Friday, September 23, 2016

Guest Interview

I am pleased to share a guest interview on Penelope Anne Cole's blog, Penny's Writing Chad and Book Reviews.  Penny is the award-winning author of the Magical Matthew and Mea series.  You can learn more about her at:

Penelope Anne Cole
Multi-Award Winning Author of Magical Matthew, Magical Mea, 
Magical Mea Goes to School, Magical Max and Magical Mickey, and
Magical Max and Magical Mickey’s Big Surprise

New:  In and Out, All ‘Round About – Opposite Friends
What’s for Dinner? and ¿Qué vamos a comer?:
For Halloween: Ten Little Tricksters and
 Diez pequeños bromistas

Without further ado...


I'm pleased to welcome children's author Karin Larson.

Please tell about your background.

When I was younger, my parents owned jewelry and gift stores, so I grew up working in retail from a young age and did so through high school and college (when home on breaks).   I came home after graduating from college to manage the stores and do the books as my mom had made a change in her career path by that point.  After a couple years, I decided to go back to school and got my Master’s Degree in Communication Disorders.  I have worked as a Speech/Language Pathologist in both the medical and school settings since that time except for a few years I was home with my kids when they were younger.

How did you decide to become a children's writer and what steps did you take to make that happen?  

I’ve always loved to write though had never done so for more than my own eyes.  During the period of a few years when I had young children and was a stay-at-home mom, I saw an ad for a writing test with the Institute of Children’s Literature.  It made me start thinking about it in earnest, so I completed the test and was accepted.  That initial course was followed by a few others, and a writing life was born.  That was probably 12 or 13 years ago, so it certainly wasn’t overnight. Initially, I focused on writing for magazines but have now had two children’s picture books published and am drawn more to PB writing. 

Tell us about your book(s), especially about the one you are promoting now. (I will list your books/covers in the blog.)  

My first children’s picture book, Bedtime Kisses, was released in April 2014 by 4RV Publishing. It is a sweet and simple bedtime counting story for little ones illustrated by the talented Ginger Nielson.   

Little Bug, released in August 2015 by Guardian Angel Publishing and illustrated by Eugene Ruble, is a story about persistence which also teaches children about concepts and prepositions.  Both books are available through me, each publisher’s website, or Amazon.

What is a typical writing day like for you?  

I wish there was something typical about my writing day, but there is anything but!  I still work part time as a speech/language pathologist in a private elementary school and have two kids at home with one in college so I spend time chasing them in various school activities and sports.  I am trying to put writing first before any other writing related activity but often find myself tackling email or reading about writing or marketing on various social media sites if I have just a bit of time rather than physically writing.  I am a work in progress on this front but do try to spend some time working on a manuscript before sitting down at my computer on the mornings I don’t have to go to work.  Carving out time to dedicate just to writing is very important, however, and I am getting better at doing so.

What is the most difficult part of writing for children?  

Making the time to actually sit down, butt in chair, and write.  Often I get caught up in the rest of the day to day grind of life and activities and don’t make or take the time to focus on writing as often as I would like.  

What do you enjoy most about writing for children? 

I love the sense of wonder children have about life and the world around them.  Creating books that foster this sense of enjoyment in reading and losing oneself in the pages of a book is so important to me.  I want to make children want to read.  When a child comes to me and says he/she loved my book, it makes my day.  

Do you make school visits? If so, please describe a typical school presentation.  

I have done a few school visits, and they have been a blast.  While I have prepared notes to discuss with the students based on why the school has asked me to speak (Read Across America week, Dr. Suess Day, etc.), ultimately, we always seem to spend the bulk of the time in a marathon question and answer session which I love as would much rather cover what is most important to the kids.  They are the ones reading my books (as well as the parents reading to the younger kids), so it is always fun to hear their questions and see what matters to them.  It is so exciting to look out into a sea of little upturned faces staring at me with arms raised high in the air waiting to ask a question.  They are always a receptive and grateful audience.

Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL. I have both a website,, and a blog,  

Tell us about your marketing process. What do you do to market and sell your books? 

Word of mouth from family and friends have generated a number of book sales as have school visits. I send home a book order form with a spot for parents to indicate to whom they would like the book autographed which has helped get kids excited about my books and upcoming visit.  I have also done book signings at our local bookstore and offered books for sale at our regional SCBWI conference.  I also try to promote on my blog, Facebook, Pinterest and Goodreads and just recently got a Twitter account.  I must admit I am sorely in need of improvements in my marketing/social media life and need to dedicate some major time to it.  It is difficult, however, to justify spending a lot of time on this when I would much rather write and need the written product in order to market it.

What are you working on right now?  

I have three children’s picture books in various stages of editing at the moment and am working on having them all finished and ready to send out by the end of the year.  

What is your best tip for aspiring children's book authors? 

Persistence pays.  Keep working hard and don’t give up.  And read, read and read some more! Submerse yourself in the genre in which you write or want to write.  Creativity breeds creativity—at least, it does for me.

Thank you so much for sharing your writing journey, your process, and tips for aspiring authors!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Making the Most of Inspiration

I apologize for my absence.  Life, as usual, seems to get in the way and magically make time disappear with a poof!

While I haven't been blogging much, I have been writing some.  I was pretty stagnant for a while dealing with various activities and life happenings.  And then, one night, inspiration struck.  Typically, I would just continue to lie there, tossing and turning, too tired and lazy to get up and make some notes on what popped into my head. Because, of course, it was such a great idea that I would no doubt remember it in the morning, right???  I am guessing you can all relate to that idea.  I don't know about you, but, more often than not, that wonderful idea is but a distant memory come morning with no ability to recall the specifics or ideal title I just knew I would remember.

This time, however, I leapt from bed to write down my title (which is still my working title, and I love it), so I wouldn't forget.  I crept quietly back to bed so as not to wake anyone only to spring from the covers once again as ideas started pouring and the story started to unfold begging to be written.  IT WAS FUN!  It has been a long time since I've been this excited about a WIP, and I know it helped that I had no pressure to make it any certain level of greatness.  I just wrote and shaped my story from the ideas that flowed.  I am learning to (or trying to!) ignore the pressures and self expectations to have my first drafts be great from the get go and just write, butt in chair.  Revising and editing can come later; hence, the quote above is my new mantra.   I certainly don't write well every day (maybe any day, for that matter), but it sure does help to have words to work with rather than a blank page staring back at me.

I'd love to hear about your writing process when ideas come knocking!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Newest Guardian Angel Publishing Releases

Mrs. Betsy Fieldmouse Borrows an Egg
Animals & Pets
Barbara Bockman
With unexpected help from her neighbors, Mrs. Betsy Fieldmouse gets her own egg back to make Mrs. Tillie Badger’s surprise birthday cake.

Pumpkin Pie Surprise, hardcover and softcover
Littlest Angels
Roey Ebert
Pumpkin Pie’s first day at a new school, unknowingly, coincides with the class Halloween party. Follow Pumpkin Pie on his day filled with surprises!

The Children Keep Their Promises
Wings of Faith
Rosemary Kuhn
Travel to meet young people from diverse cultures, all working for peace because of a promise made to angels long ago at the birth of Jesus.

The Real Star of Bethlehem - A Children’s Christmas Musical CD
Angelic Harmony
Dixie Phillips, Sharon Phillips, Lucy Robbins, Leslie Trettin
Hearts will be stolen and child “stars” will shine brightly for Jesus when they perform this easy-to-sing-and-stage Christmas musical.