Thursday, August 23, 2012

Author Interview: C. Lee McKenzie

I often chat about how quickly time "flies by" and the friends I have made in cyberspace. C. Lee McKenzie is one of those dear friends who I met early on in my writing career and work at Stories for Children's Magazine. We have developed a lovely bond across technology and we remain connected today. I'm delighted to have recently caught up with Lee and I took the chance to interview her on her ever growing writing career.

Welcome Lee...lovely to have you here...

I'm so excited to be here, Donna. I'm one of your fans and have been since I first "met" you at Stories for Children. 

Wow, a fan...I believe you are my first admitted fan...thanks!

Donna: As everyone is an individual each author’s road to publication is unique. Please share with us what or whom inspired you to become a writer.

Lee: I suppose the biggest inspirations were the books I read growing up. Alice in Wonderland and Anne of Green Gables are two that still stand out as stories I lost myself inside of and wished I could never leave. I didn't know it then, but that was probably when I realized how magical words could be if you put them together in just the right way. I’ve been trying to do that ever since. 

Donna: Please share with us your inspiration, synopsis, and publication information for your upcoming middle grade novel, Alligators Overhead. Love the title and book cover!

Lee: The truth is I once had a knotty pine ceiling in my bedroom and every time I'd lie staring up at that ceiling I'd see alligators in the wood grain. Their eyes peered down from those brown knots. I used to imagine them up there "slooping" around and thinking of ways to get me. That's where the title came from, and I've had that in my head for years. Then one day I thought how fun it would be if I had a lovable rascal and a sidekick in an adventure that involved those alligators. That's when Pete Riley arrived along with that sidekick I'd imagined. I named him Weasel. All I needed was a way to get those alligators overhead.
Here's what the story's about: Alligators, witches and a spooky mansion aren’t your average neighbors . . . unless you live at the edge of the Ornofree swamp in the backwater town of Hadleyville. The town’s bad boy, Pete Riley, may only be twelve, but he’s up to his eyeballs in big trouble, and this time he isn’t the cause. This time the trouble arrives when a legendary hundred-year-old mansion materializes next door and the Ornofree alligators declare war to save their swamp from bulldozers. Things only get worse when Pete’s guardian aunt and several of her close friends vanish while trying to restore order using outdated witchcraft. Now Pete must find the witches and stop the war. He might stand a chance if his one friend, Weasel, sticks with him, but even then they may not have what it takes.

Donna: Lee, you write across the genre’s… what challenges do you come across in children’s short stories, middle grade and young adult?
Lee: Short stories are a big challenge for me. They’re right up there with poetry. Every word should count and every image should reveal layers of the story. I’m not as good at short stories as I’d like to be, but I enjoy practicing.
As to middle grade I think I’m a case of arrested development because I love playing with this category. I have another one on my C drive called Journey to Murrg that I’m having tons of fun with. I don’t find these challenging. I find these sheer pleasure.
With young adult, I’m feeling a little limited by this category. That’s my biggest challenge right now. What I want to write isn’t a fit, so I’m holding off on these for a while until I figure out how to deal with them. I have two in different stages of revision, and I’m really finding it difficult to finish those revisions.
Donna: You have an outstanding number of followers to your blog and your visitor blog comments are consistently in the high 20s and above! What do you attribute to your blogging success?

Lee: Sheer determination and lots of time. Really. Then, of course, really liking your readers helps. Not only does this motivate me to keep blogging, but it also motivates me to spend the time that I’d ordinarily use for writing. These are people who have such a variety of backgrounds and interests, who write well, who share information that helps others in this business and who I find fascinating. If I were to make any suggestions to new bloggers it would be these:
       Be yourself.
       Be fair and kind.
       Be of service.
       Be as consistent as possible.
       Be sure to respond to your comments.
I’m sure there’s more, but these are the guidelines I follow.
Donna: A signature request I like to ask every author, illustrator, editor, etc., I interview is for the individual to share with us a tidbit form their lives that the reader will find either humorous or surprising. Lee, please share one with us?

Lee: The humorous ones are always about me looking ridiculous. And this one is no exception. I love river rafting, and I love to do challenging rapids in small rafts. One year I ran what’s called the Tunnel Chute. That year it was class 5, so a lot of rafts were portaging around. My group decided to shoot it. I didn’t vote because as I stood on the edge of the canyon looking down it’s narrow throat, that water poured through fast and mean, and my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth. As soon as we hit white water, our guide flew out the back. Now that’s serious because he was the one who knew this rapid and could call what to do when. Not this time. He was swimming. I popped out next, but I had a death grip on the rope, so I didn’t swim; I became a “dragee” instead. Bad. Very bad. Because I lost the bottom to my bathing suit. Yep. When we finally came out the other side, I had to stay in the water until someone could find me replacement shorts. Try dressing under water. Oh, I forgot. I was the only female on this raft.

Donna: Oh my goodness and it figures just as luck would have it you were the only female. 

Exciting news from Lee... I’ll be interviewed by a radio station in Florida. The program features authors and their books. Mine will be aired August 28 10AM to 11AM eastern time. 

Congratulations on your radio interview. I'm looking forward to tuning in.

Check out Lee's latest book, Alligators Over and be sure to view the alluring book trailer...

Best wishes for your continued success! 


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
Connect with
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Children's Author Guest Post, Kai Strand ~ Save the Lemmings! A Quotable Story

I am pleased to host my dear friend and fellow children's author today. Kai's latest book, just released is Save the Lemmings. Congratulations Kai! I'm looking forward to reading it and writing my book review in the coming weeks.

Today, Kai is sharing with us her editing process and the unexpected quotable experience she had along the way. Take it away Kai!


by Kai Strand

During the editing process I read my manuscript out loud to my kids. I make note of things, like when they seem to lose interest (which rarely happens - wink) or if they laugh in the right spots. I ask questions at different points of the book to see if they understand the story arc. At the end I always ask what their favorite part was and what the most boring part was.

Reading Save the Lemmings to them resulted in something I hadn’t expected. It has become my most quotable story. It’s surprising how often situations arise to use the favorite quotes.

For example, in one scene the main character Natalie and one of her best friends, Jayne, are working on the case design for Natalie’s invention, the Texty-Talky. Jayne is sitting in front of a computer researching a sturdy material they might build the prototype out of and types into the search bar a misspelling of the word “laminate.” It accidentally pulls up search results for “lemmings” and Natalie discovers a foundation called Save the Lemmings!, which helps prevent the needless suicides of lemmings in the arctic. Jayne is in no way touched by the plight or picture of the adorable yellow steppe lemming and says to Natalie:

“Oh my gosh, you have tears in your eyes. Natalie, we’re working on your invention here. Don’t get distracted by the gross little rodent.”

I can’t count how many times (as a family) we’ve used, “Don’t get distracted by the gross little rodent” in our household. And that was before we got a rabbit!

Another example is a scene near the end. By this point, Natalie’s involvement in the Save the Lemmings! Foundation has become public knowledge. Bad girl, Trudy, who loves to give Natalie a hard time over everything, says to her one day:

“When life gives you lemmings, you make lemmingade. Anyone got a blender?”

My kids use the lemmingade quote when they, or someone they know, faces a difficult decision or situation. Occasionally they inquire after a blender, but that’s usually only when the circumstances need a lot of levity.

Your turn! Share your favorite quote(s) and the books they come from.

About the book: SAVE THE LEMMINGS! 8th grade inventor, Natalie Isabelle Cailean Edwards is the N.I.C.E. girl who finishes last with the kids in school. Sappy inspirational phrases and monochromatic outfits have all but her best friends wrinkling their nose at her. When Natalie’s invention, the Texty-Talky, goes nationwide, she becomes an overnight sensation. Suddenly her days consist of photo shoots and interviews with little time left for her friends. A local reporter shatters her good-girl image by reporting a graffiti incident and the media launches into a smear campaign. It is so bad, even her friends start to believe the stories. Will Natalie be able to overcome the lies being printed about her? Read an excerpt and order your copy of Save the Lemmings here:

About the author:  Kai Strand writes fiction for middle grade and young adult readers. Her debut novel, The Weaver, was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC eBook Awards. The Wishing Well: Another Weaver Tale is set in the same storytelling village as The Weaver. She is a (very lucky) wife and the mother of four amazing kids. The most common sound in her household is laughter. The second most common is, "Do your dishes!" She and her family hike, geocache, and canoe in beautiful Central Oregon, where they call home.

To find out more about Kai’s books, download companion documents, find links to her published short stories and discover all the places to find Kai both virtually and in person, visit her website: She loves to hear from readers, so feel free to send her an email or visit her facebook page, Kai Strand, Author. 


 Best wishes, Donna M. McDine Award-winning Children's Author
Connect with
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Teacher Resources - Steve Reifman - Giveaway

Just in time for back to school, Steve Reifman is pleased to announce two inexpensive teacher resource e-Books!

In celebration of these two valuable resources Steve is offering a giveaway contest for each e-Book. Five lucky winners will be selected through Rafflecopter. Once the winners are selected, you will be contacted so you can select which of the two teacher resources you'd like to receive.

Details of Steve's teacher resources...

The First 10 Minutes: A Classroom Morning Routine that Reaches and Teaches the Whole Child

A consistent, effective morning routine sets the tone for the upcoming school day and prepares students for high quality learning. In this book Steve describes a three-part routine that reaches and teaches the whole child.

Part 1 introduces the morning check-in, an activity that addresses the affective domain by building a sense of inclusion and mutual caring, strengthening teamwork, increasing class bonding, and helping each child feel acknowledged and valued.

Part 2 features three types of class discussions that focus on moral and character development and emphasize strong work habits and social skills. The goals of these brief conversations are to inspire children to maximize their amazing potential, build a sense of purpose, and increase student motivation to learn and succeed.

Part 3 adds a physical component to this routine that both energizes and de-stresses children to help them achieve an ideal mindset for academic learning. After completing this warm-up routine, students will be calm, relaxed, focused, and confident.

(23 pages)

The First 30 Days: Start Your School Year With Four Priorities in Mind

Giving the following priorities the time and emphasis they deserve in the beginning of each school year pays big dividends for you, your students, and their families. In this book Steve brings these priorities to life with a wide variety of activities, strategies, suggestions, and sample pages.

  1. Establish procedures, routines, and expectations so students know how to function efficiently and effectively in your classroom. Keep this training period going until performing these routines and procedures becomes second nature for students. Generally, 4-6 weeks will be sufficient.
  2. Build a cooperative classroom culture through icebreaking and team-building activities so students feel safe and comfortable and see one another as friends and assets, not rivals.
  3. Establish a sense of purpose in your class so students understand why it is important to come to school each day and work hard. Children who understand the many purposes of their learning will behave better, work with greater motivation and enthusiasm, and find greater meaning in their work.
  4. Communicate with your students’ families about the new year. Build a sense of excitement, optimism, and possibility as you share your plans for the coming months. Be proactive. Doing so gives you the opportunity to package your ideas and articulate them in the best possible light. Proactivity increases your credibility, strengthens your voice, and reaffirms your position of leadership.
(40 pages)

Please feel free to share this contest announcement and purchase availability through Steve's website... and select Teacher Books tab. Each of these two resources are offered for a low $1.99. 

Steve Reifman is a National Board Certified elementary school teacher, author, and speaker in Santa Monica, CA. He has written several books for educators and parents, including Changing Kids’ Lives One Quote at a Time and Eight Essentials for Empowered Teaching and Learning, K-8. Steve is also the creator of the Chase Manning Mystery Series for kids 8-12. Each book in the series features a single-day, real-time thriller that occurs on an elementary school campus. For weekly Teaching Tips, blog posts, and other valuable resources and strategies on teaching the whole child, visit

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! Contest winners to be announced Friday, August 24th.


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
Connect with
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Virtual Book Tour - Sunstruck by Mayra Calvani

Travel along cyberspace with Ms. Calvani and virtual book tour hosts and immerse yourself in the world of Daniella, an architecture student living with her narcissistic artist boyfriend in San Juan. Abandoned by her father at an early age, Daniella always falls for the ‘wrong’ type of man. Her most enduring male relationship so far has been with her cat.

Several strange mysteries are threaded through Daniella’s everyday life: her ex-husband, Ismael, has just opened an outlandish hotel for animal lovers that has her distraught; Ismael’s wife, a rich woman Daniella fondly refers to as ‘Lady Dracula’, has some gruesome ways to keep her skin looking young; Daniella’s mother is founding a revolutionary, feminist society called The Praying Mantises; the island’s national forest is being depleted of hallucinogenic mushrooms; meanwhile, young girls are disappearing and there’s a nut loose dressed as Zorro slashing the rear ends of women who wear miniskirts. Oppressed by all these eccentric characters, Daniella feels herself falling into an abyss. Then something terrible happens, making Daniella wake from her stupor and take charge of her life.

In celebration of the Sunstruck release, Mayra Calvani is pleased to announce a gift with purchase offer. Purchase Sunstruck and receive FREE download e-Book of Dark Lullaby. Email her publicist, Donna McDine with your receipt of Sunstruck purchase and receive link to FREE Dark Lullaby e-Book through September 15, 2012. Of course, if you purchase Sunstruck elsewhere please email receipt to Ms. McDine.

Bewitching Book Tours announces the virtual book tour schedule for Mayra Calvani’s latest book, Sunstruck

About the author: Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned over ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to satire to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. She has lived in America, Asia, the Middle East, and now lives in Brussels, Belgium.

Purchase info:

Title: Sunstruck
Author: Mayra Calvani
Author web site:
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
ISBN: 978-1-60619-024-2
Genre: Parody/Satire
Format: ebook in pdf, ePub, Kindle, Mobi, PRC, etc.
Distributors: Amazon Kindle; Apple iBookstore; Nook; eReader; Fictionwise; Kobo Books; OmniLit; Sony eBookstore, etc.
Release date: July 15, 2012
Price: $2.99 – special offer through September 15, 2012
Pages: 160
Chapter excerpt:

About Bewitching Book Tours: Roxanne Rhoads is the brainchild behind Bewitching Book Tours which focuses on new authors, e-Book authors, small and independent press authors, mid-list authors, and authors who do not have a huge marketing budget at their fingertips. Bewitching Book Tours specializes in paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and paranormal erotica book tours though they are open to almost all other fiction genres as well.


 Best wishes, Donna M. McDine Award-winning Children's Author
Connect with
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Networking: Summer Time Catch Up - Come On Over and Share Your Happenings

Thanks for visiting with me today. As mentioned in my August newsletter, Write What Inspires You! I shared the latest news both personally and professionally from my life...

"July flew by as quick as ever. My oldest daughter Nicole, attended the Fashion Institute of Technology Summer Live program in Fashion Merchandising for three weeks and enjoyed every second. My youngest daughter Hayley continued onward through the High School Summer League Basketball program and they finished up at Villanova for a four day high school camp. The experience was quite rewarding. As for myself, illustrator K.C. Snider has completed her amazing illustrations for Powder Monkey...and illustrator Julie Hammond has completed her marvelous illustrations for Hockey Agony...can't wait to see the galley's! I'll keep you posted as things progress."

I'd be delighted to hear about what's going on in your life both personally and professionally.

I look forward to your updates!

All the best!


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine Award-winning Children's Author
Connect with
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Children’s Ezine Guardian Angel Kids: Fun with Music – August 2012 Issue

Children’s Ezine Guardian Angel Kids: Fun with Music – August 2012 Issue

Welcome to the August 2012 issue of Guardian Angel Kids Ezine. We call it GAK because that’s the name of our gecko mascot!

This month we celebrate the Fun of Music. The GAK staff can’t think of anything more universal than children enjoying music. They learn to respond and participate to music at a very early age.

As a child, Guardian Angel Publishing and Guardian Angel Kids publisher, Lynda S. Burch, loved to sing in the choir, learned the piano, and taught herself to play the organ. She enjoyed playing in the high school band from 7th grade through senior year of high school. She played the clarinet, soprano clarinet, and alto clarinet. Ms. Burch also sang in the school chorus and smaller groups and competed around the state just like Glee.

As an adult Ms. Burch always made up songs and sang them to kids. One day she decided to write and record them instead of just singing them. These songs turned into over a hundred musical children’s books to be played on computers. Ms. Burch’s extended family from around the globe break into song about the weather, fun noodles in the swimming pool, or even a new alphabet song. What fun she has had with these musical books!

We hope you develop a love for music as much as Ms. Burch and the GAK staff have.

Letter from the PUBLISHER:  Lynda S. Burch   

Featured BookS:
The New Alphabet Song Musical Flip Book by Lynda S. Burch and Photo Art by Lynda S. Burch and MarySue Roberts

God Will Take Care of You Music Video – sung by a two year old and his family, the Buctots.

Children’S poetry, ACTIVITIES, SHORT STORIES, and articleS:

“Jenny’s Song,” poetry by Debra Mayhew – learn how to let your song out.

“Canary Choir,” by Carol J. Douglas and illustrated by Lisa Griffin – overcoming obstacles.

“A Box with Bellows,” by Juilana M. Jones and illustrated by Clara Batton Smith – mother and daughter bond through the love of the accordion.

“Whale Songs,” by Shari L. Klase – The glory of the ability to sing.

“Fabulous Music Activities for Young Children,” by Kathy Stemke – children need to learn the basics of music early in life to develop creative intelligence.

“New Teacher Tips on How to Prepare a Lesson Based on a Unit or a Theme,” by Dorit Sasson – lesson planning is a skill which takes focus and organization.

Visit Guardian Angel Kid today and and enjoy a child safe and ad free Ezine.
We also invite you to stay connected with Guardian Angel Kids through our Facebook Fan Page

Please feel free to drop Editor-in-Chief, Donna McDine an email at and let them know what you think of Guardian Angel Kids and what you'd like to see in the future. They aim to please.

The Guardian Angel Kids Ezine staff and contributors look forward to your visit. Thank you for your time and interest.


Best wishes, Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
Connect with
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Facebook Strategies: Announcing Largest Online Facebook Marketing Conference

I am very excited to announce Social Media Examiner’s newest online summit Facebook Success Summit 2012. You can get in on the 50%-off sale if you act now.   

This is an online conference designed to help your business quickly implement effective Facebook marketing strategies and tactics so you can gain more exposure, build a more loyal following and grow your business. 

And it’s fully online! 

Your instructors are the world’s top Facebook marketing experts.   
These include 10 book authors:  

Mari Smith (co-author, Facebook Marketing)
Dave Kerpen (author, Likeable Social Media)
Amy Porterfield (co-author,Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies)
John Haydon (co-author,Facebook Marketing for Dummies) 
Brian Carter (author, The Like Economy)
Mark Schaefer (author, Return on Influence)
Chris Treadaway(co-author, Facebook Marketing) 
Jesse Stay (author, Facebook Application Development for Dummies)
Andrea Vahl (co-author, Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies)
Phyllis Khare (co-author, Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies)
Experts from Campbell’s SoupIntel24 Hour Fitness and Autodesk
Just to mention a few.

You may be unfamiliar with these online mega conferences.  
These events bring the best of physical conferences (great learning and networking) directly to your computer.  This means no travel and none of the expenses you’d expect with most events. 

We spread the live event over four weeks (to accommodate your schedule) andinclude all session recordings AND transcripts. 

And the cool part: These summits are very affordable! 

Here’s what Facebook Success Summit 2012 will cover:
Facebook marketing strategy
Growing and managing a Facebook following
Generating leads and selling with Facebook
Newsfeed optimization, metrics and analytics 
Facebook promotions and advertising
* And much more!

Go here to see all the details.  Remember, you can get in at half price if you register early. 

This is more than just an online summit.  It’s also a way for people just like you to come together, share your experiences, get your questions answered and network.

At our summer event, 98 percent of attendees said they’d recommend it to a friend!  If you’ve not experienced these online events, they deliver extremely valuable content at very affordable pricing. 

Here’s to your success!

P.S. This event does not require any travel.  You simply attend sessions and network with peers from the comfort of your home or office!!

P.P.S. Get a free sample class from our last summit by clicking here and looking for the yellow box in the sidebar.

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
Connect with
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist