Category Archives: Interviews

Back to School Blog Tour Day 5: Wrap-Up and Giveaway Last Chance!

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2017B2SchoolBannerWelcome to the last day of the Back to School Blog Tour. I want to thank the other participating authors, Teddy O’Malley and Becca Price for their wonderful interviews and book reviews. I’d also like to thank all of my followers and fans that stopped by during the week. Thank you so much for your continued support of myself and my fellow Indie children’s author friends. Without readers, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do, write.

Plus, have you had a chance to enter the special $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway yet? It runs until the end of Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. So, be sure to enter for your chance to win a back to school shopping spree from the Indie Children’s Authors Connection.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE!

Winners will be announced on the blog next week.

This will close the 5th Annual Back to School Blog Tour. On behalf of all the authors and myself, thank you for stopping by. Be sure to check out the book reviews on Teddy O’Malley’s and Becca Price’s books on the linked blogs.

Teddy O’Malley’s Book Review

Becca Price’s Book Review

Until next year,

Keep reading! Keep Writing!

-Tiffany Turner

Head editor and writer for the Indie Children’s Authors Connection Blog.

 

 

 

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Back To School Blog Tour Day 4: Featured Author Tiffany Turner

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2017B2SchoolBannerWelcome to day 4 of the Back to School blog tour 2017. Today, I am a featured author and will give you some insight into why the last book in my series has been delayed the last few years, how the progress is going on the last book, and sneak peaks into my writing process.

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

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Tiffany Turner, author of the Crystal Keeper Chronicles

Tiffany Turner: I think the first time I really enjoyed middle grade novels was when I was given a Judy Bloom box set for Christmas. I read through two of the books just during the break. I discovered “Blubber”, “Then Again, Maybe I Won’t” and my favorite, “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret?”. I think I copied that at night, talking to God by saying, “Are you there God, it’s me Tiffany” for awhile after that.

I loved her way of getting into your head, like she knew what you were thinking. I try to do that with my characters. Being a teacher helps since I’ve observed 18 years of children talking, and have been told my dialogue has been really realistic. Of course, if your job is talking to children all day, you’re going to pick up any catch phrases or interests that are current, But really, kids all have the same problems of similar generations. Growing up is still hard and an adventure. I love the way Judy captured that, and I try to put it in my books too.

What is your most memorable school moment?

Tiffany Turner: Believe it or not, I have several. There were times I really liked school and times when I didn’t. Some of my best memories come from Fifth Grade when I discovered that I was good at writing. My Fifth Grade teacher encouraged me and had all her students write in journals. That was the first time I kept a journal.

I remember discovering the ultimate power of explaining and telling a story when writing about Daniel Boone for a report. I found out about a personal connection; I’m actually related to him. I added that to the report and included the family personal story. Yes, I got an “A”. It taught me that stories were powerful, and I could have the ultimate power over them, and that was exciting.

Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
Tiffany Turner:  Yes. In the morning, I do my business end of writing. I update blogs, check email, and work on any promotions I have scheduled. I would also mail books for promos or get that all ready. Then, I have lunch and will often write in the afternoon and/or evenings. I make myself sit down and write once a day. If I sit for at least an hour and write, I consider it productive.

I developed this from doing NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) in November for the last three years. I also started the routine of checking email and doing the business end of writing when I lived in Sydney for 6 weeks during the summer of 2011. So, there are ways to get you into the routine of writing everyday. NaNo helped me, and being abroad in a foreign country really helped me. The secret is to get yourself to focus on your writing once a day. So, isolation, going on a trip or retreat, can really help get you into the practice of doing this.
Was there anything in school that was difficult for you?

Tiffany Turner: Reading was more difficult for me because of my speech and hearing problems when I was younger. I had trouble with some blends, and would slur the middle of words when speaking. I also mixed up my “p” and “b” sounds. So, I think my teachers thought because I read a loud not so well that I didn’t understand what I was reading. Often, I did understand it, but just couldn’t say it right. I still was in an average reading group and highest Math group. But eventually, I did learn to overcome it.

What is writing to you in one sentence?

Tiffany Turner: Something I just have got to do. I would write no matter what. It is my therapy and keeps my sanity. I feel most alive when writing. (So, I cheated a bit. That’s four sentences.)

What projects are you working on right now?

Tiffany Turner: I’m currently working on the last book for the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. It’s called The Lost Secret of Time.  It’s been tricky since I’m winding up the whole series, and it has time travel involved. But it has been a lot of fun because of that too. I’m also planning a prequel in which Brewford will be the narrator and talk about some of his adventures as a cat sorcerer before he starts helping Wanda.

The other reason it has been delayed is that I got very sick at the end of 2014. In fact, I was hospitalized and had to go through physical therapy for 8 months. I did post a whole explanation here. The good news is that I’ve been recovering and getting back my strength, and have semi-retired from teaching. I am working at a tutoring center and teaching in after-school programs at local schools in my area. So, in the end, I’ve overcome this health obstacle and have more time to write now that I’m feeling better.

I’m happy to be finally able to be nearing the end of the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. It has been a 10 year journey, and I hope it brings happiness and adventure to generations of children to come.

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The first book in the Crystal Keeper Series is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has written three books in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. Her first book in the series, The Lost Secret of Fairies, is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

spookystoryunitbkcvrPlus, Tiffany Turner has been writing down all of her lesson plans from teaching writing as an elementary school teacher. They are available at TeachersPayTeachers.com. You can get lessons on paragraph parts, Beginning of School writing activities, opinion paragraphs, book report ideas, and writing workshop units for writing mysteries and spooky stories. All are available in her “Making Writing Fun” shop.

**Plus, the $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway is still going on. Be sure to head over and enter today!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/20834f9e16/?

 

 

Back To School Blog Tour 2017 Day 3: Featured Author Teddy O’Malley

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2017B2SchoolBannerWelcome to the third day of the Back to School Blog Tour. Today’s featured author is Teddy O’Malley. Her books feature characters with diverse characteristics. She’s won the Reader’s Favorite Five Star Seal for her book Cool Kids Wear Glasses. Ms. O’Malley took time out of her busy schedule to share with me her love of reading and writing, memories of school, and what she is working on now.

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Teddy O’Malley is the author of The Fairy’s Bubble Wand available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

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

Teddy O’Malley: My favorite children’s author as I was growing up had to be Judy Blume. Her characters were so realistic. Her writing style was what I aspired to write like when I would sit down to type my stories on my old computer when I was a kid. She made me realize that I wanted to publish books. I still hold her books close to my heart, and I can still read them with the same enjoyment I did when I was a kid.

What is your most memorable school moment?

Teddy O’Malley: One of my most memorable school moments happened when I was around twelve years old. We were sitting at the lunch table, and we had been promised candy. Well, that parts a bit fuzzy, but the next part of the memory is clear. I started banging my fists on the table, going, “We want candy! We want candy!” Then the kid next to me did it. Then the kid next to them joined in. Soon, a whole table of kids was shouting, “We want candy!” in unison. I was the quietest kid in the whole school, and I started that. It taught me that one person really can make a difference.

Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
Teddy O’Malley: I would like to have a routine, but it’s kind of hard since I am currently in college, studying to be a veterinarian. On my days off and during the summer, I aim for no less than five hundred words a day. That’s really to get the ball rolling, and I usually write more than that. During school, I often write between classes. Sometimes I write to procrastinate other things I should be doing. Shh!
Was there anything in school that was difficult for you?

Teddy O’Malley:As far as school subjects go, I really struggled with math. I went through a few math classes multiple times. But now, in college, I actually am starting to like math a bit. I still struggle with it, but I have a professor who has taught me to look at it in a more fun light. Teachers really can make a difference.

What is writing to you in one sentence?

Teddy O’Malley: To me, writing is like breathing.

What projects are you working on right now?

Teddy O’Malley: I’m mostly brainstorming at the moment. I’m planning to write more books for kids in the middle grade age range.

blog-tour-188x300**To continue with the blog tour, head over to one of the participating author’s websites to read a book review of Teddy O’Malley’s The Fairy’s Bubble Wand . Becca Price was featured yesterday in the blog tour. Today, she is posting a review of Teddy O’Malley’s book, The Fairy’s Bubble Wand. So, please, head over and enjoy her book review.

Teddy O’Malley’s book can also be purchased here on Amazon.com or here on Barnes and Noble.com.

**Plus, the $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway is still going on. Be sure to head over and enter today!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/20834f9e16/?

Back To School Blog Tour Day 2: Featured Author Becca Price

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2017B2SchoolBannerWelcome to the second day of the Back to School Blog Tour. Today’s featured author is Becca Price. Ms. Price is a children’s author with many fantasy children’s books ranging from beginning fantasy chapter books to middle grade novels. I had a chance to talk to Becca about her writing process,  how she gets her ideas, and what she has next in store for us.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

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Becca Price has written the popular fantasy series of bedtime stories, Dragons and Dreams.

Becca Price: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. As a child, I used to tell stories to my siblings before going to bed. I wrote some highly derivative fantasy in high school and college, as one does, but didn’t seriously consider making a living as a writer. Instead, I started work as a technical writer, and continued in that profession until ill health made me quit. I still took the occasional contract, however, and kept in the profession for a total of 30 years

How long does it take you to write these books?

Becca Price: It varies so much. Sometimes, the words just roll out, and the story is close to it’s final form. Other stories, I struggle with. I have one story (Heart of Rock) that I worked on for 20 years, on and off, trying to come up with a satisfying ending.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Becca Price: Inspiration strikes at any time. One story, I worked n in my head while trying to go to sleep. I finally got up at 3:00 in the morning, and wrote down the first draft of the story almost completely.

Other times, it’s more like a “real” job, usually after I get my first pass edit back from the wonderful editor, Martha Hayes – she seems to know what I am trying to say better than I do sometimes, and will ask me questions. I’ll get up in the morning, start working on her edits, take a break for lunch, and finish writing around 4:00 pm, and then back to work on it the next day. I don’t seem to be able to write well after about 3 or 4 in the afternoon, unless it’s one of those things that keeps me up til 3 until I write it down.

What brought you to write your fairy book series?

Becca Price: The only real series I have is Fields, Forest, and Fairies. This consists of 3 books: Fairies and Fireflies, The Wood and the Wildfolk, and The Wizard and the Wood. They all take place in the same universe, and I just kept writing the stories as long as the Wide Wild Wood had stories to tell me. It may have other stories to tell, but right now, I’m feeling like it’s pretty complete.

How you become a published author? Any inspiration?

Becca Price: After I wrote my first book, Dragons and Dreams, I looked carefully at publisher’s requirements for children’s books. They tend to be very strict and formulaic, with no place for the kind of gentle fairy tales I write. I started doing research (I’m a research junkie anyway) and decided to self-publish through Amazon. In this effort I was helped immeasurably by the kind folks at kboards/writer’s café, which still provides me with help in my writing, and in my publishing efforts.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Becca Price: When my children were very small, I looked about for good bedtime stories for them, It must have been a dry spell for children’s books, because other than the classics like Dr. Seus and the Grimm brothers, there wasn’t much – and I disliked the sexual stereotyping in the classical fairy tales. There was the peerless Paper Bag Princess, but other than that, not much. So I started to make up stories that addressed issues (like being afraid of the dark) that my kids were having, or silly stories like The Grumpy Dragon and A Princess for Tea. When my children started correcting me on how the story was supposed to go, I wrote them down, so I’d remember them. That collection became Dragons and Dreams, and is still my daughter’s favourite of my books. Then I got a letter from a fan, wanting to know whether Butterfly Fairy ever got another kitten, and that set of stories became Fairies and Fireflies.

Most of my stories have a strong nature orientation. I’ve been known to call the local Extension Office at Michigan State University, to make sure I have my facts straight. The rest of it comes from my own knowledge of mythology, an exposure to Waldorf education, and that great source of all knowledge, Google.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

Becca Price: Other than childish attempts? Dragons and Dreams took form during my early 40s when my children were little. I didn’t start publishing until 2013, however.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Becca Price: I read. I go on reading spurts, prompted by all sorts of things. I read biographies of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr after my daughter, who is a technical theatre major, introduced me to the musical Hamilton. I read books on ancient (pre-Greek) mythology while a future story, The Boy Who Loved The Moon started taking place. I still haven’t written that one down yet, because it’s going to be very challenging to write, and I want to get it right. What started out as a main character, an 8th century Welsh bard, is now the villain.

But I read a lot for simple relaxation. I’m a fan of regency-ish romances, no matter how bad the research in them is, because usually the author has a good story to tell anyway, and it’s an era where I find the stock characters comforting to read. I read science fiction, and when I feel my writing style has become stale, I read Lois McMaster Bujold,’s fantasy series. I like her Vorkosigan series, as well, but her fantasy tends to be exquisite.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

Becca Price: I have 7 books: four collections of fairy tales, and 3 stories that stand alone. I have 8 books, if you count Child of Promise, which is also the last story in Dragons and Dreams. The non-collection books are Heart of Rock, Bridge of Seven Stones, and The Snarls. All of those were written for my children as they grew up, but I think have universal things to say to any child.

I have to admit, Dragons and Dreams is a sentimental favourite, being the ones I told my children over and over again.

What is next for you? What are you working on now?

Becca Price: There’s The Boy Who Loved the Moon, which I’m still researching and working out the general plot overview. I’ve got several fairy tales, such as my own take on the Tam Linn story, that are sketched out, but on the back burner for now.

What I’m spending most of my time on, however, is Sirens’ Song. It’s a tough book to describe, because it’s still taking shape, but it’s a parable that deals with death and life. I ran a draft of it past a child psychologist, who says that it’s appropriate for 4th and 5th graders, so it’s one of my stories that’s aimed at older children.

And my daughter has been nagging me to write more stories about The Grumpy Dragon, so maybe after Sirens’ Song is finished, I’ll start working on that one.

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Book review of this book featured on Teddy O’Malley’s blog today!

***To continue with the blog tour, head over to one of the participating author’s websites to read a book review of Becca Price’s Heart of Rock. Teddy O’Malley will be featured tomorrow in the blog tour. Today, she is posting a review of Becca Price’s book, Heart of Rock. So, please, head over and enjoy her book review.

To purchase the book, links to Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.

**Plus, the $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway is still going on. Be sure to head over and enter today!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/20834f9e16/?

 

June Author Spotlight: Zachariah Rippee, an author interview

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Zachariah Rippee is the author of the children’s picture book series that deals with the joys of reading.

This month, our featured Indie children’s book author is Zachariah Rippee. Zach has written an amazing series of picture books that deals with the treasure that can be found while reading. His main character, Elijah, has a series of adventures discovering the joys of taking a perusal through a book. Each book deals with a different theme of reading.  Knowledge and imagination start out the series in the first two books, Elijah and the Key of Knowledge and Elijah and the City of Danger. 

I had the chance to talk to Zachariah about his series and the joys he’s discovered writing them.

1) How did you get the idea to write your books? 

Mr. Rippee: This is a good question. It is always fun to look at the “birth” of an idea. From a young age I have hoped and dreamed of being a father. Most kids dreamed of being doctors and firemen, a policeman maybe. Nope, not me. I wanted to be a father, a husband. I think that is because of the strong example I had in my own father (who is today my biggest hero). As I got older I began to understand this desire was not only to be a father, but to be a role model for children.

Plain and simply put our children are our future. It only seems logical to want decent role models for our future. As a father I hope my children learn to love reading. As a teacher and role model I want the same thing for my students. I want to do as many things to encourage that as possible. The books are just an extension of my desire to help our children build a better future. Reading is the key to that. If a child can read, they hold the key to their own learning and to a brighter future.
2) Did you have trouble reading as a child? How did this inspire your books?
Mr. Rippee: Short answer: YES!!! I can honestly say, without a doubt and with full understanding of what these words mean, “I HATED READING AS A CHILD!” I did not learn to read easily. I fought to not read. I had such insecurities because of reading deficiencies. I can actually trace being shy and introverted back to an insecurity because of my poor reading ability. Many are shocked to find out that I did not read my first chapter book from cover to cover until I was 22 years old.
The first chapter book I read was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Full disclosure, I only read this book so that I could talk to a girl. The girl!!! She loved reading. She always talked about the Potter books. I find it humorous that reading caused me to pull away from social settings as a child, and reading was the door through which I entered into the most important “social setting” of my adult life. That girl, the girl, is now my wife of nearly eleven years. She has helped me grow my own love of reading. Because of her example I can now see the value of reading as an important life tool. (She also scolded me for reading the Harry Potter books out of order)
My troubles with reading inspired my own books because my books were born out of the desire to prevent my story from becoming my children’s story. After I wrote my first book, Elijah and the Key of Knowledge, I realized that it wasn’t only my story or their story. Kids all over the country are living the same struggles and experiencing the same fears and anxiety that I did. Thus my continued writing.
3) What would you suggest to a reader to try if they want to be an author someday?
Mr. Rippee: In today’s world there are so many tools available to aspiring authors. Social media is full of groups and clubs that are geared towards helping authors learn and grow. Publishing has become so easy with online self-publishing platforms. You can LITERALLY write, illustrate, and publish your own books in a few days. That being said, consider these things: What is your message or story? Who is your audience? How will you build your platform? Who are people you can trust to be helpful resources (editors, illustrators, proof readers, and people to bounce ideas off of)?
Finally, if it is a dream of yours to become a writer…write!
4) What were some of your favorite authors while growing up?
Mr. Rippee: As a child I didn’t like reading. However, since I have been “playing catch up” I have found several wonderful stories by amazing authors.
I am a fan of older (some might say classic) dystopian novels, mysteries, spy novels. Ann Rand, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ian Fleming, Ray Bradbury, Edgar Rice Burroughs, George Orwell are some of my favorite authors. I love Anthem by Rand and my favorite book is probably her epic Atlas Shrugged. The ideas and philosophies the novel discusses are interesting to me. I actually spent hours reading it during my 10 year wedding anniversary trip (in flight reading).
I love J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Jay Asher is a good author. I am also reading The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday.
5) What was the drawing and writing process for your children’s books?
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Sketches by Zachariah Rippee during his illustration process in creating his children’s book series.

Mr. Rippee: The drawing process began 5 years and 9 months before my first book was published. I illustrated my character Elijah on the day my wife told me she was pregnant for the first time. (included image). All of my illustrations start as hand drawn sketches that are then scanned and colored digitally. Formatting has been a fun journey for me, as I format all my own books. That is the beauty of self-publishing. You get creative control of the entire project. Several steps happen in between the first sketch and the final draft.

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Finished layouts of the book Elijah and the City of Danger by Zachariah Rippee.

As far as the writing process, I have adapted a saying my father taught me. When building something ( we dabble in woodworking) he says “Measure twice, cut once.”   I will consider a page or paragraph in my head for days, rewording it, revising it, and so on. When it hits the paper it is usually fairly close to the finished product. Most of my writing happens in quiet times of waiting ( at the grocery store, eating lunch, in the car). My mind just rolls it over and over until something shiny pops out at me!

6) What writing projects do you have coming up?
Mr. Rippee: I am currently rolling around several stories in my head. I just began self-publishing in the spring. So several ideas have been pent up waiting to burst forth. I am currently working on books that nod to the classic monster movies and campy 60’s superhero shows. I am also working on a whimsical look at how feelings affect our perception of the world around us.

Thank you so much to Mr. Rippee for sharing his experience and his creative process with me for my blog readers. I’m hoping you’ll be inspired to start writing your own stories. For more information on Zachariah Rippee’s books, visit him at Facebook or his Amazon Author Page at:

Facebook Link: https://m.facebook.com/mr.rippee.sir/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Zachariah-Rippee/e/B06XFKLHK9

ElijahKeyKnowledgeCvr***His picture books, Elijah and the Key of Knowledge, Elijah and the City of Danger, and The Green Ladybug: A Book About Kindness are available on Amazon.

***Barnes and Noble links:

***Next week, book reviews of the featured books by the author in the Indie Authors Monthly Spotlight!

-Tiffany Turner

***Tiffany Turner is a children’s author that has been self-publishing for over 10 years. She started the Indie Children’s Authors Connection to help get the word out about amazing children’s books she has found by other Indie authors. Her children’s fantasy adventure books, Crystal Keeper Chronicles series, is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

Back to School Blog Tour: Day 4

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backtoschool2016We’re already up to Day 4 of the blog tour. I hope you have been enjoying the daily featured authors. There has been a wide range of books, from Middle Grade to Reading instruction readers, to a picture book. Today, I share with you the author of a fabulous Middle Grade reader, Sandra R. Anderson. She is the author of Konrad and the Birthday Painting. She is a mother of two boys who fortunately have yet to show any interest in art. They are too busy catching Pokémon.

After several years of translating other people’s books by day and reading tons of children’s books every night at bedtime, she decided that she had some stories of her own to tell. She first got started by taking a course in writing for children at the cultural center Näs, right next to Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home.

She writes books for children and for grown-ups and anyone else who likes stories that are about something more than at first glance. She still works as a translator. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking, and Postcrossing, although not simultaneously. She is an accidental stamp collector and keeps forgetting to water her potted plants, particularly when she’s working on a new book.

I had the chance to ask Ms. Anderson about her thoughts on writing, her favorite school memories, and what she is up to right now.

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Sandra R. Anderson is the author of Konrad and the Birthday Party available on Amazon.

1) Who was your favorite children’s author and how did they influence you?
I was the type of kid that read everything I could get my hands on, so I couldn’t name just one. I loved the classics, wandering around on that deserted island with Robinson Crusoe and exploring the oceans with Captain Nemo, but I also solved mysteries alongside Nancy Drew and the Hardy boys, discovered smugglers and hidden treasure with the Famous Five and slept with my feet on the pillow and baked gingerbread cookies on the floor with Pippi Longstocking.
I honestly can’t imagine the person I would have grown up to be if I hadn’t had all of these characters in my life as a child and am eternally grateful to the authors who created them. They opened my eyes to other people’s lives and experiences and made me see things differently. They broadened my horizons and made me a far better person than I would have been otherwise.
2) What is your most memorable school moment?
The best time I ever had in school was when I lived in Norway for a few years and went to school in a tiny school building with the sea on one side and tall mountains on the other. One time the entire school (not that many kids, perhaps 60 or 70 in all) rode a bus to the next valley over and then went on skis back over the mountains. Eating my school lunch at the top of a mountain is a memory that I will treasure forever.
3) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
My best writing gets done really early in the morning, before the rest of my family wakes up. I’m an early bird and often wake up at 4 or 5. When everything is quiet, and the whole family is tucked away in bed, that’s when I can give my undivided attention to the characters in my stories and go on adventures with them. That said, if that wasn’t an option, I would write with blunt crayons on wet napkins up in a tree in the middle of a hurricane. Sometimes a story just needs to be told.
4) Was there anything in school that was difficult for you?
Sure. I’m not very good at a lot of things. I’m pretty good at reading and writing, but that’s about it. When it came to the more practical subjects, I was all thumbs, and I am still capable of burning a salad or sewing a shirt to my trousers if I try to replace a lost
button. But the thing I found most difficult in school was the social aspect, the unwritten rules that govern the playground. We moved a lot, so I was always the new kid, always failing to fit in.
5) What is writing to you in one sentence?
The magic that allows us to see the world through someone else’s eyes, explore places and situations that would otherwise be out of reach, and be anyone we want to be.
6) What projects are you working on right now?
I’m writing the next book in the Artworld series, of course, to find out what Konrad gets up to now that he has discovered an exciting new world inside of paintings. I’m also working on a science fiction story for ages 9 and up and have a coming of age saga for the same age group on the back burner. I  like to work on several different projects simultaneously, to avoid writer’s block, but there are only so many hours in a day, unfortunately. I also write for grown-ups under a different pen name, and have a few projects I’m working on there, as well. The most urgent is a ghost story that I hope to have done in time for Halloween.
To connect to Sandra R. Anderson, find her at:

Her website: www.sandrarandersson.com

Her Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/AuthorSandraR

 

BOOK REVIEW: KONRAD AND THE BIRTHDAY PAINTING

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Sandra R. Anderson writes a brilliant fantasy world in this Middle Grade Book available on Amazon.

***** Five Stars

Konrad and the Birthday Painting is a fast and fun fantasy adventure for middle graders. Konrad, a second grader, finds some mysterious glasses that allow him to look into a painting in the school office that, by chance, is like a map of the real school. He witnesses the taking of the Fifth Grade field trip funds, and has to stop his friend, Casper from being blamed for the theft.

Along the way, he discovers that the glasses work on other paintings at a nearby museum. This introduces him to the virtual world of “Artworld”. Will he want to come back to reality once he discovers this amazing new place?

This is a real creative fantasy that plays with the concept of the real world and a virtual world. I love stories that play with a fantasy world just on the edge of the real world. Anderson does a brilliant job of creating the world and the tension that Konrad has to struggle with. He has to think about his family still in the real world, and make a choice between the two. With wisps of Narnia, I recommend Konrad and the Birthday Painting to readers that love to play in fantasy worlds.

As part of this week’s special discounts and giveaways, you can download a free copy of Konrad and the Birthday Painting HERE!

**The giveaways are still up and going. Here is a list of all the books on discount/free and the big $25 Amazon Gift Card giveaway.

**Also available on Amazon.

GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS

Here is the current list of freebies, discounts, and giveaways during the blog tour. All discounts, freebies and giveaways will be running through the blog tour dates: 9/12-9/16.

  1. Win a $25 shopping spree on Amazon! Link to the Rafflecopter giveaway link here!
  2. Download a free copy of Konrad and the Birthday Painting HERE!
  3. Philip Gibson’s Graded Word For Word Reader 1 & 2 Free
  4.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZQQ98C
  5. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019J1U2RQ
  6. The Lost Secret of Fairies: Discounted to $0.99
  7. Win a notebook set, bookmarks or the book Tinker Bee by Erin Liles: http://erinbethliles.weebly.com/blog/back-to-school-blog-tour-giveaway

For an interview with Martine Lewis on Erin Liles’s Blog, LINK HERE! 

Come back tomorrow for the final post to wrap up this week of Back to School celebration!

 

 

Back to School Blog Tour 2016: Day 3

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backtoschool2016The blog tour continues with today’s featured author, Erin Liles. Ms. Liles grew up in Northern California. In her twenties, she moved to Austin, Texas where it’s brutally hot in the summer, but life is a bit more relaxed. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in sociology, and after almost ten years working in family literacy and early childhood education, she took the plunge into writing and later, freelance editing.

Erin spends most of her time with her husband, kids, and pets. I had a chance to ask Erin about her opinions on writing, about some school memories, and what she will be working on next.

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Erin Liles is the author of Tinker Bee, a delightful picture book available on Amazon.

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

As a kid, I loved Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series. I still have my original books on my shelf (thanks for saving them, Mom and Dad!). As an adult, I love Kevin Henkes picture books and Laurie Halse Anderson’s YA.

2) What is your most memorable school moment?

I most remember my teacher writing lovely comments in the margins of the stories I wrote at school. They said things like Great imagination! and Terrific story! I always felt encouraged to write more.

3) Do you have a writing routine?

Share what works for you. I find that writing first thing in the morning works best for me. That way, I’m fresh and clear-headed (especially after my morning coffee!), and I don’t have to worry all day about when I’m going to get it done because it already is!

I write my drafts on Scrivener. For me, there’s no better way to organize the chaos of ideas flowing through my head, and I only have to switch screen views to see my plot all laid out for me.

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

Math! I still cringe at the subject when I’m trying to help my kids with their homework.

 

5) What is writing to you in one sentence?

I’m taking a writing course with Professor James Hynes, and he tells a story of his high school English teacher who once told him, “Fiction imposes order on the chaos that is reality.” That sums it up pretty well for me because writing means taking a chaos of ideas, picking the most important of those ideas, and corralling them into a logical, meaningful story.

6) What projects are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m working on a YA ghost story and a middle grade adventure.

***Here’s a chance to win a pen and notebook set, bookmarks or a copy of her new picture book, Tinker Bee. LINK TO GIVEAWAY HERE!

For more information on Erin Liles, follow this link to her blog/website.

BOOK REVIEW of Tinker Bee by Erin Liles

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Tinker Bee is available on Amazon as a Kindle Unlimited picture book.

Tinker Bee is a dazzling picture book  about a bee that wants to be different. She wants to be a fairy. No matter where she turns, people are trying to get her to do things the way other bees do. She’ll have none of that. She does things the way she’d like, as a fairy. Then, one day, someone comes along and ruins their best pansy patch. Tinker Bee is off to solve the problem. Her unusual idea saves the day, and it took her fairy wand and imagination to do it.

Kids that love fairies are going to be enchanted with this book. It teaches some of the vocabulary with associated with bees like waggle dance. Plus, it does it all with a charming moral that being yourself is as important as others excepting you as such. The illustrations are beautiful, with cheerful and bright colors that would be part of a bees world. I recommend this picture book for kids 3-8 years old. It would make a great gift for any child learning to read or getting their first Kindle or ereader.

**** Four Stars

Tinker Bee is available on Amazon. It is a Kindle Unlimited title. It is listed for $0.99.

Link to purchase book: https://www.amazon.com/Tinker-Bee-Erin-Beth-Liles-ebook/dp/B01GLM3KQ6

Watch the book trailer on YouTube:

**The giveaways are still up and going. Here is a list of all the books on discount/free and the big $25 Amazon Gift Card giveaway.

GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS

Here is the current list of freebies, discounts, and giveaways during the blog tour. All discounts, freebies and giveaways will be running through the blog tour dates: 9/12-9/16.

  1. Win a $25 shopping spree on Amazon! Link to the Rafflecopter giveaway link here!
  2. Download a free copy of Konrad and the Birthday Painting HERE!
  3. Philip Gibson’s Graded Word For Word Reader 1 & 2 Free
  4.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZQQ98C
  5. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019J1U2RQ
  6. The Lost Secret of Fairies: Discounted to $0.99
  7. Win a notebook set, bookmarks or the book Tinker Bee by Erin Liles: http://erinbethliles.weebly.com/blog/back-to-school-blog-tour-giveaway

For an interview with me, Tiffany Turner, head on over to Sandra Anderson’s blog HERE!

Back To School Blog Tour: Day 2

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backtoschool2016Welcome to the second day of the Back to School Blog Tour. The featured author today is Philip Gibson. He is a teacher and author that has more than 35 years’ experience teaching English to children and adults in 7 countries. Mr. Gibson spent the next 30+ years traveling the world teaching English to children and adults of all nationalities.

He now lives in Laos where, for the past 12 years, he has been researching, writing, and improving his Word by Word series of illustrated, graded readers for English-speaking children learning to read and children learning English as a second or foreign language. Mr. Gibson continues to teach, to write, and expects to be able to make the complete 12-book series of books available during the course of the next few months.

I was lucky enough to interview Mr. Gibson, and get his take on his school memories, favorite children’s authors, and what writing means to him.

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Philip Gibson’s Word By Word series teaches English reading to ELD and early readers.

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

The earliest books I remember enjoying were the first books in the Ladybird Key Words Reading Scheme.  In the U.K., they were known as the Peter and Jane books.  I believe in the U.S. a similar series known as the Dick and Jane books were widely used during the same time.

Those books used a systematic, step by step introduction of key words alongside attractive colorful illustrations.  The books are now criticized for their lack of phonics emphasis as well as old-fashioned, 1950s cultural stereotypes.  They are now largely ignored and out of print.  However, they did make learning to read an easy and rewarding process and certainly did the job for me and those of my generation (now in our 60s.)

So now I am developing a new, 12-book series of illustrated early readers using a similar, but updated, format.  This new series contains not only systematically introduced sight words, but also phonic emphasis at every stage.  They are also culturally appropriate for the modern age. The first 8 books have now been completed and are available.  I have made the first two e-books permanently free so that parents and teachers can try them out at no cost.

2)   What is your most memorable school moment?

I remember when I was 5 or 6, a classmate coming over and looking at a page I had been writing on.  She expressed surprise that I had filled the entire page.  It had never occurred to me that I might be more advanced in reading and writing than my classmates.

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

I write every day, usually between midnight and dawn when everyone is sleeping and the house is quiet.

4)   What is writing to you in one sentence?

Writing to me is about trying to put out something into the world that will be of actual practical benefit to people… especially children.

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The Word By Word Readers Collection bundle is available on Amazon.

Today, his Word by Word series is featured. As a teacher of 18 years, finding a useful and engaging reading program is important. Mr. Gibson does this while instructing the difficult points in learning English. This is a great series for beginning English learners of all ages. The first two books of the series are FREE! Plus, you can also get the first several books in a bundle HERE! The series is great for teachers and parents to work with their children.

Book 1: Lee and Pat – http://amzn.to/1Nh0M3Q

Book 2: Lee and Pat Like to Play – http://amzn.to/1QAcTwZ

WORD BY WORD readers bundle-https://www.amazon.com/Word-Readers-Childs-Introduction-Reading-ebook/dp/B01BQUCBYK

See all the readers and collections at his website – http://www.wordbywordseries.com/

**As with yesterday, the giveaways are still up and going. Here is a list of all the books on discount/free and the big $25 Amazon Gift Card giveaway.

GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS

Here is the current list of freebies, discounts, and giveaways during the blog tour. All discounts, freebies and giveaways will be running through the blog tour dates: 9/12-9/16.

  1. Win a $25 shopping spree on Amazon! Link to the Rafflecopter giveaway link here!
  2. Download a free copy of Konrad and the Birthday Painting HERE!
  3. Philip Gibson’s Graded Word For Word Reader 1 & 2 Free
  4.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZQQ98C
  5. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019J1U2RQ
  6. The Lost Secret of Fairies: Discounted to $0.99
  7. Win a notebook set, bookmarks or the book Tinker Bee by Erin Liles: http://erinbethliles.weebly.com/blog/back-to-school-blog-tour-giveaway

For an interview with me, Tiffany Turner, head on over to Sandra Anderson’s blog HERE!

Back To School Blog Tour 2016: Coming Sept. 12-16

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backtoschool2016Plans are underway for the Back to School Blog Tour 2016.

Save the dates: September 12-16. Get ready for giveaways, free and discounted books, interviews and reviews from participating authors. It’s going to be a fabulous way to kick off the 2016 school year.

Participating Authors and Featured Day:

  • Marcy Blesy -Monday, Sept. 12-Giveaways links posted
  • Phillip Gibson -Tuesday Sept. 13
  • Erin Liles -Wednesday Sept. 14
  • Sandra Anderson -Thursday Sept. 15
  • Wrap-up/Last chance for giveaways-Friday Sept. 16

**Come back in a few days for further updates. Everything begins September 12!

Back To School Blog Tour: Slots Still Open

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Back To School Blog Tour 2016 is Sept. 12-16.

Greetings everyone. Plans are underway for the 4th annual Back To School Blog Tour coming up on Sept. 12-16. All week, authors will be featured with interviews and reviews of their books. Giveaways are also in the works. So, please stop by on Sept. 12 for a week of fantastic children’s literature to start off your school year.

Plus, there are still some slots open for this event. If you are an Indie children’s author and are interested, please email me at: tiff@tiffmester.net. Let me know you’re interested, what type of children’s book you have, age level, and any promos you might be interested in doing. Authors can set up their own giveaway, and I’ll be promoting the links. I’ll also be setting up a Back To School Blog Tour Giveaway that everyone can put on their blogs. The deadline to get back to me is Aug. 25.

To all the teachers and students going back to school over the next few weeks, have a fun and safe return. Happy reading!

-Tiffany Turner