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Back to School Blog Tour: Day 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Her website: www.sandrarandersson.com

Her Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/AuthorSandraR

 

BOOK REVIEW: KONRAD AND THE BIRTHDAY PAINTING

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!

 

 

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Back To School Blog Tour: Day 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2)   What is your most memorable school moment?

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

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

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

4)   What is writing to you in one sentence?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS

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

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

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

Back To School Blog Tour: Slots Still Open

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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

Tiffany Turner Author Signing Event 9/15/13

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Tiffany Turner signing her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, at Booksmart in Morgan Hill, CA.

Tiffany Turner signing her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, at Booksmart in Morgan Hill, CA.

Tiffany Turner will be signing her books in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles at the Almaden Lake Art and Wine Festival in San Jose, CA on Sunday Sept. 15. Come visit and meet Mrs. Turner, purchase the new book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, and enter to win your own Crystal Keeper Pendant. The festival will be open from 10 am until 6 pm. Hope to see you there!


How To Run A Blog Tour: My Lessons

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Topic: Running Your Own Blog Tour

Topic: Running Your Own Blog Tour

So, welcome all that participated or dropped by to visit my first blog tour hosted by the Indie Children’s Authors Connection. This post will be a little behind the scenes, as I share all the lessons learned and huge amount of friends that were made.

First, why should you run a blog tour? Well, it is a way to connect a whole lot of bloggers that are networking to share a certain content during a set block of time. I would recommend to try to join as a participant before you host a blog tour. It is a great way to learn the ropes.

Second, link up with a blog tour that fits with what you want to promote. I spent a good portion of the summer wanting to promote my fantasy adventure books for children. I joined a blog tour that sponsored fantasy as the theme. There were a range of different books, and it was a good way to get started. Add the fact my blog got featured for a day on Kboards.com, and it all conjoined into a lot of promotion for my books. Plus, I even sold a few books that week.

Third, I took what I learned, specializing in your genre and trying to bring that audience to your blog. I looked around for a Back to School related tour. I didn’t find one. So, I figured, if you build a blog tour, they will come and discover Indie Children’s Authors.

Realizing that I had an opportunity to support the mission of my blog, getting the word out about Indie Children’s Authors, I asked on my writing board, Kboards.com, if anyone would be interested. I got a HUGE response. You can read the almost 2 months of planning that went on with this thread here.

Back to School Blog Tour 2013  Sept. 2-6

Back to School Blog Tour 2013
Sept. 2-6

So, I whipped up a blog tour logo from some free clipart, and started organizing. I made up a list, sent out questions to authors, and gave deadlines. I made up a landing page through the page option on WordPress. I had some people come and go due to schedules, but we ended up with a fabulous list of participating authors. Here is the final list of authors:
1) Victoria Jeffrey
Blog Link: http://www.epistlepublishing.com
Featured Books: The Green Door, The Pumpkin Princess and The Winter Wolves

2)H.Y. Hanna
Blog Link: http://www.bighoneydogmysteries.com/
Featured EBook: Big Honey Dog Mysteries: Curse of the Scarab

3) Sibel Hodge:
Website: http://www.sibelhodge.com/
Featured Book: It’s A Catastrophe

4) Vivienne Mathews
Blog: http://viviennemathews.blogspot.com/
Featured Book: The Sons of Masguard and the Mosque Hill Fortune, Part Two (Volume Two)

4) W.N.Rae
Book: The Night Clock
Website: http://otherrealmspost.tumblr.com/

5) Becca Price
Website: http://www.wyrmtalespress.com/
Featured Book: Dragon and Dreams Bedtime Stories

6) Scott Pixello
Facebook Page link: https://www.facebook.com/scott.pixello
Featured Book: Rainbow

I’d like to thank everyone for making the first Back to School Blog Tour a success.

So, what did I learn? I think I’m going to go for invitation to participate next time, limit to five authors for manageability, and cut the book giveaway bundle. We ended up not have any entries, but leave the authors to do their own giveaways if they wish.

I’m staying with the featured author interviews, and will work as that being the host site feature. I did have study questions and Back to School memories as a popular blog topic for participants.

So, I learned a lot, and I’m glad to share the wealth. If you are interested in hosting your own blog tour; keep it simple. Simple is good and easier to manage. Add onto it as you do another blog tour in the future. To conclude, enjoy yourself. I was happy to host a place for new Indie authors to be discovered. I’m hoping I’ve created a niche, and now, hopefully, an annual event.

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

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has just released her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, in her Crystal Keeper series. She continues to teach fourth graders in California while writing fantasy adventure middle grade novels. She is working on other writing projects in her No Limits Writing practices. She actively plays the Gaelic Harp at Renaissance festivals throughout Northern California.

Back to School Blog Tour 2013-Giveaway Results

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Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 2-6

Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 2-6

Today is the winner announcement for the Back to School Giveaway Bundle. It was linked through an on-line giveaway entry website called Rafflecopter. I’m sorry to announce there were no entries for the giveaway. Therefore, there was no winner.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/20834f1/

But, let’s do this all again next year. I had a great time interviewing other Indie Children’s Authors, and I’d love to run the blog tour again next year. I think I’ll be making some changes, and focusing on certain features. Look for the Back to School Blog Tour 2014 next year. Announcements will go out for participation during the summer of 2014.

For now, enjoy the information from the blog tour, visit the featured authors, and have an excellent school year!

-Tiffany Turner
Editor and Head Writer for The Indie Children’s Authors Connection

2013 Back to School Blog Tour: Featured Author Victoria Jeffrey

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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.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire Wins Honorable Mention In The San Francisco Book Festival

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The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

I am happy to announce that The Lost Secret of Dragonfire has won honorable mention in The San Francisco Book Festival on May 18. I was privileged to go to the awards ceremony and accept the award. It was my first walk up to a podium. After over 7 years of trying, I’ve finally gotten recognized for creating a great work of fiction. There can only be more.

I enjoyed meeting everyone at the book festival during the day. I met Patti Ptak Kogutek, the author of “A Change of Habit”. She has an outgoing personality, and I wanted to find out the story of her journey from Sister Mary Kateri to Sister Mary Vodka. So, I bought and enjoyed reading her book.

Accepting the Honorable Mention Award for Children's Books at the San Francisco Book Festival 2013

Accepting the Honorable Mention Award for Children’s Books at the San Francisco Book Festival 2013


I also enjoyed listening to the informative panels of authors through out the day. There was a panel on marketing and promotions, children’s authors, and ebooks. I even met up with an author, Lloyd Lofthouse, that is on one of my yahoo writing groups. It was awesome to finally meet one of the people I’ve talked to through the internet for so long.

Plus, I learned that having some way for you to get noticed helps to break free from the crowd. I finally got to meet Bruce Haring, managing director of the SF Book Festival. One of the first things he mentioned was, “Hey, you’re the author that plays the harp.” For some reason, I’m guessing not many authors may pluck and write in their spare time as I do. So, pretty much, I’ve discovered a marketing break through. My harp playing as a hook. Really, so many legends connect harps and fairies. Harps are supposedly the way to call fairies to you. Combined with my new award win and harp playing, I feel the carving of a niche in the Indie book world.

Overall, it was a great experience for any writer. I accepted an award, met and exchanged information from others in publishing, and had a great time. Truly, there is something to be said about entering as many awards as possible. You might win one of them. So, keep trying, keep writing.