Margot Finke presents in the story.

As a reader, I couldn’t help but get caught up in the emotions with Horatio as he dreaded the looming parent-teacher conference, learned what Dyslexia is and unwillingly attended “special class”.

Margot Finke handled the rhyming well in this smooth reading picture book. I barely noticed the rhyme as I rooted for Horatio to overcome the “Big D”. Horatio is a character I won’t soon forget.

I fully recommend this book for any child battling the “Big D”, but also for all children who can identify with reading problems. In addition to this wonderful story, more information and resources are listed at the end of the book on Dyslexia. As a parent and a teacher, I find this book a great addition to the bookshelf.



Where to get Horatio Humble Beats the Big “D”:

Amazon
GAP Page
Target
Autographed copies (BUY My Books)


More information on the book:

Reviews

Trailer

G is for Guardian Angel Publishing

My first two picture books, A Star in the Night and Teresa's Shadow are published through a great publishing company called Guardian Angel Publishing.(also called GAP) 

Guardian Angel Publishing is a children's book publishing company which publishes books for ages 2 through 12. There are picture books, rhyming books, musical books, e-books, print books and more recently books available through iTunes. As published on their home page, their mission is to "change the world on child at a time" through inspirational and faith filled books.

With all the competition reading has with video games and TV, Guardian Angel Publishing is keeping up with the times and technology in order to keep inspiring children to read.

A new division of GAP is the Guardian Angel Kids Magazine (also called GAK). The magazine expands on GAP's mission and provides a "healthy and safe entertainment for 2-12 year old children, featuring games and activities from our Guardian Angel books and characters." Recently, my story The Sleepover was published in the April 2011 issue on Health. The magazine not only features, stories and articles, but has interactive learning games, often based on popular book characters from GAP.

What do you think about this innovative, faith filled and fun publishing company?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

F is for Frederico the Mouse Violinist












A few months ago I reviewed a great new children's book titled Frederico the Mouse Violinist, by Mayra Calvani.  This continues to be a favorite of mine of Guardian Angel Publishing. This great tale about Frederico learning to play the violin is an inspiration to musicians and those interested in the field of music. I can just see future musicians wrapping themselves up in a blanket and enjoying this wonderful story.

You've read my review before of this enchanting book. Here's what some others had to say:

"Truly a new classic in picture books! " --  Nancy I Sanders

"Frederico the Mouse Violinist struck a very special chord in my heart" --Nicole Weaver


Visit the links below for more reviews, information and how to purchase this great new book:

 http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/frederico.htm

http://www.amazon.com/Frederico-Mouse-Violinist-Mayra-Calvani/dp/1616331135



I

Ending the Story

What should be one of the most important parts of a story or book you're working on? The ending. Many times, we can overlook the ending or not give it as much thought as the the plotting, editing or revising. But a good, solid ending may make or break your sale. You want that editor who is considering your manuscript to practically hear the "good ending" music playing in her head. It should be the big "pop" of your work.

Your ending shouldn't just be a "happy ending" but it should be a satisfying ending. We bring our characters through a long, life changing journey in which they should have learned something. We should have a strong sense of what they learned and why. Why was that lesson important? Does it make them a better person? Friend? Does it teach us something about ourselves or others? Can the readers relate to the story  and connect to it?

In addittion, all or most loose ends should be tied up. We should be able to say, "That's why this happened in the beginning of the story." We should see everything in the story come together full circle.

This seems like a tall order, but if we're careful and plan our story out well, the ending will highlight the story. Like the rest of the manuscript, it takes time, determination and hard work. Then maybe the story will have that "pop" that an editor is looking for. It could just get you that acceptance.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D is for Dos and Don'ts of Dialogue

Dialogue is an important part of any story or book. It moves the story along, gives pertinent information and makes the characters more interesting. But is there a time when dialogue is bad?

 
Yes! Dialogue can either make or break your manuscript - especially to a busy editor reviewing your work for publication. So how can you avoid the pitfalls of dialogue?

 
DON'T
  • Use dialogue as an uneventful exchange of words. For example:
Tom: Hi
Mary: Hi
Tom: What's new?
Mary: Nothing
Tom: Oh. OK
Mary: Why?
Tom: No reason.

 
  • Use too many fancy tags. "he said" and "she said" are almost invisible. If you add too many fancy tags at the end of dialogue, it can get distracting. For Example:
"I won the race," Jack exclaimed.
"How," Mike questioned, "Tim was way ahead of you."
"I had a burst of energy and passed him," Jake squealed.

 
  • Use tags that you can't speak. For example:
"I'm tired," sighed Amy.
"Me too," breathed Sarah.

 

 
DO

  • Use dialogue in a smart way. Use it to move the story forward.
  • Use "invisible" tags such as "he said" and "she said"
  • Make hellos, goodbyes and conversation starters short. If you spend too long on them, the story will drag on.
  • And most of all - DO have FUN with it!

Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for Chapter Books

Once our children learn how to read and have mastered picture books, they soon move on to chapter books. When we as authors write chapter books, we need to keep in mind the readers' interests, age levels, and reading ability to ensure their enjoyment of our adventure. Here is where we need more descriptive, colorful language so that our reader can "see" the characters and see the story play out in front of them.

The reader needs to be there right along with the main characters. Can they smell the salty sea air? Can they hear the buzz of the airplane over head? Can they feel the hot, grainy sand under their toes? Can they taste the chocolaty, sweet fudge pop from the Ice Cream Truck? Can they see the bright, blue, cloudless sky decorated with a flying seagull overhead?

We need to  pay attention to the storyline and the direction the plot is taking. Is this a quiet, uneventful day at the beach with nothing much to move the story along? Or does some unidentified object wash ashore raising questions in the reader. Questions like: what is that object, Is this the beginning of a mystery, Is this a clue,
why does this show up now?

These are all things to think about as we venture into creating a satisfying chapter book. Good luck and I'll see you on the book shelf.

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