Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Like Silverstein & Dahl? Then You'll LOVE Rolli!





In a literary world full of zombies and vampires (which of course is a lot of fun), sometimes we want to read a classic, whether it's a traditional fairy tale like Cinderella or a fantasy like James and the Giant Peach. Many people wish there were more authors out there who told stories in these whimsical, creative ways--well there is. And his name is Rolli.

DR. FRANKLIN'S STATICY CAT AND OTHER UNBELIEVABLE TALES is a collection of high-energy, fun short stories for kids published by Knowonder. There's a cat that helps invent static electricity and another that helps invent perfume. There's a tiger with an elevator in its stomach, and an elephant that sucks up the world. Below is a short conversation with the author.


When did you discover you had a “sense of fiction?”

Hmm. I remember crossing out paragraphs and sometimes pages of books and rewriting them, dissatisfied, when I was very young. It was probably somewhere around that time.

Your writing style reminds me of Shel Silverstein. What are some of your favorite children’s authors/books? What types of books do you like to read as an adult?

Well, I like Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl, L. Frank Baum, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Hans Christian Andersen, all the old fairy tale stuff. I still read those, you know. On the adult side of the coin, Ray Bradbury, Agatha Christie, T.S. Eliot, Dickens, Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Poe. It’s a crowded coin.

What inspired some of these stories, such as “Dr. Franklin’s Staticy Cat” and “Jemma’s Castle”?

It’s a good question, only – I can never remember! I write lots of things. My habit is to drink lots of coffee and write as much as possible. I don’t generally remember where an idea came from. Plus, I’m absent-minded.

How would you describe your writing process? What must you always have while writing?

Well, I drink coffee and write. Therefore, I MUST ALWAYS HAVE COFFEE. That’s really it. Oh – and a soft, velvet cushion.

Do you have a favorite story from this collection? If so, why?

I like “Handsome and Pretzel” because people keep telling me it’s the funniest, and a writer does like to be complimented from time to time. It’s a welcome change, believe me.

Please provide a favorite excerpt from your book.

You can read an excerpt from “Handsome and Pretzel” here.

Where can readers find you and your book?

You can find Dr. Franklin’s Staticy Cat at Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.uk, Barnes & Noble and Chapters/Indigo locations. If it’s an autographed copy you’re after, you’ll have to visit the Rolli Shop.

And me? Well, you can find me wherever coffee is brewing.

Rolli is a writer, illustrator and cartoonist hailing from Canada. He's the author of God's Autobio (short stories), Plum Stuff (poems/drawings), Dr. Franklin's Staticy Cat (children's stories) and four forthcoming titles for adults and children. Visit his website - rollistuff.com - and follow his epic tweets @rolliwrites.
Thank, Rolli! I encourage everyone to check out DR. FRANKLIN'S STATICY CAT. I guarantee you'll find a new favorite story and that you will LAUGH!
 
--KSR Writer

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Tips for Authors in the New Year



Happy New Year! Is it just me, or does each year seem to go by quicker than the last? It can make you feel like you didn't get everything accomplished you wanted to. I bet you got more done than you think. But the cold long month of January is a great time to make a plan for trying new things in the upcoming year. And there's no shortage of social media sites, events, and marketing tools out there. Most authors are just trying to find time to keep up with their writing. But, exploring one or two new options is always a good idea.

Here are a few things you might try in 2014 to help your writing career. Even if they don't  produce huge results, each little step you take adds up in the long run.

  • Triberr.com: if you have a blog and are on Twitter, then give Triberr a try. It's a great way to instantly tweet about your tribe member's blogs and they in turn tweet about yours. Your exposure will increase exponentially.
  • Libboo.com: a free site where authors can submit their books and readers "compete" to get free copies of them by sharing about your book.
  • Bookbub.com: A site with more than 2 million subscribers that allows readers to receive daily book deals. If you have a published ebook with good reviews, check this out.
  • Author Co-op: Partner with a few other authors in your area to create an author marketing co-op. There are more opportunities than one author can attend by themselves in a year, but if you and a few others divide them up and each take one another's books and market them together, you can increase your exposure (and it will give you more time to write!)
  • Be a mentor: If you've published a book, you have valuable insight into the process that many other writers are looking for. Let your local librarians, teachers, and independent book store owners know you are available to  help other authors. It's also a great way to speak to book clubs that often meet at those venues.
  • Be a teacher: There are a lot of people out there who want to write, either professionally or just for fun. Either way, you can help hone their skills. Offer a writing course at your local library or school for adults (or for kids if you want). It'd be a great way to get your name out in the community.
Please share any ideas you have that authors can do in 2014. Happy New Year and Happy Writing!

--KSR Writer

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Middle Grade "The Shadow of the Unicorn" Book Blast Giveaway!

I'm happy to be participating in the book blast giveaway for THE SHADOW OF THE UNICORN by Suzanne de Montigny, hosted by Mother Daughter & Son Book Reviews. Read on and be sure to enter the giveaway below!


--KSR Writer


About the Book

The Shadow of the Unicorn

Title: The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy (The Shadow of the Unicorn, Book #1)
Author: Suzanne de Montigny
Publication Date: December 4, 2012
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing 
Number of pages: 157
Recommended age: 9+    


Summary

A loud, hissing sound filled the air. The unicorns looked up, their eyes filled with horror. Azaria, a unicorn colt, is intrigued when the young clairvoyant dinosaur, Darius, foresees a terrifying change in the world. When a giant fireball smashes into the earth, the unicorns struggle to survive the hurricanes and starvation that follow. Danger of a more sinister nature threatens when the creatures-that-walk-on-two-legs settle in the valley and their leader, Ishmael, discovers the healing power of the unicorns’ horns. Azaria, now a young stallion, must use his wits to save the herd from complete extinction.

* #1 in the Animals in their World list on Goodreads Listopia *
* #1 in the Christmas Stocking Stuffers list on Goodreads Listopia *
Global gold
Winner of the 2013 Global E-book Award for Best Fantasy/Alternate History
 

Book Trailer


The Buzz

"Kudos to Ms. de Montigny for writing an original variation on the fantasy epic--unicorns intermingling with dinosaurs! The book's themes include the humane and environmental concerns that Watership Down and the films of Hayao Miyazaki have in common. If you have a middle grader or are just young at heart, pick up The Shadow Of The Unicorn." ~ 5 Star Review, Stuart W., Amazon

"The Shadow of the Unicorn is a must-read for all unicorn lovers, but even more so for the ones, like my self, who hadn't read anything about them yet. It is a thrilling and encouraging story about a young unicorn that has to save his herd after a meteor nearly destroyed their environment and killed the dinosaurs. Suzanne de Montigny created a compelling universe with believable characters and a great adventure story to challenge them with. While the story finishes in this book, I can't wait to read about the new adventures the unicorns will face.." ~ 5 Star Review, Antje H., Amazon

"This story pulled me in with a beautiful portrayal of a time and place where unicorns and dinosaurs live side by side. It moved me forward with unexpected twist and turns (a requirement in any good story). I found it hard to put the book down and was totally engaged in seeing the young characters (unicorns and dinosaurs) survive and grow because of the challenges they faced." ~ 5 Star Review, NW Harris, Amazon

"I just finished reading The Shadow of the Unicorn. What a story teller Suzanne de Montigny is. She combined unicorns with dinosaurs and spun a tail of magic that kept me turning the pages, not to mention throwing in an evil that came in the form of a human! What an enjoyable story - and here I thought these mystic animals were extinct. I just didn't know what to look for!" ~ 5 Star Review, Penny E., Amazon

"What a delightfully unique book. Unicorns and dinosaurs facing changing conditions. Darius is a young dinosaur capable of seeing the future. Azaria is a young unicorn who becomes a friend and learns from Darius. Yes, there are humans in this book. They are the villains of the story. Greedy beasts. I think both boys and girls will love this story. Very quick paced and easy to read. A delightful story, and I look forward to more from this author." ~ 5 Star Review, DM Lawrence, Amazon
 

Purchase

*Half of all proceeds go to the Third World Eye Care Society, a group of eye specialists who travel to third world countries with thousands of pairs of glasses and perform eye surgery for free.*

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iTunes | MuseItUp

 

About the Author: Suzanne de Montigny

[caption id="attachment_15106" align="alignleft" width="167"]Suzanne de Montigny Suzanne de Montigny[/caption]   Suzanne de Montigny wrote her first unicorn story at the age of twelve. Several years later, she discovered it in an old box in the basement, thus reigniting her love affair with unicorns. The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy, is her first novel. Suzanne lives in Burnaby, B.C. with the three loves of her life – her husband and two boys.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

       

* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *




Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner's choice) Contest runs: December 2, 2013 to January 1, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Suzanne de Montigny and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions - feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com. a Rafflecopter giveaway MDBR Kid Lit Book Promotion Services - Button FINAL

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Must Read Chapter Book for Kids!




Children's publisher Knowonder just released its FIRST chapter book and it's full of space zooming, moon cheese eating, pirate defeating fun! The book is available on Amazon. To learn more visit Knowonder. In the weeks ahead Knowonder will be doing giveaways, interviews, etc. so stay tuned!!

--KSR Writer

Book Blurb: 

Help! Great Uncle Raymond and his pet fire newt, Flamer, have been kidnapped by the smelliest space pirates in the universe. It’s up to Jake and his granny to rescue them, with a little help along the way from some burping green aliens. But first they’ll need to make it through the spaceship-crunching meteor shower in one piece... Will the contents of Moon Granny's favorite red handbag be enough to defeat Blackbeard and his beastly buccaneers? Or will she and Jake be forced to walk the plank...in space? Hold your noses and burp along with Jake and Moon Granny on their stinky, star-crossing adventure. But whatever you do, don't press the red button! Or was it the yellow one?!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Creating the Character Make-Over


Today I'm excited to have fellow Muse It Up author Karina Fabian tell how she gave one of her characters a complete make-over for her new paranormal fantasy MIND OVER PSYCHE. Welcome, Karina!

(If you’ve not read MIND OVER MIND, then caution: this post contains spoilers. Check out MIND OVER MIND, the first book in the Mind Over trilogy here.

I’ve mentioned in several interviews over the years that the Mind Over trilogy started out as a novel I wrote in college. Like many first works, it was pretty pale, and after not succeeding in selling it, I had put it aside for ten years. Coming back with much living and writing experience under my belt, I realized just how two-dimensional I’d made the characters. I still loved the general idea of the story, however, so I rethought the characters and they turned the story from good to amazing.

Other blogs have covered how I altered the main character, Deryl Stephens, a psychic teenager. In a nutshell, I gave him so many problems concerning his telepathic abilities, I had to commit him for half a decade before I could start the story! Seriously, who has psychic contact with aliens and ends up well-adjusted? Today, however, I want to talk about his cohort, Joshua.

Joshua started out as Deryl’s roommate in college, a real redneck with cowboy boots and accent and a bad attitude toward his new East Coast yuppie roomie. Obviously, the revised Deryl never made it to college, so I needed a different reason for Joshua to interact with him. Psychiatric intern worked well, and kept him around the same age, plus allowed him to help Deryl as well as befriend him much to the chagrin of Deryl’s lead psychiatrist). Joshua needed a special skill set, though; otherwise, why would his work be so much more effective than the counseling and drug therapy of five years at an expensive mental institution? Since I’d done some reading about neuro linguistic programming and think it a fascinating process, I made Joshua a natural at it, having learned it from his father growing up. However, my characters inevitably have minds of their own, so NLP was a fallback plan for Joshua, who really wants to be a singer and is only doing the summer internship to make money for college after having lost his scholarships.

In MIND OVER MIND, Joshua provided pockets of normalcy and balance to Deryl’s fantastical experiences. But what happens when normal gets plopped into the fantastical?

This is what we explore in Mind Over Psyche, when Deryl teleports them to the planet Kanaan. There they encounter psychic aliens, dragons and unicorns, trees that grow to the size of school buildings, and the Miscria, who can alter the weather and the shape of the land with her mind.
What fun for a science fiction/fantasy geek like Joshua. NOT. When they first arrive, Deryl’s unconscious. Joshua can’t communicate. The unicorns look dangerous. The aliens try to kill him, and even after they “accept” him and Deryl, they don’t trust them. Joshua is umpteenth-billion miles from his family, his fiancĂ©, his music…and before that summer, he’d never set foot out of Colorado. Worst of all, he’s not confident Deryl can get him home, ever.

All of Joshua’s self-assured manner from MIND OVER MIND vanishes. His first reaction upon seeing the aliens is to throw his hands over his head and cry, “We come in peace!” He panicks, despairs, and at one point in the book has an anxiety attack. In other words, he reacts the way most people who love their life would if suddenly kidnapped from their homes.

Of course, it’s not all bad. He makes friends and becomes a favorite of the unicorns, especially after he discovers they aren’t so unlike the horses he raises at home. (He’s not a cowboy, but does have a horse and was in 4-H.) He discovers he has a healing talent, though it seems limited and only works on Kanaan. More importantly, he’ll need to use his psychiatric and musical skills to save both Deryl and the Miscria. How? Go read MIND OVER PSYCHE and find out!

Very interesting post on character make-over, Karina. Thanks for sharing!!

--KSR Writer

Excerpt:

Joshua returned to consciousness fully expecting to be in a hospital bed, his slashed throat swathed in bandages, his singing career over before it had started. His hands moved to his throat, found it bare and intact and breathed a prayer of thanks before opening his eyes.

He found himself on his back in a small, tree-lined meadow, but he didn’t recognize the trees.
He sat up slowly, more disoriented than dizzy. Had he had amnesia? “Sachiko?” he called. “Mom? Dad? Anyone?”

He saw Deryl lying on his side, unconscious. Not far from him, near a break in the treeline, stood—
Joshua gulped.

A unicorn!

…or something like a unicorn. Its rhinoceros-like horn and thick neck and shoulders made it a far scarier version than any Joshua had read about in fantasy novels. It stared straight at them.
Joshua licked dry lips. “Easy fella,” he soothed, and reached over to shake his friend. “Deryl, time to wake up.”

Part of Joshua’s mind gibbered that Deryl was really psychic, that he’d teleported them to an alien planet. Another part argued that he was dreaming or had gone insane himself. He told them both to shut up, but he couldn’t stop his breathing from accelerating or his hands from trembling as he shook his friend.

Deryl’s eyelids fluttered, then closed.

He’s drugged. Malachai’s zombiefied him again, and we’re stuck on another world!
He shook his friend harder. “Come on, man! Don’t do this to me. Wake up!”

Joshua heard hoof beats and turned in time to see several unicorns with red-clad riders approach from the trail. He vaguely noted they looked human, before his eyes focused on the swords they drew.
He did the only thing he could think of. He raised his arms, palms open, and said, “We come in peace!”

The warrior he faced, a scowling man with a narrow head, wide-set eyes, and a pocked and scarred face, didn’t understand him or didn’t care. He arched his sword toward Joshua.

Joshua covered his head with his arms and ducked.

Winner of the 2010 INDIE for best Fantasy (Magic, Mensa and Mayhem), Karina Fabian has plenty of voices in her head without being psychic. Fortunately, they fuel her many stories, like the Mind Over trilogy. Mrs. Fabian teaches writing and book marketing seminars, but mostly is concerned with supporting her husband, Rob Fabian as he makes the exciting leap from military officer to civilian executive, getting her kids through high school and college, and surviving daily circuit torture…er, circuit training. Read about her adventures at http://fabianspace.com.

Find Karina at:

Website: http://fabianspace.com, http://dragoneyepi.net
Blog: http://fabianspace.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karina.fabian
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/KarinaFabian
Google +: https://plus.google.com/103660024891826015212

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Don't Miss This Kid Lit Giveaway Hop!


To celebrate the transition from Summer to Fall, I'm excited to be participating in the Best of Summer 2013 Kit Lit Giveaway Hop hosted by Mother Daughter Book Reviews and Youth Literature Reviews.

I've decided to giveaway a whole package of reading content for kids ages 3-12. It will include ebook copies of the following:
 Nerissa's Celebration and Herman's Horrible DayTwo collections of fun, humorous short stories by children's publisher Knowonder!









My young middle grade novel, Animal Andy, by publisher Muse It Up, which is about a zoo keeper's son who discovers the carousel at his zoo is magic and must use it to save the zoo and it's animals.










My chapter book series, Tall Tales with Mr. K 
and its sequel Taller Tales with Mr. K, which are about a magical teacher who takes his students on fun, outrageous adventures in the teacher's lounge!









Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below and then hop on over to the other great blogs participating! Happy Summer!

--KSR Writer

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Author Kathryn Littlewood Puts "A Dash of Magic" in her Childrens Books!


I LOVE children's books that have an element of magic in them (which is why all of the children's books I write contain some magic). So when middle grade author Kathryn Littlewood approached me about her new book A DASH OF MAGIC I was thrilled to host her on my blog! 

A DASH OF MAGIC is the second book in the Bliss series published by HarperCollins Children's imprint Katherine Tegen books, which is about young Rosemary Bliss and her siblings' adventure to rescue their family's magic book of recipes from their conniving aunt Lily before it's too late. Welcome, Kathryn!

 When did you discover you had a “sense of fiction?”

Right from the crib, I loved a good fib. I can’t remember a time when storytelling wasn’t a part of my life. Like most kids, I had a wild imagination; but unlike most kids, in my family we were encouraged to write our imaginings down. I thank my mom for that.

What was your favorite book as a child? As an adult? How did those influence you as a writer?

Is it okay to admit that I was obsessed with a book? Okay: I was obsessed with a book. Specifically, with James and the Giant Peach. Later I read all of Dahl; he really is amazing, and everyone but everyone should read The B.F.G. and Boy, but first and foremost for me was James. It wasn’t that I longed to destroy anyone the way James Trotter’s peach smooshes Spiker and Sponge. It was more the sense of friendship and family he develops with the Centipede, Grasshopper, Ladybug, and the rest of the characters. (You can see some of that at work in the Bliss series.) Some girls carried around dolls; I carried around that book.

In my later, more vulnerable years, I’ve taken to everyone from Joseph Heller (is there a funnier book than Catch-22?), to Maria Semple (Where’d You Go, Bernadette? is a work of sneaky genius), to Kate Atkinson (who writes both mysteries and wildly original literary novels). And those are only a few adult writers. The kids writers are a whole ‘nother shelf, one I could write at great length about.

What inspired you to write this book?

As I’ve already hinted at above—I like large families, and I like people, and the best time to see them as they really are is when you put them around a table. Which is to say: the magic of good food. That’s what brings people together and reveals who they really are and what matters to them.

But I also like humor, and I have a sweet tooth the size of Delaware. All of these things I threw into the Cuisinart and out came the Bliss family.

How would you describe your writing process? What must you always have while writing?

Coffee is a necessary . . . not quite evil, because coffee is one of my great loves. But like so many great loves, it is pretty insistent that I give it my attention first.

So every writing day begins with that first cup of coffee. I generally write in the morning in a white heat, just piling up words. I banish the internal editor until afternoon, because first I have to get pages and ideas together in some kind of loose batter before anything will really cook. Otherwise there is nothing to edit later. You can’t fix what you haven’t drafted. I wish I could claim credit for this, but I can’t: Ray Bradbury talks about this exact same process in his invaluable Zen and the Art of Writing.

What has proven to be your most successful marketing tool?

Definitely social media. I imagine there was a time when word-of-mouth was spread by a bookseller to a reader, when a person would wander into a bookstore and the clerk would put exactly the right book into that reader’s hands. But those days, I fear, are mostly gone. Much as I love my local B&N, the people who work there have their hands full; and even my local booksellers (a shout-out to Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn and to Anderson’s near Chicago) are too busy to know every book that comes into their store.

So I rely on social media. Goodreads is wonderful, but even better than that are the blogs. The best book advocates—librarians and friends-of-books everywhere—are on the web, writing passionate reviews and becoming the heeded advocates that make the difference between a book finding its readership or not. I look to them to tell me what to read next, and I only hope that one or two of them take up my book and champion it.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?

Lots of great advice has come my way. Write a little bit every day. Don’t push yourself to write more than, say, a thousand words in a session. Stop before you’ve reached the end of what you have in your head, so that you’ll have a starting place the next morning. And revise. Revise revise revise. The best writing is rewriting.


Please provide a favorite excerpt from your book. (from A DASH OF MAGIC)

            While Purdy, Albert, Balthazar, and Gus waited outside, the four kids marched right in to search for the Mona Lisa.
            Everybody walking through the halls of the Louvre spoke in hushed tones, which was good, because the din coming from the portraits was deafening.
            It was impossible, for instance, to ignore the portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte crossing the Alps on horseback. 'I've grown weary of our journey,' he whined. 'My toes are frostbitten. I've changed my mind about Russia−I don't want to go anymore. I hear in Russia they put small dolls inside of larger dolls. I don't understand. I can no longer feel my fingers. Does anyone have a slice of quiche? Are we there yet?'
            Sage couldn't resist. He walked over to the portrait of Napoleon. 'I sympathize, Your Excellency.'
            Napoleon's eyes seemed to shift ever so slightly to Sage's face. While his mouth didn't move, the Bliss children could hear exactly what he was saying.
            'You can hear me?' the portrait asked Sage.
            'Yes, sir,' said Sage.
            'C'est beau.' whispered Napoleon. 'Bring me a croissant! And a carafe of my finest wine! This horse's hair is course and unpleasant. Bring me my donkey!'

Where can readers find you and your book?

The truly adventurous can find me at a local New York City bakery on any given day. Or they can visit my website at www.littlewoodbooks.com or my fresh-from-the-oven tumblr at www.kathrynlittlewood.tumblr.com. I am also on Facebook and Twitter as @littlewoodbooks.

Thank you for being here today, Kathryn! I cannot WAIT to read both BLISS and A DASH OF MAGIC!

--KSR Writer