Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year

Wishing you all a healthy, happy and prosperous 2016.  May your ideas be many, your words be prolific and your writing be fruitful!

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”                        

C.S. Lewis

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed holiday season! Stay safe and well if traveling and enjoy the time spent with family and friends.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Little Bug Review

Barbara Bockman's review of Little Bug is up on her blog if you would like to pop over and read her very kind words or learn more about Barbara and her books.  Visit her blog at

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Book Review: BonBon

I am happy to share my review of Barbara Bockman's new children's picture book, BonBon.  It is a delightful story.

Title: BonBon
Category: Children’s Picture Book
Author: Barbara Bockman
Illustrator: Eugene Ruble
Print ISBN: 9781616337032
eBook ISBN: 9781616337049
Published: Guardian Angel Publishing, September 2015

BonBon is a toy French Poodle living in the Twice Loved Toy Shop (what a great name!) in Paris, France. From the very beginning of Bockman’s story, we can feel BonBon’s heartfelt longing to be chosen as someone’s special toy. Will her wish come true?

We see many beautiful and historic places in this story—the Eiffel Tower, Cathedral of Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, Moulin Rouge—as BonBon’s friends discuss landmarks they’ve “seen” in their lives. But BonBon just wants to be noticed and decides she must practice patience. Despite ongoing challenges like being hidden behind bigger toys in the window, luck prevails and BonBon is spotted by a little girl looking for her Paris keepsake.  Will she convince her mom that BonBon is the perfect souvenir?

Eugene Ruble’s detailed illustrations are beautiful and bring BonBon and her story to life. BonBon is a lovely story that is sure to delight young readers.

Learn more about Barbara Bockman or purchase books at:


** Please Note:  I do not receive monetary compensation nor any other incentive for my reviews.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe...

Picture book ideas overflow.

Which one will it be...

Stay tuned here, and you will see!

Thank you, Tara Lazar, for the wonderful motivation.  I am excited to explore the possibilities generated throughout the month of November with your PiBoIdMo challenge!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

SCBWI Book Launch Party

The SCBWI Book Launch Party goes live today!  You can find my children's picture book, Little Bug, as well as lots of other great books released in 2015. 

Come join the fun on my Book Launch Page at   

Check out my contest details and help name Little Bug.  The winner receives a free autographed copy in time for the holidays.

Start or continue your holiday shopping with a terrific selection of children's books.  Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving!  As we go about our celebrations, let us all pause and give special thanks for all those who have and continue to serve and fight for our freedom.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Avoid the Trap of Perfectionism

I've blogged before about the debilitating idea of perfectionism.  One can argue the merits of being a perfectionist, and I am certainly one who would agree there are numerous pros.  Yet time and time again, I am slapped upside the head with the corresponding cons. 

All of you who follow and read my blog (and thank you very much to those who do!) know very well my struggle with needing to have a "perfect" (e.g, clean and organized with few things on my TTD list except writing and writing related activities) environment in which to write.  Often, I blow my entire allotted time prepping my surroundings to write only to then have no more time to accomplish what I've hoped to accomplish.

I'm working very diligently to overcome this mental need for husband would argue my surroundings are far from organized with all my piles and lists..though he obviously has no idea of the organized nature of my chaos:)

I was thumbing through a Self magazine while on the treadmill the other day and ran across this blurb about avoiding the perfectionism trap.  It referenced Elizabeth Gilbert's "Secret to Creativity" in Big Magic.  As I read, it was like Wham! 

And I quote, "Perfectionism stops people from completing their work--but even worse, it often stops people from beginning their work.  Perfectionists decide in advance that the end product is never going to be satisfactory, so they don't even bother trying to be creative in the first place."

Hell yeah!  This epitomizes me and so many things in my life but especially writing.  Giving oneself the freedom to create with no thought to the end product (until such time as one begins to edit, that is) is something I preach though am not very good at doing.  Which is why this month's Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) challenge has been wonderfully enlightening and productive for me.  Thank you, Tara Lazar!  The idea is to generate 30 PB ideas in the month of November.  No one has to see them; they don't even have to be wonderful ideas.  They just have to be ideas, not books in whole.  I am on my honor to create them, and it has taken the pressure off and opened the floodgates.  Some ideas are definitely not so great, but some I am very excited about further developing. 

Now, my mission going forward is to take this feeling of being able to create ideas and run with the ones worth running with and not fear the crippling perfectionism that can often stop me dead in my tracks.

I urge all you PB writers to consider Tara Lazar's PiBoIdMo next year!  More info here...

For now, happy writing and creating.  Let it flow freely without the binding chains of the need to be "perfect."

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Guardian Angel Kids eZine

Guardian Angel Kids An Online Magazine
November 2015 Reading and Writing Poetry
Special Features:
If I Could Be Anything by Kevin McNamee; Illustrations by Marina Movshina
My Grandma’s Kitchen Rules by Bill Kirk; Illustrations by Marina Movshina
Features :
Yes, You Can be a Poet by Shari Klase
Styles of Poetry by Christine Collier
Awesome Acrostics by Carol J. Douglas
Fun With Rhymes by Bill Kirk
The Point is Tradition by A.J. Huffman
When Rhyming Gets Slumpy by Bill Kirk
What Will I Be? by Christy Mihaly
My Robot and Me by Debbie Vilardi
Sick Day Lesson by Jennifer Weiss
Autumn Kaleidoscope by Pamela Love
Poetry Project by Donna J. Shepherd

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Guardian Angel New Releases

Congratulations to the October 2015 Guardian Angel Releases

100 Pecans for Tabitha
Academic Wings
Author: Tracey M. Cox; Illustrator: Eugene Ruble
Tabitha is on the search for 100 pecans. Help her count by 5s to reach her goal and have her favorite treats. Recipes and Pecan info included.

America Bless God— a Children’s Musical
Angelic Harmony
Authors: Dixie Phillips, Sharon Phillips
Light up your 4th of July with this simple easy-to-perform patriotic children’s musical.

Colby Mouse’s Christmas Gift
Wings of Faith
Author: Barbara Bockman; Illustrator: KC Snider
When Colby Mouse sees the happiness of the people family celebrating Christmas, he yearns to join in the festivities. He gives and receives a gift.

Papillon and the Magic Lamp
Chapbooks for Tweens
Author: Osa Kauffman; Illustrator: Aumi Kauffman Perry
A talking butterfly and a boy embark on an adventure in the desert. They encounter a talking camel, a wily salesman, and a magical lamp.

Monday, November 2, 2015

September 2015 Guardian Angel Publishing New Releases

Congratulations to all the talented GAP authors and illustrators of the September releases...

Guardian Angel September 2015 NEW RELEASES

Littlest Angels
Author: Barbara Bockman Illustrations: Eugene Ruble
In Paris, France BonBon gets her wish to go home from the toy store with a child.

Clare’s Christmas Wish
Littlest Angels
Author; Tracey M Cox; Illustrator: Eugene Ruble
Two girls learn the true meaning of Christmas… GIVING.

Gatsby’s Grand Adventures Book 3 Thomas Gainsborough’s “Girl with Pigs”
Author: Barbara Cairns; Illustrator: Eugene Ruble
When Gatsby the art gallery cat explores Thomas Gainsborough’s painting “GIRL WITH PIGS”, strange things happen.

Purple Frog Pajamas
Written and illustrated by San Hoy (Sandra H Sanders
Six year old Joshua has a bed wetting problem. His re-deployed mother gives him a parting gift, a set of pajamas covered with purple frogs.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Picture Book Idea Month

I am so excited to participate in the 7th annual Picture Book Idea Month this November.  Thank you, Tara Lazar, for this incredible opportunity. 

Per Ms. Lazar's website...

The challenge is to create 30 picture book concepts in 30 days. You don’t have to write a manuscript (but you can if the mood strikes). You don’t need potential best-seller ideas.

You might think of a clever title. Or a name for a character. Or just a silly thing like “purple polka-dot pony.” The object is to heighten your picture-book-idea-generating senses. Ideas may build upon other ideas and your list of potential stories will grow stronger as the days pass.

Daily blog posts by picture book authors, illustrators, editors and other kidlit professionals will help inspire you. By the end of the month, you’ll have a fat file of ideas to spark new stories.

You can find more info at

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Reserve Your Copy Now

Dee and Deb Off They Go: Kindergarten First Day Jitters Review

by Donna M. McDine

Title: Dee and Deb Off They Go: Kindergarten First Day Jitters
Category: Children’s Picture Book
Author: Donna M. McDine
Illustrator: Jack Foster
Print ISBN: 9781616336998
eBook ISBN: 9781616337001
Published: Guardian Angel Publishing, December 2015
Dee and Deb Off They Go is an endearing story to which all children can relate, whether or not they are a twin, as they take the big step to full time student. Twin sisters, Dee and Deb, are about to be separated for the first time ever on their first day of Kindergarten. Ms. McDine’s voice paints a realistic picture of first day jitters and creates characters and a school experience which is easily relatable for kids. She does an excellent job of hitting the high points of what matters most to children this age—a friend to play and interact with in school and what happens entering a classroom not knowing anyone, and in this case without your best twin sister-friend, and having to choose a buddy from a sea of unfamiliar faces. Ms. McDine’s story reassures and helps kids be less concerned about what they will face as they begin their school journey. Dee and Deb is a delightful read that will leave children more excited than nervous for their first big day of Kindergarten.  
Mr. Foster’s colorful and detailed illustrations almost leap off the page and really bring the story to life, drawing the reader fully into Dee and Deb’s adventure. The reader feels Dee and Deb’s anxiety and excitement with each flip of the page. 
Well done, Donna McDine and Jack Foster. A must read for all children preparing for the beginning of their school career.
Pre-orders are available at



Thursday, October 22, 2015

Struggling to Create

I have been frustrated lately with life's ongoing balance.  All good things, but yet things, that "get in the way" of my TTD list and cause me to move things from one day to the next when I don't accomplish what I set out to on a given day. 

I struggle because work is busy, life is busy, as it is for all of us; I'm not out of the ordinary.  I have a senior in high school which brings with it many new things...things that need to be accomplished, applications to be completed, college visits to schedule and complete, etc.  Most importantly, the realization that my first born is about to fly the coop, and I am NO WHERE NEAR READY!! 

So, I have been working hard to appreciate the time I have now with my daughter as we negotiate this new world of making future plans--all the while trying to ignore what it all means long term--as well as managing the day to day life a family with three busy kids brings.

Sometimes I want to crawl under the covers, ignore the world until my house is quiet and empty and then have the day to myself to tackle what needs to be done and maybe, just maybe, have some time to write as well; but, ultimately, I haven't yet done that much as I'd like to do so.

I was just in the store the other day shopping for the necessary items on my kids' lists and saw this sign.  It really hit home...I spend a lot of time dreaming of what I want and hope to accomplish but while I may inspire to do so, I've not actually done much recently.  I spend a lot of time imagining what I want to create but haven't actually sat, butt in chair, and spent time creating something new.  I do, or really want to, believe I can and will write, but, in order to really achieve that goal, there is always something in my way I feel the need to accomplish first. 

I'm on a mission to just flat out spend time to INSPIRE, CREATE and ACHIEVE and not just DREAM, IMAGINE and BELIEVE.  

I'm so very open to advice should you be willing and interested in sharing.  This is an ongoing dilemma for many of us, I know.  I am also working hard to stop expecting time to just fall in my lap.  I need to make the time, fight for the time and use it wisely.  Goal for November! 

Good luck to all of you NaNoWriMo people.  I wish you well and hope to do so next November.  This year, I will just focus on writing a little bit each day.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Little Bug Review

I am so excited to share Beverly Stowe McClure's wonderful review of Little Bug.  Thank you so much, Beverly, for taking the time to review my book and for your kind words!

Without further ado...

For Fun Friday today I have a fun story to tell you about. Take a look at Author Karin Larson's new picture book. Eugene Ruble is the talented illustrator. Just wait until you meet Little Bug.

Isn't he cute?
By Karin Larson
Illustrations by Eugene Ruble
Little ones, whether they’re children or animals, need friends. They need food and water. They need lots of things life has to offer; they especially need a home where they feel safe.
In LITTLE BUG, Author Karin Larson’s new picture book, Little Bug goes in search of a friend to play with. When he doesn’t find anyone, he decides he’s hungry and goes hunting for food. Again, he’s not successful and thinks, well, he’s thirsty, maybe he’ll search for a drink of water. Nope, no luck there, either. He is having a bad, bad day. What’s a little bug to do?
Karin Larson has written a sweet story about accepting things we can’t change and making the best of a situation. Little Bug doesn’t get angry and have a tantrum when he can’t find what he’s looking for. Instead, he keeps on trying. Will he ever find what he’s seeking? Or will he be content with what he does find? Only Little Bug, and you, the reader of the story know.
Eugene Ruble’s winsome illustrations show Little Bug’s different emotions with each situation just perfectly. You gotta love a little bug with big eyes and a heart full of hope that he’ll find what he’s looking for. Does he? I’m not telling, but Little Bug will.
I recommend LITTLE BUG for school libraries, public libraries, and of course your own private library. The book will be fun for parents and children to read together, or just to read by yourself in a quiet corner of your house.
Congratulations, Karin.
Available at Amazon     Guardian Angel Publishing
You can learn more about Beverly at

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I saw this last week one day and saved it and now can't recall where I found it, so I apologize for not being able to give credit to whomever had it posted at that time.  But, how cool is this?  The root of all goes back to reading.  We must first read, read, read in order to then write, influence and, thereby, change the world. LOVE IT!

It is so true that reading A LOT in the genre in which one writes is imperative, but reading in general, both for writing purposes and for fun, is necessary.  I love to read, always have and always will.  It truly amazes me that some don't share that same feeling, though I know many do not.  One of my kid's complained the other day about having to read for school which then started a discussion (e.g., lecture) about the awesome privilege of books, the ability to have them and read them.  The ability to lose oneself in a new world, one in which anything is possible, to be able to lounge around and do nothing more than open a book and just simply which point, he started to roll his eyes and look at me like I had two heads:).  He thought I was totally bonkers when I said I'd love nothing more than a free week of hours on end to read, read and read some more!

And then I saw this quote and bam!  I started to think of it from a different perspective.  Reading is empowering? Writing to influence and change the world? Well, yes it is empowering to read.  And, yes, I do hope to influence change with my writing.  At this point, hopefully, a little girl or boy begs his or her mom or dad to read my book just one more time before bed (or at any other time during the day, for that matter).  Maybe someday, it will be an influence of another kind, for a different age range; however, the ultimate goal is the affect change of some nature, in some way, big or small, in the hearts and minds of those reading my books.  I want others to WANT to read my books in the same way I love to read books myself.   I do feel empowered when I write, and, hopefully, this empowerment translates into a positive change for those choosing to read my work.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Book Review

I am excited to share Penelope Anne Cole's review of Little Bug.  Thank you for your time and effort, Penny, as well as your kind words about my book.

Without further ado...

Little Bug

by Karin Larson

Illustrated by Eugene Ruble


“Little Bug,” by Karin Larson, illustrated by Eugene Ruble, is the type of children’s book that I especially enjoy—a book about word play using opposites. In fact, I’ve got my own manuscript with opposites in it. As a concept book about opposites, “Little Bug” has just about all of them. He goes out crawling to find a friend, some food, a drink, a tunnel, a worm, a ride on a butterfly, some shade, a puddle, a tree, a flower, the ant queen, a resting place, and a house. Here’s an example of Ms. Larson’s word play with opposites at the beginning of the book:

Little Bug goes all over, under, around, and through in his journey. Poor little bug. At the end of the day, he will have to start his search all over again.
Unlike his more realistic illustrations, Eugene Ruble’s pastel artwork in this story has whimsy and silliness that would appeal to readers at the younger age range. Readers at the higher age range could make a game of writing down all the opposites--or even guessing which opposites go together. This would be a good book for teachers to showcase these opposites. Also, it’s a good book for parents and grandparents to quiz their students about opposites. “Little Bug” would make a good read aloud book as well. Recommended for ages 6 to 9.
Information on author Karin Larson is at
Eugene Ruble is an experienced illustrator and author for
Penelope Anne Cole, Award Winning Author of Magical Matthew and Magical Mea.
New:  Magical Mea Goes to School. For Halloween:  Ten Little Tricksters

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Book Review: A Delightful Magical Story

Title: Magical Mea Goes to School
Author: Penelope Anne Cole
Illustrator: Kevin Scott Collier
eBook: 32 Pages
Publisher: Magical Book Works
Published: June 29, 2015
ISBN-10: 194319601X
ISBN-13: 978-1-943196-01-2

Magical Mea Goes to School, written by Penelope Anne Cole and illustrated by Kevin Scott Collier, is a continuation of the story and engaging characters we met in Ms. Cole’s Magical Matthew and Magical Mea books. 

Mea has struggled in the past to use her magical powers for good and had to learn not to be such a trickster with her powers. Now starting 2nd grade, Mea’s brother, Matthew, his friend, Lily, and Grandma Nonie are concerned Mea won’t keep her powers “fixing things” secret and feel she needs additional training. Mea has other ideas and wants more play time so over-schedules her after school hours to avoid her “lessons.” Not that the others should be concerned. Mea shows she is perfectly capable of using her “trickster” magic for good all on her own to “save the day.”

Ms. Cole is wonderful at teaching lessons in a fun way without adult intervention and embeds important messages (“I know I helped them and that’s enough”) in a relatable and fun story kids will love.  Kevin Scott Collier’s vibrant illustrations are terrific and expressive and really bring Ms. Cole’s story and characters to life.

 Learn more or contact Penelope Anne Cole at:

Learn more about Kevin Scott Collier at:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

First Review

Thank you, Donna McDine, for the first review of Little Bug.  I appreciate your time and kind words!

Title: Little Bug

Author: Karin Larson

Illustrator: Eugene Ruble

Paperback: 16 pages

Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

Published: August 28, 2015

ISBN-10: 1616336935

ISBN-13: 978-1616336936


Little Bug takes you on the adventure of persistence of finding just the right place to call home. The journey is near and far and all places in between intertwined with the need of finding comfort in the perfect setting. Not to be thwarted by the obstacles thrown his way, even though tired and a bit discouraged Little Bug continues onward. Will Little Bug give in to his exhaustion and quit or will his persistence finally pay off. Find out in children’s author, Karin Larson’s second children’s book, Little Bug.


Karin Larson’s bug adventure will stimulate the reader’s mind by wondering what will come next in the adventure of Little Bug.


Learn more about Karin Larson at:





Karin Larson’s unique story of the adventure of Little Bug is filled with obstacles as he explores the world around him for the perfect place to rest his head. Larson’s creative storytelling is the perfect opportunity to spark the imagination of our young muses through what happens next scenarios. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Guardian Angel Kids eZine

The new September 2015 issue of Guardian Angel Kids eZine is up and ready for your viewing pleasure. 

Visit here to read the latest release of this terrific magazine for kids:

Congratulations to Lynda S. Burch and all the writers and illustrators involved!

Monday, August 31, 2015

New Release

After much waiting, the time is finally here...Little Bug has been released by Guardian Angel Publishing!  Thank you, Lynda S. Burch, for placing your trust in me and appreciating my vision for this story.  Thank you, Eugene Ruble, for bringing my story to life.

You can learn more about the book and find purchase info on my book page at Guardian Angel Publishing:

Information will also be updated and available on my blog and website soon so please visit at: and

I will also have hard copy stock soon for any wanting signed copies.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Cover Release

I am very excited to share the cover of my soon-to-be released children's book, Little Bug (Guardian Angel Publishing).  I've been working on final edits with the publisher over the last week and am looking forward to holding the final product in hand.  More info to come...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Do you have a mantra? A saying that helps you press on when you think you can't?

For years, mine has been, "I can go the distance."  I'm not sure why.  It just popped into my head one morning while working out.  I must have been tired and wanting to give up.

I was thinking of it this morning as I took my son to school and passed my sister-in-law out running (she is training for a marathon) and wondered what she uses as a mantra to get her through those long runs.

I then started thinking about how my mantra applies to my writing life as I hadn't previously thought of it in those terms.  It does, however, work well for this side of my life as well.

Struggling to form a new on.  Struggling to find the right words to flesh out a new concept...keep writing.  Having trouble editing and polishing the final manuscript before submitting...keep working.  Getting a rejection, or multiple rejections...go the distance, re-submit and keep doing so.

So many of the life lessons we use in our daily life also apply to our writing life.  Persistence and hard work are keys to success, in life and in writing.

How about you? Do you have a mantra that serves you well?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Video Share

I had the privilege of listening to Denise Vega speak at a writing conference a couple years ago.  She is not only extremely knowledgeable about writing and living the writing life but is also very motivational and encouraging.  She is awesome at sharing her talents and knowledge with other writers, and I wanted to share her recent video about finding a publisher for your children's book for any of you interested in viewing it.

Here is the link for Denise's video:

You can also learn more about Denise at:

I encourage you all to go visit and follow Denise for ongoing info and support!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Write On

I have found myself spinning in circles (literally and figuratively, it seems) numerous times over the course of these last couple weeks as summer winds down, sports seasons change and work looms ever closer.  There has been a final push this last week as I prepared my therapy room for the upcoming school year before an open house and tried to get myself organized somewhat--though by organization I mean preparing sticky notes and lists of what yet needs to be accomplished.  What has been lacking significantly is writing time which tends to make me cranky...and reading time which also makes me very cranky. 

I started thinking about the times I've committed to writing first before anything else in the day and trying to utilize every block of time, large or small, throughout the day.  Those times were most productive for me, and I definitely need to get back to that state of mind. 

I found this quote this morning on Pinterest (yes, wasting time while waiting for my daughter to finish an MRI) which seems the perfect spring board for a return to productivity...

"You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page.  You can't edit a blank page."  Jodi Picoult

Well, duh!!!  That does, however, require physically writing.  So, as I embark on a new school/work year, I am recommitting myself to a better writing life as well.

If you care to share how your writing life transitions from summer months to school time (regardless of working in a school setting), I would love to hear all about it. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Guardian Angel Publishing New Releases

Congratulations to all authors and illustrators of the August 2015 Guardian Angel Publishing new releases.  Great work! 
You can read and learn more below...

99 Monkeys on a Bus
Littlest Angels
Author-Christine Marie Alemshah
Illustrations Copyright © 2015 Jack Foster
Nobody believed Bobby’s outrageous story about seeing monkeys on a bus, but he persevered and found a way to show everyone they really existed.

A Puddle for Poo
Early Reader Chapter book
Author Mary Vigliante Szydlowski; Illustrator KC Snider
Something has to be done about the Baker's dog, Poo! Her digging, chewing, and bad behavior is driving the neighbors crazy.

Pepé Maurice Pierre, Poodle Extraordinaire
Animals & Pets
Author Kelly Hashway; Illustrator Jack Foster
Pepe is no ordinary French poodle. When Meg enters him a dog show, his differences make him the star of the show.

Academic Wings
written and illustrated by Melissa Ross
On a night time hike with his dad, a young boy overcomes his fear of the dark with the help of an unlikely superhero called Supermoon.

Two House Lilly
Chapbook for Tweens
written and illustrated by Candace Hardy
Lilly Ferris’ life is a calendar of Red Weeks and Blue Weeks as she moves between life with her dad and his new family and her mom and Grandma Ada. It takes a family crisis to convince her that two families isn’t a bad thing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Beautifully Touching Story


Papa's Suns, written by Kevin McNamee and illustrated by Samantha Bell (Guardian Angel Publishing, June 2015), is an endearing story showing the love and affection between a boy, Jacob, and his grandfather, Papa.  Papa and Jacob enjoy spending time and doing simple things together like drawing.  Papa creates many wonderful drawings, but Papa's suns are Jacob's favorite.  Papa uses repetition in making his suns ("first we make a circle...") which is a great learning tool for children.  One day, Jacob learns Papa is in the hospital after having a stroke.  Mr. McNamee does a very nice job explaining stroke (only half his face moving and the other droopy with trouble speaking), rehab ("that's where they taught his body how to work again") and recovery ("his body is still learning how to do things again") in terms children can understand which is very helpful for any struggling to understand what happens when a family member or loved one suffers a stroke.  Ms. Bell's illustrations are so realistic with such terrific detail and really bring the story and characters alive.  Children and adults alike will cherish Papa's Suns, a wonderful story showing how, while some things in life change, others stay the same, like the love and bonds between Papa and Jacob and even the simple things enjoyed together, like drawing.  Great work!
Disclosure:  I received this book from the author but this review consists of my honest opinions, not influenced in any way by the author or publisher.

You can find more info here:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Must Read

The Veterans' Clubhouse, written by Kristen Zajac and illustrated by Jennifer Thomas Houdeshell (Guardian Angel Publishing, June 2015), is a heart-warming, faith-based story of caring and giving of oneself to others in need, in this case homeless veterans.  This story, about a homeless Vietnam veteran named Charlie who is down on his luck, is told from the perspective of two children who work tirelessly to create The Veterans' Clubhouse for those veterans struggling to find work and a place to live.  This story uses art, music and colorful sounds to create a fun story to which kids, and adults, can easily relate.  The Veteran's Clubhouse shows other kids how possible it is to make a positive difference for others in this world and affirms that persistence and hard work pay off in the end.  This story is particularly important in this day and age in which we now live with so many veterans struggling for work and shelter.  I dare say the characters in Ms. Zajac's story will motivate many children to want to help others needing assistance.  Ms. Houdeshell's illustrations are truly incredible and bring the characters and story to life in such vivid color and detail.  Well done!  I love this book and highly recommend it.

Disclosure:  I received this book from the author but this review consists of my honest opinion, not influenced in any way by the author or publisher.

You can find more info at:

Children's Author & Writer for Everyday Family


Friday, July 24, 2015

Generating Book Sales

I've been thinking lately about how to re-energize book sales of Bedtime Kisses as sales seem to be in a bit of a slump lately.  Granted, it has been a crazy summer as of late and I haven't been very good at promotion; however, I've been mulling ways to creatively generate new book sales.

Today, I was perusing a new book, The Book: The Essential Guide to Publishing for Children 2015 (, and found a chapter entitled, "Keeping Your Book Alive."  That is just what I have been trying to figure out how to do.

This chapter discusses considerations pre-acceptance (hard and softcover, publishers, contract negotiations, etc.), post-acceptance/pre-publication (checking for accuracy, cover copy, inclusion in catalogs, etc.), marketing (reviews and awards) and book life post-publication (availability, rights, print life, etc.). 

There were certainly many great ideas, and I will be following through with those I have not already; however, it really made me start to wonder what all of you find most effective in re-kindling the sales fire when it subsides a bit.

If you are willing to share your ideas and tips for generating sales, I would love to hear them as I am sure would many others.  Perhaps we can all learn new techniques and ideas from each other.

If you are interested in this book, you can find more information at  I haven't had it long and have only browsed through a few chapters thus far, but it seems well worth the investment.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

I think now more than ever our great nation is in need of prayers...for safety, for freedom, for strength, for life...and the list goes on and on.  As you celebrate this great nation today, keep all those continuing to fight for our freedom close in thought and prayer.  It is an unbelievably scary time in our world, and we owe great debt to all those who have and continue to serve our great nation.

I found this Independence Day Prayer online ( and found it fitting for the times we face and the times we have seen:

Lord, we stand today as our forefathers have stood before You in times

gone by,

Celebrating our history and revelling in all the great things that our

country has achieved.

On this day we rejoice in the favor You have graciously given us.

We thank You for the blessings of liberty, for this generation and for

the generations to come.

We thank You for our independence, peace and for all those who have

bravely given their lives in the defence of freedom and justice.

We thank You that Your gracious and provident hand has given us so


Yet as a nation and people we have not always chosen the right way.

We ask You to forgive us for these times.

On this day we commit ourselves to wholeheartedly honoring and

serving You.

With everything that we are, we lay our lives before You.

Make us a generous people,

A holy nation,

A people set aside to love You forever,

For the sake of the land of the brave and free,

And the peoples and nations of this world.

Today, we do not presume Your grace for our country.

Our land is in need of You,

Our people are in need of You,

Our industry and business is in need of You.

May we look only to You

This Independence Day, dependent on You.

Please come now by Your glorious Holy Spirit,

Breathe new life into the sinews of this nation.

May justice flow like rivers,

And righteousness like a never failing stream,

Until the whole of our country is covered with Your glory,

As the waters cover the sea.

We ask all this in the wonderful name of Jesus,

Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit.

One God, now and for all eternity.



Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Conquering Fear

I saw this quote today, and it really hit home.  I've been working a bit on something new that has been nudging the edges of my psyche for a while.  But, it scares the pants off me.  One, it is not like anything I've ever written.  Two, it is pretty personal.  Three, it might totally suck!  I've been trying to fight through that fear and press on so when I saw this quote, it was like an aha moment telling me to just keep writing.  I'm sure it will be a "shitty rough draft" in Anne Lamott's words, but such is life.  Perseverance pays, so they say, and I agree.  If at first you don't succeed, try and try again...

I'm you find fear is a driving force in your writing?  If so, is it the fear of starting something new? The unknown? The outcome of what happens when the writing and editing is complete? 

It is all of the above for me I think.  At least, it is when I over think.  I find I do much better when an idea germinates briefly and springs into my mind, flowing out on paper.  This is probably easiest with the children's picture books I've written, at least for that first rough draft.  But that does give me something with which to work.  It seems to be the longer books that paralyze me once I reach a certain point and am not sure how best to proceed.  Last night, I dreamt of a wall type picture board with various colored sticky notes all over it (those that know me well know I LOVE sticky notes), so I think this is my subconscious helping me figure out how to start getting to the other side of fear on this particular WIP.  Once created, I will post a picture of my sticky note poster board of ideas:)

I'd love to hear how you fight through and past the fear that can grip you or ignore it and press on if able.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

New Contest Information

The rewards are publication, cash prizes, winners’ certificates, and valuable training in disciplined writing.
 If you enjoy writing mysteries for children and contests,
read on...
Writing to an editor’s specifications is the first hurdle that any writer must clear on the track to publication.
     Yet we hear repeatedly from editors that the majority of manuscripts they receive do not match their guidelines and specifications.
     That’s a huge waste of time and energy for both writers and editors.
     Writing contests also have exact specifications, and that’s why we encourage all writers to enter contests as often as they can. Contests are excellent professional training experiences.
Get published and read by others 
      A winning entry can get you published, and often some healthy prize money too.
     The winning entries in this Early Reader Mystery Writing Contest will be announced in a September eNews newsletter, which we will email free to all entrants.
     In addition, we will publish the winning entries on our website.
Win one of five cash prizes
      The contest offers five cash prizes: $500 for the winner, $250 for second place, and $100 for third, fourth, and fifth places. These alone are a lot of good reasons to write and enter.
     To enter our Early Reader Mystery writing contest, submit an original, unpublished early reader mystery story, of 700 words or less. Early readers are defined as ages 5 to 7, children beginning to read entire stories on their own, stretching their recognition of words and concepts, but likely to need some assistance from an adult. Entries should not be for reading by an adult to a child.
      Submissions will be judged on story line, characterization, and freshness, but also on structure, grammar, and ultimate publishability. Mysteries should be well-constructed, and have a strong point-of-view character. The mystery must be one that an early reader can grasp and potentially solve: It must be age-appropriate.
Entries must be received by July 18, 2015
     Entries must be received by July 18, 2015. All entries pay a reading fee of $15, which includes a free eBook: Powerhouses of Children’s Publishing.

     The contest rules are important. Please read them carefully.
     Now warm up your computer and write a mystery for early readersand win $500.00!
     Above all—have some fun with this contest. Good luck.
Entries are submitted online
We have developed a safe and secure web page for your contest entry and manuscript submission. It is easy to use.
     When you have your manuscript ready, you will submit your entry and reading fee at the same time. Please click here to continue to the entry page on our website.
     You will first be directed to the section requiring the pre-payment of a $15 reading fee. The submission of the manuscript entry will follow the payment of the entry fee.
     Receipt of your entry will be acknowledged by email.