Monday, November 30, 2009

Book Review: Bitter Tastes by V.B. Rosendahl

Title: Bitter Tastes

Written by: V. B. Rosendahl

Ages: 8 to 12

Publisher: Stargazer Press

ISBN: 0-9734940-9-3

Published: January 2007

Softcover: 108 pages

Price: $15.00

Kathy Harmon struggles with her parents new found wealth after they announce they are to move from their home in Cherry Hill, New Jersey to paradise…Warner, North Carolina. Her attempts to come to grips with being the new girl in sixth grade and living in the “grandest” home on the Outer Banks are overshadowed by the death (or is it murder) of her new friend and cooking class instructor, Janine McCallum.

At first all Kathy wants to do is “blend-in” and not be noticeable to her new classmates. However, an unexpected friendship is developed with Martha Cunningham. Kathy’s need to put the so called jigsaw puzzle together to discover the identity of the murderer is pushed further along with Martha’s adventurous personality. Before Kathy knows it she is lying to her parents to go on her investigating journey with Martha. The girls meet many obstacles along the way, but their determination is not to be thwarted.

V.B. Rosendahl takes the reader for an unforgettable ride of acceptance for who you are and a mystery of murder and deception. Told through the eyes and thoughts of Kathy Harmon, you will find yourself cheering for Kathy and Martha with each step they take. And with the hair-raising events throughout you will be surely disappointed when the story comes to its conclusion. A must read for mystery lovers.

Visit V.B. Rosendahl at

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Seven Tips for Contest Entries

*Unless it’s edited, perfected, and the best you can offer, don’t hand in something half done and not up to your standards.

*Research the contest. Make sure no warnings are out there before you fork over any entry fees.

*Check and see what rights they are asking you for and if you agree with them. Unless they pay you a nice sum for ALL RIGHTS, I wouldn’t hand over my stuff.

*Define your entry to suit the best genre category if the contest offers several. Handing a juvenile mystery to an adult mystery judge may eliminate you if there’s a children’s judge waiting for your manuscript to come to them.

*Please follow the guidelines. Such an easy task yet many believe their “great” story will more than make up for it. Wrong! It may never be read if you went over the allotted word count, if you formatted the way they asked you NOT to, or if you send an attachment where they stated NO ATTACHMENTS WILL BE OPENED.

*If they request a payment entry make sure to include it with your submission. And follow tip #2. Also make sure the entry fee is justified compared to the winning prize.

*Before your tongue approaches the seal to close the envelope, go over your manuscript just one more time. Make sure all the guidelines were followed. Check and see if the word count is within their limits. And make sure you have the right mailing address. How sad if it ends up anywhere but its projected destination.

Lea Schizas - award-winning author & editor
Pen Perfect Associates

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sell Your Book

After months, or possibly years, writing your book, it’s finally published. You’re all gung-ho in the beginning to promote it, then suddenly sales ebb. Why? A few answers may be:

* because you didn’t budget correctly

* because you didn’t sit down to write your marketing goal plan

* you didn’t research where to find your target audience

* didn’t realize it takes more than one book signing to get your name out there

* didn’t consider sending out releases to promote your newly released book, a signing, workshop, interview, appearance

* didn’t consider getting reviews or testimonials from readers

Every single item above helps to keep a book in the limelight. But it needs a promotional consistency and that’s where many writers fall short. They believe once the book is up in the publisher’s website, Amazon, Barnes * Noble, or anywhere else, that’s enough to direct readers to them. No. The writer must direct readers and educate them of the value to purchase the book.

Marketing must begin once you begin writing. This may sound silly but building a buzz is a necessary step. To build this buzz a writer needs a website. Within this website they can post a short blurb about the book. Once the cover is done, promote it on the website, linking it to the publisher’s COMING SOON page.

Don’t be shy. Try to get interviews on various sites, newsletters, blogs…it’s your book. Let others know about it. Remember, that if you ain’t gonna promote don’t expect the neighbour to do it for you.

When emailing make sure to add the link to your site in your signature. I can’t believe how many writers omit this FREE thing. Wonder if they had to pay for it if they’d use it.

For more postings, please visit Pen Perfect Associates

Make sure to download your 2 FREE gifts on the sidebar for following the blog. Further down you'll see resources to help you in your career. More to come.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

A Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Lord, so often times, as any other day

When we sit down to our meal and pray

We hurry along and make fast the blessing

Thanks, amen. Now please pass the dressing

We're slaves to the olfactory overload

We must rush our prayer before the food gets cold

But Lord, I'd like to take a few minute more

To really give thanks to what I'm thankful for

For my family, my health, a nice soft bed

My friends, my freedom, a roof over my head

I'm thankful right now to be surrounded by those

Whose lives touch me more than they'll ever possibly know

Thankful Lord, that You've blessed me beyond measure

Thankful that in my heart lives life's greatest treasure

That You, dear Jesus, reside in that place

And I'm ever so grateful for Your unending grace

So please, heavenly Father, bless this food You've provided

And bless each and every person invited


--Scott Wesemann

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Write What Inspires You Newsletter

In celebration of the 1st Anniversary of the FREE Write What Inspires You Newsletter a unique issue will appear December 2009 profiling three writers from the Children's Writers' Coaching Club. The celebration continues in January 2010 when a complete e-book issue of the 1st year of the Write What Inpsires You Newsletter will be made available.

Each month featured interviews include prominent and upcoming children's authors, illustrators, and editors in the Children's Publishing industry. The inside look from each interview will provide you with terrific advice and inspiration as you continue down the path of publication (even if you have been published).

To top off the newsletter there are several additional columns:

Book Review(s)

Proclaim Your Successes

Reflections or Dreams


Supporter Advertisements

The continued response and participation has been outstanding and I look forward to a wonderful 2010.

If you are interested, please feel free to submit your name for an interview, an essay and/or your successes to:

Please share this newsletter with your peers in the writing industry and encourage them to opt-in as a monthly subscriber.

Here’s to your inspiration and continued success!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Guest Interview: Renee Hand, Children's Author

On the tail end of my book reviews from last on Renee Hand's Crypto-Capers Series I felt it warranted to re-run an interview I conducted with Renee a while back. I'm sure you will enjoy it as much as I did. Take this opportunity to ask Renee your questions or to leave her a comment. She will be checking in throughout the day.
DMc: Renee, you are an award-winning Romance Novelist and Children’s Author. What techniques do you use to shift between the genres?

RH: It isn’t difficult for me at all to switch gears from one genre to the next. I actually have more fun writing for my children’s series then I do for my romance so I do more with it. The major difference in writing for adults and writing for children is the audience, so I have to make sure that my topics and verbiage are appropriate for the right audience. I still do the same amount of research for both. My romance novels of course are much thicker than my children’s books so they do take me longer to write. But whenever I write a story, no matter if it is a romance novel for adults or for my children’s series, I put a lot of heart in it. When a reader gets done with reading one of my books, they are not just going to set it down and say, “That was a good book!” and walk away. They’re going to say that my stories meant something to them in some way and they will remember them. I love to have that connection with my readers. I have had children come up to me and say they love the series and want more. I have had adults come up to me and say that my romance novels have touched their lives in some way and that is what my writing is about.

DMc: On your website you encourage children to submit suggestions for future characters. Have you ever developed a suggestion further?

RH: Yes, and my readers are going to see this in book 3 which comes out in the fall. I can’t give too much away now unfortunately, but I do choose the character descriptions sent to me based on my need for them at the time. When I wrote book 3, two boys sent to me their descriptions which fit in with my story line perfectly. I am doing something special for the children who take the time to send me their descriptions. Again, what I do for those special children can be seen in book 3. Every description I receive I also keep, so I may not use a particular description now, but I might use it in a future case. Right now I am currently working on book 4 so I am looking through my character descriptions to see who I can use. Now would be a good time for readers to send more character descriptions to me.

DMc: Are your characters based on yourself or anyone you know?

RH: The only character based on myself is Mia Holmes. She is very much like me in certain aspects. I developed Nellie Holmes (aka Granny) to resemble my grandmother who was a spunky and energetic woman. Max and Mia Holmes are the great-great-great-grandchildren of Sherlock Holmes. They have is observation and reasoning, especially Max. Morris is the computer genius of the group and he was created based on how I saw him to be. Granny and Morris are unique characters because they are the ones that change the most. Max and Mia are exactly what they are, there is no different side to them. But Granny and Morris are not what they appear to be and they do things that are unexpected.

DMc: Are the writer’s you showcase on your website strictly students or can anyone submit to you?

RH: I only showcase students and the reason for that is because I want to help and inspire the youth of our country. There are a lot of budding writers out there and if I can help them in some way with their dreams of becoming an author when they get older, then I will do it. I was the same way that some of these children are today. I was an avid writer who spent most of my time writing.

DMc: When you conduct school visits, do you develop your visit by the requirements of the school or do you have a specific visit planned out to present to the school for approval?

RH: When I go to schools they are contacting me because I have a set program that I run. I do have a list of topics that I discuss and there are many things that I can do or change based on the schools needs. I am a versatile speaker.

DMc: On your blog, you provide a Cryptogram a week, has a child ever stumped you? [Love the idea of winning a free signed copy if you are stumped!]

RH: No, not yet. I am a cryptogram junky, I love to do them and do them everyday. Children are pretty clever so I do have a set of rules they must follow in order to create a cryptogram for me. If I didn’t have rules I would have children come up with some pretty strange things. What I want children to benefit from while doing this activity, is I want them to get familiar with the cipher that I use in my books, how to create them and how to solve them. If my readers know how to do that then they will understand how and why they are used in the book. It gives them a better understanding. Everything I do is for a reason. Children are always learning something.

DMc: Please share with us the idea behind your series, The Crypto-Capers Series.

RH: There were two reasons why I wrote this book. One, I love reading mysteries. I also love to figure out cryptograms, I am a cryptogram junky. So I thought what a great idea it would be to combine the two things I love to do and make it into a story where kids could interact with it. Two, I wanted children to be involved with what they were reading. This series is fun and entertaining, always keeping the reader’s attention. Not only does the series challenge the avid reader, but also keeps the reluctant readers attention. As soon as the reader picks up the book, they have instantly joined the team as a detective. The reader will be asked to look up different things and to participate in the story on different occasions. My goal was to have kids remember what they were reading because they are learning information with value, yet having fun at the same time. I am all about having fun in my stories and the activities I create for it.

DMc: Are you a disciplined writer?

RH: Yes and no! I usually try to write every morning, but I do like to take breaks to recharge my creativity. I need to have breaks in my writing and when I do my writing always turns out better.

DMc: Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? If yes, what works for you to break through the block?

RH: Every once in awhile I get stuck on an idea, not that often. When that happens there are two things that I do. One, I look through the list of information that I keep from my research on that particular book to help pump my creativity. Two, I refer back to my idea wall. In my workspace I have what I call an idea wall. Whenever there are things for me to remember I write them on this wall. I currently have sticky notes all over it. Whenever I get stuck on an idea, I write the problem on my wall and put it at eye level. Since I pass my workspace several times a day, I constantly think about the problem I am having. The wall has never failed me yet!

DMc: A signature request I like to ask every author, illustrator, editor, etc..., I interview is for the individual to share with us a tidbit from their lives that the reader will find either humorous or surprising. Renee, can you please share one with us?

RH: I am not quite sure which story to tell you. The biggest thing that surprises people about me is that I love to have a diversity of things going on in my life to keep me challenged, otherwise I get bored. I like to know about a lot of things. I am not the kind of person who focuses their knowledge on a few things and that’s it, then can’t function anywhere else. I like to know about a lot of things to keep me diversified. I don’t like to carry all my eggs in one basket, if you know what I mean.

I love to write children’s books because it is challenging for me and I can do so much with it. I designed my series so I could think out of the box and be unique and fun. I love to write and being an author. I enjoy traveling to different schools, libraries and various other events doing presentations. I love coaching and playing tennis, which I do a lot come spring, summer and fall. I also love to teach. Even though my life at times seems to be constantly on a roller coaster that takes me in and out of crazy town, the one thing that I must have is stability in my home. So I am also a devoted wife and dedicated mother. My life is constantly full of responsibilities, but my family always comes first and is of the highest priority to me. I am not perfect in any way, I am flawed and can always use improvement. I try constantly to improve myself to become a better person, trying to learn more, but I am also proud and confident of who I am. That is the one thing I know, and it took me awhile to figure it out, but I believe in myself and what I can do, and when there is something that I am determined to do, there is no stopping me.

To learn more about Hand’s writing career visit

Renee, it was a pleasure having you here today...thank you.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thank You

A special thanks goes out to the following people where I entered contests and won:

Sherry Dale Rogers
Contest: Photo Caption Contest
Comment: Go check the photo at Sherry's blog, it's a real hoot
Visit Sherry at:

Terrie Hope hosted Phyllis Pollema-Cahill, Always My Brother Virtual Tour
Contest: Commented and drawing of name
Prize: Lovely holiday cards illustrated by, Phyllis Pollema-Cahill
Visit Terrie at:
Visit Phyllis at:

Stephanie Chandler
Contest: Name drawing for Marketing Audio Course
Place: The Muse Online Writers Conference
Visit Stephanie at:  

All women are special breed and I appreciate getting to know and staying in touch with each of them. Even if I ended up not winning a prize. The true prize is making a wonderful connection to build upon.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Book Review: The Crypto-Capers in the Case of the Red Rock Canyon

Title: The Crypto-Capers in the Case of the Red Rock Canyon

Written by: Renee Hand

Illustrator: Alla Dubrovich

Soft cover: 135 pages

Ages: 8-12 (grades 4-7)

Publisher: North Star Press of Saint Cloud Inc.,

ISBN: 978-0-87839-304-6

Published: March 2009

Price: $12.95

Once again The Crypto-Capers find themselves hired and on the road to Las Vegas to solve The Case of the Red Rock Canyon. The stolen item in this case, an Orchid Ruby Necklace out on loan to producer, Mr. Cross for his latest play, The Orchid Menagerie.

With each case The Crypto-Capers accept the cryptograms become more mysterious and increasingly difficulty to solve. They are not be thwarted. Their determination in not being dubbed, Max, Mia, Morris, and Granny (Nellie Holmes) find themselves thrown into the dramatics of theatre and life threatening circumstances. Deciphering clues is always a challenge and add in whose acting and who is telling the truth proves to be the biggest obstacle. Will the detectives solve this case before it’s too late?

Come along for the perilous adventure into the theatre world. The performances and clues will have you guessing at each curtain fall as to who is behind the theft of the Orchid Ruby Necklace.

Author, Renee Hand cleverly blends a mystery and cryptogram clues throughout her series The Crypto-Capers making the adventure of solving a mystery more exciting. To learn more about Hand’s writing career visit

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Book Review: The Crypto-Capers in the Case of the Missing Sock by Renee Hand

Title: The Crypto-Capers in the Case of the Missing Sock

Written by: Renee Hand

Illustrator: Alla Dubrovich

Soft cover: 105 pages

Ages: 8-12 (grades 4-7)

Publisher: North Star Press of Saint Cloud Inc.

ISBN: 978-0-87839-304-6

Published: October 2008

Price: $12.95

Many of us remember the challenge of cryptograms with fondness. In The Crypto-Capers in the Case of the Missing Sock, and no it didn’t get lost in the washing machine, the Holmes siblings find themselves in their latest caper. Blending their skills of puzzle solving, deduction, and reasoning with their best friend Morris’ computer know how the trio along with Granny are hired by Mr. Delacomb to find a single sock. At first they are baffled why a single sock would be stolen. Until they have their first meeting with Mr. Delacomb. They discover words sometimes do not explain the value of an item. It’s up to them to uncover the what, why, where, and who and they soon find themselves traveling to Florida to discover the answers. Of course, the muscle of the group, Granny travels with them for guidance and protection.

Come along for this exciting adventure of mystery, intrigue, and puzzle deducing techniques to solve their latest case.
Author, Renee Hand cleverly blends a mystery and cryptogram clues throughout her series The Crypto-Capers making the adventure of solving a mystery more exciting. To learn more about Hand’s writing career visit

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Write What Inspires You Blog Events

Write What Inspires You
Donna M. McDine, Children’s Author


For Immediate Release

Come Explore Write What Inspires You for Book Reviews, Guest Interviews, Media Releases and Virtual Tours

Cruise on over to Write What Inspires You at: and learn about Book Reviews, Guest Interviews, Media Releases, and Virtual Tours for November and December 2009.

Take the time out and follow along with the schedule below:

Monday, November 16th – Fish For a Free Book by Lori Calabrese

Wednesday, November 18th – Book Review: The Crypto-Capers in the Case of the Missing Sock, by Renee Hand

Friday, November 20th – Book Review: The Crypto-Capers in the Case of the Red Rock Canyon, by Renee Hand

Monday, November 23rd – Guest Interview: Children’s Author, Renee Hand

Tuesday, November 24th – Write What Inspires You Newsletter

Thursday, November 26th – Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 30th – Book Review: Bitter Tastes, by V.B. Rosendahl

Tuesday, December 1st – Media Release: Nicole Weaver Introduces Fun With French and Spanish

Wednesday, December 3rd – Virtual Book Tour and Book Review: Just Breeze by Beverly Stowe McClure

Monday, December 7th – Media Release: Poets Suggest The Real Thing Should Compete with Greeting Cards, Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Wednesday, December 9th – Book Review: Ten Hats A Counting Book by Carolyn Mott Ford

Friday, December 11th – Book Review: The Canada Goose and You by Jennifer S. Burrows

Monday, December 14th - Tricks of the Trade: Learn to Write for Children in Just Six Weeks – My personal experience Part 1

Wednesday, December 16th - Tricks of the Trade: Learn to Write for Children in Just Six Weeks – My personal experience Part 2

Friday, December 18th - Tricks of the Trade: Learn to Write for Children in Just Six Weeks – My personal experience Part 3
Mark your calendar today, stop by for a spell, and comment if you are so inclined.

Thank you in advance for your interest.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fish For a Free Book by Lori Calabrese

Ever wish you had a go-to place to find all the latest children's literature give-aways on the web?

Look no further! Lori Calabrese has started a new monthly meme (if there's enough interest, it might possibly become a weekly meme) in which she links to book giveaways around the Kidlitosphere and web.

If you are hosting a children’s- young adult book-related giveaway, sponsoring a giveaway, or just found a really awesome giveaway that you’d like to share, please leave it at Fish For a Free Book!

Friday, November 13, 2009


Yes, Just Breeze will be on tour from Dec. 1 - Dec. 16. For more information, check Pump Up Your Book Promotions. We hope to see you there. We'll post the blogs as soon as they are available.



Contact: Beverly Stowe McClure


Iowa Park, TX, September 2009. Beverly Stowe McClure's tween/young adult novel, Just Breeze, goes right to the heart and heartache of being a teen and trying to 'fit' in.

Eighth grade starts out the same as every other year for Breeze Brannigan. She's still the tallest student, boy or girl, in her school, wears shoes that would fit an elephant, and her smile reveals dazzling braces that blind anyone within ten feet.

Then she meets Cam, the new boy in school, who speaks with an accent and must be from another planet, for none of the earthling boys she knows are so polite. He also has a secret, a secret that could mean life or death for Cam and his mother and that Breeze must help him keep.

Many young girls entering their teens will relate to Breeze and her struggle to be pretty and popular and to understand the world of middle school, including boys.

Just Breeze

by Beverly Stowe McClure

Publisher: 4 RV Publishing, LLC

ISBN: 978-0-9840708-2-4

Ages: Tween/YA

196 Pages

Trade Paperback $15.99

Beverly Stowe McClure is the author of four novels for young adults and numerous stories and articles in children's magazines. She has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul and a PreK-K Scott-Foresman Anthology. She's a former teacher and lives in North Texas with her husband, Jack, two cats, and a variety of wild critters.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Many Blessings on Veterans Day



We truly take a lot for granted. Forget the football 'heroes' and movie 'stars'.

Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you,

Jesus Christ and the American Soldier.

One died for your soul; the other for your freedom..

Monday, November 9, 2009

Guardian Angel Publishing - West Coast Gathering

In September 2009 writer's and illustrators of Guardian Angel Publishing
conducted a gathering of fellow "Angels" in Bend, Oregon and held
a group book signing at the loca Barnes & Noble.

To learn about this extraordinary event visit:

Friday, November 6, 2009

St. Louis Children's Illustrated Art Museum in the Art Space in Crestwood Court.

St. Louis Children's Illustrated Art Museum in the Art Space in Crestwood Court.


37 Crestwwod Court
Crestwood, MO



The St. Louis Children's Illustrated Art Museum is a hands on museum built for children, featuring artist who are published in children's books. We will have special exhibits, host field trips, birthday parties and more!

Several illustrators are from the talent pool at Guardian Angel Publishing Want to know who? Go have a gander at:
Learn more and become a fan at Facebook:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Award-winning Poets from Two Hemispheres Awarded for Chapbook


For Immediate Release

Contact: Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Reflections on Motherhood a Prize Winner

Award-winning Poets From Two Hemispheres Awarded for Chapbook

"a different kind of future
airy and permanent
the dry bliss of yellow bows
and shiny shoes"

She Wore Emerald Then: Reflections on Motherhood was conceived by Californian Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Aussie Magdalena Ball as part of their poetry chapbook series designed to commemorate holidays; their efforts were rewarded October 19 when it was named as a finalist for poetry book by USA Book News.

They believe that many need an alternative to the cloying greeting cards usually available for mothers' birthdays, Mother's Day and other holidays in card shops for about the same price as a card but--being poetry--with a high perceived sentimental and monetary value..

Howard-Johnson's first chapbook, Tracings (Finishing Line Press) was honored for excellence by the Military Writers Society of America and named to Compulsive Reader's Ten Best Reads. Her poetry has also been published in journals like Pear Noir, Montana State University's literary magazine, Writings from the River, Mt. St. Mary’s College journal Mary, The Pedestal magazine and in the soon-to-be released anthology by UCLA’s own Suzanne Lummis. She is the author of several other award-winning books. She is also an instructor for the UCLA Extension Writers' Program.

Ball’s novel Sleep Before Evening received unanimous 5-star reviews for its linguistic beauty and the intensity of its plot. She is also the author of an award-winning poetry chapbook Quark Soup, and a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment: How to Review Anything. Her website The Compulsive Reader,, has become a benchmark for high quality online literary criticism.

Artwork for She Wore Emerald Then is by May Lattanzio. She is a freelance writer/photographer, and author of Waltz on the Wild Side -- An Animal Lover's Journal and contributor to Native West's anthology Least Loved Beasts of the Really Wild West - A Tribute".

Learn more about Magdalena Ball at

Learn More about Carolyn Howard-Johnson in the Media Room at

Find a catalog of Lattanzio's writing at and her photographs at or

Find She Wore Emerald Then is available on Amazon at:  


Support materials are available on request.

Monday, November 2, 2009

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 her marketing manager experience at Stories for Children Magazine, Donna is uniquely positioned to help provide you with a top notch media release.

You’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

References furnished upon request.