Category Archives: blog tour

Day 5: Back to School Blog Tour 2020

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Welcome to the last day of the Back to School Blog Tour. I hope you have enjoyed all of our featured authors this week, and have added to your home or class online library. I’d like to wrap up this fabulous week by introducing you to my last featured author, Thomasina M. D’Arezzo. She is a published poet, and has written children’s books and women’s fiction.  She lives in New England citing autumn being one of her favorite seasons. She enjoys hiking, acting and listening to music when not involved in writing. She’s proud of her recent college graduate son.

Thomasina M. D’Arezzo is the children’s author of the mystery children’s book, “Marco The Mini Sleuth: Where did the Kitten Go?”

Her recent book, “Marco The Mini Sleuth: Where did the Kitten Go?” is a fun mystery adventure that any kid can get lost in. Great for writing assignments or studying the mystery genre, this book will introduce your child to her fantastic Marco The Mini Sleuth series. I had a chance to talk to Thomasina about her childhood reading interests, writing process, and what writing means to her.

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

Thomasina M. D’Arezzo: For Children’s books there are multiple that I like. I enjoy a lot of classic tales. I particularly enjoyed “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” by Beatrix Potter and “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll.

2) Do you have a writing routine?

Thomasina M. D’Arezzo: When writing a novel I have a routine where I try to write 5000 words per day. When writing a children’s book, I will sit on the idea for a while in my head before I bring it all to life.

3) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Thomasina M. D’Arezzo: It’s a beautiful escape from reality! A world where you can create what you want!

“Marco The Mini Sleuth: Where did the Kitten Go?” is a great mystery for any child to get lost in. Marco’s cousins have recently lost their new kitten. Marco is on the case. By using his magical magnifying glass, he goes out looking for clues. They all work together to solve the mystery, but they get side tracked along the way. Will the clues lead them to the kitten in time?

“Marco The Mini Sleuth: Where did the Kitten Go?” is available at Amazon.com.

To close out this year’s blog tour, I’d like to announce two things.

  • It’s not too late to still enter the Back to School 2020 Blog Tour $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway. The giveaway will be open through the end of the week, and will close for entries on Sept. 7, 2020. The winner will be announced next week on the blog. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
  • New picture book release: I Don’t Want to Wear A Mask

I’ve been working feverishly on this project the last few months, and I’m happy to announce it’s release during this year’s Back to School Blog Tour. This picture book is a great way to help children validate their anxiety and concerns about the pandemic and how it is changing our lives.

A little about my new book:

Trying to teach your child about the importance of wearing a mask in school?

Albert is returning to school. But this year is different than all others before. He has to wear a mask. The COVID-19 Virus has spread around the world in the first pandemic in one hundred years. He has been studying at home, and has missed a lot of things. He misses his friends in preschool. He misses his teacher. He misses being outside and playing on the playground. But for his first day of Kindergarten, he has to wear a mask. Will talking with his mother about the reasons to wear masks help Albert understand how he can be a superhero?

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This picture book helps children understand the importance of wearing a mask in school. They can be a superhero just like Albert as they wear a mask like other adult heroes in grocery stores, post offices or libraries. Teach your little one the importance of mask wearing as they return to in-person school or prepare for online distance learning. Help children understand the new normal happening around them and why it is important. This book is recommended for ages 3 to 8. It’s available on Amazon.com as a print or ebook edition.

I want to thank all of the participating authors for sharing a little of themselves and their fabulous books. I look forward to this blog tour highlighting unique, Indie children’s authors at the beginning of each school year.

This year is so very different than many others, and I hope the book recommendations, interviews and my resources are supportive and helpful to parents and teachers during this school year of 2020 -2021.

***Please follow my blog to find out about wonderful, fabulous Indie children’s authors and their books all year long!

Until next year, remember to keep reading and writing,

-Mrs. Turner

Coming Soon: Back to School Blog Tour 2020

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BacktoSchoolBlogTour2020It’s almost here. The 8th Annual Back to School Blog Tour is ready to launch on Monday, Aug. 31. This year, there will be a line-up of authors and featured books to help support kids, parents and teachers during this challenging year. With changes in routine to going to school masked or online, kids and parents are facing different challenges than ever before. I’ve lined up a variety of authors and their books to help support creative learning, children’s literature and distance learning.

back2schoolbanner2020Here is the line-up of authors for this year:

  1. Casey Gale
  2. Karen Goeller
  3. Devin Martin
  4. Craig R. Hazen
  5. Thomasina M. D’Arezzo

Each author will be featured each day of the blog tour. Feel free to visit information about their blogs/websites and about their featured book. As an added treat, I will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card through a Rafflecopter giveaway. Just visit the link to win all week, and the winner will be announced after the blog tour is over.

Come join all the fun and get to know some new, fabulous children’s authors!

The Back to School Blog Tour will be Monday, Aug. 31 through Friday, Sept. 4. Hosted here by the Indie Children’s Authors Connection.

***Follow my blog to get all of the posts emailed to you.

See you next Monday!

-Tiffany Turner

Day 3 of the 2019 Back to School Blog Tour

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Lisa Parkes is the author of the children’s book Stuck Between Two Worlds.

Welcome to third day of the Back to School Blog Tour for 2019. I’d like to introduce you to our featured author for the blog tour today. Lisa Parkes is an extraordinary author. She is an author and life coach that helps children deal with their trauma. With many years of training, she has helping children through PTSD, anxiety and depression. With many challenges as a child, Lisa Parkes has used her experience and training to create a story that will help and inspire children going through a similar crisis. Her book, Stuck Between Two Worlds, explores the ways to help heal from childhood trauma while incorporating the love of fantasy and magic, and escaping into another world. I had the chance to talk to Lisa about her childhood memories of reading, growing up, advice for aspiring writers, and what she has in store for us with future projects.

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

Lisa Parkes: I remember relaxing rainy days where we couldn’t go outside. I would sit in my playroom or lie on my bed and read. I could literally dive into a book and lose myself for the whole day. It was my idea of heaven and even now – all these years later- I love a rainy Sunday.

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

Lisa Parkes: I loved Enid Blyton. In her book, The Enchanted Wood, she created other worlds to explore at the top of the Magic Faraway Tree. She helped me see that my imagination was limitless and gave me some respite from a noisy world. I realized I could go anywhere in my mind and nobody could find me there. It was my most private place and I was happy there.

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

Lisa Parkes: I love to write to music. Music is energizing and uplifting. I’m better writing early in the day. When I wake up my brain is full of ideas. I’m inspired by my work and by things I observe in daily life. I usually make notes in my phone if something happens or I see something that moves me or teaches me something. I like to write in a journal most days by hand. But when I’m writing a book or a podcast episode, I just sit down at my laptop and let my fingers do the talking. I write unedited and from my heart. I think about what I want to say, not what other people will want to hear. Then go back after a cup of tea and tweak it.

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

Lisa Parkes: I would like to write more about how we treat children and what they need to grow up feeling happy and healthy. I would also like to write more for the child who feels like they don’t belong or who feels alone or different.

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  • What is your favorite memory growing up? 

Lisa Parkes: Going on holiday – stepping out of the daily routine and visiting somewhere new. I love the sea, ice cream, swimming and reading in the shady spots. I was lucky as a kid, in that I went to Disney a few times and I fell in love with the magic of the place. I can remember having my picture taken with the Minnie and Mickey. The highlight was watching the electrical light parade on Main Street and telling my Mum that I wanted to be a Disney dancer. That or a dolphin trainer. I loved swimming and dancing. I still do!

6) What inspired you to become a life coach and then children coach? 

Lisa Parkes: It wasn’t a path I chose – it chose me! In my personal life I had a lot of therapy to heal from childhood trauma which manifested as PTSD, anxiety and depression. As a life long learner and avid reader, I then began to study everything I could get my hands on. It was a long and painful process and lonely at times. I wanted to make a future contribution to break the cycle and for there to be less hurt children in the world.

  • What gave you the idea to write “Stuck Between Two Worlds”? 

Lisa Parkes: I didn’t know how, but I had the idea to write a book that would incorporate my childhood and my work with children in a way that could be understood on different levels. I think I have done that with the magic and the wonder of The Wilderness – a free place for children to follow their hearts, and Nettie the fairy mentor who is playing the role of the ‘good enough’ parent. Luckily for me, once I started to write it all fell out on the page easily.

  •  What would be some advice you could give to aspiring younger authors? 

Lisa Parkes: To write as often as you are able to. Find ways to make writing part of your daily routine – journaling is good for that. Don’t edit yourself. Write what is in your heart, not what you think people want to hear. Don’t be afraid to speak your truth and what is right for you. It’s your story, your words and it is unique to you. Write from your own real life experiences and the places you go to in your imagination. 

  • What is it you love the best about being a children’s author?

Lisa Parkes: This is my first book and I find it hard to wrap my head around that word! I’m excited that I can reach more people with my work and do it in a way that is enjoyable. Learning about ourselves and the world we live in should be fun. I like to think that my book would keep the reader company during those times when they felt lonely or disappointed by life.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Lisa Parkes: Writing gives me the freedom to express my inner world, and share that with other like-minded souls.

B2W Final Front CoverStuck Between Two Worlds is a fantasy children’s book that helps many school-aged children learn to deal with those negative and scary feelings like low self-esteem and anxiety. Firecracker Ruby was in trouble again. Crying in her room seemed to be the only way she could express herself until she had a fairy friend visit her. Nettie takes Ruby to the world of the Wilderness where she learns that she is a “wildheart”, a strong-willed child with a sensitive soul. Ruby learns how to use her wildheart powers for good, to shrink her worries and master her fears while dealing with life’s lessons. This story will touch any child that needs inspiration to be themselves and inspire self confidence. This heart-warming story will bring them into a world where they learn they may be a wildheart too.

Stuck Between Two Worlds is available as a Kindle or paperback edition at Amazon.com.

For more information on Lisa Parkes, please visit her website at: http://www.smileyforlife.com/book.

To enter the Back to School Blog Tour Giveaway, please link to the Rafflecopter Giveaway HERE! Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card to add to your Back to School Library at home or in the classroom.

remember-9-11I’d like to close today’s entry with a moment of remembrance for all those lost 18 years ago today on Sept. 11, 2001. Never forgotten!

 

 

Upcoming 7th Annual Back to School Blog Tour 2019 Sept. 9 – 13

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back2schoolbanner2019It’s time to start finalizing authors for the 7th Annual Back to School Blog! I’m looking for authors of picture books, beginning chapter books, middle grade or YA. I have several free slots open, but also will take sign-ups through my Fiverr gig which will guarantee you a spot in the blog tour.

The dates for the blog tour are Monday, Sept. 9 through Friday, Sept. 13.

Link to Fiverr Gig here:

https://www.fiverr.com/tiffmeister/do-an-author-interview-and-post-about-your-childrens-book

For Free Sign Up with Limited spots, fill out the form here:

https://crystalkeeper.wordpress.com/review-submission-requests-questions/

Last year, I had to double up on spots with two featured authors a day. Which was fantastic! I love getting the word out about fabulous books and the Indie children’s authors that write them.

Plus, there will be a blog tour giveaway which will be for a $25 Amazon gift card for a lucky follower of the blog. Just stop by on any day of the tour to enter. You can have one entry a day. 😉

There will also be some individual giveaways by the authors in which you can enter on the day they are featured.

So, come by to find out about awesome children’s books, enter to win prizes, and support Indie children’s authors. Until then,

summer1-Mrs. Turner

Author of the Crystal Keeper’s Chronicles series.

A Fantasy Adventure where fairies are real and they need your help.

Do you dare?

After Back to School Blog Tour Interview: Belle Green

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Belle Green is the author of the picture book, I Am Good In My Heart.

I have another special After Back to School Blog Tour Interview. I’d like to introduce you to Belle Green. She is a lifelong writer that specializes in inspirational fiction and children’s books. She lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son. I had a chance to find out about her wish to help inspire children, her book I Am Good In My Heart, childhood reading memories, and what writing means to her.

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

Belle Green: Before I could read I would memorize books word for word and then “read” them to my mom or myself. But that wasn’t enough for me. I started to write by scribbling lines on a piece of paper. Then, I’d run to my mom to ask her if it said anything. I guess writing has always been in my heart, even before I knew my letters!

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

Belle Green: My son, Will, is four years old. So, most of my inspiration is coming from him. There are two more projects currently in the works for this series to follow I Am Good In My Heart. They are I Am A Good Friend: Helping Kids Understand Friendship and I am Bigger: Helping Kids Understand Growing Up. I love writing books that help preschoolers understand the world, but we need to have fun too! So I am also working on two entertaining stories about robots. My son is obsessed with robots!

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Belle Green: Writing is the act of pouring your heart out onto paper in an endless attempt to translate feelings into words.

goodatheartcvrHer book, I Am Good In My Heart, is designed for children at the preschool age to help them feel self-confidence while knowing that making mistakes is okay. It helps them realize that choices can be made better the next time. They are always good at heart and can improve with each new life lesson they accomplish.

I Am Good In My Heart is available at Amazon.com. It is a Kindle Unlimited title.

For more information on Belle Green, visit her website at: https://authorbellegreen.com/.

Post Back to School Blog Tour: Interview with G. Lee

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G. Lee is the author of the picture book, Anxious Annie: First Day of School.

I have a Post Back to School Blog Tour treat. I have an author interview with the fabulous G. Lee, author of the book Anxious Annie: First Day of School. I managed to sit down and talk to her about her favorite books and authors, writing routine, and future projects. Enjoy one more author to kick off the school year.

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

G. Lee: The absolute magic of a book to transport us into the lives of other people and sometimes other worlds.

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

G. Lee: I loved Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. They made the seemingly impossible possible and goodness always prevailed.

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

G. Lee: I am more of a night owl. So, I tend to do all my writing in the evening at least four times a week.

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

G. Lee: I am doing another children’s book and it will be ready for purchase soon. It is about making friends.

5) What is writing to you in one sentence?

G. Lee: The ability to create and inspire.

anxiousanniecvrLee’s featured book is Anxious Annie: First Day of School. Join Anxious Annie as she overcomes her anxiety to fast her fears about her first day, and grows in strength and understanding how school can be fun while building her confidence to face the world.

Thank you for stopping by this week. Teachers, Students and Parents, have a fabulous Back to School!

-Tiffany Turner

2018 Back To School Blog Tour Day 5

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Back2SchoolBanner2Today is the last day of the Back to School Blog Tour. I want to thank all of the participating authors for making this year such a success. I hope you, all my loyal readers of my blog, have enjoyed the featured books and stories of Back to School memories from the authors.

Plus, This is also your last chance to enter the giveaways and pick up your freebie copies.

 

 

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Our first author for today is Lenora Rodriquez, the author of her debut children’s book “Circle’s Search”. She has been a special education teacher and in the field of education for over nineteen years. She has worked with children throughout her career, developing a passion for creating educational materials and stories to help guide children in their development. Lenora shares her favorite school memories such as meeting Shel Silverstein, her writing routine, and information about her upcoming projects.

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

Lenora Rodriquez: When I was a little girl, we used to live down the block from the public library in Queens, NY. I used to get excited when my mom took my brother and I to the library twice a week. “Check out what you can carry” was the only rule she had for us. A new book’s adventure I found so exciting.

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

Lenora Rodriquez: At a young age, I seemed to be drawn to poetry. My parents bought me several books of poetry for children and I absorbed each one. My Third grade teacher was a friend of the infamous Shel Silverstein. She invited him to our classroom one day, and ever since then, I asked my parents for his books. His poignant stories/poems I found compelling even as a little girl. There is a quote that could not be more relevant and inspires even more so today- “If there is a book you want to read but isn’t written yet, write it.”

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

Lenora Rodriquez: During my collage years of paper writing, I usually needed a quiet space to collect my thoughts. I usually had a notebook and pen on hand to write my papers. My friends and peers usually wrote their papers on their laptops/computers. I find comfort to continue to write my books the “old school” way by paper and pen.

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

Lenora Rodriquez: As a current special education teacher, I found myself hunting for books for related subjects I want to teach in a fun and simple way. I began creating materials, games and a few short stories to help my students in their academics. I want to continue to create books that will help stimulate our young readers in a fun and creative way.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Lenora Rodriquez: Writing is an expressive art that all should explore.

https://www.amazon.com/Circles-Search-Lenora-Rodriquez-ebook/dp/B07FXCB4BWLenora Rodriquez’s book, Circle’s Search, is a happy shape that feels content with his little home. But, Circle feels there is something missing. Circle searches and meets new shapes throughout a journey while meeting new friends. It’s a creative and educational way to introduce basic shapes, math and social skills. Plus, bonus activities included!

Circle’s Search can be found on Amazon and is available as a Kindle Unlimited title.

Our second author for today is Simon Haynes. Simon was born in England and grew up in Spain. His family moved to Australia when he was sixteen. When not writing his novels, Simon writes computer software which helps him write his novels faster. I had the opportunity to talk to Simon Haynes about his school childhood memories, inspirations, and his writing process.

simonhaynesbiopic1)   Who was your favorite children’s author and how did they influence you?

Simon Haynes: Arthur Ransome, of Swallows and Amazons fame. Don’t get me wrong, the Famous Five were cool but the Swallows and Amazons took things a few steps further. Sailing boats at night, all the pirate and nautical info and know-how, and real competition with other kids, not dastardly adults.

2)   What is your most memorable school moment?

Simon Haynes: When I was in year four, the headmaster used to invite me into the staff room to watch him play chess against a fellow teacher. I was allowed to sit there every lunchtime, eating my sandwich and keeping as quiet as a mouse. (I was on the school chess team and we used to do okay, so I guess it was a reward!)

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

Simon Haynes: 2000 words per day or else. Write until 2 or 3 or 4am, collapse into bed, get up at midday/1pm, start writing around 7pm and repeat.

4)   Was there anything in school that was difficult for you?

Simon Haynes: We moved around a lot (emigrated twice) and I attended 12 or 13 schools. I got used to meeting new people, but I rarely have more than one good friend at a time. I don’t do acquaintances.

5)   What is writing to you in one sentence?

Simon Haynes: My job!

6)   What projects are you working on right now?

Simon Haynes: I just finished my sixth novel for the year before embarking on this interview. Now I have nine more lined up on my desktop waiting to go:

The third in my fantasy comedy series.

A science fiction short

Book nine in my science fiction series

Book four in my middle grade SF series

three pen-name novels

A new space opera/murder mystery title.

I may leave one or two until next year.

7)   What advice would you give young writers?

Simon Haynes: Read my book ‘How to Write a Novel’ – and use Scrivener or y Writer.

8)   What is your typical day as a writer?

Simon Haynes: I start by re-reading yesterday’s work, then I read my notes for today’s work. After that it’s music on and type until done.

9)   What inspired you when you were younger?

Simon Haynes: Science fiction, definitely. I loved The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but science fiction opens so many broad horizons in the mind.

10) What was your favorite book growing up and why?

Simon Haynes: Martin Magnus, Planet Rover. He’s a troubleshooter, at home in space or the ocean depths, but he’s also lazy and cantankerous. Wonderful character who will do anything to get out of work, but once he has his teeth into something he never lets go. Sounds like my life!

haljrsecretsigcvrSimon Hayne’s book, Hal Junior Secret Signal, is one of the blog tours free downloads to start your school year. Here is the link again in case you missed it. Ten year old Hal Junior lives on a space station with his chef scientist mom and station maintenance man dad. Unfortunately, Hal discovers a secret that can destroy the space station, and he has to find a way to save it. This humorous adventure will be a great way to start your school year reading.

For more information on Simon Haynes’s and his books, visit his website at:

http://www.spacejock.com.au/.

Lost Secret - High Resolution (1)Thank you for stopping by each day during the blog tour. It has been a fabulous group of authors. Please visit their websites and look over their books even when the blog tour is over. The giveaways and free books will be ending later tonight at midnight. So, enter before they are over.

And for more information about my new release, The Lost Secret of Time: Bk 4 in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles, please check out its listing on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

Take care, and I’ll see you next year. Happy Back to School! To all teacher, students and parents stopping by, have a great school year!

-Tiffany Turner

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 Back To School Blog Tour Day 4

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Back2SchoolBanner2Welcome to day four of the Back to School Blog Tour. First up, still time to enter the giveaways and pick up your free children’s book. Just a couple more days to enter or pick up your book!

Our first featured author for today is Patrice Shavone Brown. Patrice is a mental health counselor, small business owner, mother, speaker and life coach along with being a children’s author. She has counseled and coached many lives for twelve years and operated her own mental health facility for over six years. She likes to transform people that feel stuck and unable to move forward in their lives, relationships or business.

patrice2I had the chance to talk to Patrice about what inspires her, the stories behind her books, and what children can learn from them.

  • What inspired you to write your first children’s book?

Patrice Shavone Brown: I was inspired to write my first children’s book based on my life experience and the world around me. I was a girl that continuously did the wrong thing rather than the right thing. My daughter currently is always into different things and I find myself always redirecting her. So this book is a representative of her and she loved reading it.

  • Do you feel that your own childhood influenced the stories behind your books?

Patrice Shavone Brown: Yes. My childhood and environment are what shaped me into becoming a storyteller and writer. If it were not for my experience and looking at the world around me, my books would have never been birthed.

  • weblendwellcvr.jpgWhat would you like children to learn from your books?

Patrice Shavone Brown: Children will learn lessons about misbehaving in the book “The Day Momma Made Me Dance”. In “We Blend Well Together”, children will be able to learn the importance of a blended family dynamic. Children will be able to relate to both books depending on their environment and background.

  • Do you think parents can learn from your books as well?

Patrice Shavone Brown: Parent’s will be able to laugh and learn some of the thoughts and emotions their child could potentially experience.

  • Are you planning on writing any more children’s books?

Patrice Shavone Brown: Yes, I have three more children’s books in the works. These books focus on family, relationship and parenting issues. In each one of my books, they will all focus on these matters of the heart.

mommadancecvrPatrice Shavone Brown’s books are available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Her first book, The Day Momma Made Me Dance, is a story of a little girl who is defiant in school and her home life. One day, her mother decides to teach her to dance as a way to show her discipline and how to follow the rules. In her second book, We Blend Well Together, Caleb goes on a journey to understand why his parents are not still together. Living in two different homes in North Carolina, he feels frustrated by his parent’s divorce and having two homes. Should he voice his feelings about being trapped? Join Caleb on his search to understand why they a new normal of blending families can be something special.

The Day Momma Made Me Dance

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Day-Momma-Made-Dance-Unstoppable-ebook/dp/B075KLRNLQ

Barnes and Noble Link: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-day-momma-made-me-dance-patrice-s-brown/1127162033

We Blend Well Together

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0578203375

Barnes and Noble Link: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/we-blend-well-together-patrice-shavone-brown/1128433423

For more information on Patrice Shavone Brown and her books, visit her Amazon Author Page.

headshotOur second featured author is Jacquelyn Simone. She is the author of a fabulous YA book called Outlier. Her debut novel has recently been released, and Jacquelyn goes into the details of her journey to writing her novel HERE ON HER BLOG. Jacquelyn was born and raised in San Jose, CA. She always enjoyed science fiction and fantasy growing up, and loves to watch anime and googling pictures of cats when not writing.

I had the chance to find out about her childhood memories, writing process, and what are some of her exciting new projects ahead.

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

Jacquelyn Simone: My favorite author when I was younger would have to Madeleine L’Engle. A Wrinkle in Time was highly influential to me when I first read it at age eleven, both because of the rich, exciting worlds L’Engle painted, and because of its strong female protagonist. A Wrinkle in Time was the first book that really got me interested in Science Fiction as a genre. I became enthralled by this idea that I could re-write the laws of science and the universe to fit my imagination.

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

Jacquelyn Simone: Since I work full time in a demanding engineering job, it can be difficult for me to find time to make progress writing. However, I’ve recently begun to prioritize getting writing in each day by setting a word count. Currently, I’m sticking to 500 words per day. Even with my hectic schedule, I find it’s fairly easy to manage on even the busiest of days. It can actually be a therapeutic exercise to take a break during work, bring my laptop outside for a while, and escape from the stressful realities of the day-to-day. I hope to soon work my way up to 1000 words per day once I better learn how to fit my writing goals into my daily schedule.

  • Was there anything in school that was difficult for you?

Jacquelyn Simone: In school, though I always did well academically, the hardest struggle for me was making friends and fitting in with my peers. I was shy, awkward, and nerdy, so I wasn’t exactly welcomed into the popular cliques with open arms. During recess and lunch, I spent a lot of time on the sidelines watching others and reading alone. It took a few years for me to feel comfortable enough in my own skin and confident in who I was before I could begin to open myself to others. Still, to this day I feel I made the right choice in never pretending to be something I wasn’t just to fit in. If I couldn’t be accepted as the fantasy-loving geek that I was, then I didn’t want to be accepted by anyone but myself.

4)   What is writing to you in one sentence?

Jacquelyn Simone: Opening doors to the unknown and painting new realities

5)   What advice would you give young writers?

Jacquelyn Simone: Start writing as soon as you can, even if you don’t think you’re good enough. I knew I wanted to be a writer ever since I was ten years old, but I never really pursued it until I was a bit older. At a young age, I was well aware that I wasn’t nearly as skilled a writer as my favorite authors, so I would often get discouraged and stop trying. Even when I was a little older and started submitting my work for review, I would interpret rejection as a sign that I wasn’t meant to be a writer.

It wasn’t until the past couple of years that I realized that no one else’s opinion was going to matter more than my own. No one was going to hold my hand and teach me the secrets of becoming a great writer, so my only option was to write and keep writing, and stop worrying whether or not I was creating the next great American novel. So while ultimately I think there’s nothing wrong with having high standards, it’s important to remember that even the greatest authors had to start somewhere.

outliercvrJacquelyn Simone’s debut novel, Outlier, is a Science Fiction/Fantasy Young Adult novel. Elle Varlette’s life is less than perfect. Her family has been torn apart by tragedy, and all she wants to do is escape her mundane world. But when she starts to discover her new mental powers that open her up to new Outer Spheres of our universe, the mystery starts to unfold about her family. She has to look to herself to save her brother and find out the mystery that tore them all apart in the first place.

Outlier is available on Amazon.com and is a Kindle Unlimited title.

For more information about Jacquelyn Simone, please visit her website at: https://jacquelynthezone.wordpress.com/.

Thank you for stopping by the Back to School Blog Tour Day 4. Please be sure to continue your tour by visiting the author’s websites and checking out their fabulous books!

**There is one fabulous day left! Please come back tomorrow for the last day of the blog tour.

Lost Secret - High Resolution (1)Check back for more author interviews and their featured books tomorrow. And for more information about my new release, The Lost Secret of Time: Bk 4 in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles, please check out its listing on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

-Tiffany Turner

2018 Back to School Blog Tour Day 3

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back2schoolbanner2018Welcome to day three of the Back to School Blog Tour. I’m proud to have our next author with us. Janet Hurst-Nicholson lives in South Africa and has been writing for 35 years. Her articles and stories have appeared in South African and other foreign magazines. Her Leon Chameleon PI children mystery series has won awards including the 2013 Kart Kids Book Award. I’ve had the chance to talk with Janet about her childhood memories, writing process, and her future projects.

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

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Janet Hurst-Nicholson is the author of the Leon Chameleon PI series.

Janet Hurst-Nicholson: My first recollection of reading a book was a Christmas gift of The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle by Beatrix Potter given to me by a neighbour (a teacher). The hardcover book with its dust jacket was especially treasured as we had a visiting hedgehog in our garden.   Having read about Mrs Tiggy-Winkle I wanted more of the same and my collection of Beatrix Potter books slowly grew. I expect that these anthropomorphised animals were an unconscious inspiration for my Leon Chameleon PI books.

  • What is your most memorable school moment?

Janet Hurst-Nicholson: Although I have some lovely memories of school the overriding ones are of primary school (5-7 yrs) and my dread of school dinners and being forced to drink luke-warm milk, which made me nauseous. These horrors only came to an end when my mother wrote a note excusing me from both. But I do remember getting a gold star for being the only one in class who knew that the word for animals that come out at night is nocturnal (I had just been on a visit to the zoo lol). I incorporated this bit of info into my Leon Chameleon stories when Leon discusses the animals that work night shift.

  • Was there anything in school that was difficult for you?

Janet Hurst-Nicholson: Mental arithmetic tests spring to mind! I guess I’m numerically challenged as I much prefer words to numbers. My struggles with left-handedness – tying shoelaces, threading a belt, knitting, sewing, using scissors, pencil sharpeners, can openers, certain sports (but oddly, never writing) – followed me throughout my school life. When I discovered that even today parents and teachers don’t have a full understanding of the problems experienced by left-handers I wrote The Race (an inspiring story for left-handers) especially for left-handed children and to help parents and teachers appreciate the difficulties faced by left-handers.

4)   What advice would you give young writers?

Janet Hurst-Nicholson: Get into the habit of reading a variety of stories/genres. Keep a diary or notebook to jot down your experiences and feelings. These will be useful references for your future writing. Don’t be over-eager to share your writing until you feel confident that you won’t be discouraged by criticism, which can be devastating for a new writer. For new writers of any age I would advise:

  • learn your craft (if you can master ‘show’ don’t ‘tell’ then you’ve made a good start)
  • be prepared to take advice
  • edit and re-edit, and be ready to ‘murder your darlings
  • don’t publish until you are quite sure the book is the best you can make it
  • persevere
  • develop a thick skin in preparation for rejections and poor reviews.

5) What was your favorite book growing up and why?

Janet Hurst-Nicholson: I couldn’t get enough of the Enid Blyton Famous Five and Secret Seven series. I identified with Georgina (George) the tomboy. In the 1950s girls were expected to wear pretty dresses and play with dolls – and that wasn’t me. My friends and I had our own ‘gang’ and enjoyed playing in the woods and stream at the bottom of our lane and looking for ‘crimes’ and adventures to emulate our heroes in the books.

6)   What is your typical day as a writer?

Janet Hurst-Nicholson: I wrote about this on my website in ‘diary of a writer’. https://just4kix.jimdo.com/diary-a-writer-s-day/

7)   What projects are you working on right now?

Janet Hurst-Nicholson: Trying to figure out ways of getting funding to illustrate the rest of my Leon Chameleon PI stories lol.

leonchameleoncvrThe first book, Leon Chameleon PI and the Case of the Missing Canary Eggs, is free for a limited time during this blog tour. Winner of 1993 Bookchat’s Magazine’s South African Books of the Year.

“When Mrs Canary’s eggs mysteriously disappear, a frantic Mr Canary dashes straight off to the Pigeon Valley Police for help. Unfortunately, Sergeant Loerie and Constable Mole’s hasty attempts to make an arrest lead them to the wrong suspects. Leon Chameleon PI, who has quietly kept an eye on developments, decides it is time to step in and offer his services – after all, isn’t he the best Private Eye in Pigeon Valley? He puts all his skills to work and finds vital clues which Loerie had overlooked. Now a daring plan is needed to trap the suspects and bring them before Spotted Eagle Owl’s Court, where Leon springs his final surprise…”

Link here for study questions to go along with the book, Leon Chameleon P.I. and the Case of the Missing Canary Eggs.

For more information on Janet Hurst-Nicholson and her books, please visit her website at: https://just4kix.jimdo.com/.

Our second author for today is Laramie Sasseville. Laramie is a multiple-media artist and writer residing in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. I had a chance to talk to Laramie about writing for children, some of her childhood school memories, and what she has in the works next.

1)   Was there anything in school that was difficult for you?

Laramie Sasseville: Nope, I was perfect at everything. Ha ha ha ha ha: cue hysterical laughter. Seriously, there were a few areas that caused problems – mostly because I just wasn’t interested in trying. In third grade, they introduced us to flutophones. I didn’t want to bother. I folded up a wad of paper and stuck it in the mouthpiece of the instrument and just pretended to play along with the rest of the class.

In ninth grade I had no interest in math – until an exceptional teacher, Miss Martin, sat down with me and got me to see how interesting it could be to play with the relationships between numbers. I went from nearly failing to getting As and Bs in the class. A great teacher makes all the difference – and engaging my interest is the main ingredient if I’m going to learn anything.

2)   What is writing to you in one sentence?

Laramie Sasseville: Writing is the magic that turns insubstantial thoughts, feelings and daydreams into something I can share with others.

3)   What projects are you working on right now?

Laramie Sasseville: I’ve got several projects in the work – including another in the Minnesota Strange series. Haley’s little sister, Tammy gets hold of the magic sigil that Sally created and winds up with the ability to speak and understand the language of birds!

I’m also working on drawings of flowers for a coloring book that combines realistic flowers with fanciful doodles.

4)   What advice would you give young writers?

Laramie Sasseville: Read. Notice what the writer is doing. Especially what you like. Does the world of the story feel real to you? What is the writer telling you about what how it looks? Sounds? Feels? Smells? Do you like the characters? What do you like about them? Are you dying to know what happens next? What does the writer tell you about events that piques your interest and curiosity?

Next: Write. Every day if possible, no matter how little.

5) What was your favorite book growing up and why?

Laramie Sasseville: It seemed like every book was my favorite while I was reading. If I loved one book by a writer, I’d try to read them all. I relied on my school library and couldn’t always find what I wanted, but I read many by Edward Eager, E. Nesbitt, CS Lewis – all the books of magic I could find, including folk lore and fairy tales. I read ‘the Blue Fairy Book’ and ‘the Red Fairy Book’ by Andrew Lang. (It wasn’t until I was grown up that I discovered there were ten more colors!) I also loved books about animals and read everything I could find by Jack Kjelgard and Walter Farley’s books about horses – starting with ‘The Black Stallion.’

OneofMe-blue-smLaramie Sasseville‘s featured book, One of Me is Missing, is the story of a girl getting her wish. To fourteen-year-old Sally Knox, the world is a buffet of fascinating things to do and learn. She wants it all: martial arts, theater, sculpture, cooking, robotics, music, computer science – you name it!

So, what happens when she gets her wish to be in enough places at once to take all the summer school classes she wants? Complications are just the beginning – before the end, one of her goes missing and the rest must come to the rescue or be trapped forever in their multitudinous state.

One of Me is Missing is available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

**For more information on Laramie Sasseville, please visit her website: http://www.dreamspell.net.

Just two more days to go in the blog tour. Remember to check out the GIVEAWAYS and Freebies available until the end of the week.

***Please be sure to continue your tour by visiting the author’s websites and checking out their fabulous books!

Lost Secret - High Resolution (1)Check back for more author interviews and their featured books tomorrow. And for more information about my new release, The Lost Secret of Time: Bk 4 in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles, please check out its listing on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

-Tiffany Turner