Tag Archives: author interview

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: 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: Day 1

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backtoschool2016It’s here! The blog tour starts today. We start out with a feature on a fabulous author, Marcy Blesy. She is a published author of over ten children and young adult books and short stories. By day she runs an elementary school library. By night, she writes up a storm for children. She has written a book series called Evie and the Volunteers. Here is her take on her school memories, volunteering, and writing for children.

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

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Marcy Blesy is the author of Evie and the Volunteers: Animal Shelter. It’s available on Amazon.

I loved Beverly Cleary books as a child. There is something very endearing about Ramona.

2)   What is your most memorable school moment? 

In third grade every student got to be the VIP for the week. Each student in the class wrote a special page about the VIP that the teacher put in a VIP book. Talk about a self-esteem booster! Plus, the VIP got to keep a Ziggy water globe on her desk during the week.

3)   Do you have a writing routine?

Share what works for you. I work fulltime and have two teenagers with busy schedules. I write when I can and I’ve learned that that’s okay!

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

I never was a fan of science. Chemistry—ugh!

5)   What is writing to you in one sentence?

Writing is a therapeutic way of tapping into myself while developing a character, flaw and all.

6)   What projects are you working on right now?

I just finished book 3 in the Evie and the Volunteers series, for ages 9-12. Book 4 will be a winter project.

**Here is a link to Marcy Blesy’s Amazon Author Page to check out all of her fabulous books.

Book Review of Evie and the Volunteers: Animal Shelter Book 1

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Evie and the Volunteers: Animal Shelter is available on Amazon and as a Kindle Unlimited title.

Evie and the Volunteers: Animal Shelter is a heart warming book that is the start of a series that will teach children the meaning of volunteering. It starts with Evie, a girl getting into all sorts of trouble. Unsure of why her veteran Dad has returned to the hospital again, she lashes out turning irresponsibility into a new art.

But when her mother comes up with the punishment to volunteer at the local animal shelter, her world changes when she learns what it is like to care for another. You’ll be cheering her on as she tries to add another furry member to her family and is stopped at every turn. It take her father’s return to solve everything.

This is a great book to share with your child the responsibility of giving back to the community while going along with Evie’s inner journey.  I really enjoyed this cute story that teaches that you can open your heart to others and heal yourself at the same time.

**** Four Stars Middle Grade Reader

LINK TO AMAZON:

https://www.amazon.com/Evie-Volunteers-Animal-Shelter-Book/dp/153522147X

 

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!

***BOOKMARK and come back daily to see more featured authors, book reviews and fun!

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

TV Appearance on Dec. 14, 2015

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Beating-Heart-GraphicsI hope everyone is having a fabulous Holiday Season. I know some of you have been following along with my recovery from septic shock, cardiomyopathy, and the blood clot in my heart. I’ve spent the last year working so hard at physical therapy to gain strength back. I have gotten out of the critical range, and have no need to wear the vest defibrilator.

In fact, today is the anniversary of my Not-Dying-Day. A year ago today, Dec. 11, I went into septic shock and cardiac arrest. So, it’s always going to be a day that means my second chance. My second chance to be here and write more books. So, of course, I have been doing that. I have been working on the rough draft of The Lost Secret of Time. I am hoping to complete it and publish next year.

To make things extra exciting with this anniversary, I’ve been invited to appear on a local community TV show called On The Move. It’s a show that helps people tell their story on how they are living and overcoming their disability. This will be their first show on women’s heart health. I’ve learned so much about dealing with heart disease, and I’m excited to be able to share it with others. It will be live on KMVT Channel 6 at 8pm in Mt. View, CA. It also appears on other local cable channels through the Silicon Valley. I’m also noticing things might be listed differently next week due to the Holidays. So, here’s a link for the schedule on their website. Check for the show: ON THE MOVE. Here is a listing for the area:

Campbell: 1st and 3rd Wed. at 6pm Channel 34A TCI Channel

Cupertino: Thurs. at 8:30pm on TCI Channel 26

Los Altos: Thurs. at 8:30pm on TCI Channel 29

Palo Alto: 1st and 3rd Wed. at 6pm on Channel 50

San Jose: 1st and 3rd Wed. at 6pm on Channel 34A

Saratoga: Tuesday at 7:30pm on KSAR Channel 6

Sunnyvale: 1st and 3rd Wed. at 6pm on TCI Channel 29

It will also be uploaded to YouTube to be watched by people around the world. So, I’ll be adding a link to it when it is available.

This is a great way to celebrate being a survivor and spread the word about heart disease in women. There was a lot of things that would have helped me, like knowing some signs something was going on. Shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, dizziness, nausea and swelling in my ankles and hands. I’d get puffy and thought I was gaining weight. These were all signs something that was happening. I thought I was getting older. I’m a teacher. I’m always tired. I have acid reflux. So, my dizziness and nausea I thought was from that. Any angina, that feels a lot like heart burn, had to be my stomach issues.

So, I want to get the word out of what to look for and be aware of. It will be so healing for me to share what I learned and hopefully help others in dealing with their heart disease. I hope you can join me next Monday at 8pm. -Tiffany Turner

 

 

Back To School Blog Tour Day 1: First Featured Author for 2105 is Marilyn Peake

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2015 Back to School Blog Tour: DAY ONE

2015 Back to School Blog Tour: DAY ONE

Welcome to the first day of the 2015 Back to School Blog Tour. It’s part of my giving back to the Indie Children’s Author community. I am featuring some unique and fabulous books this week from picture books to YA. With the new Common Core being adopted in many schools throughout the US, this is a great time to learn about new authors and possible new books for guided reading and novel studies.

Plus, if you just want to find a great new book to read at the start of school, please check back each day for our new featured author. At the end of the tour, I’ll reveal where you can find an exclusive PDF ebook of writing lesson plans for Common Core written by myself. It’s the start of a series of writing curriculum for the Common Core that I will be writing up over my year of writing. Yes. Teachers still do teaching activities on their sabbaticals. So sit back and relax. You’re in for some excellent children’s literature experiences this week.

This year, our giveaways will work differently then before. Some of the authors will be sponsoring their own giveaways on their websites, and I’ll have a Grand Prize giveaway available on my blog. The Grand Prize for the Back to School Blog Tour Giveaway will be a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate. You can also win a set of my Crystal Keeper Chronicles or an ebook copy of my fabulous writing lessons ebook.

**Note: Giveaway deadlines are set under the guidance of the authors instructions. The Back to School Blog Tour Giveaway will end at midnight Mon. Sept. 14, 2015. Winners will receive notification in 48 hours, and will be announced on this blog.

ENTER HERE TO WIN A $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD IN THE 2015 BACK TO SCHOOL BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAY 

Marilyn Peake: First Featured Author Sept. 7

Our first featured author is Marilyn Peake.

Marilyn Peake is the author of both novels and short stories. Her publications have received excellent reviews. Marilyn’s one of the contributing authors in Book: The Sequel, published by The Perseus Books Group, with one of her entries included in serialization at The Daily Beast. In addition, Marilyn has served as Editor of a number of anthologies. Her short stories have been published in seven anthologies and on the literary blog, Glass Cases.

Marilyn Peake is the author of the children's middle grade trilogy "The Fisherman's Son". All three books are available on Amazon.

Marilyn Peake is the author of the children’s middle grade trilogy “The Fisherman’s Son”. All three books are available on Amazon.

AWARDS: Silver Award, two Honorable Mentions and eight Finalist placements in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards, two Winner and two Finalist placements in the EPPIE Awards, Winner of the Dream Realm Awards, and a Finalist placement in the 2015 National Indie Excellence Book Awards.

I am so excited to have her be our first author to kick off our blog tour this week. I got to ask her several questions to learn a little about her school memories, past influences, and role models.

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

Marilyn: I’ve had a lot of favorite authors over the years. In children’s books, I’d say J. K. Rowling, Lemony Snicket and, from my own childhood, the authors of the Nancy Drew books are among my favorites. Each of those authors influenced my own writing by demonstrating how the creation of imaginary worlds allows a young reader to step inside the pages and explore. In my own trilogy of children’s middle grade chapter books—The Fisherman’s Son, The City of the Golden Sun, and Return of the Golden Age—I spent a lot of time developing the details of the imaginary worlds within which I set the stories.

2) What is your most remembered Back to School memory?

Marilyn: I have many precious memories of my children’s Back to School days when they were growing up. Some of my fondest memories are when they returned to school with projects they had completed based on one of their favorite books. For his kindergarten year, my youngest son created a basketful of stuffed animals based on the characters in the wonderful book, Stellaluna. He stuffed socks and felt cutouts with filling and then decorated them with feathers and buttons to resemble baby birds and a bat. That was a really adorable project and one of my fondest Back to School memories.

3) Did you have any subjects that were difficult for you in school? How did you overcome your difficulties in school?

Marilyn: By the time I went to college, I found advanced math difficult. I remedied that by reviewing Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry and taking a Calculus course. By the time I went to graduate school, my favorite sections of Probability and Statistics were the ones that included Calculus.

4) What helps you motivate to write a story?

Marilyn: I write books set in worlds that fascinate me. That keeps me motivated to explore that world and tell the story I’m developing within it.

5) How would you summarize how writing is for you in one sentence?

Marilyn: Writing is sometimes euphoric and sometimes just painfully hard work.

6) What other projects or books are you working on right now?

Marilyn: Right now, I’m writing an adult zombie apocalypse series. The first book in the series, Mutation Z: The Ebola Zombies, is free. The second book, Mutation Z: Closing the Borders, will be published on September 8th.

Marilyn Peake has set up a giveaway especially for this blog tour. You can win a set of her trilogy of THE FISHERMAN’S SON, her middle grade chapter book series.

******ENTER THE TRILOGY of THE FISHERMAN’S SON GIVEAWAY HERE!*****

The Fisherman’s Son Trilogy is available at Amazon. The purchase links are below:

Purchase Links for Marilyn Peake’s Children’s Books:
The Fisherman's Son by Marilyn Peake is available at Amazon.

The Fisherman’s Son by Marilyn Peake is available at Amazon.

The Fisherman’s Son:

The City of the Golden Sun:
Return of the Golden Age:
For  more information or to contact with Marilyn Peake, here are her links:

Back To School Blog Tour 2014: Featured Author D.R. Martin

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b2schblogtour2014Welcome to Day 4 of the Back to School Blog Tour 2014! If you haven’t signed up for the Book Bundle Giveaway, there are still several days left. Entering is easy. From liking authors on Facebook to commenting on their blog, you can enter to win the fabulous book bundle of children’s book each day. So, keep coming back each day and enter.

ENTER HERE TO WIN THE BOOK BUNDLE GIVEAWAY! Open until Sept. 8!

Today’s featured author is D.R. Martin. He began his writing career as an arts journalist before moving on to marketing communications work. He has covered topics ranging from consumer electronics and medical technology to travel and classical music. For many years, he reviewed science fiction and fantasy books for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

D.R. Martin is the author of the Johnny Graphic Adventures series.

D.R. Martin is the author of the Johnny Graphic Adventures series.

D. R. is the author of the Johnny Graphic children’s ghost adventure series and the Marta Hjelm hard-boiled PI mystery Smoking Ruin. Under the pen name Richard Audry he has published the Mary MacDougall historical mystery novella A Pretty Little Plot and the canine cozy mystery The Karma of King Harald. The second Mary MacDougall novella, The Stolen Star, was issued this past summer. A Mary MacDougall Mystery Duet is the paperback edition of the two Mary MacDougall novellas. In addition, D. R. is the author of Four Science Fiction Masters: Lost Interviews with Herbert, Pohl, Simak & Dickson; and Travis McGee & Me: Reflections on the Man from Slip F-18.

Below is the exclusive interview with D.R. Martin:

1) What is your favorite memory from the beginning of a school year?

Trying out for plays. We had a great theater program and I was fortunate to get parts in shows every autumn. I always had some stage fright before performances, but a great sense of accomplishment afterwards.

2) Who was your most inspiring teacher? Why?

His name was Robert Burrows. And his demanding high school history and English courses scared away most of the students in my school. But those of us who took on the challenge of his classes felt we learned ten times more than we would have otherwise. In addition to the subject matter, we learned discipline…how to research…how to give and take criticism…how to frame arguments…how to study and write long and hard. For junior year English we each had to create our own American literature textbooks. I still have mine, almost three inches thick—self-illustrated in pen and ink. I think I began my journey as a real writer in Mr. Burrows’ classes.

3) What is the advice you would give children’s authors to get started?

There are various genres of children’s books and you should choose the one you feel the most passion for. For me, it was middle grade fantasy adventure. Make up a list of story ideas, filling in as much of the plots as you can. Then choose the best one and write the book. Get as much feedback as you can. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t have immediate success. You may need to write several books before you learn how to do it well. You must be willing to keep writing, even without much encouragement in the form of income and recognition. In a nutshell, the trick is to keep writing. Never, never, never quit.

4) Who is your favorite character from a children’s book?

As a boy, I loved to read science fiction and fantasy stories, and action-adventures. It was that sort of thing that inspired me to tackle the Johnny Graphic Trilogy. I simply wanted to create a ripping ghost-adventure yarn that both young readers and adults could enjoy. But having said all that, my favorite character in a children’s book is something quite different. It’s Ratty, from The Wind in the Willows. (Which is my all-time favorite novel.) He is the center of gravity in that peerless story of three fast animal friends. While the Mole is shy and timorous, and the Toad grandiose and lunatic, the Water Rat is the solid one who keeps it all together. We should all be as decent and steadfast as Ratty.

5) How could you sum up what writing means to you?

I’ve been fortunate to make my living as a journalist and marketing-communications writer. But even when no one is paying me, I have to keep writing. Though my novels and blogs don’t make much money, I have to write them. Writing is simply too much fun to ever quit putting words on the page. To me, it is as essential as breathing.

6) What are your current writing projects?

In the year since I finished the second Johnny Graphic book, Johnny Graphic and the Attack of the Zombies, I’ve concentrated on two adult mystery series, written under my pen name, Richard Audry. The Karma of King Harald is the first book in a canine cozy series starring a rescue dog who sniffs out crime. I’m working on the second book, King Harald’s Haul, right now. I’ve also written two historical mystery novellas, A Pretty Little Plot and The Stolen Star, which feature 18-year-old sleuth Mary MacDougall. And I’m plotting out the third and final Johnny Graphic adventure. I’ve grown very fond of Johnny and his friends, and I want to make sure they end up safe and sound after all the turmoil I’ve put them through.

 

His websites include: D. R. Martin Books; The Johnny Graphic Adventures; and Travis McGee & Me.

A free reader’s guide for Johnny Graphic and the Etheric Bomb is available at the Johnny Graphic Adventures website.

Adobe Photoshop PDF

 

 

Johnny Graphic Adventure #1: Johnny Graphic And The Etheric Bomb

Available at:

Amazon(paperback): http://www.amazon.com/Johnny-Graphic-Etheric-Bomb-Volume/dp/0985019611

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008B6Z6B8

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Johnny Graphic Adventure #2: Johnny Graphic And The Attack of The Zombies
Available at:

Back To School 2014 Blog Tour: Featured Author Becca Price

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b2schblogtour2014Welcome to the first day of the Back to School Blog Tour for 2014. It’s part of my give back to the Indie Children’s Author community. I am featuring some unique and fabulous books this week from picture books to YA. With the new Common Core being adopted in many schools throughout the US, this is a great time to learn about new authors and possible new books for guided reading and novel studies. Plus, if you just want to find a great new book to read at the start of school, please check back each day for our new featured author.

This year, we have a Back To School Book Bundle Giveaway featuring books donated by the featured authors. Enter to win by joining featured authors’ social media links. It’s a great way to stay in touch with what the featured authors will be doing in the Fall and months to come. Plus, your welcomed to share what you learned by reposting any of the featured posts. The giveaway will run through the end of the weekend, Sept. 7, 2014. Winners will be announced on the blog 48 hours after the end of the giveaway. All the authors featured for this week have donated books for the giveaway. Here is your chance to support Indie authors and win something too! Here is what you can win:

Grand Prize Book Bundle:

Becca Price: Fairies and Fireflies

imgresRachel Cole: The Rabbit Ate My Homework

Clare K.R. Miller: A Star to Guide Her Trilogy (YA) Ebook Trilogy

D.R. Martin: Johnny Graphic Adventure Series (Middle Grade) Paperback or Ebook edition

Garrett Carter: I Want To Be An Athlete and a Teacher (Picture Book) Paperback signed edition

 

Runner Up: One runner-up winner will receive The Lost Secret of Fairies Ebook or Paperback edition and a $10 Starbucks Gift Card

 

Back to School Book Bundle Giveaway 2014: LINK HERE!

(***Note: Giveaway set to Pacific Daylight Time)

 

Becca Price: First Featured Author Sept. 1

 

Our first featured author is Becca Price. She first joined the blog tour last year, and has been up to writing many more books since she was last featured. She is almost done with her Fairies and Fey series, and is adding a bit more spice by working on a YA. It has been a wonderful experience to see her list of books grow over the last year. I had a chance to ask Becca about her current and future projects, and what she remembers about her favorite memories of her most inspiring teacher.

1) What is your favorite memory from the beginning of a school year?

Becca Price: The first day of school often coincided with my birthday (this was back when schools started in early September) so I’d get a lot of fancy school stuff and clothes for birthday gifts. And books! I’d usually get lots of books for my birthday — so I had the triple excitement of a new school year, a birthday, and new books to read in boring classes. (did I actually say that?)

2) Who was your most inspiring teacher? Why?

Becca Price: I had two very inspiring teachers in junior high and high school, and it is to my deepest shame that I don’t recall their names. In Junior High, I had a history teacher who recognized that I could write my stories and poems in class, and still keep up good grades in her class. She let me write whatever I wanted to, as long as I showed it to her when I was done. She was very encouraging, even though my poetry was mostly doggerel at that point.  My stories were typical early teen self-indulgence, but she’d often underline a sentence or paragraph that was particularly good.

In high school, I took a creative writing class. My teacher there, too, was very encouraging about my way with words, but warned me that the path of a professional fiction writer was hard, and not very well paid.

3) What is the advice you would give children authors to get started?

Becca Price: Read all the children’s books you can. Read Neil Gaiman for sheer brilliance, Charles de Lint for his way of making every word and scene count, read the classic children’s literature because they’re fun. But read, read, read everything you can get your hands on. You never know what will spark inspiration.

4) Who is your favorite character from a children’s book?

Becca Price: Oddly, the little engine from The Little Engine That Could. “I think I can, I think I can.” Words that should be engraved in every child’s heart.

5) How could you sum up what writing means to you?

Becca Price: Writing is life, writing is breath. Writing is emotion, both joy and sorrow. I’ve always written, I can’t imagine not writing. There was a long period where I was on medication that decreased creativity (was known for that, in fact) and it was horrible.  The week I got off that was the week I first published Dragons and Dreams.

6) What are your current writing projects?

Becca Price: Right now I’ve got several irons in the fire. The most pressing is re-releasing all my books with illustrations, and getting them professionally laid out. I’ve found the most wonderful artist, Sara Anderson, who really captures the story themes and my writing style, and I adore her.  She also has several unpublished stories to illustrate for me, so that they’ll come out as a first edition with illustrations.  I hope to have all those done by the end of 2014.

In the mean time, I’ve started a fairly major project, The Woods Between. It’s hard to describe. It’s for a YA/Adult audience, still a fairy tale, but a multi-generation saga of one family’s interactions with fairyland for good and ill. It will be composed of three separate stories for 3 distinct generations, showing how the actions of each previous generation affects the next generation.  It started out as a simple quest fairy tale, and my husband asked a simple question, and the rest cascaded from there. I have no idea how long it will be, but don’t look for publication until early 2015.

I’m also about 2/3 done with my next collection, Quests and Fairy Queens — I’m hoping to work on the two or three missing stories when I’m not working on The Woods Between.

Thank you Becca for kicking off the Back To School Blog Tour this year. I can’t wait to see where this next year takes you. For more information or connect with Becca Price:

Featured Book:

Fairies and Fireflies

Available at:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fairies-Fireflies-Bedtime-Becca-Price-ebook/dp/B00MDN9YCW

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fairies-and-fireflies-becca-price/1118113275

For more information on Becca Price:

email: WyrmTalesPress@gmail.com

blog: http://www.wyrmtalespress.com/

her mailing list at:   http://eepurl.com/JA5e1