Tag Archives: authors

Interview with Alexandria Rose Rizik

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5) What is writing to you in one sentence?

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

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

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

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

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

Tartan Day Scottish Fair Website:

http://www.eastbayscots.org/

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

February Author Spotlight: Interview with Allison Holland

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bio_picFebruary Featured Author

I’m proud to introduce a fabulous writer. Allison Holland is a children’s picture book author that has left the 9-to-5 corporate world to write children’s books. Of course, her new bosses are brutally honest and a joy to work for. She is the author of the Raspberry Sassafras picture book series. In my exclusive interview with her, she reveals some inspirational authors from her childhood, memories of being an avid reader, and what it’s like in the new job she loves, writing for children.

What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

HeadAllisonBabyThat’s a tough one because I read voraciously as a child. I was like a little swarm of locusts devouring everything I could get my hands on. But the one thing that really stands out for me is when I was given Kay Thompson’s Eloise. Growing up in the late 1960s and early 1970s, feminism and the equal rights movement were undoubtedly in full-swing, but it didn’t seem to trickle down to little girls. We were expected to like dolls and tea sets and patent leather Mary Janes, and Girl Power was a concept on par with having phones you could carry around in your pocket. That is to say, it wasn’t even a consideration. But then Eloise came along, and unlike all the sweet, dainty little girls in my other books, she was a hot mess. Just like me. She was the first book character I could relate to, and I loved it. I loved her. That’s probably why I still have that book on my shelf today.

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

I think I was more drawn to a book’s characters than to its author. I loved Beverly Cleary’s Ramona for much the same reason I loved Eloise, but I don’t recall ever thinking, “I want to be a writer just like Beverly Cleary.” I liked Roald Dahl because he could be a bit dark and sometimes scary. I remember being a bit shaken up that James’ parents were killed in James and the Giant Peach. But, at the same time, it made the story much more interesting than all the typical fluff aimed at readers my age. But the first one that made me want to write like him was Shel Silverstein. Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout was my absolute favorite, and I remember writing long, terrible poems trying to emulate Silverstein. I don’t write poetry anymore (you’re welcome, world) but I feel that I still carry his influence. From him, I learned that every word matters and using the wrong one is like playing the wrong note in a musical piece. It’s noticeable, it stands out, it disrupts the flow.

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

I don’t, actually. I’ll make notes and write down ideas, but I don’t sit down and write for a certain number of hours every day. I write in waves and gushes. When an idea hits me, it hits me all at once. I was driving to meet a friend when the inspiration for Raspberry Sassafras: I Am A Cow struck, and by the time I arrived at my destination, I had the whole story figured out in my head. All I had to do was get it into my laptop when I got home. When I do write, when an idea blossoms in my brain, I can bang away at my computer for hours on end, editing, re-editing and tweaking it, first writing, and then endlessly tweaking it until I’ve taken care of all the sour notes.

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

I’ll definitely be writing more Raspberry Sassafras books … in fact, I’m pretty much done with the story for the fourth book, and I just need to crank out the illustrations. Which can take a while because I’m a terrible artist and I have to tweak my drawing far more than my writing. I want to cover essential things with Raspberry and Jane, things that matter to kids … bullying, being different, peer pressure, loneliness … but I never want to be heavy-handed. I hope that any message or lesson I’m trying to convey wafts gently into the child’s mind and easily sinks in. I never want my books to shout, “This is wrong!” or “This is scary!” Kids are smart, they can absorb a subtle message. I also want to break up the message-parade with some stories that are just for fun … Raspberry In Space, Raspberry Visits The Farm, Raspberry Confronts Her Irrational Fear Of Clowns … hahaha!

What is writing to you in one sentence?

Writing is the key to my identity, my self-confidence and, quite often, my sanity.

RS01_Raspberry_SassafrasAllison Holland’s Raspberry Sassafras picture books series has three darling picture books for children ages 4-9. The first in the series, Raspberry Sassafras, introduces the beloved cow Raspberry Sassafras as she moves from her farm to an apartment in the city. She learns to adapt teaching her friend to except her for who she is. The second book has Raspberry Sassafras exploring the city park, and her encounters with dogs. They learn that being different than others is okay. And in the third book in the series, Raspberry Sassafras, the Flying Cow, embraces her talent and shows it off to the world. All of these picture books can be purchased from Amazon.com and  Barnes and Noble.

For more information on Allison Holland and her other books, visit her website:

https://raspberrysassafras.com/

Buy Links for all three books:

Raspberry Sassafras

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-Allison-Holland/dp/B01GLC0RAS

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126574449

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The second book in the Raspberry Sassafras series.

Raspberry Sassafras: I Am A Cow

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-I-Am-Cow/dp/1365956229

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126575024

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The third book in the Raspberry Sassafras series.

Raspberry Sassafras: The Famous Flying Cow

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-Famous-Flying-Cow/dp/1365989879

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126575037

***Stay tuned for a book review of the Raspberry Sassafras series in the next couple of days! Hit the button on the left, and follow my blog to be updated on all of the new and exciting Indie Authors in Children’s Books!

 

This Weekend: Local Literature Festival in Downtown San Jose with Tiffany Turner

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I’m proud to announce I’ll be part of the Local Literature Festival this year being held at the downtown branch of the San Jose Public Library. 25 local Silicon Valley authors will be there to talk about their books, sell you a signed copy, and talk to you about questions you may have. It’s a great opportunity to see the local talent the Silicon Valley has to offer. Plus, if you are interested in writing or self-publishing, come hear the different panels talking about genre, writing, and a presentation from Pressbooks on self-publishing. It plans to be a fantastic afternoon.

  • Local Literature Festival 2017
  • Sunday Dec. 10, 2017 2pm-5pm
  • Downtown San Jose at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library-RM 225
  • 150 East San Fernando Street, San Jose, CA 95112

    Authors will be selling and signing books. Come get the precious gift of reading for your family and friends, and support local authors. Panels will be going through the afternoon on different literature related subjects. I look forward to seeing you there. -Mrs. Turner

New Humorous Book For Parents: Driving Grandpa

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Driving Grandpa is available on Amazon and is a KU title.

Since I come across a lot of books in my work as a children’s author and teacher, I thought I’d expand into a new section to my blog: Books that are for parents. There are all kinds of books that can support that hardest job of all, especially with your own parents. That is where my first book fits in.

Driving Grandpa by John Redstand is an adult humorous book that tells the ups and downs of the other parenting, parenting your parents. It tells of the adventure of a grandson in helping out his grandfather after losing his wife. All the relatives have had a go in taking care of grandpa. Now it is his turn, and that is when the fun begins.

This was a great book that takes a look at the quality time spent with our elders. Through WWII stories, stories of life, and the journey to patent an outboard motor, we get to know the unique relationship of a boy grown a man and his grandfather. I bonded with both the author’s humorous take on his grumpy grandfather, and was touched by the way their relationship grows through the book.

I would recommend this book to anyone that would relish the story of giving homage to the Great Generation and how we need to care for loved ones before they leave us forever. It’s a great book for the kid in all of us.

***Driving Grandpa is available exclusively on Amazon and is a Kindle Unlimited title!

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/?

 

Speaking Engagement for Children’s Author Tiffany Turner

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Tiffany Turner will be leading a Creative Session at the SCBWI Asilomar Children’s Writing Conference. The session will be entitled: Writer’s Block Walk and will be on Saturday, March 4 at 3:15pm-4:00pm.

writerblockwalkDescription: Got writer’s block on a project? Bring your project for a walk around Asilomar along the beach and dunes. Brainstorm with other writers, and take some time in nature to write and release new ideas.

Still time to sign up for this excellent children’s writing conference at: https://sfsouth.scbwi.org/events/2017-golden-gate-conference/.

A message from Tiffany Turner:

“I’ve been attending the SCBWI South San Francisco Asilomar Writing Conference for over 10 years. Each year it is a shot in the arm to help get my creative juices flowing. It is also a great opportunity to mingle and pitch to children’s editors and agents. It’s a small conference, and many times it’s a nice family and friend-like atmosphere that is great for children’s writers just starting out to the seasoned veteran like myself. Great weekend getaway and chance to focus on your children’s writing career.

Still time to sign-up, and if you are coming already, please join me for the walk. It’s something similar to what I’ve done and I’ve heard others do during this writing conference. Except I’ve taken it to a new level by giving this walk some structure and applying it to something I think a nature walk helps with the best, writer’s block. It should be a fun writing activity. I look forward to meeting you.” -Tiffany Turner

Interview with Sybil Nelson

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Sybil Nelson

I am pleased to present to you the interview with Sybil Nelson. Sybil is the author of the “Priscilla the Great” series and several other YA books. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband and two children. She is currently working on her PHD in Biostatistics. She graciously took time out of her busy schedule to answer the following questions.

1) How did you get your idea to write about a preteen super hero?

Do you want the real answer or what I tell everyone? I’ll give you both and let you choose.
Truth: Due to a change in birth control, I ended up having my period for a month straight. I was so annoyed and wished that my period could bring me something besides cramps and chocolate cravings. I thought it would be cool if my period could also bring me superpowers. So I got the idea for a girl who got super powers on her first period. I wrote the entire book in less than 30 days. When HarperCollins showed interest in the book, The Adventures of PMS Girl, they convinced me to get rid of the period concept and to change the book to Priscilla the Great. After eight months of editing with them, they ultimately rejected the book.

What I tell everyone: I really wanted there to be a book that triumphed the power of being a girl. There are lots of great action books for boys, but not so many for girls. I used to love reading comic books as a kid and I am addicted to the X-Men. I thought there needed to be a superhero book for girls that are like me when I was young.

2) What is your favorite characteristic about Priscilla?
I love her sense of humor. She really tells it as she sees it. She might not always see it correctly, but her way of viewing things is definitely amusing.

3) What kind of books did you enjoy reading while growing up?
I read anything and everything when I was growing up. I even went through a Harlequin romance phase. Hey, maybe that is why Priscilla’s mother’s name is Quinn.

4) What advice would you give to young writers?
Write every day. That is the way to hone your craft. I find that if I skip a few days of writing, it’s harder to get back in the flow of things. But when you write every day, you are sharpening your skills. And you can’t edit an empty page. You have to have something written. So just write. Write anything all the time.

5) What is your writing routine?
I try to write at least 1000 words a day. I keep a journal with me where I jot down ideas all day long and then at night before I go to bed, I type out those ideas.

6) In one sentence, how would you describe what it is to write?
Writing is freedom.

7) Any new projects in the works? Future events?
Ha! I have so many ideas I don’t have time to write them all. Here is what I’m currently working on.

Dark Marco – Spin off of Priscilla the Great
La Cienega’s Smile – Short story prequel to Nothing Else Matters
Somehow Someday – YA romance

I have more projects, but I have to limit it to three at a time.

Sybil Nelson’s books are available on Amazon.com, Smashwords and Barnes and Nobles.com.

*Read the book review of Priscilla the Great.