children’s books

Interview with Stephen Nawotniak

Today’s guest is Stephen Nawotniak, author of Mubu the Morph:

Mubu cover

Go on a rhyming adventure with Mubu as he learns through trial and error the secret to being his best self. Vibrant colors and a playful tone amp up the fun factor in Stephen Nawotniak’s engaging story that’s sure to ignite the imaginations of children and adults alike. Illustrated by Jeffrey Scott Perdziak and published by People Ink Press, Mubu the Morph is suitable for children in grades K to 3 and the people who love them.

Welcome, Stephen! When did you begin writing?

Before the Mubu children’s book series, writing has been more of a journaling process about my internal struggles and dreams that became books such as Generation TreX: MyThoughts and Handbook for Healthy living with a Mood Disorder.  Mubu the Morph took me a year to write and another to find a publishing outlet.

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

This rhyming, rhythmical read along is perfect for the young at heart.  It is a tale of Mubu the Morph as he searches with a bird, dog and fish for his purpose.  In each case, he uses the talents of the animal to help him search for his hearts song.  Its only when he stops looking outside of himself, and turns to self understanding, that he begins to see that his own gifts and talents are what makes him special.  He then begins to understand that he gets to choose how he views his gifts and that personal choice plays a significant factor on how he lives.

An adult message in a child friendly tone, Mubu shows us that while we make take many roles and identities throughout our lives, our true identity is created from the inside out.

Mubu the Morph is written for children in grades K-3 yet lends itself to be a perfect tool for the parent, teacher or leader who wishes to pass on the theme of self image, self confidence and character development to another.  Its prose works well for a smooth easy read as well as multiple teaching opportunities in its use of the English language.  Its images are engaging drawing the reader to connect with the character of Mubu as he navigates his journey.  Its message is timeless and therefore applicable to children and adults alike.

May all readers experience a shift of self value and purpose from external validation or a comparison with others to an expression of their own internal gifts.  First without, then within…are you ready to begin?

How did you get the idea for the book?

The idea for Mubu came more from sketching sounds into rhymes and rhythms then sitting down to write a specific children’s book.  Over time, a story with a message formed that led to the current book, Mubu the Morph.

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

Currently, Mubu the Morph is the first published book/character.  With 4 more books written and in the publishing process, there are more characters to come.  My favorite parts about Mubu is that he represents the hope and choice within us all.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

The most challenging aspect of writing this book, by far, was maintaining the balance of a message, rhythm and rhyme that can make sense to children and provide enjoyment to the adult reading it.  My goal is that the reader is able to interpret the story in a variety of ways based on the perspective that they bring to it.

What is your primary goal as an author?

To provide entertaining books to improve self image through words and its art.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am currently working on 4 other books in the Mubu series including Mubu’s Christmas, Blue Mubu, Kookoo –ah-choo’s flight and Dr. Snoo.

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

As uncomfortable the fear of rejection can be, put your work out there.  Both publishers and literary agents say no in very supportive ways.

About Stephen Nawotniak:

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Stephen Nawotniak OTR/L has a Self Designed Masters Degree from Buffalo State College and a Masters Degree  in Occupational Therapy from Utica College.  Steve is also an Eagle Scout.

Starting in May of 2000, Steve completed an 8 month, non-motorized trek from Buffalo, NY to Key West, FL.  He canoed across NY on the Erie Canal, sailed the Hudson River into New York City, hiked the Appalachian Trail to Roanoke, VA and biked to Key West, FL.  Along the way he gave presentations to over 1000 youth on the values of volunteerism and education and completed over 230 hours of community service along the way.  He studied the geology of the Eastern United States as part of his Self Designed Masters Degree.  These studies complimented his Bachelors in Earth Science, Secondary Education.

Two years later, in August 2002, Steve was hospitalized for a week with a major depressive episode and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The next 8 years of his life was spent learning how to live with his condition on the journey from hospitalized patient to licensed healthcare professional. Steve published the book Handbook for Healthy Living with a Mood Disorder sharing the skills and tools he uses daily to live, what he calls, a desired quality of life. Check out his website www.handbookforhealthyliving.com for more information on this book.

Steve has spoken at various events including the International Association of Peer Specialist, The Museum of disABILITY History and various high schools in the Western New York area to challenge the stigmas associated with mental health.

His children’s book Mubu the Morph speaks to the inner journey we all face as we discover our purpose.  Mubu’s concept was generated from Steve’s personal experiences of his bipolar condition with his professional experiences as an Occupational Therapist. Stephen currently lives and practices Occupational Therapy in Buffalo, NY.  Check out his website at www.mubuthemorph.com for more information.

Steve’s desire is to honor a quote by Art E. Berg, wheelchair athlete and motivational speaker, by extending his non-motorized trek around the US to promote volunteerism, education and the abilities of the “disabled.” Art’s quote is“Dreams are never destroyed by circumstances.  They are born of the heart and of the mind and only there can they ever die.  Because, while the difficult takes time, the impossible just takes a little longer.”

Connect with Stephen Nawotniak at the following links:

Mubu The Morph Children’s Book Series

Handbook for Healthy Living with a Mood Disorder

 

Categories: author feature, author interview, authors to watch, children's adventure books, children's book, children's books | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The Perfect Summer: Book Feature

The Perfect Summer

It’s summertime! That means it’s time to sit back, relax and just have fun, right? Wrong! For Marlena Fernadez, Gloria and Valerie James and Max and Mickey Martin. . .summer is all about life lessons in these three page-turning tales about kids in search of The Perfect Summer.

The Perfect Summer Front Cover-2 (1)

Synopsis of each Story

A Lesson for Summer by Jackie Lee

Fourteen old twins, Gloria and Valerie James, had the ideal plan to spend their summer vacation. They would spend their summer shopping, talking about boys, and going to the movies. However, when their dad felt the calling of the Lord, they were now going to have to spend their summer moving to another town and volunteering to mentor a bunch of snotty nose seven year olds. The twins do everything to sabotage their parent’s plans for them. However, in the end they learn lessons in life that truly makes this the Perfect Summer for both of them.

Excerpt from A Lesson for Summer

I knew that look meant that my twin sister did not like what she was hearing.

“There you are. We were wondering what was keeping you,” Dad said in a cheerful voice.

I politely smiled and took a seat beside my sister on the sofa. My eyes darted over to the strangers in the living room. The man had fine gray hairs around his bald spot. He wore thick glasses that made his eyes look like a huge red moon. He also wore too much cologne. Whew!

He had the living room lit up like the perfume part of Macy’s. The woman beside him wore this big Kool-Aid smile. She had on a red dress with blue flowers. Her dress was loud enough for my friends to hear her across the street. “I have heard so many wonderful you, young lady,” said the balding man.

The lady with the loud dress just kept smiling.

“Your parents tell me that you are the captain of the church praise dance team and worship leader for the youth. That is wonderful! I love to see our youth active in church,” the man continued.  I just continued to stare at him. My sister elbowed me, so I managed to say, “Thank you.”

My mother jumped into the conversation.

__________________

A Country Summer by Morgan Billingsley

It’s summertime and Max and Mickey are headed to their grandmother’s house. But these two city kids aren’t ready for a Wi-Fi free country summer. But when Max makes new friends, he learns to adapt and have fun. Can he get his twin sister to see that attitude is everything and can determine whether they have the Perfect Summer!

Excerpt for a County Summer

When that last bell rang, signaling the  beginning of our summer vacation, I felt like I’d just been given a Get Out of Jail card. I had been counting down to this day and was looking forward to hanging out with my twin brother, Max, playing video games, and taking daily swims in the pool my parents had built last  winter. You know, just having fun.

I wasn’t expecting this.  I mean, in the fun dictionary, a road trip to a country town was nowhere in the book. Yet,  that’s exactly what we were doing.

“Ugh! Are we there yet?” I asked my dad, who was driving our large SUV like a skilled truck driver.

____________________

Two Big for My Teacups by Gabrielle Anderson

It’s summer vacation time, and the Fernandez family is headed to Disney! Marlena, the oldest, is not excited about riding the teacups, she out grew those long ago. She decides that she is old enough to hang out on her own. With her cell phone in tow, her parents allow her tackle the park alone. It’s no surprise that she learns many life lessons the greatest of which is family love.

Excerpt from Two Big for My Teacups

Six hours, four arguments and three stops later, they made it to the hotel in Birmingham. It was early evening and all Marlena wanted to do was swim. They were staying in a room that had two queen beds and a pullout sofa.

“I call the sofa bed,” Marlena said while putting her bag on it.

“I want the sofa bed,” whined Kyle.

“It’s big enough for the both of you,” her dad said.

Marlena protested. “I don’t want to sleep with him. I called it first.”

Her mother let out a loud sigh then gave Marlena a look.

“It’s been a long ride, let’s go swim,” her father suggested.

“Good idea,” her mom replied. “Get your suits on.”

Marlena and Kyle got dressed quickly. He in basketball shorts, and she in her one-piece. Of course she wanted a two-piece, but her parents said that was out of the question. Not until she was old enough to buy it herself. Marlena didn’t think it was such a big deal, most of her friends had one. While her mom was in the bathroom, she decided to dress Chloe in her suit. She found her little pick suit with ruffles around the bottom and put it on her. Chloe was such a cute little girl. She and Marlena always got along. If her mom wasn’t around, she preferred Marlena to anyone else. Sometimes Chloe even slept in Marlena’s room.

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Biography of each author

Morgan_Billingsley

Morgan Billingsley is a seventh grader, who loves writing, acting, swimming and volleyball. She enjoys helping out and making people laugh. Everyone who knows her, applauds her nurturing heart. Morgan can often be found assisting her mother, ReShonda Tate Billingsley at book signings. She is active in her school organizations and serves as secretary for her Teen group in Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Follow her on Instagram @c_momo_b

Jackie Lee1

Eleven year old, Jackie Lee is a lover of the letters and the arts. She has starred in three theatrical productions produced by Cherie Garland. She portrayed Crystal in “The Christmas Present,” Glenda, The Good Witch in “The Wiz” and the Ballerina in “One Night with a King.” Jackie’s love of arts also extends to church. She participates in the praise dance ministry at East New Hope Baptist Church. She utilizes her musical talents as a clarinet player at Forest Hills Elementary School Band. Jackie can often be found at various literary events assisting her mother and guest authors. She also enjoys journaling and making sketches in her notebooks. She resides in Virginia with her parents and siblings. You can follow her at http://thecreativelifewithjackielee.blogspot.com/

Gabrielle_Simone (1)

Eleven year old, Gabrielle Simone attends Pulaski Academy College Preparatory School, where her teachers describe her as hardworking and passionate about learning. She is the student council representative for fifth grade, plays both basketball and soccer and has a personality bigger than life. The confident young writer is also the daughter of young adult author Celia Anderson. Having grown up tagging alongside her mom at book signings and lectures, it’s no surprise that she has become interested in the art. Gabrielle says that one day she would like to attend Stanford University in California, but that may change as she grows older. Currently she resides with her mother in Little Rock, Arkansas, enjoys playing dress up, singing and playing with her American Girl Dolls. She lists both her mother and maternal grandmother, whom she affectionately calls FeFe, as the people who have influenced her the most.

Links to Purchase

http://browngirlspublishing.com/little-brown-girls/

http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Summer-Morgan-Billingsley-ebook/dp/B00VVWMGGW/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-perfect-summer-morgan-billingsley/1121717750?ean=9781625178701

 

 

 

 

Categories: adventure books, author feature, book excerpt, book feature, children's adventure books, children's books | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interview with Stephanie Borkowski

Today, we have a very special guest. Stephanie Borkowski is an author, blogger, advocate, and friend. I hope you’ll enjoy this interview. 

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Welcome, Stephanie. Please tell us a little about yourself.

I am a Christian housewife who loves to stay home and take care of my family. I have three grown children, a step son and a wonderful husband along with two fur babies (cats) I love reading, writing, nature, music and I am fascinated with animals. I live in front of deep woods and very often get visited by them. You will find many of these animals in my up and coming books.  I am also an advocate for children and believe they have a voice. In the past I have started and ran several support/ play groups for families of special needs children. The areas I advocate for is special needs, abuse, literacy, faith, friendship among many.

When did you start writing? 

I started writing at a very young age. Reading and writing started around the same time for me. I found a love of books and that sparked my interest in writing. I used to write for several magazines. submitting to them poetry and short articles on Christian living. I also have written for several church newsletters. Each month I would write out a different devotional.  I enjoyed that journey and am glad it laid the foundation for my writing career.

What book are you working on right now? 
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I am currently writing my first children’s book I have titled “Lemonade- The Golden Yellow Kitty.” it’s a great story about a sweet little kitty who goes on many adventures. She lives with her family who takes very good care of her.
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How did you get the idea for the story?
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I got the idea for the story in a dream one night while sleeping. I dreamt I owned a sweet golden yellow kitty that I named Lemonade. I thought about the dream for a few days and didn’t think much past that. It was just a happy dream. Until one day when I couldn’t get it out of my mind I realized I wanted to write a short story about her and submit it to a children’s magazine. I wrote out the 500 or so word story and had it edited by a friend of mine. When I got it back to correct I had planned to send it off a few days later. But I found myself reluctant to do so. I then realized Lemonade had an idea of her own she wanted me to tell her story in a book full of many adventures. While teaching values and advocacy along the way. 
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Can you tell us about Books are Treasures?
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Books are treasures is now both a group on Facebook and it is the name of my company. It started out in a neat way. I was watching YouTube videos and this one person was talking about books. I made a comment that books are treasures and the ideas started forming in my mind. I made the group first, I wasn’t sure how people would take it. As I know there are many, many groups out there. It’s a group for children’s and YA authors and their readers. A place to make friends, and grow in your craft as a writer. It has been growing steadily and I am very happy with the results. I feel the group is different than most because I try to each day put a prompt for conversation in there. I am welcoming to anyone sharing, asking questions and talking to one another. Its is a happy place to be.
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What are your goals for the group and YouTube channel? 
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My goals for the group is for it to continue to grow. That it will become a “popular” place for lack of better words. That writers and readers alike can go and rest, recharge and learn from one another. My goal for my YouTube channel is that it will also grow into a community of parents, children and authors. It’s a place where there is creativity, reading, books, crafting, advocacy and learning all in one place. As I have plans for a variety of videos.
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What other projects or ideas are you working on right now? 
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Thanks for asking, I seem to always have a project or two( or three) going at once. It’s the creative part of me. I am working on making a crafting corner for my channel where I will show parents crafts they can make with their children. with most things they have at home. I am also working on a video series called “The adventure of Tommy the bunny” he will be an advocate and voice for children. Those are  two of many projects right now. 
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What other services do you offer to authors? 
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I offer authors several services that can be found on my website under “Author Services” There is the free book reviews that I do for both children’s and YA authors. I write the review on my website, and I make the review into a video. I also offer Children’s picture book authors (for a small fee) a reading to you video. where I read the story in a video, add music and voice overs. It’s a great way for authors to promote their books in a different way. I plan to also do videos and blog posts. with some writing tips, prompts and other things to encourage them. 
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Do you have any advice for aspiring authors and bloggers? 
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My advice is to write from your heart. Don’t try to be like the next person. If you find a niche you just cant stop thinking about then go with that and write, write, write, and don’t stop dreaming.
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A quote I wrote is- Just like the butterfly, God says I can choose the sweetest flower in the garden to land on….  
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Connect with Stephanie at the following links:
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Interview with Raymond James Francis

Today’s guest is children’s book author, Raymond James Francis. He’s here to talk with us about his book, The Unlucky Leprechaun and other strange and wonderful tales:
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A selection of exciting stupendous strange and fun short stories that include: ghosts, trolls, a sad tooth fairy, the man in the moon, a sleeping knight, a vampire that enjoys fruit, and a smart goldfish oh and not forgetting tales about cold soup, pears and a rather strange street. this book has it all and all in just 13 tales!
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Can you tell us a little about yourself?  

Ok my name is Raymond James Francis I am a full time nurse, part time Puppeteer and author. I live in the UK (just outside London) with my beautiful wife and son.

When did you begin writing?

I have been writing for most of my life but really it has been the last ten years that I have really focussed on children`s writing.

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

My most recent release is my very first published book called `The unlucky leprechaun and other strange and wonderful tales` it is a children`s book but I have been told that adults have found my tales entertaining. My book is a collection of 13 tales that are fairytales, lore that are given a slight twist. In the book you will find a unhappy tooth fairy, a sleeping knight, a smart goldfish. A few ghosts, a pooka, a vampire who wants to be good, the man in the moon and many more.

How did you get the idea for the book?

I loved when I was young being told bedtime tales, so much so that they would play on my mind the next day. So I thought to myself if I was to write a childrens book then that is what I would do. I looked into my childhood and brought the tales up todate. Also my son is a big part of this book. I picked 13 tales as that is the day my son was born and these are the tales I would love to share with him just like when I was young.

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

This one is so hard to say as I have 13 tales and each main character is different.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

The hardest part for me was to try and keep the same flow and style of the stories that I was told when I was young as I didn’t want to lose that feel. It is the feeling when you read the story is what I wanted, to be told a story or to read the tale and think I need to tell someone about this.

What is your primary goal as an author?

The goal as an author for me was to transport the reader into a world full of imagination and wonder.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am working on two parts: I have been asked to write about my sister which I am considering and the second is to follow on from  `The unlucky leprechaun and other strange and wonderful tales  ‘With another book full of short stories.

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

I see myself as a new author (well I have only just published my book) I would say that joining some author groups on social media sites helps. The help that these groups can give are support and advice as they have been there and the like. Never give up, ok I guess everyone says that but it is true. And I think to myself would I buy my book if I wasn`t the author, don’t rush is another good tip. So I guess my big tip would be don’t rush.

my author photo
Connect with Raymond James Francis:
Buy the book:
Amazon (US) and Amazon (UK)
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Interview with DM Yates

Today’s guest is DM Yates. Her published works include Always, The Lone Hero, Gingerbread Castle, and Stepping Stones to Love, Honour and Respect. She’s also a contributor to Strange Portals, a fantasy/horror anthology which is currently free on Smashwords, Nook, and Kindle.

strange portals

 

Welcome, Donna. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m one of those creative people who must always be creating something. I find I’m happiest when I’m involved in projects.

When did you begin writing?

According to my twin brother, I started writing stories and poetry as soon as I learned the alphabet and I could hold a pencil.

Can you tell us about your story (or stories) in the anthology, Strange Portals? What inspired you to write it?

I love fantasy and sci-fi, but I rarely write short stories. ‘The Best Gift I Can Give’ is about a ballet dancer who has become quite arrogant about her ability. She idolizes her mother who died not long after she was born. She has a benefactor who pays for whatever she wants, including her lessons but he’s decided the best gift he can give her is to cut off her money. She has to get a job and can no longer afford expensive clothes. Along her journey, she makes friends for the first time in her life, and she eventually discovers who she really is, what her heritage is.

Please tell us about your other published work.

I write in fantasy/new age/spiritual/romance genres so my works vary. ‘Always’ is the story of two eternal beings and their circle of friends who come to Earth to gain lessons and accomplish missions. Simon (Einarr) is the main character who is 36-years-old. His best friend’s 16-year-old niece April is sure that she and Simon are meant to marry. Simon walks a fine line between avoiding her and insulting the family. This book is a roller coaster of emotions and sets the stage for a series of stories.

always

‘The Lone Hero’ is pure fantasy with romance sprinkled in. Einarr is born on the dragon home world of Aberforth with a specific mission – to end the dragon war. He’ll spend most of his life accomplishing this task. The 2nd in this series will be out soon. ‘Laurence of Dragon Fame’ is set in the 13th century and Einarr now must save the dragons from extinction on Earth.

The LONE HERO - 2000

‘Stepping Stones to Love Honor and Respect’ is a collection of my poetry ranging in several subject matters.

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‘Gingerbread Castle’ is a children’s holiday rhyme book about a secret fun place in dreamland.

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What projects are you currently working on?

I’m working on several more books about Einarr and his friends, along with rewrites for ‘Laurence of Dragon Fame.’

Do you have a book recommendation to share with us?

I love most books so it’s hard to share just one, but I certainly think readers would love your book. I know I did. Also our ‘Strange Portals’ anthology. Every story in there was amazing, including yours. It would give the reader a variety of short stories, each unique.

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

Write, write, write. When it comes time to publish, take the jump but be sure that your book has been well edited.

About DM Yates:dm yates author fixed

DM Yates grew up in Ashtabula, Ohio. She started writing stories and poetry as soon as she learned to read and write. She attended BYU Idaho, BYU Hawaii, and BYU in Provo, Utah.

Although writing and poetry are her passions, she didn’t take it seriously to publish until her later years.

She is the Author of the fantasy/new age/spiritual romance stories, starting with ‘Always.’ The second in the series, ‘The Lone Hero’ was published in Dec 2013 and continues the tale of Einarr.

Her poetry book, Stepping Stones to Love Honor and Respect is a collection of poems dealing with various topics, such as love, honor, respect, spirituality, new age, pain, and Earth.

Her first children’s book was also published in Dec 2013. ‘Gingerbread Castle’ is a children’s holiday illustrated rhyme book for children ages 6 – 8-yrs old.

DM Yates is an independent self-published author.

Connect with DM Yates:

Buy DM Yates’ books:

 

Categories: author feature, author interview, children's books, christmas books, fantasy, Fantasy Anthology, holiday book, paranormal, paranormal romance, poetry, romance, science fiction, short stories, short story, strange portals | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Truth About Mud: Book Review

The Truth About Mud by Christina L Rozelle

When an evil crow snatches a beloved medallion, young trolls Thistle and Fane have one more reason to venture outside the Clearing. Driven by a thirst for adventure, and anger at their King for sheltering them for far too long, they decide to search for a way across Mangleblood River. What they find will change their lives for all eternity.

They soon discover that the ties of friendship are breakable, lies are as real as the mud they stand in, and what they thought would last forever, is nothing more than an illusion.

mud

 

My Review:Thistle has already lost her Nan. She can’t bear to lose her medallion too. She’ll do anything to get it back, even if it means defying the troll-king’s orders and crossing the Mangleblood River. Her best friend, Thane, is willing to help her, but will Thistle’s quest change their lives forever?

The Truth About Mud is a yucky, brilliant, enchanting, muddy adventure that readers of any age will love. For me, it was a page-turning story, and though I’m quite a bit older than the intended audience for the book, I absolutely loved it. Kids and teens will love it too because it’s a clever, intelligent book that isn’t afraid to get a little messy. Thistle is a fantastic character. She’s independent, brave, and while she yearns for adventure, she also yearns for a sense of belonging.

I would recommend this book to everyone! It’s a unique, fun, magical story that I’ll probably read again.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Buy the Book on Amazon

Categories: action, adventure books, book review, children's adventure books, children's books, fantasy, young adult adventure, young adult fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interview with AK Stein

Today’s guest is AK Stein. She’s the author of several books and has a short story published in Strange Portals, which is now available for free on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.

strange portals

Welcome, Anna. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Sure. I am a retired life insurance agent and Bell Telephone operator. I am also a writer of many books since I was in the 3rd grade. I love to write. I have 15 books now published over on Amazon’s Kindle. I write under the name AK Stein in honor of my great grandmother.

I love animals, mostly horses, fish and dogs. When I was in high school, I had 9 aquariums going at the same time. All manner of fresh water fishes. I don’t know how my parents stood all that around the house. Mom would go around and just stare in at the fish. They do say watching fish is very calming. Maybe that’s what she liked.

I also had 3 Quarter horses, full bred. Loved riding them. That breed is the most laid back of them all, in my opinion. I’m pretty much the laid back type and so I got along with them very well.

Dogs, I’ve had most of my adult life. All not purebreds. Loved every one of them.

The rest of my story is in the following answers.

When did you begin writing?

I began writing when I was in the third grade. I went to a Catholic elementary school called St Anne’s in New Castle, IN. The classes were taught by nuns. The nuns had set up a room to be like the public library so they could teach us how to use a library and I became enthralled with all the books. I read everything they had in there. Especially the books that were about animals and science fiction. It was then I began daydreaming about stories of my own. Only at that time I didn’t quite understand I was supposed to pay attention to my teachers while in class. I would stare out the windows, instead, and daydream my stories. Got in trouble for doing that but I did love what I was coming up with. Loved every minute of that.

Can you tell us about your story in the anthology, Strange Portals? What inspired you to write it?

My story in the anthology is called ‘The Hole’. It’s from a dream I had. One of my favorite authors is Mark Twain ( Samuel Clemens) I love his books “Huckleberry Finn’ and ‘Tom Sawyer’. So my manner of writing ‘The Hole’ was inspired by his manner of writing. But that story came from a weird dream I had one night, from which I woke up laughing. I couldn’t help it. And I never did figure out from where that dream came. Weird.

Please tell us about your other published work

I have 15 books published now on Amazon’s Kindle. Most are fantasy romance novels, but I am working on a collection of children’s books called ‘The Zeke Mayhill series’. I write under the name of AK Stein in honor of my great grandmother. My dad’s mom’s mom. I was named after her. I knew her for a short period of my early life before she died. She was a sweet lady. My fantasy romance books are the Full Moon series. It’s about a young lady, not a werewolf, who comes in contact accidentally with werewolves and falls in love with one of them. It’s a series of 6 books but I have now put them all together in one book called ‘The Full Moon Collection,’ also over at Kindle. It’s a rip roaring romance. I had a whole lot of fun writing it.

My anthology story is in a book with another story called ‘The Bull’. They’re 2 scary stories I also titled ‘Two Scary Stories.’  I had fun writing those, too.

The only non fiction book I wrote is titled, ‘Interview With the Ascended Masters.’ I put it together after a series of interviews with a spiritual medium named Calleen Wilder. She has the book on her website http://calleenwilder.com  and on Amazon Kindle. It’s a collection of answers to spiritual questions I had written down for years. I had 62 pages of them. Questions like ‘Why are we here’ and ‘Who really built the pyramids?’ I also asked about Mary Magdalene.

The reason I went with her is because my then sister-in-law had a reading done by her when my brother died. My sister-in-law was a nonbeliever in this sort of thing and I was, too, but her friend talked her into it. And the answers Calleen gave her blew away our disbelief. My sister-in-law called me right after her meeting, crying her eyes out while telling me about all the personal things Calleen told her that she shouldn’t have known. Things that were only between my sister-in-law and my brother. And then when I went to see Calleen, she identified the watch I brought as used to belong to my grandmother. It did. My father gave it to me when my grandmother died. Now how could Calleen know that?

Now Calleen will tell you herself that no psychic is 100% right 100% of the time. But some of the things she said would happen have, like England’s Stonehenge. She said a second such structure would be found on the other side of our planet. And one day, several years after we published the book, one woman who had bought it emailed Calleen and told her she saw a documentary on TV that said geologists had dug up another such structure in Figi, which is almost directly on the opposite side from England.

I don’t know very much about psychic abilitites, but Calleen simply blows my doubts away. I guess there are some people who can actually do that.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m working on 3 books now. One is the 4th book in the Zeke Mayhill series I’m titling ‘Ezekiel Mayhill and the Crystal of Leadership.’ A bunch of crystals will be found in this book, but whether or not they get back to the palace Diamondorn is another matter. This book is going to be packed with action.

Another book is a vampire romance in which our heroine falls in love with the vampire king but she doesn’t know he’s a vampire. And he doesn’t want to tell her for fear she’ll reject him for what he is. But he has to protect her because there is a faction within his kingdom who want to overthrow him. And they will kill her to get that done. This book’s title right now is ‘Moone’.

The 3rd book is about a dragon king ruling the creatures of the under world of Earth. They are all manner of magical beings who are suddenly producing shifter babies. This was planned a long time ago by the ancient Anasazi, but these beings don’t know what their plan was. But the shifter males cannot produce children with the non shifter females and so they are looking toward the humans living above ground. This is where the romance begins. The king is reluctant to do this, but he gets caught up in romance when a young human woman is brought down into his world. The struggle begins. I haven’t titled this book yet.

Do you have a book recommendation to share with us?

I have. Michael R. Hicks wrote 2 series that I absolutely love. One is the ‘In Her Name’ series. The other is the “Harvester’. I’m telling you, Hollywood needs to contact him. Can get these on Amazon’s Kindle.

Another author is Glen Soucy. His ‘Blood Tithe’ series. OMGoodness! Hollywood needs to contact him, too. He is crazy good. Can get his books on Kindle, also.

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

Oh this is an area I would love to get across to all writers. I have read many wonderful stories, loved the plotline and the characters. HOWEVER. . .those stories had so many typo’s and misspelled words and incorrect grammar and punctuation that they became aggravating. Kept jerking me right out of their stories. No reader wants to experience that. And I feel sure that, if the authors had read over what they had written, they would have found those mistakes and corrected them.

Now I am not saying I am without mistakes, myself. I have made mistakes, one being I misspelled the word ‘lightning.’ I actually thought there for a while it was spelled ‘lightening.’ How dumb was that? I have corrected that, though, and republished those books.

Making mistakes is natural, but you have to read over what you have written so you can catch them. I don’t believe a good many writers today do that. And one thing about it, it could be the reason why so many very good writers don’t make the best seller list more than once., if they do at all. There could easily be so many more favorite authors out there if they would just take the time to give their readers their very best. Their readers deserve that. Rant over.   🙂

That’s great advice. Where can readers go to connect with you on social media or to buy your books?

To find my books over at Amazon Kindle

My websites where you can find my books listed with their buying links:

http://www.annakstein.com

http://www.goldframeromance.com

http://www.magicalwriting.com

Magical Writing is where I have my children’s books, which includes the Zeke Mayhill series.

My Facebook page is under Anna K Stein.

My Twitter page is under AuntieHugs.

 

About AK Stein: 

Personal story.annpic53

Hi, guys.

I began my writing career as a 3rd grader. No kidding. Fell in love with the stories I read and so I started daydreaming. Made my teachers crazy because I much rather stared out the classroom window than listen to them. I mean I was IN LOVE with writing. My grades suffered in elementary school because I hadn’t yet learned to prioritize. But I got that cleared up by high school and so my grades improved. Considerably.

I wrote stories about animals at first. Mostly about horses. And mostly short stories that I was able to complete. I tried writing full length novels when I was still in elementary school but I was never able to finish them. I ran into roadblocks I couldn’t get over. But that was because I hadn’t learned yet how to research. Or that I was even supposed to research. I had always thought stories were things made up completely inside your brain because that was how the stories I read seemed to be. So easy to read. So then I went through a time when I thought I just wasn’t good enough to write stories. At least any that would be published anyway. But I kept writing because I couldn’t get stories out of my head until I wrote them down. And then I was able to breathe. Until the next story idea crept in.

But my writing urge is why I was an English major in high school and in college. I wanted to know exactly how I should write sentences and know exactly what words to use. And how to spell them correctly. Now I’m not saying I retained the knowledge of what each sentence type is called or what each type of word is called, either. What I have done, however, is retain the knowledge of how to write. And when I finished with all that education, I then found myself needing to come up with story ideas.

It wasn’t long when they started coming. And I mean entering my brain like a thunderstorm. Many thunderstorms. I have enough story ideas written down and some even outlined now to last me the rest of my life.

But I need to write them well. So I have been buying books on how to write and even have taken some online courses. You can never stop honing your craft.

So. . .30+ years ago, I wrote some books. Complete novels this time. Finished them, even. But recently I got them out to read again to see what I had and thought ‘There’s no way in this God’s universe am I going to let people read this crap.’ I mean. . .ohmygod!. Great story ideas, but the writing. . .ohmygod! And after all that education, too. So I edited. And edited. And thanked God I now had some decent writing information rolling around in my head to even be able to edit. I mean, my sentences were correct, I did retain that much learning, and my words were spelled correctly, but the writing was so stiff, so egghead, that it would have bored any reader within the first page. Probably the first paragraph. I needed to rewrite them so they wouldn’t be boring. And the result is now the books I have completed, which I have listed on my websites, http://www.goldframeromance.com  And http://www.magicalwriting.com  And more will be coming.

I write in the genres of fantasy and romance. Love those two. So I will be filling up my websites  with all my books. Enjoy.

 

Categories: author feature, author interview, children's books, Fantasy Anthology, interview, short stories, short story, strange portals | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review of The Chosen One: Grimsley Hollow Book 1

The Chosen One: Grimsley Hollow Book 1 by Nicole Storey

Eleven-year-old Gage Gilbert is autistic, loves Halloween, and has no friends. He longs to share real adventures – not just those conjured in his head.

A mysterious key leads him to Eve, a young witch from another world called Grimsley Hollow. It’s a place where all magical beings live in safety and peace, but their realm is in trouble. Gage is the only one who can save them from a nefarious witch who has taken control.
And the human world is next on her list.

With Eve’s help (along with a potty-mouthed pixy, a trouble-making werewolf, a half-vampire, and a couple of dragons) Gage travels to Grimsley Hollow and together, they embark on a journey that will change them all.

It’s a deadly race against evil, where extraordinary creatures stalk the land under a harvest moon and nightmarish monsters take form.

Gage wanted friends and adventure, but had no idea they would come at such a dangerous price.

My Review: Gage is an eleven-year-old autistic boy who has been ostracized by the kids at his school. He has a loving family, vivacious little sis who understands him better than anyone, and a tree house that is his refuge. Gage has a great love for Halloween, horror movies, and the paranormal, but he enjoys the supernatural from the safety of his television. Life is comfortable for Gage, but is life fulfilling?  His lonely, safe existence is about to get a lot more complicated when his tree house is ransacked, a mysterious object appears, and an otherworldly girl shows up. Gage is now keeping secrets from his family and is about to embark upon a dangerous mission. How can an autistic kid save an entire world? Read the book to find out.

I fell in love with Gage and the world of Grimsley Hollow. The author has created a multifaceted world where good wars with evil. Vampires and werewolves battle bajangs and evil witches. This is a world where an ordinary human kid can prove that being a hero is more than swinging a sword or fighting the bad guy. In The Chosen One, heroism is about finding hidden courage, facing your deepest fears, and stepping outside your comfort zone to do something extraordinary. It’s about being a true and loyal friend, even when all you want to do is run home and hide under the covers.

The Chosen One is the first book I’ve ever read which features an autistic hero. Gage’s autism is addressed in an open, honest way educators, parents, and kids will appreciate. His autism is only one of many challenges Gage faces in this book. He’s a well-rounded character who is more than his autism. Yes, autism is part of who he is. It creates certain limitations. In this book, the author has shown us that autistic people are people. Gage isn’t special because of his autism or in spite of it. He’s special because he makes a choice to do something amazing. He chooses to be brave. He chooses to help. He chooses to be a friend. Gage is special because he chooses to be.

I would highly recommend this book to everyone who enjoys fantasy. It’s classified as middle-grade, but the same adults who loved Harry Potter will enjoy this book as well. It’s filled with spooky adventure and is lots of fun. I can’t wait to get my hands on book two.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Buy the book on Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Chosen-One-Grimsley-Hollow-Book-ebook/dp/B00QU8BXBQ/

 

Categories: adventure books, book review, children's adventure books, children's books, diverse books, diversity in books, fantasy, paranormal, young adult, young adult adventure, young adult fantasy, young adult paranormal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gingerbread Castle: Book Review

Gingerbread Castle
By D.M. Yates

Gingerbread Castle is an illustrated children’s holiday rhyme book for ages 6-8 yrs old and is about a visit to a fun castle in Dreamland.

Sample from the Inside Flap feature on Amazon:

Gingerbread Castle is straight ahead,
made from thick slices of gingerbread.
Jimmy stops the sleigh with a spin.
Merrily Jimmy says, “Let’s go in.”

Notice, the walls are wafers baked brown?
Colorful sugared flowers line the ground.
The shutters are mint twist candy,
with jellied leaves that are most dandy.


My Review: Gingerbread Castle is an enchanting illustrated book both children and adults will enjoy. It’s ideal for elementary school readers to read alone, or for parents to read to their preschoolers. Children will love the rhyming pattern and the corresponding images that paint an ideal winter wonderland. They’ll imagine themselves climbing aboard the shiny red train or sipping their own cherry milkshake in the Sweet Treats room!

If you’re looking for a book to share with your child, one that will transport you both to a magical place, Gingerbread Castle is for you.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Buy the Book:  Amazon   |   Smashwords   |   Google    |   Barnes & Noble
Connect with DM Yates:  Website   |   Blog   |   Facebook  |   Twitter
Categories: authors to watch, book review, children's book, holiday book | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Ty the Bull: Book Review

Ty the Bull
By: Rex Baughman (Author, Illustrator)

Brenda Perlin (Author)
K.D. Emerson (Author)
Publication Date: July 4, 2014

Age Level: 8 – 18
Grade Level: 5 – 9
Everything seemed to fall apart for Ty when his parents got a divorce. At his wits end after being bullied endlessly, he started to ditch school. It wasn’t until he met up with a skater named Peacock that things somehow turned around and he put the pieces of his life back together.
Available on Amazon
My Review: Ty is a typical, average kid whose life begins to unravel. His parents are divorced. Kids at school bully him mercilessly. It gets to the point where Ty is so hopeless and lonely, he begins to skip school. When he meets an older skater named Peacock, things begin to get better. Find out how Ty triumphs over bullies and finds the courage to stand up for himself.
Ty the Bull is a collaborative effort by Rex, the child author who uses his own experiences to help other children know they’re not alone, and established authors Brenda Perlin and K.D. Emerson. Told from Rex’s unique perspective, this book is heartfelt, inspiring, and a must-read for kids 8 years and older. Bullying has a become a huge problem in our schools, and there are few kids who haven’t been touched by this issue in some way or another. Ty the Bull tackles the issue in a honest way that will break you heart, but at the same time, uplift you. Best of all, since this book is written for kids, by a kid who knows what he’s talking about, it’s a story kids will relate to.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Categories: authors to watch, book review, children's books | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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