Tag Archives: children’s authors

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

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.


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.


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:

UPDATE: Back to School Blog Tour Starts Monday, Sept. 7

Join in on the Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 7-11, 2015

Join in on the Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 7-11, 2015

PLANS ARE UNDERWAY! The blog tour will begin next week on Monday, Sept. 7. All week there will be author interviews, and links to participating author blogs with behind the scenes posts, back to school memories, and giveaways.

Here is the list of participating authors:

Participating Authors:

  • Marilyn Peake Monday Sept. 7
  • Rue Cole Tuesday Sept. 8
  • Sean McCartney Wednesday Sept. 9
  • Lee Winters Thursday Sept. 10
  • Recap day of giveaways

It will be a fabulous way to celebrate the beginning of school. Plus, I’ll be releasing my first Writing Project lesson plans in a Back to School Writing Project packet that will be available on Teacherspayteachers.com. All lessons comply with the new Common Core Standards and are drawn from my 18 years of teaching experience.

Looking forward to having you there! I’ll see you on Monday, Sept. 7!

-Tiffany Turner

(Mrs. Turner)

May Author Spotlight: Arnold Rudnick


WOI Banner for Arnold Rudnick April 2015 webI’d like to introduce you to a new feature here on the Indie Children’s Connection. Each month, I’ll be featuring a new Indie Children’s Author with links to their books and a spotlight, book review, and author interview or giveaway.

We’re starting off May with a feature on Arnold Rudnick. He writes several different types of books including middle grade novels and picture books. His books have a new twist on different genres. He fills his books with realistic characters that are easy to relate to. Often, they have some unique obstacle they have to face.

Little Green coverArnold Rudnick has a gift for creating fascinating stories to challenge children toward self-improvement and self esteem. In LITTLE GREEN he introduces a little green frog (beautifully realized by illustrator Marcelo Goreman) who has big dreams to be special.

ISBN: 0981587976

Publisher Paraphrase, LLC

​E.S. Pete: Sixth Grade Sense is about the perils of a paranormal preteen.

Pete knew there would be a lot more homework in Sixth Grade, but he didn’t plan on the reading list including the minds of his teachers and classmates. Knowing what they think can be helpful sometimes, but it also gets complicated — ESPecially when Pete thinks the substitute teacher is planning a big robbery.espetecvr

ISBN: 0981587909

Publisher: Paraphrase, LLC

 ARNOLD RUDNICK has written for many television shows, including THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR, STAR TREK: VOYAGER and THE NEW ADDAMS FAMILY.

Author Website: http://isntitpossible.com and http://espete.com

Follow on

Twitter @isntitpossible or arnoldrudnick

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/arnold.rudnick

FB Fan Pages:



World of Ink Virtual Tour http://www.worldofinknetwork.com/arnold-rudnick-april-15.html

***Stay tuned this week for Author Interview and Book Review of E.S. Pete: Sixth Grade Sense.

Back To School Blog Tour Giveaway: Ending Sept. 8


b2schblogtour2014Just wanted to give one more shout out for the Back to School Blog Tour Giveaway. Though the tour wrapped on Friday Sept. 5, the giveaway is still open until midnight on Sept. 8 PST.

So, if you haven’t entered, there is still a chance to enter for the next 8 hours. Simple things such as liking an author on Facebook or tweeting about the giveaway will grant an entry. You can enter several times by doing different social media activities. Help out an Indie Children’s Author by spreading the word about them, and enter a chance to win. The winners will be announced on the blog within 48 hours of the giveaway closure. Good luck!


Link to Win Here:


Back To School Blog Tour 2014: Featured Author Clare K. R. Miller


Welcomb2schblogtour2014e to day 3 of the Back to School Blog Tour. 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 books each day. So, keep coming back each day and enter.




Today’s Featured Author is Clare K.R. Miller. She writes urban and secondary-world fantasy and science fiction for teens and adults. Today her A Star to Guide Her YA Trilogy is featured which includes the books Solitary Star, Wandering Star, and Pole Star.

The first book in the Star To Guide Her Trilogy. In celebration of the Back to School Tour, use this coupon code to get a free copy ofSolitary Star: GM39T on Smashwords.com.

Interview with Clare K.R. Miller:

Clare K.R. Miller is the author of the YA Trilogy "A Star To Guide Her".

Clare K.R. Miller is the author of the YA Trilogy “Guide To The Stars”.

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

I’ve always loved the first days of school. Actually, fall is my favorite season overall—it has the beginning of the school year, my birthday, Halloween, and great clothes! I associate the beginning of school with all the changes of fall—the leaf colors, the coolness and bite in the air—as well as, of course, new books, notebooks, and teachers.

But my favorite memory is actually the first day of college, which was really in the summer, not the fall. I drove to college in my own car, the first time I’d ever driven even half that far—over a hundred miles! It was my first time being on my own, without my parents. It was scary, but fun too. I made some great friends there, and I learned a lot.

2) Who was your most inspiring teacher? Why?

This is a really tough choice! I’ve had so many amazing teachers, but that honor has to go to my second and fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Weissinger. Yes, I had her for both years—I was in one of the two lucky classes that had her for second grade, then again for fourth grade after she switched. She was the sort of teacher everyone liked: strict enough that we were able to focus and get work done, but not so strict that everyone was scared or upset. And she was really approachable. I felt like I could talk to her about anything.

Most importantly, in second grade we had a weekly Writing Workshop, where we got to sit at our desks and write about whatever we wanted. Needless to say, that was my favorite part of the week! I still have some of the stories I wrote back then, and while they’re mostly just silly to me now, I can also see some of the themes that have always stuck with me as a writer, like retelling fairy tales.

I also still have a Valentine’s card that Mrs. Weissinger wrote for me. I’m certain she wrote them for every one of her students, but mine says, “Roses are red / violets are blue / who writes a story / as well as you?” I like to look at it when I’m feeling down about my writing or as though no one else understands my stories. It’s a reminder that at least Mrs. Weissinger believes in me.

Wow, I’ve written a lot and I could still go on! But suffice to say: thank you, Mrs. Weissinger.

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

Write! That’s the advice everyone always gives, and there’s a reason for that: it’s the best advice. Even if you only have ten minutes a day, or if you can only do it on weekends, try to establish a regular habit of writing. It will get easier the more you do it, and the more practice you get, the better a writer you’ll be.

I think one of the best things a young author can do is practice finishing things. A great way to do that is to sign up for National Novel Writing Month (www.nanowrimo.org). Every year in November, thousands of people from around the world get together to write a 50,000 word novel. Even if you don’t write anything serious, if you really try to finish, by the end you’ll have some kind of novel. Then you can revise it if you want, but it will have given you a better sense of a novel’s structure.

One last thing: if you’re going to college, it may sound counterintuitive, but an English major may not be your best bet. It’s great to read a lot, but you don’t need class for that, and writing classes probably won’t give you the skill to be a successful author unless what you want to write is literary short stories (in which case, go for it). But whatever your major is, I recommend taking lots of history, psychology, and sociology classes—anything that will help you understand how people work. That will help you create better characters and hence, write better stories.

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

There are so many children’s and YA books that I love! But since you’re asking, I have to head for my favorite, and that’s Harry Potter. And my favorite character in the Harry Potter series is, without a doubt, Luna Lovegood.

Luna is different, and she knows and embraces it. Even when people treat her poorly because she’s different, she’s doesn’t get mad or blame herself. She knows that eventually they’ll understand why what they’ve done is wrong—when people steal her things, she doesn’t go after the thieves, knowing that they will return what they took. She has a knack for uncomfortable truths, and she’s much better at understanding people than, maybe, any other character in the books. She’s tough, dealing really well with the bad things that happen in her life. She’s also really, really smart, and unfailingly kind to others—at least those who deserve it! Not only is Luna great fun to read about, she’s an amazing role model. I wish J. K. Rowling would write a whole new series just about Luna.

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

Writing is the most important thing in my life. Thankfully, my fiancé understands that, so he doesn’t get jealous! (My cat, Ophelia, is a different story.) I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write, to come up with stories of my own or look at older stories in a different way. Even if I couldn’t write them down, I would always be coming up with stories in my head.

I think writing is also an incredibly important way to communicate. Tell someone, “this is how I feel,” and they may say they understand. But tell them a story with a character who feels that way, a character they can sympathize with and follow through trials to triumph, and they’ll get it on a much deeper level. Stories shape how we think, so we need to have a lot of them.

6) What are your current writing projects?

The novel project I’m working on right now is another young adult fantasy, Falling Into Light. It’s set in the modern day, and the protagonists have grown up in our world, but after they meet, they discover that their parents are from another world altogether—they left to escape the shadowy monsters that lived there. Then, of course, the protagonists get pulled into that world themselves, and they have to figure out how to get back home.

I’ve also been writing a lot of short pieces in a new story universe, the Ursulan Cycle, which is a genderbent version of the Arthurian legends—instead of King Arthur, we have Queen Ursula, King Gwynn instead of Queen Guinevere, Morwenna instead of Mordred, and even more. You can read some of those stories here at my Dreamwidth journal.

For further information and to connect with Clare K.R. Miller:
Website/blog: http://www.clarekrmiller.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/clarekrmiller
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/clarekmiller
Mailing list signup: http://eepurl.com/wzpHX

The first book in the Star To Guide Her Trilogy.

The first book in the Star To Guide Her Trilogy.


USE THE COUPON: GM39T to get a free copy of Solitary Star exclusive for the Back to School Blog Tour on Smashwords.com.

Coupon good between Sept. 1-5, 2014.

The magic and secrets of the stars

When Noemi’s father dies, leaving her an orphan, her unpleasant relatives don’t waste any time before shipping her off to a poor, out-of-the-way boarding school. For Noemi, that turns out to be the best thing they could ever do for her—and the worst. She learns of the powerful magic at her command… and of the danger that threatens her, simply because of the star that guides her. Many people would like to control or destroy her, and she cannot tell who to trust.

Use this Smashwords coupon for a free copy of Solitary Star: GM39T
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/439952
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KGM8E7S

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00KGM8E7S

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/solitary-star-clare-k-r-miller/1119564172

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/solitary-star-1

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id879953178

All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-solitarystar-1520569-234.html



Wandering Star is the second in “A Star To Guide Her” YA series.

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KQUHVU6

  Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00KQUHVU6

  Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/443571

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wandering-star-clare-k-r-miller/1119639782? ean=9781498997430

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/wandering-star-2

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id884572742

All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-wanderingstar-1532496-234.html


The final book in the “A Star To Guide Her” YA Series. Just released June 24, 2014.

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L2YAX8C

 Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00L2YAX8C

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/446155

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pole-star-clare-k-r-miller/1119698273?ean=9781497716117

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/pole-star-2

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id887089088

All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-polestar-1554206-234.html

Back To School 2014 Blog Tour: Featured Author Becca Price


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


2103 Back to School Blog Tour: Featured Author H.Y. Hanna


Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 2-6 Featured Authors: H.Y. Hanna

Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 2-6 Featured Author: H.Y. Hanna

Welcome to day 3 of the 2013 Back to School Blog Tour. Every day this week, I am posting interviews with the featured authors participating in the blog tour. There are so many excellent books this week that I invite you to visit the links and blogs of the Indie Authors this week. You may be surprised. From ebooks, middle grade novels, to picture books, you will be sure to find something for your child or classroom.

For a list and link to all the authors participating and tour giveaway, link to the Back To School Blog Tour Page here.

Today’s featured author: H.Y. Hanna

The real Honey, the Great Dane, with the author H.Y. Hanna.

The real Honey, the Great Dane, with the author H.Y. Hanna.

H.Y. Hanna was one of those kids that loved writing in school. She lived in many places growing up from London, Hong Kong, New Jersey to Taipei. She enjoys many types of dance from belly dancing to a free style dancing with her Great Dane, Honey. In her interview, she shares her memories growing up, role models, and what it is like to be a writer.

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

I have to admit that I had several favourite teachers – I was a real “teacher’s pet” at school! Winking smile But the one who probably influenced me the most was my English teacher in high school. His name was Mr Devlin and he was Scottish and spoke with a strong Glaswegian accent – nobody in the class understood him for the first couple of weeks, ha! ha! We were a little scared of him, I think, because he was strict and although he never raised his voice, he had a certain way of looking at you with his piercing blue eyes that made you feel absolutely awful for forgetting your homework or whatever. But it was good because he really pushed us to excel and be our best.

In my case, his biggest influence was what he wrote on my “autograph book” (don’t know if you had this convention but it was very popular when I was at school to have “autograph books” that all your friends & teachers signed with little messages, just before you left the school). Anyway, Mr Devlin wrote “The road less travelled is the one for you.” (referring to the famous Robert Frost quote, of course). Well, that made a huge impression on me and all through my life, whenever I’ve been in doubt about my choices, I’ve remembered that message he wrote and taken strength from that. And now, especially in my writing – by choosing to self-publish and especially doing middle grade, which is definitely not as easy to market as the commercial adult genres of romance and thrillers, I’m definitely choosing “the road less travelled”. Winking smile

2) What advice would you give children for the beginning of school?

I know it’s really hard but don’t give in to peer pressure. It’s really tough, especially when you’re starting at a new school (which I did a LOT since my family moved around constantly when I was a child) – and you feel terrible pressure to fit in and do everything like everyone else or listen to what the other kids tell you to do (even if you’re not comfortable doing it) – just because you want to be “liked” and be popular. It’s a cliche but it is really important to “be yourself” – and others will come to respect you in time, if you stick to your own values and beliefs. They might even start to copy you! I was one of those kids who never did things in order to “get in” with the popular gang – but that didn’t stop me making (probably less superficial) friends or having a great time at school. Yes, I got made fun of a lot at the beginning – but gradually, my classmates came to respect me for who I am.

In a way, that is one of the themes in my book, Curse of the Scarab – Book #1 of the Big Honey Dog Mysteries: the lead character, Honey the Great Dane, is torn because all her friends believe the malicious rumours about Pit Bulls and want her to join them in condemning Max the Pit Bull and accusing him of being responsible for the missing puppies. But Honey isn’t sure if she should just blindly follow gossip and judge on stereotypes – and so she has to decide whether to stand up to her friends or cave in to peer pressure.

3) Did you have any role models growing up? Who were they? Why did you admire them?

I guess a lot of my role models were my teachers, actually. I had quite a sheltered life, growing up in Dubai (the sleepy town it was 2 decades ago, not the booming tourist destination it is now) – and so I did not go out much or meet many adults. I didn’t have any extended family either. So the adults that I had the most contact with – outside of my parents – were my teachers.

I was one of those kids who really enjoyed school and loved class and loved to learn new things…and I really looked up to my teachers. As I said, I was a real teacher’s pet and always sat at the front of the class and always knew the answers. I was a regular “Herminone”. Yeah, I know – many of the other kids must have really hated me Winking smile (until they needed to copy my homework, of course!). I especially valued “knowledge” and so I admired my teachers because they all seemed to know so much more than me and were so much more worldly-wise.

4) Do you do anything to help organize your writing or inspire a story?

I like to have “visual aides” – especially of my characters. So when I start a story, I like to search for pictures online of people (or in this case, dogs) that look like my characters – the way I see them in my head. I often assemble them into a collage and print them out to stick up next to the computer, to help inspire me as I’m writing the first draft.

5) What is the kernel of wisdom you have learned about writing?

Hmm…I’m not sure I have any as important as kernels of wisdom! Winking smile I think the main I’ve learnt is that you should really just try to get something down as the first – no matter how awful you think it is – because you can’t fix anything that isn’t there. And then give yourself some time & distance away from it – and when you come back to it you might be surprised – it’s actually not as bad as you thought. Or if it is, you can see where to fix it. I got about halfway through the first draft of my book before I felt like something was wrong about it – something was nagging me – but I couldn’t quite figure out what. Then I had a forced break from it (we were doing a massive cross-country move) and when I came back to it, I realised I was going in totally the wrong direction and so I went back and re-wrote all the chapters. It was a massive job and it seemed terrible at the time, deleting vast chunks of text I’d written…but it was the right decision and made the book a much better, tighter story.

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

I’m working on the second book in the Big Honey Dog Mysteries which will feature Honey the Great Dane and her canine friends on new adventures – and I’m hoping to have that published around Christmas.

Book 1 of Big Honey Dog Mysteries: Curse of the Scarab

Book 1 of Big Honey Dog Mysteries: Curse of the Scarab

H.Y. Hanna’s book 1 of the series , The Big Honey Dog Mysteries, launches in Sept. 2013. Curse of the Scarab will introduce you to the world Honey, the Great Dane, and her canine friends as they solve mysteries, solve riddles, and save, of course, puppies.

**For more information on H.Y. Hanna, please visit her website at: http://www.bighoneydogmysteries.com/ .

***For all of the featured author blog links and blog tour giveaway information, link to the Back to School Blog Tour 2013 Page.

Back to School Blog Tour 2013: Featured Author Sibel Hodge


Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 2-6 Featured Authors: Sibel Hodge

Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 2-6 Featured Author: Sibel Hodge

Welcome to the first day of the Back to School Blog Tour 2013! Every day this week, I will be posting interviews with the featured authors participating in the blog tour. I’ve learned so much and made new connections in setting up this blog tour. I’m happy to share with you some of these fabulous authors.
For a list and link to all the authors participating and tour giveaway, link to the Back To School Blog Tour Page here.

Sibel Hodge is an award winning author that has written books in genres that include romance, cook books, and mysteries. She features her wacky humor and characters with a touch of self-confidence in her books.

Sibel Hodge is the author of -------.

Sibel Hodge is the author of It’s a Catastrophe.

1) Who was your favorite teacher, and how did they influence your writing?
None of my teachers really stand out in my mind as influencing me, although my favourite subjects were English Language and History. I think when you leave school, you don’t remember a lot of what the teachers taught you, but you do remember what they were. Schools need to educate the mind and the heart.

2) What advice would you give children for the beginning of school?
Try to enjoy every minute you can. Education is the most powerful way to make the world a better place to live in. Knowledge is power, and you have the power to do anything you set your mind to.

3) Did you have any role models growing up? Who were they? Why did you admire them?
Most of my role models were people who stood up for injustice in the world. Nelson Mandela would have to be a biggie for me.

4) Do you do anything to help organize your writing or inspire a story?
Inspiration is everywhere – from a book I’ve read, a film I’ve seen, a snippet of conversation, subjects I’m passionate about. Plus, I have a crazy imagination. Most of the time, I don’t really plan out what I’m going to write before I start. I have a rough idea of the beginning and end, but I don’t know how I’m going to get there until the words tumble out of my head.

5) What is the kernel of wisdom you have learned about writing?
Read, read, read! When I was a child, my mum always said if you read books, you’ll never be bored, and it’s so true. Plus, to write good books, you need to recognize good writing and what works, so the more books you read, the easier writing will be.

6) What other projects or books are you working on right now?
I’ve just finished a Young Adult coming of age novel called The See-Through Leopard, which will be released

It's A Catastrophe by Sibel Hodge

It’s A Catastrophe by Sibel Hodge

***Sibel Hodge’s book, It’s A Catastrophe, is available at Amazon.com as an ebook edition.

**For more information on Sibel Hodge, please visit her website at: http://www.sibelhodge.com/
or visit her at her Facebook page.

***For all of the featured author blog links and blog tour giveaway information, link to the Back to School Blog Tour 2013 Page.

Back to School Blog Tour-Sept. 2-6


Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 2-6  Check back for more details!

Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 2-6
Check back for more details!

At this time of year, life gets busy for me. It’s time for me to get back to work. Yes, true confession, I am a teacher. Which can come in pretty handy since I love to write books. But to make things extra fun, besides the fact I just bought a disco ball for my room, I’m planning a Back to School Blog Tour for the week of Sept. 2-6.

Come meet some authors, find out what it’s like to write as an Indie, and learn a few things. There will be all sorts of books from animals, fantasy, and even a humorous look at teaching. It will be a true exciting start to the school year. I should know. This is the start of my 17th year of teaching.

Why is Self-Publishing Working?


IndieLife7There is a revolution going on in publishing right now. Self-publishing is taking off in different directions. At the forefront of this revolution are the innovative authors that share their ideas, articles, and experiences at a certain writing board that is popular for the Bohemians of this revolution. The writing board, KBoards.com, known before as Kindleboards.com, is a gathering place for a lot of the cutting edge Indie authors with ebooks listed on Amazon.com. Many problems are solved, innovations discussed, and ideas abound in a modern day Bohemian life search for getting ones book out and noticed. Four years ago, another self published author directed me to this board to get advice. And it has been a blessing in disguise. I am grateful for this writing board’s help and attention, and I’d like to share some of the advice I’ve found there, and how I’ve made self-publishing work for me.

As usual, there are voices always out there trying to share experiences of self-publishing. One such voice has been humbly sharing all of his processes including his recent signing with Simon & Schuster. His name is Hugh Howey. His book, Wool, is currently on the new release table at Barnes and Noble. His book, Wool(Omnibus edition) was voted runner up in the 2012 Goodreads Book of the Year for the Best Sci-Fiction category. Basically, he started with a good book and self-published. In the end, he’s kept his digital rights pioneering a new frontier for all authors. But then I digress. This is what happened this last week.

Hugh, being tired of seeing such negative comments about self-published authors, presented an article to Salon.com using the Kboard.com thread to research his article, Self Publishing is the Future-And Great for Writers. Basically, he wanted to point out that there are people out there making a living at self-publishing, mostly what would be considered mid-list authors. His basic point was that there are people making a living, or paying the basics such as rent, bills, and other critical things that help you launch as a writer.

There were the normal, negative comments. But there was a surprising amount of support from other self-published authors. Really, it proved to me that there is an underground community, a sense of realness and artist survival shared by many. There were many other stories shared, or even just income per month, on the success of being an Indie Author. It made me think; you just can’t sit around and wait at the drugstore counter to be discovered like everyone else. You have to go out and make self-publishing work for you.

Why is it working for many of us? It has to do with the royalty percentage. Ebooks are still relatively new. Most royalty percentage for self-published companies are 50-60%. My current publisher, Trafford Publishing, gives 50% of the ebook net sales. I have no agent to share this percentage. My average sales is about 10 ebooks a month. Now, this is not terribly impressive compared to some of the other numbers I’ve seen. I also know that children’s ebooks sales are slowly growing. Plus, I am selling books. This is better than collecting dust on a shelf. Most of the 5-6 figures of income of self-publishing authors are Romance and Mystery. Throw in sometimes Sci-Fi, and it is working for many people. It is working better than some people can imagine.

There are some advantages to self-publishing my book. In 2007, I published my first book, The Lost Secret of Fairies. In 2009, I published the second book in the series, The Lost Secret of the Green Man. As the third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, releases this spring, all my previous books are available on the virtual shelf. Readers can go back and buy the earlier books at a listing price of $1.99 or $2.99. But that leads to the next point.

Being successful also depends on your selling price of the book. I saw indie author experiments with pricing influence the price of books. I tried my own with my Amazon Price Matching Experiment last year, and posted on my blog about it. In October 2012, Amazon had a settlement with the US State Attorney to reimburse customers for price fixing with three different publishers. Prices were no longer fixed at $9.99 for ebooks.

In fact, the price points started to drop, you guessed it, to $0.99 to $3.99. In April 2012, Mike Coker did a post on his blog showing what price points worked on his website, Smashwords.com, $0.99 and $3.99. He had all the Indie Author data of experimentation to back him up. That’s when others started to listen. Data is starting to show self-publishing can work. It’s not hard to connect the dots that self-publishing is not only working, but having it’s data and experiences used by other publishers.

Being tuned into all of this uprising is like a front row seat to some of the biggest change happening in publishing. Those of us who have nothing to loose, no overhead, and no corporate structure to answer to can try new things on a whim. I tried the Amazon price matching idea and watched my first book, The Lost Secret of Fairies, be downloaded for free over 9,000 times to build a whole new reader base. Three months later, Amazon switched to two separate buying lists so free downloads wouldn’t top their best seller lists. But it worked for me, because I was an indie author that had control of my pricing and distribution. This is a whole new concept for authors, and exciting to be at the forefront.

To add to this, I know where my ebooks have sold. I can log on and see how many sales I’ve had in the US, UK, and Canada. I’ve even had a few books sell in Japan. This is using listings for Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords.com. Smashwords distributes to Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, and several other ebook retailers. These are just the ones that I use. Other avenues are available too.

In a way, I’ve been trying to make self-publishing work for me. My new book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, took three years to write. I spent the last year editing with a fabulous freelance editor named Shelley Holloway. I’ve hired an artist, Rich Wallace, to do the cover and inside illustrations for the last three books. In the end, I learned it really doesn’t matter to your reader how your book gets to them, but that it does. Whether your book is self published or traditionally published, a reader will want your book if they like it. So, the most important thing is to write a good book. That is what any successful author does. Write a good book that people will want. If your book is good and available, people will want it, no matter how it is published.

**This post is part of the monthly
“Indie Life” posts linked on the Indelibles Blog.

dragonfiretbnailjpgTiffany Turner is a self-published author the children’s fantasy adventure series called The Crystal Keeper Chronicles. Her current release, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, is the third book in the series. She has been an elementary teacher in California for 16 years.