Author Archives: Tiffany Turner

About Tiffany Turner

I am a teacher by day, writer during the evening and weekends. I've written a children's fantasy series called the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. I've learned a lot as an Independent author. I want to share that now through blog posts, interviewing fellow authors, and reviewing other children's books. If you don't see it out there, build the blog yourself. I'm hoping to create a resource for people to find quality children's books that don't always fall along the lines of mainstream.

Interview with Charlotte Safieh

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Cover 3With school starting in many states, it’s not too late to start building your school or home library for the new school year. Charlotte Safieh has written a picture book called “A Cry for the Ocean” to help create awareness and support to clean the plastic littering our oceans.

Charlotte lives in Toronto, Canada with her family. She has been in the teaching profession for many years and specializes in teaching creative writing. She is celebrating her first published book. Charlotte has also started her own imprint called Blue Jay Press to help support new authors with stories needing to be told.

I had a chance to ask Charlotte about her childhood reading memories, favorite authors and impact that writing has had and the influences she hopes to accomplish.

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Charlotte Safieh: My favourite memory from reading as a child was reading Gerald Durrell and following his adventures collecting exotic animals from exciting far away countries. Something that would not be allowed anymore! I recently learned that he was very influential in changing how we manage zoos, so that instead of simply being a source of entertainment we are protecting endangered species and learning more about their natural environment and behaviour.

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Charlotte Safieh: My favourite writer for children is Roald Dahl. He is very entertaining and irreverent with such a unique imagination. I also love Barbara Kingsolver, and I’m just reading her new book “Unsheltered” which is a remarkable story that can tell us so much about our current time and the challenges we face with our poor treatment of the natural environment.

  • Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Charlotte Safieh: I need to be accountable with my writing and love doing courses and being a part of a writing group. I love sharing ideas and talking over writing with fellow writers.

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Charlotte Safieh is the author of the new picture book “A Cry for the Ocean”.

  •  What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Charlotte Safieh: I would like to continue to write stories about the natural world to help children to understand how important it is to protect nature and wildlife. Maybe Sukara can go on to do more great things in the future!

  •  What is storyquest.com, and how did it influence you to become a writer?

Charlotte Safieh: Storyquest is a creative writing project that I have been running for several years. After I qualified as a teacher I began working in classrooms with students teaching them how to write stories and putting their stories together as published chapter books. This has been very enjoyable and rewarding, and I have seen hundreds of students write incredibly exciting, imaginative and powerful stories. I feel very lucky to have done this work, as I see how much they enjoy writing the stories, and I love creating a space to allow that to happen.

  •  What other environmental issues would you like to address in future books?

Charlotte Safieh: I would love to write more about protecting nature, and have been considering a story set in the rainforest, as we are losing our forests so rapidly. I would also like to write about the kids 4 climate movement, as I have been very excited to see that grow in the last year. I am a really big fan of Greta Thunberg and have been following her journey across the Atlantic on a yacht this week.

  •  Why did you start your own independent publishing company, Blue Jay Press?

Charlotte Safieh: I started Blue Jay Press because I love publishing books. It is a true passion, and although this is the first book I have authored I have published over 400 children authored chapter books. I hope to continue to grow Blue Jay Press with books by other authors as well as more of my books.

  •  What advice do you have for aspiring writers who are interested in self-publishing?

Charlotte Safieh: I would say go for it. The self-publishing industry has grown exponentially. Now it is very achievable for anyone who has a story they are passionate about to self-publish. I used Kickstarter very successfully to fund the first set of books and my wonderful illustrator Tamara Piper, who I found on Fiverr. Self publishing makes up a significant proportion of sales of books, especially ebooks.

  •  For our younger authors, what can they work on now to help them become better writers?

Charlotte Safieh: When I teach creative writing I work a lot on encouraging children to be confident in their writing, and to ignore the critical voice in their head that can stop them from enjoying writing. When they are getting ideas down I also tell then not to worry about spelling or grammar so they can let their imagination flow.

  •  What is writing to you in one sentence?

 Charlotte Safieh: Writing is sharing our inner worlds, our lives, ideas and connecting with each other.

“A Cry for the Ocean” is a picture book that brings forward the cause of helping clear our oceans of plastic pollution. Sukara meets a mermaid and learns about the plastic pollution in the ocean and finds a magical way to save it. It will bring awareness to the plight of our oceans and be a great addition to any school or home library. It will be a wonderful teaching tool for ocean and environmental units. Teaching resources accompany the book to help teachers and parents.

“A Cry for the Ocean” is available at Amazon.com.

For more information on Charlotte Safieh’s new book “A Cry for the Ocean” and free resources, lesson ideas, activities, and to order wholesale books, please visit her website at: https://www.bluejaypress.ca/.

 

 

 

 

 

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Tiffany Turner Will Be On Self-Publishing & Marketing Panels at Silicon Valley Comic Con 2019

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Just announced! Tiffany Turner will be speaking at this year’s 2019 Silicon Valley Comic Con on the Self-Publishing panels and the Marketing Your Book Panel on Sunday, August 18. The self-publishing panel will be in Rm 111 at 12:30pm to 1:30pm. Come and find out how you can start self publishing. The panel will go over all aspects, platforms, formats, what to write with, how to find editors, cover designers, and basic marketing.

The Marketing For Self-Publishers Panel will be after on the same day at 2:30pm to 3:30pm in Rm 114. We’ll be going more in depth about how to get your book out there and in front of readers. How to put together a newsletter, use free books to funnel readers to your catalog, and do a book launch.

Come enjoy all our free knowledge! Our group of self-publishers want to give you enough knowledge to go out and be publishing the next day.

Link to Silicon Valley’s Schedule of Events:

https://www.svcomiccon.com/schedule/

 

Interview with Toni William

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For those looking for a fun read to end their summer nights, here is a great international award-winning author I’d like to introduce you to. Toni William lives in Scotland with his family. He writes from inspiration taken from drawing with his son. Mr. William has created stories and images that emerged from collaboration with his son, putting together imaginative tales. “The Frog Who Lost His Croak” is one of these delightful tales that bring to life vivid characters through rhyming text and playful images. I had the chance to talk with Toni William about his writing routine and process, future projects, and what writing means to him.

  • Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.  

Toni Williams: I don’t have a writing routine as such. I tend to find I work best with a clear mind. So a lot of my writing and ideas come to me when I’m driving.

  • What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Toni Williams: I plan to write another three books in this series. Two are already being written currently, one is a story about the importance of sharing, and the other is a fun Christmas story.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Toni Williams: Writing is an escape from reality, you create your own world for others to live in.

Frog Who Lost His Croak cover“The Frog Who Lost His Croak” is a charming adventure about a little frog that woke up with a shock. He had lost his croak. Join him on the journey to find his croak, and all the ups and downs that he encounters. This story is full of beautiful illustrations and engaging rhyming text. It is sure to be a favorite for your child and a repeat read-aloud at bedtime.

“The Frog Who Lost His Croak” is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. This is a Kindle Unlimited title.

For more information on the author Toni William, please visit his website at: https://toni-william.wixsite.com/portal.

 

 

 

 

Interview with Dipa Sanatani

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Dipa Sanatani is the author of the YA book “The Little Light: A Story of Reincarnation and the Crazy Cosmic Family”.

I always enjoy finding unique stories and the authors that write them. I believe I’ve found another great author to introduce you to. Dipa Sanatani is a fabulous children’s author with a unique young adult book called “The Little Light: A Story of Reincarnation and the Crazy Cosmic Family”. She has studied and worked in several countries including Australia, Singapore, Israel, China and Japan. Her background is in business and education. She brings a remarkable perspective to her stories while weaving in lessons all ages can appreciate. I had a chance to talk to Dipa Sanatani about her childhood reading memories, her favorite authors, and future projects.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Dipa Sanatani: I loved going to the local library as a kid. A place filled with books where you can read for free? For a long time, that’s what I thought heaven looked like.

Whenever I opened a book, I entered magical worlds, travelled far far away and went on grand adventures without leaving my bedroom. Books inspired my curiosity, fired my imagination and broadened my horizons.

These days I travel a lot and create my own magical worlds. I hope my books can give readers what my favorite authors once gave me.

2) Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Dipa Sanatani: Ahh! It’s so hard to pick just one. But if I have to…

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. I loved the relationship The Little Prince has with the fox and the rose… There’s a simplicity and a depth to the way he writes. When I was a child, I read it as just a story. But it’s one of those books that really startles you when you re-read it as an adult. He said so much in so little. It’s brilliant.

3) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Dipa Sanatani: My debut novel The Little Light is the first book in The Guardians of the Lore Series. It handles themes like reincarnation, world mythology, cosmology and folklore. There’s nothing else like it available in the market. Titles in the spirituality genre are typically non-fiction and intended for an adult audience. I’ve written The Little Light with younger readers in mind. My goal is to inspire their curiosity in these topics in a fun and accessible way.

I’ll definitely continue exploring these topics in the sequel. If you’d like to find out more… stay tuned.

Ecover-TheLittleLight “The Little Light: A Story of Reincarnation and the Crazy Cosmic Family” begins on the eve of the Little Light’s birth. It finds itself at a Planet Party with all the Celestial Beings, The Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu, and Ketu. But the bickering and fighting is making it hard to support the Little Light. They must put aside their differences to prepare the Little Light for its birth on Planet Earth. Prepare the Little Light for its destiny.

“The Little Light: A Story of Reincarnation and the Crazy Cosmic Family” is available at Amazon.com.

For more on the author, Dipa Sanatani, visit here website at: www.dipasanatani.com.

 

Interview with Ronald Wayne Robinson

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Ronald Wayne Robinson is the author of the picture book “You’re A Dog, Chase!”.

As we head further into the summer, I found another gem to consider for your summer reading list or even for beginning of school read-alouds. Ronald Wayne Robinson has written a marvelous picture book called “You’re A Dog, Chase!”. Ronald Wayne Robinson has a background in education, psychology, and sociology. He’s won an award from the NEA for his written and produced play “Education is the Key to Life” and created board games that teach the musical history of Soul. In “You’re A Dog, Chase!”, he tells a humorous story of a dog that accidentally loses his memory, and doesn’t realize he is a dog. I had the chance to talk to Mr. Robinson about his childhood memories, favorite authors, and what future projects are in the works.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Ronald Wayne Robinson: I can remember my third grade teacher, Ms. Bland, reading Charlotte’s Web to the class.

2) Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Ronald Wayne Robinson: My favorite author is Sidney Sheldon. He was so intriguing with his story and it was hard to figure out how the story would end!


3) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Ronald Wayne Robinson: I like to write early in the morning (3-4 AM). Everybody is sleeping and I don’t have to worry about the phone ringing or I have a task to perform.


4) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Ronald Wayne Robinson: I’m a Children’s Picture Book author. Children books give you a chance to be more creative in your story line. You don’t have to always follow what is suppose to happen. Sometimes you can make the impossible happen!

5) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Ronald Wayne Robinson: Writing is a way to let people know what’s going on inside of me! I’m an introvert.

You're A Dog-Talking Chickens-Picture“You’re a Dog, Chase” is the humorous story of a farm dog that loses his memory while playing Frisbee with his owner, Tyson. In his journey to figure out what he is, Chase visits with all the animals on the farm, imitating each until another accident brings his memory back. This cute story deals with the themes of responsibility while introducing children to the farm and farm animals. This would be a great read aloud for early grade teachers planning a farm unit.

*This book is also available in a Spanish Edition, “Tu Eres Un Perro, Chase!”

“You’re A Dog, Chase!” is available at Amazon.com.

For more information, you can visit Ronald Wayne Robinson’s website/page at Amazon.com.

Book Recommendation for “Stop Doing That”: A Picture Book About Having Tourette Syndrome As A Child

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Stop Doing That CoverWith the summer breezing past us, it’s nice to find a great book to keep the education going for your child. I found a wonderful book to teach your child or to supply your next year’s classroom with an understanding story of a child with Tourette syndrome. Written by an author with Tourette’s, it’s a story that will help any reader understand what it is like to have Tourette’s. “Stop Doing That!” is a story that belongs in any school library or classroom.

First, a little about the author. Chris Mason grew up with Tourette’s syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and anxiety disorder. He later was diagnosed with depression and akathisia a few years ago. He has published five books, including his autobiography, an anthology of thirty short stories, and non-fiction book about coaching youth soccer which will be published soon.

The book “Stop Doing That!” is the journey of a boy named John. Teachers, his parents, and friends get upset with him from his constant blinking, coughing and twitching at inappropriate times. His mother finally takes him to the doctor, and he is diagnosed with Tourette syndrome. His family and John learn strategies for minimizing his tics and encouragement to share his story with his fellow classmates.

It all makes John determined to not be stopped from doing the things he likes to do and deterred from the person he wants to be. It’s a book of finding strength and getting support to face struggles that are experienced.

I think “Stop Doing That!” is a great way to include diversity in your home, school or classroom. It’s a way to continue learning during the summer months, and a way to extend learning in the classroom, and would make a great read-aloud for the beginning of the school year.

“Stop Doing That!” is available at Amazon.com.

Interview with Laura St John

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Laura St John is the author of the picture book “Don’t Judge A Bug By Its Cover”.

With all this beautiful summer weather, it makes me tune into all the beautiful nature around us. What better way to connect with that than a picture book that includes bugs and an important message. “Don’t Judge A Bug By Its Cover” is a book that teaches children to accept themselves and others for their differences. Told with the cutest bug characters, the author Laura St John brings to life lovable characters expressing wholesome values and good decision making in her stories. I had a chance to talk to Laura about her childhood reading memories, favorite authors, and her writing routine along with her plans for future projects.

What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

 
Laura St. John:
I loved reading poetry. The simplicity of it and the rhyming. My father had written many poems and cards to my mother, and it was really cool to read his words after he had passed away. I made my own little poem booklet as a child out of colored paper, stapled together and still have that today in a box.

I had a tough teacher in middle school who made us read about twenty novels in one school year and write book reports on them. He assigned the classics, To Kill a Mockingbird, Dracula, The Hobbit and we all didn’t like all of that reading. But looking back, it taught us a lot about the world and about descriptive writing. He also made us memorize poems like “Annabel Lee” and recite them in front of the whole class. Don’t think students are doing much of that today.

Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

 
Laura St John:
My office is a quiet getaway place with a soft carpet that I can rub my feet into when I write. I prefer to have complete silence to gather my thoughts. My three dogs are usually laying near me when I write since they follow me everywhere. If I feel like writing, then I do. Sometimes you just don’t feel like it which, I guess, many call writer’s block. But if the mood hits then you better start typing or you’ll lose your thoughts. Thank goodness for computers as it is so much easier to type versus writing with a pen.

What subjects would you like to write about in future projects? 


Laura St John:
My next book will be about a character that I created called the Alphabet Chef. She has been with me since the late 90’s. So, I am finally going to write a children’s book about her teaching kids about healthy eating habits. I also want to do a series of books with the bugs from my first book “Don’t Judge A Bug By Its Cover”. Maybe I can focus on some other human topics that easily can be expressed with the bugs. My writings are always to help change the world (I hope) in a positive way like in “The Christmas House”. I don’t like writing about dark topics or things that don’t inspire people to think.

Bug Book “Don’t Judge A Bug By Its Cover” is a journey of a ladybug named Lace and a suave bug named Mr. Roach. Every step though the bug world is a step of uncertainty. They have to learn to rely on each other and see the beauty within others to survive their adventure together. This book is a great way to teach the themes of anti-bullying, teamwork, and seeing the beauty within others. It will make a great addition to any child’s or classroom library.

“Don’t Judge A Bug By its Cover” is available at Amazon.com.

For more information on Laura St John, please visit her website at: http://www.laurastjohnenterprises.com.

Interview with Sola Togun-Butler

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Sola Togun-Butler is the author of the book Where Do You Keep The Lions? An African Girl’s First Day of School In America

Looking for educational books to add to your child’s learning or augment your classroom’s read-alouds? I had the chance to interview author Sola Togun-Butler, author of the book “Where Do You Keep The Lions?”. She has written a book about her experiences as a young African immigrant attending an American school for the first time. It’s a book that highlights the importance of cultural diversity and awareness while encouraging children to ask questions when they are curious about other cultures. Sola shared with me her childhood reading memories, favorite authors, and what she has in store for future writing projects.

  1. What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

My favorite memory reading as a child was the ability to immerse myself into the life of the character I was reading about. I would completely forget about my own surroundings and literally feel like I was living in the world of the character. I enjoyed the ability to form images in my head of the character’s life and experiences. Even till this day, I would rather read a book and form the images in my own mind than have those images given to me in a movie or television show.

  1. Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

My favorite author is Chimamanda Adichie. She has the amazing ability to capture the attention of the reader with the title and maintain that attention throughout the book. Therefore, it was important for me to choose a title that grabs the attention of the reader and have a story line that maintains it.

  1. Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you

I prefer to write in the morning when I am really energized. I grab a hot cup of tea, open the window blinds so I have a beautiful view of the sunshine or rain, turn on Bossa Nova or music from Nigeria, Mali or Senegal, sit at my desk and just write away. I am inspired by both music and nature

  1. What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

I would like to continue writing children’s books about cultural diversity and sensitivity. The world is diverse, and curiosity about other cultures is normal and should be encouraged by parents. It is important for parents to talk to their children to identify any stereotypes or biases that they might have about other cultures that could negatively impact their interaction with peers from that culture.

  1. What is writing to you in one sentence?

Writing opens up the world and takes one on a journey of self-discovery.

KeepLionsBkCvrWhere Do You Keep The Lions? An African Girl’s First Day of School in America. Kemi, an eight-year-old African immigrant girl is looking forward to her first day of school in the United States. But when her classmates start asking upsetting questions about Africa, the negative attention confuses her. With advice from her father, she decides to show her classmates a different side to their understanding of African culture. This book is a wonderful way to expose children to sensitive cultural understanding by encouraging positive questioning about new cultures.

This book is available on Amazon.com.

For more about the author Sola Togun-Butler, visit her author’s page at: https://www.amazon.com/Sola-Togun-Butler-Ph.D./e/B07SHL16PL.

 

Interview with Glen C. Kinnaird

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Glen C. Kinnaird is the author of the book “Tony The Theater Dog: Puttin’ On A Show”

Summer is here! I bet you’re feeling the heat already. Time for a great read for your little ones. Here’s a brilliant picture book that grabbed my heart. “Tony The Theater Dog: Puttin’ On A Show”. It’s the first of a series that introduces children to the behind the scenes of theater. Playwright and author Glen C. Kinnaird wrote this book as a story to teach children about live theater. He lives in New York with the real Tony the Theater Dog. He developed the story from experiences backstage at a national tour of a Broadway show. I had a chance to interview Mr. Kinnaird about his picture book series, authors that influenced him, and what future projects he has in store for us.

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Glen C. Kinnaird: My favorite book from my childhood that really sticks in my mind was a book called Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls. The book is set on a Cherokee farm at the end of the 1800s and it tells the story of Jay Berry, a young boy from a poor family, as he tries to capture a group of runaway circus monkeys. I was captured from the first pages and as a boy who struggled with identity as a child and found it hard to make friends, books became a way for me to imagine I was friends with the characters in the books, going on the adventures with them.

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Glen C. Kinnaird: Now that is a tough question. I think C.S. Lewis is my favorite author of all time. Lewis writes in both rational argument and imaginative analogy that helps me consider more deeply my faith. I remember thinking to myself it was the first time I had read someone who was both an intellectual and spiritual at the same time.

  • Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Glen C. Kinnaird: I am shamed to say I am a writer who goes with inspiration. I do not have a set routine yet, although I did not find my interest in becoming an author until 2012 when I began another young adult trilogy called, The Legend of the Crystal Lotus. It has been a story that has taken me almost eight years to develop the world, the characters and I have revised the plot lines about four times over the years. “Tony the Theatre Dog” took almost two years to write and had three different plots and story lines when we started. The illustrator began her drawings as I was doing the final editing on the book. I would bring her images and a description of what I wanted on the page. She did not see the actual text until I showed her the first draft summer of 2017.

  • What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Glen C. Kinnaird: I would like to find my Southern Voice as a writer. I feel that my childhood was kind of odd and I think there are a ton of kids that need to hear a voice that understands. So, this means I need to dive into those memories and some of them may be painful. It took time to explore those memories. I think I suppressed a lot of the pain. Now that I am almost fifty coming up in August, 2019, I see joy in my childhood where in years past the only thing I could see looking back was painful memories.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Glen C. Kinnaird: Writing is like flying for me, looking for new worlds.

Tony the Theatre Dog - 9 x 7-3Tony The Theater Dog series starts with the book “Puttin’ On A Show”. Tony takes the reader through the preparation of a theater production. Kids are introduced to the jobs that help put a theater show together. Different locations are explored, and Tony even brings peace to the cast and producer inspiring everyone to work together as a team.

 

“Tony the Theater Dog: Puttin’ On A Show” is available at Amazon.com.

It is due to release on July 15, 2019. Pre-order is available.

For more information on Glen C. Kinnaird, please visit his website at: https://www.tonythetheatredog.com/.

Interview with Erin Spaulding

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We’re almost to the biggest weekend to kick off the summer. Time to start stocking up on some good reads for your little ones to help keep them occupied during the long summer months. Here is a great book to consider by the author Erin Spaulding. Erin draws from raising her family to come up with family-oriented stories. Her own childhood and the raising of her children inspire her. In fact, going on adventures with her daughter gave Erin the idea for the book “Eden Visits the Orchard”. It’s a great mother and daughter reading adventure to learn and share time this summer.

I had time to talk with Erin about her childhood reading memories, favorite authors and what writing means to her. 

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Erin Spaulding: I used reading as an escape. I could lose myself in stories when I felt alone or scared. 

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Erin Spaulding: My favorite author in high school was Stephen King. I read a variety of his stories and I enjoyed his style for drawing you in especially with his series. I also appreciate his struggle to be taken seriously as more than a horror writer.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Erin Spaulding: For me, writing is a type of therapy. I enjoy writing multiple genres based upon what is happening in my life at the time. I have been working on a series of books related to my children as well as a middle grade book inspired by the current crises of violence in schools.

EdenVisitsOrchardCVR“Eden Visits the Orchard” is the recent release for Erin Spaulding. When Eden and her mother visit the orchard, they have a surprise tour guide. Join Eden as she learns about how an orchard and farm work. For ages 4-7. Great for farming units and introductions to farming. It is available at Amazon.com.