Monday, November 29, 2010

A Texas Thanksgiving and That's All, Folks

Quote for the week: You must want to enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist you must learn your craft--then you can add all the genius you like. Phyllis A. Whitney

Part of our family was able to get together for Thanksgiving this year. We ate ham, instead of turkey. Our oldest son and wife sent the ham since they could not be with us. Here's our lovely family .

Jack, Scott, Anna (Pilgrim), Felicity (Indian), Ty
The pilgrim and Indian were at peace.

Granddaughter's dog enjoyed the day.

The cat was happy when everyone went home.

Now, enough about Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for Christmas. And so, I'm planning a contest. Well, if everyone else can do it, so can I. On Wednesday I will tell you more about it.

Have a good week and may all your dreams come true.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Killing Off Your Character

Quote for the Week: "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise n the reader." Robert Frost

Have you ever written a scene that brought tears to your eyes? I did, last week. I killed off one of the characters in my WIP. One of the characters that I really liked. One of my major characters, not the Protagonist, but one very important to the story. And I felt as though I'd just lost a best friend.

Do you get so wrapped up in your characters that they seem real to you? Like they're your children and you want only good things for them?

In Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines there is a scene that makes me teary eyed too. What's with me? I like humor and fun. But life isn't all humor and fun. There's sadness too, as much as I hate it. Bad stuff happens. So does good stuff.

If Mr. Frost's quote is correct, then readers will boo hoo in the right places in my story. Now to find some surprises too. I like surprises.

So how about you? Done away with any of your characters lately?

Have a super week.

Friday, November 19, 2010

More Thanksgiving Blessings

Myspace Graphics

I have so much to be thankful for. I'm thankful for my family. My friends. And for America.

 The McClure Clan, 2006

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just in time for the 2010 Holiday Season - Personalized Autographed Book: The Golden Pathway by Donna M. McDine

M E D I A  R E L E A S E

Donna M. McDine
Children’s Author

Phone: 845-721-7802
For Immediate Release
Just in time for the 2010 Holiday Season - Personalized Autographed Book: The Golden Pathway by Donna M. McDine
Give the wonder of an autographed book to the young muse in your life. Children’s author, Donna M. McDine is offering a terrific opportunity to build your child’s book collection with an autographed copy of her historical fiction story book The Golden Pathway for ages 8-12, two complimentary bookmarks included.
Be transported through time to the Underground Railroad, where high-pitched screams echo each night. David’s cruel Pa always chooses the same victim. Despite the circumstances during slavery, David uncovers the courage to defy his Pa.

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

Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

Publication Date: August 2010

Print ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-081-1

eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-082-8
FREE shipping via US Postal Service for the remainder of 2010.

Visit: and order yours today for the young muse in your life.

Thank you for your time and interest.
Best wishes for a blessed holiday season!
Donna M. McDine
Children’s Author


Full Media Kit, Headshot, Book Cover Art and more are available upon request.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Christy Baldwin Virtual Book Tour

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Christy Baldwin on her Virtual Book Tour. Writing has been a passion of Christy's since she was very young. As a child, she loved to write stories for her grandfather and poems just for fun. She lives in Mason, Ohio with her family and is active in church, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts and volunteering with various organizations. Christy has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Cedarville University and a master's degree in Special Education from the University of Scranton. She is a stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her kids and being involved in their schools. Her previous children's titles include Nine Things Nathan Noticed at Night and Remembering Wilma.

You can learn more about Christy at:
Christy Baldwin Facebook:

Recently, I read Christy's latest book, Care for Creation, and would like to share my thoughts with you. My review.

Title: Care for Creation
Author: Christy Baldwin
Illustrator: Shelly Draven
Publisher: Tribute Books
ISBN: 9780982256565


By Christy Baldwin
Illustrator Shelly Draven

Genisis 1:1 (NIV) says: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” God created a beautiful world for us to live in. With our world comes the responsibility to care for God’s creation. Follow along as author Christy Baldwin takes us on a journey through scripture showing how each of us can fulfill God’s plan in her picture book Care for Creation.

After God formed the heavens and the earth, He made man to rule over the earth and all the creatures. The author interprets each Bible verse she quotes in simple terms for young readers to see how it relates to them. Shelby Draven’s illustrations show a boy and girl swimming in clean water, recycling items, and performing other activities as the author gives examples of how to avoid polluting the air, how to conserve fossil fuels, and other ways to keep our planet clean.

When I was teaching fifth-grade science, we studied conservation using information provided by our Soil and Water Conservation District. The students learned that caring for our world is not just for adults, but they can be a part of it too. In Care for Creation the author and illustrator have presented a unique look at ways children can become involved in saving our world for future generations. An interactive guide at the end of the book would be useful for classroom teachers, for families, and for everyone interested in caring for the land God gave us. After all, it’s the only one we have.

To learn more about Ms. Baldwin and the book check out the following sites:
Book web site:

Tribute Books website:

Tribute Books Facebook:

Tribute Books Twitter:

Thank you, Christy, for letting me host you today.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lori Calabrese Virtual Book Tour

I am delighted to host Lori Calabrese today on her Virtual Book Tour. Lori is an award-winning children’s author. Her first picture book, The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade, was awarded DFP's Best Children’s Book award. She writes for various children’s magazines, is the National Children’s Books Examiner at, and enjoys sharing her passion for children’s books at festivals, schools and events. Visit her websites to learn more,
National Children's Books Examiner for

Lori also has a book trailer at:

Now about her lovely debut picture book.

Hoping to win the upcoming Bug-A-Fair, Matt pries a strange bug off the grille of his Dad's car. But as the fair nears, Matt catches a
different kind of bug: a cold. Will Matt become student of the year or will he create a third grade epidemic?

My review:

Title: The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade
Author: Lori Calabrese
Illustrator: Chet Taylor
Publisher: Dragonfly Publishing, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-936381-05-0

Lori Calabrese’s THE BUG THAT PLAGUED THE ENTIRE THIRD GRADE is a fun story for young readers about a boy and a bug, a natural combination.

Matt plans to enter the bug he pried off the grill of his dad’s car in the school’s Bug-a-Fair. He doesn’t know what kind of bug it is, but if he can win he’ll be the most popular kid in his class. When he catches a different kind of bug, a cold bug, Matt’s dreams are in jeopardy. Even though his mom wants Matt to stay home from school, it’s the day of the fair. He has to go. So Mom gives in and what follows is a hilarious day with a third-grader, his teacher, and a bug, umm, make that two bugs.

No, I’m not going to tell you what happens. I will say this is a great story, however, that will have young readers giggling and perhaps having a Bug-a-Fair of their own. Chet Taylor’s artwork is priceless. The expressions on the characters’ faces, including the bug’s, add just the right touch to keep the reader turning pages.

As a former third grade teacher I can relate to the teacher’s concern about spreading the cold bug. I recommend the book for children in first through third grades, along with their parents and anyone who knows little boys (or girls) who like bugs. Or even for the kids who think bugs are creepy. After reading Ms. Calabrese’s story, they may decide bugs are pretty cool. A very nice debut book.
Now for a few words about publishing from Lori:
Before You Jump for Joy
By: Lori Calabrese

I’m sure you’ve all received those emails where somebody wants to put a large sum of money directly into your bank account. However, fortunately for you, you weren’t born yesterday. Throughout life we learn to protect ourselves from fraud, scams, and deceptions. But when we become writers and have dreams of seeing our books line bookstore shelves, sometimes it’s easy to let our guard down and watch our good judgment go to the wayside. After all, we long to be published more than anything, so when somebody steps up and says, “Yes!,” we really want to jump for joy!

However, just like those rotten email scams, a writer has to have their red flag alert poised and ready because as small presses are on the rise, unfortunately, so are the scams. Writers must be aware that not all small presses are created equal. Chances are, you’ve slaved over your manuscript and the last thing you want is for it to end up in the wrong hands.

But how do you find the right hands for that manuscript? There are many things you can do.

First, understand the difference between a small press and a vanity publisher. Vanity or subsidy presses usually require payment by authors or a minimum purchase of copies. Small presses on the other hand, make their profits by selling books to consumers. No reputable publisher will ask for money to read or submit your manuscript. Small presses are publishers, which means they engage in a book selection process, along with editing, marketing and distribution. Small presses also present authors with contracts, often paying royalties. Although publishers own the copies they have printed, the author retains the copyright to the book.

As you step into any business venture, the first thing you should do is research the company. You need to find out if this is a company you want to do business with. You can do this through a handy-dandy Google search. Type in the publisher’s name and see what kind of information and articles come up. Don’t forget to search the publisher’s website and be on alert for words such as ‘partnership’ and ‘entrepreneurial,’ that could be signs they are a vanity publisher. While you’re on their website, examine their current catalog. Ask yourself, as you would a large publisher, “Do I see my book fitting in here?” You can also contact authors who are currently under contract with the publisher and ask how they rate them. You’d be surprised how forthcoming authors can be about their experiences.

Next, do your best to find out about the publisher’s distribution. Do they make your book available for purchase with a listing in Ingram or do they have a distributor and a dedicated sales force? Walk into a bookstore and see if you’re able to order one of the publisher’s books. If the bookstore is unable to order any of the publisher’s books, this is a sure sign to steer clear.

Another great way to research a publisher is to peruse the growing number of websites painstakingly created and maintained by people who have your better interests in mind. Check them out from time to time, so you’re aware of the issues, the question marks and the downright dishonest publishers who are scamming authors. Some of the most popular sites are:

-the Absolute Write Water Cooler (
-Preditors and Editors (
-Writer Beware (
After your intense research and if you decide the company’s reputable, submit that manuscript. If accepted, make sure you read your contract carefully. Confirm that the author or illustrator retains copyright to the work, it contains a projected publication date, and it spells out what rights are being purchased along with your royalty rate. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It's your right to ask a publisher about their track record, contract terms, commissions, marketing, distribution and so on. If they're reputable, they should be glad to answer.

Although not all small presses are created equal, keep in mind that success does happen. Small presses are thriving and are great alternatives for authors at a time when the book world continues to struggle economically. So the time you save reading that email that states you’re a millionaire can be time devoted into researching a reputable publisher that might give you that yes you’ve been waiting for. Then you’ll be free to jump for joy!

Sounds like good advice to me. Thank you, Lori, for letting me host you today.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Late Veteran's Day Celebration

Myspace Graphics
Myspace Graphics, Veteran's Day Graphics at

I know Veteran's Day was yesterday, but life kept me from posting. We should honor our veterans every day of the year, so I'm adding them to my thankful month of November.

My uncle was in WWI.
My brother served as an MP in WWII. He was stationed in Egypt where he met his lovely wife, and their first child was born.
My husband's oldest brother was in WWII.
His second brother served during the Korean War.
My hubby was in the National Guard and then the Army Reserve.

I am thankful to all of the men and women who left their families and risked their lives for me to live in the safety and comfort of a free America.

We could go all the way back to the beginning of our nation and thank our ancestors who fought in the early wars. The American Revolution. The War of 1812. The American Civil War. And so many others. It seems to me that freedom is bought with a high price. I often wonder why we can't live in peace. Wouldn't it be a beautiful world if we loved others and could live in harmony with one another, not seeing our differences but our likenesses.

Anyway, God bless our men and women who gave their all. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Month of Thanksgiving

Quote for the Week:  Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader-not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon. E. L. Doctorow

In this month of November, my thoughts turn to what I have to be thankful for. So this month I'll be mentioning some, along with book tours I'm hosting that I am thankful for as well, because I love to read good books and reviewing them is a wonderful way to do it.

Myspace Graphics
Myspace Graphics, Thanksgiving Graphics at

Today I'm thankful for God's beautiful world and the creatures he gave us to enjoy.

Yes, I know. The deer are hard to see. This was taken without a telephoto lens (someday I'll get one) at twilight. But you can use a magnifying glass to spot the three deer. Two were in our front pasture and I dashed outside with my camera to snap their picture. Well, of course they ran from the crazy lady with the camera. I managed a couple of pictures. I love the deer. Unfortunately, they are fair game for hunters. Since the season opened, I've been hearing the pop pop of gunfire and can only hope that these little ones are safe.

What are you thankful for, this November, 2010?

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Book About Writers

Have you ever wondered how authors got started writing? How long it took them to become published? What they went through to reach that point? Maybe not, but if you have, I'd like to tell you about a new book that will soon be out. How I Wrote My First Book, published by Twilight Times Books, edited by Anne K. Edwards and Lida E. Quillen, is now available at Twilight Times Books as a PDF ARC. It will soon be out in trade paperback.

Twenty authors, including yours truly, tell about the ups and downs of writing their first book. So if you've a hankering to wander the trail of beginnings with them, now's your chance.

Perhaps you'll identify with some of their joys and adventures along the way.

Happy Reading.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Alligators, Friends, and Cassette Tapes

Here it is the middle of the week. Where do the days go? Today I'm sharing the latest books I've read with you. What have you read lately?

The Healing Spell by Kimberley Griffiths Little is the story of Livie, an eleven-year-old with a secret.

The story is about faith and redemption and will tug at your heartstrings. I know it did at mine.

And how many eleven-year-olds do you know who have a baby alligator for a pet?

L. Diane Wolfe's latest novel, The Circle of Friends, Book V - Heather, is the story of Heather Jennings, a young woman whose dream of being a basketball coach at Clemson has come true.

Her personal life though, with her ill father and an irresponsible sister, tests her strength and patience.

Add Heather's unexpected romantic relationship with a man who is opposed to marriage and you have a novel that you can't put down.  

Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher's debut novel is a chilling story, chilling because it is so true to life. The blurb on the jacket cover says it all: "Clay Jensen's first love records her last words."

When you read what is on the cassette tapes Hannah Baker leaves behind after she commits suicide, you'll want to run out and hug all the teens you know and promise them that life will get better.

Monday, November 1, 2010

And the Winner Is ...

This weekend I put Patches to work again. She was lazy, but she finally chose a winner from the Halloween stories and comments you left. I wrote the names on paper, put them in the basket, and the results are below.

                                          Patches Checks Them Out

                               She was lazy and dropped the one she chose.
                                     She had just woke up from her nap.

                                      Naptime again. Cats sleep a lot.
                                              And the winner is ...


A copy of Listen to the Ghost, my paranormal young adult novel, will soon be on its way to you, along with other swag. Thanks to all who participated with your great ghost stories and spooky movies and everything. Have a wonderful November, a month for giving thanks for our blessings.

Happy Reading and Writing.