Author Interview: Melissa Gijsbers #ChaBooCha

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Today we get to chat with another Chapter Book Challenge Author – Melissa Gijsbers. Another Aussie too, let’s hear what she has to say about writing…
melissaatelearning
When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?

When I was in high school, I found that writing was something I loved to do, and I was good at it. At the time, I was told that wasn’t a career option and went another way for a while. A few years ago, I rediscovered writing fiction and my dream was rekindled. The biggest impact has been trying to fit writing in around work, kids, and life. I now carry a notebook with me to write down ideas as they come and spend as much of my spare time as possible writing.

It certainly is difficult to fit it all in….

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:
I’m currently working on a chapter book that was written during the 2013 Chapter Book Challenge. It’s a story about a girl who just wants to fit in at a new school and is bullied. This is what she does about it. It’s a mix of my experiences and those of my now 10 year old son. The idea came to me when my son had an incident where he was being bullied and fought back by hitting the bully. He was punished and the bully wasn’t. He thought it was unfair. I used this as inspiration for the story and I’m sure it will resonate with kids.

We’ve all been there, I can’t wait to see you get this book published.

What are your future aspirations as an author?
To write books that will be enjoyed by readers – both children and adults. So far, I’ve had eight stories published in three anthologies, and I’m hoping these are the first of many published works.

I’m sure it will be the start of something big.
melissaandbooks-300
Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
My ideas come from all sorts of places. Some are based on my experiences as a child, some on my kids and the things they do. Others come from writing prompts or things that I’m interested in. Still others seem to come from nowhere! I’ve learned to never ignore an idea, no matter how weird it may be, and I have notebooks full of ideas for future stories.

Gotta love those notebooks.

What do you do to improve yourself and a writer?

I write as often as I can. I take part in challenges and writing exercises to help improve my writing and develop some of the stories that are in my ideas books. I am also collecting and reading a number of craft books as I would love to attend writing conferences, however it’s not practical right now.

There is only so much time in a day and too many other things that need to get done.

What inspires you to write?
With my kids books, a lot of my inspiration come from my kids and the sorts of stories I wish were around for them to read, or that I wish had been around when I was a kid.

Kids are the best inspiration (oh and dogs – sorry Stitch and Chewie!)

Where can people contact you?
My blog is http://www.melissawrites.com.au and my Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/MelissaWrites.com.au

Wonderful blog – you should all check it out!

What works best for you when writing? Meaning do you outline or write freely when you feel inspired to do so?
I find that having a firm outline doesn’t work for me as I stress over it too much and then get worried if or when the story goes off course. I prefer having a rough outline, knowing how the story starts and where I want the story to end up, and write so the story will get there.

Excellent to have some flexibility when planning a story.

Thanks for joining us Melissa, we look forward to hearing more from you in the future. Remember everyone keep reading, keep writing!

Author Interview: Douglas Quinn #childrensauthor

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Amazing how time flies… this interview was meant to be posted last week, but things (life) just got in the way. So here it is. Stitch would like you to meet children’s author Douglas Quinn:
Douglas Quinn with Gracie -- Editing The Midnigh Skulker

When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
I really didn’t just decide to become an author. It evolved out of a family history/genealogy project my dad and I worked on. We had so much interesting information and family stories to share, my dad and I decided to organize it all into something we could publish and share with others who were researching the same family. I love family stories. Once finished with the first two family history books, I began thinking about writing fiction. Naturally, my first novel idea came from another family story, an “almost” happening involving my children and a trip to Spain.
As for an impact on my life, it has become all consuming. I live to write.

Awesome reason to live.

Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
As I mentioned, the idea for my first novel, a suspense/thriller titled The Catalan Gambit, came from an “almost” happening. Students, my boy and girl twins included, from the school system had signed up for a chaperoned trip to Spain. At that time, airplane hijackings had become a popular sport for terrorists. Because of this, the trip was cancelled. I began to think, what would happen if they’d gone on the trip and their plane was hijacked. As a father, what would I, what could I do to save them? My “tag” line was “How far would a father go to save his children.” I followed up with two more books in what I called The Ellis Family Saga.
I enjoy mysteries, so for my Webb Sawyer Mysteries, I set these stories in the Outer Banks and Albemarle Sound areas of northeast North Carolina (USA) where I live. As they say, “write what you know,” and I love and know this area and its people quite well.
For my Ancestry Series, I went back to the research done on my ancestors and, using the facts and stories my dad and I had collected to create a historical fiction/adventure-based novel of the original emigrant ancestor’s life. I just completed book two of the series based on his son. Books three and four are in the queue.
When my two youngest grandsons asked me, why don’t you write children’s books (with them as the heroes, of course), I indulged them. It was easy to write in “their voice” as I used to have lunch in the school cafeteria with them and their friends once a week, where I opened discussions, listened and observed.. Now I have three different series going.
My newest series, Little Books for Little Readers (written, illustrated and marketed for ages 4-6), are based on experience with our four-legged kids, our cats and dogs.

Dogs make the best characters. As an interesting note Beagles and Labradors seem to make great friends!

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it.
Boy! Not sure where to start, because I work on several book projects at a time, one for each of my genres. I’ll give a brief answer for each one of them.
I am currently writing my fourth Webb Sawyer Mystery. Each of the titles for this series have birds in the titles: Blue Heron Marsh, Pelican Point, Swan’s Landing and the latest, Egret’s Cove. In Egret’s Cove, my protagonist, Webb Sawyer, drives from his home at Blue Heron Marsh in Nags Head on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, to go fishing with his long-time grade-school friend who lives on Ocracoke Island. When he arrives she is nowhere to be found. Evidence indicates she’s been kidnapped. But how? And why? And where is she? And is she all right? There is no ransom note and Webb is frantic to find his friend before it’s too late.
I just finished the second book of my Ancestry Series, Samuel The Pioneer. Samuel is the son of Cornelius The Orphan. As I mentioned before, these historical fiction/adventure novels are based on my own ancestors.
I have two more Children’s Chapter Book Series (for ages 8-12) that are completed and are in the editing process. One, The Adventures of Quinn Higgins: Boy Detective—The Case of the Gray Ghost’s Belt Buckle is the sixth Quinn Higgins book. The other one, The Adventures of Summer McPhee of Ocracoke Island—The Pink Lady is the third Summer McPhee book. I am also am over halfway finished (it will probably be completed when this interview runs) the third book in my Purple Dragon Fantasy Series, Charles and Hero—The Dreadmen. As I mentioned, I wrote these at the request of grandchildren, but now my readers motivate me to continue on with them.
And, finally, I’ve completed my second Little Book for Little Readers titled Solstice the Determined Beagle—Long Way Home. This book is now with my illustrator, who is doing pen-and-ink drawings for the text chapters. This story comes from the time Solstice (now deceased) got lost in a storm ten miles from home and, over ten days, found her way back home.

Wonderful a to do list that looks like mine… too many things to do!

What are your future aspirations as an author?<
When people ask me what I do for fun, I tell them I write. “Writing seems like hard work,” they say. The hard work is the editing process. The writing, for me, is not only fun, but fulfilling. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to tell stories and share them with others. This, and a dedication to my characters, will keep me writing until, one day, I keel over, my fingers still on the keyboard. If I have the premonition, maybe I will quickly type in (to be continued by the next person).

Ha that’s a good idea. You are right editing is the hard part – see my other blog for some tips:http://ghostnapped.wordpress.com/

What do you do to improve yourself as a writer?
I read, I research, I do crossword puzzles, I listen, I observe, I talk to people, ask questions, discuss ideas, but most of all I write, write, write, write . . . .

Where can people contact you?
My website is http://www.obxwriter.webs.com, where you can find a listing of all of my books, novels and children’s book, included. Please feel free to join up and/or contact me through the site with your questions, comments, what you thought about my books, etc. I answer all queries.

Tell us a little about your next work/s in progress.
I always have several projects in progress. Readers, even other writers, ask me how is that possible. How can I concentrate on more than one book at a time. My answer is, I really don’t know. I think I’ve been gifted with the ability to compartmentalize information, work on it, store it, bring up something else, moving from one project to another without confusion. Holy-moley, I sound like a computer.
Right now I’m only writing two books, Egret’s Cove: a Webb Sawyer Mystery and Charles and Hero–The Dreadmen. I’m also reading and researching for four other books. So many stories to tell, never enough time.

We wish the best of luck with all your projects.

Do you read the reviews of your work and how do they affect your writing?
I always read the reviews of my work. Fortunately, the vase majority of them have been very positive. Reviewers bring their own likes, dislikes and prejudices to their assessment. One reviewer loves the detail and the descriptions of the settings and characters, another one says there is too much detail. Another reviewer feels the need to point out a misplaced a comma on page 212. Another one may claim there were inconsistencies with the capitalization of the word “mother,” even though they were incorrect and didn’t understand the rules. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Readers don’t really care about niggling and nitpicking. They want to know if the reviewer believes that story, the setting and the characters will grab them. Here’s my thought: If you get an unfavorable review, or the review has aspects that you dislike or don’t agree with, let it go. I’d rather have a review that I wasn’t pleased with than be ignored.

I always figure if they took the time to review your work there is something worth while!

Stitch Says has had the privilege of reading four of Douglas’ books and will be posting reviews over the coming week or two (that thing called life may get in the way!). So watch out for them. Thanks for joining us Douglas and remember keep reading, keep writing!

Author Interview: Becky Fyfe #chaboocha

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Today we get to chat with author Becky Fyfe. Becky does an amazing amount of writing, editing and everything else in her life. She’s a superstar and the founder of the Chapter Book Challenge: http://chapterbookchallenge.blogspot.com.au/
Here’s what Becky had to say:

Becky

When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
I have wanted to be a writer ever since I was a child, but somewhere along the way, I lost the confidence to continue along that path. I managed to get my BA degree in English Literature and an AA degree in Child Development, but I stopped writing creatively for many years. Instead I concentrated on raising my children (all seven of them).

Slowly over time, I gained a lot of weight. I was clinically described as morbidly obese. That may not seem to have anything to do with my writing, but when I started actively trying to lose the excess weight and become healthier, I decided to begin blogging about the journey on a blog called Skinny Dreaming. I was very successful with my weight loss, losing more than half my body weight and reaching a healthy BMI. This also increased my confidence in myself by showing me that I could achieve what some considered impossible if I was just willing to put in the hard work towards it.

Through Skinny Dreaming, I was contacted by a start-up parenting magazine out in California that wanted me to be a regular writer for their monthly magazine on the topic of raising healthy children. I continued to write for the magazine for over a year. This added another cog in my self-confidence, especially in regards to my writing. Between the blog and writing for the magazine, I came to the realization that I still very much wanted to be an author.

What an amazing journey – not to mention you did all that while raising seven children… The mind boggles!

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:

I have several projects on the go right now. I originally planned on writing the Skinny Dreaming book on health and fitness, but I have only managed to write the first few chapters and an outline for it. My true love is writing fiction, and I currently have one urban fantasy novel, one YA novelette (also urban fantasy), six picture books, a middle grade book and a chapter book in the editing stages.
The current works I am writing at the moment are one chapter book titled “The Day My Shadow Tried to Kill Me” and one non-fiction book called “The 28-Day Fitness Challenge” based on a challenge I am running on the Skinny Dreaming blog.
“The Day My Shadow Tried to Kill Me” came to me while I was busy writing an adult novel for National Novel Writing Month last November. It took my attention away from my NaNoWriMo novel, but I loved the idea so much that I couldn’t stop myself from sitting down to write it. It’s actually the first in a series. Here’s the brief synopsis (which is still a work-in-progress):

Gabby is just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life until one day, she isn’t. Magical things start happening around her, beginning with her shadow taking on a life of its own. Gabby would think this was cool, if it weren’t for the fact that her shadow was trying to kill her. Can Gabby stay alive long enough to figure out why these strange things are happening and how to stop her shadow?

Wow that list is actually longer than mine, can’t wait to see them all completed!

What are your future aspirations as an author?
I plan on publishing my novels someday, when they are ready. I haven’t decided yet whether I will self-publish them or go the traditional route, although I will have to go the traditional route for my picture books as I am not an illustrator.

I run my own Indie publishing company, Melusine Muse Press, that I have published some anthologies through, and I am hoping to expand the business model to begin bringing more authors’ works into the limelight, and I eventually hope to employ some illustrators.

Having some illustrators would be fantastic, they are hard to find.

Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?

Everything influences my writing and can bring me fresh ideas. My children are my biggest inspiration though. Aside from the ideas that come to me when I am with my children, ideas tend to come to me whenever it’s quiet. When I’m outside walking the dog or taking a relaxing bath, these are the moments when I have time to reflect and ideas will often light up in my mind. I also find that art and music have the tendency to inspire fresh ideas.

Quiet moments are the best – just where to collect them. I think we should bottle them up and send them around when required!

What do you do to improve yourself as a writer?
I read many books on the craft of writing. I read many books just for fun and enjoyment. I read blogs on the craft of writing. I write; I find that the more frequently I sit down to do some actual writing, the more my writing improves.

My biggest downfall is my tendency to procrastinate. To that end, I started hosting the Chapter Book Challenge (ChaBooCha) in March of 2012, with the goal of helping myself and others learn more about writing chapter books for children and to give us all that extra push to write the stories. The challenge is to write a complete first draft of a chapter book, middle grade book or YA novel from March 1st through March 31st. This March will be its third year running and the group has continued to grow.

I’m also hosting a new writing challenge in April this year, Blog Your Book in 30 Days. This challenge is mostly to get me working on my non-fiction book idea, but it will work for fiction books too. The challenge will give me the drive I need to write a chapter a day during April.
I am a member of the 12×12 picture book writing challenge, hosted by Julie Hedlund. The challenge keeps me writing a new picture book every month.

I find challenges very helpful in motivating me to stop procrastinating and to sit and write.

Yep that’s why I joined the Chapter Book Challenge – love to actually get something done.

What are the names of your books?

The anthologies that I have stories in, published by Melusine Muse Press, are “Teapot Tales: A Collection of Unique Fairy Tales,” “Jingle Bells: Tales of Holiday Spirit from Around the World” and “SuperHERo Tales: A Collection of Female Superhero Stories.” I also have a couple of doodle colouring books out called “Doodle Your Heart Out” and “Little Book of Doodles.” There are other anthologies with my stories in them as well: “Once Upon a Time: A Collection of Unexpected Fairy Tales,” “The Dark Fairy Queen’s Writerly Bridal Shower,” “Tales By the Tree: An Anthology of Holiday Flash Fiction” and “Charms: Volume 2.” The anthology “Keepsakes” will be out sometime later this year.

My girls love the Doodle Your Heart Out Book!

Where can people contact you?

I have several on-line blogs, but the main ones are Skinny Dreaming, Imagine! Create! Write!, Chapter Book Challenge, Rebecca Fyfe Writes, Fairy Magic Gifts and, now, Blog Your Book in 30 Days.

I also have a Facebook profile and several Facebook pages. (This is just a handful of them.)
Becky Fyfe
Skinny Dreaming
Imagine! Create! Write!
Chapter Book Challenge
Rebecca Fyfe, author
Fairy Magic Gifts
Blog Your Book in 30 Days

Do you read the reviews of your work and how do they affect your writing?

I try not to read reviews, but I would really like to get some more reviews posted for the anthologies.

What works best for you when writing? Meaning do you outline or write freely when you feel inspired to do so?

I write freely. I keep planning to outline, but, other than a general directional idea in my head, I usually write without one. The exception to this rule is for my non-fiction books. For non-fiction, I tend to write in my chapter headings ahead of time, which is a form of an outline.

Writing freely is great, just can be hard to come back to it later. If only I had the time to finish something in one hit.


For other authors who may be struggling what advice can you give on handling rejection?

My best advice is to never give up. Stop listening to that critical inner voice that we all have and continue to write. Every author has fears and doubts about their writing, even the ones who have already written best-sellers. If we all let our fears or doubts keep us from writing, then there would be no books and no new worlds of our creation for readers to lose themselves in.

Excellent advice. Thanks for joining us Becky. It was wonderful to get to know you more. So many more great interviews, reviews and news coming up here on Stitch Says. Keep reading, keep writing!

Author interview: Lindsey Carmichael #amreading

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Fox Talk Blog Tour Button

About the Book

Title: Fox Talk

Author: L.E. Carmichael, PhD

Book Designer: Michael Penman

Illustrator: Jody Bronson

Photography: Brian Dust

Publication Date: August 8, 2013

Publisher: Ashby-BP Publishing

Pages: 62

Recommended Age: 8+

 

Summary

When you talk to a dog, does the dog talk back? Many people think so. But for a long time, scientists didn’t know how our furry friends learned to communicate with people. Luckily, Russian scientist Dmitri Belyaev had a plan. If he could tame wild red foxes, he could learn how dogs first came from wolves. By studying the way these foxes changed during domestication, the mystery of communication would be solved at a last. More than 50 years after the experiment began, Belyaev’s foxes have become so tame, you can have one as a pet! Packed with eye-popping photos and first-hand research, FOX TALK reveals the story of these amazing animals… and everything they’ve taught us about wolves, dogs, and communication.

 

* Stitch Says had a chance to catch up with Lindsey
When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
I was ten – I started writing a “novel” for fun and had so much fun I decided not to stop! When I was finishing high school, though, people kept telling me how writers have to have “day jobs” to pay the bills, so I decided to study genetics in university, with the goal of becoming a forensic scientist when I was through. I was part way through my PhD when I realized I may have misunderstood the concept of “day job” but by then it was too late to quit.

Those day jobs can be tough.em> 

I knew that the only way for me to start being a writer, though, was to stop being a scientist. So I finished my degree and now I write about science instead of doing it. It meant taking a massive pay cut, but I’m so much happier.

Money really isn’t everything.

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:
Fox Talk is about one of the greatest experiments that’s ever been done in the field of biology – the intentional domestication of foxes. By studying generations of foxes as they went through the evolutionary process, scientists discovered how we got dogs and other domestic animals in the first place. And now, these amazing animals are teaching us how dogs learned to communicate with humans, which when you think about it, is an incredible ability considering the differences between the ways animals communicate and the ways humans communicate.
I was in my first year of graduate school, in 2000, when I read an article about these foxes written by one of the scientists on the project. My first thought was “I want one!” Then, I became totally fascinated by the science in the experiment and what it all meant. I am thrilled that I’ve had a chance to share this amazing story with kids!

As someone who works with dogs I thought thus was an excellent resource book for kids!

What are your future aspirations as an author?
I’m going to keep writing nonfiction – I have so many ideas it will take a lifetime to get through them all – but I’d really like to publish a novel this year or next. I’ve got one that’s mostly finished and several that are started. I’ve always loved reading fiction, but I find nonfiction much easier to write. Novels will really stretch me as a writer, and that’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.

It’s great to know where you want to head and to have goals in different areas.

Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
Getting ideas isn’t the problem for me – figuring out what to do with them is! For nonfiction, what usually happens is I’ll see a news story or something on the internet that catches my interest, and off I go. My training as a scientist is really useful, too – science is about being curious and asking questions, and sometimes all I have to do is observe something amazing in the natural world that I want to understand better. I understand things best by writing about them.
Since I write for kids and teens, my fiction ideas usually come from my own childhood or those of people I know. The final story usually ends up a long way away from its inspiration, though.

I agree – always have lots of ideas, it’s about time and focus.

What do you do to improve yourself as a writer?
I read. I read the kinds of books I want to write and study how writers much better than I am do what they do. I also read a lot of books about being a writer – the theory of writing and storytelling. And books on time management, because there are never enough hours in the day.

I also belong to a critique group, where other children’s writers read my stuff and tell me what’s not working. They are talented ladies and I learn so much from them. Writer’s groups and conferences are also helpful. Learning from other people’s mistakes is much faster than making them all yourself. 

Both excellent ways to better your craft.

Tell us a little bit about your next WIP

In August, Ashby-BP will release Fuzzy Forensics: DNA Fingerprinting Gets Wild. It’s about the place where wildlife conservation and forensic science meet, and the main thread of the book is an elk-kidnapping case I helped with as graduate student. I’ve been working on this project since 2008 and I’m so excited to finally see it published.

Sounds interesting – I love forensic science books.

Where can people contact you?
The best place to start is my website, http://www.lecarmichael.com You can find information about all of my books, as well as the school visits and writing workshops I offer. My blog is hosted at that site, too. There is also a contact form for sending me messages and links to my social media accounts – I’d love to connect!

What works best for you when writing? Meaning do you outline or write freely when you feel inspired to do so?
I’m a planner. I have to have a solid idea of what I’m going to cover, in what order, and where I want to end up before I start. This is probably because my books are nonfiction – new information is very difficult to understand unless it’s well-organized.
Because most of my books are written under tight deadlines, I can’t wait for inspiration. I have to treat writing like a 9-5 job. If I don’t put in the hours, I won’t make the deadline. And if I’m late, all of the things that happen after me (editing, photo research, design, layout, printing…) will be late too, which could mean the book doesn’t get released on time – disaster!

Thanks for taking the time to share with us here at Stitch Says – we will post a review of Fox Talks soon and look forward to seeing more books from you!
*

 

Early Buzz About the Book

“Fox Talk is an educational non-fiction title exploring the domestication of dogs by studying fox behaviour and communication. The information is presented with beautiful photographs, illustrations, bubbles/boxes of brief information, and descriptions of the research findings using age-appropriate language. I think this would be an excellent resource in elementary schools or for homeschoolers in particular and I highly recommend it.” ~ 5-Star Review, Mother Daughter Book Reviews

 

Purchase

Fox Talk by L.E. Carmichael

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Chapter/Indigo (Canada)

 

About The Author: L.E. Carmichael

L.E. Carmichael Author

L.E. Carmichael

Lindsey Carmichael never outgrew that stage of childhood when nothing’s more fun than amazing your friends (and correcting your teachers!) with your stockpile of weird and wonderful facts. Her sense of wonder came in handy during her career as a scientist, and in 2006, she received the Governor General’s Medal for her PhD thesis, Ecological Genetics of Northern Wolves and Arctic Foxes. Lindsey finds talking about science more fun than doing it, however, and now writes for kids, teens, and occasionally adults (a sense of wonder is essential for this, too). Lindsey publishes under the name L E Carmichael, and her work has appeared in Dig, Highlights for Children, Kiki, and Canadian Tales of the Fantastic. Her published science books cover everything from animal migration to hybrid cars. When not digging up obscure or wacky details for her next nonfiction project, Lindsey’s probably working on her young adult fantasy novel.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads

Ashby Publishers

 

Fox Talk Blog Tour Schedule (2014)

January 27

Mother Daughter Book Reviews (Launch)

Books Direct (Author Interview)

January 28

Victoria Simcox’s Blog (Guest Post)

Once Upon a Time (Review)

January 29

Baby Bookworms in Black Words – White Pages (Review)

Giveaway Breaking News for Indonesia (Book Spotlight)

January 30

Generation iKid (Guest Post)

BeachBoundBooks (Review)

January 31

Bound 4 Escape (Review)

No Doubt Learning (Review)

February 1

Cherry Mischievous (Guest Post)

We are the DinoFamily (Review)

February 2

Deal Sharing Aunt (Review)

February 3

Stitch Says (Author Interview)

February 4

Maude’s Web (Review)

February 5

Musings by Jay Faulkner (Guest Post)

Brooke Blogs (Review)

February 6

Books, Books The Magical Fruit (Review)

February 7

Kay LaLone I Love Books (Review)

Bailey’s Book Blog (Author Interview)

Mel’s Shelves (Review)

February 8

On the Go With Zeppi (Book Spotlight)

February 10

The Squishable Baby (Review)

Hershey Wishes and Kisses (Review)

February 11

Christy’s Houseful of Chaos (Review & Author Interview)

Lakshmi Gosyne (Book Excerpt)

February 12

Christy’s Cozy Corners (Review)

Dawn’s Disaster (Review & Guest Post)

February 13

Manic Mama of 2 (Review)

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo (Author Interview)

February 14

Domestic Randomness (Review)

The Dragyn’s Lair (Review)

February 15

Crystal’s Tiny Treasures (Review)

February 16

Heart of a Philanthropist (Review)

 

* Blog Tour Giveaway *

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card (or PayPal cash) + a Skype visit to a school or library of the winner’s choice ($250 value).

Contest runs: January 27th to February 21, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Worldwide

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. The winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the publisher, Ashby-BP Publishing and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

MDBR Book Promotion Services

Lots more exciting interviews and reviews coming soon, keep reading, keep writing!

Author Interview: Jennifer Swanson #author

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Today we get to chat with Jennifer Swanson who writes Children’s fiction and non fiction books.

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Here’s what she had to say:

When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
I started writing when I was in kindergarten. I used to write and illustrate my own stories and present them to the class. Many years later, I started writing again and it’s been wonderful. I really enjoy the creative outlet it provides and it’s just plain fun to see kids get excited about reading – especially when it’s a book that you wrote.

That is the best feeling in the world!

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:
When I’m not writing to a specific deadline, I like to write my own stuff. Right now I’m finishing up a MG novel. It’s contemporary, humorous about a girl who’s an inventor, well, she tries to be. It combines science and fun – two things I love.

Sounds interesting as an ex science teacher I am very keen to read that one!

What are your future aspirations as an author?
To keep writing and get some of my own fiction published. I’m working on finding just the right agent to help me with my career. I write so many different levels and genres, it’s not easy.

Not easy, but worth it in the long run.

Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
I get ideas everywhere! I watch movies, I read books, I just walk around and some sentence or scene in real life will hit me and bam – I have another idea. My problem isn’t getting ideas, it’s finding the time to write them all.

Never enough time.

What do you do to improve yourself and a writer?
I try to keep up with Twitter and Facebook and all of the awesome writing contests that are going on continuously. I participate in several critique groups and also go to SCBWI conferences.

Where can people contact you?
You can find me at http://www.JenniferSwansonBooks.com

What works best for you when writing? Meaning do you outline or write freely when you feel inspired to do so?
Well, I kind of do both. I usually do whatever grabs me at the moment. It depends on how the idea comes to me. Sometimes I see a scene very clearly in my head and I just have to write it down. I may not be sure where it’s going or how the rest of the story fits in, but that scene is important. Then, I may outline after that. But I don’t always stick to the outline. I have to write outlines for all of my nonfiction books first and I have the hardest time sticking to them, too – much to the dismay of my editors.  I guess I’m just a “go-with-the-flow” type writer.

It’s good to do a bit of both.

For other authors who may be struggling what advice can you on handling rejection?
Hang in there! This is a TOUGH business. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong. Yes, there are those few lucky ones who seem to glide through it, but the majority of us are in the trenches, writing away – sometimes for years – before anything comes of it. If I could give everyone one piece of advice, I’d say to be open to anything. I know people who are trying to break in, but they put limits on what they will do. Like – I won’t do work-for-hire, I don’t want to write that topic, I only want to write picture books, etc. Limiting yourself can make your path to publishing much harder.

Excellent advice – thanks for joining us here on Stitch Says!

Thanks so much for having me. Happy Writing to all!

Jen is also part of the Chapter Book Challenge group – you can check out more information here:
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Lots more exciting interviews, reviews and of course Chewie’s news posts coming your way, keep reading, keep writing!

Author Interview: Kirstin Pulioff #childrensauthor

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Princess Madeline and the Dragon - Tour Button - 3 Kirstin Pulioff

About the Book

Title: Princess Madeline and the Dragon (Princess Madeline Trilogy, Book #3)

Author: Kirstin Pulioff

Publication Date: November 26, 2013

Publisher: Caliburn Books

Number of pages: 135

Recommended age: 10+

 

Summary

After a season of battle and rebuilding, the Kingdom of Soron is exhausted. With the return of the exiled wizards, the Spring Faire, and her upcoming wedding, Princess Madeline is looking forward to a peaceful season of celebration. When the mysterious green dragon reappears, threatening the kingdom and the king, Princess Madeline and Prince Braden won’t rest for long. Faced with this incredible new danger, Princess Madeline and Prince Braden must find a way to lead their kingdom and secure their future. Can they find the answers hidden within their mother’s cryptic messages from the past, or will the dragon destroy everything they hold dear? Follow Princess Madeline as she embarks on a dangerous new adventure to save her kingdom and her family.

 

* Let’s meet Kirstin and find out more about what makes her write!
When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
I have always wanted to be a writer, but didn’t how I could actually go about being one. Growing up, I saw writing as a hobby, and something I loved, but something very “abstract” for a career. It wasn’t until recently, as I teaching my children not to limit themselves and to follow through on their dreams and the careers that they loved, that I realized how I had limited myself.

When that moment of clarity hit me, my life changed. I am now living a dream.

Awesome, well done for chasing that dream.

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:
Princess Madeline and the Dragon is the finale in the Princess Madeline series.
Blurb: After a season of battle and rebuilding, the Kingdom of Soron is exhausted. With the return of the exiled wizards, the Spring Faire, and her upcoming wedding, Princess Madeline is looking forward to a peaceful season of celebration. Unfortunately the celebration does not last long.
When the mysterious green dragon reappears, threatening the kingdom and the king, Princess Madeline and Prince Braden won’t rest for long. Faced with this incredible new danger, they must find a way to lead their kingdom and secure their future.

Can they find the answers hidden within their mother’s cryptic messages from the past, or will the dragon destroy everything they hold dear? Follow Princess Madeline as she embarks on a dangerous new adventure to save her kingdom and her family.
This has been a fun series to write. I wanted to create a traditional coming of age fairy tale with aspects of magic, fantasy, and adventure perfect for those tween readers.

An excellent series, nice to see a strong female character too.

What are your future aspirations as an author?
I have many 😉 Once I began on this path, the muse kept pumping me full of stories. My current work in progress, Dreamscape: Saving Alex is a YA fantasy that blends the idea of Tron and Super Mario Brothers. Yes, I believe it will be as awesome as that sounds. I also have ideas for more middle grade adventure books, and a historical fiction.

Certainly sounds like lots of fun.

Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
They come from everywhere. Sometimes it’s as simple as a dream that refuses to be forgotten. Other times, inspiration comes in bursts- the perfect prose for a description hits me while gardening, a new story arc may interrupt my cooking, or the best dialogue might come after unintentionally eavesdropping ;). I try to keep my mind open to receiving inspiration at any moment, and write it down when it comes.

Always important to get it down in that instant!

What do you do to improve yourself and a writer?
I am constantly reading, writing, and working on tuning my craft. Just like with anything, practice makes perfect. The more I write, the more critiques I am given, the stronger I become.

Excellent attitude!

Where can people contact you?
Let me give you some links 😉 I LOVE meeting up with new fans, and readers. You can reach me at any of these links:
Website- http://www.kirstinpulioff.com
Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/kirstinpulioffauthor
Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/kirstinpulioff
Goodreads- http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6558842.Kirstin_Pulioff
Amazon- http://www.amazon.com/Kirstin-Pulioff/e/B00A2498Z2/

Do you read the reviews of your work and how do they affect your writing?
Absolutely! I read them all, and appreciate each, but try not to obsess over them. Each positive review warms my heart, and the negative ones give me something to think about, or strive to improve. I know that everyone is not going to love each book I write, and I welcome all reviews, positive and negative.

Stitch Says loved this book and will be posting a review soon!

What works best for you when writing? Meaning do you outline or write freely when you feel inspired to do so?
I am a planner, so my first step is to outline. Before I write the first draft, I create a general outline of my story, highlighting the driving force behind the characters, and where I want them to end up. Once that is complete, I let the characters take over. I write freely, allowing the story to develop either according to my original plan or taking a new route.

I bet it’s interesting to go back and see how the characters have evolved!
Thanks for joining us here on Stitch Says
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*

 

More Buzz About The Book

“The story is engaging on many levels, as is Pulioff’s writing, but on this occasion I was mostly drawn into the action and the mystery as how to prevent the worst from happening. This is great entertainment and should do well across a wider age range.” ~ 5 Star Review,ChristophFischerBooks, Amazon

“Kirstin Pulioff has saved the best for last. ‘Princess Madeline and the Dragon’ is the final instalment in the ‘Princess Madeline Trilogy’. I thought the first two books were finely wrought stories, but this novel surpasses its predecessors. Prophesies, family tragedies, magic and – of course – dragons, combine to produce a tale that is an instant classic. Written with a great deal of charm, ‘Princess Madeline and the Dragon’ will not disappoint Ms Pulioff’s young fans. I look forward to seeing where next her imagination will take this natural storyteller. ” ~ 5 Star Review, Diogenes, Amazon

“Princess Madeline and the Dragon is an exciting and thoroughly satisfying final chapter in this fantasy/adventure series. As she did with books one and two, the author has created a fantasy world in a rich medieval setting that we can believe in–and want to visit, over and over…Along with adventure, a sweet romance, and a theme that centers on the power of love, you may find a surprise or two! If your tween or teen loves princesses, brave heroes and fairytales of daring-do, they shouldn’t miss this one!” ~ 5 Star Review, Ally S., Goodreads

 

Purchase

Princess Madeline and the Dragon by Kirstin Pulioff

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Smashwords

 

About the Author: Kirstin Pulioff

Kirstin Pulioff

Kirstin Pulioff

Kirstin Pulioff is a storyteller at heart. Born and raised in Southern California, she moved to the Pacific Northwest to follow her dreams and graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Forest Management. Happily married and a mother of two, she lives in Oregon, and enjoys being a stay at home mom. When she’s not writing, she is busy with her kids and church.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

 

 

Princess Madeline and the Dragon Blog Tour Schedule (2014)

January 13

Mother Daughter Book Reviews (Launch & Review)

January 14

Victoria Simcox’s Blog (Author Interview)

JoJo’s Corner (Review)

January 15

Musings by Jay Faulkner (Guest Post)

Mel’s Shelves (Review)

January 16

Bound 4 Escape (Review)

Dawn’s Disaster (Guest Post)

January 17

Cassandra Lost in Books (Review)

WS Momma Readers Nook (Review)

January 18

A TiffyFit’s Reading Corner (Review)

Jemima Pett, Author (Review)

January 19

Books Direct (Author Interview)

My Devotional Thoughts (Review)

January 20

Amanda’s Books and More (Review)

For the Love of Books (Review)

January 21

BeachBoundBooks (Review)

When I Grow Up I Wanna Write a Kids Book (Review)

January 22

Stitch Says (Author Interview)

Barbara Ann Mojica’s Blog (Review)

January 23

Fiona Ingram (Review and Author Interview)

Brooke Blogs (Review)

January 24

We are the DinoFamily (Review)

Sher A Hart: Written Art (Review)

January 25

Becki Gylberte, children’s author (Review)

Reading and Sharing (Review and Guest Post)

January 26

Heart of a Philanthropist (Review)

Dalene’s Book Reviews (Review)

 

* $25 Blog Tour Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest runs: January 13th to January 31st, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Kirstin Pulioff and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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What an awesome book, stay tuned for the review and as always keep reading, keep writing!

Author interview: Adam Wallace #amreading

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Today we get to meet Adam Wallace or Wally as we know him! Let’s find out more about Wally and his work:

Adam Wallace profile pic

When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
Wow, well, my definitive actual decision (after enjoying writing in high School but then writing nothing but birthday cards for ten years!) came when I was 27. It has had a huge impact on my life … not quite as huge as this afternoon when my thumb got smashed by a very turned on rotating ceiling fan, but huge just the same! I was doing engineering, and while it was good money, and I made great friends, it never felt right. I knew that I wanted to work with children in some capacity, and after trialling a few avenues, writing seemed to be present and what I was drawing to in all of them and was where I felt most comfortable. So deciding to become an author allowed me to find me, the creative me that was always lurking inside me.

It’s awesome when things fall into place – creativity is like that sometimes!

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:
My latest work is called Jamie Brown is NOT Rich. The motivation was twofold. First was that I was asked by Ford Street Publishing to write and illustrate a chapter book … so that was the motivation for the format! The genre came from a love of fish-out-of-water stories, especially Happy Gilmore and many of Bill Peet’s books. I love the scenarios it throws up, and how the skills and personality traits that make someone an outcast can be what actually endears them to the new situations, and enables them to come out on top. A fish-out-of-water story also gives many, many chances for awesome comedy as well! I wrote this story to really entertain kids, to make them laugh at the same time as having the underlying messages of acceptance, fitting in, bullying, friendship, and wealth.

The Two Jamie Covers

What are your future aspirations as an author?
I want to become the best-selling children’s author from Australia. I like to set my goals high! I have other goals, such as releasing a minimum of one new book every year, of learning as I write, of not being afraid to ask for advice, of not being afraid of rejection or criticism, and of being true to myself and my style of writing. I will never write something that isn’t me, that doesn’t make me feel joy while I am writing it.

Wonderful aspirations and a fantastic attitude that will ensure success!

Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
My ideas come from everywhere! I have written novels based on a single line from a song. I have written poems after seeing a kangaroo eating grass. I have written a short story after my wife did a HUGE burp at Chadstone Shopping Centre … oh. I may have said too much.
Moving on, very quickly, my writing is also influenced by my family. My grandmother was a children’s author, and my dad, while not published, is a very funny writer as well. But I am also influenced by TV shows and films I watch, books I read, and people I meet. Kids are an especially great source of inspiration, they say the funniest things!

Kids are the best material makers, along with dogs of course!

What do you do to improve yourself and a writer?
I write. Every single day. The more you write, the better you will become. I also like to get a grounding in techniques by reading books and interviews by and for authors. The more techniques you have in your sub-concious, the easier it is to be creative without worrying about the other stuff. Besides, that’s what editing is for!
I watch videos on creativity and inspiration, and I read my work out loud so that I can hear the flow and rhythm of it. I am also now at a stage where I can sort of just about handle critiques of my work, so am able to let others read it and give me an opinion I can ignore … I mean, take on board and consider!

Opinions of others are always important!

Where can people contact you?
The best place is my website http://www.adam-wallace-books.com
The site also has videos, chapters of my books, reviews, interviews, and even a little bit about me.
I’m also on Facebook (www.facebook.com/wallysbooks)

What works best for you when writing? Meaning do you outline or write freely when you feel inspired to do so?
I write every day, as I mentioned, but the time is pretty fluid. I do always try and write in the morning, so that I know I have done something. There is nothing worse than getting to the afternoon, wanting to write something for the day, and feeling pressure to do so. If I write in the morning and feel inspiration later on, well, that’s a bonus and lets me get even more done.
In terms of actually writing, I am very free-flowing. I write very much in a stream of consciousness style, getting everything I can out on to the page. It’s like someone said, I think it was Michaelangelo on the statue of David. You chip away what isn’t a man, and what’s left is the statue. If I get everything out on the page, then I can chip away everything that isn’t my story.

A good technique – clearly you know what works best for you!


For other authors who may be struggling what advice can you on handling rejection?

Keep going. Just because something isn’t rejected doesn’t mean it isn’t good … at the same time though, don’t let your writer’s pride get in the way of improving a story. But you have to keep writing, get your writing as good as it can possibly be. I had over 150 rejections over 7 years before I was accepted by a publisher, and I know that by that time I was writing a lot better. The other reason to keep writing is that when you are picked up by a publisher, they will often ask what else you have. If you’ve been writing and writing and honing your craft, you will have other works to show them. And who knows, it could be the start of something big!

Excellent advice!

Thanks Adam (Wally) for stopping by here at Stitch Says! It was wonderful to meet you. To all you readers check out Adam’s work and keep reading, keep writing!

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