Category Archives: writing process

Follow-Up to “Reflections on Anne Frank, Hiding and the Corona Virus Pandemic”


The last time I wrote a blog post about the lockdown and the pandemic, it was April 8th, 2020 in a blog post called “Reflections on Anne Frank, Hiding and the Corona Virus Pandemic”. I was starting to realize that this lockdown was going to be longer than what the officials were telling us. It was eventually extended, making our “hiding” in place into the summer, about 3 1/2 months. From Mid-March to mid-June, I isolated in my San Jose condo. I didn’t fathom truly how it was going to affect us all except it could be as wide reaching as WWII. I could see it was going to shake up society, disrupt living, and likely change the world forever. I just didn’t know how it was going to do it, and how I’d survive it.

Half Dome taken from Yosemite Valley on a trip in 2020.

But I have to say, the hiding has worked out better for me than it did for Anne Frank. I guess that could be my Gen X cynical side speaking. Maybe because 2020 turned into a worse year than anyone could imagine for the last few generations. Maybe, it just takes a pandemic to really put things in perspective, just like a world war or other global event. This is my first global crisis of such proportions of a world war that I can understand some of what the Great Generation might have gone through now.

As I look back on my optimistic words from the beginning of April 2020, it was that hope that did get me through the year. With the political unrest in the US amid the pandemic, it just seemed like nothing was going right and everything was descending into chaos. But, the goal my husband and I had been working on for a few years, buying a house, seemed like it could still happen. I’d been wanting a house for a few decades, and my husband and I had been talking and doing some planning. Than, I got very sick, actually dying and was hospitalized. I pulled through that, and house buying had to be put off while I got better.

Mrs. Turner standing in Yosemite Valley, August 2020.

Finally, summer 2020 was going to be it, the time to buy a house. Then, the pandemic hit. But among all the goals that had to fall by the wayside, that one was still possible. Goals had to be literally and completely rethought through in the new world order that the pandemic created. House buying was one of the few industries left open during lockdown, because it was considered essential. People need shelter to isolate in.

So, buying a house seemed like a plausible way forward, especially if there was as resurge of virus in the winter and maybe living in a crowded city wouldn’t be the best. I had moved mostly to virtual teaching and freelance writing. My husband’s company had also moved to virtual working. So, we decided on the move. July we bid on a house, and after it was accepted, went through the escrow process.

In the middle of this, we managed a trip to Yosemite, just to get out and away from being locked down for months. With reservations made in April, we were able to enjoy a stay at the Awanhee’s cottages in the Yosemite Valley. Just being out on a trip seemed a victory after being in hiding from mid-March to June. The state of California seemed to emerge for the summer to enjoy some kind of living, masked, and at least more outdoors. RVs and Campers became the travel vehicle for the new “apocalypse” though I was a bit sad that there weren’t real “zombies”.

Small things became a little triumph. Biking around Yosemite Valley seemed monumental. Hiking along the trails were a new adventure, even though it was my fourth visit to Yosemite. When a mountain lion crossed the trail near by us, I was marveling at how close it was, but still keeping tabs on when it went by. It was exciting, but still, I was more afraid of the non-masked humans than the mountain lion in the end. But a trip out in nature, because outside and space from people was safe, was the new frontier.

It was exciting to get our new keys to our house Labor Day weekend. We started fixing up the house, and moving some of our things in. Each weekend, we moved our items ourselves because it was less exposure to people. Packing boxes and moving up to the house became a routine for a few weeks. Then, on a Sunday run up to our new house, a fire broke out around the area. Strong winds blew that night, with our internet being knocked out. It was the night I met my new neighbors, at a distance due to the pandemic, talking loud over strong winds about the emergency alert messages and whether to evacuate. Luckily, I found out from them that the town would sound sirens if we needed to evacuate, like what had been done in 2017. Falling asleep, I was awoken some hours later by the sirens. I evacuated hoping my new house would survive the Glass Fire.

The Glass Fire surrounded my new town, and my husband and I were evacuated for a week. We prayed and avoided the news as much as would could, afraid to see pictures of burning buildings that could be our house. We followed the CalFire map, watching the movement of the fire, having all our friends and family pray our new house would be okay. Luckily, the town was saved and our house. I had survived one of my worst weeks of 2020.

Evacuating during the Glass Fire, 2020. Note, taken while driving through town to evacuate.

We finished with repairs and updating items in the house, and moved in beginning of November. By December, the SF Bay Area locked down again, and for 2 months, I isolated and stayed hiding again for a second lockdown. At least this time, I knew how to deal with it. It was a little trickier in a new house and town, but if anything, 2020 was an advanced course in adaptation and self reliance. I’d already realized that this was a historical time to live through, and I was so thankful for my new house and that it had survived. By the time I raised my champaign glass on New Year’s Eve, I was glad to see the year end.

I’d survived. 2020 was the strangest year I’ve ever lived through. It was an emotional roller coaster. The politics, protests, the election. The personal stories of COVID I saw and heard from friends. Friends had lost family members to COVID. I had family members that got sick with COVID, but luckily, survived. Of the other people I knew that had COVID, some were having long hauler symptoms. There are all these new terms now. But the biggest news as we entered 2021 has been about the vaccine. Everyone is waiting for their turn to get the jab.

Tiffany Turner is the author of this new self publishing guide.

I’ve just got to hold on now for the vaccine. I even made it into a doctor’s visit, and I think he summed up what is going on the best right now. I had asked about trying to sign up for the vaccine, and he answered, “Yeah, it’s like the Hunger Games.” He also recommended I continue “hiding” until I get the vaccine. So, it’s nice to be under doctors orders to continue to isolate, continue with this hiding plan. The craziness of trying to get an appointment are my new reality. I’m just too young right now, which is just crazy to hear. But I’ll hold on. I’ve made it through almost a year now. A few months waiting for a vaccine, no problem.

So, I have to report, through the things I lived through in 2020, I’ve kept that hope I saw so much with Anne Frank. You’ve got to keep that. It’s what helped me realize I could still go through the one goal dream of buying a house, and made it come true. I did finish my how to self publish guide too. It’s called “Get Ready to Push the Button: A Beginner’s Guide to Self Publishing”. I also published a picture book called “I Don’t Want to Wear a Mask!”. It’s about a young boy that has to return to school wearing a mask, and how he doesn’t want to do it. But his Mom explains to him why it’s important, and how he can be a hero if he wears a mask.

Written to work on picture book self publishing skills, it has turned into a picture book to help with these strange times.

So, in a way, there was a lot of good that came out of 2020 for me and maybe some other people. Maybe that’s why Anne inspired me. You’ve got to work hard to turn the chaos around you into what you may want or the good that can come out of it. The phrase, “When the world gives you lemons, make lemonade” comes to mind. Boy, was there a lot of lemons to 2020. My lemonade might have been more sore, but I know there was some sugar in it.

All the reading, writing, and self reflection I think has just made me look at everything with a new lens. The world is different now after COVID. Maybe we were living in a bubble. That complacent reality before the “crisis” hits, just like in any movie, and then the world is changed forever. It happened with both World Wars. Now, my generation had the pandemic. And it’s affected all the generations living today. Generations living in the future will wonder what it was like for us. I guess that’s why I’m blogging now. To let them know.

What would I tell them? We watched a lot of Netflix. Learned to knit or other skills from YouTube. Listened to a lot of music. Wrote. Reflected. Did our jobs. And just lived through it the best we could. Just like you might have. And we read books to help us figure it all out. And some of us, even wrote those books to help us figure it all.

There was a lot of chocolate consumed in my house. M&Ms was the chocolate we were easily able to get. Supplies weren’t completely stopped, but some things were harder to get than others. Anne Frank didn’t have Walmart delivery. So, yeah. I’ve been blessed. And Girl Scout cookies went online and you could have them delivered, especially if you’re niece hooked you up. We kept our humor. We knitted slippers for our family because if we couldn’t be there, our knitting would keep them warm like a hug.

Christmas was by Zoom. Thanksgiving was by Zoom. Everything was by Zoom.

The whole time, we just wanted it to be over. The whole irony is as I’m going through it still, I think we haven’t gotten that it will never be over. The world has changed forever. We can’t go back. There’s only going forward now. Who knows what that future will look like until we get there.

I wish for you safety and peace. May you be able to get the vaccine soon, and to always still wear a mask. We’ll get through this together. We’re all going to have all our own COVID pandemic stories after all this. Keep that optimism and hope.

I think Anne Frank would be proud.

Tiffany Turner is a children’s author of the Crystal Keeper Chronicles fantasy adventure series. She is also a romance writer under the pen name, Marilyn Vix. Her books are available on, Barnes and, and other online retailers. She is also the head writer and editor for her blog, the Indie Children’s Authors Connection.

Interview with Eva and Amaira Deotale

Eva and Amaira Deotale are the co-authors of the children’s book “Short Stories: By the Children, For the Children”.

During these cold winter months, it’s good to have some inspiration to brighten the days ahead. I’ve found a delightful, twin duo that writes their own short stories to encourage other children to read and write. Their names are Eva and Amaira Deotale. They’re six years old and live in the United Kingdom. Eva loves to sing and tell stories influenced from nature. Amaira loves puzzles, drama and is a keen observer. Together, they love to spend time in the garden and take long walks.

Their current book, “Short Stories: By the Children, For the Children” is a collection of children-written fables. I had the chance to speak with both the girls about their favorite reading memories, authors and future writing projects.

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

Eva and Amaira Deotale: Our favorite book memory is reading and listening to “The Giant of Jum” book by Elli Woollard. This book is one of our favorite because it’s a rhyming book with a twist – the giant in this book likes children and is very friendly.

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

Eva and Amaira Deotale: Dr. Suess, Julia Donaldson. We love their storytelling and each story has a message.

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

Eva and Amaira Deotale: Our next book will be another short story book with funny creatures and a message on disability inclusion. Our latest venture,, is all about empowering people with disabilities.

“Short Stories: By the Children, For the Children” is a great collection of wonderfully illustrated short stories for children. Written by children, it is relative to kids and can help teach morals and values. These eight easy-to-read fables make great read-alouds in the classroom and short stories to read together at bedtime. Stories include themes of inclusion, courage, learning and exploring, and the lesson to never give up. Give the gift of values to any child.

“Short Stories: By the Children, For the Children” is available at and

For more information on the authors Eva and Amaira Deotale, please visit their website here.

Tiffany Turner To Teach Online Spooky Story Writing Workshop


It’s getting near that spooky time of year. After over 15 years of teaching a spooky story workshop to my students, I’m offering it for the first time online. Bring Halloween indoors in an academic way, and keep this season spooky, fun and safe! It will be available two ways.

1) This first way to sign up for this workshop is as a full online in-person experience taught by myself live on Zoom. It will be available through the tutoring center called Knowledge Quest. I’ve worked there now for 3 years tutoring students in person and in local schools before the pandemic.

Now, the opportunity to learn from myself, a published author and certified teacher, is through Knowledge Quest. It starts on Oct. 5 through Oct. 29. There are two sessions, one for grades 3-5 and the other for grades 6-8. Each session will have one hour a week for four sessions. Kids will have an hour of instruction and will be walked through activities and given assignments to continue writing between sessions.

**Some at home support, such as looking over the story and doing feedback with your child, will be required.

I’ve taught and developed this spooky story unit over the years and I have put up some parts of it FREE to do through my website. But this is the full unit, developed by me, and available only this upcoming month of October. By the end of the sessions, all the students will have written their own stories that they can share on Halloween night. They will learn character development, create a plot with problem/solution structure, study the spooky genre, and have a lot of fun! They’ll have a chance to unlock the creativity within them.

**Note times are Pacific Daylight Time since I’ll be teaching the workshop live through Zoom. Sign-ups for the live Zoom instructional spooky workshop is through Knowledge Quest.

Find out more and REGISTER HERE!

2) The second way to take the workshop, especially if it would be difficult to in your time zone, is to sign up for my online writing school course. It’s the first course available, and I plan to develop more through the next several months. I’ve decided to develop the spooky story writing workshop first since the basic posts on the blog are so popular, and my students loved it as their favorite story during the school year.

Here is the blurb from my writing school “Keep On Writing”:

Ready to have some fun writing? Here’s a course to help children love writing and enjoy it. I often found children didn’t get to enjoy the writing projects assigned when I was a teacher. So, I developed an, exciting “Spooky Story” writing project for the month of October that I taught for over fifteen years in my classroom. Now, your child can experience the joy of writing and using their imagination.

Taught through a Writing Workshop format, I go over all the steps of writing, prewriting, drafting, revision and proofreading and creating a final draft. Each lesson includes mini-lessons on the craft of writing including organizing ideas through graph organizers, writing dialogue, “Show, Don’t Tell”, plot creation, character creation and conflict, and problem/solution story structure.

Write your own Spooky Story in either a live workshop with Mrs. Turner or in her online writing school. Get spooky and stay safe this Halloween! Use your imagination and write!

When your child finishes the course, they will have a fantastic story of their own creation to share with family and friends. As they go through the writing process, they are asked to work with a family member or guardian with the writing process in which they learn to gain feedback on their writing and make changes. Anyone in the family or through Zoom can fulfill this role making it a bonding activity with your child.

Whether this course is being used during the fall for a Halloween project or any time during the year to engage children in writing, or help adults write for children, it has always been a student and child favorite. I now present to you, the “Spooky Story” Writing Project to help bring the joys of writing to your child.

The online writing school course is $19.99.


**Happy Halloween!

-Mrs. Turner

Interested in Self-Publishing? I Just Wrote the Book On It.


Get Ready Push Button-FinalEbook

Tiffany Turner is the self-published author of a children’s fantasy book series and several paranormal romance titles. 

It is now available. All of my self-publishing knowledge over the last thirteen years. I’ve been at this self-publishing thing for awhile now. And I’ve learned a lot. It’s been called a gold rush by some, from about 2009 to 2011, and beyond. I would say that was mostly due to KDP, Kindle Digital Publishing, Amazon’s digital platform. It is now a whole new frontier that I can help you navigate.

From watching and talking to other self published authors on Kindleboards (later like Hugh Howey, to getting the idea and encouragement to start writing romance after my children’s books, I’ve had quite a journey. I wrote “Get Ready to Push the Button: A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Publishing” to make it easy for anyone to get started. All you need is that finished manuscript, and you can be on your way.

All of my hard earned experience has been written down into my beginner’s guide to self-publishing. So, if you’ve been thinking about it, or even wrote a manuscript during lockdown and don’t know what to do now, I’ve got an answer for you. Self-publish!

I’ve been talking to people about how to self-publish on panels at various local conferences including Fanime, San Francisco Comic Con and the Silicon Valley Comic Con over the last few years. Now, you can get all my expertise in one helpful guide, with links for support in an online FB private group. Plus, I’ve worked with a lot of emerging authors through my gigs. I’ve gotten experience in so many areas from diving into the self-publishing world, and I keep growing with it. Find out how you can make your writing dreams come true, and become a working writer.

Have a manuscript and don’t know what to do?

Have you considered self-publishing?

Get Ready to push the button (3D)-PromoJoin Tiffany Turner as she explains how to get your manuscript ready to finally push that self-publishing button. This beginner’s guide to self-publishing has been put together with Mrs. Turner’s thirteen years of self-publishing experience in romance and children’s book self-publishing. With easy step by step explanations of how to prepare your manuscript, she’ll walk you through in her humorous banter how to:

-Discovering if this self-publishing path is for you.
-Terms & tips you’ll need to navigate the self-publishing world.
-Preparing your manuscript with an easy to follow list of steps.
-How to find the people to help you self-publish such as beta readers, editors, cover designers, formatters and self-publishing platforms.
-What to set up before you self-publish.
-Launching your book.
-Maintaining your self-publishing empire after your first book.

Discover how to get yourself started onto the self-publishing path.

“Get Ready to Push the Button: A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Publishing” is available at, Barnes &, Apple/iBooks, and Rakuten/Kobo.




Write Your Own Spooky Story For Halloween



Write your own Spooky Story this weekend, Oct. 26-31.

Each year, I would teach a unit on how to write you’re own spooky story to my class. Since my semi-retirement, I’ve posted the whole process over a 6 day period. Now, you can follow the same plan and create you’re own spooky story.

Here are the links to each step in the process. You can write your story over the next 6 days ending on Halloween, or take each step faster.

Day 1: Write Your Own Spooky Story, Create Your Main Character

Day 2: Creating a Spooky Setting Or Plot

Day 3: Starting the Rough Draft

Day 4: Continuing Rough Draft with Dialogue

Day 5: Revising and Proofreading Your Story

Day 6: Writing the Final Draft

If you’re a teacher and would like this entire unit to teach your class, here is the link for the Spooky Story Unit on TeachersPayTeachers.

Plus, if you’d like a more intense and easy online workshop for your child or students, I have put together the above Spooky Story Workshop into a tutorial workshop format in my new Online Writing School. Kids can work at their own pace on their own. It’s all set up and ready for them to begin. No prep for you!



Pumper the Pumpkin: A Halloween Tale by Tiffany Turner

Also, I have a Halloween Picture Book, Pumper the Pumpkin, that is available on Amazon that was my own spooky story when I was a kid. It is only $0.99! Check it out start out your Halloween weekend. Great for young kids that are going to be carving pumpkins this weekend. 😉

This was my own spooky story that I wrote at the age of 10 in 5th grade, back in the day. I have since updated it and drew my own illustrations, but the core and idea was written when I was ten. I enjoyed creating my own Pumper the Pumpkin carvings and designs for several years after I wrote the story. In fact, I still do. 😉

Have fun and stay safe this Halloween! -Mrs. Turner

Halloween & Spooky Story Project: Step By Step Plan to Keep Your Kids or Students Busy Until Halloween


haunted character

Create your own spooky story this week with a step by step plan. Click on Day 1 below to get yourself started.

Note: This whole activity is available online at my new “Keep On Writing” Online Writing School. It’s set up as a tutorial to allow kids to work at their own pace with more in depth instruction. For more information, LINK HERE!

So, I am currently a semi-retired teacher writing full-time. But when I was teaching, I would teach my class one of my most loved and remembered writing units: A Write It Yourself Spooky Story Unit! I would spend a whole week, sometimes two, with my students writing a spooky story that they would then read-aloud on Halloween. We would spend the whole day in school reading them, and I’ve been told year after year, it was the one thing that my students remembered from being in my class.

So, I will share with you now, the step by step plan for getting your kids (or yourself) motivated and channeling that nervous Halloween energy into something productive. I first wrote these posts back in 2015. The links will take you to the original instructional posts.

If you are a teacher, and would like the full lesson plan for this unit. It is available on Teachers Pay Teachers in my Writing Is Fun Store.

Below is the list of each step. The link will take you to the post with all the information you need to get started.

Day 1: Write Your Own Spooky Story, Create Your Main Character

Day 2: Creating a Spooky Setting Or Plot

Day 3: Starting the Rough Draft

Day 4: Continuing Rough Draft with Dialogue

Day 5: Revising and Proofreading Your Story

Day 6: Writing the Final Draft


Pumper the Pumpkin: A Halloween Tale by Tiffany Turner is a Kindle Unlimited title.

Also to celebrate Halloween, I’ve put my Halloween picture book, Pumper the Pumpkin, on sale for FREE from Friday Oct. 27 – Tuesday Oct. 31. I wrote the first draft when I was 10 years old and promised myself to finish it when I got older. I did.

So, have fun writing with your class or children this week. Or maybe you’re the child writer, and you’d like to take this on. Go for it! It may be the start of a new adventure for you. Writing is fun and challenging, and so worth the effort of seeing people enjoy your story.

Be sure to comment and let me know how you like this post. I’d love to hear what kind of stories you all come up with.

**If you liked this post or others, please be sure to follow my blog. My fourth book in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles is complete and is going through the revision process. So, get on the newsletter and blog list today. Be sure to get all the updates and informative posts coming up in the next several months!


-Tiffany Turner

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


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?


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.


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 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!



Back To School Blog Tour 2017 Starts Sept. 11


2017B2SchoolBannerSo, I’ve been hard at work planning the 5th Annual Back to School Blog Tour. I’ve got some pretty amazing authors lined up to share the behind the scenes take on writing children’s books. Plus, these same amazing authors will be posting reviews of the books featured the week of the blog tour.

**So come back on Sept. 11 and get to know the participating authors. All week, author interviews will be posted with links to their book reviews. Enjoy a week of celebrating books and education. I’m looking forward to it!

**Plus, the Back to School Blog Tour Giveaway will start on Sept. 11. Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card for your very own books to start off the year. Teachers can enter to add to their own class libraries. It will run through the weekend and end Sunday Sept. 17.

Link for Back to School Giveaway: Starts Monday, Sept. 11

So, bookmark and come back on Monday Sept. 11. Until then, happy beginning of school!

-Mrs. Turner

June Author Spotlight: Zachariah Rippee, an author interview


Willard Photo

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?


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.


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:

Amazon Author Page:

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. 

UPDATE: The Lost Secret of Time: Final Book in Crystal Keeper Series Due out Spring 2018



Working cover for the last Crystal Keeper Chronicles book, The Lost Secret of Time. 

I wanted to give everyone an update on the progress of the last book in the Crystal Keeper series, The Lost Secret of Time. I’m proud to announce that there has been a schedule set up for it’s completion. It is outlined, and has 9 chapters of the 14 written thus far. It’s scheduled with my editor for the end of October, and I’ve been working hard with the help of Camp NaNo to get it completed.

I have to thank all of my fans for your patience. I know this one is taking longer, but sometimes life throws things at you that can’t be planned for, like a heart attack, going septic in the hospital and having acute pneumonia. I’m just happy to still be alive and be around for a second chance to finally complete the series.

I also have to mention I did try to end the series with the third book, but the characters WOULDN’T let me. They insisted that the story carry on. So, that is why the third book ends the way it does in a cliffhanger. There was just more story to tell.

Plus, once I wrap up this series, I’m planning a prequel in which Brewford, the cat sorcerer, will be the main character. There are a lot of things hinted about his past in the series, and I want to write a prequel that explains it all. So, the ending of the Crystal Keeper Chronicles won’t be the end of Wanda’s fairy world. It will continue in other forms.

It has been an amazing ten year journey so far. I’m sure many of you fans have grown up waiting for the books to be written. If anything, you’ve learned that writing is a process and takes time, an average of two years per book at least. The biggest thing that a reader needs to possess is patience for your favorite books. I know your pain. I’ve gone through the same thing with my favorite authors, Anne McCaffrey, Anne Rice and Mercedes Lackey. I think the secret is having LOTS of favorite authors so you can switch between them between new book releases. It’s how I cope. 😉

Until then, take care, and I hope you enjoy your other favorite authors until the new and last book in the series is released next Spring. Stay tuned for fun summer reading activities and giveaways. Have a fabulous summer.

-Tiffany (Mrs. Turner)