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2018 Back To School Blog Tour Day 5

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

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

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

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

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

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

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

2)   What is your most memorable school moment?

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

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

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

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

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

5)   What is writing to you in one sentence?

Simon Haynes: My job!

6)   What projects are you working on right now?

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

The third in my fantasy comedy series.

A science fiction short

Book nine in my science fiction series

Book four in my middle grade SF series

three pen-name novels

A new space opera/murder mystery title.

I may leave one or two until next year.

7)   What advice would you give young writers?

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

8)   What is your typical day as a writer?

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

9)   What inspired you when you were younger?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tiffany Turner

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2018 Back To School Blog Tour Day 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Day Momma Made Me Dance

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

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

We Blend Well Together

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4)   What is writing to you in one sentence?

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

5)   What advice would you give young writers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tiffany Turner

2018 Back to School Blog Tour Day 3

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

  • Who was your favorite children’s author and how did they influence you?
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Janet Hurst-Nicholson is the author of the Leon Chameleon PI series.

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

  • What is your most memorable school moment?

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

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

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

4)   What advice would you give young writers?

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

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

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

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

6)   What is your typical day as a writer?

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

7)   What projects are you working on right now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2)   What is writing to you in one sentence?

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

3)   What projects are you working on right now?

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

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

4)   What advice would you give young writers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tiffany Turner

 

2018 Back to School Blog Tour Day 1

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Welcome to the first day of the Back to School Blog Tour. We have three fabulous children’s authors featured today, Becca Price, Margit Elland Schmitt, and Dan Mclaughlin.

I’ll be introducing them in a moment. But first, I wanted to put up our list of GIVEAWAYS and Discounted Books. Everything runs through the blog tour this week, Sept. 10-14. So enter and pick up your goodies soon!

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Becca Price is the author of Heart of Rock, a children’s fantasy middle grade novel.

And now without further adieu, here are our featured authors for today. After reading their interviews,  please visit their websites to find out more about these wonderful authors and some exciting blog posts relating to the blog tour.

Becca Price is our first featured author of the Back to School Blog Tour. Ms. Price started writing fairy tales when she couldn’t find the stories her children enjoyed for bedtime. She wrote them down and self-published them at the beginning of the self-pub revolution. Nine books later, she’s been working on her first adult fantasy. Becca Price lives on ten acres of weeds, swamp and trees with her husband, two children, and four cats.

I had the chance to chat with Becca Price about her childhood memories growing up, her writing process, and what upcoming projects are on the way.

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

Becca Price: There were three books that were most meaningful to me growing up. I loved Lewis Carroll – his play with words, made up words, making nonsense sound like sense (I’m thinking of Jabberwocky here). I also really liked The Little Engine that Could. When I’m stressed or unsure where to go, I still hear that voice saying “I think I can. I think I can.”

But I think the book that had the greatest impact on me was one of the Dick and Jane books. I was looking at it, when all of a sudden it clicked in that the letters C A T spelled cat, and meant the picture of a little black cat above the words. That was when reading really clicked in for me.

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

 Becca Price: It’s not a routine, exactly. I’ll start mulling over a story in my mind, until I’m pretty sure I know the story and how it should start. Then, all I have to do is write it out. I’ll let it sit for a few days, make some corrections, and then send it off to my editor, Martha Hayes, for a final tune-up.

If it’s a short story, sometimes I simply sit down to type. I’ll have a character in my mind, and let him or her tell me their story.

3)   What is writing to you in one sentence?

Becca Price: One sentence? Wow. Let’s see. Writing is my life. I’d write even if nobody ever read it. Yeah, that’s it. Writing is my life.

4)   What projects are you working on right now?

Becca Price: Right now, I’m working on a novel, The Boy Who Loved The Moon. It’s quite a complex structure, so I’m having to think out loud on paper before I actually start writing it. It’s morphing as I go. It started out a simple middle grade myth, and now I think it’s an adult level book with lots more characters. I’m having to do a lot of research into the Hero’s Journey for that one.

7)   What advice would you give young writers?

Becca Price: Read. Read everything you can. If it’s a good book, read it twice, and look at what the author did. Read outside your main genre. Read classics. Just read.

 

heartrockcvrBecca Price is the author of fabulous fantasy middle reader books. Heart of Rock is her featured book for our blog tour.

Booktrailer Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrgZJanzXIw

“In the distant past, a city of wizards was menaced by horrible Night Mares. The wizards carved hideous gargoyles out of stone, bringing them to life using the magical Heart of Rock, to defend their city.

Now the Heart of Rock is needed to save another kingdom, and one brave cobbler must find it. But the gargoyles cannot live without their talisman; will the cobbler’s quest to save his kingdom doom theirs?”

Heart of Rock is available on Amazon.com.

For more information on Becca Price and her books, please visit her website at: http://www.wyrmtalespress.com

PLUS—especially for this blog tour, Becca Price has posted a behind the scenes article on the writing process.

My second interview of the Back to School Blog Tour is with co-authors of the newly released book, The Dragon, Lucinda, and George. Margit Elland Schmitt and Dan McLaughlin co-authored the book. It started as a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) project and proceeded from its first 50k to its current 90k. It is a new spin on the legend of St. George and the Dragon. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it and the discussion I had with these two about their writing, school memories, and future projects.

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Margit Elland Schmitt is the co-author of the book, The Dragon, Lucinda, and George.

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

Margit Says: I loved the Matter-of-Fact Magic series by Ruth Chew, and would read them every chance I got.  It absolutely tickled me that the author was able to find such funny stories about how magic messes with people in the normal world, while avoiding the cliché where people are surprised to see flying brooms or sparkly sparks in the air.  “Of course, there’s magic,”  her characters would say.  “I already knew that.”  I wanted to live in a world where you could expect to see magic any day of the week.

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Dan McLaughlin is the other co-author of the book, The Dragon, Lucinda, and George.

2)    What is your most memorable school moment?

Dan Says: In high school, I was an indifferent student (mostly c’s and b’s with the occasional d or a). The most memorable moment came in chemistry (A class I was destined from birth to get a d in). For some reason, the teacher thought that having the students get up and give the answers to questions facilitated the pedagogical process. While I had been attentive to the mechanics and form of the lectures, I had absorbed very little of the actual content of the subject matter. The last time I was called upon to speak in class, I produced an impressive looking equation sprinkled with various terms (only two of which I now recall, “valence” and “rate determining equation”). I delivered my answer like the good serious student I was. It took the teacher a minute or so to realize I had no idea what I was saying with such authority. It was the first time I got a laugh from an audience and I realized my writing/performing style was to subvert conventional norms and clichés.

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

Dan Says: Chemistry, specifically. Anything involving learning a rigid routine leading to only one correct answer, in general.

Margit Says: Trigonometry was my nemesis.  In fact, a lot of math made no sense to me, but it’s interesting (to me) that when I went back over those subjects as an adult, I was able to find new ways to see the problems and the patterns, and I’ve made my peace with math.

4)    What advice would you give young writers?

Dan Says: Figure out the “why” or question you are interested in of your story first, and then figure out a story to answer that question.  Why do people believe in religion when prayers are often not answered? (Answer in my book Gott Mit Uns – There is a bureaucracy that balances things out). What are the consequences of being more polite to strangers than to family and friends? (My book, Pass the Damn Salt, Please traces a relationship entirely through dialogue and illustrates the destructive nature of “honesty”).

Another interesting idea is to take a well know story and tell it from another character’s point of view. I wrote a book called Ice Girls about the story of The Little Match Girl from the point of view of management, and with Margit Schmitt we retold the Story of St. George and the Dragon with a happy ending for the dragon. The advantage of reworking a story already known is that the basic characters and plot are already established, and you can concentrate on the elements of style that interest you.

5)    What is your typical day as a writer?

Dan Says: All my books and projects were written when I had a full-time job (librarian). So, my typical days as a writer consist of me coming home from work, being nice to my wife and then retreating to a place where I can write. And then checking in periodically to see that everything is still OK.

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

Dan Says: Arthur Schlesinger’s 3 vols. on the New Deal. History backed up by footnotes that told a story the explained the present and gave guidance to the future with fascinating stories and personalities within the main story.

7) What inspired you when you were younger?

Dan Says: Not to be a total cliché, but my parents. My mom, who said after another devastatingly mediocre IQ test result, “That’s OK, Danny, they just haven’t figured out a way to measure your intelligence yet.” (and I believed her); and to my dad an incredibly talented independent experimental filmmaker who never made the same film twice. From him I learned that any creative art is about solving questions or problems or passions that interest the artist.

Margit Says: I joke a lot about one teacher who said I’d never make a great writer, but the truth is, I was really lucky to have support at home and at school.  When I was young, I was always writing stories and plays with my friends and family, and I’m still amazed at how often people gave me the opportunity to perform those works in public.  There’s nothing like reading before a live audience to really cue you in to the weak places in your story!  And nothing as rewarding as getting a laugh or a sigh at just the right moment.

dragonLucindacvrTheir book, The Dragon, Lucinda and George, can be found at Amazon.com. It’s a book with a quirky new look at the old legend of St. George and the Dragon. Dive right into a new adventure where fantasy isn’t always so cute and dry. Knights and Princesses are not always so easy to understand, especially when your new friend is a dragon.

Visit Margit Elland Schmitt’s website at: https://margitellandschmitt.wordpress.com.

Dan Mclaughlin’s website is: http://danmclaughlin.info/index.html.This is their first collaborative novel. I hope there will be more. Hint. Hint.

back2schoolbanner2018Thank you for stopping by the Back to School Blog Tour Day 1. Please be sure to continue your tour by visiting the author’s websites and checking out their fabulous books! I hope you’re able to fill up your Back to School reading lists this week.

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

-Tiffany Turner

Pre-Back To School Blog Tour: Interview with Dr. Gary Haq

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My Dad, The Earth Warrior is available on Amazon.com.

Dr. Gary Haq is the author of the book, My Dad, The Earth Warrior. Dr. Haq is a real life earth warrior, an associate researcher at a global environmental think tank and research scientist at a European research center. My Dad, The Earth Warrior, is a story about a boy and his dad connecting from a long distance relationship to save the Mother Earth. The story is inspirational in helping middle readers to understand environmental issues and help get involved. Dr. Haq was able to sit down and talk with me about his memories of reading from childhood, his favorite author, and what will be some more of his upcoming projects.

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

As a child, I was engrossed in the world of Narnia. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was one of my favourite books. After reading it, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series. It was the first time I felt an overwhelming urge to continue reading.

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

Besides, C. S. Lewis, Roald Dahl was one of my favourite authors. I loved his crazy funny characters and strange world. I am sure he influenced my funny sense of humour, which is reflected in My Dad, The Earth Warrior.

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

In this book, I have taken a humorous approach to environmental issues such as climate change, fracking and loss of green space. While I have interest in writing more eco-adventures, my current work in progress is a funny, fantasy adventure.

For more information on Gary Haq and his book, My Dad, The Earth Warrior, visit his website at: https://www.garyhaqwrites.com/. He is also available on Twitter at @drgaryhaq. My Dad, The Earth Warrior is available at Amazon.com.

back2schoolbanner2018**Look for more children’s author interviews starting next week with the Back to School Blog Tour 2018. Giveaways, book discounts, and featured authors and their books will be posted all week from Sept. 10-14. Bookmark and join us all next week for a celebration of children’s authors and their books to kick off the new school year!

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

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

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

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE!

Winners will be announced on the blog next week.

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

Teddy O’Malley’s Book Review

Becca Price’s Book Review

Until next year,

Keep reading! Keep Writing!

-Tiffany Turner

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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Tiffany Turner, author of the Crystal Keeper Chronicles

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

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

What is your most memorable school moment?

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

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

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

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

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

What is writing to you in one sentence?

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

What projects are you working on right now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Back To School Blog Tour 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/?

 

Back To School Blog Tour 2017 Starts Sept. 11

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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

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

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

-Mrs. Turner

Back To School Blog Tour: Day 5

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backtoschool2016I’d like to wrap up the blog tour by saying a big thank you to all of the participating authors for joining this annual event. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the different featured authors this week.

Please feel free to visit the blog/websites of participating authors to find out more about them:

Plus, here is a list of additional blog posts that appeared on participating blogs this week:

An interview with Martine Lewis on Erin Liles’s blog:

https://editperfectword.com/2016/09/15/martine-lewis-author-of-the-grey-eyes-series/

For an interview with me, Tiffany Turner, head over to Sandra R. Anderson’s Blog:

http://www.sandrarandersson.com/2016/09/back-to-school-blog-tour-interview-with_12.html

Teaching Tips on Philip Gibson’s Blog:

http://www.wordbywordseries.com/blog.html

SO, TODAY IS THE LAST CHANCE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAYS/PICK UP DISCOUNTS AND FREEBIES!

GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS

Here is one last shot at the 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

Thanks so much for joining myself and the other Indie children’s authors this week. I’ve enjoyed hosting the Back to School Blog Tour again this year. I can’t wait to celebrate the 5th Annual tour next year. Sign-ups will begin in August 2017.

To all of those teachers and students out there starting the 2016-2017 school year, best of learning to you all! Have a great year!

-Tiffany Turner