Tag Archives: Indie Authors

Back To School Blog Tour: Day 5

Standard

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

Back to School Blog Tour: Day 4

Standard

backtoschool2016We’re already up to Day 4 of the blog tour. I hope you have been enjoying the daily featured authors. There has been a wide range of books, from Middle Grade to Reading instruction readers, to a picture book. Today, I share with you the author of a fabulous Middle Grade reader, Sandra R. Anderson. She is the author of Konrad and the Birthday Painting. She is a mother of two boys who fortunately have yet to show any interest in art. They are too busy catching Pokémon.

After several years of translating other people’s books by day and reading tons of children’s books every night at bedtime, she decided that she had some stories of her own to tell. She first got started by taking a course in writing for children at the cultural center Näs, right next to Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home.

She writes books for children and for grown-ups and anyone else who likes stories that are about something more than at first glance. She still works as a translator. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking, and Postcrossing, although not simultaneously. She is an accidental stamp collector and keeps forgetting to water her potted plants, particularly when she’s working on a new book.

I had the chance to ask Ms. Anderson about her thoughts on writing, her favorite school memories, and what she is up to right now.

sandraanderson

Sandra R. Anderson is the author of Konrad and the Birthday Party available on Amazon.

1) Who was your favorite children’s author and how did they influence you?
I was the type of kid that read everything I could get my hands on, so I couldn’t name just one. I loved the classics, wandering around on that deserted island with Robinson Crusoe and exploring the oceans with Captain Nemo, but I also solved mysteries alongside Nancy Drew and the Hardy boys, discovered smugglers and hidden treasure with the Famous Five and slept with my feet on the pillow and baked gingerbread cookies on the floor with Pippi Longstocking.
I honestly can’t imagine the person I would have grown up to be if I hadn’t had all of these characters in my life as a child and am eternally grateful to the authors who created them. They opened my eyes to other people’s lives and experiences and made me see things differently. They broadened my horizons and made me a far better person than I would have been otherwise.
2) What is your most memorable school moment?
The best time I ever had in school was when I lived in Norway for a few years and went to school in a tiny school building with the sea on one side and tall mountains on the other. One time the entire school (not that many kids, perhaps 60 or 70 in all) rode a bus to the next valley over and then went on skis back over the mountains. Eating my school lunch at the top of a mountain is a memory that I will treasure forever.
3) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
My best writing gets done really early in the morning, before the rest of my family wakes up. I’m an early bird and often wake up at 4 or 5. When everything is quiet, and the whole family is tucked away in bed, that’s when I can give my undivided attention to the characters in my stories and go on adventures with them. That said, if that wasn’t an option, I would write with blunt crayons on wet napkins up in a tree in the middle of a hurricane. Sometimes a story just needs to be told.
4) Was there anything in school that was difficult for you?
Sure. I’m not very good at a lot of things. I’m pretty good at reading and writing, but that’s about it. When it came to the more practical subjects, I was all thumbs, and I am still capable of burning a salad or sewing a shirt to my trousers if I try to replace a lost
button. But the thing I found most difficult in school was the social aspect, the unwritten rules that govern the playground. We moved a lot, so I was always the new kid, always failing to fit in.
5) What is writing to you in one sentence?
The magic that allows us to see the world through someone else’s eyes, explore places and situations that would otherwise be out of reach, and be anyone we want to be.
6) What projects are you working on right now?
I’m writing the next book in the Artworld series, of course, to find out what Konrad gets up to now that he has discovered an exciting new world inside of paintings. I’m also working on a science fiction story for ages 9 and up and have a coming of age saga for the same age group on the back burner. I  like to work on several different projects simultaneously, to avoid writer’s block, but there are only so many hours in a day, unfortunately. I also write for grown-ups under a different pen name, and have a few projects I’m working on there, as well. The most urgent is a ghost story that I hope to have done in time for Halloween.
To connect to Sandra R. Anderson, find her at:

Her website: www.sandrarandersson.com

Her Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/AuthorSandraR

 

BOOK REVIEW: KONRAD AND THE BIRTHDAY PAINTING

konradb-daypaint

Sandra R. Anderson writes a brilliant fantasy world in this Middle Grade Book available on Amazon.

***** Five Stars

Konrad and the Birthday Painting is a fast and fun fantasy adventure for middle graders. Konrad, a second grader, finds some mysterious glasses that allow him to look into a painting in the school office that, by chance, is like a map of the real school. He witnesses the taking of the Fifth Grade field trip funds, and has to stop his friend, Casper from being blamed for the theft.

Along the way, he discovers that the glasses work on other paintings at a nearby museum. This introduces him to the virtual world of “Artworld”. Will he want to come back to reality once he discovers this amazing new place?

This is a real creative fantasy that plays with the concept of the real world and a virtual world. I love stories that play with a fantasy world just on the edge of the real world. Anderson does a brilliant job of creating the world and the tension that Konrad has to struggle with. He has to think about his family still in the real world, and make a choice between the two. With wisps of Narnia, I recommend Konrad and the Birthday Painting to readers that love to play in fantasy worlds.

As part of this week’s special discounts and giveaways, you can download a free copy of Konrad and the Birthday Painting HERE!

**The giveaways are still up and going. Here is a list of all the books on discount/free and the big $25 Amazon Gift Card giveaway.

**Also available on Amazon.

GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS

Here is the current list of freebies, discounts, and giveaways during the blog tour. All discounts, freebies and giveaways will be running through the blog tour dates: 9/12-9/16.

  1. Win a $25 shopping spree on Amazon! Link to the Rafflecopter giveaway link here!
  2. Download a free copy of Konrad and the Birthday Painting HERE!
  3. Philip Gibson’s Graded Word For Word Reader 1 & 2 Free
  4.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZQQ98C
  5. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019J1U2RQ
  6. The Lost Secret of Fairies: Discounted to $0.99
  7. Win a notebook set, bookmarks or the book Tinker Bee by Erin Liles: http://erinbethliles.weebly.com/blog/back-to-school-blog-tour-giveaway

For an interview with Martine Lewis on Erin Liles’s Blog, LINK HERE! 

Come back tomorrow for the final post to wrap up this week of Back to School celebration!

 

 

Back To School Blog Tour: Day 2

Standard

backtoschool2016Welcome to the second day of the Back to School Blog Tour. The featured author today is Philip Gibson. He is a teacher and author that has more than 35 years’ experience teaching English to children and adults in 7 countries. Mr. Gibson spent the next 30+ years traveling the world teaching English to children and adults of all nationalities.

He now lives in Laos where, for the past 12 years, he has been researching, writing, and improving his Word by Word series of illustrated, graded readers for English-speaking children learning to read and children learning English as a second or foreign language. Mr. Gibson continues to teach, to write, and expects to be able to make the complete 12-book series of books available during the course of the next few months.

I was lucky enough to interview Mr. Gibson, and get his take on his school memories, favorite children’s authors, and what writing means to him.

philip-full-body

Philip Gibson’s Word By Word series teaches English reading to ELD and early readers.

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

The earliest books I remember enjoying were the first books in the Ladybird Key Words Reading Scheme.  In the U.K., they were known as the Peter and Jane books.  I believe in the U.S. a similar series known as the Dick and Jane books were widely used during the same time.

Those books used a systematic, step by step introduction of key words alongside attractive colorful illustrations.  The books are now criticized for their lack of phonics emphasis as well as old-fashioned, 1950s cultural stereotypes.  They are now largely ignored and out of print.  However, they did make learning to read an easy and rewarding process and certainly did the job for me and those of my generation (now in our 60s.)

So now I am developing a new, 12-book series of illustrated early readers using a similar, but updated, format.  This new series contains not only systematically introduced sight words, but also phonic emphasis at every stage.  They are also culturally appropriate for the modern age. The first 8 books have now been completed and are available.  I have made the first two e-books permanently free so that parents and teachers can try them out at no cost.

2)   What is your most memorable school moment?

I remember when I was 5 or 6, a classmate coming over and looking at a page I had been writing on.  She expressed surprise that I had filled the entire page.  It had never occurred to me that I might be more advanced in reading and writing than my classmates.

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

I write every day, usually between midnight and dawn when everyone is sleeping and the house is quiet.

4)   What is writing to you in one sentence?

Writing to me is about trying to put out something into the world that will be of actual practical benefit to people… especially children.

box-set-1

The Word By Word Readers Collection bundle is available on Amazon.

Today, his Word by Word series is featured. As a teacher of 18 years, finding a useful and engaging reading program is important. Mr. Gibson does this while instructing the difficult points in learning English. This is a great series for beginning English learners of all ages. The first two books of the series are FREE! Plus, you can also get the first several books in a bundle HERE! The series is great for teachers and parents to work with their children.

Book 1: Lee and Pat – http://amzn.to/1Nh0M3Q

Book 2: Lee and Pat Like to Play – http://amzn.to/1QAcTwZ

WORD BY WORD readers bundle-https://www.amazon.com/Word-Readers-Childs-Introduction-Reading-ebook/dp/B01BQUCBYK

See all the readers and collections at his website – http://www.wordbywordseries.com/

**As with yesterday, the giveaways are still up and going. Here is a list of all the books on discount/free and the big $25 Amazon Gift Card giveaway.

GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS

Here is the current list of freebies, discounts, and giveaways during the blog tour. All discounts, freebies and giveaways will be running through the blog tour dates: 9/12-9/16.

  1. Win a $25 shopping spree on Amazon! Link to the Rafflecopter giveaway link here!
  2. Download a free copy of Konrad and the Birthday Painting HERE!
  3. Philip Gibson’s Graded Word For Word Reader 1 & 2 Free
  4.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZQQ98C
  5. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019J1U2RQ
  6. The Lost Secret of Fairies: Discounted to $0.99
  7. Win a notebook set, bookmarks or the book Tinker Bee by Erin Liles: http://erinbethliles.weebly.com/blog/back-to-school-blog-tour-giveaway

For an interview with me, Tiffany Turner, head on over to Sandra Anderson’s blog HERE!

Back To School Blog Tour: Slots Still Open

Standard
backtoschool2016

Back To School Blog Tour 2016 is Sept. 12-16.

Greetings everyone. Plans are underway for the 4th annual Back To School Blog Tour coming up on Sept. 12-16. All week, authors will be featured with interviews and reviews of their books. Giveaways are also in the works. So, please stop by on Sept. 12 for a week of fantastic children’s literature to start off your school year.

Plus, there are still some slots open for this event. If you are an Indie children’s author and are interested, please email me at: tiff@tiffmester.net. Let me know you’re interested, what type of children’s book you have, age level, and any promos you might be interested in doing. Authors can set up their own giveaway, and I’ll be promoting the links. I’ll also be setting up a Back To School Blog Tour Giveaway that everyone can put on their blogs. The deadline to get back to me is Aug. 25.

To all the teachers and students going back to school over the next few weeks, have a fun and safe return. Happy reading!

-Tiffany Turner

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

Standard
2015 Back to School Blog Tour: DAY ONE

2015 Back to School Blog Tour: DAY ONE

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

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

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

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

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

Marilyn Peake: First Featured Author Sept. 7

Our first featured author is Marilyn Peake.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4) What helps you motivate to write a story?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Fisherman’s Son:

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

Monster Surprise Package: Secret List in Free Ebook Today ONLY!

Standard
A special gift for you in the book "Taming Your Monster" at Amazon.com March 4-8, 2015.

A special gift for you in the book “Taming Your Monster” at Amazon.com March 4-8, 2015.

Today is the day! You can download the free picture ebook with all of the authors listed for free downloadable books for today. Many of the books listed are also free for the next couple of days, including mine. So, here are the special instructions to follow:

  1. Download the free ebook on Amazon: Taming Your Pet Monster: An Operational Guide
  2. Click the “A Special Gift for You!” in the Table of Contents
  3. Scroll through the books available. “The Lost Secret of Fairies” is listed as the fourteenth book in the list.
  4. Download fabulous free children’s ebooks!

Thanks for participating in Read Across America and Read An Ebook Week! Hope you have a fabulous week and month ahead of ebook reading.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss: Celebrating Read Across America, Free Ebook Coupon

Standard
Happy Read Across America Day today on March 2. Read all week for free with ebook coupons.

Happy Read Across America Day today on March 2. Read all week for free with ebook coupons.

Happy Read Across America Day! To celebrate, I’ve got my first children’s novel set-up on Smashwords to be free this week. You can pick up your copy here at Smashwords.

Here is the coupon: FL57N

I also promised some information on fabulous gifts available this week. On Wed. March 4, a free book called: Taming Your Pet Monster: An Operational Guide is the trigger for all of the free gifts. You’ll be able to find it on Amazon. Inside the free copy will be a list of 25 books all free for that day. They range from picture books to middle grade. They are listed by the author below. So, you’ll see the link when clicked in the promo list in the book. So, the books that are free will be officially revealed that day. Can’t give it all totally away today! 🙂

The Lost Secret of Fairies is available for free on Read Across America Week with a Smashwords coupon.

The Lost Secret of Fairies is available for free on Read Across America Week with a Smashwords coupon.

Here is the list of authors so you can check out their books ahead of time. The books included in the March 4th promotion are listed by the number of each in the series by that author. Enjoy! Don’t forget, read, read, read!

  • Taming Your Pet Monster: An Operational Guide
  • Sarah Holmlund title #1
  • Sarah Holmlund title #2
  • D.C. Swain title #1
  • D.C. Swain title #2
  • Emily Martha Sorensen title #1
  • Louise Lintvelt title #1
  • M.J. Storm title #1
  • T.J. Lantz title #1
  • Rebecca Price title #1
  • Rebecca Price title #2
  • Jan Hurst-Nicholson title #1
  • Jan Hurst-Nicholson title #2
  • Jan Hurst-Nicholson title #3
  • Tiffany Turner title #1
  • Monica L. LaSarre title #1
  • 4eyesbooks title #1
  • Winston Rose title #1
  • Winston Rose title #2
  • Allira Bell title #1
  • P.M. Richter title #1
  • P.M. Richter title #2
  • Werner Stejskal title #1
  • Rhonda Tyler title #1
  • Little Chickadee
  • A Little Book About You

***Shhhh! There is another free ebook secret. It has to do with more free reading. I’ll be revealing all of the info in a post on the blog tomorrow. So, please check back!

Back to School Blog Tour 2013 Featured Authors: Scott Pixello and Becca Price

Standard
Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 2-6 Featured Authors: Scott Pixello and Becca Price

Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 2-6 Featured Authors: Scott Pixello and Becca Price

Welcome to day four of the Back to School Blog Tour 2013! I’d like to thank everyone that has stopped by, participated, and spread the word about this blog tour during the week. It has been a big success budding from the idea on Kboards.com to a full, fledged blog tour. Thanks everyone! If I have the energy, let’s do it all again next year. 😉

**Note: The winner of the Back to School Giveaway Bundle will be announced on Monday, Sept. 9. You still have time to enter until 11:59pm PST.

The 2013 Back To School Blog Tour Big Book Giveaway

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 authors are Scott Pixello and Becca Price.

Our first author is Scott Pixello.

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

I had a couple of inspirational teachers but probably key for me was a lovely lady called Mrs Beatty, who really encouraged me to write. Most important for me was that any praise on offer was not unconditional and from behind her steely-rimmed spectacles she would point out areas to improve too so I knew she’d definitely read what I’d written and tried to ‘connect’ with it. This was when I was in the upper year of Junior School in Britain, so I’d have been about 11 then and although I didn’t necessarily write much in the years immediately after that, the idea that I could write, that somehow I had ‘permission’ to use words like this, stayed with me into adulthood.
I also took great inspiration from a visiting poet, who seemed immensely brave to me, not just for earning a living through the power of his words but for being prepared to open himself to be judged by new people every day. He was also (& probably still is!) black and I grew up in a predominantly white area and this man’s stories of little children staring and pointing at him an the street as if he was a space alien, only made him even more amazing to me.

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

I’m sure plenty of parents and teachers say this but ‘do your best’. What they don’t often add is no-one knows what this is- not even you! Some of you are growing so fast that teachers won’t recognize you between years and the amazing thing is NO-ONE knows what you’re capable of (in every sense) so go out there and AMAZE people. That doesn’t mean get top grades for everything (although that would be nice, of course). It means be the best you can be in every way- the most thoughtful, the best friend, the most reliable.

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

I think it’s important to have people around you who may be family, friends, characters in books, it doesn’t really matter, but people with whom you can identify and who offer you potential paths to follow. It doesn’t have to be a matter of wanting to be like someone, just the sense that you do have options, often many more than you realize. For boys, who may not always have fathers in the family home, this is particularly important, so male teachers carry a special burden of responsibility. For me, my father who was a teacher, was more of a touchstone than I ever realized at the time. And it’s worth remembering kids that however much you fight it, however depressing a thought it is, eventually you turn into your parents.

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

I always have a notebook with me as my memory is very bad and as soon as I think of something I have to scribble it down or it’s gone.

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

Stick at it and keep doing it. It took me many years to get my first book published and I was rejected countless times. So was JK Rowling (not that I’m saying I’m that good).

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

I’m writing several different books- one is a love story about a school exchange (From Brighton to Berlin), one is about a boy forced to ‘go undercover’ as an actor in a Shakespearean theatre (A Boy Called Juliet) and another is about the last three members of the human race, stuck on the dark side of the moon (Losers in Space). These are not part of a series.

Rainbow is a new book release for the author Scott Pixello.

Rainbow is a new book release for the author Scott Pixello.

Mr. Pixello has recently released the book Rainbow.Taking place in Scotland, a Highland calf is born that is unlike any ever seen before. It seems the animal can predict football (soccer) scores. In the eye of a media storm, Jess must fight to keep Rainbow safe from frenzied outside interest, a life-threatening illness and even a gang of ruthless kidnappers.

Potential study questions on Rainbow

(Some points for parents/teachers to consider/discuss in school)

Rainbow is quite short (33,000 words) but it’s a serious-minded book and raises a number of

issues:

• What difficulties does Jessie have living on a farm and how is she different to other

students at school?

• Although Rainbow cannot talk, she represents a number of ideas about what ‘normal’

means. Can you think what they might be?

• The main character, Jessie, has a close relationship with her dad- can you find

examples of when she feels close to her father and how does this change/develop over

the course of the story?

• Do you really know where all your food comes from?

• Research examples of celebrity animals, especially surrounding the prediction of

sporting results.

• Highland cattle are a very specialized breed- what can you find out about them?

• Jess meets a group of rugby players- how do you play this game and how is it different

from American football?

• How does the British English in the book differ from American English in terms of

grammar, especially spelling?

• Why is the cow called Rainbow?

• Has the book made you feel differently about life on a farm? Is it a lifestyle you would

like yourself? If so, why?

**For more information on Scott Pixello and his books, link to his Facebook Page.

Our second featured author is Becca Price

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

I had several favorites.

My 7th grade English teacher was, I believe, Mrs. Roeder, although I may be misspelling her name – it was a long time ago. She recognized that my reading and comprehension levels were way beyond the class, and she let me write my stories and poetry in class, as long as I gave it to her to read when I was finished. She encouraged me to submit various (bad) poetry to the school magazine, and some of it was even published, although most of that was pretty much doggerel – I never submitted the good stuff, it was too personal for me.

I forget my 10th grade English teacher – he started out the school year by having us write a list of everything we’d read (even magazines) over the summer. My list was 63 items long, because I’d just discovered Sherlock Holmes, and not only read everything I could by Conan Doyle, but everything about him, and about Victorian London and the history of the era. My teacher took me aside, and told me that when ever he assigned a book report, I could ignore the assignment, and could read anything I wanted in class.

I took creative writing in high school, as well, and got a lot of encouragement from my creative writing teacher. I never had the courage to submit anything, in those days, however – I was never sure that anyone would ever want to read the sorts of things I wanted to write. Of course, I’m still not sure that anyone would ever want to read the fairy tales I write, and I’m always touched and gratified whenever somebody that doesn’t know me buys a copy of Dragons and Dreams, or downloads The Snarls.

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

Two pieces of advice: read, read, read everything that interests you. Don’t let anyone tell you that the books you like to read aren’t worth reading – read and enjoy it!

The other piece of advice is to always be open to opportunities – don’t let anyone scare you or discourage you. I had my share of bad teachers (one of whom I had for 2 years, and who really didn’t like me for some reason and did everything she could to try to convince me that I was stupid.). Take risks, be creative. Don’t just use school to mark time, but take the opportunity to take as many unusual classes as you’re interested in. There’s no such thing as wasted information, only information you haven’t had a reason to use yet. You’ll never know when an odd piece of information, picked up casually on your way to something else, may come in handy. It always seems to for me!

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

I think I’d have to say my parents. They never discouraged me from reading anything I wanted, even when they feared it might be too old for me. My mom especially was always there to answer questions I had about something I read, or to discuss my latest book. They never asked me “what use is it?” when I wanted to take classes like creative writing or shop or Latin – they always encouraged me to follow whatever enthusiasm I had at any given moment.

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

When my kids were little, I would make up stories to tell them at night, when I’d get bored with the 17th time re-reading Goodnight Moon or whatever. Many of those stories are the roots of the stories in Dragons and Dreams. One of my stories (“Sunflower”) was inspired by a particularly much loved toy cat my daughter had. Inspiration is everywhere.

When I get a random idea, I sit and sketch it out – I used to keep a notebook for such things, now I have a computer file. It might be only a random title, or a paragraph notation of how a story might start or something in the middle of another story, but just a little something to help me remember an idea I had. I’ve got a whole list of story titles that I wish I’d written down a bit more on, because I can’t remember the story that went with the title!

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

Oh, this is hard to boil down into one thing! I guess the main thing about writing is to write, and write, and write some more. And read everything you can, and then write still more. Don’t worry about how good it is at first – first drafts are made to be revised and re-written. I’ve heard it said that you have to practice something like 10,000 hours at any one thing to be good at it, or to write over a million words before you start to be good. Don’t be discouraged by that, but also don’t be discouraged if you read something you’ve written and don’t like it. Don’t let anybody – anybody! not even yourself – discourage you.

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

Well, right now my day job is being particularly demanding, but I’ve been asked by one of my beta readers to write a sequel to “Sunflower” and so I’ve been working on that (it will be called “Pussy Willow”). I’ve got two longish fairy tales written out, one that is still being revised, and two more in sketches that I need to write out. I’m hoping to have my second collection of fairy tales pulled together by Christmas, but it all depends on how the day job goes. I’m a professional writer of non-fiction in my day job (see, I still get to write, even though it’s not always my fairy tales!) and I love what I do, but that’s the job that pays the bills, and so I have to give it first priority before I can sit down and work on the next collection. That collection will be called Heart of Rock and Other Stories.

Dragon and Dreams is a collection of bedtime stories by Becca Price.

Dragon and Dreams is a collection of bedtime stories by Becca Price.

Dragon and Dreams is available at Amazon.com. For more information on Becca Price, visit her website at: http://www.wyrmtalespress.com/.

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

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

Standard

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.

2013 Back to School Blog Tour: Featured Author Victoria Jeffrey

Standard

Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 2-6 Featured Authors: Victoria Jeffery

Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 2-6 Featured Author: Victoria Jeffrey


Welcome to day two of the Back to School Blog Tour 2013!
Every day I will be featuring the authors in our tour with an interview and links to their books and blogs.

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 is Victoria Jeffrey. She has always had an interest in writing fairy tales. Influenced by authors from Tolkien to Shakespeare, Victoria shares some of her role models, inspirations, and how she writes her fantastic tales.

Victoria Jeffery is the author of the book, The Green Tree.

Victoria Jeffery is the author of the book, The Green Tree.

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

Mr. Jones. He was my English teacher. Also, he was my Japanese language teacher. He expected excellence from everyone in class and did not allow me to get away with slacking off. He loved the English language and he loved books and this love came through in how he taught the class. Of course we read some of the classics but it was never boring, stilted or dreary because he had interesting and sometimes divergent insights on the authors who wrote the classics we read or the history and lore surrounding the books we read in his class. Classics came alive in Mr. Jones’s class.

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

View each day as an adventure! View each teacher as someone who has something important to give you. Often in stories when a hero goes on an adventure there is a sage old character who has wisdom or a wondrous device that the hero needs in his or her quest. View your teacher as that sage imparting wisdom or giving an important gift for the journey and your whole outlook in school should be a positive one.

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

My mother for one. But there was also Anne McCaffrey and her Dragonriders series and Margaret Weiss and the Dragonlance Chronicles. When I was a kid I didn’t know that women wrote fantasy or science fiction. Seeing women writers in those fields who wrote books that so many people loved was a huge inspiration for me as a girl who loved speculative fiction. I only wished that I had known about Octavia Butler when I was a girl.

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

The single best thing that has helped me when writing a story is creating an outline. Once I started making outlines (and mine are not long or highly detailed) Writer’s Block went away. I stopped writing myself into corners or starting a story and then getting bored midway through and leaving it to start on another. Outlines help me organize my thoughts and how I am going to plot the story. It’s a roadmap that shines light on where you are going and it prevents my writing time from being wasted. It makes writing the actual story quite easy and enjoyable instead of a chore.

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

Outlining as well as reading good books – mostly books you love to read. I grew up reading Tolkien, Herbert, Grimms’ fairytales. I write the kinds of books that I like to read. Good writing starts with reading lots of good books. That is one of the best places to get new ideas for your own stories and how to plot and create interesting characters, all the basics of storytelling. You learn from other more experienced storytellers. Like with any craft, you learn from those that are more experienced.

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

Currently I am working on a science fiction short story and the Red World trilogy, the last book, Rise of the Red King. After this, I plan to work on a steampunk science fiction series.

As an added bonus, Ms. Jeffrey has agreed to a special coupon on Smashwords of her first three books in her secret Doorway Tales series! The special runs for this week only!

The Green Door is available on Amazon and Smashwords as a free ebook.

The Green Door is available on Amazon and Smashwords as a free ebook.


The Green Door (Flesch-Kincaid reading ease: 85.6, Average grade level: 5.7)
The Pumpkin Princess (Flesch-Kincaid reading ease: 84.4, Average grade level: 5.6)
Coupon code for The Pumpkin Princess: HR77Z

The Winter Wolves (Flesch-Kincaid reading ease: 88.6, Average grade level: 4.6)
Coupon code for The Winter Wolves: XC55L

**For more information on Victoria Jeffery, please visit her website at: http://epistlepublishing.com/.

Plus, we are having a giveaway for a bundle of featured books donated by the participating authors. Below is the link to enter through Rafflecopter.com.

The 2013 Back To School Blog Tour Big Book Giveaway

Included in the bundle are:
1) A Paperback signed set of the Crystal Keeper Chronicles
(3 paperbacks)
2) YN Hanna: Big Honey Dog New Book (Ebook or Paperback)
3) Ebook: It’s a Castrophe by Sibel Hodge
4) EBook: The Night Clock by W.N. Rae
5) Book: Dragons and Dreams Bedtime Stories

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