Thursday, April 30, 2009

VBT - Writers on the Move - May Tour

Put your writing career in motion with the yahoo marketing group VBT - Writers on the Move. Promote your platform, yourself and your books! We utilize ONGOING tours; Viewpoint segments; mystery site give aways; blog radio spots; and much more to increase visibility and readership.To learn more contact Karen at: put VBT-(VSG) in the subject box.

And now for the May 1, 2009 tour schedule:

Dianne Sagan is hosting Virginia S. Grenier

Harry Gilleland is hosting Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Karen Cioffi is hosting Liana Metal

Kathy Stemke is hosting Helena Harper

Lea Schizas is hosting Margaret Fieland

Nancy Famalari is hosting Joyce Anthony

Vivian Zabel is hosting Kevin McNamee

Margaret Fieland is hosting Dorothy Massey

Crystalee Calderwood is hosting Fiona Ingram

Joyce Anthony is hosting Gayle Trent

Helena Harper is hosting Dianne Sagan

Kevin McNamee is hosting Harry Gilleland

Dorothy Massey is hosting Vivian Zabel

Liana Metal is hosting Kathy Stemke

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is hosting Lea Schizas

Virginia S. Grenier is hosting Nancy Famalari

Robin Marvel is hosting Crystalee Calderwood

Gayle Trent is hosting Robin Marvel

Please be sure to stop by and learn about these wonderful writers and leave them a comment to let them know you stopped by.

Thank you.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Book Surge: Creating a Newsworthy Press Room

In a time when we blog about what we ate for lunch or read news bulletins on our cell phones, shouldn't your book's media kit be just as accessible? Launching an online press room gives reporters immediate access to information relevant to your book and can make you a more appealing subject to be interviewed. Your online press room should be a well-developed asset on your website and include the information you already include in your printed press kit, plus a few extras. Here are just a few recommendations on content for your virtual press room!

Breaking News: Have you recently been honored or hosted a successful book signing? Reporters are seeking the freshest scoop, and you'll want to give them access to your most recent press releases. Update this section frequently with substantive, professional news for the best results.

Multimedia Clips: If you've had the opportunity to record audio or video interviews, display these prominently within your press room. Not only will these clips quickly convey to the media the information they're seeking, but recorded interviews also demonstrate your skills as an interviewee and your newsworthiness.

Downloadable Photos, Graphics or Logos: Make it easy for reporters to include photos of yourself or your book's cover in their stories by providing easy access to high resolution and web-ready images that suit a variety of purposes.

Event Calendar or Timeline: Planning upcoming lectures, signings or interviews? Tell the media where you'll be with an up-to-the-minute calendar. Update frequently to give the latest updates, and don't forget to remove events that have passed!

RSS (Really Simple Syndication): Make it easy for reporters and others to subscribe to your website updates and get your news delivered to their email inboxes.

Reporters work with very narrow deadlines, and if forced to choose between multiple news sources, they will often choose the source who provides the most easily accessed information.

Keep your press room up to date with good content, and you could be the next noted or quoted author.

For more ideas on enhancing your website, visit the Author Resources Center of the BookSurge website!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Nancy Famolari to visit SFC: Families Matter Blog

Be sure to stop by the SFC: Families Matter blog - on Friday, May 1st for a fascinating interview and Friday, May 8th for a synopsis of Summer's Story.
Nancy Famolari lives with her husband, five horses, two dogs and five white cats on a farm in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania. Her stories and poems have appeared in Long Story Short, Flash Shot, Fiction Flyer, Lyrica, Alienskin Magazine Clockwise Cat, and Matters of the Heart from the Museitup Press. She received an award from Fiction Flyer for one of her flash fiction stories. Her novel, Summer's Story, will be available from Red Rose Press in the fall 2008. Her mystery, Murder in Montbleu, will be available from Red Rose Publishing in 2009.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Guardian Angel Publishing Licenses and Releases First PB to iKids Play

April 2009
Contact: Lynda S. Burch
(314) 276- 8482

Guardian Angel Publishing Licenses and Releases its first Picture Book to iKids Play™
which provides an alternative to gaming by introducing educational opportunities for
children with books on the go.

St. Louis, MO, USA: Publisher, Lynda S. Burch has licensed and launched Guardian Angel Publishing's first picture book, Maybe We Are Flamingos to iKids Play™ for its iPhone application, which allows kids to color, paint, rub and read along on touch screen technology.

“We are excited with our newest venture,” said GAP President and Publisher Lynda Burch. “Licensing our picture books with iKids Play™ will allow for worldwide English distribution by Apple iTunes Applications of our books on the newest technology to hit the market.”

The users can order print book copies directly from their phones. Children can interact with the stories and artwork and entertain themselves while waiting with parents in countless situations. These applications provide an alternative to gaming by introducing educational opportunities for children with books on the go for busy lifestyles.

“Keeping up with rapidly changing book marketplace has been a rewarding experience and we look forward to successful launches of many more GAP books in other new applications for iPhones and iPods with iKids Read™ and iKids Story™, too.” Burch continued.

Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. was launched in late 2004 featuring a unique series of musical eBook download books—Angelic Harmony. Their books expanded from picture books to storybooks, fiction and nonfiction, and chapter books for older beginning readers.

Guardian Angel publishes exceptional and educational books for children 0-12 years of age. They expanded with Academic Wings— with a wealth of teaching aids for teachers. Angel to Angel where kids write and illustrate for kids, Littlest Angels, Guardian Angel Animals and Pets, Guardian Angel Chapbooks for Tweens and Wings of Faith—faith-based stories, which are available as eBook downloads, CDs, print paperback, and video books for TV or mobiles.

More information on Guardian Angel Publishing can be found at

Friday, April 24, 2009

The CBI Clubhouse

Greetings from Colorado, where it is an absolutely lovely spring day! It's Jon Bard, your Fightin-Bookworm-in-Chief, back again with a quick weekly update about what's going on at the CBI Clubhouse.

>>> New Stuff Just Posted on the Clubhouse:

A busy week, with lots of great new goodies for you to enjoy!

** Straight Talk About Talking Animals

Since so many Fightin' Bookworms are discussing this topic on the message board, we've just posted a great article about the dos and don'ts of including talking critters in your stories.

** Video Tutorial: A Crash Course in Submitting Your Manuscript to a Publisher
Join me for a no-nonsense refresher on how to submit your manuscript to a publisher.

** Ask the Author: Dian Curtis Regan
One of the most versatile and accomplished writers in children's literature shares her advice!

** Open with a Bang! Crafting Great Beginnings
You've Got 10 Seconds to Grab an Editor's Attention. Here's How...

** The Latest Selections for the Bookworm Stimulus Plan!

We introduce the next two featured Fightin' Bookworm titles: "Jackson's Blanket" and "The

Nest That Could Fly" ...

and remember....

** The April Edition of Children's Book Insider, The Newsletter for Children's Writers, is ready to be downloaded. Follow the links on the front page of the Clubhouse to grab it.
Laura is busily working away on the May issue of CBI -- we'll let you know as soon as it's ready (Usually the 1st or 2nd of the month).

>>> Coming to the Clubhouse in the Next Week:

With so many new items posted this week, we couldn't get to everything we wanted to! So, next

week, be on the lookout for:

* The May edition of Children's Book Insider, the Newsletter for Children's Writers
* Our podcast interview with author/storyteller Dianne de Las Casas
* An all-new "Ask Laura" video
* Another vintage children's book to download!
* More great exclusive articles about the writing and submissions process.
* And more surprises!

>>> And coming very, very, very soon....


In May, we'll mark the beginning of our 20th year in
business with the commencement of something truly special --
an ongoing writing course that will take you from square one
to a publishing contract...and beyond. We'll be tying
together the newsletter, the Clubhouse and the message board
to delve deep into each step along the way. Whether you're
an absolute beginner or a seasoned pro looking to expand
your horizons, The CBI Challenge will provide an incredible
journey to success. And it's all 100% included in your CBI


>>> Fightin' Bookworm Phone Consults w/Laura!

Laura is carving out a couple of days in the next few weeks to offer personal one-on-one phone consultations with Fightin' Bookworms. You can send up to seven pages in advance -- pages
from your manuscript, cover letters, a list of questions, whatever -- and spend 30 minutes with Laura getting answers to all your questions. Then she'll send you an mp3 recording of the
whole thing! For pricing and date availability, send an e-mail to and the info will bounce right back to you.
>>>> Hot on the Message Boards
Some fascinating discussions are under way at the Fightin' Bookworm Message Board. Stop in and offer your 2 cents about these topics:

Also, remember to great message board features:

* The collaborate and connect forum, where you can organize online critique groups, develop projects and much more:

* State and region-specific forums, where you can meet Fightin' Bookworms in your home town!
Yep, the Fightin' Bookworm Board is the place to be. It's all happening now at

Time to enjoy this beautiful day, so that's it for this week.

Keep on supporting your Fellow Bookworms...and keep spreading the word about the web's coolest place for children's writers -- The CBI Clubhouse.

All the best,
Jon Bard
Fightin' Bookworm in Chief

901 Columbia Rd
Fort Collins, CO

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

KL Going Announces Contest ~ King of the Screwups

Hi everyone,

I'm thrilled to announce that I have a new book out this month! It's a teen novel called *King of the Screwups*, and it's already gotten starred reviews from Publisher's Weekly and School Library Journal, plus a rave review from Kirkus. The early buzz has been great. This book has a little glam rock, a little high fashion, and a big dose of humor as the sexy son of a supermodel tries to reinvent himself as a nerd.

To celebrate the book's release, I'm running a contest... *Confess your screwup and you're entered to win a $100 gift certificate* to the independent bookstore of your choice, Borders, or Barnes & Nobles, plus a complete set of signed KL Going teen novels. Just e-mail me one paragraph or more describing your most heinous screwup. Must be at least twelve years old to enter. The contest runs from April 1st through June 30th, 2009. Entries will be posted on-line, but I won't use your last name or any other identifying information. Feel free to forward this e-mail to others you know who might like to participate.

We all make mistakes, so have some fun and share yours with the world! :-)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunny Holiday by Coleen Murtagh Paratore

Sunny Holiday
By Coleen Murtagh Paratore
Scholastic Press

Hello Friends and Happy Spring!

It is with great joy that Coleen Murtagh Paratore announces:

SUNNY HOLIDAY – the story of a poor girl rich in spirit who sets out to create a national holiday for kids.
Scholastic Press
ages 7-12

*”Full of high hopes and sensible advice, this feel-good story slips down easily.” Kirkus Reviews

*”Coleen Paratore is becoming one of those authors who can churn out a winner with every plot. With SUNNY HOLIDAY, Paratore works her magic again.” Winston-Salem Journal, NC

*”Let Sunny show you how to sparkle!” Discovery Girls Magazine


• May 16, Hudson Children’s Book Festival, Hudson Middle School
• May 29, Market Block Books, Troy, NY, 7-8:30 p.m. (during Troy Night Out)
• May 30, Open Door Bookstore, Schenectady, NY, 1-2:30 p.m.
• June 5, Barnes & Noble, Colonie Center, 6-7:30 p.m.
• July 17, Market Street Bookshop, Mashpee Cape Cod

More events forthcoming. Website:

Read on, write on, dream BIG, Bloom, Bloom, Bloom,
Coleen Murtagh Paratore

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Writings of Patricia Shirra

Come along for the exciting adventures of Patricia Shirra, author for children and teens.

Her posts will surely have you searching the depths of your soul for the answers to her thought provoking questions.

Surf on over to Patricia's blog, The Writings of Patricia Shirra at:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Karin Larson - Adventures in Children Writing

Drop by Karin Larson's new blog - Adventures in Children Writing at:

Her recent postings include her experiences at the SCBWI--Dakotas Spring Conference in Sioux Falls, SD.

You'll be happy you stopped by.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Margie Lawson and Cheryl Norman

May 1-30, 2009
"Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices and More"
by Margie Lawson

Margie Lawson, counseling psychologist, has developed innovative, psychologically-anchored editing systems and techniques that will show you how to write a page-turner. Deep Editing is not basic editing. It's post-graduate level editing. It's editing to hook the reader viscerally. In DEEP EDITING, participants will:

* Learn the EDITS System and take it deeper
* Learn the 25 rhetorical devices and practice using them
* Develop skills by using worksheets provided in each lecture
* Learn back story management, power lines, throw-away works
* Learn cliché twists, back loading, tautologies, and Emotional Hits
* Receive deep editing critiques from Margie on class assignments
* Develop a personal editing checklist from the Master Editing Checklist
* Learn to make FINAL EDITING PASS be your last pass

Margie Lawson, psychotherapist, writer, and international presenter-applied her psychological expertise to dissect over a thousand novels and analyze how authors write page-turners. A former university professor, Margie focuses her analytical skills on writing craft, developing innovative editing systems and deep editing techniques. Her deep editing tools are used by all writers, from newbie to multi-award winners. For more information, visit her web site at
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
May 4-29, 2009
"Grammar For the Faint Of Heart"
by Cheryl Norman

Have you received critiques or returned contest entries that mention a need to improve grammar or writing mechanics? Do you struggle with punctuating the plural possessive of nouns and pronouns? Is the term "dependent clause" a vague memory from high school English class? Don't let poor grammar or weak writing hold back your riveting story from publication. You can be your own grammar cop when editing your manuscript by recognizing and correcting the top ten writing mistakes:

* Misuse of apostrophes and hyphens
* Noun-verb agreement errors
* Using the wrong word or spelling
* Lack of pronouns and antecedents agreement
* Excessive use of quotation marks
* Faulty comparisons and convoluted, wordy sentences
* Vague word usage and other weak writing
* Misplaced and misleading modifiers

Cheryl Norman graduated with a BA in English from Georgia State University, had a 25-year career with a major telecommunications company, then quit to pursue writing. She authored numerous articles and two cookbooks while building her romance fiction career. Her first mass-market paperback release earned her a mention in Publisher's Weekly as one of ten romance authors to watch, and her latest release is RUNNING SCARED. Visit her Grammar Cop blog at

Friday, April 10, 2009

Guest Author and Publisher ~ Vivian Zabel

While teaching for twenty-seven years mainly at the high school level, Vivian Zabel honed her own writing skills and had some poetry, short stories, articles, and essays published in various magazines, papers, and anthologies. After retirement, she wrote full time. Vivian contributed a percentage of the short stories in Hidden Lies and Other Stories, written with Holly Jahangiri. One of the editors and a contributor, she oversaw Walking the Earth: Life’s perspectives in Poetry, a collection of poems from eight authors, including her. Her three juvenile books include The Base Stealers Club, a sports/mystery novel for readers aged eight through 13 or 14, and a sequel, Case of the Missing Coach, as well as a juvenile historical book Prairie Dog Cowboy.
Without further ado, I present to you Vivan Zabel, writer and publisher extraordinaire:
Q: How do you balance all the various aspects of your writing and publishing business?

The fact that often I can’t sleep helps. However, if the business keeps growing, I’m going to have to have more help.

As I’m working with business needs of 4RV Publishing, often I’m “working” at the back of my mind on something I’m writing or about to write.

When I was younger, I could multi-task better than I can now, but thankfully, I still can to some extent.

I depend on notes plastered all around the computer to keep track of myself. You do realize, don’t you, that the purpose of name tags is to remind me of who I am?

Q: What are you most passionate about outside of writing?

That’s an easy question to answer: my family. My husband, three children, ten grandchildren, and four, soon to be five, great-grandchildren are the foundation of my life.

My faith is the only thing that comes before all of them.

Q: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Maybe a better question would be what have I done with my life. I’ve been the receptionist for a hotel, car hop, inventory clerk, office manager, insurance office manager, and then a teacher for twenty-seven years. If I weren’t writing, I guess I’d give up finally and vegetate.

Q: Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a “real” writer?

I always knew I was going to be a writer. I started writing poetry when I was eight, but I told stories to my siblings and friends from the time I could talk. I remember the first time I shared my dream of writing a novel with a “friend” in the seventh grade. She laughed and spread the story, trying to make me a figure of ridicule. I didn’t talk about my plans any more: I just did them.

I’ve had poetry, short stories, and articles published for many years, about forty years in fact. My first book was a collection of short stories written by me and by Holly Jahangiri, Hidden Lies and Other Stories, which is listed on an online text book sight as a literature book.

Q: You recently launched a new book called Midnight Hours; tell us a little about it and what was your inspiration for it?

I have an online friend, who “adopted” me as her mom, yet she continued to be extremely secretive. I had no idea where she lived, except a general area. I couldn’t contact her. Other people I knew who “knew” her wondered why she was so mysterious. With my vivid imagination, I took her need to hide and developed Midnight, an online predator who targets disabled men. In fact, the friend helped with details and ideas developed in the novel.

And, no, the friend is not anyone dangerous, just a single woman who needed to protect her identity for valid reasons.

Q: What other books or projects do you have coming soon?

The last of October, Prairie Dog Cowboy, a novel for younger teens but can be enjoyed by anyone, will be released. My husband was a cowboy and broke horses when young. I took some of his experiences and wove them into a story about a young boy who wants to be a cowboy. The young rancher next to Buddy’s family farm promises to hire him when Buddy can lasso a prairie dog. The setting of the book is the late 1890s through about 1913, and the historical aspects are well researched.

Next year, I hope Stolen will be published. We’ll see. The novel shows the struggle Torri Adamson faces as parts of her life are stolen. She works to rebuild her life after each traumatic experience, until her children are taken. She doesn’t know if she can recover or not.

Q: What can readers expect when they read your books?

I hope they find believable characters, realistic stories, and, even if the book doesn’t have a “happily ever after” ending, hope.

Q: I noticed you have quite a few published authors at 4RV Publishing and it seems to be growing. Tell us what motivated you to start a publishing company?

A friend, Jacque Graham, a daughter-in-law, Janelle Zabel, and I talked about the struggle authors, even very good writers, have little chance of being published with a major company. Finding a credible agent is almost as difficult. The already famous, whether they could write or not, have books out, but not many of the people who write and write well. Self-publishing has a bad rap because of the abuse of the process by too many people who “publish” just anything, and vanity presses produce, uh, well, not quality books.

We decided that someone, some company needed to fill the gap between the poor self-publishing/the vanity presses and the major publishing houses. After a couple of years of reading, studying, examining, asking questions, I started 4RV Publishing. Jacque and Janelle are my right and left hands.

Q: Are you currently accepting unsolicited submissions? If so where can writers find your submission guidelines?

Yes, we are accepting unsolicited submissions. The guidelines are found on on the Services page.

Q: Do you prefer writing one genre over another? If so which one and why? If not, why not?

I like most mysteries, and I like a bit of romance where possible. However, I write several genre. I don’t like excessive, gratuitous violence or sex. Let the readers use their imaginations.

I don’t write, read, or publish erotica or even excessive, unneeded violence, profanity, or sexual activity.

Q: Describe a typical writing day if there is one or a typical day in your writing/publishing life.

*searches through calendar and memory to find a typical day* I don’t think such an animal exists in my world. From the time I climb out of bed until I get to climb back in, I’m working on editing, marketing, promotions, answering email, sending contracts or rejections (which I hate to do), and squeezing in some writing of my own. Of course, when necessary I format books, set up accounts, order copies, pay bills, and prepare for book festivals, book blog tours, conferences, and whatever else needs to be done.

Q: Is there a place or address where readers can reach you?

My email for 4RV is My personal email is

Q: Is there anything else you would like readers to know about you and your works? Take as much space as you need.

I post information about my work, 4RV authors and books, and other aspects of writing on

and writing tips for children’s and teen’s books on .

My goal, other than being a good writer, is to help other authors and illustrators publish good books.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Guest Author and Publisher ~ Vivian Zabel to Visit April 10th

Join me on Friday, April 10th, when author and publisher, Vivan Zabel takes time out of her busy schedule to be my guest author and publisher.

Be sure to take the time out to visit and ask any questions you may have to Vivian ~ this is an grand opportunity! She will be checking-in periodically throughout the day to field your questions.

Don't miss out.

Looking forward to seeing you in cyberspace.

Free Book Drawing - Meghan Rose Series

If you post a comment about Lori's interview, posted Wednesday, April 8th, we will put your name in a drawing for a free book.

The winner may choose one of any of the four Meghan Rose titles!

If more than 15 people leave comments, TWO names will be drawn, and for more than 25 people, THREE names will be drawn."

Good luck and thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment for Lori.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lori Scott - Guest Author at Write What Inspires You! Today

I am excited to welcome author Lori Z. Scott to talk about the Meghan Rose series.

Since 2000, award winning author Lori Scott has published about 100 short stories, devotions, puzzles, poems, and articles for children, teens, and adults. This includes contributions to over a dozen books including Real Moms, Cup of Comfort Book of Prayers, and 2007 Eppie Award winner> Infinite Space, Infinite God.

Lori is a graduate of Wheaton College. When she’s not busy driving her two children to various church, sporting, and artistic activities, she moonlights as second grade teacher.

Lori, welcome. Thanks for taking time to be with us today.

My pleasure.

You often introduce yourself as first a mother, then a teacher, and finally a writer. Why is that?

I feel like being a mother is my highest calling in life. And that means I’m a caregiver, nurse, tutor, cheerleader, counselor, transportation expert, and nutritionist. I often put my own interests on hold because being a mommy trumps all.

I call myself a teacher second because…well, I am a second grade teacher! Working with kids has always been a major focus of my life. (Maybe I’m just not ready to give up comic books yet!)
I call myself a writer last because I often feel like writing too much fun—and pays too little—to be a real job. But then again, writing is another interest in my life I have felt called to pursue. God blessed me there too. How does your experience as a teacher help your writing?

One big advantage to being a teacher is that I’ve worked extensively with my target audience. I understand the challenges they face, the jokes they enjoy, the way they talk and act, and how they play. I believe that understanding gives my writing authenticity. I know the kids I’m writing for…and that better equips me to reach and entertain them.

The Meghan Rose series is geared for an age group that has shared a huge part of my life. I taught primary grades (K, 1, 2) for nine years before retiring to raise my own kids, and now I’m back in the classroom full time. I’ve also worked with kids this age on a volunteer basis as a leader for VBS, Sunday school, AWANAS, Pioneer Club, and Team Kids at church. In addition, I helped with an Outdoor Education camp, worked at a children’s museum, and ran an after school art club.

The teacher in me also enjoys extending my stories. That’s one reason why I included activities and discussion questions at the end of each book. I put even more ideas, games, and jokes on my web site, http://

Tell us more about those extensions.

Those came about as a desire to bring the lessons home. I mean, how many times have you as a mother read a book and thought, “There’s a good lesson in here” but didn’t know how to draw your child into a discussion about it? I remember reading Where the Red Fern Grows with my daughter and wanting to talk about the tender topic of death. But since I didn’t know where to start, I couldn’t fully take advantage of that teachable moment. (Instead we both just cried all the way through the last few chapters.)

That’s why I included questions for parents or teachers to use after they read the story, so they can capitalize on each book’s underlying message. (Although I hope people laugh through the last few chapters of Meghan Rose instead of cry!)

And the activities are all for the kids. They love extending the story experience by creating their own volcanoes or whatever. I also put a ton of other ideas for parents and kids on my website under the BLAM (Brilliant Little Activities to Make) link (
So each book has an underlying message? Tell us about that.

I wanted the stories to do more than entertain. I wanted them to have takeaway value. Each book’s message is very subtle but still evident throughout the book. While Meghan Rose on Stage! talks about discovering your talents, it’s ultimately about friendship. Meghan Rose Has Ants in Her Pants explores the idea of patience. Meghan Rose All Dressed Up and Meghan Rose Has a Secret address inner beauty and kind words. But none of it is preachy. It’s heavy on the humor and very, VERY light on the lesson…yet neither quality is lost on the child.

Why would parents like your series?

A good question—one that I have to answer from my own experience. When my daughter was in first grade, her teacher started reading the Junie B. Jones books in class. Since Meghan liked them, I picked up a few copies.

Well, I enjoyed the humor in those books, but had to edit out some of the grammar slips, name calling and attitudes. I thought that there had to be an alternative choice—a book that was just as funny, but also had a good take-away value. I scoured the Christian bookstores. I couldn’t find any fiction for that age group, only devotional books and Bible stories.

When I asked about it, bookstore owners often commented that they wished they could offer such a book. In fact, they’d had numerous parents come to the store, all asking the same thing: Do you have a fiction book my young child will enjoy reading? And, like me, they walked away empty handed.

So I wrote the book I couldn’t find—a book for my daughter AND for all those other mothers just like me. I put in everything she wanted—an interesting story filled with giggles and characters worth rooting for—and everything I wanted—good moral values (but with nothing preachy about the story at all). And because I don’t believe I’m alone in those desires, I’m convinced other parents (AND THEIR KIDS!!!) will like the series too.

Are the books just for girls?

Not at all! One mother of two boys emailed me about how much her sons enjoyed reading them with her. She said they could hardly read for laughing so hard—they were all HOWLING!! The youngest one loved it so much he started sleeping with the first book under his pillow at night.
In fact, the comment I hear most from people who read the books is, “I laughed out loud.” The second comment I hear most often is about how much kids (and parents) like the discussion questions and activities. How can all that just be for girls?

Where do you get the inspiration for the humorous parts of the books?

Most of that comes from my upbringing. My dad was always coming up with puns and jokes. He made them up on the spot, and they were hilarious! I can’t tell you how many hours we spent laughing around the dinner table. I think dad influenced all my sisters. Plus I grew up on a steady diet of comic books. Peanuts and Garfield were my favorites, and later Calvin and Hobbes. And we’d also watch comedy on television, especially The Carol Brunette Show.
That said, some of my inspiration just comes from everyday life. My kids crack me up. They both have a great sense of humor.

The main character in the Meghan Rose series shares your daughter’s name. Why is that?

She was the foundational basis for the character. When I started the series, I needed someone likable, outrageous, clever, spunky, and sensitive all rolled into one. Well, that’s my Meghan. And since I originally wrote the books just for her, I simply used her name. You’ll also see the names of other people I’ve met, although the character they’re named for is totally fiction. Mrs. Arnold, for example, was the name of Meghan’s real first grade teacher. But she’s not like the Mrs. Arnold in the book.

Are any of the characters like you?

I think maybe there’s a little bit of me in all of them. Certainly a lot of me is reflected in the teacher, Mrs. Arnold. Then Ryan shows the jokester side of me, Kayla has the goofy side, Lynette has the rule-following, show-off side, and Meghan’s Mom has the practical side. The Meghan character herself is about 80 percent of the “real” Meghan, 10 percent of me and my creative musings, and 10 percent total fiction.

Can you share one idea for mothers to help their children be more creative?

Sure. Hmmm. Hard to pick one. I guess one great idea is to encourage your children to be involved with artistic endeavors. That can include a whole variety of options, like drawing, painting, or making things out of shoe boxes. Children can listen to or dance to music. Or make their own music. They can dress up and put on a show for family or friends, or memorize a silly poem. And it should be fun, not work.

Where can readers learn more about you and the Meghan Rose books?

They can visit my website at My award-winning illustrator, Stacy Curtis, designed it. It offers jokes, puzzles, and activities for kids and great ideas for teacher and parents (on Mrs. Arnold’s BLAM page). It also introduces the books and characters, provides links to book reviews, and gives ordering information. I posted a retold fairy tale reader’s theater that gives visitors a good feel for the style of humor found in the books at .

The books have been on the market for a year. How have they fared? And are there more on the way?

I think they’ve been well received. All four have consistently stayed on Amazon’s top 25 bestsellers for Standard Publishing. Plus I was recently invited to showcase them at the Christian Book Expo in Dallas, Texas. (All I can say about that is WOW. My books were in good company and I feel very humbled!)

As far as more books goes, I can’t tell you too much because they are not under contract yet! That’s up to God and the editors at Standard. But I will tell you this…I drafted the next three books in the series…and as much as I enjoy the first four books in the series, I like the next three even better! The characters’ personalities shine stronger than ever. Meghan’s friend Kayla is a complete side-stitching HOOT. I laugh even thinking about the punch lines she delivers. And I introduce a new character named Sophie, a perfect foil to all of Meghan’s clever plans.

The tentative titles of those books are Meghan Rose Takes the Cake, Meghan Rose Knows it All, and I don’t have the last title yet. In them, Meghan explores helping others, humility, and honesty (by title respectively). But, of course, no preaching, only lots and lots of laughs and very subtle life lessons.

That sounds great. Well, thank you for your time!

Thank you for letting me visit with you.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lori Scott To Visit Write What Inpsires You! April 8th

Do you yearn for a Christian based fiction book geared for younger elementary children?

If so, then check out the Meghan Rose series. This series from Standard Publishing introduces Meghan Rose, the bounciest first-grader in the world! Young readers will get to share Meghan’s adventures, laugh, and learn important life lessons. Each title also includes a bonus section with discussion starters and fun activity ideas.
Join me on April 8th when author, Lori Scott is my guest author. Lori will be checking-in throughout the day to answer your questions.
Looking forward to seeing you!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Margot Finke visits Write What Inspires You! Today - April 6th

How cute is this book cover!? Love it!
Margot Finke is an Aussie who writes mid grade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. For many years she has lived in Oregon with her husband and family.

Gardening, travel, and reading fill in the cracks between writing. Her husband is very supportive, though not interested in children's books. Their three children are now grown and doing very well. 4 grandchildren are the delight of Margot’s life.
Early on, a great deal of writing help and mentoring came Margot’s way. Payback for this comes in the form of her Website, her Blog, and her Musings Column. As well as promoting her children’s books, all three offer lots of free advice and guidance for beginning writers. “I am always thrilled when a client of mine has one of their books accepted.”
Margot didn't begin serious writing until the day their youngest left for college. This late start drives her writing, and pushes her to work at it every day. Margot said, “I really envy those who began young, and managed to slip into writing mode between kid fights, diaper changes, household disasters, and outside jobs.”
“You are my Heroes!”
DMc: What inspires you to write?
MF: The simple fact that NOT writing is unthinkable: and if I didn’t write down the ideas that come to me in the dead of night, I would never sleep again! I have always written. My rhyming stories began way back when we first came to Oregon from Australia. A worked as a Teacher’s aid, and soon found myself answering questions about my accent, and telling the classes about the weird and wonderful animals Down-under. These stories came off the top of my head, and a teacher friend suggested I write them down. The rest is history.
Our two girls were avid readers, but our son was reluctant. I tried to write in ways that would hook his interest. Boys have macho tastes, and a love of the YUCK factor – a frog down some girl’s back will make a grade school boy’s day. I have never met a reluctant reader that couldn’t be hooked by the right story. Action, adventure and a fast pace, boy type dialogue, plus sniggly humor: these do the trick every time. I love finding words that paint an instant mental picture. One or two great words and the scene is set - you have HOOKED a boy’s interest.
DMc: What kind of obstacles or challenges have you experienced as a children's writer?
MF: Nothing that other writers have not come up against. I do need peace and quiet to write, hence the late start mentioned in my bio.
I do regret the fact that I missed some wonderful opportunities early on, when I begun writing. These were times when it was far easier than it is today to get a book published. The big publishing takeovers, and the consolidation of many small imprints, under one or two umbrellas, had not yet happened. Inexperienced, I sent off MS that were less than polished: though at the time I felt they were perfect. Oh, the ego of the beginning writer!
It is far harder now, to find a publisher, and several of my well polished mid grade manuscripts languish in a file. Like many others who write, at times I drop into a deep chasm of despair about this. However, after a deliciously decadent wallow. I kick myself in the pants, scour off the accumulated “wallow,” and send out a new bunch of queries. I must follow my own advice to countless writers – editors do not make house calls!
In the beginning, I was blessed with several wonderful and caring mentors. These kindly writers set me on the right writing path. I formed a critique group of my peers, and I learned almost as much from reading their manuscripts, as I did from their writing feedback on mine - not to mention their encouragement and support.
DMc: From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?
MF: This varies from book-to-book. Rhyming comes easily to me, so rhyming picture books are the easiest. They go down fast, yet the fine-tuning of the rhyme and meter takes many rest-and-reread time outs. Putting your writing aside for a week, or a month or more, depending on the length, is a great way to check for those small missjudgements and errors you miss when you work at it without a break. Try it. What jumps out at you, needing attention on that first re-read, will amaze you.
Several of my midgrade stories have been in the works, as they say, for several years. I won’t admit to exactly how many years, even if you waterboard me! And I always rework, tweak, and rethink my first chapters, especially the first pages, countless times. I am usually happy with the middle and the ending, but those first pages always haunt me. I guess because they can make or break your chances. If what I write in the first few pages does not resonate with an editor, then she won’t read on into the second chapter, where I am certain she will fall in love with my story and characters.
DMc: Have you ever been asked to change the title of any of your books?

Never! But hey, I’m willing to negotiate if it means a sale!!
DMc: Are any of the characters in the books based on real people?
MF: You mean apart from the animals in my picture books? GRIN! Actually, in “The Revenge of Thelma Hill,” an MG ghost story that is one of my favorites, the character of the ghost is based on my Mum. She was the most caring and honest person I ever knew. Yet she expected you to own up and pay for your mistakes (crimes). This is a spirit WITH spirit!
The ghost (Thelma Hill) wants her killer to pay for burying her in the basement. So, after a rocky beginning, she and Frannie, her human helper, bond together and have a warm relationship. Both bring to the other something that is deeply needed. If Mum were alive today, she would be so tickled to have her name grace the title. Now that’s a book I would dearly love to have published. School kids who have read it, loved it!! Sigh!
DMc: Please share with us your latest book.
MF: I have two new picture books coming out this year, both with G.A.P. (Guardian Angel Publishing)
The first is “Ruthie and the Hippo’s Fat Behind” - illustrator K.C. Snider. Ruthie doesn’t understand why her parents moved far from her family and friends. Ruthoe acts out, her moods becoming as big and ugly as a hippo’s fat behind. Then, something wonderful turns everything around. Told in rhyme, K.C’s illustrations bring out the meaning in every verse.

“Horatio Humble Beats the Big D” – illustrator Ellen GurakHoratio Humble is a smart boy with a big problem – he can’t read. When he opens a book, the letters in each word do back-flips. When Horatio hears the words “Special ED” he freaks out. His knows friends will think he’s dumb. But he is in for a surprise. The Big D (dyslexia) can be tamed!
Thanks, Donna for interviewing me, and for the great bunch of questions you asked. They had me thinking hard!

Visit Margot Finke at:
Website: Blog: Musings Column: Critique Service: Series:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Margot Finke to be Guest Author ~ April 6th

Join me on Monday, April 6th when Aussie, Margot Finke, joins me as guest author. Margot will be on hand to answer your questions throughout the day.
Margot writes mid grade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. For many years she has lived in Oregon with her husband and family.
Looking forward to seeing you in cyberspace.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Guest Author - Scott Heydt

Scott Heydt is a published Young Adult Author, "O.Y.L."- Helm Publishing and Honorable Mention, "CROSS", P.M. Moon Publishing, March 2009.
Fifth grade teacher and Green Team Environmental Club Chairman- Groveland Elementary; Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Guild; Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators; and Marathon runner
Scott is all about getting things done, staying healthy, and doing whatever he can to help others. He does his best to hold true to his personal mantra, "Live, Learn, Teach."

DMc: When did you decide you wanted to become an author? Do you have another job besides writing?

While I’ve read voraciously and toyed with words since childhood, my decision to officially transition to author status came during a low point in my life. For years I was a competitive marathon runner, but four years ago, I suffered a series of injuries that put me through three separate operations on my feet. Weeks confined to a couch gives you time to think. It also gives you time to write. From the disappointing loss of my competitive running career came the satisfying opportunity to share my work with young readers.

In addition to writing, I am a 5th grade classroom teacher in Central Bucks School District, Doylestown, PA. My daily interactions with students are often the foundations of my stories.

DMc: What inspires you to write?

Every aspect of the world around us is complex and unique. I’m inspired by how writing opens my eyes further to that complexity, helping me to understand.

DMc: What has been the most memorable experience in your writing career?

My most memorable experience actually hasn’t happened yet. My second novel, Cross, currently under consideration for publication, is an homage to my sixth-grade teacher. The most memorable experience of my young writing career will be when I hand him a copy of this published novel and say, “Thank you.”

DMc: What is the best writing advice you have ever received?

Recently, at the Columbia University Reading and Writing Project, I attended a session led by Lester Laminack, author of such picture books as Saturdays and Teacakes and Snow Day. He emphasized the writer’s craft as “the artful placement of technique with intention.” Whenever he struggles to artfully express himself, he leans on authors he admires (like Mem Fox, Cynthia Rylant, etc.) for inspiration and assistance with placement of technique with intention.

DMc: What kind of obstacles or challenges have you experienced as a children's writer?

My biggest challenge has been learning the ins and outs of self-promotion and marketing, on top of the other commitments in my life. Staying active with social networking, web pages, book signings, and the like can be mentally and physically draining.

DMc: Please share with us your latest project?

O.Y.L (Helm Publishing, 2008), my first young adult novel, is available now. To download sample chapters, read reviews, and purchase a copy visit Also, $1.00 from every purchase of O.Y.L. is donated to American Forests charities. The donation plants one tree in the continental United States. One book, one dollar, one tree.

My second manuscript, a middle-grade fiction novel entitled CROSS, recently won Honorable Mention in PM Moon Publishers, LLC’s Writing Contest. Aside from my traditional blog, I’ve created a special blog to track the journey of this novel from concept development through possible publication. For more information on CROSS, visit

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Guest Author - Scott Heydt

Join me on Friday, April 3rd when children's author, Scott Heydt will be my guest author.

Published Young Adult Author, "O.Y.L."- Helm PublishingHonorable Mention, "CROSS", P.M. Moon Publishing, March 2009.

International Director of Scholarship - Delta Tau Delta Fraternity; Alumni Engagement/Communications Task Force Chairman- Moravian Alumni Board; Fifth grade teacher and Green Team Environmental Club Chairman- Groveland Elementary; Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Guild; Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Scott will check-in throughout the day to answer your questions.

Looking forward to seeing you in cyberspace.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Guest Author ~ Patti B. Ogden

As an enthusiastic Sunday school teacher, there was only one thing Patti Ogden did not enjoy about the teaching experience; too often, her lessons would end with the children not grasping the concepts that they were intended to teach. With a genuine heartfelt desire to reach children’s soul realm, she unleashed her God-given creativity and began to break down her lessons into simple terms – added excitement and drama - and suddenly she saw the "lights go on!" Soon the kids were asking questions and wanting to know more!

With a background in journalism and a sincere burden to help kids seek their own spiritual growth, she is now the author of Keoni’s BIG Question and two other Christian children's books due to be released in 2009.

She was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Patti is a devoted wife to her husband Jeff, of 35 years, mother of two and grandmother to five darlings that fill her life with joy. She and her husband Jeff enjoy life on their eleven acre hobby farm in Oregon, Illinois.

What is the genre for your book Keoni’s Big Question?

This is Christian children’s fiction.

Who is Keoni and what is the question that Keoni has?

Keoni (KEY_OH_KNEE : Hawaiian for John) is a curious young boy who really wants to know if a person can see God.

Why did you decide to use a fishing trip as the vehicle for answering Keoni’s question about God?

The fishing trip connected the characters with nature which helps Keoni recognize that God is the great creator of the beauty around us and the first step in “seeing” Him. This part was in the original story told by William Branham.

Will you tell us more about William Branham? What do you mean by the “original story”?

William Branham was a simple preacher from Kentucky who was known for his simple stories that brought out the beautiful virtues and characters of the Lord Jesus Christ. To this day, he is acknowledged by Christian historians as the “pacesetter” of the 1950s healing revival that transformed the Pentecostal movement. In several of his sermons, he told of Old Fisherman and the little “lad” that was curious about God. In his story, he told that they went fishing together and how the boy finally realized that Old Fisherman held the answer to his big question.

How do Keoni and Old Fisherman become friends and what is special about their relationship?

Old Fisherman is very dear to Keoni’s family; he is a Christian gentleman whom they befriended after his wife passed on. Old Fisherman is a mentor and grandfather figure to Keoni. He taught him many things about fishing and life in general.

Will you tell us about the fishing trip? What dangerous event occurs during it?

Keoni and Old Fisherman suddenly find themselves in a bad thunderstorm while they are in the boat on the river. Keoni has always been scared of storms so to be out in the middle of one was terrifying to him. Old Fisherman tries to shelter and protect him when they finally reach the shore, but at one point he must leave him to go save the boat from sinking. Keoni realizes he must turn to God for help on His own.

How does Keoni turn to God? By praying?

Yes, he recalls what his mother taught him about prayer.

What do you most hope children will learn and understand from reading “Keoni’s Big Question”?

It is my hope that children will learn that they can have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus on their own level. Their experiences with God don’t need to be through their parents or another adult especially when help from an older person is not available during times of trouble or helplessness. It’s my desire to teach them how to communicate with God on their own. I want them to understand that God hears and answers their prayers. He can be touched, reached and seen in the beauty that surrounds us.

What age group is “Keoni’s Big Question” most suited for?

I feel it’s never too early to read to little ones when it instills moral guidance and Biblical principles—but for reading purposes, this book is best suited for ages 4-9.

You mentioned in your biography that you are a grandmother. Do you test your books out on your grandchildren or other kids before you publish them?

I certainly do. The reactions I received from them were even more inspiration to continue. I knew I had to pass the test of peaking interest in my stories and present enough drama and excitement to keep them wanting to know what the next page said. Keoni’s Big Question has a surprise ending too!

Is the book geared toward a specific religious audience, for example Christianity or a specific denomination of Christianity?

Really, it will appeal to a very broad audience. The word Christian means “Christ-like.” This book is for anyone who believes on the Lord Jesus, His character and that the fruits of the spirit are meant for us to manifest.

What for you was the most difficult part about writing “Keoni’s Big Question”?

The hardest part of writing this book was to try to make its complex subject and multi-faceted points brought through one plot line, add a dramatic climax and yet be easy to read and to understand.

What type of feedback have you received from parents or children regarding the book?

I have had a lot of feedback from parents that shared the book during their family reading time. Many of them told me the whole family was very touched by the story and some to tears after reading Keoni’s Big Question, especially the ending. One family told us that the book opened an opportunity with their children to answer questions about God. Another little boy had just asked his dad the week before—why people can’t see God—and when his Dad finished the book, he said he finally understood!

I understand you have some more books soon to be published. Will you tell us a little about them?

“Shamgar and the Ox Goad” is scheduled next. I am very excited about it! It is a very imaginative tale of the little known story of Shamgar, who was only mentioned twice in the Bible, yet greatly used of God. Taken from one verse in the book of Judges, this is a story of one man and how he delivered Israel from the hand of the Philistines, killing 600 single-handledly with an ox goad. This is the first volume in our Untold Heroes of the Bible series and is a powerful, intriguing story that teaches children the virtues of Godly character and faith.

“Momma, Am I Pretty?” is about a young girl who deals with her first experience of religious persecution and how the wisdom of her mother helps her through her emotional reaction. Illustrator and designer Robert Sauber is busy working on this project and we hope to have this one out by late summer.

Your website states that part of the proceeds from book sales go to charitable causes. Will you explain more to us about that extra benefit of helping others by purchasing the book?

Capstone Productions helps pay the postage for sending books and Bibles overseas to Christians who can’t afford them or have no way of obtaining them. It is heartbreaking, yet rewarding, to read the letters of appreciation from India, Africa and other parts of the world after they receive the first Bible they ever owned. Postage costs have risen tremendously, which places even more importance on our contributions.

Tell us about your website and where “Keoni’s Big Question” is available?

Our website is

Our book is available at: - - -