Wednesday, June 25, 2008

James D. Adams - Visits Write What Inspires You

Join me when author James D. Adams joins me on the following dates:

Guest Author Post: July 7th
Author Interview: July 9th
Book Review: July 14th

A major announcement will be made during these events concerning all writers, painters & art sure to check back!

Internationally published Author of Creepy Campfire Tales, Hopper's Pond, & The upcoming Dark Valley Ohio Novel Series and October 31st Poems and Stories. for complete media kit, to learn more about upcoming releases, join the nightfire fan club, or to book an author visit. to order books and learn more about this hit series. to place wholesale orders for campground stores, gift stores, haunted attractions, or book stores. visit my space for forums and chat. Invite me as a friend and we'll grow a community together.
Visit here to see all my talked about videos, book trailers, interviews, readings, and sneak peeks at future titles. Many are finding this more entertaining than TV.

Buy Creepy on Amazon at
Any good reviews are appreciated and prizes are awarded for the best reviews each year. Also available at Barnes & Noble and your local bookstore, and in bookstores and on Amazon in the U.K.

Friday, June 20, 2008

An Interview with Alan H. Jordan

Alan Jordan is not only an established author he is the brainchild of Lets Be Creative. Alan has created a safe haven for children of all ages and adults to venture into the world of interactive learning. Alan took time out from his busy schedule to grant me the pleasure of an interview and with his technology knowledge he recorded the interview into an .mp3 file ~

Come join me on this colorful adventure with Alan.

Donna McDine: Please tell us about your wonderful interactive website:

Alan Jordan: is designed to inspire children, adults and businesspeople to employ creative solutions in life. The initial stage of the website is for children only. Later, it will link to (grown-up site. Right now they go to the same place.) and and

In the children’s site, I want to inspire children to DISCOVER the joys of reading, writing, math and computer usage. I don’t want to teach them. I want them to be exposed to many different stimuli that make they want to spend time doing creative things that help them in their life.

People discover in different ways. In addition to the sense of sight, invokes the senses of hearing (audio content and e-books) seeing (video content and e-books.) Later, there are plans to integrating the sense of smell and taste, but that’s down the road.

People discover by participating themselves and cooperating with other people as well as by observing. That’s why there are e-books into which people can insert their own artwork. E-books that younger children and their older siblings, as well as Mom, Dad, teachers, and older friends, can work on together. (My Monster on Top of the Bed, My Divine Inspiration.

Unfortunately, it is not cost effective to give away everyone on the site, and I don’t like advertising, so I’m asking people to subscribe to take advantage of the full benefits of the site. (You don’t see all of the assets until you subscribe.)

DMc: What inspired you to develop such a website?AJ: Our world is evolving. Children today need to understand that English is not the only language, and that other cultures are every bit as beautiful as ours. That’s why I’ve literally gone around the world to bring native people to speak the same story. This web site exposes viewers to cultures. Children also need to discover. I have a background in programming, so I put together a site that lets them do this. It is my hope that people from around the world will use it, and that it will help people in Argentina and France as well as in the USA.

DMc: How did you come up with the idea of The Monster on Top of the Bed?

AJ: The impetus for the idea came from wanting to write books for my future grandchildren. The specific idea came from a challenge that was presented in a writing course. I was working on conveying some the inherent worth and dignity of every person as well as helping children discover how to allay bedtime fears.

DMc: At what age did you become interested in writing?

AJ: Age 12. I used to write a newsletter for a club that I belonged to. I used to write it using a typewriter, and “spirit masters,” which ran on a duplicator machine. You could have green, red, blue, black and purple, and I used all of the colors.

DMc: How many hours do you devote to writing and how long does it takeyou to write a book?

AJ: It varies. Some days I spend 12 hours. Some days, a half-hour. It all depends what I’m doing.

DMc: Are you working on a new manuscript right now?

AJ: I’m working on several. Two are “Daddy was dying, so we went for . . .” and “Mommy was dying, so we went for . . .” There’s also a book on poetry, Lights of My Life, which captures the essence of people that I know and love in short poems, and a sequel to The Monster on Top of the Bed.

DMc: What advice would you convey to aspiring writers?

AJ: Read. The more you read, the more you are convinced that you can do as well as someone else, or better. When you feel that you can do better, write. (Not before that.)

DMc: Describe your working environment.

AJ: I have several. I have an upstairs office in my home, which is quiet. I also have a laptop computer that I take with me. Sometimes, I’ll work in an airport or a hotel.

DMc: What do you do when you're not writing?

AJ: I like to go bike riding and snow shoeing. I also like to go to plays, concerts and out to dinner. I enjoy computer programming and designing websites.

DMc: What would your career be if you weren't a writer?

AJ: That’s easy. I have a composite career. I’m also a Management Analyst and a computer programmer.

Visit to learn more about Alan and his interactive website. Beware, you will find yourself visiting for hours on end!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Book Review ~ The Monster on Top of the Bed by Alan H. Jordan

Cruise on over to my website and read my latest book review ~ "The Monster on Top of the Bed," by Alan H. Jordan -

Illustrated by: Manuela Pentangelo

Be sure to stop back at my blog tomorrow to read my interview recently conducted with Alan H. Jordan.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Interview with Illustrator, Lee Harper


I attended the Eastern NY SCBWI conference on June 7th and met fellow writer, Stephanie Hoina. We bonded immediately and during our conversations throughout the day she mentioned illustrator, Lee Harper. With the descriptive detail Stephanie used to describe his immense talent and Lee as a person, I knew I had to interview him. Read on for a personal glimpse into Lee’s vibrant world.

Donna McDine: What inspires you as you begin a new project?

Lee Harper: I never know where the inspiration is going to come from. It’s always different. When I get a manuscript I just start looking into everything related to the manuscript and hope that inspiration strikes. With WOOLBUR I was really inspired when I got to the point where the characters started walking around the page on their own.

DMc: Was there a person from your childhood who encouraged you to pursue your artistic talent?

LH: Yes, my mom.

DMc: What was the best piece of advice you received when you started your career as an illustrator?

LH: When I was starting out, I heard Peter Catalanotto speak at a SCBWI conference. The thing he said that stuck me was, “just do the work”. It is simple but true.

DMc: Who are some of your favorite children's illustrators?

LH: David Catrow, Peter Reynolds, Ponder Goembel, Ian Falconer, Dr. Suess, Charles Shultz, Chuck Jones to name a few.

DMc: Please describe your path to success in becoming an artist?

LH: I drew a lot when I was a kid and I was one of those kids that got to be known as the class artist. I went to college for fine art but didn’t end up making a living as an artist. I ran a picture framing business for about 15 years. But eventually the art bug came back and I started painting again. At first it was abstractions, but I soon became drawn to children’s books. It seemed like a natural fit since I have four kids of my own, I am very immature myself, and I don’t really like the pretentiousness of fine art!

DMc: Where there any particular obstacles that you needed to overcome?

LH: Not making much money while pursuing my crazy dream was the main obstacle! And it was hard to keep believing in myself while seeing so many talented people all around me with the same dream that weren’t making it. You have to be egotistical enough to believe that you have something special to offer, and optimistic enough to believe that against all odds someone will notice!

DMc: How long have you been working as a freelance artist and

LH: It’s been about four years now.

DMc: Do you have a favorite medium or style?

LH: I love watercolor. It is the most basic way to paint. A piece of paper, a pencil, an eraser, water, paint, and a paintbrush are all that is required.

DMc: How long does it take to illustrate a picture book?

LH: I have just completed my second book, so I haven’t established a pattern yet, but it seems that for me, from start to finish, one school year is a good amount of time. I know artists who work faster and some who work slower. I work when my two boys are at school, that’s why one school year works for me.

DMc: Please describe the collaboration involved between you, the publisher, and the author.

LH: I get a manuscript from an editor and they ask me if I’d like to illustrate it. I say yes!!! I have three months to hand in a dummy. I send in my dummy and then after a few weeks I get a letter back explaining to me everything that is wrong with my dummy. I make the requested revisions and resend. I get another letter back and this time there are only a few things wrong with my dummy!

I asked my art director and my editor questions all along the way, especially with my first book, WOOLBUR which was very collaborative. On my second book, TURKEY TROUBLE, I tried to be more efficient with everyone’s time. I asked a lot of questions in the beginning then did all the painting without having a lot of contact with the publisher. When I was working on WOOLBUR I used to email the author directly to ask her questions along the way but I soon learned that that isn’t a good idea. Now I ask the editor or art director when I have a question. It takes a little longer to get an answer but it seems to be the accepted procedure. I have been told that it can get very complicated if the author and illustrator develop too close a relationship.

DMc: Do you conduct school visits? If so, how is a typical visit structured?

LH: I do. I introduce myself, present a PowerPoint about how I made WOOLBUR, do a drawing demonstration, and then I finish up with a question and answer session.

To learn more about Lee Harper visit:

Also, be sure to check out Lee's illustration portfolio at:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Upcoming Author & Illustrator Interviews

Check back in the coming weeks for the schedule of interviews:

James D. Adams - Author of "Dark Valley Ohio" and "Creepy Campfire Tales"

Lee Harper - Illustrator of "Woolbur," by Leslie Helakoski

Allan Jordan - Author of the "Monster on top of the Bed"

Upcoming Author & Illustrator Interviews

Check back in the coming weeks for the schedule of interviews:

James D. Adams - Author of "Dark Valley Ohio" and "Creepy Campfire Tales"

Lee Harper - Illustrator of "Woolbur," by Leslie Helakoski

Allan Jordan - Author of the "Monster on top of the Bed"

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Kids Book Reviews - Musing Our Children

4th Grade Class participated in the Kids Book Reviews - Musing Our Children reading and writing activity during the 4th quarter of the 2007-08 school year. The students read the book Shiloh, by Phyllis Reynold Naylor.

Upon completion, I made a class visit to the students and presented them with a booklet of their book reviews and a certificate of participation. The students were especially thrilled that their class will have a designated page on the Musing Our Children website and that their reviews will be published for the world to see. The link is forthcoming and I will share it with you all when it is ready.

Monday, June 9, 2008

New Contest to Launch "Barbegazi"

For the launch of “Barbegazi, my fantasy adventure from Eternal Press, I’m sponsoring a contest. Everyone who buys a copy of the book between June 7th and July 7th 2008 (it’s only $2.50! A Coffee Break Short, perfect for busy schedules!) will be entered into a drawing to win one of three abominable snowmen ornaments. Each one is hand made using needle-felted wool by me. These are great for Christmas tree ornaments or gift toppers. Yes, I know it’s June, but abominable snowmen are funny any time of the year! Here is a sample of the Abominable Snowman ornament. Below, you will see another needle-felted "painting" of a Barbegazi.

"Barbegazi" can be purchased from Eternal Press. To kick off the contest I'll be chatting with readers and other EP authors on the Eternal Press Readers' Loop. Join me there June 7th between 9 and 10 am (EST)

Here is a blurb and for the story and a fun article about the Barbegazi. Don't forget to check out my awesome trailer for this book!

Kim McDougall

Coffee Break: 8,500 words, $2.50

Etien changes the day he faces the White Death. His body is broken, but his spirit awakes. When his family's curse manifests inside him, he leaves his birthright for the ice-encrusted mountains where he both fears and hopes to meet the mythical icemen, the Barbegazi.

A halfling has been hiding in the snow outside the Barbegazi village for days. Ethgel can feel his fear, though the others choose to ignore him. But Ethgel is tired of traditions that seclude her people in the remote reaches of the mountains. She longs to reach out to the frightened halfling but will he embrace the ways of the Barbegazi or will his human failings, his unending rage and fear, come between them?

In the Background: Who are the Barbegazi?

The Barbegazi are a race of gnome-like people who live in the high reaches of the Alps. The name, Barbegazi, is a corruption of the French “Barbe Glacee”, which means beard of ice. Like most fairy-folk, stories surrounding the Barbegazi vary widely, but a few generalities link all the myths. First, is their miraculous feet. Big enough to be snowshoes, these feet can also used as skis and shovels. A Barbegazi can dig through ice and snow like a mole through soft ground.

Because of this digging skill, Barbegazi sightings are rare. A Barbegazi can dig himself in and out of deep snow within seconds, and only the most experienced tracker will ever know he was there.

Barbegazi don’t fear avalanches but instead, ride snow falls like surfers. Other than hunting, a Barbegazi spends most of his life playing in the snow. In fact, “snow tipping” is an art form to the Barbegazi. It requires much skill, dexterity and imagination to prod the snow croppings into the spectacular avalanches that the Barbegazi ride for sport.

Most legends describe the Barbegazi as short stocky people with long white hair and beards, that are covered in icicles. For many years, it was believed that they wore long coats of white fur, perhaps ermine, but recent evidence supports the theory that the white fur is actually the Barbegazi’s own pelt, and is perhaps the impetus behind the myths of the yeti, and other abominable snow monsters.

Another misconception is that the Barbegazi hibernate during the warmer months. Indeed, the summer sun is a hazard to the cold-loving people. The Barbegazi have a thin layer of frost on their skin above a thick layer of blubber to insulate them. The few Barbegazi who have been captured and brought down to more temperate climates have died within hours. The layer of frost melts first and then the Barbegazi appears to boil in his own skin, a horrible and painful death. Despite their loathing of warmer weather, the Barbegazi do not hibernate. Instead, they migrate to the highest reaches of the mountains, where the snow never melts. They live in shallow caves, but never venture too deep into warm heart of the mountain.

Though the Barbegazi have been known to help lost hikers, warn of impending avalanches or herd lost sheep after a blizzard, they are a shy race and do not welcome outsiders. They are excellent hunters and the most daring will venture down into the green forest to gather late fall berries. They can carve almost anything out of ice, and whittle icicles the way we might whittle a stick. Barbegazi ice horns sound much like an owl and can be heard for miles along the mountain summit. The Barbegazi use these horns to coordinate hunting and to communicate among clans.

This "In the Background" article appeared in the June 2008 Eternal Press Ezine. To subscribe to the ezine send an email request to

**Note: Barbegazi is an adult fantasy, but with content suitable for young adults as well.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Acceptance to Mom Writer's Literary Magazine

Mom Writer's Literary Magazine
I'm thrilled to share with you all that I have received the following acceptance:

"Interview with K.L. Going," Mom Writer's Literary Magazine ~ November 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Acceptance to Cross & Quill - The Christian Writers Newsletter

Cross & Quill - The Christian Writers Newsletter
I am delighted to share with you all that my article entitled, "5 Tips for Researching Children's Stories Market Potential," has been accepted for publication by Cross & Quill - The Christian Writers Newsletter and will appear in hardcopy print within 3-12 months...YIPPEE!!!