May 31, 2011


Recent Reads

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare– humble rating: Motivational Speaker –I have to admit to being completely obsessed with this series. I intentionally held off on reading the next books because I knew once I cracked open the cover, nothing would get done in my life until I finished the book. It really is that good.

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare – humble rating: Motivational Speaker – Some day a book I write will affect the reader like these books. This one even felt unnecessarily long and I didn’t care. What is that all about?

Firelight by Sophie Jordan - humble rating: Golf Clap++ – I’m such a sucker for forbidden love. Fun!

The Curse Girl by Kate Ellison - humble rating: Golf Clap – I really love Beauty and the Beast. Even danced to the theme song at my wedding reception (okay, so that was tongue in cheek, but FUN!) This is a really good retelling. Stays true to the core of the story, yet adds enough newness to keep the reader engaged. Examples; Beast has a sister, Beauty does origami, there are faeries and elves. Really enjoyed it.

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson - humble rating: Golf Clap – Good journey and self-discovery story.

My own humble rating system: Please feel free to ask for clarification or to dispute my opinion.  I only ask that we ALWAYS remain respectful to the author.

Chirping Cricket – At the end all you hear is the chirp of the cricket.  I doubt I’ll ever use this because I can’t publicly embarrass someone knowingly.  However, I must have a ‘beginning’ rating in order for the rest to make sense. 

Golf Clap - The polite ovation that follows a well-placed shot.

Motivational Speaker –You are left fired up and eager to get to work making the world a better place.  You can’t wait to tell your friends all the insights and inspiration you took away from it. 

Rock Concert – Hooting and hollering, cheering, singing and clapping throughout the performance.  Swaying and lit lighters accompany ballads.  Riots break out if there is no encore.

May 27, 2011

Now Available on Kindle!


1. stirred emotionally

I get excited over big things; book contracts, my kids’ achievements, paying off the car.
I get excited over small things; spring flowers, a really good book, cute & comfy shoes.

This is REALLY big and therefore has me jumping for joy and singing from the rooftops.

The Weaver is now available on Kindle.


Pretty cover

Pretty Chapter Art

Don’t delay! Download The Weaver to your Kindle, or your PC, or your Mac, or your Iphone, or your Ipad, or…they have so many free apps in which to read a Kindle book. No Kindle required!  Yippee!

Download it now and put The Weaver on the bestseller list for Memorial Day Weekend.

May 25, 2011

Three Times A Charm with Donna J. Shepherd

Three Times A Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, reviewers, agents, editors, anyone involved in children’s publishing. 

This week we are thrilled to welcome the charming and prolific author, Donna Shepherd. A little about Donna:

Donna J. Shepherd, children's picture book author and inspirational writer, has hundreds of articles and devotionals to her credit. Her writings appear in Daily Grace for Women, Anytime Prayers for Everyday Moms, and The Best Grandma in the World to name a few. Donna's children's books, Topsy Turvy Land, No More Gunk! & OUCH! Sunburn!, Chizzy's Topsy Tale, Dotty's Topsy Tale, Poodle and Doodle, Sully's Topsy Tale, Bradybug, and the newest – Where is Salami? feature short, playful rhymes and humorous illustrations. Donna is the founder of Greater Harvest Workshops and Middletown Area Christian Writers, and in demand as a Bible teacher, conference speaker, and singer.

As you see from her extensive list of books, Donna is a multi-published author. Yet, she is so much more than that. Donna tell us more about you.

Kai, when I saw the name of your blog (clever!), my first thought was, "How many strands of thought do I have – at any given time?" I'm always on the move, trying something new, and endeavoring to improve on the things I'm already doing. My singing came first, then the writing, then speaking. I've found that many writers end up speaking and vice versa. Being in ministry, my first speaking engagements were for women's conferences and church services, but I also conduct workshops for writers and speak for various types of events.

Now I've set up a home studio and providing voiceovers for book trailers and reading audio books. It has been an interesting and fun way to use my voice. I've posted a few samples on a blog:

I sing as well!  Maybe we can do a duet at the next gathering of angels (our publisher organizes a big event that many GAP authors and illustrators attend. Always lovely to meet fellow angels) Here is a video featuring Donna's book, illustrators, appearences and more:

Now for the Threes. Share with us some of your top 3’s so our readers can know a little more about the woman at the keyboard.

  • Top 3 books you’ve read in the past year.

Regret-Free Living: Hope for Past Mistakes and Freedom from Unhealthy Patterns by John Shore and Stephen Arterburn

This book helped me break free from a tendency to try to re-live the past.

From Clutter to Clarity: Simplifying Life from the Inside Out by Nancy Twigg

I'm trying, I really am to simplify and focus on what's really important.

Beyond Talent: Become Someone Who Gets Extraordinary Results by John C. Maxwell

Hmm…are you sensing a trend? I'm reading this now. Another step in my quest to focus on the here and now and live up to my God-given potential.

  • Top 3 snacks to munch on while working.

Chocolate – the darker the better. Have you tried the Hershey's Extra Dark Chocolate? And I've heard dark chocolate is good for you, right?

Planters Deluxe Mixed Nuts with Sea Salt. I purchased a huge container at Sam's Club and I have to pace myself.

If I'm out of chocolate and mixed nuts, we move on to a slightly healthier choice - apple slices and walnuts.

  • Top 3 illustrators.

Well, my choices are obvious - so far, I've had three illustrators do amazing jobs on my books – Kevin Scott Collier, Kit Grady, and Jack Foster. And of course, I cannot forget Liz Ball for her hidden picture puzzles. Most of my books have hidden objects in the illustrations. Another favorite is Richard Jesse Watson. Oh, and I could look at Scott Gustafson's illustrations all day.

Even though you fudged and listed more than 3 illustrators, I figure their hard work and dedication to their craft is well worth overlooking it.  

I know you work to provide fun entertainment for children beyond your books, as well as inspiration to everyone. Where can we find you on the internet?

The main blog for my children's writing is: I post coloring pages, games, and activity sheets regularly. 

The blog for the inspirational writing is:

I do hope your visitors will stop by!

I'm on Facebook at And tweet as donnashepherd. Write to me at    

Thank you, Donna, for joining us on Three Times A Charm! I just love how varied your career is even though it is still focused around your writing. That in itself is an inspiration.

Thank YOU for hosting me on your fun blog!

May 20, 2011

And Another Thing - On Publishing

So the ever awesome, Nathan Bransford had this post earlier this week about traditional publishing verses self publishing and how being a control freak might factor into your decision on if you choose to pursue self or traditional publishing. The same day, I had this post about how the current trend to self epublish might be impacting the small publishers and their authors.  And the two posts have been swirling around together in my head ever since. There is something oddly symmetric about these two posts. Wait, is “oddly symmetric” an oxymoron? 

When Nathan talks about traditional publishing, he tends to focus on the bigger houses or the imprints of the bigger houses. He explains how authors don’t get a lot of input to the overall process. It is true and it is even valid. Example, most authors are not qualified to take on cover design. I love that he made the point that the illustrator captured his main character better than his own description did. I truly agree that for a book to be given its chance to become the best book it can, there needs to be collaboration.

I don’t necessarily like that authors lose so much control over their story at a big house. I once heard a story that a picture book author was completely caught off guard when the main character she’d always pictured as having cornsilk yellow hair and cornflower blue eyes came back as a pig from the illustrator! Through the process, she accepted and eventually fell in love with the pig, but it was a shock to her system and a process that she had no say in.

So the swirling and twirling in my head kept coming back to the word collaboration. Nathan uses it to describe his working relationship with the publisher, editor, and illustrator. But I use it too when I talk about my experience during the publishing of The Weaver. And I think it actually applies more in my situation having been published by a small publisher. At this point I couldn’t help but wonder why I was standing with my hands on my hips and sticking my tongue out at virtual Nathan (obviously, I’m kidding. Who would ever stick their tongue out at Nathan Bransford!?)

1.      The employees at a small publisher, like a small corporation, just by nature of having fewer co-workers to navigate through and fewer bureaucratic loops to jump through can’t help but be more effectively collaborative. I’ve worked for both small and large companies and I understand that there are effective cells of collaboration in large companies and people working in silos in small companies, but in GENERAL, a smaller number of emps = a faster, more efficient decision making process.
2.      My publisher and my illustrator, K.C. Snider, drove around St. Louis taking pictures of houses to use as examples for my book cover. Collaborative.
3.      K.C. and I lunched to talk details of the story. I read her excerpts I felt were most telling of the character Unwanted. She asked questions. Collaborative not to mention filling.
4.      The publisher asked me if I wanted to provide the chapter art. She allowed me the opportunity to say, “No thanks, you can deal with it,” but I knew immediately what I wanted to see there. A lovely young lady I know did me a huge favor and drew the yarn and knitting needles. Collaborative.

Oh, I don’t know, there were all sorts of super cool collaborative things that were so much fun to be involved in, without having to know how to do it all myself.

Granted, my book doesn’t have the backing a big house can give. Even in these tight times, a big house does allocate some sort of a budget for each book it takes on in order to launch it into the world. They attract the top people in the field and many of the employees are able to concentrate on what they do best, book design, editing, marketing.  Heck, I’m hoping to one day work with a big house. I think I will enjoy the process just as much as I have enjoyed working with a small publisher, as long as the story fits the house.

I’m shopping another middle grade that I feel will fit best with a small publisher. But I’d love to see my young adult fantasy go to a traditional publisher. What I do love about the changes happening in publishing is that the more choices there are, the more books are published. As for the quality of some of those books, read my previous post that I linked to above. 

May 18, 2011

Three Times a Charm with Author P. J. Hoover

Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry.

This week we are joined by P. J. Hoover. P. J. is the author of fantasy and science fiction books for kids and teens. Here’s more on P. J.:

P. J. Hoover fell in love with Greek mythology in sixth grade thanks to the book Mythology by Edith Hamilton. After a fifteen year bout as an electrical engineer designing computer chips for a living, P. J. decided to take her own stab at mythology and started writing books for kids and teens. P. J. is also a member of THE TEXAS SWEETHEARTS & SCOUNDRELS. When not writing, P. J. spends time with her husband and two kids and enjoys practicing Kung Fu, solving Rubik's cubes, and watching Star Trek. Her first novel for teens, Solstice, takes place in a Global Warming future and explores the parallel world of mythology beside our own. Her middle grade fantasy novels, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World, and The Necropolis, chronicle the adventures of a boy who discovers he’s part of two feuding worlds hidden beneath the sea.

Hey, I used to work for a memory manufacturer! I wonder how many others left semi conductors to write for children.

P. J., you have a sparkling new release out in the world. Tell us about it, please.

SOLSTICE, a debut young adult novel, is an intensely romantic story set in a disturbing future of uncontrolled climate change, where, after 18 years of endless summer, the earth is dying a slow, hot death, and about a young woman named Piper who opens a Pandora's box of sorts which catapults her into a modern mythological world. SOLSTICE is the first front-list title to be independently published by an Andrea Brown Literary Agency author and is agented by Laura Rennert.

Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

  • Top 3 books you’ve read in the past year.

-DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth – I loved the idea of the fraternal organizations that society was divided into, and I loved the romance. Something that really makes romance work is a compelling reason why the characters can’t be together, and DIVERGENT provides it.
-THE MARBURY LENS by Andrew Smith – I adored the dystopic elements in the book that were set so perfectly against our real world. I also really appreciated the multiple story lines. And I liked that the author was not afraid to make the world gritty and raw.
-PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White – I loved the playful way this book dealt with the paranormal craze. It was just plain fun to read.

  • Top 3 pieces of writing advice

-Know the business. For writing this includes doing other things besides writing. Read books in the genre you are writing. Watch what types of books are being published. Go to events and meet other authors. Talk to them. Because when it comes time to query and work to get your story published, all that information will come in useful in helping you make the right decisions.
-Write! It may sound pithy, but it’s the most important thing to do in order to get a book out into the world. There are no magic elves that will come write your story for you, so when it comes right down to it, it’s up to you to sit your bottom in a chair and crank out words.
-Experience life. Everything you see in life will help feed your imagination. Whether it’s a field trip to the sewage treatment plant or a visit to the local art museum, it’s all going to play a part in shaping your mind. And your mind is the thing that shapes your stories. Feed it!

  • Top 3 leisure activities.

-Kung Fu. Not only does Kung Fu help me stay in shape, it makes my mind work really hard learning new katas. It gives me something to do to take my mind off writing, and gives me new goals to achieve. Plus there was Kung Fu in The Matrix. That makes it cool by default.
-Spending time with my family. Whether it’s in the form of going to the park together or watching an episode of Star Trek, my family members are my favorite people.
-Doing things around the house. I used to be an engineer, so I have this burning drive to fix anything that breaks, and if something isn’t broken, I want to remodel it. (This does result in unfinished projects around the house!) The best thing about fixing something is the amazing sense of accomplishment I get when it actually works again.

True, there are no writing elves, until you write them! P. J., where can our readers find more about you, your books and your career?

It was so great to have you join us on Three Times A Charm and so much fun to learn more about the person hovering over the keyboard. Hope you see great success with your career! Thank you, P. J.

Thank you!

May 16, 2011

Self Publishing's Impact On Small Publishers

Let’s hearken back about two years ago when ereaders were starting to get more attention. I was one of those people who said,  “Yes, they will be popular.” 

I envisioned people everywhere pulling out their readers on buses, in coffee shops in classrooms.  I imagined the morning paper on a reader lying on the table next to a steaming cup. I truly saw the American people embracing the newest technology.

What I didn’t see coming was the huge swell of self-publishing authors because of ereaders. And holy wow, this is a tidal wave of epic proportions. There have been many blog posts by people far smarter than me about the semantics. The why factor. But one angle hasn’t been covered, well not that I’ve seen at least. What does this shift in the publishing world mean to authors who are with small publishers?

Let me just admit, this is a rather self-centered post. Because what I’m trying to figure out is how does this new wave impact me? Usually I’m pretty good about being able to feel out where something is heading, but right now I’m facing lots of major change in my life and for some reason this change in the publishing world seems to be the straw that is attempting to break my proverbial back.  And after having had two back surgeries, you can imagine, I’m sensitive to issues involving the back – proverbial or not! So I turned to other authors who are published with small publishers to see what they are thinking.

The self published stories that I’ve read have not been too impressive. I usually find lots of typos, grammatical errors, duplicated words, etc. Kim Baccellia, author of the young adult titles Earrings of Ixtumea and Crossed Out, who also reviews books for YA Books Central agrees, but adds, “That’s not the case with all self pubbed books though. At my last speaking engagement the other author on my panel was self published. She went over all the research she’d done on what’s out there. I was impressed.”

My personal worry with the degrading quality is the example it gives our children. Humans, by nature, would rather take the short cut. If we (as a populous) allow poorly edited works to rise to the top and reward them with success, then we are in turn accepting that an inferior product is good enough. I know this is a big leap, but our country didn’t become a world power on “good enough”. It did the HARD WORK!

The price point for many ebooks is eye catching as well.  It is an interesting thing overall, because you would think that ebooks should be cheaper because of the lack of printing and a reduction in resources to get the book to the readers. I asked Beverly Stowe McClure, author of Just Breeze and Caves, Cannons & Crinolines what she thought about the plummeting price point of ebooks. “I will try self published books if the price is right and they appeal to me. I wouldn't pay the prices of traditionally published books.  The downside to this would be if it was poorly written I probably wouldn't try that author again which wouldn't help her/his future books.”  I tend to agree. The lower price draws my attention. An inferior quality disappoints, even at a lower price. I learned this after reading Amanda Hocking’s Trylle Series. I won’t invest in her again until she is professionally published.

There has always been a definite attitude about self published books. Beverly admits, “When I see that a book is self published, I think I look at it differently than I do books by known publishers. I don't want to, but I wonder why it was self published.” Because this trend to self publish is unfurling like my spring garden, I’m starting to feel some impact on how my small publisher book is viewed by reviewers (this is the self-centered part). While researching the blogosphere to find potential reviewers, I’ve had some refuse me because a.) my publisher isn’t listed with Children’s Writers and Illustrators or reviewed by School Library Journal or [insert some other status quota here] and b.) they don’t review self published books. To what I say, “HUH?” Kim has felt some of the same response, “I have to admit I dislike being lumped together with self-pubbed books.  Both of my books are from small press publishers meaning I had a couple editors, illustrator, and also paid NOTHING for the whole process.  I also had a publicist to help with some of the promotional part of publishing a book.  Yes, it wasn’t much, but it was something.”   The publisher discrimination will likely get worse before it gets better while this trend continues and that makes me a little sad. My book is a great read for the targeted age group, but it likely won’t see the recognition it deserves because the people with the big audiences look down their noses at the means in which I got it published – whether they understand it is with a small publisher or if they mistakenly think I self published.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not whining. I’m not pointing a finger at “the bad guys.” I’m not even losing sleep from the frustration of publisher discrimination. I will continue to do whatever is in my power to spread the word about my book. Ultimately, I would love for my book to help my publisher grow just a little more, to reward them for taking a chance on The Weaver and on me.  But from where I’m sitting, it seems like my job got a little harder because of the self publishing trend.

Beverly summed it up so well when I asked how she thought small publishers, especially epublishers, can overcome the increasing stigma, “Just write a great story, turn out quality books, well edited and entertaining. Get reviews. Prove the books can compete with major leaguers.” Kim agreed and added, “Typos can happen to even the biggest publishing house.  The trick is to not rush through the editing process.”

They are absolutely right. That is all any of us can do. We have to give our best work and find the best home for it. If some choose to self publish, then we have to hope the readers are discriminating enough to let the author know when the work isn’t good enough, but reward them when it is. Not all self publishing is inferior. I guess this current trend is a lot like what happened in the stock market when day traders entered the picture in a big way.  Lots of new options peaked and then failed fast. Eventually, those who didn’t really know what they were doing fell out of the game and those who had a knack stuck around.

I’d like to thank Kim Baccellia and Beverly Stowe McClure for talking with me about this issue. Please take a little extra time to find out more about their books.

Being Monday, my virtual book tour continues! Please enjoy the lovely review at 4 The Love of Books and visit with me as I guest blog about summer reading for reluctant readers at Margaret Rose Writes.

May 12, 2011

The VBT & My Recents

Please stop in on my tour today:

At Lori’s Reading Corner I’m guest blogging about how to keep your favorite author writing.

And The Weaver and I are spotlighted on The Plot today.

Hopefully you haven’t missed these stops:

Book review at One Day At A Time
Fun interview at Pump Up Your Book
Yummy family favorite recipe at Authors & Appetizers

Help me spread the word of the tour by sharing the link to your favorite article with your friends and family.

Recent Reads - haven't had as much to read as I'd like (sad face) 

Torn by Amanda Hocking– humble rating: Golf Clap – I am so conflicted over these books. I enjoy the story, but I simply don’t understand why a million copies of them sold. That said, I have to finish out the series. If for no other reason so that I have completed my research and can bang my head against the wall with reason.

Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson – humble rating: Golf Clap+ – I read this to honor Eva Ibbotson’s career. It was enjoyable. A bit long, but honestly, that might have been my circumstances that made it feel a bit long-winded. Overall I did enjoy the story arc.

Ascend by Amanda Hocking - humble rating: Golf Clap – I’m relieved to be finished with this series. I enjoyed Loki most of all – predictable for me. But all in all, I’m just never going to understand the phenom and I have to live with that. But at least I can consider myself fully informed.

My own humble rating system: Please feel free to ask for clarification or to dispute my opinion.  I only ask that we ALWAYS remain respectful to the author.

Chirping Cricket – At the end all you hear is the chirp of the cricket.  I doubt I’ll ever use this because I can’t publicly embarrass someone knowingly.  However, I must have a ‘beginning’ rating in order for the rest to make sense. 

Golf Clap - The polite ovation that follows a well-placed shot.

Motivational Speaker –You are left fired up and eager to get to work making the world a better place.  You can’t wait to tell your friends all the insights and inspiration you took away from it. 

Rock Concert – Hooting and hollering, cheering, singing and clapping throughout the performance.  Swaying and lit lighters accompany ballads.  Riots break out if there is no encore.

May 11, 2011

Three Times A Charm With Author Donna McDine

Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry.

This week we are joined by Donna McDine. Donna is a fellow author at Guardian Angel Publishing, a master promoter and a lifesaver. Here’s more on Donna:

Busiest woman in publishing? She’s at least in the running. Donna, tell us more about The Golden Pathway.
Donna McDine is an award-winning children's author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions and Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 – Top Ten - Children’s Books category – The Golden Pathway.
Her stories, articles, and book reviews have been published in over 100 print and online publications. Her interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. Donna has two more books under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing, The Hockey Agony and Powder Monkey. She writes, moms and is the Editor-in-Chief for Guardian Angel Kids and Publicist for the NWFCC from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI and Musing Our Children.

Busiest woman in publishing? She’s at least in the running. Donna, tell us more about The Golden Pathway.
The Golden Pathway is an historical fiction story about the Underground Railroad for ages 8-12 and a Global e-Book Awards Nominee.

Be transported through time to the Underground Railroad, where high-pitched screams echo each night. David’s cruel Pa always chooses the same victim. Despite the circumstances during slavery, David uncovers the courage to defy his Pa.

Raised in a hostile environment where abuse occurs daily, David attempts to break the mold and befriends the slave, Jenkins, owned by his Pa. Fighting against extraordinary times and beliefs, David attempts to lead Jenkins to freedom with no regard for his own safety and possible consequences dealt out by his Pa.

PUBLISHER: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

I have to brag. I read illustrator, K.C. Snider’s copy of The Golden Pathway, in her kitchen while she got her hair trimmed. What a beautiful book and the story is so well told.  Very important story for children to hear.

Donna, as I mentioned, you are a media and promoting guru. Do you offer any services to us lesser beings?

Yes, I provide media release services through my company, Dynamic Media Release Services. Overwhelmed? Don't have time to write and post your media releases. Let the panic settle and don't fret any longer. Let Donna take the pressure off. Writing a media release requires a certain technique and online media distribution can be quite time consuming. Coupled with my Publicist Intern experience at the National Writing for Children Center and as former Marketing Manager at Stories for Children Magazine, I am uniquely positioned to help provide you with a topnotch media release.

We’ll discuss your good news and happenings to get a clear indication of your direction. Your valuable information will then be written into a dynamic media release. Even if you don't have publishing credits under your belt, announcing guest interviews or your topic of choice will help draw traffic and recognition to you and your writing blog.

Don't wait. Let Donna take the pressure off you today.

Contact information:
Donna McDine

Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

  • Top 3 snacks to munch on while working.
    1. Pretzels
    2. vanilla Oreos
    3. Tea

  • Top 3 leisure activities.
    1. Curling up on the couch with my family and watching a movie.
    2. Entertaining friends at home.
    3. Meditate

  • Top 3 songs on your play list.
    1. Marry Me by Train
    2. If I Should Fall Behind by Bruce Springsteen
    3. Make a Memory by Bon Jovi

What? No chocolate? Are you sure you’re a writer? Just joshing. Donna, where can our readers learn more about you, your writing, your ability to provide sanity in a crazy world?

Thank you so much, Donna, for joining us for Three Times A Charm and for sharing your beautiful book, The Golden Pathway with us.

May 9, 2011

Authorly Misconceptions

Recently, I alluded to the fact that I was going to bow out of my role on the choir’s board of directors when my term came up at the end of the year. Immediately the other members started to rib me about how, now that I’m a published author, I don’t have time for stuff like board meetings. I agreed (tongue in cheek) that being a public personality didn’t allow time for such things like serving the community. They asked if I was going on tour for my book. I laughed. Then the conversation shifted back to concert attire.

Well, to my surprise, later someone said, “So, it really must be going well for you. Going on tour with the book.”  I was blown away that they even considered that a possibility.  I think that is when I realized the misconception that is attached to being a published author. So I am here to dispel the myths. Chime in if you think I’m mistaken or have forgotten anything.

§         Most authors won’t go on a physical book tour. Thank goodness for my current virtual book tour!
§         Many published authors are back in the slush with their next novel.
§         Buying a house for mother’s retirement comfort is not a common author gift.
§         Being an author is often a second job, sometimes a third.
§         Sometimes an author is only as popular as her family is large (thank goodness I have a huge family!)
§         Authors do their own laundry and clean up after their dog.

Admittedly, there are authors that see more success with their first book than this. But, given how many authors are out there – the odds of achieving that success is not in your favor. Plus, you’ll still have to pick up after the dog.

So, if you aspire to become a published author, do it because you have a story to tell, an impact to make, lives to affect, absolutely love to string words together and don’t mind standing in front of a room of people in your underwear (there is some vulnerability that comes along with being published).

Speaking of virtual book tours, today is the first day of my tour. Please join me at The Children’s & Teen’s Book Connection and at Authors and Appetizers.

See you in the trenches, soldiers!

May 8, 2011

The Weaver Virtual Book Tour

Please join me and The Weaver on our virtual book tour, May 9th through the 20th. Here is the tour schedule. We'd be honored if you stop in daily and leave comments. Share the links with your friends. Light, good-natured heckling is even allowed!

Monday, May 9th
Guest blogging at Authors and Appetizers
Tuesday, May 10th
Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book!
Wednesday, May 11th
Book reviewed at One Day At A Time
Thursday, May 12th
Guest blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Book spotlighted at The Plot
Friday, May 13th
Character interviewed at The Plot
Monday, May 16th
Book reviewed at 4 the Love of Books
Guest blogging at Margaret Rose Writes
Tuesday, May 17th
Interviewed at The Hot Author Report
Wednesday, May 18th
Thursday, May 19th
Book reviewed at Ellis
Book reviewed at Stories a la Mode
Friday, May 20th
Interviewed at Blogcritics
Guest blogging at The Brain Fart Explosion

May 4, 2011

Three Times A Charm with Author Jodi Moore

Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the children’s publishing industry.

Today I am thrilled to welcome an author I consider online sunshine. Jodi Moore welcome to Strands of Thought.

Here are some fun facts about Jodi:

Jodi considers books, along with chocolate, to be one of the main food groups.  She writes both picture books and young adult novels, hoping to challenge, nourish and inspire her readers by opening up brand new worlds and encouraging unique ways of thinking.  Jodi is the proud and (admittedly) neurotic mother of two incredibly talented young adults and never ceases to be amazed at how far the umbilical cord really will stretch. She lives in central PA with her always-supportive best friend/husband, Larry, two laughing doves and an ever-changing bunch of characters in her head. In addition to reading, writing and chocolate, Jodi enjoys music, theatre, dancing, the beach and precious time spent with her family.  Finally, Jodi thinks it would be really cool if one of her stories eventually became a Disney or Universal movie or theme park ride. Or a Broadway musical. Just puttin’ it out there.

I feel so empowered by that last statement! We can say stuff like that about our work? Out loud?! YAY!

Jodi, you are in the midst of celebrating your newly release picture book! Congratulations. It looks absolutely adorable. Tell us about it.

I’m so thrilled to announce the launch of my very first picture book, WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN (Flashlight Press, illustrated by Howard McWilliam), a humorous picture book that walks the fine line between fantasy and reality. The story based on the premise that “if you build a perfect sandcastle, a dragon will move in” and that’s just what happens to one very lucky boy at the beach. At first, things are wonderful! He has his very own marshmallow toaster, a bully deterrent and a kite that practically flies itself…but when he tries to share the good news with his family, and no one believes him, the dragon gets a bit mischievous. It’s an “if then” story that celebrates a universal theme: we all just want to be acknowledged for who we are. So…is the dragon real? Readers can decide for themselves!

I have a second picture book under contract with Story Pie Press called GOOD NEWS NELSON, about a young paperboy who decides that delivering the news isn’t enough…sometimes you have to get involved and change things. It’s a story emphasizing the fact that little kids can make a big difference.

Now, for the Threes. Share with us some of your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

Top 3 pieces of advice:

1. Never stop learning no matter how old you are.
2. Open your mind to possibility and your heart to the truth.
3. Always remember to say thank you. And MEAN IT.

Top 3 most admired authors:

Admittedly, I could easily list 30, but I’ll try:
1. Jacqueline Woodson: for her prose, a gift that treats us to a musicality nothing short of spiritual.
2. Laurie Halse Anderson: for her expertise in delivering characters that capture our attention – and our hearts – from the first sentence.
3. Ellen Hopkins: for her unsurpassed raw honesty.

All three of these authors are able to touch us so deeply, making us think and thus helping to make the world a better place!

Top 3 sources of inspiration:

1. My family: my support system, my muses, my lifeline, my loves!
2. The Kidlit Community: (my OTHER family!) my friends and fellow writers – some  of the most generous and kind people I know – who selflessly give of their time, their information and their guidance. They inspire me by example and make me proud of my chosen profession.
3. The Arts: both visual and performing.

My oldest daughter is an ├╝ber fan of Ellen Hopkins as well, I suspect for the same reason.

Jodi, where can our readers find out more about you and your work?

Thank you again, Kai, for this wonderful opportunity!

Thank you, Jodi, for playing along. It’s been so much fun getting to know you a little better. Thank you for introducing us to your DRAGON and may it see its way into many, many little hands!