Tag Archives: reading

June Author Spotlight: Zachariah Rippee, an author interview

Standard
Willard Photo

Zachariah Rippee is the author of the children’s picture book series that deals with the joys of reading.

This month, our featured Indie children’s book author is Zachariah Rippee. Zach has written an amazing series of picture books that deals with the treasure that can be found while reading. His main character, Elijah, has a series of adventures discovering the joys of taking a perusal through a book. Each book deals with a different theme of reading.  Knowledge and imagination start out the series in the first two books, Elijah and the Key of Knowledge and Elijah and the City of Danger. 

I had the chance to talk to Zachariah about his series and the joys he’s discovered writing them.

1) How did you get the idea to write your books? 

Mr. Rippee: This is a good question. It is always fun to look at the “birth” of an idea. From a young age I have hoped and dreamed of being a father. Most kids dreamed of being doctors and firemen, a policeman maybe. Nope, not me. I wanted to be a father, a husband. I think that is because of the strong example I had in my own father (who is today my biggest hero). As I got older I began to understand this desire was not only to be a father, but to be a role model for children.

Plain and simply put our children are our future. It only seems logical to want decent role models for our future. As a father I hope my children learn to love reading. As a teacher and role model I want the same thing for my students. I want to do as many things to encourage that as possible. The books are just an extension of my desire to help our children build a better future. Reading is the key to that. If a child can read, they hold the key to their own learning and to a brighter future.
2) Did you have trouble reading as a child? How did this inspire your books?
Mr. Rippee: Short answer: YES!!! I can honestly say, without a doubt and with full understanding of what these words mean, “I HATED READING AS A CHILD!” I did not learn to read easily. I fought to not read. I had such insecurities because of reading deficiencies. I can actually trace being shy and introverted back to an insecurity because of my poor reading ability. Many are shocked to find out that I did not read my first chapter book from cover to cover until I was 22 years old.
The first chapter book I read was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Full disclosure, I only read this book so that I could talk to a girl. The girl!!! She loved reading. She always talked about the Potter books. I find it humorous that reading caused me to pull away from social settings as a child, and reading was the door through which I entered into the most important “social setting” of my adult life. That girl, the girl, is now my wife of nearly eleven years. She has helped me grow my own love of reading. Because of her example I can now see the value of reading as an important life tool. (She also scolded me for reading the Harry Potter books out of order)
My troubles with reading inspired my own books because my books were born out of the desire to prevent my story from becoming my children’s story. After I wrote my first book, Elijah and the Key of Knowledge, I realized that it wasn’t only my story or their story. Kids all over the country are living the same struggles and experiencing the same fears and anxiety that I did. Thus my continued writing.
3) What would you suggest to a reader to try if they want to be an author someday?
Mr. Rippee: In today’s world there are so many tools available to aspiring authors. Social media is full of groups and clubs that are geared towards helping authors learn and grow. Publishing has become so easy with online self-publishing platforms. You can LITERALLY write, illustrate, and publish your own books in a few days. That being said, consider these things: What is your message or story? Who is your audience? How will you build your platform? Who are people you can trust to be helpful resources (editors, illustrators, proof readers, and people to bounce ideas off of)?
Finally, if it is a dream of yours to become a writer…write!
4) What were some of your favorite authors while growing up?
Mr. Rippee: As a child I didn’t like reading. However, since I have been “playing catch up” I have found several wonderful stories by amazing authors.
I am a fan of older (some might say classic) dystopian novels, mysteries, spy novels. Ann Rand, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ian Fleming, Ray Bradbury, Edgar Rice Burroughs, George Orwell are some of my favorite authors. I love Anthem by Rand and my favorite book is probably her epic Atlas Shrugged. The ideas and philosophies the novel discusses are interesting to me. I actually spent hours reading it during my 10 year wedding anniversary trip (in flight reading).
I love J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Jay Asher is a good author. I am also reading The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday.
5) What was the drawing and writing process for your children’s books?
sketch1

Sketches by Zachariah Rippee during his illustration process in creating his children’s book series.

Mr. Rippee: The drawing process began 5 years and 9 months before my first book was published. I illustrated my character Elijah on the day my wife told me she was pregnant for the first time. (included image). All of my illustrations start as hand drawn sketches that are then scanned and colored digitally. Formatting has been a fun journey for me, as I format all my own books. That is the beauty of self-publishing. You get creative control of the entire project. Several steps happen in between the first sketch and the final draft.

sketch:picturesElijahseries

Finished layouts of the book Elijah and the City of Danger by Zachariah Rippee.

As far as the writing process, I have adapted a saying my father taught me. When building something ( we dabble in woodworking) he says “Measure twice, cut once.”   I will consider a page or paragraph in my head for days, rewording it, revising it, and so on. When it hits the paper it is usually fairly close to the finished product. Most of my writing happens in quiet times of waiting ( at the grocery store, eating lunch, in the car). My mind just rolls it over and over until something shiny pops out at me!

6) What writing projects do you have coming up?
Mr. Rippee: I am currently rolling around several stories in my head. I just began self-publishing in the spring. So several ideas have been pent up waiting to burst forth. I am currently working on books that nod to the classic monster movies and campy 60’s superhero shows. I am also working on a whimsical look at how feelings affect our perception of the world around us.

Thank you so much to Mr. Rippee for sharing his experience and his creative process with me for my blog readers. I’m hoping you’ll be inspired to start writing your own stories. For more information on Zachariah Rippee’s books, visit him at Facebook or his Amazon Author Page at:

Facebook Link: https://m.facebook.com/mr.rippee.sir/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Zachariah-Rippee/e/B06XFKLHK9

ElijahKeyKnowledgeCvr***His picture books, Elijah and the Key of Knowledge, Elijah and the City of Danger, and The Green Ladybug: A Book About Kindness are available on Amazon.

***Barnes and Noble links:

***Next week, book reviews of the featured books by the author in the Indie Authors Monthly Spotlight!

-Tiffany Turner

***Tiffany Turner is a children’s author that has been self-publishing for over 10 years. She started the Indie Children’s Authors Connection to help get the word out about amazing children’s books she has found by other Indie authors. Her children’s fantasy adventure books, Crystal Keeper Chronicles series, is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

UPDATE: The Lost Secret of Time: Final Book in Crystal Keeper Series Due out Spring 2018

Standard
LostSecretTimeTempCvr

Working cover for the last Crystal Keeper Chronicles book, The Lost Secret of Time. 

I wanted to give everyone an update on the progress of the last book in the Crystal Keeper series, The Lost Secret of Time. I’m proud to announce that there has been a schedule set up for it’s completion. It is outlined, and has 9 chapters of the 14 written thus far. It’s scheduled with my editor for the end of October, and I’ve been working hard with the help of Camp NaNo to get it completed.

I have to thank all of my fans for your patience. I know this one is taking longer, but sometimes life throws things at you that can’t be planned for, like a heart attack, going septic in the hospital and having acute pneumonia. I’m just happy to still be alive and be around for a second chance to finally complete the series.

I also have to mention I did try to end the series with the third book, but the characters WOULDN’T let me. They insisted that the story carry on. So, that is why the third book ends the way it does in a cliffhanger. There was just more story to tell.

Plus, once I wrap up this series, I’m planning a prequel in which Brewford, the cat sorcerer, will be the main character. There are a lot of things hinted about his past in the series, and I want to write a prequel that explains it all. So, the ending of the Crystal Keeper Chronicles won’t be the end of Wanda’s fairy world. It will continue in other forms.

It has been an amazing ten year journey so far. I’m sure many of you fans have grown up waiting for the books to be written. If anything, you’ve learned that writing is a process and takes time, an average of two years per book at least. The biggest thing that a reader needs to possess is patience for your favorite books. I know your pain. I’ve gone through the same thing with my favorite authors, Anne McCaffrey, Anne Rice and Mercedes Lackey. I think the secret is having LOTS of favorite authors so you can switch between them between new book releases. It’s how I cope. 😉

Until then, take care, and I hope you enjoy your other favorite authors until the new and last book in the series is released next Spring. Stay tuned for fun summer reading activities and giveaways. Have a fabulous summer.

-Tiffany (Mrs. Turner)

 

Tiffany Turner Appearance at 20th Annual Tartan Day Scottish Fair-April 1, 2017 in Fremont, CA

Standard

Tiffany Turner will be at the 20th annual Tartan Day Scottish Fair at Ardenwood Park in Fremont, CA on April 1, 2017. She’ll be there to sell her children’s books and

TartanDay2016-1

Visit Tiffany Turner’s booth and enter the $25 Amazon Gift Card giveaway.

talk to visitors about her upcoming book, The Lost Secret of Time: Book 4 in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. There will also be a giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card at her booth. Stop by and sign up to enter, and get a chance to win the gift card or one of three Crystal Keeper pendants designed by Mrs. Turner.

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

Tartan Day Scottish Fair Website:

http://www.eastbayscots.org/

East Bay Scottish Association
Tartan Day Scottish Faire
Saturday April 1st, 2017
Ardenwood Historical Farm
Fremont, California
Gates open at 10 AM
Admission Adults: $12.00 Seniors (62+): $8.00
Children (4-17): $5.00
Children under 3 Free
Free On-Site Parking!

UPDATE: Announcing the winners for the Tartan Day Giveaway:

**All winners have been mailed their prizes. Thanks everyone for entering at the event. Hope to see you next year with the newly released fourth book: The Lost Secret of Time.

$25 Amazon Gift Card: Bruce W.

Winners of an official Crystal Pendant:

  1. Elizabeth L.
  2. Janice M.
  3. Olu S.

 

Read Across America Free EBook Coupon

Standard
Read Across America is Mon. March 2, 2015.

Read Across America is Mon. March 2, 2015.

A lot of readers are going digital. What better way to celebrate that than joining in Read Across America with a free ebook. So, this year I’m offering my first novel in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles as a free book up through March 3. Enjoy the adventures of Wanda as she discovers fairies are real, and full of problems.

The free coupon is available for downloads on Smashwords with formats for several different ereaders.

The Lost Secret of Fairies by Tiffany Turner

Wanda had always read about adventure. Now she was in the middle of one. The World of Fairies is real, and she is their new Crystal Keeper, human caretaker to the World of Fairies. But the Fairy World is in trouble. The fairies are falling ill from the pollution that ravages the world above. Wanda has to find the key to their cure, before it’s too late.

Coupon Code: FL57N

Plus, I’ll post on Wed. March 4  special promo package information. It will tell you how to find several free ebooks that can be picked up through free coupons. They are hidden at the end of a free book by one of my fellow children’s writers. We’ve gone in together to help celebrate reading, and now you’re in on the secret. So, make reading a part of your life now by going digital and Read Across America all next week. More details will appear on my blog on Read Across America Day, March 2.

Special gift package instructions will be sent out on March 2 to celebrate Read Across America.

Special gift package instructions will be sent out on March 2 to celebrate Read Across America.

Summer Reading: Important Practice for Any Age

Standard

Not often do I go on the day job soap box, but as a teacher I know how important it is to keep your children reading during the summer. So many school budgets have been cut that summer school is becoming a luxury. As it is, only the really low and needy kids will make it into summer school these days. But all children need to practice their reading during the summer. They lose important skills they learned during the school year if they don’t.

So here is a list of some things to consider from a 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade experienced teacher to help you navigate where to start in your child’s reading needs:

1) Let them read for enjoyment.
A lot of parents try to force books on kids which tends to turn them off. Of course, sometimes it’s hard for a child to find what they like. This is actually part of the reading process, and trying lots of different kinds of reading is a skill they practice in school. Take them to the library and let them explore. Try not to limit.

These days there are a lot of different kinds of books to try. New classics have come out since you were a kid. The “Wimpy” kid series, lots of fantasy, graphic novels are some of the new popular areas that were absent 20 years ago. Let your kid “Go for It” and explore. You might discover some new fabulous novels as well.

2) Reading anything is good.
A lot of kids don’t find they enjoy books. But they might enjoy gaming magazines, code books, Highlights for Kids, or other reading enjoyment. Even the internet has vast amounts of reading to explore. Reading has changed it’s venue, and even Ereaders to phones have reading opportunities. Trying lots of different things is key. The summer can be a wonderful time to explore all these vast storage areas of new reading.

3) Practice makes perfect.
Kids are not perfect readers, and need practice. It’s called Independent Reading, and it’s the third prong of reading development. Kids need to read on their own for enjoyment. The summer is a time to really practice and make this third area of reading development key. The more reading children do, the better they will get.

4) Setting up a reading time is helpful.
Kids need routines. Just a basic time for Independent Reading time is a wonderful structure to get kids to practice. It can be chosen by the child or structured into their regular day. 20 minutes seems to be a good starting amount, but can be increased 5 min. each year. I wouldn’t go over 30 minutes during the summer unless your child wants to. Reading Time shouldn’t be torture, but for enjoyment. And if your child starts to want to read longer than the set time, brilliant. They should start to choose more reading time on their own so it doesn’t become a punishment.

In the end, your child should start to be able to enjoy reading whether it’s on the internet, with a book, on the Ereader or even a magazine. Reading should be for fun, and the more practice your child has at that, the more they will want to read.

Tiffany Turner is working on her third book “The Lost Secret of Dragonfire”. Her first and second books, “The Lost Secret of Fairies” and “The Lost Secret of the Green Man” are available on Amazon.com as a paperback and a Kindle Edition. She teaches during the school year in a California Elementary school, and has 13 years teaching experience.