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.

Tiffany Turner Local Appearance: San Jose Renaissance Fair August 4-5

Standard

sjrenpromoCome join Tiffany Turner at the San Jose Renaissance Fair. She’ll be selling her crystal jewelry and her books at her vendor booth. Look for the “Crystal Jewelry” sign. Say you saw this blog post and receive 10% off your purchase. To prove you have, give her the password: Pineapple. 🙂

“The last book in the Crystal Keeper series is almost done and scheduled for release Labor Day weekend. I’ll answer all your questions about it, and sign any books purchased. Hope to see you this weekend!”

– Mrs. Turner

 

Advertisements

Featured Interview with Isaac ben Levi

Standard
Isaac ben Levi

Isaac ben Levi is the author of the Great Railroad series.

I am happy to share my recent interview with author Isaac ben Levi. He is a young talented author that is a sophomore in high school already working on his third book in a locomotive series. He shares his expertise about the local Ozark Mountain Railroad from the point of view of a locomotive. The history of the railroad is told in the first book, Our First Locomotive, and continued into the second book. There is even a railroad terminology dictionary in the second book, Old Reliable Locomotives. It looks like a great start to the series and for any young train enthusiast to learn more about trains in the Ozark Mountains.

I had a chance to hear all about Isaac ben Levi’s hobbies, reasons why he writes, some train lore, and how he got his inspiration to write his books.

Great Railroad Series - Our First Locomotive

This is the first book in the Great Railroad series , Our First Locomotive, available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

  • What is your favorite memory from reading when you were younger?

Isaac ben Levi: I have many good memories of reading and so many from such an early age that I don’t have one favorite—they were all so good.

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

Isaac ben Levi: Early in my life, Rev. W Awdry’s work, though the copies I had were mostly abridged and editing. It was his work that first gave me the love of trains I have now and you can say he has a portion of the credit for me writing the “Great Railroad Series”.

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

Isaac ben Levi: Generally speaking, because I am taking dual credits and finishing high school and going through college right now, I write in my spare time, early in the afternoon. I mull thoughts over in my head but mostly I write as I go—freelance except for the fact I have a large amount of reference material so I am consistent in the books. I am always reading and thinking.

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

Isaac ben Levi: I will probably be writing older kid versions of a series being published by another author from the same publisher titled: Homestead Friends: Welcome Home, Sweet Harley –Book 1. Each book is about an animal on the homestead. It is written for little children and I will write from the point-of-view geared toward elementary aged students. I will probably write historical non-fiction material as well at some point and have many topics of interest.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Isaac ben Levi: Writing represents an outlet to share one’s thoughts with anyone who cares to view them.

Great Railroad Series - Old Reliable Locomotives - Book 2

This is the second book in the Great Railroads series, Old Reliable Locomotives, available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

  • Do you plan to pursue your love of trains as a career? Maybe become an engineer?

Isaac ben Levi: My dream would be to own a Railroad Museum in the Ozark Mountain and introduce people of all ages to the wonderful history of railroads.

  • Besides school, what do you like to do when you are not writing?

Isaac ben Levi: I enjoy physics and science and am working on several experiments and inventions. I also am setting up a narrow gauge railroad on our homestead to move the wood from the pile in front of the home to the back of our home for the wood burner. I’m sixteen and my parents are understanding. I also love my animals including birds, cats and ten dogs—seven puppies were just born a few months ago. I helped to deliver the two that were breech births.

  • If you had the chance to build your own railroad line, how would you design it?

Isaac ben Levi: It would probably be a similar short-line to the Ozark Mountain Railroad if it were going to be a common carrier in the transportation business. I am currently planning to build a small estate railway on my homestead and separate from the wood hauling one. I am going to experiment on that railroad with an entirely new type of locomotive of my own design using a Stirling Engine/Hot Air Engine.

  • While researching your books, what is the most memorable interview with one of the local railroad experts?

Isaac ben Levi: In speaking with a local history museum director, she shared the original files of author James R. Fair. I learned a lot about railroads and one that operated south of my home from his excellent writing and research material. It proved to be the basis for book two of my series.

  • What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

Isaac ben Levi: My advice would be to write about what you love and then it will never seem like work. Personally, I have never enjoyed writing papers or projects for school, and then one day a story came into my head with all of the details in order. I just had to write it down. Then another, and another, and so on. It was never my plan or intention to be an author, but now I am passionate about it. My advice would be do what you love.

Isaac ben Levi’s Great Railroad Series has two books currently published: Our First Locomotive and Old Reliable Locomotives. The third is due out in August of this year. Plus, he has a new series releasing soon entitled The Li’l Great Railroad Series with its first title called “Happy Engines Back at Work”. The new series will also release in August. Isaac ben Levi’s books are available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For more information on Isaac ben Levi and his books, visit his website at: https://greatrailroadseries.com.

 

Interview with Alexandria Rose Rizik

Standard
alexandriarizik

Alexandria Rose Rizik is the author of the children’s book, Chocolate Milk.

I was very excited to interview my next featured author, Alexandria Rose Rizik. She is from Scottsdale, Arizona and is not only an author, but the founder of the award winning film production company, Princess Rose Productions. She is a female leader in the entertainment industry, and is seeking to help inspire the next generation and make an impact on current social issues.

chocolatemilkcvr

The picture book, Chocolate Milk, is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Alexandria Rose Rizik is the author of the picture book Chocolate Milk. She wrote it when she was seventeen participating in an anti-bullying campaign. A young cow is bullied and teased for making brown milk until everyone realizes it is really chocolate milk. The moral of the story is tied to being yourself and celebrating differences. It’s a great message and helps to connect children to literature and the bullying theme through their love of chocolate milk.

I had a chance to talk to Alexandria about her childhood reading memories, her writing process, and any advice for aspiring authors.

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

Alexandria Rose Rizik: My favorite memory from reading as a child was spending the hot Arizona summer days in the library, keeping busy with my mom and three sisters, sorting through books and reading.

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

Alexandria Rose Rizik: My favorite authors as a kid were Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary. Judy Blume wrote one of my favorite books of all time, “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” Maybe that’s why I love writing coming-of-age stories.

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

Alexandria Rose Rizik: I don’t necessarily have a routine. I don’t do well with structure. Some days I go to a coffee shop and spend hours there, writing away. Other days, I write from home, just on and off at my desk.

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

Alexandria Rose Rizik: I want to write about things that people can relate to…something that touches the world. I tend to cling to coming-of-age stories, specifically ones that revolve around first loves. I love to write about real people and the things they go through, in a way where the audience can connect. I would like to do stories that revolve around what is going on with our government and other political agendas that the world doesn’t even notice yet.

5) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Alexandria Rose Rizik: To me, writing is how I get through life.

Alexandria Rose Rizik’s book, Chocolate Milk, is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For more information on Alexandria Rizik and her other books, visit her website at: https://www.alexandriaroserizik.com.

Spotlight on Troy Gathers: Take Me With You Volume 2

Standard

takemewithyou2_flyerThe emergence of social media has captivated the world, yet blindfolded our logic on so many social concerns with both adults and youth alike. With social media having user friendly browsing capabilities, this is by far the easiest way for someone to be infiltrated and put in situations that they did not foresee. The idea of showcasing too much of one’s personal life has become a trend but is that a good thing? In a time like today where someone can make new friends with the click of a mouse, it’s important that we put friendships into perspective. Author Troy Gathers did just that with his newly released book Take Me With You Volume 2: The 7 Types of Friends in your Life. Troy believes that there are 7 types of friends in all of our lives and after reading his book, readers will have newly appointed wisdom to who they actually are.

Take Me With You Volume 2 is Troy’s third book and one that he is very passionate about. This is the second installment in Gathers’ book trilogy Take Me With You and like Volume 1, Troy provokes change in his readers. “I believe that in this microwave society we live in, someone needed to add some clarity on friendships,” says Gathers. Take Me With You Volume 2 gives an in-depth view into real life scenarios with biblical stories to add another viewpoint for the readers. “Growing up, I was always told by my Great-Grandmother Harriet Ladson that if I had any worries to read the Bible. The Bible is what we used for guidance in my family. I guarantee you that Take Me With You Volume 2 can provide the confirmation that so many of us seek regarding the closest people to us,” says Troy.

bio_pic (1)

Troy Gathers is the author of Take Me With You Volume 2 available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Troy Gathers hails from Charleston, South Carolina but is no stranger to the city life. “I had a very humble upbringing in Charleston but didn’t want my journey to end in my hometown. Throughout my experiences in school and in entrepreneurship, I’ve been able to interact with so many different personalities. Throughout all my experiences with others, I was able to pinpoint 7 characteristics that were similar across the board on how people treated one another. This insight is coming from someone who attended 10 different schools in his lifetime and lived in numerous neighborhoods as a youth.”

“Not everyman can be famous, but everyman can be great!” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “When I first read those words from a memorial wall at South Carolina State University, I was touched,” Gathers said. “In life, sometimes all we can hold on to is words and a belief that they will manifest.” “Growing up, all I could do was dream.”

These words continuously push Troy Gathers towards his dream to strive for excellence. When asked about his childhood, Troy explains how it has played a major role in his future; Troy said, “The pain from my past has prepared me for the future.” “In college though, I found that I was very different. I found that welfare and section 8 were foreign to some college students.” The entrepreneur said that he began to see his purpose for his upbringing; “I have the voice to help people grow through trials.” After graduating from South Carolina State University, Gathers sought out to be a voice for the young and an inspiration to all. “As a public speaker, I have the stage to reach people far and near with my message”, he says joyfully. I’ve actually spoken to inmates on a continuous basis across the state of South Carolina in penitentiaries.” I have spoken to groups ranging from age eight to forty. Since I am one with the generation it is possible to hold their attention throughout the entire speech,” Gathers said. “Knowing that the speaker went through a similar situation less than ten years ago allows the audience to leave with a sense that there is a way to overcome their present adversities.”

By the time Troy reached seventeen years old, he had attended seven different schools and lived in six different neighborhoods. To escape the everyday troubles of society, Troy focused on success. In High School, despite the constant moving Gathers still managed to join NJROTC, the newspaper staff, and Future Business Leaders of America to name a few. Gathers stated, “Because of the constant moving, I spent a lot of time wishing for stability and praying for strength. Throughout my life I remained positive and knew that if I continued on this path I would be successful. Given my life experiences, I am able to communicate and relate to the younger generation.”

Once Gathers got settled at South Carolina State University he finally got a chance to show one body of students what he was capable of achieving. At South Carolina State University Gathers formed Intramural Sporting teams, served as the Vice President of freshman dormitory, joined the Young Democrats, SGA, wrote/directed two short films with students and made the grades for The National Deans List. Troy was also the host of the radio show B.E. Y.O.U. which aired on WSSB 90.3FM. (SCSU Radio) The show was based on positive individuals and their accomplishments. Gathers credits his focus at SCSU to his mother and mentors that assured his faith and head was always high. “Even in college people doubt you and try to bring you down, but I have special people that kept me focused on the big picture”.

After successfully completing his MBA program, Troy is currently enrolled in the Public Policy and Administration PhD program. B.E. Y.O.U. is Troy’s Educational Lecture Program for the youth that promotes success in their lives. B.E. Y.O.U is Troy’s cry to the youth to be themselves and step out of the crowd. Under his B.E. Y.O.U. imprint, Gathers has published 3 book titles. In all of Gathers endeavors he keeps God first and only expects great things for the future.

“If you’re a person that has a high regard for others, this book is for you. Don’t go another day without reading this book. So many times we are blinded by our very own loyalty and intentions, that we are oblivious to those that are tearing us down.” Take Me With You Volume 2 will give you a new outlook on your friends and those that you thought were your friends, Gathers concludes.

For more on Troy Gathers, visit his website www.troygathers.com and follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/beyoupublishing.

Take Me With You Volume 2 is available for purchase at Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.

Article submitted by Troy Gathers.

Edited by Tiffany Turner.

Picture Book Review: Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32

Standard

Door32 CoverWhat’s behind door number thirty-two? That’s the question that leads a reader through this marvelous counting picture book called “Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32” by B.C.R. Fegan. Illustrations are by Lenny Wen. Through visiting the fantastical Hoo Hotel, your introduced around by the owner to all the rooms, each time warned not to open room number thirty-two. Fairies, trolls, mad scientists, vampire mermaids and other magical amusing creatures await to greet you behind each door. Just don’t open door number thirty-two. By the time you get to the door, the surprise is a logical laugh to end the book.

BCR-Fegan

B.C.R. Fegan is the author of “Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32”.

I enjoyed reading through this book thinking about all of the teaching applications possible. It is the beginnings of Math at its best combined with a journey through the imagination. You are curious to see what awaits behind each door. The illustrations are a treat for the eyes lending to the creativity of the story.

This book would be a great read-aloud for beginning counting and looking for patterns in literature. With all the fantastic creatures, it lends itself as a Halloween read as well. I’d recommend this book for beginning readers and preschool age children. Parents will enjoy reading this book over and over to help their child enjoy the process of counting.

This book is available at: Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Teacher Appreciation Discounts for Ebook and Writing Lessons May 8-9 only!

Standard

teacherapprebanner

Fairycvrkindle

The Lost Secret of Fairies is available for free on May 8-9 for Teacher’s Appreciation Day with a Smashwords coupon.

To help support teachers everywhere, I’ve decided to put my first book, The Lost Secret of Fairies, up as a freebie on May 8-9 only! This is to help support teachers in getting materials for novel studies and reading groups, and to thank them for their effort. I am also working on putting together a novel study packet for my first novel using materials I developed myself in the classroom in my last years of teaching. They will be available in my Teacher Pay Teachers store in the fall.

The Smashwords coupon is: WR75J

Meanwhile, I am also having a sale of all my teaching materials in my Teacher Pay Teachers store. All my writing lesson plans and units will be 20% off May 8-9. Please let your teacher know about this great opportunity. If you are a teacher, thank you for your service to children and the community. I know how hard it is to get decent teaching material right now. I’ve been in the trenches myself. So, I’ve made all of my lesson plans Common Core ready and at a reasonable price even before the discount. So, take a look, and again, Happy Teacher’s Day!

To Note: I am currently near release of the 4th and final book in the series. There’s just been a delay, and I had to switch editors. But the cover is in production, and hopefully either it will be released in the early summer or early fall. I will keep you posted. But it will be happening. It’s just that sometimes delays like this happen. Stay tuned!

-Mrs. Turner

Link to Mrs. Turner’s Teachers Pay Teachers Store: 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Making-Writing-Fun

 

Picture Book Review: The Little Book of Character Strengths

Standard

LittleBkStrengthcvrIf you are looking for a read-aloud at home or in the classroom, here is a great picture book for you on social morals. The Little Book of Character Strength by June Rousso, Ph.D. is a page-by-page summary of basic, good moral principles to instill in students and your child. Subjects include: love of learning, courage, perseverance, honesty, humanity, kindness, social intelligence, justice, fairness, leadership, temperance, humility and prudence just to name a few.

Each moral trait is defined and expressed in rhyming lines and beautiful anime-like watercolor illustrations. Each trait can be read daily to inspire a child or taken in groups to help with building vocabulary and character in school. They could also be used as writing prompts to get children to think deeper. I found it to be an interesting book that could be read a page at a time or in sections. It would make a great instructional tool for the classroom or at home.

The Little Book of Strengths is available at: Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. 

***For more information on June Russo Ph.D., visit her website HERE!

Note: I was given a review copy for a fair and honest review. 😉

 

Free Collection of 19th and Early 20th Century Children’s Literature Available On-Line

Standard

Covers from Baldwin CollectionSometimes I do run into some cool information while doing research on-line. When I find something cool, I like to pass on the information.

Now that we’ve been entering the digital age, we may lose previous works of literature to deterioration. But places like institutes and universities are helping to preserve these great works of the past, and now you can read them too. All for FREE!

I found a wonderful on-line archive of different children’s books from over 100-150 years ago. This is great for kids to see what generations past read for their school books or as their entertainment. It gives an insight to how literature has developed. It’s a literary treasure trove to look through. It has been built and is maintained by the University of Florida Digital Collection and is called the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature. 

I’m linking the starting point here. I just have to warn you. You can get lost in it all, especially when you discover an unusual book. Plus, share your finds in the comments below. It will be great to share some of the books that we found unusual or interesting.

Good luck, and have fun reading!

 

Tiffany Turner Appearance at 21st Annual Tartan Day Scottish Fair-April 7, 2018 in Fremont, CA

Standard

Tiffany Turner will be at the 21st annual Tartan Day Scottish Fair at Ardenwood Park in Fremont, CA on April 7, 2018. She’ll be there to sell and sign her children’s books and talk to visitors about her upcoming book due for release in May, The Lost Secret of Time: Book 4 in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. There will also be a giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card at her booth. Stop by and sign up to enter, and get a chance to win the gift card or one of three Crystal Keeper pendants designed by Mrs. Turner.

TartanDay2016-1

The fair includes living history demonstrations including the Scottish Queens court, sword and battle demonstrations, and Scottish foods on sale. Come visit to experience a piece of Scotland and Celtic culture for a day.

Tartan Day Scottish Fair Website:

http://www.eastbayscots.org/

East Bay Scottish Association
Tartan Day Scottish Faire
Saturday April 7th, 2018
Ardenwood Historical Farm
Fremont, California
Gates open at 10 AM
Admission Adults: $12.00 Seniors (62+): $8.00
Children (4-17): $5.00
Children under 3 Free
Free On-Site Parking!

YA Book Review: An Authentic Experience by Kelly Wittmann

Standard

AAE- KWittmanIt’s interesting to see what comes across my virtual desk as a blogger and children’s author. I had a recent submission for a premise that intrigued me, Gen X rocker-punk parents in conflict with their trying to be normal Millennial daughter. It’s called An Authentic Experience by Kelly Wittman. With music references that brought back memories to me, I was wondering what a YA would be like with my generation as the “parental unit”. I wasn’t disappointed.

Silver Abelli is being a rebel against rebel parents. With Gen-Xer ex-rockstar parents, she feels trapped in her homeschooled anti-social and anti-establishment life. She yearns to go to high school like normal 15 year olds, and even maybe try out for cheerleading and date a football player. Normal American teenager stuff.

But there is one drawback. Her fabulous musical family is not normal. Her mother has a brain tumor and is going through recovery from its removal. Enter her rocker Dad, divorced from her Mom, Silver has to live with him for awhile until all is well with her Mom. Thus starts the beginning of everything, and also, be careful what you wish for.

Silver meets the gorgeous football player at the beginning of the book. Through all the struggles with her Mom’s illness and conflicts with her cynical Gen-X Dad, now Ipod alternative music expert, she finally meets Jake, that dreamy footballer via her cousin, Natalie. Ups and downs commence, in which the romance blooms, Dad wants to get the band back together, and her Mom goes through issues with her health.

But it all comes together in a horrible attack Silver must keep secret or it will ruin everything. But will she have the courage to come forward and accuse her attacker even at the risk of losing her boyfriend and her father’s chance at a reboot of his career?

I was hooked by the Gen X vs. Millennial generational conflict, which does become a basic thorn in the main character’s side. I mean, who relates with their parents? It had enough angst about this, but I kept enjoying and relating with the adults in the book far more than the 15 year old. Maybe it’s because of the 80s references, alternative music mentioned, or the feeling that the book was written by a Gen Xer. I enjoyed it all, but I didn’t get a real 15 year old vibe at times from the main character.

I did get a good up and down sense with the YA romance, but some of the conflicts were talked or told to me instead of shown. It could have used some real dialogue to show the evil of the Channing/villian character or the feelings grow more between Silver and Jake romantically. I just wanted a little more in those areas.

I did enjoy the conflicts between Silver and her parents, living with semi-famous 90s rockers and helping her mother through crisis was compelling writing. But I left wondering how a Millennial 15 year old girl would feel reading this. Would she care about the Violent Femmes references? Know that “Silver” was an Echo and the Bunnymen song?

I know that any Gen Xer that enjoyed alternative music back in the day would really enjoy this and get sucked into the story. Whether a teenager now would enjoy this? I think so. I think it captures enough of the ever happening conflict between generations, which is timeless.

Perhaps it will help bridge that mysterious gap between generations. Parents and children can read it together and have something in common to talk about besides everyone just looking at their phones. Think how the 1950s were looked at in the 1980s.

If anything, this reaches out to readers in two generations, and that is a good thing. Maybe the eighties references will get families talking about the past and how things in the end, don’t really change. Families are still families, and that seems to be a main theme in this book. In the end, teenagers could read this with their parents, and it would be mutually enjoyable.

***An Authentic Experience is available at Amazon.com.

To Note: I received a review copy for an honest review.