Back To School Blog Tour 2014: Featured Author Rachel Elizabeth Cole

Standard

b2schblogtour2014Welcome to day 2 of the Back to School Blog Tour. If you haven’t signed up for the Book Bundle Giveaway, there are still several days left. Entering is easy. From liking authors on Facebook to commenting on their blog, you can enter to win the fabulous book bundle of children’s books each day. So, keep coming back each day and enter.

ENTER FOR BOOK BUNDLE GIVEAWAY HERE!

 

Today’s featured author is Rachel Elizabeth Cole. 

Rachel Cole writes middle grade novels and is featuring her “The Rabbit Ate My Homework” middle grade ebook for this blog tour. She has answered questions about her favorite memories of school and how teacher’s have influenced her writing. Rachel Elizabeth Cole writes a mix of genres, from heartfelt to humorous, but her favorite will always be middle grade fiction. When she’s not writing, Rachel works as a graphic designer specializing in book covers. Her favorite season is autumn, she prefers tea to coffee, and wishes every morning began at ten a.m. Even though she hates the rain, Rachel lives just outside Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband, their two sons, and two very spoiled house rabbits.

Rachel Elizabeth Cole is the author of "The Rabbit Ate My Homework".

Rachel Elizabeth Cole is the author of “The Rabbit Ate My Homework”.

1) What is your favorite memory from the beginning of a school year?
I don’t have a particular favourite memory. But when I think about the beginning of the school year, I think about how everything always felt so new and fresh–from the freshly polished hallway floors which squeaked under your new shoes to the brand new school supplies with your name neatly printed on them–and full of possibilities. New teacher, new things to learn, new friends to make.

2) Who was your most inspiring teacher? Why?

My high school English teacher, Mr. Gerlitz. He was very supportive of my early writing efforts.

3) What is the advice you would give children authors to get started?

Read a lot and write a lot. Like anything, you get better with practice!

4) Who is your favorite character from a children’s book?

I don’t really have a favourite. There are so many characters I love. Misty of Chincoteague, the Enormous Crocodile, Ramona Quimby, Wilbur the pig, Curious George, Ratty and Mole, the Borrowers (yes, all of them!), Mrs. Frisby, Bunnicula, Ralph Mouse, Rudy Miller, Origami, Yoda, Alex Morningside, Tom and Liz Austen, Anne of Green Gables and that’s just off the top of my head!

5) How could you sum up what writing means to you?

Writing is as much a part of me as my hands or my eyes. I could live
without them, but I wouldn’t be whole.

6) What are your current writing projects?
Current children’s writing projects include three middle grade novels: the sequel to my newly-released novel, The Rabbit Ate My Homework, and a book about a girl who gets her first pony, only caring for and learning to ride a pony is nothing like what she’d imagined.

How To Find This Author:

Website: www.rachelelizabethcole.com
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rachelelizabethcole/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/rachel_e_cole

The Rabbit Ate My Homework by Rachel Elizabeth Miller is available at Amazon for the Kindle.

 

The Rabbit Ate My Homework Amazon Link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MUE1C6A

 

 

 

 

Back To School 2014 Blog Tour: Featured Author Becca Price

Standard

b2schblogtour2014Welcome to the first day of the Back to School Blog Tour for 2014. It’s part of my give back to the Indie Children’s Author community. I am featuring some unique and fabulous books this week from picture books to YA. With the new Common Core being adopted in many schools throughout the US, this is a great time to learn about new authors and possible new books for guided reading and novel studies. Plus, if you just want to find a great new book to read at the start of school, please check back each day for our new featured author.

This year, we have a Back To School Book Bundle Giveaway featuring books donated by the featured authors. Enter to win by joining featured authors’ social media links. It’s a great way to stay in touch with what the featured authors will be doing in the Fall and months to come. Plus, your welcomed to share what you learned by reposting any of the featured posts. The giveaway will run through the end of the weekend, Sept. 7, 2014. Winners will be announced on the blog 48 hours after the end of the giveaway. All the authors featured for this week have donated books for the giveaway. Here is your chance to support Indie authors and win something too! Here is what you can win:

Grand Prize Book Bundle:

Becca Price: Fairies and Fireflies

imgresRachel Cole: The Rabbit Ate My Homework

Clare K.R. Miller: A Star to Guide Her Trilogy (YA) Ebook Trilogy

D.R. Martin: Johnny Graphic Adventure Series (Middle Grade) Paperback or Ebook edition

Garrett Carter: I Want To Be An Athlete and a Teacher (Picture Book) Paperback signed edition

 

Runner Ups: Two runner-up winner will receive The Lost Secret of Fairies Ebook or Paperback edition and a $10 Starbucks Gift Card

 

Back to School Book Bundle Giveaway 2014: LINK HERE!

(***Note: Giveaway set to Pacific Daylight Time)

 

Becca Price: First Featured Author Sept. 1

 

Our first featured author is Becca Price. She first joined the blog tour last year, and has been up to writing many more books since she was last featured. She is almost done with her Fairies and Fey series, and is adding a bit more spice by working on a YA. It has been a wonderful experience to see her list of books grow over the last year. I had a chance to ask Becca about her current and future projects, and what she remembers about her favorite memories of her most inspiring teacher.

1) What is your favorite memory from the beginning of a school year?

Becca Price: The first day of school often coincided with my birthday (this was back when schools started in early September) so I’d get a lot of fancy school stuff and clothes for birthday gifts. And books! I’d usually get lots of books for my birthday — so I had the triple excitement of a new school year, a birthday, and new books to read in boring classes. (did I actually say that?)

2) Who was your most inspiring teacher? Why?

Becca Price: I had two very inspiring teachers in junior high and high school, and it is to my deepest shame that I don’t recall their names. In Junior High, I had a history teacher who recognized that I could write my stories and poems in class, and still keep up good grades in her class. She let me write whatever I wanted to, as long as I showed it to her when I was done. She was very encouraging, even though my poetry was mostly doggerel at that point.  My stories were typical early teen self-indulgence, but she’d often underline a sentence or paragraph that was particularly good.

In high school, I took a creative writing class. My teacher there, too, was very encouraging about my way with words, but warned me that the path of a professional fiction writer was hard, and not very well paid.

3) What is the advice you would give children authors to get started?

Becca Price: Read all the children’s books you can. Read Neil Gaiman for sheer brilliance, Charles de Lint for his way of making every word and scene count, read the classic children’s literature because they’re fun. But read, read, read everything you can get your hands on. You never know what will spark inspiration.

4) Who is your favorite character from a children’s book?

Becca Price: Oddly, the little engine from The Little Engine That Could. “I think I can, I think I can.” Words that should be engraved in every child’s heart.

5) How could you sum up what writing means to you?

Becca Price: Writing is life, writing is breath. Writing is emotion, both joy and sorrow. I’ve always written, I can’t imagine not writing. There was a long period where I was on medication that decreased creativity (was known for that, in fact) and it was horrible.  The week I got off that was the week I first published Dragons and Dreams.

6) What are your current writing projects?

Becca Price: Right now I’ve got several irons in the fire. The most pressing is re-releasing all my books with illustrations, and getting them professionally laid out. I’ve found the most wonderful artist, Sara Anderson, who really captures the story themes and my writing style, and I adore her.  She also has several unpublished stories to illustrate for me, so that they’ll come out as a first edition with illustrations.  I hope to have all those done by the end of 2014.

In the mean time, I’ve started a fairly major project, The Woods Between. It’s hard to describe. It’s for a YA/Adult audience, still a fairy tale, but a multi-generation saga of one family’s interactions with fairyland for good and ill. It will be composed of three separate stories for 3 distinct generations, showing how the actions of each previous generation affects the next generation.  It started out as a simple quest fairy tale, and my husband asked a simple question, and the rest cascaded from there. I have no idea how long it will be, but don’t look for publication until early 2015.

I’m also about 2/3 done with my next collection, Quests and Fairy Queens — I’m hoping to work on the two or three missing stories when I’m not working on The Woods Between.

Thank you Becca for kicking off the Back To School Blog Tour this year. I can’t wait to see where this next year takes you. For more information or connect with Becca Price:

Featured Book:

Fairies and Fireflies

Available at:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fairies-Fireflies-Bedtime-Becca-Price-ebook/dp/B00MDN9YCW

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fairies-and-fireflies-becca-price/1118113275

For more information on Becca Price:

email: WyrmTalesPress@gmail.com

blog: http://www.wyrmtalespress.com/

her mailing list at:   http://eepurl.com/JA5e1

 

Back To School Blog Tour 2014: Starts Tomorrow Sept. 1

Standard

b2schblogtour2014All the arrangements have been made. The blog tour is set and ready to post starting tomorrow, Sept. 1. Start your Labor Day celebrations by finding out about great Indie Children’s books for your children or to use in your classroom. The line up for the week is as follows:

The giveaway has grown this year. A Book Bundle with a donated book or book series from each author will be up to win during the week of the tour. The giveaway will run from Sept.1-Sept.8. Runner-ups will receive a copy of The Lost Secret of Fairies, the first in my book series, and a $10 Starbucks Gift Card. The Giveaway opens at midnight on Sept. 1.

Back to School Book Bundle Giveaway-LINK HERE!

So, check back tomorrow for the start of this year’s exciting tour. I’d like to thank all of the authors for joining us this year, and for giving so much of themselves into their work. It’s what makes writing such a challenge and reward. You are the book!

Please post and share this post to let everyone know about the blog tour this week. I’d love to see a bigger turn out than last year. This is all done out of the kindness of my little teacher heart. I’m a children’s writer as well, and want to give back to the Indie Children’s Author community. All of the features and book reviews were done for no fee. All the authors have put in the work of answering interview questions and donating their books for the giveaway. So, support by entering the giveaway, tweeting and Facebook about this blog event. All the support is welcomed!

Back to School 2014 Blog Tour Planning Underway

Standard

 

b2schblogtour2014Plans are under way for the Back to School Blog Tour 2014. The dates are set for Sept. 1-5. I’ve decided to go with a theme for our featured authors: Connecting with Common Core. Participating authors will be sharing items to help students/teachers and parents help connect and utilize the new Common Core Standards in the US. Find discussion questions, activities, writing experiences for those young authors, and discount coupons through Smashwords for featured books. Last year we had fabulous Indie Children’s Authors participating such as Victoria Jeffrey, H. Y. Hanna, Sibel HodgeVivienne Mathews, W.N. Rae, Becca Brice,  and Scott Pixello. I’m still finalizing this year’s authors, and will have up a list as soon as it’s available.

Plus, I’m working on a giveaway selection. I’d love to hear what you’d like to win. Ebook copies? Paperback copies of featured books? Amazon gift cards? What would get you motivated for the beginning of the 2014 school year? Since I’m in the planning stages, this would be a great time to leave comments and questions so I can incorporate them into the blog tour. I really want to try to meet the new Common Core needs, and make things go smoother for everyone as we start the new school year.

What can we do as Indie Children’s Authors to help support the Common Core and the start of the new year? After 17 years of teaching in elementary school, I have some idea of what teachers and students are up against with Common Core. But any feedback to share among everyone will be greatly appreciated. I’d love to hear from you over the next few weeks.

 

On June 21, All Purchases of The Crystal Keeper Chronicles Will Go Towards Alzheimer’s Research

Standard

My Grandpa, helping my nephew open a plastic Easter egg on Easter morning 2007.

My Grandpa, helping my nephew open a plastic Easter egg on Easter morning 2007.

A few years ago, I lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s Disease. I watched the strong, caring grandfather that loved to tell stories start to forget the easiest details. Eventually he was unable to remember who we were, his own family, or how to wash and care for himself. It was heartbreaking, but I know that it couldn’t be stopped. A cure to make his last years less painful would have helped. When he lost his memories, his stories disappeared. I miss those.

On June 21st, the Alzheimer’s Association is having a fundraiser called “The Longest Day”. People can “Do What They Love” as tribute to someone they know or have lost to Alzheimer’s. I’ll be donating the sales of The Crystal Keeper Chronicles 6/20-6/22 to this worthy cause. All sales on those days on Amazon.com will be calculated and donated to the Alzeimer’s Association through one of the fundraisers Jason Hall, on Team Laura Barr.

Below are the links:
The Lost Secret of Fairies
The Lost Secret of the Green Man
The Lost Secret of Dragonfire

But you can also help by buying other books. On my writer’s board, Kboards.com, there is a thread of other authors that are donating their sales to Alzheimer’s. It has only come together in the last few days. But it’s such a worthy cause, many of us are happy to donate our sales on those days. If you’re an author, and would like to donate your sales for the day, link below to the Kboards.com thread. It gives you all the information. The thread below is where you can find other books to purchase for the Alzheimer’s Association:
Link to Kboards Authors to Help Alzheimer’s

Thank you so much for your help. Sometimes it’s the little things that can do the most good. A cure is worth it.

UPDATE June 22, 2014:

I wanted to thank everyone that bought books on “The Longest Day” fundraiser. I sold seven copies of my books which I promised to match the royalties earned. I ended up doubling my match for a $15 donation. It doesn’t seem like much, but if authors banned together next year and donated, it would be quite an event. I’m talking to some author friends, and I’ll let you know what happens. This was all very last minute and done in the last few days this year. I’m looking for maybe a more organized effort next year. I’ll keep everyone updated.

A New Take On Standing Up To Bullies

Standard

Jacob's New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman

Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman

Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman will grab your heart with its message. If you have ever been bullied, or your little one is being bullied for being different, this is a great way to teach them to stand up for themselves.

Jacob finds a dress during dress up time at school and decides to wear it. Other kids insist boys don’t wear dresses. But Jacob continues to follow his dream. He gets his Mom to make a dress, and finally wears it to school. He is so proud of the small stitches he’s made. During sharing time, one boy questions Jacob’s actions, and states “Boys don’t wear dresses”. As a result, a group tries to tease Jacob at recess, insisting he must be on the girls’ tag team. The story ends with Jacob standing up to the main bully, proud of his new dress.

This is a great read-aloud book to stress the issue that differences make us unique. The characters are well constructed, and the adults thoughtful and supporting of Jacob. The reluctance of excepting others by Jacob’s classmates is looked at as an obstacle that doesn’t stand in his way. He becomes proud of his dress and ignores the name calling. This is a great picture book to read aloud to a class or every night to show differences make us unique and special.

***** 5 Star Rating

A review copy was supplied by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Celebrate Read An Ebook Week 2014: Free promo copy available!

Standard

girlebookweek2014 2
—Read An Ebook Week-Special Coupon Code—
This week is Read An Ebook week. Smashwords.com is setting up a special promo which helps readers join in the fun filling their ereaders with great books.

For this week only, I will have my first novel, The Lost Secret of Fairies, as a free promotional special. It will only be available from March 2 – March 8. To get your copy, use the coupon code below and link to connect with the Smashwords website.

Here is the coupon code:
RW100

Smashwords Link:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/6090

This will be a chance for teachers to load up for novel studies. There will be discussion questions and a Novel Study soon for this book. So, check back for more info.
Happy Ebook Week!
-Tiffany

The Panic Over Common Core

Standard

Topic: Common Core is your way into the American textbook black hole.

Topic: Common Core is your way into the American textbook black hole.

There is one main thing going on in education right now. It’s called Common Core Standards. As a writer, you need to know all about it. Why? There is nothing out there to teach it. There is a country full of panicked teachers desperately trying to find curriculum to teach. The only piloted programs out there are Engage NY and The State of Georgia. Second, this will be national. I repeat. This is national standards in the United States now. Every state needs material. Multiply this with an average 700 teachers in a district by how many districts in a state, and you may get my drift. Lots of teachers are needing something to teach students, and there is a curriculum black hole.

If you want to really see the nitty and gritty, here are the Common Core Standards in all of their glory. This is what teachers use to help direct their teaching. It is what students are expected to know and learn at each grade level. And this is going to be for the entire US starting the next school year in 2014-1015. If you really want to see what the fun is about, here is the company that will test it all: Smarter Balance. Try taking the practice/field test. It will give you an idea of what children will be expected to be able to do in the next year. Then, you may understand the panic.

That is where your novel comes in. Teachers need your help. Writers, rise to the cause, because I sure have. Not only am I teaching fourth graders, I’m writing a lot of the material myself. Again, there is nothing out there. What you need are the buzz words that teachers are looking for.

There is a lot of talk about Close Reading (really short passages of nonfiction reading). Then, there is Contextual Questions that are basically questions that the text has to be used to find the answer. Lastly, something known as thematic teaching is back. Throw in something called Project Based Learning, and that is what teachers are using to help teach the Common Core. How do you get your book to work for all of this? Magic word is: start with discussion questions.

Authors, this is where you come in. Start writing posts that can be used in Close Reading. It’s a great technology tie in, and it’s a short passage that kids can learn the author’s perspective. Write something that gives informational background about your book. Teachers can use your own experience to get students to discuss ideas in your book or experience. If you got an angle to your book, write about it. I’ve been writing blog posts about “How Do Writers Get Ideas?” and “Using Legends and Fairy Tales In Books”

Next, you can post the beginning of a novel study on your website. This would include items such as Spelling Test Words, Tests for Chapter Segments or the whole book, and Novel Study Activities. If you’ve got any nonfiction subjects or themes, write discussion questions regarding them. I’ve got pollution, rocks and minerals, and bullying as discussion topics for my first book, The Lost Secret of Fairies. I’m working on a unit, and teaching my book as a novel study right now. I’ll be sharing some items for teacher use on my website.

Plus, I’m going to support a push for ebook sales with my ebook editions. I’m going to put my first ebook on free promotion during Smashwords.com’s “Read An Ebook” week in March. Lots of teachers are looking for novel study group questions and technology material for Common Core. Ebooks are a great way to start. A limited free book promotion will be right for any teacher’s budget.

Supporting teachers in their time of need will only pay back in a big way. The rush might die down in a few years once curriculum is published. But the rumors are, there will not be textbooks. It will be short passages and novel based. So, get in on the ground floor now while you can. It’s an opportunity to have your novel or picture book become curriculum for some very grateful teachers.

**This post is part of the monthly
“Indie Life” posts linked on the Indelibles Blog.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has released her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, in her Crystal Keeper series. She has been teaching in California for 17years. She currently is teaching fourth graders to love the writing process. She is also working on other writing projects in her No Limits Writing practices. She actively plays the Gaelic Harp at Renaissance festivals throughout Northern California.

Using Legends and Fairy Tales in Books

Standard

Over the years, I’ve done a lot of research on fairies and elves. I’ve learned so much that I wanted to share some of the facts that I’ve found. Some of the research I was able to include in my books. Other facts are just fun to know. Together, it sometimes is good to see where a story starts. After all, every legend needs to start with someone telling the story.

The Top Interesting Facts I’ve Learned About Elves and Fairies:

1) Elves came from the fairy legends and evolved mostly from the changing of court society about 1,000 years ago. The courtiers wanted to hear tales and legends, but they wanted stories to reflect the life of court. Bards started to embellish their songs and tales to reflect this change in society. Thus, elves were born out of necessity to create fairies that reflected the human’s lives that listened to the stories.

Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. The Disney Castle design was based on this castle.

Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. The Disney Castle design was based on this castle.

2) Dragons most likely came from people finding dinosaur bones. To explain what a Pterodactyl might have been, a dragon tale was born. Similar discoveries of early human tools had tales made up about them. Often they were considered tools of the Fey Folk that had come before. Tales told of the mysterious people leaving to different lands. Again, many times stories were used to explain what science explains today.

3) Traveling will gain you lots of information. I discovered the Menehune in Hawaii while on vacation. They are the little dwarf-like fairies that come from Hawaiian legend. They love to mend things, and some people will leave gifts to gain help from them. I bought a book on Hawaiian legends, and it was helpful when my main character Wanda, travels to Hawaii in The Lost Secret of Dragonfire.

Untersberg Sign at the top of the peak in the German Alps.

Untersberg Sign at the top of the peak in the German Alps.


4) I learned to take lots of pictures. You never know where an elf may live. The classic is the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, pictured at the top, in which the Disneyland Castle is based. I also take pictures of plagues of local legends. I discovered legends of dwarves that live within Untersberg, one of the peaks in the German Alps. My imagination soared with these legends as a stepping ground.

5) Leprechauns are one of the most famous fairies or fey in Irish myths. The legends tell of Leprechauns being solitary shoemakers. According to Sir Walter Scott’s book “Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry”, they are also confused or combined with two other fairies, The Cluricaun and the Red Man. The Cluricaun tends to hide in the cellar while the Red Man enjoys doing practical jokes. Sometimes they are considered the happy brothers of the Leprechaun.

The Leprechaun is one of the most famous type of fairies.

The Leprechaun is one of the most famous type of fairies.

The Leprechaun legend continues with tales of becoming rich if one can find the Leprechauns gold from selling his shoe wares. Later in legends, the rainbow became a marker for the hiding spot of the Leprechauns acquired treasure.

So, I’ve gathered and learned a lot about the Fey. Elves, fairies, and dwarves have proved to be a very interesting subject. Like most writers, I learn a lot about my subject, but can’t always include all of the details in my books. That’s why books are so exciting. I enjoy the research as much as writing the book.
References:

“Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry” by Walter Scott. Original published date 1888.

“Encyclopedia Mythologica: Fairies and Magical Creatures” by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda.

**This post can be used for teachers meeting Common Core Standards for Fourth Grade.

CCS ELA Reading Subject: Within range for literature focusing on myth, legends and fairy tales in a nonfiction format.

CCS ELA Writing 4.1: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using
effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

CCS ELA Writing 4.5 : 5. With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen
writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.

CCS ELA Speaking and Listening Skills: 4.3 : 3. Identify the reasons and evidence a speaker or media source provides to
support particular points.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has released her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, in her Crystal Keeper series. She continues to teach fourth graders in California while writing fantasy adventure middle grade novels. This is her 17th year of teaching. She is working on other writing projects in her No Limits Writing practices. She actively plays the Gaelic Harp at Renaissance festivals throughout Northern California.

**Follow to connect with more Common Core related blog posts over the next few months. Available for use in the classroom courtesy of Tiffany Turner.

How Do Writers Get Their Ideas?

Standard

How do writers get their ideas? This is a huge, diverse question . To start, you have to often ask writers. Most often, they come to me in a blinding flash; with a flurry sometimes I hardly have time to write them down. One time I was carrying the groceries, and dropped them in the doorway as I ran, grabbing a piece of paper to write down my ideas. Another time I woke up from a dream; finishing it as I was waking up. I didn’t want it to stop. I got up, grabbed my laptop, and by the time my first cup of coffee for the morning was done, I’d written the first scene of a new story.

The orchard behind Tiffany Turner’s house growing up in the Santa Clara Valley.

The best way to get ideas is from your own experience. With my first book, The Lost Secret of Fairies, I drew my ideas from experiences as a kid. The big inspiration for the book was playing in the orchard behind my house growing up. Often, we put a ladder against the fence, climbed over, and ran about through the outer edge of the four acre orchard. At the time, it was known as the Santa Clara Valley. Orchards criss-crossed over the entire area that now have some of the top computer and Internet companies.

As a kid, there was nothing better than climbing up a tree and eating cherries just as they were ripening. We’d come up with exploring adventures that would take us through the orchard, into the creek, and travel beyond the freeway to see what lay beyond. Often, it was the next neighborhood or over-crossing for the freeway. But it was exploring beyond your own backyard, the best kind of kid adventure.

The "Boo" in his favorite sleeping position. He was the inspiration for the cat sorcerer, Brewford.

The “Boo” in his favorite sleeping position. He was the inspiration for the cat sorcerer, Brewford.

The other partner in my adventures was my cat. Often, I would sit in the orchard, and he would wander out to find me. I’d make a reading nest by mashing down the mustard plants, hiding among yellow flowers. One day, Booford, came out to see me. His tail bounced high above the tops of the mustard flowers as I heard his meows. I would yell back, shouting, “Boo, I’m over here.” Using my voice as radar, he entered my reading bowery covered in mustard petals meowing so loud as if to say, “Why didn’t you make that much easier? You know I’m not that tall.”

My family say I captured his attitude and personality in the Crystal Keeper series. Booford is my real cat that inspired Brewford, the cat sorcerer. I simply just asked myself the question, “What if Booford could talk?” So, from then on, he did, in my books. My family say I captured his personality. His half eyed stares had the wisdom of Garfield. He was an incredible cat, and he still lives today in my books.

When you put it all together, writers are inspired by the world around them. Whether you use your own experiences, dreams, or it comes to you in a flash, ideas come from everywhere. There is a saying, “Be careful, you might end up in my next novel.” This is not only true, but the more you write, the more the real world around you ends up in your books. If you know a writer, you might be the inspiration and don’t know it. If you are a writer, you already have an idea of what I’m talking about. So get out there, and experience life and the world. It’s the best way to write.

**This is the first of a series of blog posts that help support a novel study unit for The Lost Secret of Fairies, the first book in the Crystal Keeper Series.
Common Core Standards-4th Grade
Reading Level: 4.6 AR Level

ELA CCS Speaking/Listening 4.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. (Discussion Question: How Do Authors Get Their Ideas?)

ELA CCS Reading/Literature 4.7 Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text.

ELA CCS Writing 3.b: Use dialogue and description to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has released her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, in her Crystal Keeper series. She continues to teach fourth graders in California while writing fantasy adventure middle grade novels. This is her 17th year of teaching. She is working on other writing projects in her No Limits Writing practices. She actively plays the Gaelic Harp at Renaissance festivals throughout Northern California.

**Follow to connect with more Common Core related blog posts over the next few months. Available for use in the classroom courtesy of Tiffany Turner.